(1,290 words)

1. Terminology

The term “aeronautics” means literally “traveling by ship [Latin nautare] through the air [Latin aer].” Possibly inspired by mythological accounts, 14th-century proponents of Aristotelian physics (Albert of Saxony and Nicole d’Oresme) had already suggested the possibility that the accepted theory of the elements implied that a ship filled with a fiery substance could sail upon the sea of the a…

Cite this page
Behringer, Wolfgang, “Aeronautics”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 20 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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