Artes mechanicae
(1,152 words)

1. Definition

In scholarly written language of the pre-industrial period, the Latin term artes mechanicae (“mechanical arts”) was a synonym for crafts and trades in the broadest sense; it played an important role primarily in classifications of human knowledge and skills. From the 16th century onwards, it also embraced applied areas of mechanics, although its…

Cite this page
Popplow, Marcus, “Artes mechanicae”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 23 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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