(1,311 words)

1. Introduction

In the fourfold concept of the natural world that held sway from Antiquity, air was one of the four elements. It was believed to be a weightless element between fire and earth and water. Soon after 1491, the Heidelberger Schicksalsbuch drew attention to the association between air and meteorological phenomena: “In the air are many transformations of fire, water, and wind. Watery being rain, dew, frost, snow, hail, fog” (Jn dem lufft werden manig…

Cite this page
Sieglerschmidt, Jörn, “Air”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 21 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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