(1,176 words)

Amicitia (“friendship”) is, after kinship, the most important constitutive principle of society and groups in Europe. In principle, it tends toward equality and is based on the material and immaterial exchange of gifts. Both forms of amicitia inherited from the Middle Ages and new forms can be observed in Early Modern history. On the one hand, the concept remained focused on the special, if variable, quality of the amicable relationship, ranging from (short or long-term) shared interest to loyalty and affection to sexuality. On the…

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Weber, Wolfgang E.J., “Amicitia”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 21 February 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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