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Elements
(3,050 words)

1. Classical element theory

1.1. Concept

In European cultural history, the term “elements” denotes the four basic substances, fire, water, earth, and air, which were together incorporated into a comprehensive theory of four elements in Antiquity. The etymological derivation of the term is from the Latin elementum, itself a translation of the Greek stoicheíon (“letter”, “sound”; first documented in the sense of “constituent component” or “basis” in Plato [8]).

The doctrine of the four element…

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Mahayni, Ziad and Priesner, Claus, “Elements”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 21 July 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_018694>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170626



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