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Aeronautics

(1,290 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
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 air. The discussions of flying in the 15th and 16th centuries were focused entirely on the principle of …
Date: 2017-02-14

Aerial voyage

(959 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. General In the modern period, theoretical reflections and experiments devoted to flight were flanked by reports of supposed or actual aerial voyages, which could serve as a narrative framework for the presentation of scientific observations or a social utopia. They reflected the cosmological notions of the period and—especially in the era of the Scientific Revolution—the transition from the geocentric to the Copernican model of the world (Copernican Revolution) or from Aristotelian physics to the world view of Giordano Brunos and Isaac Newtons [3]. With the progress …
Date: 2017-02-14

Fairy

(867 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
The term ‘fairy’ is derived, via French, from the Vulgar Latin fata (“goddess of destiny”; fatum = fate). The most intensive transmission of the fairy concept, which incorporates traditions from Classical Antiquity and elsewhere in the Indo-European world, has been in Celtic literature, where the enchantress Morgan le Fay (hence  “Fata Morgana”) in the world of Arthurian legend represents its most famous manifestation. The fairy tradition, already apparent in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (14th century), was rediscovered in the 16th century and given new dire…
Date: 2018-02-14

Ball game

(1,113 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Educational ideal From the Renaissance on, Humanist pedagogues attempted to associate the love of ball games with ancient traditions (e.g. Galen), but the modern term derives not from the Latin pila but from the Germanic  ball (Italian  palla). Humanist teachers and princes’ tutors of the 15th century, like Vittorino da Feltre and Guarino da Verona, ennobled the ball game by placing it alongside equestrian exercises. Baldassare Castiglione’s Courtier ( Cortegiano, 1528) admitted it to the Olympus of noble education. Ball games went to the heart of the ed…
Date: 2017-02-14

Early modern period

(3,337 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Definition The early modern period (Ger. Frühe Neuzeit, Ital. prima età moderna; there is no corresponding term in French) is a daughter of the modern age, both as a term and in content, and shares its beginning and numerous features with it. One of the preconditions for this is the conceptual triad of splendid antiquity, the dark Middle Ages, and radiant early modernity, the latter initially as a rebirth of antiquity, then as the age of invention and voyages of discovery, growing far beyond the knowledg…
Date: 2016-09-26

Animal metamorphosis

(1,121 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Definition Animal metamorphosis was not only widespread in fairy tales and myths, but also had a role to play in popular European belief and Christian theology until some way into the early modern period. From the Renaissance on, the idea of a physical transformation of men or women into animals, effected by magic, divine power, or divine imposition, was reinforced by the reception of ancient texts, such as the respective Metamorphoses of Ovid and Apuleius. Although these may be fictional texts, they were cited until the 17th century as evidence of the possibili…
Date: 2017-02-14

Courier

(717 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
Today the couriers of the early modern period are frequently confused with post riders (Mail) or messengers. All three – couriers, post riders, and messengers – had to overcome distances and bring news under the dictates of speed (Rapidity)The literature on the history of communication makes a clear distinction between mail and the courier system [6]. A courier was not an employee of a messenger service or a postal organization, but was instead “a person dispatched to distant places to convey complex oral or written news regarding important matters” [1], in other words a …
Date: 2017-02-14

Curse

(873 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
According to the definition of curse (German  Fluch) in Zedler's  Universal-Lexicon, a curse is “a speech by which we wish someone ill” [1. 1337]. In fact, to wish well (Latin  benedicere) and to wish ill (Latin  maledicere) are linked. Both rely on belief in the power of the word, particularly when that word is spoken by an authority adhering to particular formulae and rituals. To this category belong so-called “curse psalms” and “curse masses.” The curse is a counterpart to the prayer, which, directed to God, is intended to pro…
Date: 2017-02-14

Afterlife, communication with

(799 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Concept The concept of communication with the afterlife depends on a binary opposition between “this world” as the world of the living and the afterlife, the world of the dead, of spirits, and gods - or in the monotheistic religions, the one God. Death marks the boundary between these worlds. Death marks the boundary between these worlds. The Enlightenment relegated the existence of the “otherworld” to the realm of fantasy. In the Christian view, the dead rest until the Day of Judgem…
Date: 2017-02-14

Communications revolutions

(788 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. DefinitionThe term  communication revolution was coined in the first half of the 20th century by American economic historians with reference to their own national history [3]; since the 1970s, it has usually appeared in the plural (communications revolutions) [7]. It was subsequently borrowed by German scholars as  Kommunikationsrevolution [11]; [9. 2, 51 f.]; they have attempted to redefine it with reference to macrohistorical processes.Modeled after the concept of the industrial revolution (cf. Industrialization 1.3.), a series of fundamental rev…
Date: 2017-02-14

Gymnastics

(930 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Terminology The German word for gymnastics, Turnen, was coined by Friedrich Ludwig Jahn in the early 19th century, with some ideological baggage (Gymnastics Movement 1.); the equivalents in other languages (Eng.  gymnastics, Ital.  ginnastica, etc.) show that the kinds of sport subsumed under the term can look back on a long tradition. Gymnastics includes floor exercises, apparatus work, vaulting, and acrobatic and general gymnastic exercises. Today the German Gymnastics Association and the  Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique also include dancing, ball gam…
Date: 2018-11-28

Communication

(6,811 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. ConceptIn a general sense, communication (Latin  communicatio, “making common,” “imparting”) denotes all possible forms of exchange within and between systems. Scholarly definitions have been developed in all fields from biology to sociology, but not even within the social sciences are such definitions transferable. Historiography turned its attention to the theme of communication only at a late date.Communication takes place on the microhistorical as on the macrohistorical scale. In a historical perspective, the introduction of new media of comm…
Date: 2017-02-14

Heating

(1,315 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. GeneralThe necessity for heating varies with geographical latitude; there were great regional and historical variations in its practical development. In the cold years of the Little Ice Age (ca. 1300-1900; especially 1560-1710), there was a pressing need for adequate heating. The hypothermia poor people suffered from when fuel (wood, peat, charcoal, in England also black coal) was too expensive made them more susceptible to illness [3. 430 f., 456f.]. Heating standards improved during the early modern era as part of a general cultural development. Wherea…
Date: 2018-11-28

Carnival

(1,220 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Term Carnival is derived from the Latin carnislevamen and Italian carnelevare (‘removal of meat’) or simply the jocular Latin interjection carne vale (‘Meat, farewell!’), and denotes abstention from all “fleshly” pleasures at the beginning of the Lenten fast. The term carnival is widely used in the Romance languages and English, and since the 17th century in the Rhineland (German Karneval). Elsewhere in the German-speaking world, the usual terms are Fastnacht or Fasnet, and in Bavaria and Austria Fasching is commonplace (from MHG vast-schanc, the last drink before Lent).Behrin…
Date: 2017-02-14

Dirt

(1,037 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. ConceptDirt is matter in the wrong place at the wrong time, “something misplaced” [5. 52], undesirable remains (abundant synonyms including refuse, muck, rubbish, garbage, trash, detritus, feculence etc.), or pollution coming about through lack of hygiene and sanitation by mechanical, biological (e.g. menstruation), physical, or chemical processes (e.g. oxidation, rust) and capable of contaminating an organism or system with undesirable or harmful materials. The term is also used in metaphorical and symbolic senses.Behringer, Wolfgang2. ReligionAccording to the …
Date: 2018-02-14

Aviso

(850 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
The word aviso (plural: avisos) is a communications term that was introduced into several European languages in the 16th century from Italian ( avviso: news, warning, advice). It soon came to play a key part in the postal system (Mail) in the sense of a “cover letter” and became the usual term for “news” in the new medium of periodically printed newspapers, until it was supplanted by more recent terms. Since the postal system was introduced by the de Tassis family (from 1651 on, Thurn und Taxis) to Austria, Germany, t…
Date: 2017-02-14

Bibliotheca Magica

(1,247 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Prior history of the superstition discourse The project of a Bibliotheca Magica (“Magical Library”) belongs in the context of the struggle between science (Knowledge) and superstition. On the initiative of Christian Thomasius, who as an expert witness as late as 1696 would have endorsed the execution of a witch had colleagues not restrained him, past debates about witchcraft were revisited early in the 18th century for political purposes (abolition of witchcraft trial and torture). The jurist Johann Reiche, whom Thomasius supervised in his doctoral dissertation, De crimine mag…
Date: 2017-02-14

Beer

(2,531 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Consumption Whereas wine consumption dominated Southern Europe and France in the early modern period, the consumption of beer was a fundamental constant of everyday life in the north and east of the continent (Everyday world). In these regions, beer was a staple foodstuff and – when brewed to greater strength - Lenten fare [1]. From the Late Middle Ages, there was a profound shift in habits of consumption in Central Europe, with wine replaced by beer as an everyday beverage. The reason for this was a process of technological innovation ashops…
Date: 2017-02-14

Fuggerzeitung

(979 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Name and sources The Fuggerzeitung was a collection of letters, composed in the second half of the 16th century and containing reports and messages on political and economic matters, sent to the Augsburg merchant dynasty the Fugger family. With 27 surviving volumes of these letters from all over Europe, the Fuggerzeitung is the biggest collection of its kind.In an inventory written on the death of Octavian Secundus Fugger (1600), it was described as “a miscellany of German and Romance-language reports written between 1569 and 1599 on white parchme…
Date: 2018-02-14

Bell

(1,129 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang
1. Term The English word “bell” is onomatopoeic, like the Latin  tintinnabulum. The corresponding German term Glocke derives, like Irish cloch, Flemish klok, Swedish klocka, French cloche and presumably also Russian kolokal from MLat. clocca. Whether the latter goes back to a Celtic clocc is disputed. It too may be onomatopoeic.Behringer, Wolfgang 2. Casting and suspension The casting of bells as the preferred form of manufacture extends back into the ancient Near Eastern Bronze Age. From the 6th century it spread through the whole of Europe, but not…
Date: 2017-02-14
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