‘Enlightened Despots’ in the Early Modern World

Equestrian portrait of Catherine in the Preobrazhensky Regiment’s uniform. / Wikimedia Commons Enlightened despotism, also called benevolent despotism, was a form of government in the 18th century in which absolute monarchs pursued legal, social, and educational reforms inspired by the Enlightenment. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 06.12.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Frederick the Great and[…]

Early Modern European Settler Colonies

Portuguese Fort Aguada, Goa, India / Photo by Abhijit Nandi, Creative Commons Beginning in the early modern age, European settler colonies were founded first beyond the Atlantic Ocean and later in the Pacific, but not in Asia. By Dr. Christoph Marx / 06.06.2017 Professor of History Universität Duisburg-Essen Introduction Beginning in the early modern age, European settler[…]

Early Modern Memes: The Reuse and Recycling of Woodcuts in 17th-Century English Popular Print

Detail from The BEGGARS Delight, EBBA 34937. As explored later in the essay, this woodcut would be reused in many different contexts, the speech bubble variously filled accordingly — University of California, Santa Barbara, English Broadside Ballad Archive Expensive and laborious to produce, a single woodcut could be recycled to illustrate scores of different ballads, each new[…]

European Fashion and Cultural Transfer, 1450-1950

Hendrick Avercamp’s ‘Ice Scene’ (c. 1610). Wikimedia Commons The function of fashion as a form of cultural transfer in Europe-wide social processes between 1450 and 1950. By Dr. Gabriele Mentges / 06.03.2011 Professor of the Cultural History of Clothing/Fashion/Textiles Institute for Arts and Material Culture Technische Universität Dortmunt Introduction This article discusses the function of fashion as a[…]

The ‘Lawe of Nations’: How Diplomatic Immunity Protected an Elizabethan Assassin

Mary Queen of Scots was at the centre of numerous plots to kill Queen Elizabeth I. Pierre Révoil (1776–1842) When the Spanish ambassador to Elizabeth I’s court was implicated in a plot to kill her, he was protected by the fledgling laws of diplomacy. By Dr. Carol Rutter / 05.23.2018 Professor of Shakespeare and Performance Studies University of Warwick A foreign state sponsors a[…]

European Perceptions of America since the 17th Century

1750 map of America / museumoutlets.com By Dr. Marcus Gräser / 02.08.2011 Professor of History Institut für Neuere Geschichte und Zeitgeschichte Johannes Kepler University Abstract Early on, the USA – “America” – became a point of reference within European consciousnesses against which European societies could analyse themselves. At the same time, America acted as a repository[…]

Religious Orders as Transnational Networks of the Catholic Church in the Early Modern World

Benedictine Abbey of Saint John / Photo by Wladyslaw, Wikimedia Commons The history of the Christian churches as transnational and global actors is reflected in the history of Christian religious orders and communities. By Dr. Joachim Schmiedl / 09.19.2011 Chair of Middle and New Church History Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Vallendar Abstract The history of the Christian churches[…]

The Dutch Revolt in the Early Modern World

The Battle of Gibraltar, by Cornelis Claesz van Wieringen, c.1621 / Rijksmuseum via Wikimedia Commons Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 05.09.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Origins of the Revolt 1.1 – Religion During the 16th century, Protestantism rapidly gained ground in the Dutch Provinces. Initially the Spanish repressed the Protestants, but eventually the local officials[…]

Ashkenazi Jews in Early Modern Europe

“Yiddish Motifs” (Yidishe Motoyf). Woodcut of a traditional Shtetl by the Chicago-based Ashkenazi artist Todros Geller, published in the series “From Land to Land” (Fun Land tsu Land) during the 1930s. / WorldAtlas By Dr. Predrag Bukovec / 03.07.2012 Liturgiology University of Vienna Introduction This article describes the history of Jews in Eastern Europe which[…]

The Health of Children and Youth in Early Modern England

Scene from frontispiece to EPB/47966/A: Jane Sharp, The compleat midwife’s companion: or, the art of midwifry improv’d (London: J. Marsall [sic], 1724). Wellcome Images L0028111. / Wellcome Library By Dr. Linda Payne Inaugural Sirridge Missouri Endowed Professor in Medical Humanities and Bioethics University of Missouri-Kansas City Children and youth in early modern England (1500-1800) were[…]

The Grand Alliances of Early Modern Europe

The Battle of Malplaquet, 1709: The Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene Entering the French Entrenchments, by Louis Laguerre, early 18th century / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Andrew Thompson / 01.22.2013 Chief Executive Arts & Humanities Research Council Abstract European politics in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were dominated by warfare. This article considers[…]

Dynastic Marriage in Early Modern Europe

Catherine the Great / Public Domain By Dr. Heinz Duchhardt / 08.04.2011 Professor of History Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz Abstract The often-quoted “family of princes” was at no time a truly pan-European network, but represented rather a collection of various marriage circles defined first by – among others – geography, and following[…]

Chambers of Art and Wonders in Early Modern Europe

The Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in His Gallery at Brussels, by David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) 1651. / Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna As collection rooms based on a universalist approach to art and artifacts, the chambers of art and wonders (Wunderkammern) were characteristic of the pre-modern era. By Gabriele Beßler / 07.16.2015 Art Historian Abstract As collection[…]

Dynastic Networks and Interdependence in Early Modern Europe

Queen Victoria / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Daniel Schönpflug / 12.03.2010 Professor of History Universität Berlin Abstract The kinship ties of Europe’s royal houses were part of a specific technique of maintaining power. To secure and extend their authority European dynasties made use of inheritance and marriages, as well as communication and cooperation among relatives. Their[…]

European Colonialism and Imperialism, 1450–1950

Vasco da Gama / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Benedikt Stuchtey / 01.24.2011 Professor of History Philipps-Universität Marburg Abstract The colonial encirclement of the world is an integral component of European history from the Early Modern Period to the phase of decolonisation. Individual national and expansion histories referred to each other in varying degrees at different[…]

The Impact of Early Modern Immigration on Food and Drink, and Vice Versa

A Boyar Wedding Feast, by Konstantin Makovsky, 1883 / Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens via Wikimedia Commons    By Dr. Gunther Hirschfeld and Dr. Manuel Trummer / 08.20.2013 Hirschfeld: Lecturer in Cultural Anthropology, Universität Regensburg Trummer: Lecturer in Cultural Anthropology, Universität Regensburg Abstract There is scarcely an aspect of daily cultural practice which illustrates the processes of transformation[…]

Horsemanship and Masculinity in Early Modern England

From The Annals of Horsemanship (1791) by Geoffrey Gambado, Esq. / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Monica Mattfeld / 03.20.2018 Assistant Professor of English and History University of Northern British Columbia For much of human history, horses have been our travelling companions, our weapons of war, our industrial machines, our shoe leather, and our dog food. They have[…]

Dutch Anatomy and Clinical Medicine in 17th-Century Europe

Entrance to Boerhaave Museum, Leiden, Netherlands / Photo by Erik Zachte, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. H.G. (Rina) Knoeff / 06.20.2012 Associate Professor of Early Modern History University of Groningen Introduction The Leiden University medical faculty was famous in 17th-century Europe. Students came from all over Europe to sit at the feet of the well-known medical teachers Peter[…]

The History of the Mobilization of Land in Early Modern Europe

The Pyrenees as seen from orbit / NASA, Public Domain By Dr. Frank Uekötter / 05.03.2012 Reader in Environmental Humanities University of Birmingham Abstract In the history of land, different dimensions overlap which are, strictly speaking, not interdependent. Land was simultaneously sovereign territory, the basis of agricultural production, a repository of mineral resources, a space to[…]

The Decline of Wood as an Economic Force with the Rise of the Industrial Revolution

The trail of the Centenary Walk in Epping Forest, south of High Beach, Essex – England / Photo by Diliff, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Bernd-Stefan Grewe / 12.05.2011 Chair Holder and Director Institute of History Didactics and Public History University of Tübingen Introduction For centuries, the woodlands of Europe were not only used for wood production, but[…]

Royal Cavities: The Bitter Implications of Sugar Consumption in Early Modern Europe

Dentist (detail), 1659–81, Jan van der Bruggen. Engraving, 26.6 x 18.7 cm. Image courtesy of Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam The exploding popularity of sugar among the European rich led to an unprecedented form of affluenza: dental decay. By Dr. Joseph Imorde / 01.19.2016 Professor of Art History Universitaet Siegen In early modern Europe, the opulence of princely festive dinners[…]

The Beginning and Growth of European Overseas Imperial Ambitions in the 16th Century

Hernán Cortés / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Reinhard Wendt / 12.03.2010 University Professor Head of the Department of Modern European and Non-European History University of Hagen Introduction The development of European world rule, founded in the 16th century, exhibited considerable regional and temporal deviation in terms of its extent and character. The framework of colonialism and[…]

Censorship and Freedom of the Press in the Early Modern Period

Illustration showing a printing press designed in 1850 by Hippolyte Marinoni and called L’Universelle (the Universal) / Public Domain By Dr. Jürgen Wilke / 05.08.2013 Professor of Journalism and Communications Johannes Gutenberg University Introduction Censorship as a means of controlling communication has existed since classical antiquity. However, it became significantly more important in the early modern period[…]

Early 18th-Century European ‘Spectators’, or ‘Moral Weeklies’

Combined image of Beer Street and Gin Lane, by William Hogarth / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Klaus-Dieter Ertler / 06.28.2012 Institute for Romance Studies University of Graz Introduction The early eighteenth century witnessed the birth in England of the “Spectators”, a journalistic and literary genre that developed in the wake of the Glorious Revolution (1688). Beginning in 1709[…]

A Brief History of Economic Networks in the Early Modern and Modern Worlds

By Dr. Christian Marx / 09.28.2012 Professor of Economic History University of Trier Abstract This article discusses various network structures in which commercial transactions occurred and economic actors organized their activities. Simultaneous membership of multiple networks means that it is not possible to draw a sharp distinction between economic networks and political, cultural and religious[…]

Economy and Trade in the Western World from the Early Modern to Modern Periods

Waldseemüller (Martin Waldseemüller) map from 1507 is the first map to include the name “America” and the first to depict the Americas as separate from Asia. There is only one surviving copy of the map, which was purchased by the Library of Congress in 2001 for $10 million. By Dr. Philipp Rössner / 02.03.2017 Lecturer in Early Modern History The[…]

Deciphering a Central European Plague Amulet

By Dr. Don C. Skemer / 10.14.2016 Curator of Manuscripts Rare Books & Special Collections Department Princeton University Library From the ancient world to the present, people have turned to powerful words, symbols and images as magical shields against bad luck, evil spirits, debilitating illness and sudden death. In medieval and early modern Europe, textual[…]