Medicine in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Islamic World

In the 17th century, early modern European medical theory had an impact upon Islamic medicine through the writings of the Paracelsians. As the Islamic world became increasingly fragmented, the patronage and accompanying prestige and security enjoyed by the leading physicians declined. Spain was lost, European crusaders made repeated invasions into the central lands, and in[…]

China and Hong Kong in the Canton Trade System

After their victory in the first Opium War, the British acquired Hong Kong under the 1842 Treaty of Nanking. Hong Kong held 3,000 Chinese scattered in small fishing villages until the mid 19th century. The city itself is a small island in the mouth of the Pearl River, 76 miles southeast of Canton. Its waterfall[…]

The Narrow World of the Artists of China’s Early Modern Canton Trade System

The new vistas of China available after the development of the East India trade attracted many Chinese and foreign artists. John Webber (1750–1793) accompanied Captain Cook on his third voyage to the South Seas and visited Macau in 1779, publishing his book Views in the South Seas in 1780. Thomas Daniell (1749–1840) and his nephew[…]

Some Like It Hot: Sex and the Sauna in Early Modern Sweden

In early modern Sweden bathing was a part of everyday life. There were public and private hot-steam baths, or saunas. Modern iterations of the sauna – and especially the gay sauna – have been highlighted as spaces where societal norms might be transcended and at the same time moral anxiety heightened. What is less recognized today is that the[…]

Sexual Curiosities? Aphrodisiacs in Early Modern England

The word aphrodisiac only began to be used to describe such foods in the late seventeenth century. The word aphrodisiac conjures images of oysters and chocolate, or perhaps peppers to ‘spice things up’. Nearly everyone knows that these foods have a long history of being considered aphrodisiacs. Yet it is worth devoting a little more[…]

Culture Shock: An Analysis of Early Modern Europe through Arts and Literature

Examining the cultural heritage of Early Modern Europe and its influence in contemporary thought. By Angel Solis, Mariah Radue, and Nora Katz Introduction The content included here is directly related to the strong influence of the cultural heritage of Early Modern Europe in the Western world and the importance of these documents and works as[…]

The Spread of Knowledge via Print in Early Modern Europe

By the end of the fifteenth century, the majority of Western European cities had a printing press. By Richelle McDaniel Introduction While printing had already existed for several centuries, Johannes Gutenberg turned the printing world upside down and brought on a new era of print with his revolutionary innovation of movable type in 1445.[1] Movable[…]

Progress in Play: Board Games and the Meaning of History

Players moving pieces along a track to be first to reach a goal was the archetypal board game format of the 18th and 19th century. Alex Andriesse looks at one popular incarnation in which these pieces progress chronologically through history itself, usually with some not-so-subtle ideological, moral, or national ideal as the object of the[…]

Liberty and Property: The Levellers and Locke

The turmoil of the English Civil War in the 1640s and 1650s generated political and institutional upheaval, and stimulated radical thinking about politics. By Dr. Murray N. Rothbard Since the Civil War was fought over religion and politics, much of the new thinking was grounded in, or inspired by, religious principles and visions. Thus, as[…]

George Winstanley’s True Levellers, or Diggers, in Early Modern England

Their original name came from their belief in economic equality. Introduction The Diggers were a group of Protestant radicals in England, sometimes seen as forerunners of modern anarchism,[1] and also associated with agrarian socialism[2][3] and Georgism. Gerrard Winstanley’s followers were known as True Levellersin 1649 and later became known as Diggers, because of their attempts to farm on common land. Their original name came from their belief in[…]

Early Modern and Modern Jewish Networks of Communication

These networks formed as a result of the dispersal of Jewish society over great distances starting in antiquity. Abstract Jewish networks are the far-reaching transterritorial and transcultural channels of communication between Jews and Jewries. They formed as a result of the dispersal of Jewish society over great distances starting in antiquity and ran along the[…]

The Reivers: Raids along the Medieval and Early Modern Anglo-Scottish Border

Their heyday was in the last hundred years of their existence, during the time of the Stuart Kings in Scotland and the Tudor dynasty in England. Introduction Border reivers were raiders along the Anglo-Scottish border from the late 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century. Their ranks consisted of both Scottish and English[…]

Rich and Poor: Economic Thought from Thomas Aquinas to John Locke and Adam Smith

Starting with the medieval poor/rich-topics in the Aquinian tradition of the theological economy of charity, following a relatively unknown line of thought. Introduction In pre-classical economics, division of income was traditionally represented as an antithesis of rich and poor. Specific income classes were only defined in “classical” economics: landed property owners drew rents, capital investors[…]

Spectral Passages: John Knight and the Voyage of the ‘Hopewell’ in 1606

The vanishing of John Knight and his three companions. Introduction On June 19, 1606, John Knight ran out of options. Several days of jousting with contrary winds, waves and shifting ice floes in the Labrador Sea in his little ship, the Hopewell, had forced him onto the Labrador shore, somewhere north of present-day Nain. Anchored in an[…]

Border Theories in Early Modern Europe

The issue of inter-state relations illustrates the political relevance of changing concepts of borders in early modern Europe. Abstract This article discusses concepts and realities of “borders” in early modern Europe. It outlines the basic shifts in the relevant terminology with particular emphasis on juridical and political discourses. It focuses on the relative importance of[…]

Tempests and Teapots: Sexual Politics and Tea-Drinking in the Early Modern World

The Boston Tea Party, a foundational moment of political rebellion, was a protest against tea, and tea itself was freighted with sexual meanings. The American Revolution is impossible to understand without food and sex at its center. The Boston Tea Party, a foundational moment of political rebellion, was a protest against tea, and tea itself was[…]

The Tokugawa Shogunate: Autocratic Rule in Early Modern Japan

After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, central authority fell to Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the Shogunate began. Introduction The Tokugawa Shogunate, also known as the Tokugawa Bakufu (徳川幕府) and the Edo Bakufu (江戸幕府), was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1603 and 1867.[3] The head of government was the shōgun,[4] and each was a member of the Tokugawa clan.[5] The Tokugawa shogunate ruled from Edo[…]

Safavid Trade during the 17th Century: Iran’s Transit Economy

Analyzing the role that the Safavid economy played within the rapidly developing global economic system. By Connor J. HamelCompetitive Intelligence AnalystAccenture Federal Services Introduction The seventeenth century ushered in a plethora of changes in global trade patterns. These fluctuating trade patterns began to generate nascent economic, political, and social trends the likes of which had[…]

The Safavid Empire, 1501-1736

The empire established Shi’a Islam as Iran’s official religion and united its provinces under a single Iranian sovereignty in the early modern period. Introduction The Safavids (Persian: صفویان) were a native Iranian dynasty from Azarbaijan that ruled from 1501 to 1736, and which established Shi’a Islam as Iran’s official religion and united its provinces under a single Iranian sovereignty in the[…]

‘A Mixture of Minds Which Cannot Unite’: John Milton and Divorce in Early Modern United Kingdom

Actual divorce allowing remarriage could only be granted by parliament. The government’s current consultation (closing on 10 December) about making ‘no fault’ divorce quicker and easier might have drawn a robust contribution from the famous seventeenth-century poet and polemicist John Milton, if he were alive today. From 1643 to 1645, in the midst of the English Civil[…]

Mapping the British Caribbean in the Early Modern Atlantic World

Analyzing how three maps of Barbados promoted a flattering image of British colonialism in the Caribbean. To any nation pursuing the creation of a New World empire during the early modern period, maps indisputably held great importance. Together with other products of the geographic trade, they provided a fundamental means to construct and disseminate among[…]

A Pirate Surgeon in 17th-Century Panama

Almost everything we know about Dr. Lionel Wafer comes from his own pen. He enters the historical record as a teenage surgeon’s apprentice. The ship came to anchor on an August evening. Sea fireflies glowed around the moorings, their indigo light making specters of the sailors’ gaunt faces. There had already been two mutinies, and[…]

European Encounters in the Age of Expansion

A history of the expansion of Europe overseas and the multiple forms of encounters between Europeans and “other” peoples and cultures over the course of four centuries. Abstract This article reconstructs the expansion of Europe overseas and the multiple forms of encounters between European navigators, explorers, conquerors, colonizers, merchants and missionaries and “other” peoples and[…]

The Many Lives of Ned Coxere: Were British Sailors Really British?

How to get away with smuggling in the Early Modern world? Be someone else! By Alexis Harasemovitch-TruaxPhD Candidate in HistoryThe University of Texas at Austin The Spanish Man-of-War is bearing down on the English merchant ship and Ned is in the cabin, stuffing Barbary Ducats into his hat and shoes. After escaping from Spanish captivity,[…]

“Come hear this ditty”: 17th-Century Drinking Songs and the Challenges of Hearing the Past

Alcohol played a central role in early modern life, occupying much of the time of both law enforcement officers and guzzling “cupp companions.” In April, 1612, the constables of Calne, Wiltshire, made a desperate plea to their superiors—the county magistrates—to help them reverse a surge in the number of alehouses in their town. Their complaint[…]

Female Litigants and Customary Law in Northern Burgundy, 1560-1610

Early modern women were subjected to multiple realms of authority in both the private and public spheres. By Taryn McMillanFreelance WriterMcMaster University It was the spring of 1596 and Jehanne Petit, a young widow, ventured to the local bailliage (bailiwick) court to request a greater share of her first husband’s wealth. In the sleepy village of Châtillon-sur-Seine,[…]

Patronage, Politics, and the “Rule of Law” in Early Modern France

The law’s “brooding presence” was very real to political actors in early modern France. Old Regime France, David Bell has observed, was a “judicial society” where “the experiences of the law courts were central to the way in which political action was conceptualized.”[1] Theorists distinguished the king’s “absolute power” from the rule of a tyrant by[…]