This glossary was compiled by Margaret King and Brian Bonhomme

Although Part II deals with the period covered by Core Studies 4, Part I is a useful reference for terms important for the background of modern history. 


absolution:  In Catholic ritual, the act of pronouncing forgiveness and the remission of sins, performed by priest in the sacrament of penance.

absolutism: A political system or project that seeks to concentrate power in the hands of the
monarch, usually justified by the concept of the divine right of kings.  The idea of absolutism
came to prominence in Europe during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries when monarchs were struggling to wrest power from the church and the aristocracy, in order to create and strengthen national states. Louis XIV of France, the monarch most identified with absolutism, is said to have declared that he himself was the state: "L'etat, c'est moi."

agnate: A relative related through the father's side, from a male line of descent. A cognate is a relative whose kinship is related through the mother's side.

agora:  A central feature of the polis.  Originally a marketplace, the agora also served as the chief social and political meeting place. Along with the acropolis (the upper fortified part of a city), the agora housed the most important buildings of the city-state.

alumnus, alumna, alumni: In ancient Rome, abandoned infants that were picked up and "adopted" into families, who might come to be esteemed as valued servants, but never regarded as a true member of the family. In present day usage, an alumnus or alumna is a person who has graduated from a particular school, college or university.

ambassador: The highest-ranking diplomatic representative of one country to another, usually accorded the privilege of guaranteed personal security, even when the countries represented are at war.

Amerindians:  aboriginal peoples of the western hemisphere, American Indians.  Preferred to "Indian" (used to refer to the peoples of the Indian subcontinent) and "Native American" (the anti-immigrant 19th-century American political party, called "the Know-Nothings").

anthropomorphism: The assigning of human characteristics to animals, natural phenomena, inanimate objects, or abstract ideas.  In anthropomorphic religion, human qualities, behavior and form are attributed to a deity or spirit.

anti-Semitism: The discrimination against, prejudice or hostility towards Jews.

apprenticeship: A method of training in an artisanal craft or profession in which the master profits from the labor of the apprentice, and the apprentice receives training, housing, and security.  In the medieval and early modern era, apprenticeships lasted for anywhere from two to fifteen years, during which the apprentice lived with his master in a quasi‑familial relationship. At the completion of this period the apprentice became a journeyman, no longer tied to a master, but a worker paid by the day.  See guild, journeyman, master.

aristocracy:  A government or social structure in which power and wealth is vested in a small minority, a hereditary nobility (aristocrats, the aristoi) which claims to be best qualified to rule.  In Greek, aristos literally means "the best."

arquebus: a portable, long-barrelled gun, fired by a wheel-lock or match lock., dating from the fifteenth century.

artisan:  A skilled maker of things.  Before the development of techniques of mass manufacture, artisans produced earthenware, tools, jewelry, etc.

Aryan: Formerly a term that referred to the Indo-European language family, and an assumed racial category composed of  people of Indo-European "blood."  Similarities between ancient languages (Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, etc.) led 19th-century scholars to hypothesize the existence of a proto-Indo-European language spoken by a group called the Aryans.  Today, after the murder of millions of people designated as "non-Aryan" by the Nazis, such narratives about racial origins are morally suspect and have been found to lack biological and historical validity. "Aryan" is now used to designate the Indo-Iranian language group, or more narrowly, the Indo-Aryan (Indic) branch of that family, and also the group of Indo-Aryan- speakers who invaded the Indian subcontinent around 1500 BCE.

astrolabe: The most important instrument used by astronomers and navigators from antiquity through the 16th century. The function of the astrolabe (from the Greek astro, "star"; and labio, "finder") was to measure the altitudes of celestial bodies, from which time and the observer's latitude could be determined. The measurement of the altitude of the North Star yields the latitude and the altitude of the Sun and stars yields the time.  The astrolabe consists of two flat circular discs, usually made of brass, and ranging from about 7.5 to 25 cm (3 to 10 in) in diameter. One disc, known as the rete, is a star map on which the bright stars are indicated by named pointers and the path of the Sun and planets is shown. The other disc, known as the tympan, is engraved to show the zenith, the horizon, and the lines of altitude and azimuth for a specific latitude. Both discs are held by a hollow body, with a scale of hours engraved on the rim. In the 18th century, the astrolabe was superseded by the sextant.

atrium:  The central rectangular, interior open-air hall of the Etruscan and Roman house, usually considered the most important room.

barbarian:  In ancient Greece, a word applied to non-Greek-speaking (or non-city-dwelling) peoples. Barbarians were assumed to be inferior, uncivilized.  Literally in Greek, someone who speaks nonsense words, such as "bar bar." The term “barbarian” was used in Chinese civilization much as in Greek.  Later and more generally, a person or group believed to lack cultural  refinement.

basilica: An oblong building that ends in a semicircular central protruding section (an apse), used in ancient Rome as a court of justice and place of public assembly; early Christians adapted the plan for their churches.

bayonet:   A short sword or dagger attached to the muzzle of a rifle. First used by European armies in the 17th century, it proved useful as an additional infantry weapon for close combat, and eliminated the need for a separate corps of pikemen. In its original form, the bayonet was inserted into the muzzle itself, preventing the weapon from being fired. Later bayonets were clipped onto the side of the muzzle, so that the weapon could be fired and the bayonet easily removed for use as a dagger in hand-to-hand combat.

Black Death:  A virulent fourteenth-century epidemic that killed one-fourth to one-third the population of Europe (or about 75 million people), caused by bacterium yersinia pestis and spread by fleas harbored by the black rat or by the respiration of an afflicted person.

Bronze Age:  A stage of technological development in which bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, first came into use in the manufacture of tools, weapons, and other objects.  The term originated as part of the three-age system (Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age) introduced by an early 19th-century Danish museum curator, but bronze technology actually appeared at different times in different parts of the world.  Around 3000 BCE in Mesopotamia and Egypt, bronze alloys were developed to make stronger and more durable tools, shields, swords, and spear and arrow tips.  The societies that possessed the technology gained an immediate military and economic advantage and dominated their geographical regions.

bull (papal bull): A letter issued by the pope that contains an order and/or statement of religious doctrine.  In very early times, bulls (from the Latin bulla, meaning "leaden seal") were sealed with the pope's signet ring. Today, they are ordinarily sealed with a red stamp; only the most solemn bulls carry a leaden seal.

bullion: Uncoined gold and silver, molded into bars or ingots.  See mint and mintage

burgher, bourgeoisie: In medieval Europe, a citizen of a town (burg, borough, bourg, borgo).  Burghers were members of the class ("the bourgeoisie") of enterprising merchants, bankers, and long‑distance traders.

caliph: The supreme leader of the Islamic world after Muhammad's death in 632 CE, the successor to Muhammad.  Secular and religious authority were combined in the office of the caliph, who claimed to be appointed by God.

canton:  In Switzerland, an independent unit of local government; the Swiss Confederation is divided into 23 cantons. Control of certain functions, such as foreign affairs and tariffs, is assigned to the confederation, but the cantons are sovereign in other respects.

capitalism: An economic system organized around the profit motive and competition, in which the means of production are privately owned by businessmen and organizations which produce goods for a market guided by the forces of supply and demand.  

caravel: A type of sailing ship, first developed in Portugal and widely used by 15th‑ and 16th-century explorers. The caravel was sometimes equipped with a combination of square sails and lateen sails (triangular fore‑and‑aft sails set on a long, sloping yardarm) and was sometimes entirely lateen rigged. The caravel superseded the oared galley.

cartography: The art and science of mapmaking.

caste:  A system of rigid hereditary social stratification, characterized by disparities of wealth and poverty, inherited assignments of occupation, and strict rules governing intermarriage and intermingling.

castle: In the Middle Ages, the fortified residence of a European noble or monarch.  The earliest castles consisted of a wood or stone tower built on a natural or artificial mound and protected by circular walls or moat.  Later time, castles became more complex, often built on a height, with thick walls topped by a parapet for defense.

Christendom:  The part of the world in which Christianity predominates; the collective body of Christian believers.

chthonic:  Of the earth or the underworld; an infernal or powerful elemental force.

citizen:  In ancient Greece, a free male inhabitant of a polis, with landowning and voting rights not accorded to non-citizens. In modern times, applied to any legal member of the state.

civic humanism: An engaged form of humanism that responded to the moral concerns of those who lived in cities and sought the kind of practical knowledge useful to the men of affairs merchants, bankers, politicians, architects who dominated and shaped the early modern city.  See humanism.

civilization: A condition of human society characterized by a high level of cultural and technological achievement and complex social and political development, generally referring to human societies that concentrate resources in cities.  Today scholars usually characterize a society as a civilization if it has (1) class stratification, with each stratum differentiated by the degree of its ownership or control of productive resources and surpluses; (2) political and religious hierarchies that administer territorially organized states; (3) a complex division of labor, with full-time artisans, soldiers, and bureaucrats existing alongside the mass of farmers and other laborers; (4) an economic system that creates and distributes agricultural surpluses and other forms of wealth; and (5) a sophisticated set of technologies employed in the creation of architecture, tools, and weaponry.

clan: A group composed of a number of households that claim descent from a common ancestor.

classical: A term that refers to the ideals and styles of ancient Greece and Rome, as embodied in art, literature, architecture and philosophy, and as interpreted and reinterpreted by later generations. From the Renaissance onward, classical ideals and styles have been seen as exemplifying aesthetic notions of simplicity, harmony, restraint, proportion, and reason. Classicism also carries the implication of the finest period of artistic activity or the purest aesthetic, a kind of artistic perfection. The era during which a society or art reaches its peak is often called classical, as in "classical Greece" (5th century BCE), when art, architecture and literature attained a very high and consistent order of development.  Works of art created during such a period and which exemplify its aesthetic and moral virtues are referred to as classics and collectively are put forward by critics, scholars and connoisseurs as an aesthetic standard.  The original group of texts to be referred to as classic were the works of Greco-Roman antiquity, but given changing critical tastes and the succession of styles, works are continually attaining the status of classic, while others fall out of favor.

clergy: A group ordained to perform religious functions and counsel followers of the religion.  In Catholicism, the clergy is a hierarchical body headed by the Pope.  Monks and nuns are members of the regular clergy; priests and bishops are members of the secular clergy.

colonus, coloni: In imperial Rome, the class of poor tenant farmers, often the descendants of manumitted slaves.  The coloni were the forerunners of the serfs of medieval Europe.

colony, colonialism: A system of control by a country over an area or people outside its borders. Colonialism began with the ancient Phoenicians, who established colonies around the shores of the Mediterranean as early as the 10th century BCE. The ancient Greeks and Romans were energetic colonizers. In the Middle Ages, Venice and Genoa had colonies on the banks of the Black Sea and on islands in the Aegean. Modern colonialism began after the discovery of America and of the sea route to the Far East, when the new European states began to found colonies abroad. Colonies vary as to purpose and organization: they can be established by a governmental or privately planned migration of settlers from the colonizing country (as in various British colonies in North America), by dissident religious groups fleeing persecution (such as the Pilgrims and Puritans who settled in Massachusetts), by groups of merchants or businessmen (such as the British, Dutch, and French East India companies), by armed conquest (as in Mexico and Peru), or some combination of the above (as in British India and South Africa).

comedy:  A genre of humorous drama, typically with a happy or absurd ending, sometimes critical of social and political institutions, first developed in ancient Greece.

common law: A system of law developed following the Norman Conquest of England (1066), and still partly in use in most English-speaking countries. Unlike civil law (which is descended from the codified laws of the Roman Empire and revolutionary and Napoleonic France, and used by most European countries), common law is not embodied in a text or code. In common law, judges draw instead upon precedents established by older court decisions.

commons: In medieval Europe, a centrally located area of land set aside for the free use of the community, often for pasturage, woodgathering, or public assembly.  Places designated as commons still exist in some areas of England and the United States, especially New England.

commune: In the Middle Ages, a self‑governing municipality that guaranteed its population personal liberty, the right to regulate trade and collect taxes, and the right to operate its own system of justice within the town walls. In northern Europe, especially in England, France, and the Low Countries, communes were often recognized through charters granted by the royal government or local court.  In Italy, communes were sworn associations of townsmen that arose during the eleventh century to overthrow the rule of the local bishop or feudal magnates.

compass: A device that indicates direction on the Earth's surface; the principal instrument of navigation. Without it, a pilot would have difficulty in setting the course for a ship or airplane. A magnetic compass indicates movement relative to the Earth's geomagnetic field.

condottiere: see Mercenary.

courtier: A person who is in attendance at a royal or aristocratic court, and who seeks the ruler's favor.

confraternity: An association of laymen and women linked by a common mission or obligation, which combined spiritual observance and charitable service.

conquistador: Military adventurers, mostly commoners, who led the Spanish exploration and conquest of the New World during the 16th century. Fierce and often ruthless fighters, they were motivated both by missionary zeal and greed for gold and other riches.

contemplation: Quiet and solitary thought; the intellectual and religious ideal of medieval scholars who lived in monasteries, cloisters and universities, as opposed to the practical and worldly philosophizing of civic humanism.

conversion: The act or experience associated with the definite and decisive adoption of a particular religion and set of beliefs, often entailing the rejection of a previous religious identity.

cosmopolis: A culturally prestigious city whose population is composed of peoples from many different parts of the world, an urban center where the most diverse and sophisticated customs, practices and beliefs can be found.  In the Hellenistic and Roman eras, Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople qualified as cosmopolitan. 

coup d'état: The sudden violent overthrow of an existing government by a small group.

creole: A fully formed language that develops from a pidgin language and gradually becomes the primary language of a linguistic community. As the domains of the use of a pidgin language expand, it develops into a creole language, a language that is lexically, phonologically and grammatically more complex. Most creole languages have vocabularies derived from major European languages. Many creole languages exist only or primarily in spoken form, using the standard language of the former colonial power for written communication. The word creole also has various related meanings, referring to combinations of European and non‑European cultures, especially cooking and music, and also in some areas, a class of people of mixed racial heritage (see mestizo).

culture:  Learned behavior acquired by individuals as members of a particular social group, in contrast to genetically endowed behavior. Each culture has characteristically different norms and styles governing behavior and thought; individuals are socialized into these norms and styles, beginning at birth.  As used by anthropologists and other social scientists, "culture" includes mundane practices such as food preparation, toilet habits, and politics, as well as sculpture, architecture and painting.  In an older sense of the word, still widely used, "culture" designates music, literature, philosophy, fine art, and other intellectual and aesthetic pursuits associated with civilized life.

cuneiform:  A system of writing developed in Sumer and used for a number of Near Eastern languages, from ca. 3000 BCE until ca. 100 CE. Cuneiform consisted of wedge‑shaped characters inscribed on clay, stone, wax, and metal.

decurions: In outlying cities of the Roman Empire, the elite hereditary class responsible for funding and administering municipal functions and construction, and for collecting taxes.

deification: The process of attributing god-like attributes to a human being.  In ancient Rome, the Emperor was often deified and celebrated in a posthumous ritual known as the apotheosis.

democracy: Term derived from the Greek words for “people” and “power.”  A form of government in which a substantial proportion of the citizenry participates in ruling the state; as opposed to oligarchy or monarchy, where the state is controlled by a small minority or individual.  In a direct democracy citizens vote on laws in an assembly, as they did in ancient Athens. In an indirect democracy citizens elect officials to represent them in government.  In the ancient democracies, women, non‑citizens, and slaves were excluded from participation.

demotic: A simplified form of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing used for informal communication and by the masses (literally, "the popular"); hieratic was a simplified form of writing used by the priesthood.

dhow: A type of sailing vessel equipped with lateen sails, in common use from the Red Sea to the western coast of India. The dhow has a main mast and sometimes a smaller mizzenmast, a flat stern and a sharp, long bow.

dialogue: A literary genre favored by humanists, based on classical models.  Dialogue permitted an author to present two or more competing viewpoints and argue for each plausibly without committing himself to any explicit (or unpopular) point of view.

diaspora: A Greek word meaning "dispersion," originally referring to the Jewish settlements established in ancient Babylon and Egypt, as a result of commerce and exile after the destruction of the Temple in 586 BCE.  A later diaspora of Jews occurred throughout the Mediterranean and Near East in the Hellenistic Period and after the establishment of the Roman Empire, especially after Jewish revolts against Rome in the 1st and 2d centuries CE. Today, diaspora is used to designate Jewry outside of the state of Israel and is also applied to other dispersions of peoples analogous to the Jewish diaspora (e.g., the African diaspora, Chinese diaspora, Palestinian diaspora, Irish diaspora).

 diplomacy: The art and practice of conducting negotiations between nations for the purpose of resolving differences, regulating commerce, making alliances, etc.

disputation: In medieval education, a formal exercise in logic that consists of arguments in favor of a thesis and arguments against it, until a conclusion is reached.  See scholasticism. 

distaff, spindle: Simple sticks used in the spinning process, the distaff holding raw fiber that was pulled and twisted into thread and wound on the spindle; later the spindle was the bobbin on the spinning machine that held wound thread.

dowry: In medieval and early modern Europe, the property that a bride brought to her marriage. The worth of the dowry generally correlated with the wealth or status or political connectedness of the bridegroom.  Even at the humblest levels, women would work to accumulate some property to serve as a dowry.  

dualism:  Any theory or system of philosophical or religious thought that recognizes two and only two independent and mutually irreducible principles, substances, or spiritual entities. The ancient Zoroastrian belief that the god of Good struggled against the god of Evil to determine the individual and collective fate of mankind, was a particularly powerful form of dualism, influencing the Jewish thought of the last centuries BCE, the theology of the Babylonian prophet Mani, Christianity, and Islam.

ducat: First minted in 1284 by the city of Venice, a gold coin with the portrait of the ruler (e.g., the Duke, the Doge) on it.

dynasty:  A lengthy succession of monarchs of the same line of descent; more broadly, a powerful group or family that maintains dominance for a long period of time.

elite:  A group consisting of a small number of persons who control major institutions, exercise military and/or political power, possess superior wealth, or enjoy elevated status and prestige.

entrepreneur: A person who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.

epidemic: Any specific contagious disease that periodically or episodically afflicts many people within a population, community or region, often moving from region to region in a wave‑like pattern.  Throughout history, severe epidemics have killed large numbers of people, most notoriously the Black Death of 14th‑century Europe..

estate:  In early modern France, a social or political class, invested with distinct powers, possessions and property.  The Estates‑General was an assembly of representatives of the three "estates": the clergy, nobility and commoners.  The press is often termed "the fourth estate."

 Eucharist: From the Greek eucharistia ("thanksgiving"); a central observance of the Christian church, variously described as the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, and the Mass. Christians of all traditions, with few exceptions, regard the observance of the Eucharist as a binding obligation.

 excommunication: The formal expulsion of a member from a religious group. Practiced in some form in many religions, the term derives from Roman Catholic canon law. The excommunicated are officially excluded from receiving the sacraments of the church, especially the Eucharist.

facade: A French word meaning "face" or "front." In architecture, a façade is the side of a structure, normally the front, that is architecturally or visually more significant than the others. The term may also designate any prominent outer facet or surface of a building.

fallow: A portion of cultivated land deliberately allowed to lie idle during a growing season.  In medieval Europe, fallowing was a commonly practiced means of preventing soil exhaustion. 

famine: A shortage of food of sufficient duration to cause widespread privation and a rise in mortality. Famine may be caused by natural causes such as drought, flooding, frost, pest infestations and plant and animal epidemics; or by the destruction of crops and livestock during wartime, or from inadvertent human activities such as agricultural practices that cause soil erosion.

fief, feudal: Although scholars no longer conceive of medieval relationships of lordship, landholding and service as forming a “feudal system,” or “feudalism,” such relationships are often called “feudal,” and depended on the granting of a unit of land, the “fief,” in usufruct.

florin: First minted in 1252 by the city of Florence; later any of several gold coins patterned after the Florentine florin (e.g., the Dutch florin).

fluyt (flyboat): In early modern Europe, a small, rapid and highly efficient vessel designed for inexpensive, utilitarian hauling, a Dutch innovation.

fresco: Italian for"fresh," a technique of durable wall painting used extensively for murals.  In pure fresco (buon fresco), a fresh wet layer of plaster is applied to a prepared wall surface and painted rapidly with pigments mixed with water. The pigments soak into the plaster, which, when dry, forms a permanent chemical bond fusing paint and wall surface. Another type of fresco, painting on a dry (secco) surface with adhesive binder flakes, is not permanent. Because fresco is susceptible to humidity and weathering, its use is limited. Fresco has a long history; the technique was used in the Minoan art of second millennium BCE Crete and later in India, China, Greece and Rome. Its most sustained and sophisticated development occurred in Italy between 1300 and 1800.

galley:  Warships driven by oars in battle and equipped with sails for cruising.  The galley was the standard European battle vessel until the late sixteenth century, when the sail‑powered, more heavily armed, galleon began to replace it.

gentile: A non-Jew, avoided by faithful Jews.  Originally, the Christians were a Jewish sect, but diverged from Judaism during the first century CE, and came to be considered gentiles.

geometric style: A style of Greek pottery marked by patterned lines, often zig‑zags, and the absence of human or other representational figures, prevalent in the post‑Mycenaean "Dark Ages" (ca. 1200‑700 BCE).

ghetto: In 1516, the first ghetto was established on the site of an iron foundry (the meaning of the word ghetto) by the rulers of Venice as a segregated quarter where Jews were legally required to take up residence; later the term came to designate any urban area to which Jews were legally confined, or a district where Jews voluntarily clustered together.

Gospel, New Testament, Old Testament:  The sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity, known to Christians as the Bible, consist of two parts.  The first, called the Old Testament by Christians, consists of the sacred writings of the Jewish people and was written originally in Hebrew and Aramaic (for Jews, it stands alone as the Hebrew Bible). The second, more recently written and composed in Greek, is called the New Testament.  The New Testament records the story and teachings of Jesus, the beginnings of Christianity, and prophesies.  The accounts of Jesus's life in New Testament, attributed to Jesus's chief disciples, Mark, Luke, Matthew and John, are known as Gospels (meaning "good news") or collectively as the Gospel.

Gothic: An architectural style that originated in 12th-century Europe, which characteristically uses pointed arches and diagonal rib vaults in the construction of monumental cathedrals.

grace: A central concept in Christian theology, referring to God's granting of salvation, not in reward for moral worth of the human but as a free and undeserved gift of love. This concept stands opposed to the idea that salvation can be earned by human effort apart from God's help.

greaves:  Armor for legs below the knee.

guild: An association of merchants or craftsmen.  In medieval and early modern Europe, a guild normally comprised all the self‑employed members of an occupation in a town or district; the members drew up the statutes of the guild, elected its officers, and contributed to its treasury. Once formed, only guild members could practice that occupation. Guilds performed many civic functions, and often dominated the day‑to‑day life of the city.

gymnasium:  In ancient Greece, a place where athletes exercised in the nude.  Every important city had a gymnasium.  By the Hellenistic era, the gymnasium usually included exercise apparatus and equipment, baths, porticoes, and dressing rooms.  Gymnasia served as meeting places for social events, lectures, and philosophers.

Hellas:  The Greek name for Greece. “Hellenic” designates the period of Greek culture and history from the Archaic Age (about 700 to about 500 BCE) up to the period of Alexander the Great (reigned 336‑323 BCE).  The conquests of Alexander inaugurated the Hellenistic period that lasted until the eastern Mediterranean region fell under Roman domination (by 30 BCE).

Hellenistic: A culturally distinctive era (323‑30 BCE), inaugurated by the conquests of Alexander the Great, in which Greek political regimes and culture became dominant in the Near East, Egypt and the Mediterranean.

helot:  In ancient Sparta, serfs who were forced to perform agricultural labor; originally, the Messenians, a group conquered by the Spartans and reduced to near slave status.

heresy: The rejection of the established doctrines of a group by a member or members of that group; from the Greek word meaning "to choose." Roman Catholics define heresy as the willful repudiation of any doctrine taught by the church, by a baptized person.

hierarchy: Within a society or smaller group, a series of persons, graded or ranked in order of authority.

hieratic: See demotic.

hieroglyph: A form of writing employing pictographic characters, first developed in ancient Egypt.

hominid: The genus of human‑like animals, comprising modern humans (homo sapiens) and ancestral and related human and human‑like species (homo sapiens neanderthalensis, homo erectus, homo habilis).  See species.

honor: A social value of escalating importance in late medieval and early modern Europe, originally the pride and reputation of a grand nobleman but, by extension, also that of a patrician or bourgeois adult male; and dependent, in any case, on the proper regulation of the sexuality of female kin.

hoplite:   A heavily armored foot soldier of ancient Greece, who fought in close formation, usually in ranks of eight men, each carrying a heavy bronze shield (a "hoplon"), a short iron sword, and a long spear.

hospital: Generally church-related and increasingly funded by the testamentary bequests of burghers and patricians, the hospital accommodated not only the sick but also abandoned children, socially isolated (“fallen” or deserted) women, and the elderly.

Humanist, humanism: An intellectual movement that emerged in Italy in the late 1300s and spread throughout Western and Central Europe in the early modern period. Humanism centered around the revival of interest in ancient Greek and Roman literature, philosophy, and history, and encouraged the harmonious development of mind and body as an intrinsically worthwhile endeavor.  A highly talented and self‑selected elite group of intellectuals, who served as administrators, diplomats, churchmen, teachers, and, in a few cases, women and courtesans, humanists devoted themselves to the discovery, conservation, and understanding of the legacy of Greece and Rome.  This was accomplished through the study of the humanities, a well-defined cycle of education that included grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry, and moral philosophy, using classical, primarily Latin, authors and texts, which sought to cultivate and instill those ancient secular values.

icon:  An image, usually a drawing or painting, that represents a magical or divine figure and is believed to possess some essential aspect of that divinity.

iconoclasm: A Christian religious movement opposed to the veneration of images (icons) of Christ and the saints. Intense controversy over the legitimacy of icons lasted for over a century (726‑843 CE) in the Byzantine Empire. Iconoclasts (Greek for "image‑breakers") condemned icon worship as a form of idolatry, and often invaded churches, seizing and burning the offending images.

illuminations, illuminated  manuscripts:  A handwritten book with pictures and sometimes lavish ornamentation, painted or drawn in bright colors, "illuminating," or lighting up, the page.

immortality: The attribute of being exempt from death (as in the case of deities), or human survival after physical death.  In some religions, immortality is believed to occur through resurrection or reincarnation.

imperator, imperium: Originally, in ancient Rome, a person who commanded an army.  Augustus Caesar, possessing the maius imperium ("greater authority"), was the imperator of all the armies and institutions of government, and thus of Rome and the territories controlled by Rome.  In his lifetime, the meaning of the word shifted from general to emperor.  Imperium likewise shifted from its original meaning as "a realm of authority" to "empire."

Indo-European:   An extensive language family, originally derived from a common ancestor known as Proto-Indo-European. The surviving branches: Indo-Iranian, from which descend the Indic (Indo-Aryan) languages, including Sanskrit, Urdu and Hindi, and the Iranian languages (Persian, Pashto, etc.); Baltic (Lithuanian and Latvian); Slavic (Russian, Polish, Serbo-Croatian, etc.); Armenian; Albanian; Greek; Celtic (Gaelic, Welsh, etc.); Italic, including Latin and its descendants, the Romance languages (Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian); and Germanic (German, English, Dutch, and the Scandinavian languages). At least two branches have died out: Anatolian (which includes Hittite) and Tocharian.  The oldest written records of a Indo‑European language are in Hittite and date from the 17th century BCE.

indulgence: In medieval Catholicism, a document granting release from purgatorial punishment bestowed in recognition of extraordinary service (a pilgrimage, a donation).  An abuse of the late-medieval church was the practice of selling indulgences to all comers for a cash payment.  For Protestant reformers the sale of indulgences was a flagrant example of the corruption of the Roman Catholic church.  See also simony.

infantry: Armed foot soldiers, as distinguished from cavalry, air, or sea forces. In antiquity, the infantry dominated military strategy, until displaced by the mobile cavalry of nomadic invaders and the development of heavily‑armored horsemen in the Middle Ages.  After two decisive battles in the Hundred Years' War (1346 and 1415), in which English peasant infantrymen armed with longbows mowed down heavily‑armed French knights, the infantry began to regain its dominance.  In the 16th century, with the advent of guns, the triumph of infantry over cavalry was consolidated. 

infidel:  In Islam, a nonbeliever, someone outside the faith.

Inquisition: A formal church court specifically set up to seek out and prosecute heretics. Inquisitory courts were often harsh in their methods of interrogation and punishments, obtaining confessions through physical torture.

intendant:  In 17th and 18th‑century France, the absolute monarchy's key regional administrator. An intendant of justice, finance, and police presided over each generalité (local government district), and army intendants were civilian supervisors of the armies. In New France, a single intendant shared power with the governor and the bishop. Members of the judicial nobility (noblesse de robe) but with removable commissions, the French monarchs regarded intendants as more reliable than the hereditary officials in the parlements and taxing bureaus.  Under Louis XIII and his minister Cardinal Richelieu, intendants ruthlessly imposed justice and supervised tax collection. Overthrown by the rebellions known as the Fronde (1648-53), they gradually reemerged under Louis XIV as information gatherers and then as superb local administrators. Under Louis XV and Louis XVI, they were known as the thirty tyrants because they seemed to control everything in the provinces, including towns, manufactures, roads, taxes, and police. The office of intendancy was abolished by the French Revolution in 1789.

investiture: The ceremonial conferring of high office and rank. The question as to which authority should have power to invest church officials provoked the prolonged “Investiture Controversy” during the high Middle Ages between the papacy and secular rulers.

Iron Age:  The period of the development of technology when iron replaced bronze as the basic material for tools and weapons.  Iron metallurgy began among the Hittites in eastern Anatolia, ca. 1900‑1400 BCE.  By 1000 BCE iron objects and the knowledge of iron metallurgy had spread throughout the Near East, Mediterranean and westward into Europe. Iron tools, weaponry and ironmaking technology conferred a tremendous military and economic advantage on their possessors.  After about 900 BCE the widespread mass production of iron implements gave rise to large‑scale migrations and invasions that extended widely over the continents of Asia and Europe.  Peoples and civilizations based on bronze technology had to adopt the new iron technology or suffer conquest or even extinction.

isonomia:  The doctrine that citizens are entitled to equality before the law.

jihad:  An Arabic word meaning "striving," "effort," or "struggle"; according to the Qu'ran, the religious duty of Muslims. Often translated as "holy war," it can be interpreted as a personal or collective spiritual battle to overcome evil and right wrongs, or as a physical battle against unbelievers.

joint-stock company:  A type of partnership that has many of the attributes of a corporation. A joint-stock company has shares that may be transferred from one owner to another, that are sold at a stock exchange. Its management is centralized in a board of directors who are elected by the partners (shareholders). Unlike modern corporations, the shareholders of a joint‑stock company are personally liable for the company's debts. Historically, the joint‑stock company was instrumental in the development and expansion of mercantile capitalism and European colonialism. 

jurisprudent: In ancient Rome, a citizen who was learned in law but who held no official position, who advised private persons and public officials on legal matters.  Over time, jurisprudence came to mean a system or body of law and jurisprudents became professionals in the imperial bureaucracy, whose documentation and analysis of past decisions constituted a system of law. 

jus civile (civil law): In the Roman Empire, the system of rules, courts, and procedures based primarily on codified statute, most famously the Corpus Juris Civilis of the 6th‑century CE emperor Justinian, rather than court rulings and precedents.   Today, often used in the legal systems of certain Western European countries and their offshoots in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, which are said to be based on Roman Law.  In contrast, the jus gentium ("law of nations") was said to be based on unwritten customary practice and jus naturale ("law of nature") on an unwritten (and superior) divine or philosophical law.

 justification: In Christianity, the process through which an individual, alienated from God by sin, is reconciled to God and becomes righteous through faith in Christ.  According to the doctrine elaborated by Paul, the followers of Jesus Christ were freed from the requirements of Jewish law (the obligation to circumcise their infant sons, to observe dietary laws, etc.) because they were "justified," or made righteous, by faith.

knight: In medieval Europe, a mounted warrior of secondary noble rank.  In return for a land grant the knight was expected to render military service to his overlord.

koine:  The Greek language commonly spoken and written in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.  Koine functioned as a standard, simplified language that allowed people of many different cultures to communicate.

kore: A type of statue featuring a young, clothed female, developed in the Archaic Age (ca. 700 BCE).

kouros, kouroi: A type of statue featuring a young, male nude, first introduced in the Archaic Age (ca. 700 BCE) and becoming common in the Classical era; the characteristic subject of the first naturalistic sculptures.

latifundia: In Latin, literally "broad fields"; in Roman times, a great landed estate, usually worked on by slave labor.

lay, laity, layperson: A person who is not a member of the clergy; now commonly also used to mean a person who is not a member of a specific profession.

legitimacy: The claim of a right to occupy a seat of power, based on orderly hereditary succession, electoral rules, natural law, or some other lawful principle.  In order to be regarded as legitimate, a government or a social order must have the support or at least acquiescence of a critical mass of people.

liturgy: The formal public rituals, prayers, written texts, costumary, and accessories of religious worship (from the Greek words for "people" and "work"), used to describe formal services in Christianity and the form of prayer recited in Jewish synagogues.

Lyceum:  The philosophical school established by Aristotle; in the 19th century, the inspiration for secondary school education (the word for high school in French: "lycée").

man of war: An armed, combatant naval vessel. 

manor: In medieval Europe, a unit of social organization dominated by a lord, usually consisting of open fields, forest, and common grazing lands, a manor house and the lord's demesne (land retained by the lord for his own use), and one or more peasant villages.  Peasants paid a portion of their produce and also contributed a specific number of days of labor each year to the lord for tasks such as the building and maintenance of roads, bridges, and dams. In addition to providing the land, the lord was expected to provide military protection, and to dispense justice in a manorial court.

manumission: The formal act of emancipating a slave, sometimes by written agreement or payment of the slave to his master.

martyr: A person who suffers the penalty of death (and/or painful torture) for adhering to a religion or cause, or for refusing to renounce his or her beliefs.

Mass:  The celebration of the Eucharist or Holy Communion, the central religious service of the Roman Catholic church.

master: An artisan who is self‑employed or who employs journeymen, usually a member of a guild. A journeyman who could demonstrate his superior skills by completing a masterpiece might be admitted to the guild as a master, but only if the guild approved of the person and was willing to accept new members.  In the later Middle Ages, the guild membership was often limited to the sons (and temporarily the widows, and their new husbands) of masters.

materialism: A philosophical theory, first developed in ancient Greece, that physical matter is the only reality, that all human and natural relationships and events result directly from the interactions of material objects.  In modern usage, also a cultural style in which the goal is the satisfaction of physical desire and comfort.

mendicant: In the Middle Ages, the mendicant orders enlisted monks called “friars” (“brothers”) who lived by begging or on charitable gifts.  The first mendicant order grew out of the effort of St. Francis of Assisi (1182?‑1226) to reform the institution of Christian monasticism.

mercantilism: The dominant economic policy and theory of the age preceding the Industrial Revolution. Governments in early modern Europe adopted mercantilist policies in an effort to foster military and economic strength through state intervention. Mercantilist theory called on governments to cultivate domestic industry, regulate production, control trading companies, place tariffs and quotas on the importation of merchandise from other countries, and seek out raw materials and markets through colonialism. Mercantilists believed that a country's exports were a measure of its strength and judged economic success by the influx of gold, silver, and other precious metals from abroad. Gold and silver could be used to purchase military supplies and and pay troops; military power, in turn, could be used to procure more precious metals and goods through the protection of commerce and the enforcement of monopolies.  In 16th-, 17th-, and 18th-century western Europe, governments practiced mercantilism in an effort to build up their military and industrial strength.

mercenary: A professional soldier who fights for pay in the army of a foreign country. Mercenaries played a notable role in the wars among Italian city‑states in the 14th and 15th centuries; their commanders, the condottieri, often acquired small states of their own.  Swiss mercenaries, recruited under the terms of special treaties between the Swiss cantons and foreign powers, fought in several European armies between the 15th and 19th centuries. Such arrangements were prohibited by the Swiss government in 1874, except for the Swiss Guard of the Vatican, which was established in 1505 and continues today. In recent times mercenaries have been employed in African civil wars.

messiah: The prophesied king and redeemer of the Jews, an ideal future leader who would restore the Jews to the land of Israel and bring the reign of divine justice to the earth, derived from the Hebrew term meaning "anointed one."  Translated into Greek as Christos, the term was used by the time of Paul to designate the followers of Jesus as "Christians."

mestizo: A term of biological and cultural classification used in many parts of the Spanish‑speaking world for persons of mixed Indian and white ancestry. In Latin America its definition varies from one country to the next, and must be understood in different cultural contexts.

metic:  In ancient Greece, a merchant, usually a foreigner, who was a member of a class of resident non-citizens in the polis. Metics paid taxes, served in the army, owned personal property and could appear in law courts.  They were not allowed to represent themselves in court, hold office, vote in the assembly, or own land.  Many metics settled in commercial districts  outside the city walls where they established workshops employing artisans, most of them slaves.

metropolis:  In everyday usage, a great city regarded as a center of business or politics.  Applied to the ancient world, the term means the "mother" polis that established a colony.  In that sense, it continues to be applied to nations that establish colonies.

Midrash: In Judaism, a method of interpreting biblical scriptures, later identified with literary compilations of stories and sermons commenting on, alluding to or codifying biblical texts. The method flourished in the centuries immediately before and following the beginning of Christianity; many examples are found in the Talmud and the first three Gospels. Collections of midrashic literature were made from about 300 CE until the later Middle Ages.

Milesian school: The first materialist philosophers, Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes, who lived in the city of Miletus, in the 6th century BCE.  They explained natural phenomena by reference to laws that governed growth and change, and rejected explanations that invoked gods and spirits.  Arguing that the world could only be understood through observation and logic, the Milesian school is sometimes called "scientific" and is considered to have originated  Greek philosophy and science.

mintage: The process by which metal money is coined by a government. A mint is the place where coins are manufactured, and also a repository for the gold and silver bullion used to produce coins.

Mishnah: The name given to the oldest postbiblical codification of Jewish Oral Law, from the Hebrew word for "repetition" or "study." Together with the Gemara (later commentaries on the Mishnah itself), it forms the Talmud.

missionary, mission: The missionary movement was the Christian effort to convert individuals and peoples to Christianity. The first great missionary to the Gentiles, Saint Paul, helped to spread Christianity until, by the end of the 1st century, it had reached most large Mediterranean cities. The great voyages of discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries and the expansion of European trade and colonization marked the beginning of a new surge of Roman Catholic missionary activity.  Among the religious orders, the Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, and Jesuits were particularly active in establishing missions, enclosed outposts of Christian settlement in the Americas, Asia and Africa.  A renewed surge of missionary activity took place in the 19th century, when missionary societies were established in Europe and the United States and when colonialism was at its peak. Both Protestants and Roman Catholics sent missionaries to almost every country on earth, and medical missionaries began to provide medical and educational assistance in conjunction with Christian evangelization.  In the Americas especially, a mission also refers to the institution established for the purpose of converting and caring for native peoples, which might include a residence for clergy, a school, a hospital, etc.

monarchy:  Rule by a single individual, usually with life tenure and descended from a line of monarchs (often a dynasty; see Chapter 1 glossary), who may be called the parent, owner, or guardian of the state.

monasticism:  The way of life, generally organized by a rule associated with a specific teacher, of individuals who have chosen to pursue an ideal of perfection in a separate, dedicated religious setting, either solitary or communitarian. Monasticism is practiced in Buddhism, some forms of Christianity, and some other religions.

monotheism:  Belief in a single and transcendent God (e.g., Judaism, Christianity, Islam).  In contrast, polytheism is the belief that many gods exist; pantheism is the belief that God is suffused throughout, or is synonymous with, the universe; animism is the belief that spirits or divinities dwell inside objects and living things, influencing or determining life and events in the natural world.  Some religions are non‑theistic (e.g., Confucianism, Buddhism), but permit belief in gods or spirits.

Moor:  In medieval and early modern Europe, an inhabitant of Muslim North Africa, and, by extension, the Arab and Arabicized conquerors and inhabitants of Spain. The term has also been applied specifically to the populations of Morocco and Mauritania and occasionally to Muslims in general, as in the Moors of the Philippines and Sri Lanka. Today, the term is rarely used except in reference to the Moorish art and architecture of medieval Spain.

mosque: The Islamic place of public worship (from the Arabic masjid, "a place to prostrate one's self [in front of God]"), always oriented toward Mecca, the holy city of Islam.  A mosque must have a place for ritual washing, a place from which a leader (imam) can start the action of prayer, and a minaret, a high pointed tower from which Muslims are called to prayer.

mulatto: In areas that were formerly colonies of Spain, Portugal, France, and in the United States, a term for a person of mixed Negro and European parentage. The social implications of the term vary considerably according to the cultural framework in which it is used.

museum: An institution, gallery or building where objects of aesthetic, educational or historical value are preserved and displayed. The first museum or "temple of the muses" was founded in Alexandria, Egypt in the Hellenistic period.  The muses were nine Greek goddesses of inspiration in learning and the arts.

musket: A large-caliber, smooth-bore firearm that was aimed and fired from the shoulder. The musket first appeared in Spain in the mid-1500s and remained in use, with improvements, until the 1850s.  It fired a lead ball weighing about 1.5 oz (42 g). Lighter and more accurate than the older arquebus, it was still so heavy and long that each musketeer needed an aide to help carry the weapon and its ammunition and to prop it up on its stand.

Mycenae:  An ancient Greek city on the Pelopponesian peninsula, which rose to military power around 1500 BCE.  Mycenaean civilization, influenced by Minoan Crete and the ancient Near East, flourished politically and culturally until about 1300 BCE.

mystery cults: In the ancient world, religious cults whose members believed that the performance of secret rituals would confer on them knowledge not available to the uninitiated and produce a rapturous mystical union with the divine. Mystery cults promised believers a share in the gods' immortality and fecundity.  The cult's central figure was usually a god or goddess who died and was later reborn; initiates ritually reenacted the death and rebirth of the divinity.

mysticism: A form of religious experience in which the believer has or claims direct and immediate contact with the sacred, or derives knowledge from such an experience. In Christianity this customarily takes the form of a vision of, or sense of union with, God.  (There are also nontheistic forms of mysticism, as in Buddhism.) Mysticism often involves meditation, prayer, fasting and other types of ascetic discipline. It may also be accompanied by rapturous ecstasy, poetic speech, visions, and  sometimes by the claim that the person undergoing the experience has been healed or has the power to heal, can read human hearts, foretell the future, levitate, or perform other incredible feats.

myths:  Stories, usually involving deities, that narrate in an imaginative and symbolic way the basic structures upon which a culture rests.  Cultural practices and beliefs are often understood as having their origins in the myth. Mythology means either a certain body of myths (e.g., Greek or Scandinavian myths) or the study of myths.

Neolithic Period:  The stage of prehistoric cultural development that followed the Paleolithic Period and preceded the Bronze Age.  In the Neolithic ("New Stone Age," ca. 9000‑3000 BCE), the technology of chipped stone tool manufacture became increasingly sophisticated;  agriculture and the domestication of animals were introduced; and, in the late Neolithic, pottery and polished‑stone tool manufacture were developed.

Neoplatonism: An interpretation of Plato's philosophy that developed in the third century CE, and that profoundly influenced Christian and Islamic philosophy and theology. Neoplatonism holds that knowledge is possible only through the understanding of metaphysical forms, or archetypes, essences that structure the particular objects and beings that make up the physical world of human experience.  According to Neoplatonism, the human soul has buried deeply within it a vision of these ideal forms, which are dependent on and created by the One, the form beyond being or thought (i.e. God).  Neoplatonism greatly influenced Saint Augustine and remained the philosophical foundation for western Christianity until the revival of Aristotelianism in the 13th and 14th centuries. A revival of Neoplatonism flourished during the Renaissance, principally at the Florentine Academy under Marsilio Ficino.

nepotism: The practice of awarding jobs or privileges to a relative.

nirvana:  A core belief of Buddhism, the ultimate state attained by the Buddha, and the goal of all Buddhists: release from bondage to physical desire and pain.  In Hinduism, nirvana is only achieved through a complete cessation of the cycle of death and rebirth. In Buddhism, the cooling of the passions results in a state of enlightenment that can be achieved in this life, through spiritual or physical exercises.

oecumene:  A Greek word referring to "the inhabited world"; in antiquity a designation for a distinct cultural community. The ecumenical councils in the early centuries of the church were so called because they represented the whole church.  In modern usage the term "ecumenical" is applied to the collective effort of all Christians to repair differences and manifest unity.

oikos:  The household, the fundamental unit of private life and of domestic production in ancient Greece, consisting of a dominant man, his wife and children, and related and unrelated dependents, including slaves.  The oikos was patrilineal and patriarchal (see below).

oligarchy, oligarch, the oligoi: A form of government in which a small minority holds ruling power in order to favor its own interests. The philosopher Aristotle wrote of several types of oligarchy: those in which property qualifications restrict voting  or officeholding to a few; those in which political and social power is hereditary; and those in which power is held by a small clique.  Military dictatorships are often oligarchic, as are the political machines that sometimes run city governments in democratic countries.

Optimates: In the contentious politics of late republican Rome, die-hard defenders of patrician privilege, literally the "best."  Opposing the Optimates were the Populares, or "people's" party.

orthodoxy: The established (literally "correct") doctrine of a church or religious group.

ostracism, ostrakon:  In ancient Athens, a method of banishment by popular vote, without trial.  Each year the citizens would vote on whether anyone was so dangerous to the state that he should be ostracized, or exiled for ten years.  They did so by inscribing a name on a shard of pottery (ostrakon).  Later, ostracism came to mean any form of political or social exclusion.

Paleolithic Period: The stage of prehistoric cultural development that preceded the Neolithic Period.  In the Paleolithic ("Old Stone Age"), which lasted from about 2.5 million to about 10,000 years ago, hominids and humans introduced and developed the technology of chipped stone tool manufacture.

papyrus: Writing paper made from the pith of a reed that grows wild in the Nile River, used from about 2400 BCE by the people of Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and southern Europe. Connected together in strips and rolled up, papyrus scrolls were the books of antiquity.

parable: From the Greek parabole, "a setting beside"; a brief moral tale. In parables, a spiritual truth is articulated by telling a simple story, usually serving as the basis for an extended metaphor. Well‑known biblical examples include the Gospel stories of the Prodigal Son and of the Good Samaritan.

parlement: In medieval and early modern France (c.1250-1789), a regional supreme court of criminal and civil law.  The original and most prestigious court was the Parlement of Paris, whose authority only covered central France; other parlements covered other areas; by the end of the 18th century, there were thirteen in all. At first the parlements were staffed by royal appointees who supported medieval monarchs in their policies of centralization that tended to undermine the power of both the nobility and the clergy. In the 17th and 18th centuries, however, they often struggled against and sometimes obstructed the absolutist agenda of the Bourbon kings.  One of the first acts of the revolutionary National Assembly of 1789 was to abolish the parlements.

pastor: From the Greek for "shepherd"; in Protestantism, a leader ("minister") of a congregation who presides at the weekly Sunday celebration of Jesus's resurrection and whose role is to teach scripture, rather than to confer grace (the role of the priest in Catholicism). Protestant pastors, unlike celibate priests, are allowed to marry and form families and households of their own. 

patriarchal:  A social arrangement in which fathers exercise power over the family and its members.  Patriarchal societies are usually patrilineal.

patriarchy:   A form of social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance from the male line.

patrician, patriciate: In medieval and early modern cities, a hereditary elite of bourgeois office-holders, rentiers (deriving their income from rents and interest), and high-status merchants; to be distinguished both from ordinary guild merchants and the patriciate of ancient Rome (see chapter 5).

patricians: The hereditary aristocratic class of ancient Rome, initially entitled to privileges denied to commoners (the plebeians). After much struggle, the plebeians substantially diminished the patricians' privileged position by the 3d century BCE.

patrilineal:  The tracing of ancestry and kinship through the male line to a male forebear on the father's side.  Female offspring are valued insofar as they help the patriline, mainly through marriage.  In patrilineal societies, individuals are expected to further the survival of the male line.  Patrilineal families may also be patriarchal.

patrimony: The accumulation of familial wealth which can be inherited, originally designating the wealth that flows through the male line of descent, from father to sons.

patronage: The conferring of jobs, favors, and commissions by a powerful patron to a client. The motives of the patron can vary.  Sometimes patrons dole out jobs and favors on a political basis to the politically faithful rather than according to merit.  But patronage can also be motivated by a desire to advance the broader interests of the patron. In early modern Italy, for example, patrons invested their wealth in the brilliant creations of Renaissance scholars, artists and writers in order to lend public legitimacy to the rule of city councils and upstart princes, or to serve as public or private advertisements of the patron's wealth, high status, power, and taste.

pax romana: Literally, "the Roman peace." Under the empire consolidated by Augustus Caesar (27 BCE), Rome's total domination of Europe, the Mediterranean and Near East brought about almost 500 years of peace, albeit one secured by conquest and bloodshed.

pedagogue:  In ancient Greece, originally a slave who accompanied children to school and assisted in their education.  Later, pedagogy came to mean the art and science of education, and pedagogue came to mean a theorist of education or teacher.

penance: A sacrament of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.  The rite consists in the acknowledgment of sins to a priest (confession), who then assigns the repentant sinner an act of penance to be performed in order to atone for sin and obtain absolution, the forgiveness of sin. See simony, indulgence.

peon: A member of the landless agricultural laboring class of Spanish America; a person held in compulsory servitude to a master for the working out of a debt. 

perspective:  In art, the techniques used to represent three‑dimensional spatial relationships on a two-dimensional surface. The three principal types of perspective are visual perspective, in which depth is suggested by overlapping and by the smaller size of distant objects; linear perspective, in which lines converge as they approach the horizon; and aerial perspective, in which distant colors become cooler and outlines gradually fade. Linear perspective was first developed, albeit imperfectly, in antiquity, but with the coming of Christianity and its emphasis on the spiritual, artists lost interest in depicting the natural world. In 14th-century Italy, Giotto and other painters developed a radically new conception of space and form. In the early 15th century, renewed interest in optics and mathematical laws contributed to the resources of illusionism; from that point on, the theory and technique of perspective became one of the principal characteristics of western European art.

peso: In the early modern era, a widely circulated gold coin minted from gold mined in Spanish America (also known as a "piece of eight", because it was worth eight reales).

phalanx:  In ancient Greece, a military formation in which heavily armed infantrymen line up close together in deep ranks, defended by a wall of shields.

Pharisees: A major Jewish sect (flourished, ca. 100 BCE‑100 CE), noted for strict observance of rites and ceremonies, based on biblical scripture, and for their insistence on the validity of their own oral traditions concerning the written law. Pharisaism arose originally in opposition to the Sadduccees; Pharisees argued that religious authority was not the sole prerogative of the priesthood. Influenced by Greek, Zoroastrian and other Near Eastern religions, the Pharisees developed the idea of an afterlife and the resurrection of the body, and the concept of the Messiah.  Pharasaism profoundly influenced the rabbinical Judaism of later centuries.

philosophy:  The oldest form of systematic scholarly inquiry, from the Greek philosophos, "lover of wisdom."  Over the centuries, "philosophy" has acquired several related meanings: (1) the study of the principles underlying knowledge, being, and reality; (2) a particular system of philosophical doctrine; (3) the critical study of philosophical doctrines; (4) the study of the principles of a particular branch of knowledge; (5) a system of principles for guidance in everyday life.

phonogram:  A character or symbol that represents a word, syllable, or phoneme in writing.

pictogram: A simplified picture of an object that represents the object in writing.

pietas: In Roman culture, the highest virtue, a selfless regard for father and ancestors, combined with a determination to protect and continue the lineage.  Our own term "piety" is derived from pietas, but now means devoutness in religion.

pike: A weapon consisting of a long wooden shaft with a pointed steel head, used by foot soldiers until superseded by the bayonet.  Pikemen were infantrymen armed with pikes.  

pilgrimage: The practice, common to many religions (including Judaism, Christianity and Islam), of journeying to a holy place or sacred shrine to obtain special blessings from God or as an act of devotion, penance, or thanksgiving.

plebeians (plebes, plebs): A majority of the free citizens of ancient Rome, originally denied most of the rights accorded the privileged, hereditary patrician class.  Over several centuries, their fight for equality succeeded; by about 300 BCE they were eligible to hold all major political and religious posts.

pluralism: In medieval and early modern Europe, the practice of holding several offices at the same time.  Protestant reformers criticized the holding of several titles at once by the Catholic clergy as an abuse of power ("the abuse of pluralism").

polis:  In ancient Greece, a city-state.

politiques: A faction that emerged in the sixteenth-century civil war between Protestants and Catholics in France.  After the Saint Bartholomew's Day massacre of Protestants (1572), a moderate party emerged, called the politiques, who disavowed the primacy of religious considerations in favor of the secular and purely political goal of maintaining order and national unity. 

polyglot:  A term that describes geographical areas or states in which many languages are spoken.

polytheism: See monotheism.

Pope, papacy: The pope (literally, "father"), or bishop of Rome, is claimed by Roman Catholics as successor to the apostle Peter, who is traditionally assigned preeminence over the other apostles.  The papacy comprises the office of the pope and the system of central ecclesiastical government of the Roman Catholic Church over which he presides.

portolan: From the thirteenth century on, charts that gave sailing distances in miles and bearings in straight lines.  Lacking parallels and meridians, or any indication of the curvature of the earth, they could be used for the Mediterranean and Black and northern European seas, not on the open oceans.  Better charts became available as geographical knowledge improved. 

predestination: A Christian doctrine according to which a person's ultimate destiny, whether it be salvation or damnation, is determined by God alone prior to, and apart from, any worth or merit on the person's part.  Predestination first appeared in full form in the 5th century CE, in the writings of Saint Augustine, and passed into the theology of the Protestant reformers, especially John Calvin.

Presocratic philosophy: Greek philosophy (ca. 660‑440 BCE) prior to Socrates.  The Presocratic philosophers (Xenophanes, the Milesian School, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, and Leucippus) challenged religious explanations of reality and sought to rationally explain the natural world and physical processes.

primogeniture: The preference given to the eldest son and his descendants in the inheritance of property or position or both. Practiced in many regions of medieval Europe to maintain estates whole and intact, rather than dividing them among several heirs.

princeps: Literally, "first citizen," a title adopted by Augustus, the first Roman emperor. The system he created, based on the allegiance of the army and the people to the emperor (imperator) and on the collaboration between the emperor and the senatorial and equestrian classes, came to be known as the principate, the rule of the first citizen. 

proletarian: In ancient Rome, the poorest citizens; the only class of citizens not required to serve in the army.  The word proletarian means literally "bearer of children," because the proletarian's only service to the state was to reproduce and provide new generations of citizens.

proscription: In ancient Rome, the posting of names of the opponents of a ruler or faction in the Forum.  Those whose names were posted were murdered and their wealth confiscated.

quadrant: An instrument used by astronomers and navigators from medieval times to measure the altitude of the Sun or a star and for surveying. At its simplest, the quadrant is a flat plate in the shape of a quarter circle marked with a degree scale along the curved side; two sights are attached to one of the radial sides and a plumb bob hangs from the apex. Sophisticated variants were developed by Arabic and medieval astronomers. 

Qur'an: The sacred scripture of Islam.  Muslims acknowledge the Koran, or Qur'an (Arabic for "recital"), as the actual words of God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad between ca. 610 and his death in 632.

rabbi: The title given to recognized Jewish religious teachers, sages, and leaders. Originally a form of respectful address (Hebrew for "my master"), around the first century CE it became a formal title given to men authorized to interpret and expound Jewish law.

race:  A population group, subspecies, or variety within the species Homo sapiens, set apart from other groups on the basis of arbitrarily selected, commonly visible, or biological criteria, but in popular and obsolete usages sometimes also entire species ("the human race").  The criteria most often selected are: skin color; "blood"; hair characteristics; the shape and form of the body, head, and facial features; and alleged moral and/or behavioral attributes.  The notion of race, developed mainly in the 18th to early 20th centuries, has historically been used to justify the enslavement, exploitation, disenfranchisement, neglect, ostracism and/or murder of whole peoples.  But the extreme variability of characteristics within any particular population group, the vaguely defined nature of many alleged racial characteristics, plus the history of intermixtures between groups, combine to make the concept of "race" problematic.  Most experts today study "race" as a cultural and historical construct and reject the concept on scientific and moral grounds.

raison d'état: French for "reason of state"; the justification given when the political interests of a nation‑state override any moral principles governing the state's actions.

rationalism: The belief that the most fundamental knowledge is based on reason and that truth can only be arrived at by rational analysis of ideas, independent of empirical data, emotions, or prior authority.

regent:  A person appointed to govern during the absence, childhood, or incapacity of a monarch

relic, reliquary: An object esteemed and venerated because of its association with a saint or martyr, often a body‑part.  Relics are often credited with curative or miraculous powers, and are often the centerpiece of a shrine to which religious pilgrimages are made.  A reliquary is a receptacle, usually richly decorated and made of precious materials, for the safekeeping or exhibition of a relic. 

relief: A mode of sculpture in which forms and figures project outward from a surrounding plane surface.

Renaissance: The term describing the period of European history from the early 14th to the mid-17th century, derived from the French word for rebirth, originally referring to the revival of the values and artistic styles of classical antiquity during that period, especially in Italy. From the 19th century on, historians have often characterized the Italian Renaissance more broadly, as a distinct historical period marked by the rise of the individual, scientific inquiry, technological innovation, and geographical exploration, and the growth of secular values, market practices, the nation‑state, and social complexity, as the beginning of the modern era. In the 20th century the term has also been applied to analogous periods of cultural creativity and growth, such as the Carolingian Renaissance of 9th-century Europe, the 12th-century Renaissance, or the Harlem Renaissance of 20th‑century America.

resurrection: Literally, "to rise again," the rising again to life of a dead person in the future or in heaven. The concept of resurrection from death is found in several religions, but is associated particularly with Christianity because of the central belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

rhetoric:  The branch of written and oral discourse that concerns persuasion (from the Greek rhetor, meaning "speaker in the assembly"). In antiquity, rhetoric was considered one of the two primary forms of expression (the other being poetry) and a crucial part of the practice of oratory. Under the influence of Aristotle, the study of rhetoric came to be divided into five parts: invention, the process of finding arguments for the speech; arrangement, the process of organizing the speech; style, the process of putting into words what has been discovered and arranged; memory, the techniques for memorizing the speech for oral presentation; and delivery, the techniques for managing voice and gesture in the act of presenting the speech.

Romance languages: The family of languages that developed out of the rough provincial Latin spoken in various sections of the Roman Empire after its fall: Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, and Romansch (which is spoken in some parts of Switzerland).

romance: In the Middle Ages, originally any narrative written in a vernacular, or "romance" language, derived from Latin (see Chapter 8 glossary), such as French. Over the years, the term romance became associated with the content of these works, usually tales of love and chivalry involving a heroic quest.

Romanesque: A style of art and architecture that flourished throughout western Europe from about 1050 to about 1200.  The word Romanesque originally meant "in the Roman manner"; Romanesque ecclesiastical architecture characteristically employs the Roman round arch and the major forms of antique Roman vaulting, and retains the basic plan of the early Christian basilica.

rosary: A circular string of beads used by Roman Catholics for counting recitations of such prayers as the Hail Mary (Ave Maria), the Our Father (Paternoster, or Lord's Prayer), and the Glory Be to the Father (Gloria Patri). 

sacrament: In medieval Christianity and continued in present-day Roman Catholicism, grace is transmitted especially, perhaps exclusively, through the church's sacraments (the sacred rituals of Christianity, the "means of grace"); and it allows some room for human merit.

Sadducees: A powerful Jewish religious sect, identified with the priesthood and aristocracy, that flourished from about 200 BCE until the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Unlike the Pharisees, the Sadduccees did not believe in resurrection and the immortality of the soul, and opposed the use of Oral Law, holding only to the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament).

saint: A holy person (from the Latin sanctus, "holy").  Such persons may be credited with the ability to to work miracles of healing, or to pray for others whose petitions will then be answered, and so on. In the New Testament the word saint refers to any baptized follower of Jesus Christ. Later the phrase "communion of saints" was used to refer to all members of the Church, living and dead. Still later, saint came to be defined as an individual who has died a heroic death for Christ (a martyr), or who has suffered greatly for the sake of Christ, or whose life has been marked by unusual signs of love of God and neighbor. The church came to regulate cults venerating such individuals by instituting a formal system of canonization about 1000 CE.  In Catholic practice, many saints have special feast days on which they are commemorated.  In Protestant practice and theology, devotion to the saints has almost been completely eliminated; the term saints is used to refer the older, biblical idea of the "communion of saints."  

salvation: A religious concept that refers to the process through which a person is brought to the condition of ultimate, and eventually eternal, well‑being. In Christianity, salvation (from the Latin salus, "health," "safety," "well‑being") refers to the process or state of being "saved" or "redeemed."

samurai: In medieval and early modern Japan, a class of warriors (from the Japanese saburu, meaning "service"). The samurai were originally rural landowners, generally illiterate, who served as military retainers.  Later they emerged as military aristocrats and then as military rulers. 

Saracen: A term that Greek‑speaking Byzantine chroniclers and other European peoples used for Muslim Arabs.

satrap:  The governor of a province (satrapy) of the ancient Persian Empire.

schism: A formal division in a religious body.  Two important schisms in the history of Christianity were the division between the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Roman) churches (traditionally dated 1054), and the period (1378‑1417) during which the Western church had two, and later three, competing lines of popes.

scholasticism: A philosophical movement dominant in medieval European universities and writing from about the ninth century until the seventeenth century.  Scholasticism combined Christian dogma, the traditions of patristic philosophy, and Aristotelian philosophy. 

sect: A dissenting religious body or political faction, often regarded as heretical or blasphemous by the larger body of believers.

secular: Of or relating to the worldly or temporal; not ecclesiastical, clerical, or religious.  Specifically in Catholicism, the term secular refers to a category of clergy that is not bound by monastic vows or rules.   See clergy.

Semitic:  A branch of the Afro-asiatic (or Hamito-Semitic) language group.  Semites are members of population groups who speak Semitic languages, presently Arabs, Aramaeans, Jews, and some Ethiopians, and in antiquity also Babylonians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Canaanites, and other groups.  Scholars speculate that speakers of a proto-Hamito-Semitic language migrated into Mesopotamia, the Near East and the Arabian peninsula from North Africa around the 6th millennium BCE.  Present-day speakers of Semitic languages are physically, culturally and sociologically diverse.

serf, serfdom: In medieval Europe, a peasant who was legally bound to the soil, and obligated to give a portion of his produce to his lord, and subject to the will of his lord.  Up until about 1200, most peasants in Western Europe were serfs.

sexagesimal:  A numerical system based on the number 60, used by the Babylonians.  Unwieldy for many applications, and largely supplanted by the number 10 (decimal system), sexagesimal arithmetic presently survives in the use of 60 for the minute and hour cycle, the dozen, the foot (divided into 12 inches), and the 360° circle.

sextant: An optical instrument used in navigation since the mid‑18th century to measure the angles of celestial bodies above the horizon from the observer's position.  snuff: A preparation of dried, pulverized tobacco to be inhaled through the nostrils, chewed, or placed against the gums.  specie: Money in the form of coinage. 

Shiite: One of the major branches of Islam, historically the dominant religious group in Persia (present day Iran) and, elsewhere, a minority, in opposition to the dominant Sunnites. Following the death of Muhammad, disagreement arose as to the necessary qualifications and exact function of his successor as leader of the Muslim community (the imam). Shiites (from the Arabic shiat Ali, "the party of Ali") insisted that only descendants of Muhammad's son-in-law Ali, could qualify.

Shintoism: The indigenous religious tradition of Japan, based on the worship of gods, nature spirits, and ancestors; Shintoism has no historical founder or canon of sacred scriptures. After

shuttle: In weaving, a device or object used for passing the thread of the woof between the threads of the warp.

simony:  In Christian canon law, the sale or purchase of a spiritual service, benefit, or office. The term derives from the New Testament story of Simon Magus, who tried to buy the gifts of the Holy Spirit from the apostle Peter.

slavery:   A social practice in which a person is owned and commanded to labor for the benefit of a master. 

Sophists: A group of ancient Greek teachers of rhetoric, philosophy and the art of living,  5th-4th centuries BCE, known for their adroit, subtle, and specious (according to their critics, most famously Plato) reasoning.  "Sophistry" is now applied to any form of devious, but convincing, argument.

species:  A category of biological classification designating a type of organism or population of animals potentially capable of interbreeding; the two known populations of the single human species are Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.  See hominid.

spindle: see distaff.

spinster: In medieval Europe, an unmarried woman who maintains herself by spinning thread.  Later, the term came to designate an unmarried woman who is past the common age for marrying or is thought to be unlikely to marry.

spiritualists: In 16th- and 17th-century Europe, inward-looking but radical Protestant sects, such as the Mennonites, the Moravian Brethren, and English Society of Friends (popularly known as the Quakers).  Spiritualist sects exalted the divine within the human and deliberately abstained from the customary demands of worldly existence, and especially refused to make gestures of obeisance to social hierarchies or the state.  The Quakers, for example, refused to fight in wars, to swear oaths in court, or to pay conventional signs of respect to high-placed members of society.

steppe:  The vast grasslands, flat, semi-arid, devoid of trees and subject to extremes of temperature, that stretch across central Eurasia.

stoa:  A freestanding porchlike structure ("portico") usually walled at the back with a front colonnade, designed to give pedestrians shelter and meetingplaces, often located in the agoras of ancient Greek cities.  The school of philosophy known as Stoicism took their name from the Athenian stoa where they first taught.

stock exchange, stock market, bourse: A place where brokers and dealers in stocks and bonds transact business together. Stock exchanges facilitated the financing of business and government activity by bringing together the buyers and sellers of the shares of joint‑stock companies, and in later times, shares of corporations and bonds.

stratification:  The division of society into separate groups, based on wealth, prestige, and/or ancestry.

suburb: A concentration of people, dwellings, and enterprises located immediately outside the walls of a city or fortification; in medieval Europe, sometimes the nucleus of a city.

sumptuary laws:  Laws against luxury and extravagance; from the Latin sumptus (expense).  Sumptuary laws prohibiting extravagance in dress or ceremony (banquets, weddings) were designed to maintain moral standards and distinctions between social classes, and often particularly targeted women.

Sunni: A follower of the branch of Islam to which the great majority of the world's Muslims belong. Sunnites claim to strictly follow the sunna (practices) of the Prophet Muhammad, as defined and elaborated by the religious authorities (`ulam), and seek to preserve the unity and integrity of the community.

surrogate:   A person who acts on behalf of another.  A surrogate ruled in the place of a monarch who was incapacitated or whose heirs were not yet old enough to take the throne.

symposium:  Originally, in ancient Greece, an all‑male drinking party, where men composed drinking songs and engaged in lively conversation. The term is now usually applied to a formal meeting where short speeches are given and discussions are held on a designated topic.

synagogue: A building where Jews gather for worship, religious instruction, the focus of Jewish communal life. In ancient Judaism, worship centered on the Temple in Jerusalem, where sacrificial rites were performed by a special caste of priests, with the mass of people excluded. In contrast, the synagogue (Greek for "assembly") is open to all Jews for prayer, ceremony, the reading of the Torah, religious instruction, discussion, and preaching. Associated with Pharisaic and rabbinical Judaism, the synagogue provided the model for the Christian church and the Islamic mosque.

syncretism:  The fusion of cultural forms of different origin and character into a new formation; e.g., a syncretic religion might take as its focus certain Greek and Egyptian gods and combine together various worship practices and mythological narratives from the two religions.

Talmud: A vast compendium of law and lore that is traditionally regarded in Judaism as the sequel to the Hebrew Bible and the basis of Jewish religious life. The Talmud (Hebrew for "teaching" or "study") consists of the Mishnah and a lengthy, rambling commentary called the Gemara (Aramaic for "learning" or "tradition"). There are two Talmuds, each containing a different Gemara: the Palestinian Gemara, composed in the 3d and 4th centuries CE, and the Babylonian Gemara, completed about 499 CE, with some later additions.

Tatars, Tartars: Descendants of the Mongols; in the 15th and 16th centuries, the occupiers and rulers of part of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.  

theocracy:  Rule by a priesthood or religious elite, with rule of law based on religious doctrine or scripture.

tholos:   The bee‑hive shaped earthen tombs of the Mycenaean kings.

Torah: In its broadest sense, the entire body of Jewish teaching incorporated in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud and later rabbinical commentaries. In early biblical times, the Torah (Hebrew for "instruction") designated the oral instruction of priests on ritual, legal, or moral questions. Gradually the name came to be applied to written collections of priestly decisions, and specifically to the written Mosaic law contained in the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, also called the Pentateuch). In the latter sense, the Torah is preserved on scrolls kept in the ark of every synagogue.  The reading of the Torah is the centerpiece of the synagogue service.

tragedy:  A genre of drama, invented and developed in ancient Greece, in which a heroic protagonist meets a calamitous end  brought about by a flaw of character and circumstances beyond his or her control.

transubstantiation:  In Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Church dogma, the miraculous change by which bread and wine at their consecration during the ritual of Mass become the body and blood of Christ.  See eucharist.

trinity: The Christian understanding of God as a unity of three persons (triune): Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. According to the doctrine, formulated in the centuries that followed the writing of the New Testament, God has three parts, which are distinguishable in their relations to one another and to humanity. The idea of the Trinity is an attempt to reconcile the diverse statements about God contained in the Bible: the “one God” of the Hebrew Scriptures; the creative and sovereign Father; the “son of God” and “Word made flesh” of the Gospels; the Holy Spirit, present in everyday life and the rituals of worship.

triumvirate: A ruling group of three persons; originally, in the last years of the republic, Julius Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey.

tyranny:  Rule by an illegitimate leader, the tyrant, who seizes power and holds it by violence.  In ancient Greece, tyranny was seen as the opposite of monarchy (rule by a legitimate king, descended from a royal lineage).  Both forms of rule are autocratic (power concentrated in a single figure).

unitarianism, anti-trinitarianism: A form of Protestant Christianity that asserts that God is one person, rather than three persons in one (the doctrine of the trinity). Unitarianism typically emphasizes confidence in the reasoning and moral abilities of people, in contrast to theological traditions that emphasize original sin and human depravity.

urban, urbanization: A region or quality relating to the city is called urban.  Urbanization is the process of becoming more urban through the concentration of population, the performance of the economic tasks characteristic of cities (production, commerce), and the development of the mental outlook of a city (see urbane).

urbane: A quality or style characteristic of some citydwellers: polite, polished, smooth, sophisticated.

usufruct: The legal right of using and enjoying the fruits or profits of something belonging to another; the right to use or enjoy something.  In medieval Europe, land held in usufruct and granted by another noble, or a king or an agent of the church, was often called a fief.

usury: Money-lending for profit.  The term is pejorative: usury was condemned in the Old Testament, and by Aristotle, Plato, and the early Christian church. In medieval Europe, many countries adopted laws prohibiting the charging of interest, a practice identified as usury. In the sixteenth century, however, usury was legally redefined as exorbitantly high interest rates: low interest rates became legal. The new definition of usury facilitated the rise of merchant bankers throughout western Europe, especially in Germany and the Low Countries. Judaism and Christianity eventually came to accept the charging of interest, but the practice remains illegal under Islamic law.

utopia: An ideal society in which the social, political, and economic evils afflicting humankind have been eradicated, and in which the state functions for the good and happiness of all. The word (Greek for "no place") came into common usage with the 1516 publication of Thomas More's Utopia, a philosophical fiction that depicted the wise social institutions and way of life of an imaginary island. Other notable utopian works include Francis Bacon's New Atlantis (1627), Samuel Butler's Erewhon (1872), Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward (1888), and B.F. Skinner's Walden Two (1948).

vassal: A person who is under the protection of a feudal lord, to whom he vows homage and fealty.  The vassals of powerful nobles (who might be kings, or have a king for a vassal) might also in turn have had vassals among the lesser nobility.

vernacular: In medieval and early modern Europe, the native spoken language of a region or country; not Latin, which was the language used for the writing of high literary, scientific, legal, and religious works.  In time the modern national vernaculars such French, German, and Italian became standardized and displaced Latin in most intellectual tasks.

warp, woof: The warp is a series of yarns extended lengthwise in a loom and crossed by the woof; together constituting when complete a woven textile.

wergeld: Among the Germanic tribes that lived outside the borders of the Roman Empire, a vengeance or compensation payment that varied according to a person's status and usefulness.

Western civilization:   The civilization that has developed in Europe and lands of European settlement in the Americas, Australia and elsewhere.  Western civilization descends from the ancient civilizations of Greece, Israel, and Rome, and has adopted practices and ideas from almost every group it has encountered.  The name derives from the Greek vision of the other civilizations of the ancient world as "eastern" and alien, in opposition to its own "western" civilization.

wetnurse: A lactating woman who is hired to feed her own breastmilk to the baby of her employers.


Abolitionism: Designation for the various movements in the US and western Europe during the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries opposing the Atlantic slave trade and slavery.

Aborigines:  The indigenous (native) or earliest-arrived peoples in any given area, especially the original  Australian population.

Abortion: The termination of pregnancy, spontaneous or contrived (through surgery or drugs), by the removal of embryo or fetus from the uterus.

Absolute monarchy.  Especially during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Europe, political system in which the powers of the monarch were theoretically “absolute,” that is, not limited by any law or constitution, such as the monarchy of king Louis XIV of France. Absolute monarchs were less than all-powerful, however, being limited in practice by their dependence on the goodwill of the nobility and clergy and in many ways also by the weight of tradition, in accordance with which they were expected to rule.

Abstract Art:  Any of the various artistic styles or movements whose created images bear little or  no obvious reference to any actually-existing objects, or such non-representational  images themselves. Major pioneers of abstract art include the Russian, Wassily  Kandinsky (1866-1944).

Afrikaner:  White resident of South Africa, typically of Dutch or Huguenot (French Protestant)  descent, speaking the Afrikaans language (a variant of Dutch). See also, Boer.

Alchemy/alchemist: Mystical tradition reaching back to ancient times involving the search for secret knowledge allowing the transformation of base metals into gold. Though not a true science alchemy provided its practitioners with valuable practical experience in metallurgy and chemistry, thus playing a role in the early development of science proper.

Astrology: Pseudo-scientific study of the putative influence occasioned on individuals and societies by the planets. Though key figures in the Scientific Revolution such as Johannes Kepler themselves made little distinction between astrology and astronomy (the scientific study of the heavens), their work ultimately helped establish the latter as a proper science.

Cartography. The research and drawing of maps. Begun during ancient times, cartography expanded greatly as a result of Europe’s age of exploration from the late fifteenth century, and became greatly more accurate and scientific during the era of the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment.

Alienation: From Marxist theory, the supposed disconnection suffered by industrial workers (proletarians) from each other, from the product of their labor, and from their basic human nature and needs as a result of the conditions of wage labor forced on them by capitalist modes of production. See also, Proletarians.

Anarchism:  In political philosophy, the rejection of all government and law as the only means  of acquiring social and political liberty. Anarchism was pioneered by the Russian  Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876), though won a more substantial following among  peasants in pre-capitalist Spain and Italy.

Ancien Régime. Literally, “Old Regime,” or “Old Order,” the term used following the French Revolutionary period to describe the traditional European system of legal, social and political hierarchy   -- of monarchy, aristocracy, clergy and commoners -- which the French Revolution set out to destroy.

Animism/Animist: the belief that spirits or divinities dwell inside objects and living things, influencing or determining life and events in the natural world.

Apartheid: Literally, “apartness,” in 20th-century South Africa, the policy of segregating the black majority and white minority and granting to the latter the vast preponderance of political and economic power.

Appeasement: Policy of non-confrontation pursued by Neville Chamberlain’s British government toward Hitler’s Germany in the 1930s, or any similar policy in general. Rather than directly confront Hitler and risk war, Chamberlain chose to acquiesce in the face of Hitler’s growing belligerence and Germany’s illegal rearmament and territorial expansion. Appeasement ended in 1939 when Britain offered a guarantee of support to Poland in the event of an attack by Germany.

Artisan:  A skilled maker of things.  Before the development of techniques of mass manufacture, artisans produced earthenware, tools, jewelry, etc. During the Industrial Revolution artisanal labor gave way to factory labor.  Artisans, possessed not only of skills or trades, but also of their own tools and workplace were increasingly replaced  by workers lacking all of these and thereby relying on the factory owner to a far greater degree. See also, Proletariat.

Assimilation: The cultural, ethnic, linguistic, or other absorption of one or more peoples by  another, dominant, group. Government policies or popular biases may promote assimilation, as with French imperial politics prior to WWII and US  immigration policy before the 1960s, for example. Assimilation also occurs  spontaneously and voluntarily when different groups come into close contact  with each other, as with many immigrant groups to the US or European countries.

Atom: smallest component of an element possessing all the chemical characteristics of that element, consisting of a nucleus and one or more electrons.

Atonality:  In music, rejection of traditional harmonic elements including the diatonic scale  and an obvious tonal center, such as in the music of Austrian-born Arnold Shönberg (1874-1951).

Audiencias. Governmental institutions or courts in Spanish colonial America designed to administer Spanish royal justice, including the protection of Indian rights, and before which complaints could be brought even against high-ranking Spanish officials.

Autarky: In Hitler’s Germany, policy aimed at ending mass unemployment, improving the economy and achieving certain political goals by establishing regional self-sufficiency. Following the institution of a Four-Year Plan in October 1936, southeast Europe began to focus its international trade on Germany which henceforth received between one-fourth and one-half of the total exports of Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary and Yugoslavia.

Authoritarianism/Authoritarian: General term for any anti-liberal governmental system wherein power resides in a single leader or narrow elite not responsible to the broader population, but which lacks the necessary further hallmarks of specifically fascist or other totalitarian regimes. General Franco’s regime in Spain from the 1930s is often designated authoritarian.

Avant-Garde: Literally “fore-guard,” or vanguard; in the arts, collective terms for individuals or groups involved in a search for or in the use of untried, innovative, and unconventional styles.

Blitzkrieg: Literally “lightning war,” the tactic successfully deployed in several instances by Nazi forces during World War II in which an invasion commences with aerial bombardment, followed by armored tank (or Panzer) divisions, then other motorized divisions and infantry.

Blues: A musical form, generally vocal, a variety of jazz, expressing sadness or despair, characterized by use of repeated, characteristic “blues” tones

Boers: Derived from Dutch word for “farmer,” a white South African farmer of Dutch ancestry and speaking Afrikaans, a Dutch dialect. See also, Afrikaner.

Bolshevik: Literally “majority persons,” Lenin’s faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party responsible for the Russian Revolution of 1917, the establishment of communism in Russia and the creation of the Soviet Union.

Bourgeoisie:  Literally the “townspersons,” in eighteenth century Europe particularly the  professional classes, such as lawyers, doctors, bankers. In the nineteenth century,  especially the factory-owners and industrial entrepreneurs. See also, class,  proletariat.

Cadre: A core group within a larger political association or movement. Cadres typically function as the basic organizational cell by whose activity the larger movement is organized, established, and expanded.

Capitalism: An economic system organized around the profit motive and competition, in which the means of production are privately owned by businessmen and organizations which produce goods for a market guided by the forces of supply and demand.

Carbonari.  In early 19th-century Italy, Members of Secret societies of liberals and nationalists opposed to the conservative order established at the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815

Cartels:  Voluntary associations of private corporations or individuals, aimed at achieving  market dominance in a given sector or industry, typically by means of   monopolistic or other practices in violation of free-trade and competitive  principles. Cartels were common in Germany, for example, throughout much  of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Castas. Or “castes,” in Latin American history, general term describing various socially intermediate groups, including Africans, mulattoes and mestizos. See also, mulattoes, mestizos

Caudillo: In 19th- and 20th-century Latin America, a political leader with his own military following and typically authoritarian in his style of rule.

Commonwealth: Grouping of individual persons (such as in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) or of autonomous states (such as in the British Commonwealth) into a consensual political community. The British Commonwealth, established in 1931 unites various independent states, formerly British colonies, in a loose association paying varying levels of allegiance to the British crown and sharing certain cultural and economic ties.

Charter:  Any written instrument establishing basic legal principles among the signing parties.  In early modern times, charters between nobles, monarchs or other landlords, on the one  hand, and merchants, traders and townspersons, on the other, established the independence of many towns and cities, facilitating urban and economic growth.   In Britain in the 1830s and 1840s, laborers pressed for a “People’s Charter” that would grant universal manhood privilege, among other political rights.

Cinema: Short for “cinematograph” (the term derived from the Greek words for motion and for drawing), a picture engendered by motion, used popularly as the form of entertainment also called “film” and “the movies”; also the theater where such films are shown.

Class:  A social or economic group. In Marxist thought, specifically those individuals  sharing a common relationship to the dominant means of production, such as the  possessors (bourgeoisie, landlords, etc) or non-possessors (the proletariat, serfs)

Classicism/Classical:  In the arts, the aesthetics and ideals of ancient Greece and Rome or later forms  referring back to these. Classical forms, popular in the eighteenth century, expressed in the words of critic Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768), a “noble simplicity and calm grandeur.”

Collective Bargaining: Process whereby workers negotiate collectively with their employer(s) or management via elected representatives. See also, Strike, Union.

Collectivization: Under Stalin in the Soviet Union, the forced creation of a system of agricultural organization in which land was held and farmed in common under central control. Collectivization, ordered in 1928 and significantly achieved by 1932, dispossessed millions of peasants and resulted in enormous numbers of fatalities and disappearances.

Colonialism:  the physical, political, economic, or cultural expansion of one or more national groups at the expense of others, and especially the process by which  European nations came to dominate -- and in many cases largely to replace -- indigenous  peoples from the late 1400s on in the Americas, Russian-dominated northern Asia, and Australasia.

Commissariat: In the Soviet Union, name given to government departments until 1946, such as the People’s Commissariat for Education.

Committee of Public Safety. During the radical phase of the French Revolution, executive body composed of nine men wielding total power at a time when France was riven by counter-Revolution and at war with most of the rest of Europe. In response to these emergencies, the Committee of Public Safety, under the leadership of Robespierre, raised massive conscript armies and initiated the Terror. See also, Jacobins and Terror

Communism (Communists): Socio-political system envisioned by Karl Marx in which property is owned in common and distributed equitably to all citizens based on the maxim “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” In the Soviet Union communism was envisioned as the final and perfect stage of social organization which would be reached after a transitional period of socialism.

Concessions:  Grants of land or of the right to engage in economic activities made to a second  party by a government or other ruling body, willingly or otherwise, such as the  economic spheres of influence ceded to various European powers by the Chinese during  the late nineteenth century, and which effectively partitioned China.

Conservatism:  Especially in social and political matters, resistance to rapid or radical change. As  articulated by the English statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797), conservatism  stresses the importance of gradual reform based on tradition and historical  precedent and rejects the establishment of novel institutions founded on untried, abstract ideals. Conservative principles underlay the order created by the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815 following the defeat of Napoleon.  See also Reactionism.

Constitutional government. Government which rules according to an established body of basic laws, usually but not always written down, and whose power is thus limited. The struggle between king and parliament in England during the seventeenth century was one of the key moments in the development of such a system.

Contraception: The prevention of pregnancy by any of a variety of sexual techniques, mechanical devices or drugs.

Corporatism: A hallmark of fascist states such as Mussolini’s Italy, describes the combining of the workers, administrators and owners of a given enterprise or industrial sector into a single organization. Corporatism draws on notions of the primacy of the “national community” and a rejection of the need for class-based organizations such as unions.

Cosmopolitanism: Belief in or advocacy of an international rather than national community, such as by Marxists (who speak for an international proletariat), world religions, and so on. Cosmopolitanism has been explicitly rejected by fascists and national socialists, for whom the nation in all-important.

Cotton gin. Machine invented in 1793 in the US by Eli Whitney to remove seeds mechanically from cotton fibers. The Cotton Gin was a response to the rapidly rising demand for cotton in England following the mechanization of that trade during the eighteenth century. By helping speed up textile production, Whitney’s device also played a key role in expanding cotton plantation slavery in the Southern States.

Counter-Insurgency: During the Cold War, term describing the United States’ crusade against leftist revolutionary activities around the globe. In this context the US sent experts to advise anti-communist rulers, equipped native armies and police forces, and set up programs to train foreign soldiers in modern military techniques.

Coup/Coup d’état: Literally “blow against the state,” in politics, a swift attack intended to overthrow and replace an existing government. Compare to Putsch.

Courtesan: A kept woman or a prostitute, often highly skilled and capable of circulating among high-status patrons, typically associated with a royal court or whose clientele derives from wealthy and powerful elites.

Cubism: Art form pioneered immediately prior to WWI by Georges Braque (1882-1963) and Pablo  Picasso (1881-1973). Cubism attempted to reflect a deeper reality through the use of  fragmented images designed to show several or all sides of an object at the same  time. See also, modernism.

Cybernetics: From the Greek for “steersman,” the science that studies control and communication systems in entities of any type -- including social and business organizations, animals and other organisms, machines, computers, the human brain, and so on. According to cybernetics, similar principles underlie all these, and various other, phenomena.

Darwinism:  Pertaining to the theory of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), who argued that organic forms,  including humans, are the product of evolution by natural selection taking place  over long periods of time. Darwin first publicized his theory in his The Origin of  Species published in 1859.

Decolonization: Process ending the control enjoyed by a metropolitan power over its colony, with the latter becoming fully independent. Decolonization of the vast majority of Europe’s empires occurred during the post-World War II era.

Deduction.  In logic, the process of inferring specific cases from a general axiom or principle, as is common, for example, in geometry. Beginning with the statement, “I think, therefore I am,” the seventeenth-century French philosopher Rene Descartes deduced a sequence of dependent conclusions, from the existence of God to the structure of the universe. See also, Induction, Empiricism.

Deism. Especially during the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, the belief that God created the universe as a perfect mechanism running according to mechanical laws discoverable through the use of reason rather than revelation.

Demographic: Pertaining to the study of the structure and dynamics of human populations, including their distribution and movement by category (such as age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, occupation, nationality, and so on).

Détente: Foreign policy designed to improve relations with a rival state or bloc, such as through increased diplomatic, cultural, and other exchange. The term usually describes the improved relations between the USA and USSR from the late-1960s to the mid-1970s, following which tensions increased again.

Diaspora: The dispersal of members of a particular ethnic, religious or cultural group beyond their traditional boundaries or home state, or the condition of living so dispersed. Traditionally, the term is specific to the Jews, whose Diaspora began with the exile of the original Judeans to Babylonia in 586 B.C.E. More recently it has been used more liberally, including, particularly, to describe the dispersion of Africans largely via the slave trade.

Directory. French revolutionary government from October 1795 to November 1799, the Directory comprised a bicameral legislature and five-man executive. Historians describe the period of the Directory as characterized by corruption, cynicism, lax morals, and a taste for extravagant clothing.

Dominions: Term describing the status, up to 1939, of the following members of the British Commonwealth: Australia, Canada, Eire, Newfoundland, New Zealand, and South Africa. Dominions were regarded as “autonomous communities” sharing equal status and close ties to the British Crown.

Duma: From the Russian verb “to think” or “to reflect,” the name of the Russian parliament, created for the first time as a consequence of the Revolution of 1905.

E=mc²:  Energy = Mass multiplied by the square of the speed of light; Einstein’s revolutionary equation showing that mass and energy are inter-convertible and making possible the subsequent development of atomic bombs  and atomic power.

Economic Imperialism:  Economic -- as opposed to political or military -- hegemony of one state or culture  over another, such as the dominance of foreign business interests within a developing  country. Economic imperialism in many cases provides all the benefits of  “traditional” political control -- access to cheap labor, raw materials, and consumer  markets -- but without many of the expenses and more obvious impositions deriving  from direct control.

Ecumenical: Primarily in matters of religion, relating to universal rather than narrow denominational categories. In favoring the rights neither of Hindus nor Muslims but of all Indians regardless of belief, Gandhi, for example, pursued an ecumenical policy.

Empiricism: The use of observation and experiment, and thus of one’s external senses, to gain knowledge about the world, such as Galileo’s use of telescopic sightings as evidence in favor of the Copernican theory.

Enclosures:  Throughout early and late modern Europe, process whereby common fields or separate small-scale holdings were consolidated into larger agricultural units.  Enclosures in Britain throughout the15th-19th centuries displaced large numbers  of poor farmers, often reabsorbing them as agricultural “free labor.” The increased  economic efficiency of the enclosed system of agriculture facilitated Britain’s  agricultural and industrial revolutions of the 18th-19th centuries.

Encomiendas: In Spanish colonial America, a grant made to an individual by the Spanish crown of a certain number of Indians living in a particular area. Holders of an Encomienda could exact tribute in gold, labor, or kind, and were expected in return to protect and Christianize their charges.

Enlightenment:  During the eighteenth century primarily in Europe and North America, an intellectual movement stressing the improvement of human society by the application of reason.

Entrepots:  Ports, trading bases, warehouses, or other places into which goods and   commodities are placed or gathered prior to their further distribution to sellers and  consumers.

Ersatz: During the 1930’s and within the context of a Four-Year Plan for national economic development and independence, Hitler encouraged the chemical industries to develop synthetic or "ersatz" equivalents of normally traded goods. 

Established religion.  Any religion sanctioned as the official religion of a given state, such as the Catholic faith in pre-Revolutionary France or the Anglican Church in England.

Estate/Estates-General/Third Estate:  In early modern France, a social or political class, invested with distinct powers, possessions and property.  The Estates-General was an assembly of representatives of the three "estates": the clergy, nobility and commoners.  The press is often termed "the fourth estate."

Eugenics:  Field of study or actual practice aimed at controlling and directing human racial  development, usually by means of selective breeding. Eugenics was first developed  during the nineteenth century by Francis Galton (1822-1911), Karl Pearson  (1857-1936), and others. Though practiced in a variety of contexts over the past  century or so, eugenics assumed probably its most extreme form in the hands of the  Nazis, who strove during the 1930s and 1940s for so-called “Aryan purity” in and  beyond Germany.

Existentialism: Category of philosophical ideas developed during the 1930s emphasizing the individual as the basic object of existence, and proposing the non-existence of any absolute or general values, truths, purpose, or meaning. These basic notions were typically construed not as causes for despair but as opportunities for individuals to realize personal autonomy and freedom.

Experiment.  Procedure designed to test a specific principle or hypothesis by subjecting it to a carefully-defined and repeatable test. Experimentation provided some of the major breakthroughs of the Scientific Revolution and remains a key element in science more generally.

Extraterritoriality:  The condition of being subject to the laws of one’s own country rather than those of  the country within which one currently lives, such as the privilege the English wrested during the Opium Wars of being responsible to English laws only, even while on Chinese soil.

Factory: Especially in connection with the Industrial Revolution, an establishment or site organized and equipped for the application of labor and machinery to the purpose of market-oriented mass production of goods. As the location in which work is done, factories from the late eighteenth century onward increasingly replaced the home, with complex and profound consequences for family and social life. In recent years, advances in communications and technology, especially in the developed world, have begun to reduce the importance of the factory.

Fallow:  fallow: A portion of cultivated land deliberately allowed to lie idle during a growing  season.  In medieval Europe, fallowing was a commonly practiced means of preventing  soil exhaustion

Fascism: Form of political culture and organization marked by strict anti-communism and anti-liberalism, governmental suppression of individual rights and freedoms, the exaltation of a “national community,” militarization of society, and rule of a charismatic leader, such as in Mussolini’s Italy.

Federal:  Relating to the central authority governing a union or federation of individual states, such as the federal government of the US in relation to the individual state

Feminism:  Ideology founded in the perception of the unjust social subordination of women, which has had and continues to develop a variety of forms.  Its main 19th century form was based on a belief in the absolute and essential equality of the  sexes, and thus called for civil equality, including women’s property and voting rights, abortion  rights, and so on. Other forms of feminism have emphasized women’s unique capacity for and right to nurture children; or their special relation to nature, conferring special rights and responsibilities of guardianship.

Free Market: A market-place where goods and services may be freely exchanged at prices, in quantities and on terms dictated only by factors of supply and demand, and where there is no regulation of such exchange by any government or other body. The virtues of the free market were first and most eloquently propounded by the eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher Adam Smith. In practice, all economies usually considered “free market” do actually involve certain types and degrees of government regulation, though much less so than is the case in a planned economy. See also, Laissez-faire [earlier glossary].

Fundamentalist: In matters of religion or other ideology, an extreme conservative, and often one who is willing to attack any perceived deviation from a given orthodoxy.

Futurism: Iconoclastic movement in art during the early twentieth century glorifying machinery, energy and movement. Futurism was heralded in the 1909 manifesto of the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and subsequently practiced by painters such as Giacomo Balla and Umberto Boccioni. Futurism was embraced by the Italian fascist movement under Mussolini.

Gauchos. Nomad horsemen and cowherds of the Argentine and Uruguay grasslands (or pampas). Like their north American counterparts, Cowboys, Gauchos achieved folk-hero status in Latin American culture. Most Gauchos were of mixed descent, typically European-Indian. The terms vaqueros and llaneros describe similar groups in a variety of Latin American settings.

Genocide: Deliberate and systematic murder or attempted murder of an entire ethnic, racial, religious or cultural group, such as the annihilation by the Nazis of approximately six million Jews during World War II, or the mass killing of Tutsis in Rwanda during 1994

Ghetto: Originally, any defined area within a European city beyond which Jews were not legally entitled to take up residence. More recently, any underdeveloped urban  enclave whose inhabitants are isolated economically, politically, socially or in other  ways from the mainstream population.

Glasnost’: In Russian, “openness” or “publicity,” the policy promoted in the second half of the 1980s by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in which the Soviet government’s traditionally tight control of public access to and exchange of information was to be slackened in order to stimulate debate and promote useful reform. See also, Perestroika

Guerrilla: Literally “little warrior,” a person functioning within an unofficial, irregular fighting force and carrying out small-scale hostilities -- such as sniping, acts of terrorism, and sabotage -- against a larger, and typically better organized and equipped enemy. See also, partisan.

Guerrilla. Derived from the Spanish resistance to Napoleon, literally a “little war,” referring to the sometimes quite fierce struggle waged by non-regular soldiers, often in support of revolution or native resistance against imperialism.  Also used as a personal noun, referring to the guerrilla warrior.

Gulag: Acronym of the Russian for “state camp,” referring to the notorious network of prison camps established in the Soviet Union into which millions of Russians were placed, especially during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s.

Habsburg.  Princely family, of German origin, prominent from the eleventh century until 1918 and whose members have been sovereigns of the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, and Austria.

Hacienda. In colonial Spanish America, a large landed estate, often employing vast numbers of poor, heavily-indebted agricultural laborers, or peons. In nineteenth-century Mexico, Haciendas thus employed as much as half the population. See also, Peons.

Hasid:  Member of the Jewish sect founded by Israel Baal Shem-Tov in Poland during the eighteenth century, and which emphasizes religious mysticism, zeal and fervent  prayer.

Historicism:  The idea that any proper examination of history must take the period or subject  under consideration absolutely in its own context while avoiding importing any  prejudices or values connected to the historian herself or the historian’s own time.

Historiography:  Literally, the writing of history, or any of its techniques, principles, and theories.  Also the body of historical writing on any given historical subject.

Holocaust: Literally (from the Greek), “whole burning,” or “burnt offering,” term describing the Nazi’s massacre of approximately 6 million Jews during World War II. The notion of the Holocaust specifically as a “burnt offering” reflects the belief of some Jews that their people’s suffering during World War II was a righteous punishment inflicted by God for the Jews’ collective sins, especially assimilation. Uncapitalized, the term holocaust is sometimes used to describe any mass murder.

Honor.  Form or measure of respect given (or withheld from) a person by his peers, especially among elite social groups. Honor was often won by violence -- in military combat or by dueling with an enemy or rival.  In courtly and bourgeois circles, honor might also be won by wit and cleverness in speech or debate, by the achievement of high office in government or the church, by membership in prestigious organizations, or by other kinds of achievement.  The sexual transgressions of female members of a family were considered to rob it of its honor.

House.  Stately home or other dwelling place with which a particular noble family or “line” was associated and from which its name derived. Thus the Marquis de Lafayette, who aided the American revolutionary effort against the British, was the scion of the house of Lafayette. His family name, virtually forgotten, was "du Motier." 

Humors.  From ancient Greek medicine, the four elemental body fluids (blood, phlegm, black bile, yellow bile) whose balance was believed to be vital to good health and whose imbalance was treated by purging, blood-letting, and so on. 

Hypothesis.  Proposition, usually intended provisionally. In science, hypotheses serve as statements to be either supported or falsified by experimental and other data. See also, Experiment.

Ideology:  The body of essential ideas, assumptions, and goals underlying a given political,  social, or other type of movement or organization, such as Marxist ideology, Capitalist ideology, and so on. See also, Marxism, Capitalism, Liberallism.

Imperialism:  The process by which one state (or other entity) creates, expands or defends its  political or economic dominance over others, especially the domination by Europe of  much of the rest of the world during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for  the purpose of accessing raw materials and new markets, gaining notional political  prestige, and focusing domestic national pride. See also, colonialism.

Induction. In logic, the process of inferring general rules or axioms from specific cases, such as Newton’s assertion of the law of gravitation based on numerous specific examples of motion. See also, Deduction.

Industrialization/Industrial Revolution: Process of technological, economic and social transformation involving  production for a mass market by means of heavy machinery and human labor deployed in factories. During the 19th century, industrializing nations in Europe  and the USA experienced rapid -- if inequitably distributed -- economic growth,  and the crystallization of two general economic classes, the workers (proletariat)  and industrialists (industrial bourgeoisie).

Infrastructure:  The total of basic structures and services underlying an economy or social organization, including but not limited to roads, railroads, bridges and tunnels,  electric grids, telephone cables, and power plants.

Islamist: Promotion of the civilization of Islam, whether by religious fundamentalists or secular activists; pertaining to any person or movement motivated by a desire to import Islamic religion, law or values into political life. 

Jacobins:  During the French Revolution, a political group of radical egalitarians who, under Robespierre, orchestrated the Terror. Full name, the Society of the Friends of the Constitution (1789-1792), the Society of the Jacobins, Friends of Liberty and Equality (1792-1794).  The name derives from the church of Saint-Jacques, associated with a Dominican convent, in Paris.

Jazz: Broad category of musical forms employing heavy improvisation -- often over repeated basic chord patterns -- complex or unusual harmonies and melodies, and in many cases unorthodox time signatures. Jazz typically requires and displays high levels of musical virtuosity. It was pioneered at the turn of the twentieth century by African Americans, though various individuals and groups have contributed to its further development.

Jihad:  In Islam, a holy war, often against the Christian world, understood by those carrying  it out to constitute a sacred duty.

Junkers: Especially in eastern Prussia, Germany, the class of aristocratic landholders, typically militaristic and authoritarian in disposition, from among which a large proportion of German officers was drawn.

Kabbalah:  Esoteric and mystical philosophical tradition within Judaism, developed during the  middle ages, and purporting to grant its initiates access to profound spiritual truths  and knowledge of the future.

Keynesian: Pertaining to the ideas of the British economist Sir John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), particularly his notion that free-market economies cannot always be relied on to self-correct, and must sometimes be actively managed by the central government. Keynes especially advocated increased government spending during the Depression to revive economies in which private business investment had stalled. See also, New Deal

Khedive:  Title granted to the Turkish viceroys (governors) of Egypt under the Ottoman Empire.

Kulak: In Russia and the Soviet Union, derogatory Russian term for a wealthy peasant. Literally “fists,” Kulaks were targeted by the communists for general destruction as a class during the late 1920s and early 1930s. The criterion for wealth was typically very low -- in many cases simple possession of a few draft animals or the employment of a worker sufficed.

Natalism: In fascist societies, the encouragement or requirement of women to reproduce rapidly and frequently in order to increase the national population, and thus war-readiness. Natalist policies, of course, did not extend to women perceived to be “outside” of the national community. 

Labor: An economic group whose members perform the basic functions of an economy. Key factors in the creation of industrial societies have included the harnessing of labor to specific market-oriented productive purposes by a merchant-entrepreneurial class, the gross magnification of labor’s productive powers by the application of increasingly powerful technologies, and the more efficient organization of labor in factories. See also, Proletariat, Factory.

Latifundia. In Latin, literally “broad fields”; in Roman times, a great landed estate, usually worked on by slave labor.  In Latin America, used to describe large ranches.

Liberalism.  From the Enlightenment on, an ideology stressing individual liberty.  In the economic sphere, liberalism, as championed by Adam Smith, demands that with certain exceptions the state adopt a “hands-off” policy, allowing individuals to pursue their own economic self-interest within a free market. In the political sphere, liberalism requires equal right to participate in the political process, and equal protection by the law, of all citizens.

Line.  The series of familial connections linking a noble to the ancestral founder of his family’s noble status, itself derived from the possession of a landed estate.

Logical Positivism: General term for the philosophies associated with the Vienna Circle, and which,emphasize the verifiability of propositions, utility of empiricism, logical analysis of language, and overall, the possibility of establishing a proper scientific method capable of providing certain knowledge. See also, Positivism

Loyalists/Tories.  Individuals or groups who remained faithful to the English Crown. The terms are used in the American Revolutionary context, in relation to the struggle between Crown and Parliament in Britain during the seventeenth century, and in certain other instances also.

Mahdi:  In Islam, title given to a leader combining temporal and spiritual authority and who  is expected to usher in a period of global righteousness. One such Mahdi, the Sufi  prophet Muhammad Ahmad (1848-85), inspired an Islamic resistance which controlled  the Sudan from 1881 to 1898, targeting both Egyptians, who had subjugated their  nation, and the Europeans who then ruled Egypt.

Mandate: Following the end of WWI, grant of permission by the League of Nations to a member state to govern the affairs of a specific territory formerly under Ottoman Turkish or German control. The system of Mandates was ended in 1946.

Manifest Destiny: Term proclaiming a belief that the westward expansion of the United States to the Pacific coast is both inevitable and divinely sanctioned. In some cases the term, coined by John Louis O’Sullivan, an Ameri9can journalist, was also adopted by advocates of US annexation of Caribbean and Pacific islands.

Marxian/Marxist:  Referring to or connected with the economic and political philosophy of Karl  Marx.  Marx (1818-1883), along with his life-long collaborator Friedrich Engels  (1820-1895), believed that history was a “determined” (that is, inevitable) process  involving struggle between opposing economic classes, and periodic revolution  leading ultimately to the establishment of a classless, communist society. See also,  class.

Marxian Dialectic: From Marxist theory, the mechanism whereby historical change occurs, which Marx, adapting Hegel, conceived as involving the opposition of a given basic socio-economic form -- or “thesis” -- with its opposite -- or “antithesis.” The tensions between these are supposedly ultimately resolved in their “synthesis” -- or merging. The synthesis then constitutes a new “thesis,” allowing the process to begin over again, and so on. The overall mechanism is likened to a conversation, thus the term dialectic.”

Maternalist: Pertaining to the belief that women’s most powerful role is in the family. Maternalist thinking stresses that the mother who nurtures and instructs her children is the true creator of human society. Much recent feminist thinking has moved away from this position.

Menshevik: Literally “minority persons,” the faction of Russian Social Democrats who in 1903 opposed Lenin’s plans for a tightly-knit party organization comprising only professional revolutionaries, preferring instead a less rigid and wider association of socialists.

Mercantilism.  An economic system and/or theory developed in the early modern era, designed to unify and increase the power, and especially monetary wealth, of a nation through the strict governmental regulation of the entire national economy through policies designed to secure an accumulation of bullion, a favorable balance of trade, the development of agriculture and manufactures, the expansion of state military power, and the establishment of foreign trading monopolies. In 16th_, 17th_, and 18th_century western Europe, governments practiced mercantilism in an effort to build up their military and industrial strength.

Mestizo.  A term of social and cultural classification used in many parts of the Spanish-speaking world for persons of mixed Indian and white ancestry. In Latin America its specific definition varies from one country to the next, and must be understood in different cultural contexts.

Methodism/Methodists:  The branch of evangelical Christianity developed in the eighteenth century by the  Englishman John Wesley (1703-1791) and which appealed in particular to lower and  lower- middle class audiences. See also, Pietism.

Metropolis/Metropolitan: Literally “mother city,” in colonial affairs the metropolitan power was the ruling and the colonial the subject state.

Microorganisms:  Generic term for any microscopic plants or animals, an understanding of the  existence and actions of which -- particularly bacteria -- were major scientific  achievements during the nineteenth century. See also, Pasteurization.

Modernism:  In art and culture, general term for the various non-traditional styles and outlooks  embraced by the avant-garde from the late-nineteenth to the late-twentieth century.  In recent years, various “post-modern” art forms have de-emphasized the futuristic bent of modernism and begun to incorporate traditional styles and practices.

Montage: In the arts, the technique of combining images from various sources into a single image or series of images. Russian film producer Sergei Eisenstein used a technique he called “montage of attractions” -- the linking of diverse film images to evoke specific emotional responses in his audience.

Mozambos. In Brazil, term for the white European forebears of creoles. 

Mulatto, mulattoes.  In Latin America, the ethncially mixed offspring of white and black parentage.

Music Hall: In British history, from the 1830s to around 1900, the most popular arena for mass entertainment. Music Halls, which began often as modest adjuncts to pubs but later included large purpose-built structures, featured song, dance, comedy, and other entertainments, practitioners of which sometimes became major stars. The rise of cinema in the early twentieth century led to their decline.

National Assembly.  During the French Revolution, the revolutionary representative assembly of the entire nation comprised largely of members of the Third Estate. Constituted on June 17th, 1789, the National Assembly was reorganized July 9th 1789 as the National Convention, and again on September 30th, 1791 as the Legislative Assembly. See also Estates.

Nationalism:  Especially during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the urge to establish or  expand a political entity comprised primarily or exclusively of individuals perceived  to share the prerequisite “national” identifying marks. These may include, in any  combination, common ethnicity, language, history, religion, physical  characteristics, ideals, allegiances, and so forth. The nation is also frequently  defined, consciously or otherwise, in opposition to those considered “outside” or  not of the nation.

Nationalism. A sense of community among individuals conceived as possessing certain similar “national” characteristics -- history, traditions, religion, ethnicity, language, and so on -- coupled with an ardent desire to manifest the community as an autonomous political nation.

Naturalized.  The condition of having gained citizenship through a legal process rather than by birth. Specific requirements for naturalization vary from nation to nation.

Neo-Colonialism:  Literally “new colonialism,” international relationship characterized by one nation’s  dominance (usually economic) over another, but which lacks the formal, political,  or legal hallmarks of outright colonialism. See also, Colonialism, Economic  Imperialism.

Pogrom:  From the Russian word for “thunder,” a riot or violent attack directed against  a minority group, especially Jews, or their property.

New Deal: The peacetime domestic program established during the 1930s by US president Franklin D. Roosevelt to combat the Great Depression and provide work, assistance, and security to average Americans. Influenced by Keynesian economic ideas the New Deal endorsed or established many new federal government programs and agencies including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Work Projects Administration (WPA) and Social Security. See also, Keynesian

Nihilism/Nihilist:  In philosophy, the rejection of all established norms, laws and institutions as  meaningless, and of the possibility that absolute truths can ever be established.  Russian nihilists of the later nineteenth century called for the total destruction of  the existing political and social order and for its replacement with an entirely new,  if largely undefined, system.

Novel.  A literary form developed during the eighteenth century, novels are lengthy fictional narratives employing a cast of characters within a general plot, and written in prose style. Pioneers of the novel included the English authors Daniel Defoe and Samuel Richardson.

Objective:  That which exists independently of the opinion or perspective of the viewer, in contrast to that which is subjective, q.v.

Pampas. Literally “flat surface” in Quechua, open grassland plains extending across central Argentina east of the Andes mountains. Early Spanish immigrants introduced cattle and horses to the pampas, which were worked by cowherds known as gauchos. From the nineteenth century on large areas of the pampas have been enclosed and turned to more organized systems of agiculture. See also, gauchos, peons.

Pan-Slavism: Nationalistic ideology or movement stressing the unity and interests of various Slavic peoples, such as Russians, Ukrainians, Serbs, etc. Pan-Slavism originated in the 1830s as Slavic Balkan nations struggled for independence from Ottoman Turkish and Austrian control.

Parliamentary government.  System of government in which power resides primarily in a legislative body or parliament. The British Parliament, the model for all others, developed from the thirteenth century on and consists of two houses -- the House of Commons and the House of Lords -- and also, technically, of the Crown.

Partisan: Member of an unofficial resistance force, such as the French of Italian resistance, or more generally the zealous supporter of any given cause or party.

Pasteurization:  The process for destroying bacterial contaminants, developed by the nineteenth-century French biologist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895).

Peninsulares.  Literally “from the [Iberian] peninsular” -- in colonial Spanish America, residents of Latin America born in and loyal to Spain, and who dominated Spanish colonial offices up to the early nineteenth century. The independence of Latin American countries thereafter resulted in the transfer of power to creoles, also of purely Spanish ethnic background but born in the Americas and culturally disconnected from the Old World.

Peons.  Poor agricultural laborers, typically heavily indebted to their employers and thus essentially unable to contract as free workers or seek other employment. Peonage was a common form of labor in Latin America with roots extending back to the time of the Conquest. Changes in the organization of agriculture during the nineteenth century turned large numbers of gauchos into peons. See also, gauchos, pampas.

Perestroika: In Russian, “restructuring,” Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy introduced in tandem with “glasnost’ in 1985. Where the latter was focused on opening up political and cultural discourse, “perestroika” involved efforts to improve the economy and involved modest concessions to private enterprise and property. See also, Glasnost’

Perspective:  In art, the mathematical system pioneered during the Renaissance to represent  three-dimensional space and objects realistically on a two-dimensional surface.

Philanthropic Organization: Especially in twentieth-century US, any one of the legally-defined entities existing to collect, manage and distribute private wealth to public causes including research, education, medical care, housing, and so on. Philanthropy literally means “love of humankind.”

Physiocracy.  18th century school of thought, usually considered the scientific approach to economics in contrast to the mercantilist orthodoxies of the day.  Physiocrats advocated a laissez-faire economy, and argued that land should be considered the basis of wealth and thus taxation. See also: Mercantilism.

Pietism/Pietists:  Movement within the Lutheran church in Germany, dating from the 1600s, and which emphasized personal piety -- or humble reverence -- over ritual,  formality, and orthodoxy.

Positivism:  Philosophical system developed by the Frenchman August Comte (1798-1857) in  which the search for highly speculative final causes and metaphysical knowledge is  abandoned in favor of attaining certain or “positive” knowledge of physical matters  susceptible to scientific methods of inquiry.

Primogeniture.  The preference given to the eldest son and his descendants in the inheritance of property or position or both. Practiced in many regions of medieval Europe to maintain estates whole and intact, rather than dividing them among several heirs.

Proletariat:  In ancient Rome, social class comprising the poorest citizens; the only class of citizens not required to serve in the army.  The word proletarian means literally  "bearer of children," because the proletarian's only service to the state was to  reproduce and provide new generations of citizens.  In industrial society from  the late eighteenth century on, the term is used (especially in Marxism) to describe the industrial working class which lives by selling its  labor for wages to the bourgeoisie.

Propaganda: Information, ideas or the nature of their dissemination, designed to excite or intensify specific emotions and actions rather than specifically to educate or promote value-free, rational discourse. Propaganda frequently promotes half-truths or outright lies, though it need not necessarily do so. Indeed, the difficulty of establishing absolute, objective truths, especially in political and social affairs, can be seen as rendering all information to some degree propagandistic.

Protectionism: see Tariff.

Protectorate: Status or designation in international relations establishing the dominion of one state over another. The actual degree of control involved may vary, from the relatively moderate, as in some of Britain’s protectorates, to outright annexation, as for example with the Nazi protectorate of Czechoslovakia, established in 1939.

Protoindustrial:  Literally “first-” or “early-industrial,” term applicable to the economic organization of areas of Europe during the early modern era and prior to the Industrial Revolution, or  to the early stages of industrialization itself, and based largely on the Putting-Out  System. See, Putting-Out System.

Ptolemaic.  Referring to Ptolemy, the second-century Greek astronomer and geographer resident in Alexandria, whose Almagest remained the authorative source of information about the structure of the heavens until displaced by the Copernican sytem during the Scientific Revolution.

Pueblo. A built structure, usually of stone or adobe, used for dwelling and defense by various Indian groups of the American Southwest.

Putsch: Literally “thrust,” especially in German history, any secretly-plotted, suddenly carried-out attempt to overthrow a government, such as the Beer Hall Putsch in Germany during 1923.

Putting-Out System:  Especially in early modern western Europe, a largely informal arrangement linking merchant-employers with laborers and craftspersons. Within this system, characteristic of proto-industrial economies (qv), an entrepreneur might purchase cloth or other basic materials which would then  be “put out” to local residents who would return finished products made in their  own homes on their own equipment. The Putting-Out System represented a  transitional phase between the Handicraft System -- in which workers bought their  own materials and sold their own products -- and the Industrial System -- in which  not only the materials, but also the machinery and place of work were supplied by  the employer, who also controlled and profited from the sale of finished products.  Also called “cottage industry,” “domestic industry.”

Qadi: In Islam, a judge whose decisions are based on religious law.

Quantum (pl. quanta): A quantity of energy, the smallest that can be absorbed or emitted as electromagnetic radiation.

Qur’an:  Or Koran, the holy scripture of the Islamic faith, believed to have been written down  as dictated by the angel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad. More than just a  religious text, the Qur’an contains the fundamentals also of Islamic law, politics, and  culture.

Race:  Especially during the nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries, term used to  designate any group of individuals apparently related by descent, physical characteristics, geographical location, and so on, and about whom supposedly valid  generalizations can be made. Modern biology finds no particular genetic or other clear physical basis for race, which remains a cultural, rather than a strictly scientific  category.

Rationalism.  Especially during the Enlightenment, the belief or doctrine that reason alone should dictate opinions and actions. 

Reactionism. Attitude or movement characterized by a extreme negative reaction to effected or potential changes in society, politics, culture, and so on. Reactionism can also be conceived of as radical conservatism. One who embraces this ideology is a reactionary.

Realism:  In literature and the arts, the representation of objects as they really are or appear  to be.  Realist writers of the nineteenth century, such as Emile Zola, sought to  write books that provided accurate portraits of real life devoid of subjective  elements. See also, subjective, objective. 

Relativity:  In physics, Einstein’s 1905 theory that physical measurements are not absolute but vary depending on the relative position and motion of the observer and observed.

Reparation: Money payments exacted by a victorious power from those it has defeated and reckoned as compensation to the former for the costs of war. In consequence of its defeat in World War I and its signing of the punitive Treaty of Versailles, Germany, for example, was required to pay the Allies 132 billion gold marks in reparations.

Repartimento.  Also called “mita,” in colonial Spanish America, a system under Crown control facilitating recruitment of Indians for forced labor by individual colonists. Repartimentos were usually temporary, lasting one or two weeks, several times a year. Recruits were paid for their labor.

Repatriation: The act or policy of returning to their home state immigrants, refugees, or other persons or groups considered foreign by legal, ethnic, religious or other status. Repatriation can be forced or voluntary.

Republic.  Literally “a thing of the public,” a state or polity based on the notion that sovereignty resides with the people -- rather than, for example, with a monarch -- and which delegates the powers and responsibilities of rule to elected representatives. Modern examples include the American and French Republics founded during the later eighteenth century.

Reservation: Parcel of public land designated specifically for the use of an Indian tribe.

Resistance (forces): During the Second World War, any of the various underground groups in Nazi-held Europe engaged in sabotage, intelligence, publishing, or other anti-Nazi activities.

Romanticism:  Philosophical and artistic movement of the late-eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century, rejecting the Enlightenment’s exaltation of reason and stressing instead  subjective emotions and the imagination. As well as in painting, poetry, and  literature, Romantic sentiments found expression in various nationalist platforms,  such as Mazzini’s Young Italy. See also, Nationalism

Sabotage: Any deliberate property destruction, work stoppage or other act designed to harm an employer, government, nation or other entity. The term derives from a French railroad strike in 1910 during the course of which workers deliberately destroyed the sabots (wooden shoes) keeping the rails in position.

Salient: In military terminology, the outward-projecting part of a troop formation.

Salon.  Especially in eighteenth-century France and elsewhere, a gathering of philosophers, writers, artists, prominent members of society, and so on (or the drawing-room in which these usually occured) for the purpose of intellectual conversation or readings. Salons were a vital forum for the fermentation and dissemination of Enlightened ideals.

Scientific Revolution. The period and process of the creation of modern science, especially astronomy and physics, usually dated from the publication of Copernicus’s On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (1543) to that of Newton’s Principia Mathematica (1687), and which established classical physics.

Secession.  Official withdrawal from a state or other political entity, such as the withdrawal of several southern states from the US during 1860-1861, which served as the cause of the American Civil War.

Sepoy:  Literally, “horseman,” any Indian soldier, particularly an infantryman, in the service  of the British or another European colonial army. In the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857  Hindu and Muslim Indian soldiers rose up against the British imperial system in response to perceived slights to their culture and freedom.

Serf.  Especially in feudal Europe, a peasant or agricultural worker bound by customary law to a given estate and thus to a landlord, and whose unfree status is inherited by his offspring.

Shah: In Iran (formerly Persia) and more recently in other parts of Central Asia also, term for king. In Iran during 1978, the ruling shah was overthrown by the principle Shi’ite religious leader, the ayatollah Khomeini who replaced secular law with Islamic codes.

Shi’ite: One who practices Shi’ism, the smaller of the two main branches of Islam. The original cause leading Shi’ites to separate from the more numerous Sunnis was their rejection of the accepted fourth caliph in the 7th century CE.

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Sikh:  Member of a breakaway Hindu sect rejecting the caste system, Hindu mysticism and  magic, idolatry, and pilgrimages. In colonial times and since Sikhs have also been at  the forefront of Hindu opposition to Muslim domination.

Skepticism. In philosophy, belief in the impossibility of obtaining certain knowledge. The original Skeptics consisted of Pyrrho and his followers in ancient Greece. Later skeptics included Descartes, whose radical rejection of all previous knowledge as uncertain led him to found a new method of philosophy based on doubt. 

Slum: Residential area, usually urban, characterized by a variety of social ills including the poverty of its residents, overcrowding, poor sanitation, and other unsafe or unpleasant conditions. Industrialization, both in the nineteenth century and more recently has often created slums as large numbers of poor workers seeking employment congregate in areas lacking the infrastructure necessary properly to accommodate them.

Social Democracy: From the late nineteenth century in Europe and America, a philosophy and movement seeking the establishment of socialism not by revolution but by peaceful, evolutionary measures carried out within the existing non-socialist legal and political framework.

Socialism: From the early nineteenth century forward, any economic system or general philosophy emphasizing collective or state ownership of most forms of property, especially the means of production, and providing for the equitable and artificial rather than free-market distribution of wealth. See also, Marxism.

Socialist Realism: In the Soviet Union, realistic art form glorifying proletarian values and serving as pro-Communist and pro-government propaganda. Socialist Realism was established as the Soviet Union’s official and only acceptable type of artistic expression during the 1930s.

Soviets: In Russia and the Soviet Union, these “councils” of workers, soldiers and peasants deputies (essentially chosen and controlled by the central authorities) functioned as the primary governmental unit from the national to local levels from the Revolution of 1917 to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Totalitarianism: Governmental system and political culture in which all aspects of life --  politics, economics, ideology, religion, education, art, literature, and so on -- are controlled by a single political authority and in which all forms of dissent or choice are actively suppressed. Stalinist Russia remains the classic example of such a system.

Spiritualism: Any of the various general beliefs that the physical or material world is underlaid or permeated by a deeper, ultimate reality defined as soul or spirit, especially the belief in a World Soul or Absolute Spirit.

Spontaneous Generation:  In biology, the theory that lower life-forms such as bacteria come into existence by  themselves and from nothing. This belief was widespread until disproved by Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) in the late-nineteenth century.

Strike: In industrial societies, a collective work stoppage initiated by workers, often via their unions, as a protest or weapon against their employer or general conditions of work. By causing economic pain to their employer, striking workers have typically sought to gain specified ends such as increased pay, safety improvements, or other benefits. During the early twentieth century, the threat of a general strike -- uniting workers from various key industries and aimed at bringing the entire economy to a halt -- has been used as a political weapon against national governments. See also, Collective Bargaining, Guilds, Unions

Sturm und Drang:  Literally, “storm and stress,” in literature, term describing the emotional turmoil  that characterized not only German Romanticism, but Romanticism generally and  the intellectual culture of Europe for at least the first half-century following the  French Revolution. See also, Romanticism.

Subjective:  That which exists in the mind or opinion of the viewer, rather than in the viewed  object itself. See also, objective.

Suffrage.  Or franchise, the right to vote officials into public office or to vote on specific legislation. In general, suffrage has increased during the late modern period including progressively wider groups of previously unenfranchized individuals: the middle classes, laborers, and women.

Suffragist: Pertaining to the struggle for suffrage, that is, the right of an individual or group to vote for political representatives, or an advocate of such rights.

Sufi:  Member of a mystical and ascetic Muslim sect, named for his characteristic woolen garb.

Sunna:  Literally “way” or “path,” the body of traditional Islamic law believed to derive  directly from the words and actions of Muhammad.

Sweated Industries/Sweatshops: Industries marked by especially oppressive and exploitative conditions including: lack of basic safety standards, excessive hours of work, denial of legal and employee rights, very low pay, curtailment of personal liberty, and so on. Though particularly common during the early stages of Industrial Revolution in Europe, America and elsewhere, sweated industries persist today throughout the world.

Syndicalism:  A form of unionism prominent in France, which aims at federated union control of  the means of production and of society. Syndicalists’ chief strategies for achieving  their ends were the general strike, sabotage, and terrorism. See also, sabotage,  unions.

Tariffs:  Taxes levied on goods traded across regional or national borders. The removal or  reduction of tariffs -- domestically and internationally -- during much of the 19th  century facilitated increased economic and industrial growth. Protectionism -- the  establishment of tariffs and other barriers to trade in order to protect domestic or  local producers -- however, remained a powerful trend also, particularly during  the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Taxonomy: The science of classification, especially in biology, the science of organizing and classifying living organisms according to certain salient traits. Taxonomy achieved its modern form as a result of the work  of Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778).

Temperance. Abstention from alcohol. Temperance movements have occured at various time in Western Europe (especially Britain) and the US during the past two centuries. Victorian-era temperance movements were often led by middle class women, for whom the activity served also as an important social and political outlet

Tenement: Literally “that which is held by tenure,” especially in poorer industrial towns and cities, designation for houses or other buildings leased as apartment dwellings to a number of separate tenants.

Terror, The: During the radical phase of the French Revolution, period of extreme, bloody and summary revolutionary justice -- from 5 September 1793 to 27 July 1794. The Terror, orchestrated by Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety resulted in the guillotining of tens of thousands of real and imagined enemies of the Revolution; hundreds of thousands more were arrested. See also, Committee of Public Safety.

Terrorism:  The use of isolated, typically random acts of violence, often carried out against  collateral or symbolic targets -- such as national embassies and airlines -- and  intended primarily to instill fear and anxiety in a perceived enemy population.  

Theocracy:  Governmental system in which civil law -- as well as religious law -- is understood as  deriving from divine rather than secular sources, and in which ecclesiastical authorities thus may play the role of legislature, executive and judiciary.

Thermidor/Thermidorean Reaction. During the French Revolution, name given to the revolt on the 9th day of Thermidor (the “hot” month) -- 27 July 1794 by the conventional calendar -- leading to the downfall and execution of Ropespierre and the cessation of the Terror. See also Terror.

Third World: Designation accorded in western parlance to the “developing world” as a whole. The term originated in the context of the Cold War, when the notion was popular that the planet consisted of three “worlds” -- the West (or First World), the Communist powers (or Second World), and the Third World of mostly non-aligned and poor states, most of whom had recently gained -- or were in the process of gaining -- independence from European empires. Since the collapse of the Communist “Second World” the term has become less common.

U-Boat: Abbreviation of “Unterseeboot”; German submarine, especially of the type first used in World War I, and which inflicted heavy damage on Allied shipping.

Ulama:  Especially in Turkey, teachers of Islamic law.

Unconscious:  In Freudian psychoanalysis, the aspect of the human mind from which derive basic  or instinctual ideas and impulses of which the consciousness thinking mind is not  directly aware, though it is influenced by them. Freudian psychoanalytical theory in  general proposes the existence of complex interactions among three basic parts of  the human psyche: the instinctual unconscious, also called the “id”; the conscious  self, or “ego”; and the edifice of internalized social and cultural norms, or  “superego.”

Unions/Trades Unions: In industrial societies, workers’ combinations of the industrial era and to the present day. Unlike guilds, unions typically do not regulate entry to trades, set prices, or establish quality standards but instead represent the interests of the workers in negotiation with employers. Unions developed primarily during the nineteenth century in response to the changed conditions of work, and great hardships, engendered by early industrialization. See also, Collective Bargaining, Guilds, Strike.

United Kingdom: Officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the collective name for the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, organized as a single political entity.  The union of England with Wales took place in 1536; of these with Scotland in 1701; and with Ireland in 1801. The division of Ireland in 1922 left only Northern Ireland within the Kingdom.

Utilitarianism: Ethical system developed by the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) in  which right is perceived as that which brings greatest happiness (construed as  pleasure, or the absence of displeasure) to the greatest number of persons. As  such, Utilitarianism, emphasizes ends over means and can be seen as favoring or disfavoring any given system or reform based solely on its likely or actual results.

Utopia/Utopian: Literally “no place,” pejorative term for any ideal or goal considered unrealistic or unattainable in the real world. The word is often applied to pre-Marxist socialisms, to distinguish them from the more “scientific socialism” pioneered by Marx and Engels.

Voodoo.  A hybrid religious-folkloric system widely practiced in Haiti, combining elements of Roman Catholicism (introduced by French colonialists) and African mysticism (introduced by slave populations from Dahomey (now Benin), Africa.

Welfare State: General term for the collection of laws, programs, and guarantees, securing individuals’ rights to a basic level of economic security, such as pensions, unemployment benefits, sick pay, and so on. The first modern welfare state was pioneered under Bismarck in late nineteenth-century Germany.

Wetlands: In biology and ecology, low-lying lands, such as marshes or the Florida everglades system, permanently or usually saturated with water and constituting in this manner a specific type of natural environment. Wetlands provide refuge for large numbers of diverse animal and plant species, including many that are rare, threatened, or endangered. Wetlands also provide natural flood-protection, replenish water tables, and provide recreational opportunities.

White-collar: White-collar clerical or professional employees, who do not perform manual labor (as do blue-collar workers).

Yeoman.  In British history, a farmer cultivating his own land.

Zionism:  The movement or belief claiming Palestine as the rightful homeland of the Jews,  founded in 1896 by Theodore Herzl (1860-1904).