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.
PART I: CLASSICAL AGE TO THE EARLY MODERN PERIOD
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
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."
a portable, long-barrelled gun, fired by a wheel-lock or match lock.,
dating from the fifteenth century.
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
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.
central rectangular, interior open-air hall of the Etruscan and
Roman house, usually considered the most important room.
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
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.
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
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.
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): 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
part of the world in which Christianity predominates; the collective body
of Christian believers.
the earth or the underworld; an infernal or powerful elemental force.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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).
genre of humorous drama, typically with a happy or absurd ending,
sometimes critical of social and political institutions, first developed
in ancient Greece.
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
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
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
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
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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..
early modern France, a social or political class, invested with distinct
possessions and property.
The Estates‑General was an assembly of representatives of the
"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
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.
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.
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.
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).
(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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
A highly talented and self‑selected elite group of
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
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
handwritten book with pictures and sometimes lavish ornamentation, painted
or drawn in bright colors, "illuminating," or lighting up, the
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Louis XIII and his minister Cardinal Richelieu, intendants ruthlessly
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.
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
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.
doctrine that citizens are entitled to equality before the law.
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.
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
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
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.
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).
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
latifundia: In Latin, literally "broad
fields"; in Roman times, a great landed estate, usually worked on by
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.
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
philosophical school established by Aristotle; in the 19th century, the
inspiration for secondary school education (the word for high school in
war: An armed, combatant naval vessel.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
social arrangement in which fathers exercise power over the family and its
societies are usually patrilineal.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
art, the techniques used to represent three‑dimensional spatial
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
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).
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
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.
character or symbol that represents a word, syllable, or phoneme in
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
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
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.
term that describes geographical areas or states in which many languages
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
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
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
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
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
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
person appointed to govern during the absence, childhood, or incapacity of
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.
branch of written and oral discourse that concerns persuasion (from the
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
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,
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.
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
sect: A dissenting religious body or political
faction, often regarded as heretical or blasphemous by the larger body of
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.
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
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
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
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.
vast grasslands, flat, semi-arid, devoid of trees and subject to
extremes of temperature, that stretch across central Eurasia.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
by a priesthood or religious elite, with rule of law based on religious
doctrine or scripture.
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.
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.
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.
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
triumvirate: A ruling group of three persons;
originally, in the last years of the republic, Julius Caesar, Crassus, and
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
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
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
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.
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.
PART II: EARLY MODERN AGE TO THE PRESENT
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.
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.
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.
Any of the various artistic styles or movements whose created
images bear little or no
obvious reference to any actually-existing objects, or such
themselves. Major pioneers of abstract art include the Russian, Wassily
White resident of South Africa, typically of Dutch or Huguenot
(French Protestant) descent,
speaking the Afrikaans language (a variant of Dutch). See also, Boer.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
belief that spirits or divinities dwell inside objects and living
things, influencing or determining life and events in the natural world.
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.
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.
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.
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
Atom: smallest component of
an element possessing all the chemical characteristics of that element,
consisting of a nucleus and one or more electrons.
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).
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.
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
“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
“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.
“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.
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,
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.
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
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,
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.
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.
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
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.”
Process whereby workers negotiate collectively with their employer(s) or
management via elected representatives. See also, Strike, Union.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
principles underlay the order created by the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815
following the defeat of Napoleon. See
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.
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.
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.
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,
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
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.
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.
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.
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 -- 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.
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.
During the eighteenth century primarily in Europe and North America, an
intellectual movement stressing the improvement of human society by the
application of reason.
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.
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
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."
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
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.
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.
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
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: 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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Literally, the writing of history, or any of its techniques, principles,
and theories. Also the body of
historical writing on any given historical subject.
(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.
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
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."
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.
Proposition, usually intended provisionally. In science, hypotheses serve
as statements to be either supported or falsified by experimental and other
data. See also, Experiment.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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,
Title granted to the Turkish viceroys (governors) of Egypt under the
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Referring to or connected with the economic and political philosophy of
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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Literally “mother city,” in colonial affairs the metropolitan power was the
ruling and the colonial the subject state.
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.
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
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.
In Latin America, the ethncially mixed offspring of white and black
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.
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.
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.
The condition of having gained citizenship through a legal process rather
than by birth. Specific requirements for naturalization vary from nation to
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,
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The process for destroying bacterial contaminants, developed by the
nineteenth-century French biologist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895).
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.
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’
In art, the mathematical system pioneered during the Renaissance to
represent three-dimensional space
and objects realistically on a two-dimensional surface.
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.”
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.
Movement within the Lutheran church in Germany, dating from the 1600s, and which emphasized personal piety -- or humble reverence --
over ritual, formality, and
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
“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.
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
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.
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.
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
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
That which exists in the mind or opinion of the viewer, rather than in
the viewed object itself. See also,
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.
Member of a mystical and ascetic Muslim sect, named for his
characteristic woolen garb.
Literally “way” or “path,” the body of traditional Islamic law
believed to derive directly from
the words and actions of Muhammad.
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.
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,
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
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
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
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.
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.
Especially in Turkey, teachers of Islamic law.
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.
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
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
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.
clerical or professional employees, who do not perform manual labor (as do
In British history, a farmer cultivating his own land.
The movement or belief claiming Palestine as the rightful homeland of the
Jews, founded in 1896 by Theodore