Early modern times

the term early modern times designate the epoch between the late Middle Ages and the French revolution in the history of Europe usually.

Table of contents

the problem of the epoch organization

each Periodisierung in that Science of history is an additional Konstrukt, which rises from the scientific interest to limit and classify a research article. It can be therefore only one approximation to the historical reality. Also the transitions from the Middle Ages to the early modern times on the one hand and from this to Modern ones on the other hand cannot be fastened at individual years. The epoch borders are rather from country to country and flowing from culture area to culture area. Epochale transformations are always developments of long duration - are they social, political or economic nature.

beginning of the early modern times

the mental-cultural departure of the Renaissance and the human, the discovery travels of the Portuguese and the Spaniard since beginning 15. Century, which always changed the picture of the earth, and which reformation,after 1517 the medieval unit of the church destroyed - these three coherent with one another developments mark in the European science of history usually the beginning of the early modern times.

Generally Renaissance and human, the Wiederentdeckung of the antique ones , their art applyand their philosophy as beginning of a turn of an era. With it a new people picture spread in Europe, in whose center the certain individual and its abilities were located. Within philosophy, literature, painting, sculpture, architecture and all other cultural ranges those oriented themselvesHumans the forms and contents of the antique ones.

This development of Italy can earliest be determined, where it already in 14. Century used, in 15. Century in Florenz to a first cultural high bloom arrived and of where outit itself up to the beginning 16. Century in completely Europe spread. Its role of the pioneer owed Italy not least to the admission of a large number Greek scholar from Konstantinopel, which had been conquered 1453 by the Osmanen. These scholars brought longverschollen believed education property the antique one also in the evening country. At the same time the spreading of knowledge experienced a tremendous acceleration by Johannes of good mountain invention of the printing with mobile type characters.

The same invention again help an event in particular to the break-through, inGermany is equated with the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern times: the reformation.Martin Luther created its 95 theses, which he published 1517, on an exact source study of the holy writing in Greek and Hebrew, thus on knowledge,on pre-working the human of the previous century were based.

Luther defended his theses 1521 on the Wormser Reichstag before emperors Karl V., that a realm governed, „in that the sun did not go down “. Because to this realm belonged alsothe Spanish possessions in the new world in such a way specified, which had discovered Christoph Kolumbus 1492, in the same year, in which with conquest Granadas the Reconquista had gone to end. The first impact for the age of the discoveries was outPortugal come: On behalf princes Heinrichs the sailor were sent since 1415 expeditions, in order to find a sea route to India. This succeeded to Vasco there Gama 1498. The discoveries of the Portuguese and the Spaniard did not only extend the conception of the worldmedieval humans, but entailed also the European expansion over the entire well-known earth.

end of the early modern times

the end of the epoch and the beginning of the modern trend become to a large extent agreeing in the science of history with that French revolution set, which began 1789. Also it was the result of a preceding, mental movement, the clearing-up, which had already accelerated the American movement of independence of 1776. Due to the events of 1789 the Ancien Régime broke first in France anddue to the revolution wars nearly in completely Europe together.

In Germany the early modern times end 1806 with the dissolution of the holy Roman realm of German nation. Even if the old regime after the defeat Napoléon Bonapartes 1814/15 againwere restored, Europe as consequence of the revolution in France had fundamentally changed itself.

epochs within the early modern times

depending upon viewpoint one divides the early modern times again into the following time periods:


policy in political


the argument works manifestations [work on] between protest anti-mash and catholicism for the early modern times coining/shaping, which flow in the dreissigjährigen war. The Konfessionalisierung leads to a deeply seizing change in all areas of life, which can be understood as modernization process. The fights occurring here here bring a re-organization in Europe, those Altgläubige and Protestanten as equal religious communities recognize. The absolute supremacy catholic Spain is gradually back-pushed.

At least in the holy Roman realm of German nation a new type of state develops. The territorial state with a territorial gentleman differs from the medieval thingsbecause the basic gentleman saw himself exclusive as leaning gentleman or Vasall of the monarch, while the territorial gentleman appears as a sovereign of his country.

The coining/shaping system of government of the early modern times is the absolutism. With it a new restaurant form, the mercantilism goes. The self understanding of the monarch changes itself opposite his subjects. „The sun king “Ludwig XIV. from France the opinion represents: “The state am I.” King Friedrich II. about Prussia as representatives of the “enlightened absolutism” understands itself however as “highestServant of the state. “

Into the early modern times (and not in the Middle Ages) also large witch pursuit falls.

To the end of this epoch processes of the democratization of the society come to the break-through. That expresses itself most saliently in the North American war of independence andin the French revolution, which both lead to democratic re-organizations of the society. The aristocracy loses its political guide roller, a democratic condition becomes the new basis of the legal order.

economic development

from economic perspective marked this age thatEnd of the Feudalismus, a restaurant form, which on the landed property, better said were based to the basic rule of the basic gentleman than leaning gentleman or Vasall of the monarch and their possession of body-own farmers. Further it means the end of the past guild and condition nature inthe medieval cities. The expansion by an intensified navigation and the associated discoveries led to new economic structures in the world trade. It replaced of a budding colonialism and over maritime trade by the great powers Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Great Britain and France and the development of the Manufaktur. These developments put the foundation for industrialization and capitalism. Also we do not have to forget the silver mining industry. The discoveries of the silver occurrences in the “new world” led to the decrease of the traditionalTin and silver promotion in the Saxonian and böhmischen ore mountains up to the schliesslichen abort of this promotion. The absolutism brought a new restaurant form, those of the mercantilism with itself. The Kapitalgewinn which is based on the trade gives its name to this system, because the absolutist statein his external relations in accordance with commercial criteria proceeded. There is for this also the designation early capitalism.

A substantial change regarding the industrialization brought the invention of the first fully functional steam engine by James Watt in 18. Century with itself. Those went to thatSteam engine constructions ahead, which were less efficient by far than for example of Thomas the Newcomen. This accomplished not only to a revolutionizing of production conditions, in particular in the iron industry, but also the traffic infrastructure by the introduction of the railway George Stephenson, whose beginning falls in England into the year 1825. However also attempts of the construction of a steam engine preceded that by smelling pool of broadcasting corporations Trevithick in the year 1804, which failed however not because of the locomotive technology, but because of the rail material. Inthe invention of the railway the end of the early modern times rings to certain way.

we saw science apart from these developments of the general policy the progress in the science, which unquestionably a substantial difference to thatpreceding epochs mark and thus likewise for this epoch are characteristic. The discoveries of the Spanish and Portuguese sailors Christoph Kolumbus, Amerigo Vespucci, which gave its name to the continent America, Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco there Gama or Bartolomëu Diazextended the conception of the world, (from individual, existing since the antique one, hardly rezipierten discoveries as those the Wikinger in America apart) only Europe, Africa north the seeing era and parts of Asia covered. The consequence was an upswing among other things in cartography through Martin Behaim, which had already created 1492 the first earth globe (naturally still without America), and Gerhard Mercator. After it also the Mercator projection , a bending regret map projection was designated.

The recent discoveries put the foundation-stone for the structure of theSpanish and Portuguese world realm and after their fall in the course 17. Century for the structure of the English, Netherlands and French colonial system. Also the voyages round the world of James Cook may be called here. Also they have us substantial explanations overthe condition of the earth given. Been enough to Cooks honour it also a way to have found, in order to meet a sailor illness, scurvy, which was afraid at that time, effectively.

Into this age, whatever age of the discoveries is called, the astronomers belong Tycho Brahe, Nikolaus Kopernikus and Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton. They ensured for the fact that the geocentric conception of the world or Ptolemäi conception of the world was replaced by a heliozentrisches conception of the world. This system became last end also by Newton's Gravitationstheorie supported.

Also the medicine makes large progress in this time. To the most important representatives Paracelsus belonged, to a forerunner of pharmacy and/or to their time. Bartolomeo Eustachi, one the joint founder of the science of anatomy.


To the most important philosophers 16. and 17. Spinoza, Michel Montaigne , René Descartes , John curl , Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes count century. Into the time 18. Century falls the philosophical argument of the clearing-up,with the large encyclopedia of last end the revolution in America and France prepares. Crucially for this becomes the aufklärerisch coined/shaped people picture, which finds its most concise expression in the password of the French revolution: Liberty, equality, fraternity. Regarding the early clearing-up thinksone first at Denis Diderot and Voltaire, Montesquieu, Jean Baptiste le Rond d'Alembert or Jean Jacques Rousseau and thus rather to the moralists. Also the science of the articles of association of Rousseau is a fruit of this philosophy. Already herecriticism at the absolutism begins itself to form. Also one thinks reliably of reason philosophy from Immanuel Kant. First, which develop a historical philosophy, are the representatives of the German idealism Johann Gottfried Herder and Friedrich William Joseph of Schelling.A further important representative of the German idealism is God dear to Johann spruce. Also spruce publishes to the theory of the articles of association. Unmistakably Rousseau is for this model, whose philosophy is based on the people sovereignty and the nature right. Spruce and Schelling represent also one Nature philosophy. Not too forgotten here also George is William Friedrich Hegel. This is with its historical philosophy one likewise the signpost/guide 19. Century. In 18. We also a philosophical adjustment have to register century to a rationalism,that the English political economy is obligated particularly. Among these representatives rank David Hume, on which little is not based the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Also we have Adam Smith to count here as the founder of the political economy.

In 18.Century have we for the first time a scientifically founded occupation with the history of the art of the Greek antiquity by Johann Joachim Winckelmann. To it finally the entire modern classical antiquity science decreases/goes back. Also for the people picture of this time, which one alsowith the keyword “new human” to describe could, is Winckelmann of importance. It is not to be thought of approximately also of the Laokoonstreit in such a way specified between Johann Gottfried Herder and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.

In Eastern Asia the early modern times were coined/shaped by firstContacts with the west, if we refrain from the earlier journeys of the famous Venetianers Marco Polo, their authenticity until today is not completely clarified, a fall of the Buddhismus and a how/as-those-strong of the Konfuzianismus.


thoseArt is generally a mirror image of the time taste, the people picture, the general conditions in the society and the state and a corresponding society understanding. As the paragraphs standing above show, these conditions are subjected also in this time processes of change.

The prevailingArt styles of this epoch primarily in Europe are Renaissance and in a late form mannersism, baroque and Rococo. These are essentially in all art kinds represented. Among the most important artists of this time rank Leonardo da Vinci, by detailsObserve scientifically worked, Michelangelo, Tizian, that several times emperors Karl V. porträtierte, Sandro Botticelli, Albrecht Dürer, rem Brandt and Peter Paul Rubens.

Together with the art styles of this epoch strengthened also a profit-oriented art enterprise was impressed in this timeout. So z had. B. already Lucas Cranach a workshop, in which it was not by any means alone busy. Here one has further to differentiate between workshops, those with priority or at least with high portion of order work of national (thus yards) or churchInstitutions or persons implemented, and such workshops, which were dependent on private clients exclusively.

Also in this time there was a non-European art. In addition the art of the indianischen advanced cultures counts, those only with the landing of Hernando Cortez and Francisco Pizarro went down. Some important remainders of it are still present. That particularly concerns the art and culture of the Inka, the Maya and the Aztecs.


which to the art applies regarding the time taste, the people picture,the general conditions in the society and the state and a corresponding society understanding, applies likewise to the literature. In particular in the clearing-up time that completely particularly applies, where the literature has close connections to philosophy. Important representatives of the French clearing-up literatureare Voltaire or Diderot. To the most important representatives belong to the German literature for 18. and 19 beginning. Century George Christoph Lichtenberg, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Friedrich God-dear Klopstock, Friedrich Schiller, Christoph MartinHow/as country, Heinrich of Kleist, new fact-read, Johann Gottfried Herder. One calls the time of Goethe, Schiller and Herder the storm and urge. If about Lessing, Goethe and Schiller one talks here, the reference may not it is missing that they write also a number of plays. They participate also active in the contemporary theatre .

Also the reformation time and the time of the faith fights have their typical literature language. It is not exhausted by any means only with Luther and its Bible translation. UndoubtedlyLuther with further works beleistet for this an important contribution. Straight one in this time is it frequently much polarize-mixes. Thus there is reformatorische and also antilutherische literature. Frequently it has a journalistic character and to come in such a way it as short pieces asFlight writings forwards. One speaks also of flight writing literature so mentioned. To important representatives to this time among other things Hans Sachs or also Sebastian Brant belongs. In die Zeit des Dreißigjährigen Krieges gehört Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen und sein Abenteuerlicher Simplicissimus.


the music an art kind is , applies regarding the views to the people picture and that the society the same there, which is already said to the art and literature.

We know also in the reformation time of church songs,the Martin Luther wrote. The notes remained. The time of the baroque, Rococo and the clearing-up brings musicians and composers out , who are not to be excluded in the classical music. Among those Heinrich contactor, Johann rankSebastian brook, George Friedrich trade, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven.

Straight one for the social culture at the yards at present the clearing-up is the music an important component. At least by emperor LeopoldII. (HRR) and king Friedrich II. (Prussia) it is well-known that they make music and partially also compose. In this connection to mention are höfische society dances, for which appropriate music pieces are composed like the Menuett. This however gives italready since that 17. Century. Altogether there are society dances since that 14. Century.

Well-known music instruments of this time are among other things the Virginal, the transverse flute, the violin, the Cembalo and mirror-image nice. To the most well-known music instrument farmers of theseTo time belong Gottfried silver man, Antonio Stradivari and Nicola Amati, which is again Stradivaris instructor.


  • Aretin, Karl Otmar of, the realm: Peace warranty and. europ. Equilibrium 1648-1806, Stuttgart 1986
  • Blickle, Peter: The reformation in the realm, Stuttgart 1982
  • Duchardt, Heinz: The age of the absolutism, 3. over work. Aufl., Munich 1998, ISBN 3-486-49743-X
  • Dülmen, smelling pool of broadcasting corporations van: The discovery of the individual, Frankfurt/Main 1997
  • Dülmen, smelling pool of broadcasting corporations van: The society of the reconnaissance aircraft, Frankfurt/Main1996
  • Dülmen, smelling pool of broadcasting corporations van: Society of the early modern times, Vienna 1993
  • Emich, Birgit, territorial integration in the early modern times. Ferrara and the church state, Cologne/Weimar/Vienna: Böhlau 2005, 1178 S. ISBN 3-412-12705-1 (= Habilitation Freiburg 2002)
  • Emich, Birgit, history that, Supplements Konstanz 2006 ISBN 3-8252-2709-X Lutz,
  • Heinrich, reformation and Gegenreformation studies early modern times, examined and from Alfred charcoal burner, 4. Aufl., Munich 1997
  • Mieck, Ilja: European history of the early modern times: an introduction, 5. , verb. Aufl., Stuttgart [among other things] 1994, ISBN 3-17-012630-X
  • Oldenbourg history text book: Early modern times, hrsg. from Anette people Rasor, with an introduction of Winfried Schulze, Munich 2000 ISBN 3-486-56426-9
  • press, peoples: Wars and crises, Germany 1600-1715, Munich 1991
  • Schilling, Heinz: The recent time: from Christianity Europe toEurope of the states, 1250 to 1750, Berlin 1999
  • Schilling, Heinz: Settler German history [abbott 1]: The realm and the German part [5]: Departure and crisis: To Germany 1517-1648, Berlin 1988

see also

Web on the left of


  > German to English > de.wikipedia.org (Machine translated into English)