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143 terms

Western Civilization Terms

Western Civilization Glossary Terms Seventh Edition
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abbess
the head of a convent or monastery for women
abbot
the head of a monastery
absolutism
a form of government in which the sovereign power or ultimate authority rested in the hands of a monarch who claimed to rule by divine right and was therefore responsible only to God
Abstract Expressionism
a post-World War II artistic movement that broke with all conventions of form and structure in favor of total abstraction
abstract painting
an artistic movement that developed early in the twentieth century in which artists focused on color to avoid any references to visual reality
aediles
Roman officials who supervised the public games and the grain supply of the city of Rome
Agricultural (Neolithic) Revolution
the shift from hunting animals and gathering plants for sustenance to producing food by systematic agriculture that occurred gradually between 10,000 and 4000 B.C. (the Neolithic or "New Stone" Age)
agricultural revolution
the application of new agricultural techniques that allowed for a large increase in productivity in the eighteenth century
anarchism
a political theory that holds that all governments and existing social institutions are unnecessary and advocates a society based on voluntary cooperation
anticlericalism
opposition to the power of the clergy, especially in political affairs
anti-Semitism
hostility toward or discrimination against Jews
apartheid
the system of racial segregation practiced in the Republic of South Africa until the 1990s, which involved political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites.
appeasement
the policy, followed by the European nations in the 1930s, of accepting Hitler's annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia in the belief that meeting his demands would assure peace and stability.
Arianism
a Christian heresy that taught that Jesus was inferior to God. Though condemned by the Council of Nicea in 325, Arianism was adopted by many of the Germanic peoples who entered the Roman Empire over the next centuries
aristocracy
a class of hereditary nobility in medieval Europe; a warrior class who shared a distinctive lifestyle based on the institution of knighthood, although there were social divisions within the group based on extremes of wealth.
audiencias
advisory groups to viceroys in Spanish America
Ausgleich
the "Compromise" of 1867 that created the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary. Austria and Hungary each had its own capital, constitution, and legislative assembly but were united under one monarch
authoritarian state
a state that has a dictatorial government and some other trappings of a totalitarian state but does not demand that the masses be actively involved in the regime's goals as totalitarian states do
auxiliaries
troops enlisted from the subject peoples of the Roman Empire to supplement the regular legions composed of Roman citizens
balance of power
a distribution of power among several staes such that no single nation can dominate or interfere with the interests of another
Baroque
an artistic movement of the seventeenth century in Europe that used dramatic effects to arouse the emotions and reflected the search for power that was a large part of the seventeenth-century ethos.
benefice
in the Christian church, a position, such as a bishopric, that consisted of both a sacred office and the right of the holder to the annual revenues from the position
bicameral legislature
a legislature with two houses
Black Death
the outbreak of plague (mostly buonic) in the mid-fourteenth century that killed from 25-50 percent of Europe's population
Blitzkrieg
"lightning war." A war conducted with great speed and force, as in Germany's advance at the beginning of War War II
Bolsheviks
a small faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party who were led by Lenin and dedicated to violent revolution; they seized power in Russia in 1917 and were subsequently renamed the Communists.
bourgeoisie (burghers)
inhabitants (merchants and artisans) of boroughs and burghs (towns)
boyars
the Russian nobility
Brezhnev Doctrine
the doctrine, enunciated by Leonid Brezhnev, that the Soviet Union had a right to intervene if socialism was threatened in another social state; used to justify moving Soviet troops into Czechoslovakia in 1968
Burschenschaften
student societies in the German states dedicated to fostering the goal of a free, united Germany
caliph
the secular leader of the Islamic community
capital
material wealth used or available for use in the production of more wealth
cartel
a combination of independent commercial enterprises that work together to control prices and limit competition
Cartesian dualism
Descartes's principle of the separation of mind and matter (and mind and body) that enabled scientists to view matter as something separate from themselves that could be investigated by reason
celibacy
complete abstinence from sexual activity. Many early Christians viewed celibacy as the surest way to holiness
censors
Roman officials chosen every five years to assess property holdings to determine taxes, military service, and officeholding
centuriate assembly
the chief popular assembly of the Roman Republic. It passed laws and elected the chief magistrates
chansons de geste
a form of vernacular literature in the High Middle Ages that consisted of heroic epics focusing ton the deeds of warriors
chivalry
the ideal of civilized behavior that emerged among the nobility in the eleventh and twelfth centuries under the influence of the church; a code of ethics knights were expected to uphold
Christian (northern) humanism
an intellectual movement in northern Europe in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries that combined the interest in the classics of the Italian Renaissance with an interest in the sources of early Christianity, including the New Testament and the writings of the church fathers
civic humanism
an intellectual movement of the Italian Renaissance that saw Cicero, who was both an intellectual and a statesman, as the ideal and held that humanists should be involved in government and use their rhetorical training in the service of the state
civil disobedience
a policy of peaceful protest against laws or government policies in order to achieve political change
civilization
a complex culture in which large numbers of humans share a variety of common elements, including cities; religious, political, military, and social structures; writing; and significant artistic and intellectual activity
civil rights
the basic rights of citizens, including equality before the law, freedom of speech and press, and freedom from arbitrary arrest
Cold War
the ideological conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States after World War II
collective farms
large farms created in the Soviet Union by Stalin by combining many small holdings into large farms worked by the peasants under government supervision
coloni
free tenant farmers who worked as sharecroppers on the large estates of the Roman Empire
Columbian Exchange
the reciprocal importation and exportation of plants and animals between Europe and the Americas
commercial capitalism
beginning in the Middle Ages, an economic system in which people invested in trade and goods in order to make profits
common law
law common to the entire kingdom of England; imposed by the king's courts beginning in the twelfth century to replace the customary law used in county and feudal courts that varied from place to place
commune
in medieval Europe, an association of townspeople bound together by a sworn oath for the purpose of obtaining basic liberties from the lord of the territory in which the town was located; also, the self-governing town after receiving its liberties
conciliarism
a movement in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Europe that held that final authority in spiritual matters resided with a general church council, not the pope; it emerged in response to the Avignon papacy and the Great Schism and was used to justify the summoning of the Council of Constance
condottieri
leaders of bands of mercenary soldiers in Renaissance Italy who sold their services to the highest bidder
confession
one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church; it provided for the forgiveness of one's sins
conquistadors
"conquerors" Leaders in the Spanish conquests in the Americas, especially Mexico and Peru, in the sixteenth century.
conscription
a military draft
conservatism
an ideology based on tradition and social stability that favored the maintenance of established institutions, organized religion, and obedience to authority and resisted change, especially abrupt change
consuls
the chief executive officers of the Roman Republic. Two were chosen annually to administer the government and lead the army in battle
consumer society
Western society that emerged after World War II as the working classes adopted the consumption patterns of the middle class and payment plans, credit cards, and easy credit made consumer goods such as appliances and automobiles affordable
containment
a policy adopted by the United States in the Cold War. Its goal was to use whatever means, short of all-out war, to limit Soviet expansion
Continental System
Napoleon's effort to bar British goods from the Continent in the hope of weakening Britain's economy and destroying its capacity to wage war
cosmopolitanism
the quality of being sophisticated and having wide international experience
cottage industry
a system of textile manufacturing in which spinners and wavers worked at home in their cottages using raw materials supplied to them by capitalist entrepreneurs
council of the phlebs
a council only for plebeians. After 287 B.C., however, its resolutions were binding on all Romans
Crusade
in the Middle Ages, a military campaign in defense of Christendom
Cubism
an artistic style developed at the beginning of the twentieth century, especially by Pablo Picasso, that used geometric designs to re-create reality in the viewer's mind.
cultural relativism
the belief that no culture is superior to another because culture is a matter of custom, not reason, and derives its meaning from the group holding it
cuneiform
"wedge-shaped." A system of writing developed by the Sumerians that consisted of wedge-shaped impressions made by the reed stylus on clay tablets.
curiales
city councilors in Roman cities who played an important role in governing the vast Roman Empire
Dadaism
an artistic movement in the 1920s and 1930s by artists who were revolted by the senseless slaughter of World War I and used their "anti-art" to express contempt for the Western tradition
de-Christianization
a policy, adopted in the radical phase of the French Revolution, aimed at creating a secular society by eliminating Christian forms and institutions from French society
decolonization
the process of becoming free of colonial status and achieving statehood; it occurred in most of the world's colonies between 1947 and 1962.
deconstruction (poststructuralism)
a system of thought, formulated by Jacques Derrida, that holds that culture is created in a variety of ways, according to the manner in which people create their own meaning. Hence, there is no fixed truth or universal meaning
deism
belief in God as the creator of the universe who, after setting it in motion, ceased to have any direct involvement in it and allowed it to run according to its own natural laws
demesne
the part of a manor retained under the direct control of the lord and worked by the serfs as part of their labor services
denazification
after World War II, the Allied policy of rooting out any traces of Nazism in German society by bringing prominent Nazis to trial for war crimes and purging any known Nazis from political office
depression
a very severe, protracted economic downturn with high levels of unemployment
de-Stalinization
the policy of denouncing and undoing the most repressive aspects of Stalin's regime; begun by Nikita Khrushchev in 1956
detente
the relaxation of tension between the Soviet Union and the United States that occurred in the 1970s
developed nations
a term used to refer to rich nations, primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, that have well-organized industrial and agricultural systems, advanced technologies, and effective educational systems
developing nations
a term used to refer to poor nation, mainly in the Southern Hemisphere, that are primarily farming nations with little technology and serious population problems
dialectic
logic, one of the seven liberal arts that made up the medieval curriculum. In Marxist thought, the process by which all change occurs through the clash of antagonistic elements
Diaspora
the scattering of Jews throughout the ancient world after the Babylonian captivity in the sixth century B.C.
dictator
in the Roman Republic, an official granted unlimited power to run the state for a short period of time, usually six months, during an emergency
diocese
the area under the jurisdiction of a Christian bishop; based originally on Roman administrative districts
direct representation
a system of choosing delegates to a representative assembly in which citizens vote directly for the delegates who will represent them
divination
the practice of seeking to foretell future events by interpreting divine signs, which could appear in various forms, such as in entrails of animals, in patterns in smoke, or in dreams
divine-right monarchy
a monarchy based on the belief that monarchs receive their power directly from God and are responsible to no one except God
domino theory
the belief that if the Communists succeeded in Vietnam, other countries in Southeast and East Asia would also fall (like dominoes) to communism; cited as a justification for the U.S. intervention in Vietnam
Donatism
a Christian heresy that argued that the sacraments of the church were not valid if administered by an immoral priest
dualism
the belief that the universe is dominated by two opposing forces, one good and the other evil
dynastic state
a state in which the maintenance and expansion of the interests of the ruling family is the primary consideration
economic imperialism
the process in which banks and corporations from developed nations invest in underdeveloped regions and establish a major presence there in the hope of making high profits; not necessarily the same as colonial expansion in that businesses invest where they can make a profit, which may not be in their own nation's colonies
economic liberalism
the idea that government should not interfere in the workings of the economy
Einsatzgruppen
in Nazi Germany, special strike forces in the SS that played an important role in rounding up and killing Jews
empiricism
the practice of relying on observation and experiment
enclosure movement
in the eighteenth century, the fencing in of the old open fields, combining many small holdings into larger units that could be farmed more efficiently
encomienda
in Spanish America, a form of economic and social organization in which a Spaniard was given a royal grant that enabled the holder of the grant to collect tribute from the Indians and use them as laborers
encyclicial
a letter from the pope to all the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church
enlightened absolutism
an absolute monarchy in which the ruler follows the principles of the Enlightenment by introducing reforms for the improvement of society, allowing freedom from speech and the press, permitting religious toleration, expanding education, and ruling in accordance with the laws
Enlightenment
an eighteenth-century intellectual movement, led by the philosophes, that stressed the application of reason and the scientific method to all aspects of life
entrepreneur
one who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk in a business venture in the expectation of making a profit
Epicureanism
a philosophy founded by Epicurus in the fourth century B.C. that taught that happiness (freedom from emotional turmoil) could be achieved through the pursuit of pleasure (intellectual rather than sensual pleasure)
equestrians
a group of extremely wealthy men in the late Roman Republic who were effectively barred from high office but sought political power commensurate with their wealth; called equestrians because many had gotten their start as cavalry officers (equites)
ethnic cleansing
the policy of killing or forcibly removing people of another ethnic group; used by the Serbs against Bosnian Muslims in the 1990s
Eucharist
a Christian sacrament in which consecrated bread and wine are consumed in celebration of Jesus' Last Supper or communion
Eurocommunism
a form of communism that dropped its Marxist ideology. It was especially favored in Italy.
evolutionary socialism
a socialist doctrine espoused by Eduard Bernstein who argued that socialists should stress cooperation and evolution to attain power by democratic means rather than by conflict and revolution
exchequer
the permanent royal treasury of England. It emerged during the reign of King Henry II in the twelfth century
excommunication
in the Catholic Church, a censure depriving a person of the right to receive the sacraments of the church
existentialism
a philosophical movement that arose after World War II that emphasized the meaninglessness of life, born of the desperation cause by two world wars
family allowances
one aspect of the welfare state whereby the state provides a minimum level of material assistance of children
fascism
an ideology or movement that exalts the nation above the individual and calls for a centralized government with a dictatorial leader, economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition; in particular, the ideology of Mussolini's Fascist regime in Italy
federates
German troops enlisted in groups to fight as allies for the Romans
feminism
the belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes; also, organized activity to advance women's rights
fief
a landed estate granted to a vassal in exchange for military services
Final Solution
the attempted physical extermination of the Jewish people by the Nazis during World War II
folk culture
the traditional arts and crafts, literature, music, and other customs of the people; something that people make, as opposed to modern popular culture, which is something people buy
free trade
the unrestricted international exchange of goods with low or no tariffs
Fuhrerprinzip
in Nazi Germany, a leadership principle based on the belief in a single-minded party (the Nazis) under one leader (Hitler)
functionalism
the idea that the function of an object should determine its design and materials
general strike
a strike by all or most workers in an economy; espoused by Georges Sorel as the heroic action that could be used to inspire the workers to destroy capitalist society
genocide
the deliberate extermination of a people
gentry
well-to-do English landowners below the level of the nobility. They played an important role in the English Civil War of the seventeenth century
geocentric conception
the belief that the earth was at the center of the universe and that the sun and other celestial objects revolved around the earth
glasnost
"openness." Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of encouraging Soviet citizens to openly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Soviet Union
global economy
an interdependent economy in which the production, distribution, and sale of goods is accomplished on a worldwide scale
globalization
a term referring to the trend by which peoples and nations have become more interdependent; often used to refer to the development of a global economy and culture
global warming
the increase in the temperature of the earth's atmosphere caused by the greenhouse effect
good emperors
the five emperors who ruled from 96 to 180 (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius), a period of peace and prosperity for the Roman Empire
Gothic
a term used to describe the art and especially architecture of Europe in the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries
Gothic literature
a form of literature used by Romantics to emphasize the bizarre and unusual, especially evident in horror stories
Great Schism
the crisis in the late medieval church when there were first two and then three popes; ended by the Council of Constance (1414-1418)
greenhouse effect
the warming of the earth caused by the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as a result of human activity
guest workers
foreign workers working temporarily in European countries
guild
as association of people with common interests and concerns, especially people working in the same craft. In medieval Europe, guilds came to control much of the production process and to restrict entry into various trades
gymnasium
in classical Greece, a place for athletics; in the Hellenistic Age, a secondary school with a curriculum centered on music, physical exercise, and literature
heliocentric conception
the belief that the sun, not the earth is at the center of the universe
Hellenistic
literally, "imitating the Greeks"; the era after the death of Alexander the Great when Greek culture spread into teh Near East and blended with the culture of that region
helots
serfs in ancient Sparta who were permanently bound to teh land that they worked for their Spartan masters
heresy
the holding of religious doctrines different from the official teachings of the church
Hermeticism
an intellectual movement beginning in the fifteenth century that taught that divinity is embodied in all aspects of nature; it included works on alchemy and magic as well as theology and philosophy. The tradition continued into the seventeenth century and influenced many of the leading figures of the Scientific Revolution
hetairai
highly sophisticated courtesans in ancient Athens who offered intellectual and musical entertainment as well as sex