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medieval capitalized?

medieval capitalized?

medieval capitalized?

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Early modern period

The early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages of the post-classical era. Although the chronological limits of this period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late post-classical or Middle Ages (c. 1400–1500) through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions (c. 1800). It is variously demarcated by historians as beginning with the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Renaissance period in Europe and Timurid Central Asia, the Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent, the end of the Crusades, the Age of Discovery (especially the voyages of Christopher Columbus beginning in 1492 but also Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the sea route to India in 1498), and ending around the French Revolution in 1789, or Napoleon’s rise to power.

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Historians in recent decades have argued that from a worldwide standpoint, the most important feature of the early modern period was its spreading globalizing character. New economies and institutions emerged, becoming more sophisticated and globally articulated over the course of the period. This process began in the medieval North Italian city-states and maritime republics, particularly Genoa, Venice, and Milan in the west, and in India’s Bengal in the east. The early modern period also included the rise of the dominance of the economic theory of mercantilism.

1647

In the Americas, pre-Columbian peoples had built a large and varied civilization, including the Aztec Empire, the Inca civilization, the Maya civilization and its cities, and the Muisca. The European colonization of the Americas began during the early modern period, as did the establishment of European trading hubs in Asia and Africa, which contributed to the spread of Christianity around the world. The rise of sustained contacts between previously isolated parts of the globe, in particular the Columbian Exchange that linked the Old World and the New World, greatly altered the human environment.

medieval capitalized?
medieval capitalized?

Notably, the Atlantic slave trade and colonization of Native Americans began during this period. The Ottoman Empire conquered Southeastern Europe, and parts of the West Asia and North Africa. Russia reached the Pacific coast in 1647 and consolidated its control over the Russian Far East in the 19th century. The Great Divergence took place as Western Europe greatly surpassed China in technology and per capita wealth.

 From 1600 to 1868

In the Islamic world, after the fall of the Timurid Renaissance, powers such as the Ottoman, Suri, Safavid, and Mughal empires grew in strength (three of which are known as gunpowder empires for the military technology that enabled them). Particularly in the Indian subcontinent, Mughal architecture, culture, and art reached their zenith, while the empire itself is believed to have had the world’s largest economy, bigger than the entirety of Western Europe and worth 25% of global GDP, signalling the period of proto-industrialization.

Various Chinese dynasties and Japanese shogunates controlled the Asian sphere. In Japan, the Edo period from 1600 to 1868 is also referred to as the early modern period. In Korea, the early modern period is considered to have lasted from the rise of the Joseon Dynasty to the enthronement of King Gojong. By the 16th century, Asian economies under the Ming dynasty and Mughal Bengal were stimulated by trade with the Portuguese, the Spanish, and the Dutch, while Japan engaged in the Nanban trade after the arrival of the first European Portuguese during the Azuchi–Momoyama period.

 Hints on word use and phrasing when writing about pre-modern History

A.D. and B.C., use of – Lightning will not strike if you use these common dating formulae, but be aware of their confessional context and meaning. A.D., “Anno Domini,” means “in the year of the Lord.” B.C. means “Before Christ.” Preferred alternatives are B.C.E. and C.E., “(Before) Current Erra,” which, while acknowledging the fact that western dating systems are organized on the putative year of Jesus’s birth, avoid the confessional bias of A.D. and B.C.  Just for the record, Jesus was born about 6-3 B.C.E., not in “0” or 1 C.E.  Also, separate the letters with periods.
A.H., use of – Students who would use A.H., “Anno hejirae” or “al-Hejirah,” to refer to the year of Muhammed’s trek to Medina and the calendar on which it is based should preferably reference the Gregorian calendar date as well, e.g., 10 A.H./632 C.E.  Be aware of the confessional context here, too.

Papal

Capitalization – As a general rule of thumb under Chicago Manual guidelines, isolated nouns like bishop, king, count, chieftain, knight, lord, and so on are not capitalized, although certain editorial styles allow for it. Do not do it. Where you should do it is when the title modifies (as adjective) a proper name.  Thus: “King John cut off the traitor’s head and affixed it to a pole,” but note: “The king cut off the traitor’s head.”  “Papal,” pope, papacy, and saint are never capitalized except to begin sentences, or when modifying a personal name (as with king above). Similarly, Bible, Torah, Qur’an, etc., are generally capitalized regardless of the writer’s religious beliefs, but not “biblical” or “koranic.”

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Capitalization, “Church” (as in, Catholic Church) – It comes up quite frequently that students are unsure whether to capitalize “church” when writing about the historical or modern Catholic Church. In general, I would say the guidelines should be to refrain from capitalization in most situations, above all when referring to the institutional church before about the thirteenth century. It is hard to make a case for a coherent, fully centralized and influential institution existing at that time in medieval Europe, any more than we would refer to Europe’s many kingdoms, principalities, and other polities using the modern designation of “State.”

A few suggestions

For many scholars, this issue constitutes a judgement call, so there is no hard and fast rule. Here are, however, some suggestions: (1) Catholic Church should always be capitalized. (2) Instead of using the noun “Church,” see if another substitute, such as “local church,” “pope,” “bishop(s),” “clergy,” “episcopate,” “clerical hierarchy,” etc., might be more precise.

Capitalization, “crusade” and “holy land” – Conventional use generally admits the capitalization of specific crusades, e.g., First Crusade, Second Crusade, Children’s Crusade, Baltic Crusade. However, “crusades” should not be capitalized when used in a general sense, nor should “crusaders.” “Holy land” should not be capitalized, since it is not a common or ecumenical designation for a particular place. One can safely speak of “Christian holy land(s)” or “Muslim holy land(s),” however.

medieval capitalized?
medieval capitalized?

God

Capitalization, divinities – Divinities are capitalized when their proper names are used — regardless of the writer’s specific religious beliefs. Thus: “God,” “Allah,” “Zeus,” “Shiva,” the “Furies,” and so on. In pronomial use, however, capitalization is not necessary (thus, unless the writer’s religious faith prefers it. When speaking of God in the third person it is not necessary to refer to “Him” or “His will”).
Capitalization, “medieval” and “Middle Ages” – As a rule, “medieval” is not capitalized when used adjectivally (e.g., medieval Europe). Although some editorial styles allow for it. I prefer it not be capitalized. Middle Ages should be capitalized, although, again, there are some editorial exceptions to this. There is no reason capitalize “Medieval Period” or “Medieval Age,” as those usages do not follow any editorial precedent of which I am aware.
Numbering, of rulers – Always use Roman numerals to indicate rulers with a commonly used name, e.g., Urban II or Henry V, not “Urban the 2nd.”

Catholic Church

“Roman Catholic Church,” use of – to use this phrase when writing about the historical church prior to the sixteenth century is anachronistic and thus discouraged. The Greek word “catholic” (katholikos) simply means “universal,” so to use it adjectivally to modify “Church” is not wrong. Insofar as Catholic Christian doctrine was considered to be universal in its scope in the premodern world. It is also permissible to use “Catholic Church” to distinguish the orthodox branch of Christianity from those Christian confessions. It deemed heretodox (so Arian Christianity, Monophysite Christianity, and so on) or from other Christian churches (Armenian, Syriac, Jacobite Christians).
The denomination of the Catholic Church as “Roman” was frequently insisted upon by sixteenth-century Protestant reformers. Who painted the papacy as espousing a certain (to reformers, corrupt and local) brand of Christianity, not the universal religion of the Bible. “Roman,” in other words, was derogatory in some pre-modern, and modern, confessional contexts.

Christianity

In general, and to be accurate without being anachronistic or overtly confessional, refer to. “Christianity,” “the Christian religion,” “Christian sects,” Nicene Christianity,” and so on. I generally avoid the term “orthodox,” which positions itself confessionally against religions and sects it deems heterodox.

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“Saint” and “St.” use of – I do not expect writers to use the ascriptions “Saint” or “St.”. As adjectives modifying an individual canonized by the Catholic Church or any other religious institution. “Saint” are only saints from a confessional, usually institutional (but often popular), perspective. Students may use the personal name instead, e.g., “Augustine of Hippo,” “Thomas Aquinas,” “Francis of Assisi,” “Martin of Tours,” and so on forth. Again, “saint” is not capitalized unless it precedes a personal name.
medieval capitalized?
medieval capitalized?

The general rule

The general rule is to capitalize names of specific historical periods with defined beginnings and endings. But to lowercase descriptive terms.

EXAMPLES

    • the Middle Ages
    • the Stone Age
    • the Renaissance
but
  • medieval times
  • the modern age
  • the postcolonial era

Years, decades, and centuries not capitalized when written in words.

EXAMPLES

  • Nineteen twenty-three was a watershed year in motor racing.
  • The nineties were a time of immense possibility.
  • Sylvia Plath was one of the great poets of the twentieth century.

When not to capitalize

Avoid capitalizing descriptive terms used for time periods.

EXAMPLES

  • the digital age
  • space-age technology
  • the nuclear age
  • a golden age
  • the medieval period
  • ancient times
  • the modern age
  • the postmodern era

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