FactGrid:Early Modern

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Note: The calendars switch from Julian to Gregorian in various countries at different dates

The software allows you to choose between Julian and Gregorian dates. The database object Gregorian calendar has the dates in both formats. Post 1582 dates that are entered in the Julian values are automatically converted to Gregorian dates by the QueryService.

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Digging into Early Colonial Mexico

How can language technologies and geospatial analysis facilitate answering important questions about the early colonisation of America? How did the Spanish colonial authorities portray and use information about the newly conquered territories and people? Can we identify, map, and analyse the geographies associated with the colonial period of Mexico, and what was said about them in historical sources, through expedite computational means?

Using part of the corpus known as Relaciones Geográficas de la Nueva España (The Geographic Reports of New Spain) – one of the most important colonial historical sources of America – concerned with the territory of Mexico, this project is creating and developing novel computational approaches for the semi-automated exploration of thousands of pages contained in these 16th century documents.

Tackling important historical and methodological questions, and highly demanding challenges in the study of these written sources, we are extracting, analysing, and visualising information that can improve our understanding of this period, and expedite the process by which we study these documents.

Our highly interdisciplinary team is combining techniques from different disciplines, including Corpus Linguistics, Text Mining, Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Geographic Information Systems, to address questions related to the recording of information about indigenous cultures, the Spanish exploration of indigenous social and religious concepts, the appropriation and ideas about place and space in the indigenous world, and their attitudes towards politics and economy.

The project is composed by 3 sub-teams based at Lancaster University (UK), the Museum of Templo Mayor (INAH-Mexico), and INESC-ID University of Lisbon (Portugal). We come from History, Archaeology, Geography, and Computer Science.

For more information visit the "Digging into Early Colonial Mexico — A large-scale computational analysis of 16th century historical sources" project's home page at Lancaster University.

Patricia Murrieta-Flores

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The Landscape of Early Modern Religious Dissent

As far back as can be remembered — Gottfried Arnold summed this up in his Impartial History of the Church and Heretics (1699/1700) — Christianity had been a place of diverging groups and teachings, of sects and heretics who had to reckon with persecution. The present era was not that new, Arnold suggested.

Intellectual historians noted differences: The "private" and "personal" stance became new legitimate positions as souvereign territories entered European religious alliances and forced their citizens to adopt their views or to leave the realm. A new rebellious self-definition arose in grass root movements. Tolerance became an issue with minorities that could gain the protection of foreign powers of the same religion, while smallest groups turned the print market and the new postal services into their tools to organise wide networks across the European map.

The FactGrid The Landscape of Early Modern Religious Dissent project wants to serve the research community that is presently exploring the early modern religious map. The software we are using, should be ideal to gather and aggregate the scattered pieces of information which we often dismiss too early as they do not show any wider connections. The entire platform is an invitation to create items on persons, meetings, correspondences with little more than two or three connections to a date or another equally unidentifiable person — others might might eventually draw the connections. The site's wider focus will raise particular questions: The "enlightenment" is said to have discredited much of the "enthusiastic" religious landscape in the course of the 18th century. We should be able to get beyond this statement: New organisational ties were suddenly on the market in a wide range from freemasonry to secret organisations that promised access to esoteric powers. Philosophical and philanthropic societies, clubs and private circles were suddenly available on the market of ties which individuals could choose under ever fresh promises of friendship and consanguinity, of intellectual and of spiritual improvements, of unorthodox rites and of social stability granted by the new organisations. It is not that clear how this new map of self orientation could grow on the religious soil, nor do we presently have a clearer picture of the networks that were, two centuries earlier, ready to adopt the Reformation with all the splits and divisions it soon created.



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The FactGrid Prose Fiction Project

<Field of Research:Q221039> Early modern readers gained the liberty if not the moral obligation to laugh about the medieval romances and legends that had suddenly flooded the European book market. But the era of “literature”, the era of learning, came with an uncanny undercurrent: The very word became the term of the previously unliterary production of plays, poems and fiction. These fields, so their new appraisal in the 18th and 19th centuries, showed a sublime understanding, they were “literature” in a higher sense. Only in these truly literary fields would artists be free become voices of their times and the nations. Shifts in the terminologies accompanied the new appraisal of the previously unliterary: The “novel” supplanted the “romance” in English — not exactly in a turn towards “realistic” plots, if we look at the “Gothic novels” that redefined the word around 1800. How did sujets and genres pervade these developments? How do our historical narratives of the “Rise of the Novel” relate to the changes within the production which we can actually observe and quantify? To what extent did secondary discourses reflect the contemporary developments? To what extent did they induce them in a complex win/win situation? Questions that can only find more precise answers with a look at the wider European market. The FactGrid prose fiction project wants to enable researchers to interconnect, categorise and explore titles of their various research projects — cooperatively and across the boundaries of our present philologies.


  • Genre/sujet
  • Plot ingredient

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Subscription lists

Many 18th- and 19th-century books come with lists of those who pledged to buy a copy or more. These lists are extremely valuable to understand who felt attracted to read a certain book. FactGrid would be an ideal medium to gather and aggregate such information since here we can be completely happy with information that does not begin with much more than a handful of triples on family name, given name, gender, occupation or status, place of home address and the title of the respective book.

We are at the same moment able to offer rich information of people and objects wherever we have it. It would be easy to giove social profiles of the audience or (see the example below) an age profile of the reader group that was interested in a particular book project:

The first sample search is interesting as it gives a model how to go from the subscription Item:Q195049 into one of items interconnected here - in this case into the people who are listed as subscribers. From there we get their dates of birth, but we could just as well get their data on clubs and societies they attended. We could do the same with the other parameters included and understand what publishing housed attracted what audiences.

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The Global Genealogy of Lodges

<Field of Research:Q10678> FactGrid presently offers the data sets of some 2100 Lodges, most of them of the (former) German speaking territories. The individual sets are by and large superficial — most of them drawn from GND data, French Lodges came into the project with Bruno Belhoste's Harmonia Universalis project, Swedish Lodges were added by Andreas Önnerfors — both with complex membership information. A couple of lodges have become test cases for the more interesting and wider project with denser packs of information (see Gotha's former Lodge "Ernst zum Compaß" as our case of greatest detail).

The following searches give insight into the status quo:

Sub Project

Data model

more on our project site The Global Genealogy of Lodges

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The Gotha Illuminati Research Base

<Field of Research:Q10677> The Gotha Illuminati Research Base is a collaborative project of Gotha's Research Centre with a longer list of contributors: Olaf Simons, Markus Meumann, Hermann Schüttler, Reinhard Markner, Christian Wirkner, Erik Liebscher, Marie Nosper, Martin Mulsow, Josef Wäges — to mention the most prominent.

The database comprises the data sets of some 7000 documents, 1500 publications, 1400 people who were members or otherwise related to the order. Showcases are the

The database is particularly useful to reconstruct correspondences — offering focuses on

The project page offers more sample queries and first perspectives on the findings.

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Harmonia Universalis

<Field of Research:Q172203> The Harmonia Universalis Research Base aims to build the mesmerist network in all its diversity and to analyse its integration into the social space on the eve of the French Revolution, emphasising its links with the medical profession and other forms of sociability, in particular learned and Masonic.

The project, led by Bruno Belhoste and David Riccardo Armando, is mainly supported by the Hastec labex and the IHMC, with the participation of CARE (CRH UMR 8558) and the ISPF (CNR). It benefits from the collaboration of several researchers, including Claire Gantet and Isabelle Havelange, and is open to all those interested in the subject.

A data set is already available in the form of prosopographic sheets on the original Harmonia universalis Database. The database is being installed on FactGrid where it should be available from December 2020.

...and more interesting links and searches will follow.


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Die Frühphase der deutschen Studentenverbindungen

<Forschungsfeld:Q28115> Das von Martin Gollasch initiierte Projekt entwickelte sich aus einer Erfassung einzelner Göttinger Studentenverbindungen und ihrer bekannten Mitglieder heraus... Landsmannschaften, Studentenorden und Freimaurerlogen organisierten im 18. Jahrhundert die extra curricularen Aktivitäten der Studentenschaft in den Universitätsstädten. Die Universitätswechsel spiegeln sich als Wanderungsbewegung nicht nur in den Matrikeln der Universitäten, sondern auch denen der studentischen Sozietäten der Aufklärungszeit. Erst vor diesem Hintergrund erklären sich viele Stammbucheinträge, die Ereignisse wie ein gemeinsames Essen, eine Reise oder schlicht Empörung wegen obrigkeitlicher Eingriffe samt den Teilnehmern oder Betroffenen spiegeln. Ungewohnt ist sicherlich der schwerpunktmäßige Aufbau der Biogramme vom Ausgangspunkt der Universitätsmatrikel oder der Matrikel der Sozietät her. Wir werden hier künftig die bislang empirisch nicht erforschten, aber immer wieder behaupteten Unvereinbarkeiten von Mitgliedschaften in solchen Sozietäten sehen können oder eben nicht bestätigt finden. Viele Momente in späteren Lebensabschnitten einer Biografie lassen sich durch Erlebnisse und Begegnungen der Studienzeit erklären, denn nach der Lebenserfahrung gibt es eigentlich weniger Zufälle als sie oftmals leichtfertig behauptet werden.

  • Mitglieder des Studentenordens ZN waren im Göttingen der 1770er tonangebend, somit drängt sich die Frage auf:

Es gibt, abgesehen von aus Gotha stammenden Studenten schon jetzt erkennbare starke Überschneidungen mit Christian Wirkners Göttinger Freimaurern und auch einzelnen Illuminaten. Dies lässt nicht nur auf den GND-Daten-Input auf der einen Seite, sondern auch auf die Genealogen auf der anderen Seite hoffen. Ein weiteres erklärtes Ziel ist es, Sozietätenzugehörigkeiten in Familien über die Generationen hinweg auf die Spur zu kommen. Und so kommt im Rahmen dieser Kontinuitätsforschung der zeitweilige Vorzeige-Illuminat Adolph Freiherr Knigge, salopp gesprochen, nicht nur als universitär vorgebildeter Vereinsmeier daher, sondern er war durch seinen Vater diesbezüglich auch genetisch vorbelastet...

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Religion im Herzogtum Gotha-Sachsen-Altenburg: Pfarrer, Pfarreien, Archive

Zwei Dateneingaben stehen im Zentrum des Projekts: Das Archiv der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, Gotha gab Anfang 2019 seinen Aktenbestand ins FactGrid ein. Bis auf die Aktenebene bietet die Plattform seitdem das

Heino Richard arbeitet seit dem Frühjahr 2019 an der Gesamterfassung aller Pfarrer im ehemaligen Gothaer Herzogtum. Greifbar sind hier mittlerweile alle Pfarreien des Territoriums mit den Stellenbesetzungen von der Reformation bis in die 1920er Jahre.

Das aktuelle Projekt weitet diese Resource aus mit genealogischer Hintergrundinformation zu den Eltern, den Familien, in die die Pfarrer hineinheirateten, und den Familien, die die Kinder gründeten. Berufsinformationen und geographische Hintergrundinformationen sind Teil der hier vorgelegten komplexen Datensätze.

Ein Desiderat ist von hier aus die mittlerweile die Vernetzung der Information in die Aktenbeständen der Landeskirche und des Staatsarchivs hinein.