People need rules, written ones and unwritten ones. The latter are of particular importance when it comes to demonstrating whether one is a member of a certain community or not. But how is it possible for newcomers to know these rules? By reading about them. That is to say, someone simply needs to write them down, just as Johann Christian Lünig did in his book on court ceremonial.
What role does God play in the human conception of the world? Are the natural sciences enough to explain the world’s miracles? That is no new question but a very old one, and also the people of the 18th century were confronted with it. They sought their solution in alchemy.
Sports Personality of the Year, the Oscars, weekly charts – rarely a domain can do without those popular rankings. They date back to the era of Enlightenment. In 1748, David Herrliberger presented the most important Swiss personalities. Do we still know them today?
Humanists did not have Facebook to maintain their international contacts. They were not in need of “likes” to show someone’s popularity. But they also had their methods…
Did you know that many members of the 19th century European nobility were tattoo enthusiasts? And did you know that books like Forster’s contributed significantly to this? We will tell you why.
The title of Johannes Stumpf’s account would translate to “A chronicle of all cities, cantons, and people of the commendable Confederacy and a description of its impressive deeds“ in today’s English. With this work, Christoph Froschauer gave Protestant Switzerland its own history.
They have fallen out of fashion – those old prayer books that accompanied the life of their owners just a few generations ago the way smartphones do today. Even though the word “selfie” was not yet known at the time, some prayer books were, in fact, used to immortalize the most important moments in their owners’ lives.
It is a truism that life comes easier for beautiful people. While we are ashamed of our superficiality today, educated contemporaries of the 18th and 19th century read Lavater, who told them why their preconceived ideas were justified.
Every now and then, you will still find beautifully embellished letters patent for people who did not make it into any history book. They are a wonderful record of the society of the Ancien Régime – a society in which every commoner sought personal nobility, even under the enlightened ruler Joseph II.