Chapter 10 Vocabulary
Age of Absolutism
was the time period from 1550 to 1800, when the new monarchs in France, England
and Spain began building strong states by organizing their resources, curbing the power of the feudal
nobility and creating strong centralized bureaucracies.
French lawyer who converted to Protestant Christianity and founded a Protestant
community in Geneva, Switzerland, where he became a sort of theological dictator and wrote his
theological ideas in his
Institutes of the Christian Religion
. Calvinism made an even more radical break
from the Church of Rome than the Anglicans or the Lutherans as his community was founded on the
principles of strict morality and discipline.
Catherine the Great
(1762-1795): continued Peter’s reforms and attempted to increase the
effectiveness of the bureaucracy by appointing officials who had been educated in the Western-
European style. She divided Russia into 50 administrative provinces, each supervised by a governor-
general. She spelled out the rights and obligations of the nobility and the urban classes in her
and in the parallel
Charter of Towns
But Catherine was an autocrat who, on one hand did
not want to give autonomy to towns and nobility, but was wise enough, on the other hand, to keep the
nobility happy by confirming their privileges and extending their rights over the peasants.
Spanish author whose landmark novel,
, was the first true novel of European
King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor (reigned 1519-1556) who worked tirelessly, but in
spite of his power and wealthy, far-flung holdings, was unable to dominate Europe, nor create any
Holy Roman Empire.
: Polish astronomer who published a treatise in 1543,
On the Revolution of the
which broke with Ptolemaic theory and proposed that the sun was the center of the
universe and that the planets revolved around the sun.
French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist, was a major influence in
this transition from medieval science and philosophy to the modern era and the scientific method.
Descartes called into question the authoritarian system of the scholastics and viewed the physical world
as a giant machine, which could be measured and observed. Descartes was convinced that this
mathematical method of study could be extended to all human studies. He expressed his idea in the Latin
Cogito, ergo sum
(“I think, therefore I am)
by which he meant that the external world must exist. And, if
it exists, it can be studied and understood.
Erasmus of Rotterdam
was the leading Christian Humanist. He produced a Greek New Testament and
strongly fought for reform in the Church. He iniatially supported Martin Luther but broke with Luther
when Luther abandoned the Church.