Glossary for Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

A brief glossary of terms pertinent to the Renaissance.

Abbey: A church, such as a monastery or nunnery, that is also a self-sufficient residence for holy men or women.

Abbott (fem., abbess): The leader of a monastery or other church inhabited by people in religious seclusion.

Altarpiece: A painting that hangs in the space behind a church altar.

Annex: To absorb the territory of one political entity within another political entity.

Anti-pope: A person claiming to be the legitimate Roman Catholic pope, despite his failure to be chosen in accordance with Roman Catholic canon law.

Anti-Semitism: Hatred or persecution of Jewish people based on religion or ethnicity.

Appanage: A grant of noble title and rights of taxation over a parcel of land, such as a county, duchy, or earldom, made to the child or vassal of a ruler.

Archbishop: A bishop who, in addition to directly governing his own diocese, exercises administrative authority over the bishops of several other dioceses.

Archdeacon: A cleric who functions as assistant to a bishop.

Archdiocese: The diocese directly and solely governed by an archbishop. The archdiocese and the dioceses of the other bishops under his jurisdiction together form the archbishop’s ecclesiastical province.

Archduke: A duke or prince whose territory enjoys full national sovereignty.

Assize: A civil or criminal court, especially one that sits only periodically or one that travels within its jurisdiction to sit at different places at different times.

Auto-da-fé: The public pronouncement of a sentence by a religious court of the Inquisition, followed by the public execution of that sentence by secular authorities.

Barbary: The coast of North Africa. The term “Barbary” was strongly associated with the pirates who operated in that region during the Renaissance and who preyed upon Mediterranean merchant ships.

Baron: A title of nobility. In England and Japan, barons are the lowest rank of the nobility, but in continental Europe the rank attached to the title varies in different countries.

Benefice: Land awarded in return for service rendered; the award may take the form of a secular feudal title or an ecclesiastical title granted to an individual, or it may be given to an entire church or religious or secular order.

Bey: The governor of a province of the Ottoman Empire.

Bishop: The highest-ranking priest within a diocese, responsible for the administration and guidance of all other clergy within that diocese.

Boyar: A Russian noble ranking just below the ruling prince; in the Renaissance, the boyars of Muscovy (and later of Russia) formed a council that advised and sometimes exerted significant influence over the grand prince (later the czar) in both foreign and domestic affairs.

Bull: See Papal bull.

Bushido: The code of conduct of the Japanese warrior class, stressing martial prowess, honor and fearlessness in battle, and unwavering loyalty to one’s lord.

Byzantine Empire: An empire that succeeded Rome after Rome’s fall as the major Christian power in eastern and central Europe.

Caliph: Islamic ruler claiming both spiritual and secular authority as the successor of the Prophet Muḥammad.

Camera obscura: A device, consisting of a closed box or room with a small hole in one wall, that projects images of objects outside the chamber onto the opposite wall.

Canon law: The laws governing a church, especially the Roman Catholic Church.

Caravel: A small and maneuverable full-rigged sailing ship, useful for exploring new territories but without sufficient cargo capacity to be an effective merchant vessel.

Cardinal: A high official in the Roman Catholic Church, second only to the pope. Cardinals are appointed by the pope, and the college of cardinals is the body that elects a new pope.

Carrack: A large, bulky, full-rigged sailing ship, able to carry much cargo, but lacking maneuverability.

Cathedral: A church that functions as the administrative center of a diocese and as the home church of its bishop.

Catholicism: A branch of Christianity organized in a strict hierarchy and subscribing to a complex body of religious dogma, including belief in transubstantiation, in papal infallibility, and in justification by faith in combination with good works. The two Catholic Churches are the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Chamberlain: The chief officer governing the household affairs of a royal or noble family.

Chancellor: The secretary of a king or noble.

Chancery: A court of equity in England, headed by the lord high chancellor, whose job was to hear petitions for the redress of wrongs done by the common law courts or to bypass those courts altogether and provide more just judgments than were available at common law.

Chivalry: A set of values and practices that evolved to define the ideal of knighthood in the Middle Ages, centered around courtly grace, skill in battle, honor, and devoted loyalty to the lord and lady one serves.

City-state: A sovereign state composed of a single city and its surrounding territory.

Classicism: The aesthetic and stylistic principles characteristic of ancient Greek and Roman art, and of those later artists who imitated the ancients. The major features of Renaissance classicism are harmony and balance: The composition of a work of art or the design of a building is meant to be balanced and harmonious, and the representation of a given object, especially the human body, is meant to strike a balance between the conflicting demands of realism (the body should look like a real body) and idealism (the body should be ideally beautiful).

Clergy: All ordained or otherwise recognized members of a church, from minor initiates up to and including the church leader.

Cleric: Any member of the clergy.

Colony: A territory taken and occupied by citizens of a different, usually distant, nation and often also inhabited by indigenous peoples who previously controlled the territory.

Commodity: Any good that circulates as an article of exchange in a money economy.

Commoner: Anyone who is not a member of the clergy, who is not a member of a noble family, and who is not a member of a royal family.

Communion: The consumption of consecrated bread and wine in a Christian sacrament symbolizing or enacting spiritual union with Christ.

Condottiere: The leader of a mercenary band or army.

Conquistador: A Renaissance-era Spanish explorer and conqueror, especially of the Americas.

Consort: A spouse; when used in conjunction with a royal title, consort becomes the title of a royal spouse, such as queen consort, prince consort, and so forth.

Contrapuntal: Characterized by the juxtaposition of independent melodies to form a harmonious compositional whole; polyphonic.

Corsair: A pirate or a privateer, especially one operating on the Barbary Coast.

Count: A title of nobility; in continental Western Europe, a count is equivalent in rank to an English earl.

Counter-Reformation: A movement within the Catholic Church in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, designed both to defeat the external threat of the Protestant Reformation and to institute reforms to respond to some of the internal issues that gave rise to Protestantism in the first place.

Court: The group of officials, councillors, and hangers-on assembled at the official residence of a monarch or other ruler. Especially in the Renaissance, European courts contained a mixture of those who wielded real power, those who served the ruler or the ministers, an entourage of people who merely desired to be near power, and practitioners of the arts who enjoyed the patronage of their ruler.

Courtier: A member of a ruler’s entourage at court.

Create: To grant someone a title that did not previously exist: Thomas Howard was created earl of Suffolk in 1603.

Crusade: One of a series of medieval holy wars fought by Christian armies against Islamic forces to take control of the Holy Land. In the Renaissance, several popes and other Christian leaders desired to engage in further crusades, but their plans were never realized.

Curate: A cleric who functions as assistant to a rector or parish priest.

Czar: A Russian or other Slavic emperor. The word “czar” is derived from the Roman title caesar and is meant to suggest a ruler of equal stature to the emperors of imperial Rome.

Daimyo: A Japanese feudal lord. Daimyos first arose around the tenth century, but in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, a new group called the shugo daimyō, or military governors, developed. These were appointed by the shogun to govern large area , but they owned only a small portion of the territory they governed. Around the mid-fifteenth century, the shugo daimyo were replaced by the sengoku daimyō, who generally controlled a smaller area, but whose entire territories belonged directly to them or to their vassals.

Deacon: A member of the clergy ranking just below priest in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox Churches. In Roman Catholicism, the deacon is the middle rank of the three major orders, falling between priest and subdeacon in the hierarchy.

Diocese: The basic administrative and territorial unit of the Church; each diocese is governed by a bishop.

Dispensation: Official papal exemption from canon law.

Doge: Title given to the ruler of the Republic of Venice.

Dogma: The body of beliefs and doctrines formally held and sanctioned by a church.

Dowager: A widow who retains the noble or royal title or the property she derived from her husband.

Duke (fem., duchess): A title of nobility or of rulership. In continental Europe, dukes often reigned as sovereigns over autonomous or semi-autonomous territories called duchies. In England, duke was the highest rank of the nobility, but it did not signify sovereign control of a territory.

Dynasty: A line of rulers who succeed one another based on their familial relationships.

Earl: A title of British nobility ranking below marquess and above viscount.

Early modern period: A value-neutral designation for the Renaissance, the term “early modern” is meant to emphasize the beginning development of the economic, technological, and social structures that would make possible the Industrial Revolution. It implicitly locates the Renaissance as the period of transition between feudalism and capitalism.

Eastern Orthodox Church: A group of self-governing Catholic churches that split off from the Roman Catholic Church in 1054. While the patriarch, or leader, of each branch of Orthodoxy is ranked hierarchically in relation to the others, each branch is essentially self-governing, and the relationship between the various branches is that of a loose federation.

Ecclesiastical: Of or relating to a church.

Emir: General title given to Islamic military commanders, rulers, and governors.

Empire: A large realm, ruled by an emperor or empress, that consists of previously distinct political units joined together under the ruler’s central authority. In the Renaissance, some empires, such as the Spanish, were primarily colonial, whereas others, such as the Songhai and the Russian Empires, were primarily the result of annexing immediately adjacent territories.

Encomienda: A legal system instituted in Spain’s American colonies wherein the Crown granted control over a specific number of American Indians to a conquistador or other colonizer. The recipient of the grant was given the right to exact a tribute from the Indians, and this tribute was generally paid in the form of forced labor. The recipient also gained de facto control of the land occupied by the Indians, although the land was not technically included in the grant.

Excommunicate: To formally censure and ostracize someone from a church.

Feudalism: A political and economic system characterized by a strict social hierarchy based upon each person’s relationship to land. At the top is a monarch or other ruler who is the ultimate owner of all land in the country. The monarch grants lands to nobles, who in turn assign parcels to lower nobles and to serfs. The serfs must work the land and give any surplus beyond what they need to subsist to their lords, while the lords owe allegiance, including military support, to superior nobles and to their monarch.

Flank: The side of a military formation.

Folio: A book consisting of pieces of paper folded in half and bound together. The folio is a larger format than the quarto, and it was the format used for collections of plays such as Shakespeare’s.

Fresco: A painting created on plaster spread directly on a wall.

Friar: A member of one of the mendicant orders of the clergy; that is, a holy man who has taken vows against owning property and who begs for sustenance.

Full-rigged: Utilizing both square and lateen (triangular) sails.

Galleon: A large, often full-rigged sailing ship used for both warfare and commerce.

Galley: A long ship driven primarily by oars and often rowed by slaves.

Gold Coast: Coastal area of West Africa, corresponding roughly with the coast of modern-day Ghana.

Golden Horde: A nation that began as the western portion of Genghis Kahn’s Mongol Empire and later became autonomous. The Golden Horde dominated Russia in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance.

Gout: A disease in which the blood is contaminated with excess amounts of uric acid and the joints become inflamed. Gout was associated with wealth in the medieval and early modern periods, because it was thought to be caused by a diet dominated by foods then available only to the rich.

Governor: The proxy representative of an emperor or central government who rules over a colony or an imperial territory; viceroy.

Grand duke: The ruler of a sovereign territory called a grand duchy; an archduke.

Grand prince: The ruler of a Russian city-state.

Groundlings: The poorer audience members at an Elizabethan play who stood in the pit near the stage.

Hadith: The collected traditions of Islam, detailing the words and deeds of Muḥammad; after the Qur՚ān, one of the most important sources of Islamic law and belief.

Hagiography: Biography or study of the saints.

Halberd: A weapon in which both a pike and a battle axe are mounted on the same six-foot shaft.

Harquebus: An early, heavy matchlock firearm, often fired from a support.

Hegemony: Dominance; military hegemony in a region consists of reliable control of that region and the ability to defeat any potential invaders or insurgents.

Heresy: Making a statement or holding a belief that contradicts established church dogma. In the Renaissance, heresy against the Roman Catholic Church constituted a serious crime subject to punishments up to and including death.

Heretic: Someone judged to have committed heresy.

House: A royal or noble family.

Humanism: A Renaissance intellectual and artistic movement emphasizing individualism, secularism, rational critical thought, and an embrace of classicism in art and literature. adj.: Humanist.

Humanistic: Relating to a broad concern with the values or tenets associated with Humanism; “humanistic” applies to more general and less systematic beliefs and practices than does “Humanist.”

Imam: An Islamic religious and political leader.

Indigenous: Native to a particular region.

Individualism: The belief that the individual is the most important unit of society, and that society and social structures should protect the interests of each of its individual members.

Indulgence: In Roman Catholicism, remission of punishment either on Earth or in Purgatory, granted for a sin that has already been confessed and forgiven and whose eternal punishment in Hell has therefore already been remitted. Indulgences were granted in exchange either for an act of penance or for money.

Infidel: One who does not believe in a particular religion.

Inquisition: A Roman Catholic court of religious inquiry charged with discovering and punishing heresy.

Invest: Formally to place someone in office, especially a religious office such as a bishopric.

Ivory Coast: Coastal area of West Africa, corresponding roughly with the coast of the modern-day Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.

Janissary: An elite soldier of the Ottoman Empire.

Jihad: Islamic holy war.

Khan: Title given to Tatar, Turkish, Chinese, and Mongolian rulers, warlords, and tribal leaders.

King: The ruler of a kingdom. In the Renaissance, most kingdoms were still essentially feudal in their political structures; that is, all nobles were vassals of the king (either directly, or indirectly as vassals of superior nobles), and the king ruled by virtue of the combined political and military support of these vassals.

Lateen-rigged: Utilizing triangular sails.

Latitude: The distance between a given point on Earth and the earth’s equator, expressed in angular degrees.

Legate: See Papal legate.

Liturgy: Any public rite or ceremony of the Church.

Longitude: The distance between a given point on Earth and a line (called the prime meridian) that extends from the North Pole to the South Pole, expressed in angular degrees.

Lord: In a feudal society, a person who grants land rights to a vassal in return for service.

Lord deputy: In Ireland, a governor who functions as the indirect representative of the English crown, subordinate to the lord lieutenant.

Lord lieutenant: The direct representative of the English crown in Ireland, equivalent to a viceroy.

Lord protector: See Protector.

Madrigal: An a cappella, polyphonic, secular song; the form flourished in and is distinctive of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Mamlūk: (1) A soldier in an Islamic army of slaves. (2) A dynasty of sultans that employed such slave armies to rule Egypt and Syria from the mid-thirteenth to early sixteenth centuries.

Mannerism: A late-Renaissance artistic movement that developed in reaction to High Renaissance classicism. Mannerism was characterized by stylistic techniques designed to express the point of view of the artist, rather than techniques that effaced the artist to represent beautiful ideal forms realistically. Mannerists were also interested in representing liminal objects and experiences infinite space, miraculous revelation, motion captured in the static image that challenged the type of realism characteristic of Renaissance classicism.

March: A border territory, especially one that is or was originally used as a defensive boundary against invasion.

Margrave: A title of European nobility equivalent in rank to an English marquess.

Marquess: An English noble ranking between an earl and a duke (originally the earl of a march).

Mass: The Roman Catholic liturgy performed in conjunction with the taking of Communion.

Matchlock: A firing mechanism employed in early firearms. The gun is fired by applying a slow-burning match directly to a gunpowder charge through a hole in the weapon’s breech.

Mendicant: A member of any religious order that takes vows against owning property and begs for the order’s daily subsistence needs.

Mercantilism: An economic system characterized by centralized governmental control of trade, manufacturing, and agriculture, through which the government seeks to accumulate wealth and strengthen the national economy. Mercantilism arose in several European Renaissance countries to stabilize their economies during the decline of feudalism.

Mercenary: A soldier who fights for wages, especially one hired by a foreign government.

Metropolitan: In Eastern Orthodoxy, the equivalent of an archbishop.

Minister: In a secular context, a minister in the Renaissance was an adviser to a monarch or other head of state. In a religious context, minister is the Protestant title given to a cleric with the same rank or function as a Catholic priest.

Mission: A colonial ministry whose task is to convert indigenous people to Christianity.

Missionary: An agent of the Church commissioned to travel to a colony or other distant location to gain converts.

Modern: Characterized by the economic, technological, and social structures of industrial capitalism and the nation-state.

Monastery: A home for monks or other persons living in accordance with religious vows. See also nunnery

Monk: A man who has taken religious vows of self-privation, and who lives in seclusion or semiseclusion from the material world.

Monopoly: Control by one person, group, or government over a raw material, commodity, or trade route.

Motet: A sacred, polyphonic, choral song, usually performed a cappella.

Movable type: A set of individual letters or characters used for printing that can be placed in any sequence to form words and can be reused and reordered to form new words. Moveable type is the basis of the printing press, although it was invented several centuries before the press itself.

Mysticism: The belief that personal, subjective experience can transcend its limitations and result in direct, objective knowledge of God, truth, or reality.

Nation-state: A modern, sovereign nation, ruled by a centralized government, which enjoys an absolute legal monopoly on violence within its borders.

Nativity: A representation of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Naturalism: An artistic style emphasizing the realistic portrayal of an object as it appears in nature.

Neo-Confucianism: A philosophical and spiritual movement involving the resurgence and reinterpretation of the teachings of the Chinese sage Confucius.

Neopaganism: A Renaissance artistic movement in which pagan images and themes from antiquity were reintroduced into painting. Such motifs often existed alongside orthodox Christian themes and images.

Netherlandish school: A school of painting that combined Renaissance Humanist sensibilities and concerns with an inherited gothic tradition very different from the classical tradition that shaped the Italian Humanists. Notable for the representation of light and a distinctive approach to symbolism.

Noble: In a feudal society, any member of the landed aristocracy, who derive their titles and lands from lord/vassal relationships.

Nun: A woman who has taken religious vows of self-privation, and who lives in seclusion or semiseclusion from the material world.

Nunnery: A home for nuns or other persons living in accordance with religious vows.

Oyer and terminer: A commission authorizing a judge or panel of judges sitting at the assizes to hear a specific case or complaint.

Palette: The set of colors or tones commonly used by a given artist or artistic school.

Papal bull: A formal order or decree issued by the pope.

Papal legate: An emissary or ambassador of the papacy.

Papal nuncio: A papal legate sent as a permanent envoy to a particular government and residing at the seat of that government.

Papal States: A sovereign Italian city-state, based in Rome, ruled by the pope and serving as the spiritual seat of his papacy.

Parish: The portion of a diocese under the care of a single pastor or priest.

Parliament: An assembly of representatives, usually a mix of nobles, clergy, and commoners, that func tions as a legislative body serving under the sovereignty of a monarch.

Paṣa: The highest title of rank or honor in the Ottoman Empire. In the Renaissance, the title generally attached to governors of foreign territories and to viziers of the domestic government.

Patriarch: The head of one of the self-governing branches of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Patron: A person who financially or materially supports an artist, composer, poet, or other creator.

Peasant: The lowest rank of commoner, who works the land in order to subsist.

Perspective: A system for mapping the three-dimensional world onto a two-dimensional surface in a mathematically precise fashion. In perfect or “true” perspective, the size of any image varies as the inverse of the square of its (represented) distance from the observer. In other words, if a tree that is 10 feet away is painted 1 inch tall, a tree of the same height that is 20 feet away will be painted 1/4 inch tall, and a tree of the same height that is 30 feet away will be painted 1/9 inch tall.

Pietà: An image of the Virgin Mary mourning over the body of Jesus Christ.

Pike: A heavy spear with an extremely long shaft.

Polyphonic: Characterized by the juxtaposition of independent melodies to form a harmonious compositional whole; contrapuntal.

Pope: The spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church and temporal ruler of the Papal States.

Pre-Columbian: Relating to events in the Americas before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.

Prelate: Any superior cleric holding an office that has jurisdiction over lower clerics. Prelates include bishops, abbots, archdeacons, and administrative church officials such as provosts or deans.

Pretender: Someone who falsely claims to be a rightful ruler. Since the “right” of a ruler in the Renaissance was often asserted and defended by force, a pretender who succeeded in overthrowing a sitting monarch was no longer a pretender.

Priest: A holy man sanctified and authorized to perform the central rites and ceremonies of a religion. In Roman Catholicism, the title “priest” attaches to clerics who rank between bishop and deacon in the religious hierarchy.

Primate: A bishop who exercises authority over several ecclesiastical provinces. A primate is more powerful than an archbishop, who governs the dioceses within a single province.

Prior (fem., prioress): A cleric in a position of monastic authority. Originally a generic term, the precise rank and duties of a prior vary widely between orders and denominations, but he is often either the leader of a small monastery or the highest-ranking assistant to an abbot.

Privateer: A pirate or pirate ship commissioned or licensed by a government to raid the ships of other nations.

Protector: Title sometimes given to a regent, signifying that he is both the protector of the young monarch and the protector of the realm during the monarch’s youth.

Protestantism: A branch of Christianity, incorporating many different churches, that rejects the doctrine of papal infallibility and that believes in justification by faith alone and in a priesthood of all believers who read the Bible for themselves rather than having it interpreted to them by the clergy.

Quarto: A book printed on pages the size of a quarter sheet of paper each. Renaissance quartos were best suited to publishing individual plays or short collections of poetry, as opposed to the larger folio editions of collected works.

Quattrocento: Fifteenth century conventions of Italian art and literature, especially those techniques considered to mark the beginning of the Early Renaissance and to lay the foundation for the High Renaissance.

Queen mother: A former queen who is the mother of the current ruler.

Rector: A religious leader. In some Protestant churches, the leader of a parish; in the Roman Catholic Church, the head of a church that has no pastor or a cleric who shares duties with a pastor.

Reformation: The Protestant movements that swept through Europe during the Renaissance, ending Catholicism’s position as the sole form of Christianity.

Regent: One who temporarily governs in place of a monarch or other ruler who is too young or infirm to govern for him- or herself.

Renaissance: A general term for the resurgence of cultural production in a given area, the Renaissance also refers to the specific flourishing of art and culture during the transition from medieval to modern political, economic, and social structures in Western Europe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Republic: A political unit not ruled by a monarch, especially one governed by a group of representatives chosen by and responsible to its citizens. In Renaissance republics, the citizenry was still a small subsection of the populace.

Ronin: A masterless samurai. Because serving one’s master well was the central value of the samurai code of bushido, ronin were usually considered dishonorable, either because they had failed their lord or because they had willfully rejected the code.

Sack: The plundering of a captured city or territory.

Samurai: A member of the Japanese warrior caste, especially a warrior who serves a daimyo and who subscribes to a strict code of conduct called bushido.

Schism: A split or division within a formerly unified entity, especially a formal split within a church or other religious institution.

Secular: Nonreligious, either in content or in context. Thus, secular can be a simple antonym for religious, but it can also refer to members of the clergy who live and act in the public sphere rather than spending their lives in religious seclusion in a monastery or abbey.

See: The seat of power of a high-ranking cleric, such as a bishop, archbishop, or pope.

Serf: A peasant bound to the land through a feudal contract. Serfs were given a parcel of land to live and work on, but any surplus they produced was owed to their landlord as rent, tax, or tribute.

Sharia: Islamic holy law.

Shia, Shīՙite: Members of the branch of Islam that believes that Ali and the imams are the only rightful successors of Muḥammad and that the last imam will someday return.

Shogun: Japanese military ruler.

Siege: A military operation in which a city or other territory is cut off from the outside world in order to compel its surrender when food and other supplies are exhausted.

Silk Road: A land-based trading route between China and the West, the Silk Road was largely superceded by the discovery of sea routes between the West and the East.

Square-rigged: Utilizing square or rectangular sails.

Stadholder: A provincial governor of the Netherlands. The stadholders were initially viceroys of Burgundy and of the Habsburgs, but after the Dutch Revolt, the offices became elective.

State: An autonomous, self-governing, sovereign political unit.

Succession: The passing of sovereign authority from one person or group to another person or group, or the rules governing that process.

Sultan: The political or secular ruler of an Islamic state.

Sunni: Members of the orthodox branch of Islam that considers the first four caliphs to be rightful successors of Muḥammad.

Syncretism: The combination or coexistence of radically different artistic forms, styles, technologies, cultures, beliefs, or practices.

Temporal: Dealing with the physical, material world; not spiritual.

Tribute: A regular, periodic payment by one sovereign nation to a more powerful one in return for protection or for allowing the tributary to remain sovereign.

Triptych: A set of three paintings meant to be displayed together and usually painted on three attached panels. Triptychs were commonly used as altarpieces.

Trompe l’oeil: A painting technique in which the eye is momentarily fooled into believing the painted object is a real object.

Vassal: In a feudal society, a person who gives loyalty and service to a lord in return for land.

Vicar: A cleric who represents another cleric, especially one who serves as a substitute or agent for a parish priest or a prelate.

Viceroy: A representative of an emperor or other monarch that serves as governor of a colony or province in the name of that monarch.

Viscount: A title of British nobility ranking below earl and above baron.

Vizier: Title given to high officials of Muslim nations. In the Ottoman Empire beginning around 1453, the viziers were specifically ministers to the sultan. The chief minister was known as the grand vizier, and members of the council that assisted and filled in for the grand vizier were called dome viziers. Use of the title was later expanded to include other important domestic officials, as well as provincial governors.

Wheel lock: The next evolution of the firearm after the matchlock, the wheel lock consisted of a wheel that would produce sparks from a flint when it turned, thereby eliminating the need for a match to fire the gun.

Workshop: In Renaissance Europe, a group of young artists that both aided a master in creating his works and studied the master’s technique, producing works of their own in imitation of the master’s style. The workshop system of apprenticeship has lead to problems of attribution for art historians, because workshop paintings were often unsigned, and apprentices’ styles often resembled those of each other, as well as those of their masters.

Categories: History