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Questions tagged [terminology]

For questions about words, phrases and definitions specifically used by historians.

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Was the acronym BIOS (computing) intentional re: the Ancient Greek βίος? [closed]

I ask because other acronyms could certainly have been chosen, but BIOS has a specific meaning in Ancient Greek, which, along with Latin, are the source languages of much of our scientific terminology....
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What does “Depot Battalion” mean in Hart's Annual Army List?

Copies of Hart's Annual Army List are available online, and consist of a list of all British army officers employed in a given year. Some of the listings are self-explanatory (e.g. so-and-so with ...
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Time span of a decade

Wikipedia says that The 21st century began on January 1, 2001 and will end on December 31, 2100. The first decade of 21st century is the 2000s. Here Wikipedia says that The 2000s was a decade ...
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What terms and language do I need to search for collections of ancient symbols and images?

I'm sorry I just don't know the terminology to successfully google what I'm looking for. What field studies artifacts that contain some form of image made by people (even if the image is just a ...
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What is a “barso”? (ref. Richard Cocks' diaries)

Question In his diaries documenting his time in Japan, Richard Cocks mentions barsos frequently, apparently meaning some kind of liquid containing vessel (mostly in reference to [gifts of] alcohol, ...
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Circa 1000, what name would locals in England use for invaders?

If I am living in England around 1000 and some Scandinavian raiders show up at my village to pillage our farms, which phrase would I be most likely to be saying: "Oh no, here come the Vikings!" "Oh ...
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What does the abbreviation “adhib.” mean in historiography or archival science?

What does the abbreviation adhib. mean in the context of historiography and archival science? Remarks. This question is not about the meaning in medicine. This is easy to look up. Of course, ...
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Why did Paul von Hindenburg wrongly call Adolf Hitler “Bohemian corporal”?

Paul von Hindenburg didn't like Adolf Hitler because he was a low-ranked individual from the poor/low class. He called him mockingly "Bohemian corporal". However in reality Adolf Hitler was not ...
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What is the name of the theory opposite to the Great Man theory?

The Great Man theory is a 19th-century idea according to which history can be largely explained by the impact of "great men", or heroes; highly influential individuals. In nearly every lecture on ...
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What is the Name of the Phoenician Religion?

I am writing an article about a Phoenician king, Ithobaal I, and was curious about what religion Phoenicians had. Is there any technical term for it or is it just "Phoenician Religion" or "Phoenician ...
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How is it determined what Culture is Period/Dynasty/Civilization part of?

I'm trying to make a fairly complete history for a con world and I'm looking at historical groups to make the history more realistic and I noticed something... At some point the names of these groups ...
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Where does the phrase “behind the wind” come from?

In Millennium: A History of the Last Thousand Years, chapter 4 ("The World Behind the Wind"), the second-to-last sentence: On the evidence of the events of the fifteenth century, in the world east ...
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Why some languages uses the term “high” to refer to an early period and the world “low” to refer to a late one? [closed]

Well, not exactly the terms "high" and "low" but the corresponding translations. Let's take for example the Middle Ages. The periodisation in English splits the Middle Ages in 3: Early Middle Ages ...
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When did the term “mirror” begin to be used in place of “looking glass?”

As recently as 150 years ago (I'm thinking of Lewis Carrol's "Through the Looking Glass"), the term looking glass was used to denote what we today call a mirror. I'm wondering, however, when the ...
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Seeking proper terminology for the changes that occur in a text throughout history

What is the proper terminology for the changes that occur to a narrative/text throughout history? These changes could include: interpretation : such as modifying the narrative/text in order to ...
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Why were bows referred to as “Indian Artillery”?

So, I recently asked a question about dueling with bows. The top answer for that included an account in The Scottish Journal which described bows and arrows as "Indian Artillery", which is a ...
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When was the name of the Mexican war changed to Mexican-American war?

I learned recently (by having an answer marked wrong in Pub Quiz) that the conflict which was called the Mexican War when I was in school is now called the Mexican-American War. My question: When, ...
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As American as the Apple Pie?

After doing my own research I found that the apple pie was invented in England in the 1300's. With that being the case, why do we often hear the saying "It's as American as the apple pie"? Because I ...
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What is the term for a person who surveys the land and relays messages from a noble to his governed village?

The question is self-explanatory: What is the term for a person who surveys the land and relays messages from a noble to his governed village? The officer would: Survey the village or tenant, to ...
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Has anyone ever named a war after their own country or faction?

An interesting conversation has come up on the Science Fiction and Fantasy SE site. I will try to summarize it as briefly as possible. Someone asked a question about the second Star Wars prequel. ...
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How do historians decide who to refer to as 'the allies?'

In many major wars one side has been branded collectively as the allies. In WWI and WWII we refer to the American/British coalition as the allies. I have heard Rome both fighting against the 'allies' ...
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What is a knight of the windmill?

In Thomas Paine's The American Crisis, while ridiculing Sir William Howe and his recently obtained knighthood, said: As a proper preliminary towards the arrangement of your funeral honors, we ...
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Early modern vs late modern vs post modern?

I frequently come across these three terms, but I haven't been able to find a source that explains the difference between all three of them precisely. Here's what I think I know now: The early ...
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'Sub rosa' council meetings

Wiktionary's etymology of the term sub rosa reads: The rose's connotation for secrecy dates back to Greek mythology. Aphrodite gave a rose to her son Eros, the god of love; he, in turn, gave it to ...
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Who first coined the name “Wahhabi”?

Specifically, did Muslims coin it or non-Muslims? Is there any evidence, recorded in history, about the first usage of this term?
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Vigenere vs. Bellaso

I noticed on the Wikipedia article for the Vigenere cipher, that: The Vigenère (French pronunciation: [viʒnɛːʁ]) cipher has been reinvented many times. The method was originally described by ...
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What lands have been called by names chosen to disassociate those lands from its inhabitants

Historically, the name "Persia" has been applied to southern Asia to disassociate that land from the people who inhabit it, who called themselves Aran. Similarly, the name "Palestine" has been applied ...
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Why aren't the Americas named after Christopher Columbus

I was reading the question Why is Columbus Credited with Discovering America, and I wondered why aren't the Americas named after him? I was under the impression that although he is the one we credit ...
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Since the inception of the United States, has the term “America” ever referred to something more than simply “the United States”?

Today we use the terms America and the United States as synonyms. The official name of the country is The United States of America. But prompted by a question on another forum, wherein an author ...
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What Was “Courtly Love” (Amour Courtois?)

My understanding was that it was a form of "extramarital" romance for knights and nobles in Europe during the Middle Ages. Was it ever an "institution" anywhere, and what (if any) impact did it have ...
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Why do people (governments) hang on to the idea of East and West?

The idea of "East and West" originated in the (nowadays) Middle East during "Trojan" times. The meaning of "East and West" changed since then but the "Western" governments (and by default, Eastern ...
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What makes a distinct civilization?

Inspired by this question, I have a more general one: What is, historically speaking, a civilization? We can identify broad traits that make a society a civilization- agriculture, city building, ...
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What was the significance of the term “Lollard” in describing religious dissenters? [closed]

When John Wycliffe's followers gained support from the common people, why did the church call them Lollards? What does Lollard mean? Why didn't they just call them Wycliffites?
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What is the difference between the Middle Ages and the Dark Ages?

Is there any difference between the "Middle Ages" and the "Dark Ages"?
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Where did the term “Middle Ages” come from?

Where did the term "Middle Ages" come from? Who was the first known person to use that term?