- The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern European History, 1350–1750
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- List of Maps
- List of Illustrations
- List of Contributors
- Introduction: ‘Early Modern’ Europe and the Idea of Early Modernity
- The Cartographic Emergence of Europe?
- Weather, Climate, and the Environment
- Disease and Medicine
- Historical Demography
- Travel and Communications
- Languages and Literacy
- Printing and Printedness
- A Revolution in Information?
- Economic and Social Trends
- The Social Order
- Households and Family Systems
- Social Roles and Individual Identities
- Consumption and Material Life
- The Agrarian West
- The Agrarian East
- Country and Town in Mediterranean Europe
- Towns and Urbanization
- The Christian Church, 1370<i>–</i>1550
- Protestantism and its Adherents
- Early Modern Catholicism
- The World of Eastern Orthodoxy
- The Transformations of Judaism
- Islam and Muslims in Europe
- Cultures of Peoples
- Belief and its Limits
- Index of Names and Places
- Index of Subjects
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines the two principal ways in which ‘communications’ in early modern Europe have been interpreted. It first looks at the traditional road and river system, shown to be as much an obstacle to as a means of travel, and discusses the limited improvements between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries. The shortcomings of the infrastructure, however, did not prevent extensive travelling at all social levels, sometimes over extremely long distances. It then examines the creation of an efficient postal system during the sixteenth century, which facilitated the transmission of news and subsequently people too. Above all, this network provided the foundation of the printed newspapers, which began to appear during the seventeenth century and would eventually transform communications completely. Nevertheless, the oral transmission of news and information remained vital until the very end of the ancien régime and far beyond, in towns as in the countryside.
Hamish Scott is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of St Andrews, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He has written several studies of early modern international relations, and edited volumes of essays on Enlightened absolutism and on European nobilities in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He is currently completing a survey of the formation of Europe's aristocracy between the fourteenth and the eighteenth centuries.
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