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Modern Age Glossary

absolute monarchy: form of government where the king or queen has absolute power on all aspects of his or her subjects’ life.

architect: a person who designs buildings.

astrolabe: ancient instrument used by navigators and astronomers to determine latitude, longitude and time of day. It also determines the altitude of the Sun, planets, stars and Moon.

authoritarian monarchy: the politic system in which the kings in 15th Century have all the power.

bourgeois: the inhabitant of walled towns, formed by craftsmen, merchants…

caravel: a light sailing ship with two or three masts and lateen sails used by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 15th and 16th Centuries.

Classical culture: name given to the influence of Ancient Greek or Roman civilizations on language, philosophy, art… in the Renaissance.

clergy: the official leaders of a religious belief. colonisation: n. the act or process of establishing colonies.

compass: an instrument that is used for finding directions. It has a dial and a magnetic needle that always points to the North.

craftsman: a man who makes things skilfully with his hands.

decline: the period when something approaches an end.

Discovery: the act of discovering a place or a thing.

Golden Age: a flourishing period in arts and literature that took place in Spain during the 16th and 17th Centuries.

literature: name given to all creative writing of recognised artistic value.

Modern Age: the term used by historians to refer a period in the History from 1492 (Discovery of America) until 1789 (French Revolution).

navigation: the guidance of ships from place to place.

painter: an artist who paints.

patron: a person who supports and gives money to artists, writers or musicians.

peasant: a person who works on the land.

portolan charts: European navigation maps based on realistic descriptions of harbours and coasts.

Renaissance: means re-birth. A cultural movement that spanned roughly from the 14th Century to the 17th Century. It began in Italy and it later spread to the rest of Europe.

sculptor: a person who creates sculptures.

sextant: navigational instrument used to measure the altitude of a celestial object above the horizon and to determine its latitude and longitude.

silk: valuable/delicate cloth made from the fine treads produced by certain insect larvae.

spice: any of a variety of pungent or aromatic vegetable substances used to for seasoning food.

writer: a person who writes books, stories or articles as a job.

The Enlightenment: a philosophical and cultural movement in the eighteenth century that stressed human reasoning over blind faith and encouraged scientific thinking.

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