An intellectual tradition of enquiry that developed in Europe in the 16th and early 17th centuries ad as a result of new interests in nature, antiquity, the Renaissance of learning, and the addition of time‐depth to people's view of the world. It was in some senses a substitute for the study of classical antiquities, and a reflection of emergent national pride. It may also have been prompted by a reaction to the Reformation, when the monasteries were destroyed and great libraries disposed of. In the 18th century it was invigorated by the rediscovery of ancient Greece and the classical world, the Romantic movement, and the rapid development of natural history.
Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945).