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date: 30 June 2022

p. 223. Heredity in the early modern world, 1450–1700locked

p. 223. Heredity in the early modern world, 1450–1700locked

  • John Waller


‘Heredity in the early modern world, 1450–1700’ outlines several factors that gave the concept of inheritance a new salience during this period. First, a period of renewed excitement about the intellectual heritage of classical antiquity combined with the invention of printing allowed more people to become familiar with ancient ideas about sex and heredity. Second, as doubts set in about the veracity of classical theories, some scholars developed new ways of explaining the resemblances of parents and children. Third, an increase in international trade, colonization, and the forced movement of both people and animals injected a practical urgency into questions about the power of circumstance to affect sexual reproduction.

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