January 20, 2022

Encyclopedias are reference works or summaries that provide summaries of information from all branches of knowledge or from a particular field. Encyclopedias are divided into articles or entries which are often arranged alphabetically and sometimes by thematic categories. Encyclopedia articles are longer and more detailed than even most dictionaries. In general, unlike dictionary entries which focus on linguistic information about words, such as meaning, pronunciation, usage, and grammatical form, encyclopedia articles focus on factual information about the subject mentioned in the article title. Encyclopedias have been around for about 2,000 years and have evolved since then to language (written in an international language or vernacular), size (several or many volumes), intent (presentation of global knowledge or limited range of knowledge), cultural perception ( background, interests, feasibility, abilities), and technologies available for production and distribution (handwritten manuscripts, small or large), cultural perceptions. As a trusted source of information gathered by experts, printed versions are widely found in libraries, schools and other educational institutions. The advent of digital and open source versions in the 20th century has expanded the range of accessibility, authorship, readership, and variety of encyclopedia entries and questioned the notion of encyclopedias and the relevance of their application to dynamic production as traditional.


The word "encyclopedia" is taken from the Greek; enkyklios paideia (ἐγκύκλιος ) which means a complete circle or teaching. This means that the encyclopedia is a complete education that covers all circles of knowledge. Encyclopedias are often confused with dictionaries and the early encyclopedias did develop from dictionaries. The main difference between a dictionary and an encyclopedia is that a dictionary only provides a definition of each entry or lemma from a linguistic point of view or only gives synonyms of words, whereas an encyclopedia provides a more in-depth explanation than we are looking for. An encyclopedia tries to explain each article as a phenomenon. Or shorter: a dictionary is a list of words that are explained in other words while an encyclopedia is a list of things that are sometimes accompanied by pictures to better explain.

Encyclopedia of Antique Classics in Europe

The word Encyclopedia comes from Greek, especially ancient Greek. However, the oldest encyclopedia is not from Greece but from the Roman Empire written by Marcus Porcius Cato and lived in the 3rd to 2nd centuries BC. The oldest surviving form of encyclopedia was written by Caius Plinius Secundus in the first century AD. Pliny's encyclopedia consists of 38 volumes.

The history of the encyclopedia in the modern world

In the modern era, the word encyclopedia was first used by Paul Scalich, a German writer in 1559. Then the English philosopher Francis Bacon in the early 17th century used this word in a modern sense. But the meaning of the word encyclopedia is only used in its meaning today after Denis Diderot, a French writer and philosopher also used this word to name the project he was working on. His project which is also said to be an 18th century project is underway for 30 years, from 1750 – 1780. The aim of this project was to systematically write down all the knowledge known to mankind. In French he called Diderot's encyclopedia: Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers. Its meaning in Indonesian is "Encyclopedia or annotated dictionary about science, art, and work.

Encyclopedia in Indonesia

Classical era


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