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mark, designation for the free village community that was supposed to have been the unit of primitive German social life. According to a theory formulated in the 19th cent. by Georg Ludwig von Maurer and others, the mark was composed of free men in voluntary association, holding lands communally, and governed by a chief elected for a short term. The theory was expanded by other scholars, among them Edward Augustus Freeman, but it later was bitterly attacked by the historians N. D. Fustel de Coulanges and Frederic Seebohm. It has become generally accepted that Roman as well as Germanic institutions influenced the formation of the medieval manorial system and that the idyllic democratic society depicted by Maurer never existed. See village.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a neighborhood community in the Middle Ages in the countries of Western Europe.

The mark community, which was historically preceded by earlier types of communities, began forming in the states founded in the fifth and sixth centuries by Germanic tribes on the territory of the Western Roman Empire. Originally the mark was a free community. It was an association of the farmsteads of free peasants, where the arable land was the property of the individual peasant households that were members of the mark community (allodium) and where pastures, forests, and other undivided lands (Almende) remained the common property of the members of the community. Uniting the peasants of one or several villages according to the neighborhood (territorial) principle, the mark fulfilled primarily economic functions, such as compulsory crop rotation and control over the way undivided lands were used. The free mark was also an organ of public authority in the broad sense of the term; the members of a mark participated in the establishment of the norms of customary law, in administration, and in the judicial system within the boundaries of the mark.

In the process of feudalization the mark gradually became dependent on big feudal landholders, and the arable lands, originally the property of peasant households, became tenancies of feudally dependent peasants. The feudally dependent mark retained, although in a curtailed form, its economic and judicial function and watched over the fulfillment of rent obligations by the peasants. The mark, as F. Engels pointed out, gave “to the oppressed class, the peasants, even under the hardest conditions of medieval serfdom, local cohesion and the means of resistance” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 21, p. 155). Communal customs called in question by the feudal lords were settled in the 13th to 17th centuries at communal assemblies and peasant gatherings at which mark statutes (transcripts of the mark customary law) were compiled. The mark system had a considerable influence on the urban constitution of the emerging medieval cities. The mark died out as a result of the plunder of almost all the land by the feudal lords. It ceased existing economically with the development of capitalism in agriculture.

A communal organization similar to the Germanic mark was characteristic for the majority of peoples engaged in farming.


Marx, K. “Nabroski otveta na pis’mo V. I. Zasulich.” K. Marx and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 19.
Engels, F. “Marka.” Ibid.
Engels, F. “Proiskhozhdenie sem’i, chastnoi sobstvennosti i gosudarstva.” Ibid., vol. 21, pp. 130-55.
Maurer, G. L. Vvedenie v istoriiu obshchinnogo, podvornogo, sel’skogo i gorodskogo ustroistva i obshchestvennoi vlasti. Moscow, 1880. (Translated from German.)
Neusykhin, A. I. Vozniknovenie zavisimogo krest’ianstva kak klassa rannefeodal’nogo obshchestva v Zapadnoi Evrope VI-VIII vv. Moscow, 1956.




(1) The German currency, equal to 100 pfennigs. Named after the old measure of weight, the medieval High German Mark, which equaled one-half pound of silver. Introduced in 1871, after Germany was united into the German Empire, as the single German currency to replace the various currencies that had existed in every German state.

The gold content of the mark, 0.358423 g, remained unchanged until 1914. Gold coins were minted in denominations of 10 and 20 marks, and silver coins in 5, 3, 2, and 1 marks. The enormous inflation engendered by World War I resulted in a disastrous devaluation of the mark. In 1923 the Rentenmark was introduced. In monetary exchange, 1 Rentenmark equaled 1 trillion old marks. In 1924 the reichsmark was declared to be the German currency; it and the Rentenmark were in circulation until 1948.

(2) The currency of Finland, equaling 100 pennia. It is also called the markka. Introduced by the law of 1860. In January 1963 the value of the mark was increased by a factor of 100. According to the rate of the Gosbank (State Bank) of the USSR on Jan. 1, 1974, 100 Finnish marks were equal to 20 rubles 16 kopeks.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The closed-circuit condition in telegraphic communication, during which the signal actuates the printer; the opposite of space.
(computer science)
A distinguishing feature used to signal some particular location or condition.
A charted conspicuous object, structure, or light serving as an indicator for guidance or warning to craft; a beacon; it may be a day-beacon or sea-mark depending upon its location, or a day-mark or lighted beacon depending upon its period of usefulness.
Fathoms marked on a lead ine.
A designation followed by a serial number, used to identify models of military equipment.
The name or value given to a class interval; frequently, the value of the midpoint or the integer nearest the midpoint.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Christian apostle. [N.T.: Mark]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. Nautical one of the intervals distinctively marked on a sounding lead
2. Bowls another name for the jack
3. Rugby Union an action in which a player standing inside his own 22m line catches a forward kick by an opponent and shouts "mark", entitling himself to a free kick
4. Australian Rules football a catch of the ball from a kick of at least 10 yards, after which a free kick is taken
5. the mark Boxing the middle of the stomach at or above the line made by the boxer's trunks
6. (in medieval England and Germany) a piece of land held in common by the free men of a community
7. on your mark or marks a command given to runners in a race to prepare themselves at the starting line


2. a former monetary unit and coin in England and Scotland worth two thirds of a pound sterling
3. a silver coin of Germany until 1924


New Testament
1. one of the four Evangelists. Feast day: April 25
2. the second Gospel, traditionally ascribed to him
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(1) A small blip printed on or notched into various storage media used for timing or counting purposes.

(2) To identify a block of text in order to perform some task on it such as deletion, copying and moving.

(3) To identify an item for future reference.

(4) In digital electronics, a 1 bit. Contrast with space.

(5) On magnetic disk, a recorded character used to identify the beginning of a track.

(6) In optical recognition and mark sensing, a pencil line in a preprinted box.

(7) On magnetic tape, a tape mark is a special character that is recorded after the last character of data.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.