L'Encylopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des Sciences, des Arts, et des Métiers, "Encyclopedia or Reasoned Dictionary of Sciences, Arts and Crafts," or L'Encyclopédie for short.

Most facts and ideas regarding this wonderful effort have already been noded, however it's interesting to note a few other things. What is also remarkable about it is the synergy of many intellectuals, writers and scientists, collaborating even though they usually disagreed strongly with each other. L'Encyclopédie gives a sampling of most of the (often conflicting) trends and beliefs of 17th century French philosophy. While they often sparred with words elsewhere, most thinkers of this period united toward the common goal that was the Encyclopédie, a practically never before seen effort not only to catalog but to organize as much of the human knowledge as they could -- not unlike E2.

Another thing that many mention about the Encyclopédie is its driving role in the enlightenment, and therefore in the American and French revolutions, in introducing the idea that there are human rights and they should be proclaimed, etc. Other common themes throughout the Encyclopédie are : refusal of authoritarianism in science, the belief in rationality, distrust of any and all religions, especially Christianity.

And finally, for your enlightenment, here are the names of the main collaborators of the Encyclopédie and their areas of expertise, besides the two editors, Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d'Alembert :

P.S. : Since it's in the public domain and is, for all intents and purposes, E2's ancestor, wouldn't it be cool if somebody autonoded l'Encyclopédie?

Research credits go to Google, Wikipedia, and a couple bad philosophy books I own.