We summarize the fifty-year concerted effort to place the “activity” of the Sun in the context of the stars. As a working definition of solar activity in the context of stars, we adopt those globally–observable variations on time scales below thermal time scales, of ~105 yr for the convection zone. So defined, activity is dominated by magnetic–field evolution, including the 22–year Hale cycle, the typical time it takes for the quasi-periodic reversal in which the global magnetic–field takes place. This is accompanied by sunspot variations with 11 year periods, known since the time of Schwabe, as well as faster variations due to rotation of active regions and flaring. “Diagnostics and indices” are terms given to the indirect signatures of varying magnetic–fields, including the photometric (broad-band) variations associated with the sunspot cycle, and variations of the accompanying heated plasma in higher layers of stellar atmospheres seen at special optical wavelengths, and UV and X-ray wavelengths. Our attention is also focussed on the theme of the Symposium by examining evidence for deep and extended minima of stars, and placing the 70–year long solar Maunder Minimum into a stellar context.
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