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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Historia (Allegory of History).
By Nikolaos Gysis (1892).
The Historian
By E. Irving Couse (1902).
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.[1]
George Santayana

History (from Greek ἱστορία - historia, meaning "inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation"[2]) is the study of the human past. Scholars who write about history are called historians. It is a field of research which uses a narrative to examine and analyse the sequence of events, and it sometimes attempts to investigate objectively the patterns of cause and effect that determine events.[3][4] Historians debate the nature of history and its usefulness. This includes discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present.[5][3][6][7] The stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the legends surrounding King Arthur) are usually classified as cultural heritage rather than the "disinterested investigation" needed by the discipline of history.[8][9] Events of the past prior to written record are considered prehistory.



Frederick Dielman (1896).

The word history comes from the root *weid- "know" or "see"[2] — from which also come Greek ἰδέᾱ (idéā) "appearance" or "kind", Latin ēvidēns and vīsiō, Italian vista, English wit, I wot, wise, and wisdom, Sanskrit veda,[10] and Slavic videti. (See asterisk.)

Ancient Greek ἱστορία means "inquiry" or "knowledge from inquiry", from ἵστωρ (hístōr) "judge" (from the Proto-Indo-European agent noun *wid-tor: "one who knows").[11] It was in that sense that Aristotle used the word in his Περὶ Τὰ Ζῷα Ἱστορίαι[12] (Perì Tà Zôa Ηistoríai "Inquiries about Animals"). The ancestor word ἵστωρ is attested early on in Homeric Hymns, Heraclitus, the Athenian ephebes' oath, and in Boiotic inscriptions (in a legal sense, either "judge" or "witness", or similar).

Although the related verb οἷδα oîda "I know" (zero-grade aorist stem id- "see") has d, ἵστωρ has s, according to the Greek phonological rule that a dental stop (t, d, or th) before another dental stop becomes s.[13]

It was still in the Greek sense that Francis Bacon used the term in the late 16th century, when he wrote about "Natural History". For him, historia was "the knowledge of objects determined by space and time", that sort of knowledge provided by memory (while science was provided by reason, and poetry was provided by fantasy).

The word entered the English language in 1390 with the meaning of "relation of incidents, story". In Middle English, the meaning was "story" in general. The restriction to the meaning "record of past events" arises in the late 15th century. In German, French, and most Germanic and Romance languages, the same word is still used to mean both "history" and "story". The adjective historical is attested from 1661, and historic from 1669.[14]

Historian in the sense of a "researcher of history" is attested from 1531. In all European languages, the substantive "history" is still used to mean both "what happened with men", and "the scholarly study of the happened", the latter sense sometimes distinguished with a capital letter, "History", or the word historiography.[12]


Since historians are observers and participants, the works they produce are written from the perspective of their own time and sometimes with due concern for possible lessons for their own future. In the words of Benedetto Croce, "All history is contemporary history". History is facilitated by the formation of a 'true discourse of past' through the production of narrative and analysis of past events relating to the human race.[14] The modern discipline of history is dedicated to the institutional production of this discourse.

All events that are remembered and preserved in some authentic form constitute the historical record.[15] The task of historical discourse is to identify the sources which can most usefully contribute to the production of accurate accounts of past. Therefore, the constitution of the historian's archive is a result of circumscribing a more general archive by invalidating the usage of certain texts and documents (by falsifying their claims to represent the 'true past').

The study of history has sometimes been classified as part of the humanities and other times as part of the social sciences.[16] It can also be seen as a bridge between those two broad areas, incorporating methodologies from both. Some individual historians strongly support one or the other classification.[17] In modern academia, history is increasingly classified as a social science. In the 20th century, French historian Fernand Braudel revolutionized the study of history, by using such outside disciplines as economics, anthropology, and geography in the study of global history.

Traditionally, historians have recorded events of the past, either in writing or by passing on an oral tradition, and have attempted to answer historical questions through the study of written documents and oral accounts. For the beginning, historians have also used such sources as monuments, inscriptions, and pictures. In general, the sources of historical knowledge can be separated into three categories: what is written, what is said, and what is physically preserved, and historians often consult all three.[18] But writing is the marker that separates history from what comes before.

Archaeology is a discipline that is especially helpful in dealing with buried sites and objects, which, once unearthed, contribute to the study of history. But archaeology rarely stands alone. It uses narrative sources to complement its discoveries. However, archaeology is constituted by a range of methodologies and approaches which are independent from history; that is to say, archaeology does not "fill the gaps" within textual sources. Indeed, Historical Archaeology is a specific branch of archaeology, often contrasting its conclusions against those of contemporary textual sources. Mark Leone, the excavator and interpreter of historical Annapolis in New Jersey (a town on east coast), has sought to understand the contradiction between textual documents and the material record, demonstrating the possession of slaves and the inequalities of wealth apparent via the study of the total historical environment, despite the ideology of "liberty" inherent in written documents at this time.

There are varieties of ways in which history can be organized, including chronologically, culturally, territorially, and thematically. These divisions are not mutually exclusive, and significant overlaps are often present, as in "The International Women's Movement in an Age of Transition, 1830–1975." It is possible for historians to concern themselves with both the very specific and the very general, although the modern trend has been toward specialization. The area called Big History resists this specialization, and searches for universal patterns or trends. History has often been studied with some practical or theoretical aim, but also may be studied out of simple intellectual curiosity.[19]

History and prehistory

Human history and prehistory
before Homo (Pliocene)
Three-age system prehistory
>> Lower Paleolithic: Homo, Homo erectus,
>> Middle Paleolithic: early Homo sapiens
>> Upper Paleolithic: behavioral modernity
>> Neolithic: civilization
>> Near East | IndiaEuropeChinaKorea
>> Bronze Age collapseAncient Near EastIndiaEuropeChinaJapanKoreaNigeria
see also: Modernity, Futurology

The history of the world is the memory of the past experience of Homo sapiens sapiens around the world, as that experience has been preserved, largely in written records. By "prehistory", historians mean the recovery of knowledge of the past in an area where no written records exist, or where the writing of a culture is not understood. Human history is marked both by a gradual accretion of discoveries and inventions, as well as by quantum leapsparadigm shifts, revolutions — that comprise epochs in the material and spiritual evolution of humankind. By studying painting, drawings, carvings, and other artifacts, some information can be recovered even in the absence of a written record. Since the 20th century, the study of prehistory is considered essential to avoid history's implicit exclusion of certain civilizations, such as those of Sub-Saharan Africa and pre-Columbian America. Historians in the West have been criticized for focusing disproportionately on the Western world.[20] In 1961, British historian E. H. Carr wrote:

The line of demarcation between prehistoric and historical times is crossed when people cease to live only in the present, and become consciously interested both in their past and in their future. History begins with the handing down of tradition; and tradition means the carrying of the habits and lessons of the past into the future. Records of the past begin to be kept for the benefit of future generations.[21]

This definition includes within the scope of history the strong interests of peoples, such as Australian Aboriginals and New Zealand Māori in the past, and the oral records maintained and transmitted to succeeding generations, even before their contact with European civilization.


Historiography has a number of related meanings. Firstly, it can refer to how history has been produced: the story of the development of methodology and practices (for example, the move from short-term biographical narrative towards long-term thematic analysis). Secondly, it can refer to what has been produced: a specific body of historical writing (for example, "medieval historiography during the 1960s" means "Works of medieval history written during the 1960s"). Thirdly, it may refer to why history is produced: the Philosophy of history. As a meta-level analysis of descriptions of the past, this third conception can relate to the first two in that the analysis usually focuses on the narratives, interpretations, worldview, use of evidence, or method of presentation of other historians. Professional historians also debate the question of whether history can be taught as a single coherent narrative or a series of competing narratives.

Philosophy of history

History's philosophical questions
  • What is the proper unit for the study of the human past — the individual? The polis? The civilization? The culture? Or the nation state?
  • Are there broad patterns and progress? Are there cycles? Is human history random and devoid of any meaning?

Philosophy of history is an area of philosophy concerning the eventual significance, if any, of human history. Furthermore, it speculates as to a possible teleological end to its development—that is, it asks if there is a design, purpose, directive principle, or finality in the processes of human history. Philosophy of history should not be confused with historiography, which is the study of history as an academic discipline, and thus concerns its methods and practices, and its development as a discipline over time. Nor should philosophy of history be confused with the history of philosophy, which is the study of the development of philosophical ideas through time.

Professional historians debate the question of whether history is a science or a liberal art. The distinction is artificial, as many view the field from more than one perspective.[22] Recent argument in support for the transformation of history into science have been made by Peter Turchin in an article titled "Arise Cliodynamics" in the journal "Nature".[23][24]

Historical methods

A depiction of the ancient Library of Alexandria
Historical method basics

The following questions are used by historians in modern work.

  1. When was the source, written or unwritten, produced (date)?
  2. Where was it produced (localization)?
  3. By whom was it produced (authorship)?
  4. From what pre-existing material was it produced (analysis)?
  5. In what original form was it produced (integrity)?
  6. What is the evidential value of its contents (credibility)?

The first four are known as higher criticism; the fifth, lower criticism; and, together, external criticism. The sixth and final inquiry about a source is called internal criticism.

The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write history.

Herodotus of Halicarnassus (484 BC – ca.425 BC)[25] has generally been acclaimed as the "father of history". However, his contemporary Thucydides (ca. 460 BC – ca. 400 BC) is credited with having first approached history with a well-developed historical method in his work the History of the Peloponnesian War. Thucydides, unlike Herodotus and other religious historians, regarded history as being the product of the choices and actions of human beings, and looked at cause and effect, rather than as the result of divine intervention.[25] In his historical method, Thucydides emphasized chronology, a neutral point of view, and that the human world was the result of the actions of human beings. Greek historians also viewed history as cyclical, with events regularly recurring.[26]

There were historical traditions and sophisticated use of historical method in ancient and medieval China. The groundwork for professional historiography in East Asia was established by the Han Dynasty court historian known as Sima Qian (145–90 BC), author of the Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian). For the quality of his timeless written work, Sima Qian is posthumously known as the Father of Chinese Historiography. Chinese historians of subsequent dynastic periods in China used his Shiji as the official format for historical texts, as well as for biographical literature.

Saint Augustine was influential in Christian and Western thought at the beginning of the medieval period. Through the Medieval and Renaissance periods, history was often studied through a sacred or religious perspective. Around 1800, German philosopher and historian Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel brought philosophy and a more secular approach in historical study.[19]

In the preface to his book, the Muqaddimah (1377), the Arab historian and early sociologist, Ibn Khaldun, warned of seven mistakes that he thought that historians regularly committed. In this criticism, he approached the past as strange and in need of interpretation. The originality of Ibn Khaldun was to claim that the cultural difference of another age must govern the evaluation of relevant historical material, to distinguish the principles according to which it might be possible to attempt the evaluation, and lastly, to feel the need for experience, in addition to rational principles, in order to assess a culture of the past. Ibn Khaldun often criticized "idle superstition and uncritical acceptance of historical data." As a result, he introduced a scientific method to the study of history, and he often referred to it as his "new science".[27] His historical method also laid the groundwork for the observation of the role of state, communication, propaganda and systematic bias in history,[28] and he is thus considered to be the "father of historiography"[29][30] or the "father of the philosophy of history".[31]

In the West historians developed modern methods of historiography in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially in France and Germany. The 19th century historian with greatest influence on methods was Leopold von Ranke in Germany.

In the 20th century, academic historians focused less on epic nationalistic narratives, which often tended to glorify the nation or individuals, to more objective and complex analyses of social and intellectual forces. A major trend of historical methodology in the 20th century was a tendency to treat history more as a social science rather than as an art, which traditionally had been the case. Some of the leading advocates of history as a social science were a diverse collection of scholars which included Fernand Braudel, E. H. Carr, Fritz Fischer, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Bruce Trigger, Marc Bloch, Karl Dietrich Bracher, Peter Gay, Robert Fogel, Lucien Febvre and Lawrence Stone. Many of the advocates of history as a social science were or are noted for their multi-disciplinary approach. Braudel combined history with geography, Bracher history with political science, Fogel history with economics, Gay history with psychology, Trigger history with archeology while Wehler, Bloch, Fischer, Stone, Febvre and Le Roy Ladurie have in varying and differing ways amalgamated history with sociology, geography, anthropology, and economics. More recently, the field of digital history has begun to address ways of using computer technology to pose new questions to historical data and generate digital scholarship.

In opposition to the claims of history as a social science, historians such as Hugh Trevor-Roper, John Lukacs, Donald Creighton, Gertrude Himmelfarb and Gerhard Ritter argued that the key to the historians' work was the power of the imagination, and hence contended that history should be understood as an art. French historians associated with the Annales School introduced quantitative history, using raw data to track the lives of typical individuals, and were prominent in the establishment of cultural history (cf. histoire des mentalités). Intellectual historians such as Herbert Butterfield, Ernst Nolte and George Mosse have argued for the significance of ideas in history. American historians, motivated by the civil rights era, focused on formerly overlooked ethnic, racial, and socio-economic groups. Another genre of social history to emerge in the post-WWII era was Alltagsgeschichte (History of Everyday Life). Scholars such as Martin Broszat, Ian Kershaw and Detlev Peukert sought to examine what everyday life was like for ordinary people in 20th century Germany, especially in the Nazi period.

Marxist historians such as Eric Hobsbawm, E. P. Thompson, Rodney Hilton, Georges Lefebvre, Eugene D. Genovese, Isaac Deutscher, C. L. R. James, Timothy Mason, Herbert Aptheker, Arno J. Mayer and Christopher Hill have sought to validate Karl Marx's theories by analyzing history from a Marxist perspective. In response to the Marxist interpretation of history, historians such as François Furet, Richard Pipes, J. C. D. Clark, Roland Mousnier, Henry Ashby Turner and Robert Conquest have offered anti-Marxist interpretations of history. Feminist historians such as Joan Wallach Scott, Claudia Koonz, Natalie Zemon Davis, Sheila Rowbotham, Gisela Bock, Gerda Lerner, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, and Lynn Hunt have argued for the importance of studying the experience of women in the past. In recent years, postmodernists have challenged the validity and need for the study of history on the basis that all history is based on the personal interpretation of sources. In his 1997 book In Defence of History, Richard J. Evans, a professor of modern history at Cambridge University, defended the worth of history. Another defence of history from post-modernist criticism was the Australian historian Keith Windschuttle's 1994 book, The Killing of History.

Areas of study

Particular studies and fields

These are approaches to history; not listed are histories of other fields, such as history of science, history of mathematics and history of philosophy.

  • Ancient history : the study from the beginning of human history until the Early Middle Ages.
  • Atlantic history: the study of the history of people living on or near the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Art History: the study of changes in and social context of art.
  • Big History: study of history on a large scale across long time frames and epochs through a multi-disciplinary approach.
  • Chronology: science of localizing historical events in time.
  • Comparative history: historical analysis of social and cultural entities not confined to national boundaries.
  • Contemporary history: the study of historical events that are immediately relevant to the present time.
  • Counterfactual history: the study of historical events as they might have happened in different causal circumstances.
  • Cultural history: the study of culture in the past.
  • Digital History: the use of computing technologies to produce digital scholarship.
  • Economic History: the study of economies in the past.
  • Futurology: study of the future: researches the medium to long-term future of societies and of the physical world.
  • Intellectual history: the study of ideas in the context of the cultures that produced them and their development over time.
  • Maritime history: the study of maritime transport and all the connected subjects.
  • Modern history : the study of the Modern Times, the era after the Middle Ages.
  • Military History: the study of warfare and wars in history and what is sometimes considered to be a sub-branch of military history, Naval History.
  • Natural history: the study of the development of the cosmos, the Earth, biology and interactions thereof.
  • Paleography: study of ancient texts.
  • People's history: historical work from the perspective of common people.
  • Political history: the study of politics in the past.
  • Psychohistory: study of the psychological motivations of historical events.
  • Pseudohistory: study about the past that falls outside the domain of mainstream history (sometimes it is an equivalent of pseudoscience).
  • Social History: the study of the process of social change throughout history.
  • Universal history: basic to the Western tradition of historiography.
  • Women's history: the history of female human beings. Gender history is related and covers the perspective of gender.
  • World History: the study of history from a global perspective.


Historical study often focuses on events and developments that occur in particular blocks of time. Historians give these periods of time names in order to allow "organising ideas and classificatory generalisations" to be used by historians.[32] The names given to a period can vary with geographical location, as can the dates of the start and end of a particular period. Centuries and decades are commonly used periods and the time they represent depends on the dating system used. Most periods are constructed retrospectively and so reflect value judgments made about the past. The way periods are constructed and the names given to them can affect the way they are viewed and studied.[33]

Geographical locations

Particular geographical locations can form the basis of historical study, for example, continents, countries and cities. Understanding why historic events took place is important. To do this, historians often turn to geography. Weather patterns, the water supply, and the landscape of a place all affect the lives of the people who live there. For example, to explain why the ancient Egyptians developed a successful civilization, you must look at the geography of Egypt. Egyptian civilization was built on the banks of the Nile River, which flooded each year, depositing soil on its banks. The rich soil could help farmers grow enough crops to feed the people in the cities. That meant everyone did not have to farm, so some people could perform other jobs that helped develop the civilization.


World history is the study of major civilizations over the last 3000 years or so. It has led to highly controversial interpretations by Oswald Spengler and Arnold J. Toynbee, among others. World history is especially important as a teaching field. It has increasingly entered the university curriculum in the U.S., in many cases replacing courses in Western Civilization, that had a focus on Europe and the U.S. World history adds extensive new material on Asia, Africa and Latin America.


  • History of Africa begins with the first emergence of modern human beings on the continent, continuing into its modern present as a patchwork of diverse and politically developing nation states.
  • History of the Americas is the collective history of North and South America, including Central America and the Caribbean.
    • History of North America is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's northern and western hemisphere.
    • History of Central America is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's western hemisphere.
    • History of the Caribbean begins with the oldest evidence where 7,000-year-old remains have been found.
    • History of South America is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's southern and western hemisphere.
  • History of Antarctica emerges from early Western theories of a vast continent, known as Terra Australis, believed to exist in the far south of the globe.
  • History of Australia start with the documentation of the Makassar trading with Indigenous Australians on Australia's north coast.
  • History of New Zealand dates back at least 700 years to when it was discovered and settled by Polynesians, who developed a distinct Māori culture centred on kinship links and land.
  • History of the Pacific Islands covers the history of the islands in the Pacific Ocean.
  • History of Eurasia is the collective history of several distinct peripheral coastal regions: the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Europe, linked by the interior mass of the Eurasian steppe of Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
    • History of Europe describes the passage of time from humans inhabiting the European continent to the present day.
      • History of Frisia is the study of the rich history and folklore of the Frisians and their languages, battles, culture, cuisine, and so forth.
    • History of Asia can be seen as the collective history of several distinct peripheral coastal regions, East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East linked by the interior mass of the Eurasian steppe.
      • History of East Asia is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation in East Asia.
      • History of the Middle East begins with the earliest civilizations in the region now known as the Middle East that were established around 3000 BC, in Mesopotamia (Iraq).
      • History of South Asia is the study of the past passed down from generation to generation in the Sub-Himalayan region.
      • History of Southeast Asia has been characterized as interaction between regional players and foreign powers.

Military history

Military history conflicts within human society usually concentrating on historical wars and warfare, including battles, military strategies and weaponry.[34] However, the subject may range from a melee between two tribes to conflicts between proper militaries to a world war affecting the majority of the human population. Military historians record the events of military history.

Social history

Social history is the study of how societies adapt and change over periods of time. Social history is an area of historical study considered by some to be a social science that attempts to view historical evidence from the point of view of developing social trends. In this view, it may include areas of economic history, legal history and the analysis of other aspects of civil society that show the evolution of social norms, behaviors and more.

Cultural history

Cultural history replaced social history as the dominant form in the 1980s and 1990s. It typically combines the approaches of anthropology and history to look at language, popular cultural traditions and cultural interpretations of historical experience. It examines the records and narrative descriptions of past knowledge, customs, and arts of a group of people. How peoples constructed their memory of the past is a major topic.

Diplomatic history

Diplomatic history, sometimes referred to as "Rankian History"[35] in honor of Leopold von Ranke, focuses on politics, politicians and other high rulers and views them as being the driving force of continuity and change in history. This type of political history is the study of the conduct of international relations between states or across state boundaries over time. This is the most common form of history and is often the classical and popular belief of what history should be.

People's history

A people's history is a type of historical work which attempts to account for historical events from the perspective of common people. A people's history is the history of the world that is the story of mass movements and of the outsiders. Individuals not included in the past in other type of writing about history are part of this theory's primary focus, which includes the disenfranchised, the oppressed, the poor, the nonconformists, and the otherwise forgotten people. This theory also usually focuses on events occurring in the fullness of time, or when an overwhelming wave of smaller events cause certain developments to occur.

Gender history

Gender history is a sub-field of History and Gender studies, which looks at the past from the perspective of gender. It is in many ways, an outgrowth of women's history. Despite its relatively short life, Gender History (and its forerunner Women's History) has had a rather significant effect on the general study of history. Since the 1960s, when the initially small field first achieved a measure of acceptance, it has gone through a number of different phases, each with its own challenges and outcomes. Although some of the changes to the study of history have been quite obvious, such as increased numbers of books on famous women or simply the admission of greater numbers of women into the historical profession, other influences are more subtle.

Public history

Public history is a term that describes the broad range of activities undertaken by people with some training in the discipline of history who are generally working outside of specialized academic settings. Public history practice has quite deep roots in the areas of historic preservation, archival science, oral history, museum curatorship, and other related fields. The term itself began to be used in the U.S. and Canada in the late 1970s, and the field has become increasingly professionalized since that time. Some of the most common settings for public history are museums, historic homes and historic sites, parks, battlefields, archives, film and television companies, and all levels of government.


Pseudohistory is a term applied to texts which purport to be historical in nature but which depart from standard historiographical conventions in a way which undermines their conclusions. Works which draw controversial conclusions from new, speculative or disputed historical evidence, particularly in the fields of national, political, military and religious affairs, are often rejected as pseudohistory.

In many countries, such as Japan, Russia, and the United States, the subject taught in the primary and secondary schools under the name "history" has at times been censored for political reasons. To give just a few of many examples: in Japan, mention of the Nanking Massacre has been removed from textbooks; in Russia under Stalin, history was rewritten to conform with communist party doctrine; and in the United States the history of the American Civil War had been censored to avoid giving offense to white Southerners.[36][37][38] This practice goes back to the earliest recorded times. In Book Three of The Republic, Plato recommends that citizens be taught lies in order to instill patriotism.[39]


  • Asimov, Isaac; Asimov's Chronology of the World; Harper Collins, 1991, ISBN 0062700367.
  • Carr, E.H. with a new introduction by Richard J. Evans; What is History?; Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001, ISBN 0333977017.
  • Durant, Will & Ariel; The Lessons of History; MJF Books, (1997), ISBN 1567310249.
  • Evans, Richard J.; In Defence of History; W. W. Norton (2000), ISBN 0393319598.
  • Tosh, John; The Pursuit of History; Longman (2006), ISBN 1405823518.

See also



  1. ^ George Santayana, "The Life of Reason", Volume One, p. 82, BiblioLife, ISBN 978-0559478062
  2. ^ a b Joseph, Brian (Ed.); Janda, Richard (Ed.) (2008), The Handbook of Historical Linguistics, Blackwell Publishing (published 30 December 2004), p. 163, ISBN 978-1405127479 
  3. ^ a b Profesor Richard J. Evans (2001). "The Two Faces of E.H. Carr". History in Focus, Issue 2: What is History?. University of London. http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Focus/Whatishistory/evans10.html. Retrieved 10 November 2008. 
  4. ^ Professor Alun Munslow (2001). "What History Is". History in Focus, Issue 2: What is History?. University of London. http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Focus/Whatishistory/munslow6.html. Retrieved 10 November 2008. 
  5. ^ Tosh, John (2006). The Pursuit of History (4th ed.). Pearson Education Limited. ISBN 1-4058-2351-8. p 52
  6. ^ Peter N. Stearns, Peters Seixas, Sam Wineburg (eds.), ed (2000). "Introduction". Knowing Teaching and Learning History, National and International Perspectives. New York & London: New York University Press. p. 6. ISBN 0-8147-8141-1. 
  7. ^ Nash l, Gary B. (2000). "The "Convergence" Paradigm in Studying Early American History in Schools". in Peter N. Stearns, Peters Seixas, Sam Wineburg (eds.). Knowing Teaching and Learning History, National and International Perspectives. New York & London: New York University Press. pp. 102–115. ISBN 0-8147-8141-1. 
  8. ^ Seixas, Peter (2000). "Schweigen! die Kinder!". in Peter N. Stearns, Peters Seixas, Sam Wineburg (eds.). Knowing Teaching and Learning History, National and International Perspectives. New York & London: New York University Press. p. 24. ISBN 0-8147-8141-1. 
  9. ^ Lowenthal, David (2000). "Dilemmas and Delights of Learning History". in Peter N. Stearns, Peters Seixas, Sam Wineburg (eds.). Knowing Teaching and Learning History, National and International Perspectives. New York & London: New York University Press. p. 63. ISBN 0-8147-8141-1. 
  10. ^ Mahony, William K. (28 Feb 1998), The Artful Universe: An Introduction to the Vedic Religious Imagination, Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, p. 235, ISBN 0791435806 
  11. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary, http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=history
  12. ^ a b Ferrater-Mora, José. Diccionario de Filosofia. Barcelona: Editorial Ariel, 1994.
  13. ^ Smyth, Greek Grammar, par. 83: dental stop before another dental stop
  14. ^ a b Whitney, W. D. The Century dictionary; an encyclopedic lexicon of the English language. New York: The Century Co, 1889.
  15. ^ WordNet Search – 3.0, "History".
  16. ^ Scott Gordon and James Gordon Irving, The History and Philosophy of Social Science. Routledge 1991. Page 1. ISBN 0415056829
  17. ^ Ritter, H. (1986). Dictionary of concepts in history. Reference sources for the social sciences and humanities, no. 3. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. Page 416.
  18. ^ Michael C. Lemon (1995).The Discipline of History and the History of Thought. Routledge. Page 201. ISBN 0415123461
  19. ^ a b Graham, Gordon (1997). "Chapter 1". The Shape of the Past. Oxford University. 
  20. ^ Jack Goody (2007) The Theft of History (from Google Books)
  21. ^ Carr, Edward H. (1961). What is History?, p.108, ISBN 0140206523
  22. ^ Elizabeth Harris, In Defense of the Liberal-Arts Approach to Technical Writing. College English, Vol. 44, No. 6 (Oct., 1982), pp. 628-636
  23. ^ Arise Cliodynamics. Nature 454, 34-35 (3 July 2008) doi:10.1038/454034a; Published online 2 July 2008
  24. ^ Arise Cliodynamics. sott.net/articles
  25. ^ a b Lamberg-Karlovsky, C. C. and Jeremy A. Sabloff (1979). Ancient Civilizations: The Near East and Mesoamerica. Benjamin-Cummings Publishing. pp. p. 5. 
  26. ^ Lamberg-Karlovsky, C. C. and Jeremy A. Sabloff (1979). Ancient Civilizations: The Near East and Mesoamerica. Benjamin-Cummings Publishing. pp. p. 6. 
  27. ^ Ibn Khaldun, Franz Rosenthal, N. J. Dawood (1967), The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History, p. x, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0691017549.
  28. ^ H. Mowlana (2001). "Information in the Arab World", Cooperation South Journal 1.
  29. ^ Salahuddin Ahmed (1999). A Dictionary of Muslim Names. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. ISBN 1850653569.
  30. ^ Enan, Muhammed Abdullah (2007), Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Works, The Other Press, p. v, ISBN 9839541536 
  31. ^ Dr. S. W. Akhtar (1997). "The Islamic Concept of Knowledge", Al-Tawhid: A Quarterly Journal of Islamic Thought & Culture 12 (3).
  32. ^ Marwick, Arthur (1970). The Nature of History. The Macmillian Press LTD. pp. p. 169. 
  33. ^ Tosh, John (2006). The Pursuit of History. Pearson Education Limited. pp. pp. 168–169. 
  34. ^ Pavkovic, Michael; Morillo, Stephen (2006), What is Military History?, Oxford: Polity Press (published 31 July 2006), pp. 3–4, ISBN 9780745633909 
  35. ^ Burke, P. (1998). New perspectives on historical writing. University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press. Page 3.
  36. ^ http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1468-2346.2008.00708.x?cookieSet=1
  37. ^ (Japanese) http://www.iwanami.co.jp/jpworld/text/textbook01.html
  38. ^ James W. Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, Touchstone, 1996, ISBN 978-0684818863.
  39. ^ Plato, The Republic, in The Portable Plato, Penguin, 1977, ISBN 0140150404. "...the audacious fiction, which I propose to communicate gradually, first to the rulers, then to the soldiers, and lastly to the people."

External links

Further reading
General Information


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

History is the study of human behavior through time. When used as the name of a field of study, history refers to the study and interpretation of past humans, families and societies as preserved primarily through written sources.


  • The end of history is, alas, also the end of the dustbins of history. There are no longer any dustbins for disposing of old ideologies, old regimes, old values. Where are we going to throw Marxism, which actually invented the dustbins of history? (Yet there is some justice here since the very people who invented them have fallen in.) Conclusion: if there are no more dustbins of history, this is because History itself has become a dustbin. It has become its own dustbin, just as the planet itself is becoming its own dustbin.
  • Papa Hegel he say that all we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. I know people who can't even learn from what happened this morning. Hegel must have been taking the long view.
  • I don’t know much about history, and I wouldn’t give a nickel for all the history in the world. It means nothing to me. History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history we make today.
    • Henry Ford, Interview in Chicago Tribune (25 May 1916)
  • What experience and history teach is this — that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.
  • Hegel remarks somewhere that all facts and personages of great importance in world history occur, as it were, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.
    • Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852)
  • “The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.”
  • Everybody likes a bit of gossip to some point, as long as it’s gossip with some point to it. That’s why I like history. History is nothing but gossip about the past, with the hope that it might be true.
    • Gore Vidal, Interview in: Butt, Nr. 20, Special Summer 2007, S. 63.
  • If you don’t know history, it’s as if you were born yesterday. If you were born yesterday, then any leader can tell you anything.
    • Howard Zinn, Speech on "War and Social Justice" at Binghamton University on November 8th, 2008.


  • Any event, once it has occurred, can be made to appear inevitable by a competent historian.
    • Lee Simonson
  • Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it.
  • History doesn't always repeat itself. Sometimes it just screams, "Why don't you listen to me?" and lets fly with a big stick.
    • John W. Campbell Jr
  • History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.
  • History is not a particular branch of knowledge, but a particular mode and method of knowledge in other branches.
  • History is not to be searched for practical lessons, the applicability of which will always be doubtful in view of the inexhaustible novelty of circumstances and combinations of causes, but just this, that the mind acquire a sensitiveness an imaginative range.
    • Pieter Geyl
  • History is the chronological account of Man.
  • History is the depository of great actions, the witness of what is past, the example and instructor of the present, and monitor to the future.
  • History is the sum total of things that could have been avoided.
  • History is waiting to be made as each new opportunity passes before us.
    • J. William Jennings II
  • History maketh a young man to be old, without either wrinkles or gray hairs,—privileging him with the experience of age, without either the infirmities or inconveniences thereof.
  • It is when the hour of the conflict is over that history comes to a right understanding of the strife, and is ready to exclaim, "Lo, God is here, and we knew him not!"
    • Bancroft
  • It's not enough to get into history, you also have to get out alive.
    • Leonid S. Sukhorukov
  • Learn from History as there is no better teacher.
  • Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to continue always a child. If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge.
  • The past actually happened. History is what someone took the time to write down.
    • A. Whiteney Brown
  • To remain ignorant of things that happened before you were born is to remain a child.
  • The happiest times of humanity are the blank pages in the book of history.
  • The history of man is a series of conspiracies to win from nature some advantage without paying for it.
  • The world's history is a divine poem of which the history of every nation is a canto and every man a word. Its strains have been pealing along down the centuries, and though there have been mingled the discords of warring cannon and dying men, yet to the Christian philosopher and historian—the humble listener—there has been a divine melody running through the song which speaks of hope and halcyon days to come.
  • There is no history worthy of attention but that of a free people; the history of a people subjected to despotism is only a collection of anecdotes.
  • This I hold to be the chief office of history, to rescue virtuous actions from the oblivion to which a want of records would consign them, and that men should feel a dread of being considered infamous in the opinions of posterity, from their depraved expressions and base actions.
  • You cannot possibly understand History without first understanding History's past.
    • Dan Bloomfield
  • Writing history is like drinking an ocean and pissing a cupful.
  • History is always on the move, slowly eroding today’s orthodoxy and making space for yesterday’s heresy.
    • International Baccalaureate
  • I believe that the more you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future.
  • History…is indeed little more than the register of the crime, follies, and misfortune of mankind.

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School News

  • May 31, 2004 - School founded!
  • October 7, 2006 – Department of European History founded.
  • November 30, 2006 - Department of Indic History founded.
  • December 15, 2006 - Department of Southeast Asian History founded.
  • May 8, 2007 - Department of American History founded.
  • June 23, 2007 - Department of Chinese History founded.
  • November 23 2007 - Department of Historiography founded.
  • 9 September 2008 - Department of Diplomatic History founded.
  • 15 October 2008 - Department of Philosophy of History decommissioned

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

by William Carlos Williams
from Al Que Quiere! (1917)

A wind might blow a lotus petal
over the pyramids—but not this wind.

Summer is a dried leaf.

Leaves stir this way then that
on the baked asphalt, the wheels
of motor cars rush over them,—
    gas smells mingle with leaf smells.

Oh, Sunday, day of worship!!!

The steps to the museum are high.
Worshippers pass in and out.
Nobody comes here today.
I come here to mingle faiance dug
from the tomb, turquoise colored
necklaces and belched wind from the
stomach; delicately veined basins
of agate, cracked and discolored and
the stink of stale urine!

Enter! Elbow in at the door.
Men? Women?
Simpering, clay fetish-faces counting
through the turnstile.

This sarcophagus contained the body
of Uresh-Nai, priestess to the goddess Mut,
Mother of All—
Run your finger against this edge!
—here went the chisel!—and think
of an arrogance emdured six thousand years
without a flaw!

But love is an oil to embalm the body.
Love is a packet of spices, a strong
smelling liquid to be squirted into
the thigh. No?
Love rubbed on a bald head will make
hair—and after? Love is
a lice comber!
               Gnats on dung!

"The chisel is in your hand, the block
is before you, cut as I shall dictate:
this is the coffin of Uresh-Nai,
priestess to the sky goddess,—built
to endure forever!
                   Carve the inside
with the image of my death in
little lines of figures three fingers high.
Put a lid on it cut with Mut bending over
the earth, for my headpiece, and in the year
to be chosen I will rouse, the lid
shall be lifted and I will walk about
the temple where they have rested me
and eat the air of the place:
Ah—these walls are high! This
is in keeping."

The priestess has passed into her tomb.
The stone has taken up her spirit!
Granite over flesh: who will deny
its advantages?

Your death?—water
spilled upon the ground—
though water will mount again into rose-leaves—
but you?—would hold life still,
even as a memory, when it is over.
Benevolence is rare.

Climb about this sarcophagus, read
what is writ for you in these figures,
hard as the granite that has held them
with so soft a hand the while
your own flesh has been fifty times
through the guts of oxen,—read!
"The rose-tree will have its donor
even though he give stingily.
The gift of some endures
ten years, the gift of some twenty
and the gift of some for the time a
great house rots and is torn down.
Some give for a thousand years to men of
one face, some for a thousand
to all men and some few to all men
while granite holds an edge against
the weather.
             Judge then of love!"

"My flesh is turned to stone. I
have endured my summer. The flurry
of falling petals is ended. Lay
the finger upon this granite. I was
well desired and fully caressed
by many lovers but my flesh
withered swiftly and my heart was
never satisfied. Lay your hands
upon the granite as a lover lays his
hand upon the thigh and upon the
round breasts of her who is
beside him, for now I will not wither,
now I have thrown off secrecy, now
I have walked naked into the street,
now I have scattered my heavy beauty
in the open market.
Here I am with head high and a
burning heart eagerly awaiting
your caresses, whoever it may be,
for granite is not harder than
my love is open, runs loose among you!

I arrogant against death! I
who have endured! I worn against
the years!"

But it is five o'clock. Come!
Life is good—enjoy it!
A walk in the park while the day lasts.
I will go with you. Look! this
northern scenery is not the Nile, but—
these benches—the yellow and purple dusk—
the moon there—these tired people—
the lights on the water!

Are not these Jews and—Ethiopians?
The world is young, surely! Young
and colored like—a girl that has come upon
a lover! Will that do?

Notes and references

PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain). Flag of the United States.svg

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HISTORY. The word "history" is used in two senses. It may mean either the record of events, or events themselves. Originally (see below) limited to inquiry and statement, it was only in comparatively modern times that the meaning of the word was extended to include the phenomena which form or might form their subject. It was perhaps by a somewhat careless transference of ideas that this extension was brought about. Now indeed it is the commoner meaning. We speak of the "history of England" without reference to any literary narrative. We term kings and statesmen the "makers of history," and sometimes say that the historian only records the history which they make. History in this connexion is obviously not the record, but the thing to be recorded. It is unfortunate that such a double meaning of the word should have grown up, for it is productive of not a little confusion of thought.

History in the wider sense is all that has happened, not merely all the phenomena of human life, but those of the natural world as well. It includes everything that undergoes change; and as modern science has shown that there is nothing absolutely static, therefore the whole universe, and every part of it, has its history. The discovery of ether brought with it a reconstruction of our ideas of the physical universe, transferring the emphasis from the mathematical expression of static relationships to a dynamic conception of a universe in constant transformation; matter in equipoise became energy in gradual readjustment. Solids are solids no longer. The universe is in motion in every particle of every part; rock and metal merely a transition stage between crystallization and dissolution. This idea of universal activity has in a sense made physics itself a branch of history. It is the same with the other sciences - especially the biological division, where the doctrine of evolution has induced an attitude of mind which is distinctly historical.

But the tendency to look at things historically is not merely the attitude of men of science. Our outlook upon life differs in just this particular from that of preceding ages. We recognize the unstable nature of our whole social fabric, and are therefore more and more capable of transforming it. Our institutions are no longer held to be inevitable and immutable creations. We do not attempt to fit them to absolute formulae, but continually adapt them to a changing environment. Even modern architecture, notably in America, reflects the consciousness of change. The permanent character of ancient or medieval buildings was fitted only to a society dominated by static ideals. Now the architect builds, not for all time, but for a set of conditions which will inevitably cease in the not distant future. Thus our whole society not only bears the marks of its evolution, but shows its growing consciousness of the fact in the most evident of its arts. In literature, philosophy and political science, there is the same historical trend. Criticism no longer judges by absolute standards; it applies the standards of the author's own environment. We no longer condemn Shakespeare for having violated the ancient dramatic laws, nor Voltaire for having objected to the violations. Each age has its own expression, and in judging each we enter the field of history. In ethics, again, the revolt against absolute standards limits us to the relative, and morals are investigated on the basis of history, as largely conditioned by economic environment and the growth of intellectual freedom. Revelation no longer appeals to scientific minds as a source of knowledge. Experience on the other hand is history. As for political science, we do not regard the national state as that ultimate and final product which men once saw in the Roman Empire. It has hardly come into being before forces are evident which aim at its destruction. Internationalism has gained ground in Europe in recent years; and Socialism itself, which is based upon a distinct interpretation of history, is regarded by its followers as merely a stage in human progress, like those which have gone before it. It is evident that Freeman's definition of history as "past politics" is miserably inadequate. Political events are mere externals. History enters into every phase of activity, and the economic forces which urge society along are as much its subject as the political result.

In short the historical spirit of the age has invaded every field. The world-picture presented in this encyclopaedia is that of a dynamic universe, of phenomena in process of ceaseless change. Owing to this insistent change all things which happen, or seem to happen, are history in the broader sense of the word. The encyclopaedia itself is a history of them in the stricter sense, - the description and record of this universal process. This narrower meaning is the subject of the rest of this article.

The word "history" comes from the Gr. iaTopia, which was used by the Ionians in the 6th century B.C. for the search for knowledge in the widest sense. It meant inquiry, investigation, not narrative. It was not until two centuries later that the historikos, the reciter of stories, superseded the historeon (to-Top&w), the seeker after knowledge. Thus history began as a branch of scientific research, - much the same as what the Athenians later termed philosophy. Herodotus himself was as much a scientific explorer as a reciter of narrative, and his life-long investigation was historie in his Ionian speech. Yet it was Herodotus himself who first hinted at the new use of the word, applied merely to the details accumulated during a long search for knowledge. It is not until Aristotle, however, that we have it definitely applied to the literary product 'instead of the inquiry which precedes it. From Aristotle to modern times, history (Lat. historic) has been a form of literature. It is only in the scientific environment of to-day that we recognize once more, with those earliest of the forerunners of Herodotus, that history involves two distinct operations, one of which, investigation, is in the field of science, while the other, the literary presentation, is in the field of art.

The history of history itself is therefore two-fold. History as art flourishes with the arts. It calls upon the imagination and the literary gifts of expression. Its history does not run parallel with the scientific side, but rather varies in inverse ratio with scientific activity. Those periods which have been dominated by the great masters of style have been less interested in the criticism of the historian's methods of investigation than in the beauty of his rhetoric. The scientific historian, deeply interested in the search for truth, is generally but a poor artist, and his uncoloured picture of the past will never rank in literature beside the splendid distortions which glow in the pages of a Michelet or Macaulay. History the art, in so far as it is conditioned upon genius, has no single traceable line of development. Here the product of the age of Pericles remains unsurpassed still; the works of Herodotus and Thucydides standing along with those of Pheidias as models for all time. On the other hand, history the science has developed so that it has not only gained recognition among historians as a distinct subject, but it has raised with it a group of auxiliary sciences which serve either as tools for investigation or as a basis for testing the results. The advance in this branch of history in the 19th century was one of its greatest achievements. The vast gulf which lies between the history of Egypt by Herodotus and that by Flinders Petrie is the measure of its achievement. By the mechanism now at his disposal the scientific explorer can read more history from the dust-heaps of Abydos than the greatest traveller of antiquity could gather from the priests of Sans. In tracing the history of history we must therefore keep in mind the double aspect.

History itself, this double subject, the science and the art combined, begins with the dawn of memory and the invention of speech. It is wrong to term those ages pre-historic whose history has not come down to us, including in one category the pre-literary age and the literary whose traces have been lost. Even the pre-literary had its history, first in myth and then in saga. The saga, or epos, was a great advance upon the myth, for in it the deeds of men replace or tend to replace the deeds of the gods. But we are still largely in the realm of imagination. Poetry, as Thucydides complained, is a most imperfect medium for fact. The bard will exaggerate or distort his story. True history, as a record of what really has happened, first reached maturity in prose. Therefore, although much of the past has been handed down to us in epic, in ballad and in the legends of folk-lore, we must turn from them to what became history in the narrower sense.

The earliest prose origins of history are the inscriptions. Their inadequacy is evident from two standpoints. Their permanence depends not upon their importance, but upon the durability of the substance on which they are inscribed. A note for a wedding ring baked into the clay of Babylon has been preserved, while the history of the greatest events has perished. In the second place they are sealed to all but those who know how to read them, and so they lie forgotten for centuries while oral tradition flourishes, - being within the reach of every man. It is only recently that archaeology, turning from the field of art, has undertaken to interpret for us this first written history. The process by which the modern fits together all the obtainable remains of an antiquity, and reconstructs even that past which left no written record, lies outside the field of this article. But such enlargement of the field of history is a modern scientific product, and is to be distinguished from the imperfect beginnings of history-writing which the archaeologist is able to decipher.

Next to the inscriptions, - sometimes identical with them, - are the early chronicles. These are of various kinds. Family chronicles preserved the memory of heroic ancestors whose deeds in the earliest age would have passed into the keeping of the bards. Such family archives were perhaps the main source for Roman historians. But they are not confined to Rome or Greece. Genealogies also pass from the bald verse, which was the vehicle for oral transmission, to such elaborate tables as those in which Manetho has preserved the dynasties of Egyptian Pharaohs.

In this field the priest succeeds the poet. The temple itself became the chief repository of records. There were simple religious annals, votive tablets recording miracles accomplished at a shrine, lists of priests and priestesses, accounts of benefactions, of prodigies and portents. In some cases, as in Rome, the pontiffs kept a kind of register, not merely of religious history, but of important political events as well. Down to the time of the Gracchi (131 B.C.) the Pontifex Maximus inscribed the year's events upon annual tablets of wood which were preserved in the Regia, the official residence of the pontiff in the Forum. These pontifical "annals" thus came to be a sort of civic history.. Chronicles of the Greek cities were commonly ascribed to mythical authors, as for instance that of Miletus, the oldest, to Cadmus the inventor of letters. But they were continued and edited by men in whom the critical spirit was awakening, as when the chroniclers of Ionian towns began the criticism of Homer.

The first historians were the logographi of these Ionian cities;. men who carried their inquiry (historie) beyond both written record and oral tradition to a study of the world around them. Their "saying" (logos) was gathered mostly from contemporaries; and upon the basis of a widened experience they became critics of their traditions. The opening lines of Hecataeus of Miletus begin the history of the true historic spirit in words which read like a sentence from Voltaire. "Hecataeus of Miletus thus speaks: I write as I deem true, for the traditions of the Greeks seem to me manifold and laughable." Those words mark an epoch in the history of thought. They are the introduction to historical criticism and scientific investigation. Whatever the actual achievement of Hecataeus may have been, from his time onward the scientific movement was set going. Herodotus of Heraclea struggled to rationalize mythology, and established chronology on a solid basis. And finally Herodotus, a professional story-teller, rose to the height of genuine scientific investigation. Herodotus' inquiry was not simply that of an idle tourist. He was a critical observer, who tested his evidence. It is easy for the student now to show the inadequacy of his sources, and his failure here or there to discriminate between fact and fable. But given the imperfect medium for investigation and the absence of an archaeological basis for criticism, the work of Herodotus remains a scientific achievement, as remarkable for its approximation to truth as for the vastness of its scope. Yet it was Herodotus' chief glory to have joined to this scientific spirit an artistic sense which enabled him to cast the material into the truest literary form. He gathered all his knowledge of the ancient world, not simply for itself, but to mass it around the story of the war between the east and west, the Greeks and the Persians. He is first and foremost a story-teller; his theme is like that of the bards, a heroic event. His story is a vast prose epos, in which science is to this extent subordinated to art. "This is the showing forth of the Inquiry of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, to the end that neither the deeds of men maybe forgotten by lapse of time, nor the works, great and marvellous, which have been produced, some by Hellenes, some by Barbarians, may lose their renown, and especially that the causes may be remembered for which these waged war with one another" (i.e. the Persian war).

In Thucydides a higher art than that of Herodotus was combined with a higher science. He scorned the story-teller "who seeks to please the ear rather than to speak the truth," and yet his rhetoric is the culmination of Greek historical prose. He withdrew from vulgar applause, conscious that his narrative would be considered "disappointing to the ear," yet he recast the materials out of which he constructed it in order to lift that narrative into the realm of pure literature. Speeches, letters and documents are reworded to be in tone with the rest of the story. It was his art, in fact, which really created the Peloponnesian war out of its separate parts. And yet this art was merely the language of a scientist. The "laborious task" of which he speaks is that of consulting all possible evidence, and weighing conflicting accounts. It is this which makes his rhetoric worth while, "an everlasting possession, not a prize competition which is heard and forgotten." From the sublimity of Thucydides, and Xenophon's straightforward story, history passed with Theopompus and Ephorus into the field of rhetoric. A revival of the scientific instinct of investigation is discernable in Timaeus the Sicilian, at the end of the 4th century, but his attack upon his predecessors was the text of a more crushing attack upon himself by Polybius, who declares him lacking in critical insight and biased by passion. Polybius' comments upon Timaeus reach the dignity of a treatise upon history. He protests against its use for controversial pamphlets which distort the truth. "Directly a man assumes the moral attitude of an historian he ought to forget all considerations, such as love of one's friends, hatred of one's enemies .... He must sometimes praise enemies and blame friends. For as a living creature is rendered useless if deprived of its eyes, so if you take truth from History, what is left but an improfitable tale" (bk. xii. 14). These are the words of a Ranke. Unfortunately Polybius, like most modern scientific historians, was no artist. His style is the very opposite of that of Isocrates and the rhetoricians. It is often only clear in the light of inscriptions, so closely does it keep to the sources. The style found no imitator; history passed from Greece to Rome in the guise of rhetoric. In Dionysius of Halicarnassus the rhetoric was combined with an extensive study of the sources; but the influence of the Greek rhetoricians upon Roman prose was deplorable from the standpoint of science. Cicero, although he said that the duty of the historian is to conceal nothing true, to say nothing false, would in practice have written the kind of history that Polybius denounced. He finds fault with those who are non exornatores rerum sed tantum narratores. History for him is the mine from which to draw argument in oratory and example in education. It is not the subject of a scientific curiosity.

It should be noted before we pass to Rome that with the expansion of Hellenism the subject of historians expanded as well. Universal history was begun by Ephorus, the rhetorician, and formed the theme of Polybius and Deodorus. Exiled Greeks were the first to write histories of Rome worthy of the name. The Alexandrian Eratosthenes placed chronology upon the scientific basis of astronomy, and Apollodorus drew up the most important chronica of antiquity.

History-writing in Rome, - except for the Greek writers resident there, - was until the first half of the 1st century B.C. in the form of annals. Then came rhetorical ornamentation, - and the Ciceronian era. The first Roman historian who rose to the conception of a science and art combined was Sallust, the student of Thucydides. The Augustan age produced in Livy a great popular historian and natural artist and a trained rhetorician (in the speeches), - but as uncritical and inaccurate as he was brilliant. From Livy to Tacitus the gulf is greater than from Herodotus to Thucydides. Tacitus is at least a consummate artist. His style ranges from the brilliancy of his youth to the sternness and sombre gravity of age, passing almost to poetic expression in its epigrammatic terseness. Yet in spite of his searching study of authorities, his keen judgment of men, and his perception of underlying principles of moral law, his view was warped by the heat of faction, which glows beneath his external objectivity. After him Roman history-writing speedily degenerated. Suetonius ' Lives of the Caesars is but a superior kind of journalism. But his gossip of the court became the model for historians, whose works, now lost, furnish the main source for the Historia Augusta. The importance to us of this uncritical collection of biographies is sufficient comment on the decline of history-writing in the latter empire. Finally, from the 4th century the epitomes of Eutropius and Festus served to satisfy the lessening curiosity in the past and became the handbooks for the middle ages. The single figure of Ammianus Marcellinus stands out of this age like a belated disciple of Tacitus. But the world was changing from antique to Christian ideals just as he was writing, and with him we leave this outline of ancient history.

The 4th and 5th centuries saw a great revolution in the history of history. The story of the pagan past slipped out of mind, and in its place was set, by the genius of Eusebius, the story of the world force which had superseded it, Christianity, and of that small fraction of antiquity from which it sprang, - the Jews. Christianity from the first had forced thinking men to reconstruct their philosophy of history, but it was only after the Church's triumph that its point of view became dominant in historiography. Three centuries more passed before the pagan models were quite lost to sight. But from the 7th century to the 17th - from Isidore of Seville and the English Bede for a thousand years, - mankind was to look back along the line of Jewish priests and kings to the Creation. Egypt was of interest only as it came into Israelite history, Babylon and Nineveh were to illustrate the judgments of Yahweh, Tyre and Sidon to reflect the glory of Solomon. The process by which the "gentiles" have been robbed of their legitimate history was the inevitable result of a religion whose sacred books make them lay figures for the history of the Jews. Rejected by the Yahweh who became the Christian God, they have remained to the present day, in Sunday schools and in common opinion, not nations of living men, with the culture of arts and sciences, but outcasts who do not enter into the divine scheme of the world's history. When a line was drawn between pagan and Christian back to the creation of the world, it left outside the pale of inquiry nearly all antiquity. But it must be remembered that that antiquity was one in which the German nations had no personal interest. Scipio and the Gracchi were essentially unreal to them. The one living organization with which they came into touch was the Church. So Cicero and Pompey paled before Joshua and Paul. Diocletian, the organizing genius, became a bloodthirsty monster, and Constantine, the murderer, a saint.

Christian history begins with the triumph of the Church. With Eusebius of Caesarea the apologetic pamphlets of the age of persecutions gave way to a calm review of three centuries of Christian progress. Eusebius' biography of Constantine shows what distortion of fact the father of Church history permitted himself, but the Ecclesiastical History was fortunately written for those who wanted to know what really happened, and remains to-day an invaluable repository of Christian antiquities. With the continuations of Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret, and the Latin manual which Cassiodorus had woven from them (the Historia tripartita), it formed the body of Church history during all the middle ages. An even greater influence, however, was exercised by Eusebius' Chronica. Through Jerome's translation and additions, this scheme of this world's chronology became the basis for all medieval world chronicles. It settled until our own day the succession of years from the Creation to the birth of Christ, fitting the Old Testament story into that of ancient history. Henceforth the Jewish past, - that one path back to the beginning of the world, - was marked out by the absolute laws of mathematics and revelation. Jerome had marked it out; Sulpicius Severus, the biographer of St Martin, in his Historia sacra, adorned it with the attractions of romance. Sulpicius was admirably fitted to interpret the miraculous Bible story to the middle ages. But there were few who could write like him, and Jerome's Chronicle itself, or rather portions of it, became, in the age which followed, a sort of universal preface for the monastic chronicler. For a time there were even attempts to continue "imperial chronicles," but they were insignificant compared with the influence of Eusebius and Jerome.

From the first, Christianity had a philosophy of history. Its earliest apologists sought to show how the world had followed a divine plan in its long preparation for the life of Christ. From this central fact of all history, mankind should continue through war and suffering until the divine plan was completed at the judgment day. The fate of nations is in God's hands; history is the revelation of His wisdom and power. Whether He intervenes directly by miracle, or merely sets His laws in operation, He is master of men's fate. This idea, which has underlain all Christian philosophy of history, from the first apologists who prophesied the fall of the Empire and the coming of the millennium, down to our own day, received its classic statement in St Augustine's City of God. The terrestrial city, whose eternity had been the theme of pagan history, had just fallen before Alaric's Goths. Augustine's explanation of its fall passes in review not only the calamities of Roman history - combined with a pathetic perception of its greatness, - but carries the survey back to the origin of evil at the creation. Then over against this civitas terrena he sets the divine city which is to be realized in Christendom. The Roman Empire, - the last general form of the earthly city, - gives way slowly to the heavenly. This is the main thread of Augustine's philosophy of history. The mathematical demonstration of its truth was left by Augustine for his disciple,. Paulus Orosius.

Orosius' Seven Books of Histories against the Pagans, written as a supplement to the City of God, is the first attempt at a Christian "World History." This manual for the middle ages arranged the rise and fall of e mpires with convincing exactness. The history of antiquity, according to it, begins with Ninus. His realm was overthrown bir the Medes in the same year in which the history of Rome began. From the first year of Ninus' reign until the rebuilding of Babylon by Semiramis there were sixty-four years; the same between the first of Procas and the building of Rome. Eleven hundred and sixty-four years after each city was built, it was tak.en, - Babylon by Cyrus, Rome by Alaric, and Cyrus' conquest took place just when Rome began the Republic. But before Rome becomes a world empire, Macedon and Carthage intervene, gL.ardians of Rome's youth (tutor curatorque). This scheme of the four world-monarchies, which was to prevail through all the niddle ages, was developed through seven books filled with the story of war and suffering. As it was Orosius' aim to show that the world had improved since the coming of Christ, he used Trc gus Pompeius' war history, written to exalt Roman triumphs, to show the reverse of victory, - disaster and ruin. Livy, Caesar, Tacitus and Suetonius were plundered for the story of h)rrors; until finally even the Goths in Spain shine by contrast with the pagan heroes; and through the confusion of the German invasions one may look forward to Christendom, - and its peace.

The commonest form of medieval historical writing was the chronicle, which reaches all t he way from monastic annals, mere notes on Easter tables, to the dignity of national monuments. Utterly lacking in perspective, and dominated by the idea of the miraculous, they are for the most part a record of the trivial or the marvellous. Individual historians sometimes recount the story of their own times with sober judgment, but seldom know how to test their sources wl: en dealing with the past. Contradictions are often copied down without the writer noticing them; and since the middle ages forged and falsified so many documents, - monasteries, towns and corporations gaining privileges or titles of possession by the bold use of them, - the narrative of medieval writers cannot be relied upon unless we can verify it by collateral evidence. So ne historians, like Otto of Freising, Guibert of Nogent or Bernard Gui, would have been scientific if they had had our appliance:, for comparison. But even men like Roger Bacon, who deplored the inaccuracy of texts, had worked out no general method to aF ply in their restoration. Toward the close of the middle ages the vernacular literatures were adorned with Villani's and Froissart's chronicles. But the merit of both lies in their journalistic qualities of contemporary narrative. Neither was a history in the truest sense.

The Renaissance marked the first great gain in the historic sense, in the efforts of the humanists to realize the spirit of the antique world. They did not altogether succeed; antiquity to them meant largely Plato and Cicero. Their interests were literary, and the un-Ciceronian centuries were generally ignored. Those in which the foundations of modern Europe were laid, which produced parliaments, cathedrals, cities, Dante and Chaucer, were grouped alike on one dismal level and christened the middle ages. The perspective of the humanists was only one degree better than that of the middle ages. History became the servant to literature, an adjunct to the classics. Thus it passed into the schools, where text-books still in use devote 200 pages to the Peloponnesian war and two to the Athens of Pericles.

But if the literary side of humanism has been a barrier to the progress of scientific history, the discovery and elucidation of texts first made that progress possible. Historical criticism soon awoke. La.urentius Valla's brilliant attack on the "Donation of Constantine" (1440), and Ulrich von Hutten's rehabilitation of Henry IV. from monkish tales mark the rise of the new science. One sees at a glance what an engine of controversy it was to be; yet for a while it remained but a phase of humanism. It was north of the Alps that it parted company with the grammarians. Classical antiquity was an Italian past, the German scholars turned back to the sources of their national history. Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pius II.) had discovered Otto of Freising and Jordanes. Maximilian I. encouraged the search for manuscripts, and Vienna became a great humanistic centre. Conrad Celtes left his Germania illustrata unfinished, but he had found the works of Hroswitha. Conrad Peutinger gathered all sorts of Chronicles in his room in Vienna, and published several, - among them Gregory of Tours. This national movement of the 15th century was not paralleled in France or England, where the classical humanities reigned. The Reformation meanwhile gave another turn to the work of German scholars.

The Reformation, with its heated controversies, seems a strange starting-point for science, yet it, even more than the Renaissance, brought out scientific methods of historical investigation. It not only sobered the humanist tendency to sacrifice truth for aesthetic effect, it called for the documents of the Church and subjected them to the most hostile criticism. Luther himself challenged them. Then in the Magdeburg Centuries (1559-1574) Protestantism tried to make good its attack on the medieval Church by a great collection of sources accompanied with much destructive criticism. This gigantic work is the first monument of modern historical research. The reply of Cardinal Baronius (Annales ecclesiastici, 1588-1697) was a still greater collection, drawn from archives which till then had not been used for scientific history. Baronius' criticism and texts are faulty, though far surpassing anything before his day, and his collection is the basis for most subsequent ones, - in spite of J. J. Scaliger's refutation, which was to contain an equal number of volumes of the errors in Baronius.

The movement back to the sources in Germany until the Thirty Years' War was a notable one. Collections were made by Simon Schard (1535-1573), Johannes Pistorius (1576-1608), Marquard Freher (1565-1614), Melchior Goldast (1576-1635) and others. After the war Leibnitz began a new epoch, both by his philosophy with its law of continuity in phenomena, and by his systematic attempt to collect sources through an association (1670). His plan to have documents printed as they were, instead of "correcting" them, was a notable advance. But from Leibnitz until the 19th century German national historiography made little progress, - although church historians like Mosheim and Neander stand out among the greatest historians of all time.

France had not paralleled the activity of Maximilian's Renaissance historians. The father of modern French history, or at least of historical research, was Andre Duchesne (1584-1640), whose splendid collections of sources are still in use. Jean Bodin wrote the first treatise on scientific history (Methodus ad facilem historiarum cognitionem, 1566), but he did not apply his own principles of criticism; and it was left for the Benedictine monks of the Congregation of St Maur to establish definitely the new science. The place of this school in the history of history is absolutely without a parallel. Few of those in the audiences of Moliere, returning home under the grey walls of St Germaindes-Pres, knew that within that monastery the men whose midnight they disturbed were laying the basis for all scientific history; and few of the later historians of that age have been any wiser. But when Luc d'Achery turned from exegetics to patristics and the lives of the saints, as a sort of Christian humanist, he led the way to that vast work of collection and comparison of texts which developed through Mabillon, Montfaucon, Ruinart, Martene, Bouquet and their associates, into the indispensable implements of modern historians. Here, as in the Reformation, controversy called out the richest product. Jean Mabillon's treatise, De re diplomatica (1 681), was due to the criticisms of that group of Belgian Jesuits whose Acta Sanctorum quotquot toto orbe coluntur (1643, &c., see Bollandists) was destined to grow into the greatest repository of legend and biography the world has seen. In reply to D. Papebroch's criticisms of the chronicle of St Denis, Mabillon prepared this manual for the testing of medieval documents. Its canons are the basis, indeed, almost the whole, of the science of diplomatic (q.v.), the touchstone of truth for medieval research. Henceforth even the mediocre scholar had a body of technical rules by which to sort out the vast mass of apocrypha in medieval documentary sources. Scientific history depends upon implements. Without manuals, dictionaries, and easy access to texts, we should go as far astray as any medieval chronicler. The France of the Maurists supplied the most essential of these instruments. The great "glossary" of Ducange is still in enlarged editions the indispensable encyclopaedia of the middle ages. Chronology and palaeography were placed on a new footing by Dom Bernard de Montfaucon's Palaeographia graeca (1708), the monumental Art de verifier les dates (3rd ed., 1818-1831, in 38 vols.), and the Nouveau Traite de diplomatique (175° - 1765) of Dom Tassin and Dom Toustain. The collections of texts which the Maurists published are too many and too vast to be enumerated here (see C. Langlois, Manuel de bibliographie historique, pp. 293 ff.). Dom Bouquet's Historiens de la Gaule et de la France - the national repertory for French historians - is but one of a dozen tasks of similar magnitude. During the 18th century this deep under-work of scientific history continued to advance, though for the most part unseen by the brilliant writers whose untrustworthy generalities passed for history in the salons of the old regime. Interrupted by the Revolution, it revived in the 19th century, and the roll of honour of the French Ecole des Chartes has almost rivalled that of St Germaindes-Pres.

The father of critical history in Italy was L. A. Muratori (1672-1750), the Italian counterpart of Leibnitz. His vast collection of sources (Rerum Italicarum scriptores), prepared amid every discouragement, remains to-day the national monument of Italian history; and it is but one of his collections. His output is perhaps the greatest of any isolated worker in the whole history of historiography. The same haste, but much less care, marked the work of J. D. Mansi (d. 1769), the compiler of the fullest collection of the Councils. Spain, stifled by the Inquisition, produced no national collection of sources during the 17th and 18th centuries, although Nicolas Antonio (d. 1684) produced a national literary history of the first rank.

England in the 16th century kept pace with Continental historiography. Henry VIII.'s chaplain, John Leland, is the father of English antiquaries. Three of the most precious collections of medieval manuscripts still in existence were then begun by Thomas Bodley (the Bodleian at Oxford), Archbishop Matthew Parker (Corpus Christi at Cambridge), and Robert Cotton (the Cottonian collection of the British Museum). In Elizabeth's reign a serious effort was made to arrange the national records, but until the end of the 18th century they were scattered in not less than fifteen repositories. In the 17th and 18th centuries English scholarship was enriched by such monuments of research as William Dugdale's Monasticon, Thomas Madox's History of the Exchequer, Wilkins's Concilia, and Thomas Rymer's Foedera. But these works, important as they were, gave but little idea of the wealth of historical sources which the 19th century was to reveal in England.

In the 19th century the science of history underwent a sort of industrial revolution. The machinery of research, invented by the genius of men like Mabillon, was perfected and set going in all the archives of Europe. Isolated workers or groups of workers grew into national or international associations, producing from archives vast collections of material to be worked up into the artistic form of history. The result of this movement has been to revolutionize the whole subject. These men of the factory - devoting their lives to the cataloguing of archives and libraries, to the publication of material, and then to the gigantic task of indexing what they have produced - have made it possible for the student in an American or Australian college to master in a few hours in his library sources of history which baffled the long years of research of a Martene or Rymer. The texts themselves have mostly become as correct as they can ever be, and manuals and bibliographies guide one to and through them, so that no one need go astray who takes the trouble to make use of the mechanism which is at his hand. For example, since the papal archives were opened, so many regesta have appeared that soon it will be possible to follow the letter-writing of the medieval popes day by day for century after century.

The apparatus for this research is too vast to be described here. Archives have been reformed, their contents catalogued or calendared; government commissions have rescued numberless documents from oblivion or destruction, and learned societies have supplemented and criticized this work and co-ordinated the results. Every state in Europe now has published the main sources for its history. The "Rolls" series, the Monumenta Germaniae historica, and the Documents inedits are but the more notable of such national products. A series of periodicals keeps watch over this enormous output. The files and indices of the English Historical Review, Historische Zeitschrift, Revue historique, or American Historical Review will alone reveal the strength and character of historical research in the later 19th century.

Every science which deals with human phenomena is in a way an implement in this great factory system, in which the past is welded together again. Psychology has been drawn upon to interpret the movements of revolutions or religions, anthropology and ethnology furnish a clue to problems to which the key of documents has been lost. Genealogy, heraldry and chronology run parallel with the wider subject. But the real auxiliary sciences to history are those which deal with those traces of the past that still exist, the science of language (philology), of writing (palaeography), of documents (diplomatic), of seals (sphragistics), of coins (numismatics), of weights and measures, and archaeology in the widest sense of the word. These sciences underlie the whole development of scientific history. Dictionaries and manuals are the instruments of this industrial revolution. Without them the literary remains of the race would still be as useless as Egyptian inscriptions to the fellaheen. Archaeology itself remained but a minor branch of art until the machinery was perfected which enabled it to classify and interpret the remains of the "pre-historic" age.

This is the most remarkable chapter in the whole history of history - the recovery of that past which had already been lost when our literary history began. The perspective stretches out as far the other side of Homer as we are this. The old "providential" scheme of history disintegrates before a new interest in the "gentile" nations to whose high culture Hebrew sources bore unwilling testimony. Biblical criticism is a part of the historic process. The Jewish texts, once the infallible basis of history, are now tested by the libraries of Babylon, from which they were partly drawn, and Hebrew history sinks into its proper place in the wide horizon of antiquity. The finding of the Rosetta stone left us no longer dependent upon Greek, Latin or Hebrew sources, and now fifty centuries of Egyptian history lie before us. The scientific historian of antiquity works on the hills of Crete, rather than in the quiet of a library with the classics spread out before him. There he can reconstruct the splendour of that Minoan age to which Homeric poems look back, as the Germanic epics looked back to Rome or Verona. His discoveries, co-ordinated and arranged in vast corpora inscriptionum, stand now alongside Herodotus or Livy, furnishing a basis for their criticism. Medieval archaeology has, since Quicherat, revealed how men were living while the monks wrote chronicles, and now cathedrals and castles are studied as genuine historic documents.

The immense increase in available sources, archaeological and literary, has remade historical criticism. Ranke's application of the principles of "higher criticism" to works written since the invention of printing (Kritik neuerer Geschichtsschreiber) was an epoch-making challenge of narrative sources. Now they are everywhere checked by contemporary evidence, and a clearer sense of what constitutes a primary source has discredited much of what had been currently accepted as true. This is true not only of ancient history, where last year's book may be a thousand years out of date, but of the whole field. Hardly an "old master" remains an authoritative book of reference. Gibbon, Grote, Giesebrecht, Guizot stand to-day by reason of other virtues than their truth. Old landmarks drop out of sight - e.g. the fall of the Western Empire in 476, the coming of the Greeks to Italy in 1450, dates which once enclosed the middle ages. The perspective changes - the Renaissance grows less and the middle ages more; the Protestant Revolution becomes a complex of economics and politics and religion; the French Revolution a vast social reform in which the Terror was an incident, &c., &c. The result has been a complete transformation of history since the middle of the 19th century.

In the 17th century the Augustinian scheme of world history received its last classic statement in Bossuet's Histoire universelle. Voltaire's reply to it in the 18th (Essai sur les mceurs) attacked its limitations on the basis of deism, and its miraculous procedure on that of science. But while there are foreshadowings of the evolutionary theory in this work, neither the philosophe historians nor Hume nor Gibbon arrived at a constructive principle in history which could take the place of the Providence they rejected. Religion, though false, might be a real historic force. History became the tragic spectacle of a game of dupes - the real movers being priests, kings or warriors. The pawns slowly acquired reason, and then would be able to regulate the moves themselves. But all this failed to give a satisfactory explanation of the laws which determine the direction of this evolution. Giovanni Battista Vico (1668-1744) was the first to ask why there is no science of human history. But his lonely life and unrecognized labours leave him apart from the main movement, until his works were discovered again in the 19th century. It was A. L. H. Heeren who, at the opening of the 19th century, first laid that emphasis upon the economic factors in history which is to-day slowly replacing the Augustinian explanation of its evolution. Heeren's own influence, however, was slight. The first half of the century (apart from the scientific activity of Pertz, Guizot, &c.) was largely dominated by the romanticists, with their exaggeration of the individual. Carlyle's "great man theory of history" is logically connected with the age of Scott. It was a philosophy of history which lent itself to magnificent dramatic creations; but it explained nothing. It substituted the work of the genius for the miraculous intervention of Providence, but, apart from certain abstract formulae such as Truth and Right, knew nothing of why or how. It is but dealing in words to say that the meaning of it all is God's revelation of Himself. Granting that, what is the process? Why does it so slowly reveal the Right of the middle ages (as in slavery for instance) to be the Wrong to-day? Carlyle stands to Bossuet as the sage to the myth. Hegel got no closer to realities. His idealistic scheme of history, which makes religion the keynote of progress, and describes the function of each - Judaism to typify duty, Confucianism order, Mahommedanism justice, Buddhism patience, and Christianity love - does not account for the facts of the history enacted by the devotees. It characterizes, not the real process of evolution, but an ideal which history has not realized. Besides, it does not face the question how far religion itself is a product or a cause, or both combined.

In the middle of the century two men sought to incorporate in their philosophy the physical basis which Hegel had ignored in his spiritism - recognizing that life is conditioned by an environment and not an abstraction for metaphysics. H. T. Buckle, in his History of, Civilization in England (1857), was the first to work out the influences of the material world upon history, developing through a wealth of illustration the importance of food, soil and the general aspect of nature upon the formation of society. Buckle did not, as is generally believed, make these three factors dominate all history. He distinctly stated that "the advance of European civilization is characterized by a diminishing influence of physical laws and an increasing influence of mental laws," and "the measure of civilization is the triumph of mind over external agents." Yet his challenge, not only to the theologian, but also to those "historians whose indolence of thought" or "natural incapacity" prevented them from attempting more than the annalistic record of events, called out a storm of protest from almost every side. Now that the controversy has cleared away, we see that in spite of Buckle's too confident formulation of his laws, his pioneer work in a great field marks him out as the Augustine of the scientific age. Among historians, however, Buckle's theory received but little favour for another generation. Meanwhile the economists had themselves taken up the problem, and it was from them that the historians of to-day have learned it. Ten years before Buckle published his history, Karl Marx had already formulated the "economic theory of history." Accepting with reservation Feuerbach's attack on the Hegelian "absolute idea," based on materialistic grounds (Der Mensch ist, was er isst), Marx was led to the conclusion that the causes of that process of growth which constitutes the history of society are to be found in the economic conditions of existence. From this he went on to socialism, which bases its militant philosophy upon this interpretation of history. But the truth or falseness of socialism does not affect the theory of history. In 1845 Marx wrote of the Young-Hegelians that to separate history from natural science and industry was like separating the soul from the body, and "finding the birthplace of history, not in the gross material production on earth, but in the misty cloud formation of heaven" (Die heilige Familie, p. 238). In his Misere de la philosophie (1847) he lays down the principle that social relationships largely depend upon modes of production, and therefore the principles, ideas and categories which are thus evolved are no more eternal than the relations they express, but are historical and transitory products. In the famous Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) the theory was applied to show how the industrial revolution had replaced feudal with modern conditions. But it had little vogue, except among Socialists, until the third volume of Das Kapital was published in 1894, when its importance was borne in upon continental scholars. Since then the controversy has been almost as heated as in the days of the Reformation. It is an exaggeration of the theory which makes it an explanation of all human life, but the whole science of dynamic sociology rests upon the postulate of Marx.

The content of history always reflects the interests of the age in which it is written. It was so in Herodotus and in medieval chronicles. Modern historians began with politics. But as the complex nature of society became more evident in the age of democracy, the economic or sociological history gained ground. Histories of commerce and cities now rank beside those on war and kings, although there are readers still who prefer to follow the pennants or robber barons rather than to watch the slow evolution of modern conditions. The drum-and-trumpet history has its place like that of art, jurisprudence, science or philosophy. Only now we know that no one of these is more than a single glimpse at a vast complex of phenomena, most of which lie for ever beyond our ken.

This expansion of interest has intensified specialization. Historians no longer attempt to write world histories; they form associations of specialists for the purpose. Each historian chooses his own epoch or century and his own subject, and spends his life mastering such traces of it as he can find. His work there enables him to judge of the methods of his fellows, but his own remains restricted by the very wealth of material which has been accumulated on the single subject before him. Thus the great enterprises of to-day are co-operative - the Cambridge Modern History, Lavisse and Rambaud's Histoire generale, or Lavisse's Histoire de France, like Hunt and Poole's Political History of England, and Oncken's Allgemeine Geschichte in Einzeldarstellungen. But even these vast sets cover but the merest fraction of their subjects. The Cambridge history passes for the most part along the political crust of society, and seldom glances at the social forces within. This limitation of the professed historian is made up for by the growingly historical treatment of all the sciences and arts - a tendency noted before, to which this edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica is itself a notable witness. Indeed, for a definition of that limitless subject which includes all the phenomena that stand the warp and stress of change, one might adapt a famous epitaph - si historiam requiris, circumspice. BIBLIOGRAPHY. - See Ch. V. Langlois, Manuel de bibliographie historique (2 vols., 1904). This forms the logical bibliography of this article. It is a general survey of the whole apparatus of historical research, and is the indispensable guide to the subject. Similar bibliographies covering sections of history are noted with the articles where they properly belong, e.g. in English medieval history the manual of Chas. Gross, Sources and Literature of English History; in German history the Quellenkunde of Dahlmann-Waitz (7th ed.); for France the Bibliographie de l'histoire de France of G. Monod (antiquated, 1888), or the Sources de l'histoire de France so ably begun by A. Molinier's volumes on the medieval period. Perhaps the sanest survey of the present scientific movement in history is the clear summary of Ch. V. Langlois and Ch. Seignobos, Introduction to the Study of History (trans. with preface by F. York Powell, London, 1898). Much more ambitious is E. Bernheim's Lehrbuch der historischen Methode and der Geschichtsphilosophie mit Nachweis der wichtigsten Quellen and Hilfsmittel zum Studium der Geschichte (3rd and 4th ed., Leipzig, 1903). (J. T. S.*)

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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has articles on:


Most common English words: u « gold « letters « #588: history » master » latter » fellow


  • enPR: hĭstōrē, IPA: /ˈhɪstəri/, SAMPA: /"hIst@ri/
  •  Audio (US)help, file
  • Hyphenation: hist‧o‧ry


From Latin historia < Ancient Greek ἱστορία (historia), learning through research, narration of what is learned) < ἱστορέω (historeō), to learn through research, to inquire) < ἵστωρ (histōr), the one who knows, the expert, the judge), from * (ϝίδτωρ), from Proto-Indo-European *wid- (know, knowledge).


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history (plural histories)

  1. The aggregate of past events.
    History repeats itself if we don’t learn from its mistakes.
    Holes in your pant pockets turn your coins into history.
  2. The branch of knowledge that studies the past; the assessment of notable events.
    He teaches history at the university.
    History will not look kindly on these tyrants.
    He dreams of an invention that will make history.
  3. A record or narrative description of past events.
  4. (medicine) The list of past and continuing medical conditions of an individual or family.
    A personal medical history is required for the insurance policy.
    He has a history of cancer in his family.
  5. (computing) A record of previous user events.
    I visted a great site yesterday but forgot the URL; oh! ... luckily I didn't clear my history.


  • (aggregate of past events): past
  • (record or narrative description of past events): account, chronicle, story, tale
  • (medicine: list of past and continuing medical conditions): medical history
  • (computing: record of previous user events): log

Derived terms

Related terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Simple English

History is the study of past events. People know what happened in the past by looking at things from the past, including records (like books, newspapers and letters) and artifacts (like pottery, tools, and human or animal remains). Libraries, archives and museums collect and keep these things for people to study history. A person who studies history is called a historian. A person who studies pre-history and history through things left behind by ancient cultures is called an archaeologist. A person who studies mankind and society is called an anthropologist. The study of the sources and methods used to study and write history is called historiography.

People can learn about the past by talking to people who remember things that happened in the past. This is called oral history. When people who had been slaves and American Civil War survivors got old, some historians recorded everything that they said, so that history would not be lost.

In old times people in different parts of the world kept separate histories because they did not meet each other very often. Some groups of people never met each other. Medieval Europe, Ancient Rome and Ancient China each thought that they ruled the only important parts of the world and that other parts were "barbarian".

Timeline of history

Current events, modern economic history, modern social history and modern intellectual history take very different views of the way history has affected the way that we think today.

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