What's the history of history?

Historic questions, thoughts and other interesting stuff

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craig1459
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What's the history of history?

Post by craig1459 »

When did people start taking an interest in what people did hundreds of years before?

Has there been a continuous accumulation and study of historical knowledge since classical times or has it been a fad thing?

As an example, take "Celtic Britain" - would those life and times have been familiar to a scholar in the C14 or was the knowledge lost and then regained at a later date?
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Post by the real lord duvet »

viking sagas?
gladiatorial battle recreations?
greek historians?

one caveman remembr how great that bird from the other cave was last week - now where did he put his club..........




i think history goes back to the Year dot plus one - when they sung songs about the year dot.

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Post by guthrie »

Herodotus was called the father of history, and he was around int he ummmm, 2nd century BC or something.

I think a concern with history, with facts and dates and exactly what happened, with as little influence from the person doing the investigation, is more something of the past couple of hundred years.

Before that, people had myths and legends, which supplied story and history, and some of them were quite accurate history wise, but there was less concern with accuracy. Not to mention that only in the past 2 or 300 years have we had more leisure time and abilities to look things up in the past.

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DeviantShrub
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Post by DeviantShrub »

The academic study of history as we know it today really began in the latter part of the 19thC. In mediaeval terms, we can trace it back to the work of William Stubbs (written in the 1870s and still on today's history syllabus) and JH Round.

An interesting book on this theme, particularly on the post-15thC interest in the mediaeval, is Veronica Ortenberg's "In Search of the Holy Grail: the quest for the middle ages" (Hambledon Continuum, 2006). And I'm not just saying that because she's a friend of mine! It gives a nifty overview of the subject, from the way people over the past 5 centuries have used mediaeval history for their own ends, through the 'celtic bandwaggon', to 'selling history'.

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Post by guthrie »

On the other hand, I understand that the collection of information, its collation and the use of references to previous works and evidence, as well as some interpretation and attempting to see the big picture, started in the time of the enlightenmnet, what with Gibbon and some scottish bloke who i read about last night but I cannot recall who he was.

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Post by lidimy »

I think people took an interest when their rose tinted glasses were successfully tinted enough to make the past look beautiful and simple, when those who had worked and died in those times were all gone to stand as no reminder of the actual reality of life.
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Malvoisin
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Post by Malvoisin »

You could say that peoples "interest in what people did hundreds of years before" starts with the cult of the ancestor. In this country this shows it's self with the removal of bones from passage graves to be used in ceremony in enclosed cause ways. Example; bones from west kennet long barrow being removed to windmill hill about 4000bc.

The cause way enclosures no doubt had an influance on the henge builders 1000 years later.
Could the round barrows of the bronze age 2000bc be influanced by the long barrows of the neolithic?

The Romans had a huge affect on the culture of the lands they conqured many, many years after they left. The romanesque architecture of the Norman and Germanic church and castle 800 years later proves this. Not to mention hundreds of feats of engineering, aquaducts etc still used today.

In medieval times we have the beginings of the King Arthur legands thanks to Geoffery of Monmouth.

Things probably start to get acedemic, in england at least, with John Aubrey about 1666 with his excavations around stone henge.

Then of course there's the Bible... their has been quite a few folk interested in what some God bloke did with an old fellow called Moses, and later on with some carpenter chap. The results of which we're still living with today!
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