By John Burrow
This exceptional publication via considered one of Britain’s such a lot well-liked historians describes the highbrow impression that the learn and attention of background has had within the Western global during the last 2,500 years.
Treating the perform of background now not as an remoted pursuit yet as a facet of human society and a vital a part of the tradition of Europe and the US, John Burrow magnificently brings to existence and explains the detailed traits present in the paintings of historians from the traditional Egyptians and Greeks to the current, together with Livy, Tacitus, Bede, Froissart, Clarendon, Gibbon, Macaulay, Michelet, Prescott and Parkman. the writer units out to not supply us the background of educational self-discipline yet a background of selections: the alternative of pasts, and the methods they've been demarcated, investigated, provided or even occasionally realized from as they've got replaced in keeping with political, non secular, cultural, and (often most vital) partisan and patriotic situations. Burrow goals, in addition, to alter our perceptions of the an important turning issues within the heritage of heritage, permitting the information that historians have had approximately either their very own occasions and their founding civilizations to emerge with unforeseen freshness.
Burrow argues that the heritage of background is without doubt one of the best methods we need to comprehend the earlier. definitely, this quantity stands by myself in its ambition, scale and fascination.
Read or Download A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century PDF
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Extra info for A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century
The speeches, of w h i c h Thucydides includes 37 A HISTORY OF HISTORIES many, have d r a w n much critical examination. They are highly charac teristic. They seem also to have been very influential, since the insertion - invention is one w o r d - of speeches became a feature of ancient historiography w e l l into the Roman period, though none are quite like those of Thucydides. There are speeches i n Herodotus, but they are less lengthy and less important, and are often more like parts of conversations than formed orations.
I t is, however, Homeric on a vast scale, and therefore looser and deliberately digressive, as well as based on painstaking inquiries, sometimes requiring suspension of judge ment, all of w h i c h is alien t o the epic tradition. Herodotus is a garru lous, highly personal and conversational writer, w i t h no aversion to the first person; one meets h i m face t o face, as i t were, so that i t is not difficult t o imagine the readings he gave i n Athens by w h i c h his w o r k was apparently first made public.
H e seems to have been particularly unfortunate w i t h his informants i n Egypt, so that scholars w o r k i n g on ancient Egypt n o w have a much lower view of h i m than those of Babylon and Persia, w h o regard h i m as a valuable authority. The accusations against h i m i n the ancient w o r l d w h i c h , taken w i t h the rival model provided by Thucydides, undoubtedly lowered his reputation, n o w seem t o rest on the misunderstanding that he necessarily endorsed what he repeated, i n so far as they are not merely malicious.