The history of history also known as historiography has had its influence from various factors and primary sources, which ensured that the current history developed as reliable and good history. Some of the influential people in developing authentic history are Marc Bloch and E. H. Carr who develop The Historians Craft (1949) and What is History? (1961) respectively. These represent some of the classic works in history though they have significant issues with direct language. Other authors like Keith Jenkins who came up with classic works concerning the history of history but in a language that is easily understandable. The contributions of these authors were critical in laying a foundation for the development of the current history despite the difference in language. The development of the current history is however not limited to these authors. As Popkin explains documentaries, museums and historical films also play a critical role. As he states Historical films, television documentaries, and museum exhibitions provide vivid visual images of the past that give viewers the impression of having seen things as they were (5). It means that such aspects of history ensure that those who encounter history including students can develop a mental picture of what happened at that time using what is presented in the visual representations. Their contribution to the current history is therefore indisputable as they act as strong pillars for the provision of reliable sources of how the current history came to be.
The history of history goes back to medieval times with the contribution of ancient Greek philosophers who recorded information about historical events. They include Plato, Socrates, Thucydides, and Herodotus. As Popkin states, Herodotus and Thucydides were certainly not the first people to record information about historical events or to construct stories about the past (26). The two Greek authors noted during their travels that Egyptians kept records of their rulers from many centuries before. Such individuals also developed a basis for what current students and individual learn about history. These individuals provided long lasting points of reference, which are currently influential in the history that is now known. Poetic epics like the Odyssey, Homer, and the Iliad also documented the happenings of the Trojan War, which was a historical event that took place centuries before Thucydides and Herodotus. They give evidence of events that took place, thousands of years ago which may not be possible to identify or read about if such sources were absent.
Modern scholars of historiography including Anthony Grafton and Donald Kelley also identify that the historians from the Renaissance period were the major influencers of how current academic history stands. An Italian scholar, Lorenzo Valla developed his work known as Discourse on the Forgery of Constantine, which contributed to the significant shift that occurred in historical methodology in Europe. Current history can also be accredited to Renaissance humanism, which mainly adopted various practices that included the development of fictitious speeches. The modern theater also acted as a major contributor to the current history as it provided a platform where historical events and writings would come to life. As Popkin states Until the invention of film in the twentieth century, the theater remained the most powerful way of bringing history to life (55). Napoleon is also an influential figure in how current history is. Through his expeditions and the records he kept which he referred to as the Bulletins of the Grand Army, current scholars have a basis of developing explanations of how Napoleons conquests were possible. As Popkin states, Napoleon deliberately stoked the interest in his historic accomplishments, through the Bulletins of the Grand Army, he published during his campaigns (72). History, as it is, has developed through the influence of major players in historiography who developed writings and theories that help describe the discipline. Other aspects, including theaters and museums, seem to have had their critical impact on how history stands currently.
Popkin, Jeremy D. From Herodotus to H-Net: The Story of Historiography. Oxford University Press, 2016.
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