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Extension History Notes.

What is History?
Herodotus of Halicarnassus
Who was he?

Father of History


Born during Persian Wars (490-479 BC)

Wrote about them
Died in 430BC
Classical Greek + Roman period.

How did He write/record History?


Received first hand accounts (Primary sources)

Interpretted them himself
Used myths/folklore The priestesses who deliver the oracles have a
different version of the story talk about talking black doves and
an oracle of Zues then interpretted it that the doves were foreign
women (Probably Egyptian) who learned to talk the language.
Looked for truth, though tried to avoid passing judgement and relied
on his own knowledge
Researched what actually happened, but with reference to gods, fate
and their role in events.
Investigates sources, especially oral sources (Very accurate at the
Aimed to be unbiased and to let the audience make up its own mind
Used myths and aimed for enjoyment. Popular history.
Looked into the remote past.


To record the deeds of men so they will be remembered

To find truth and what actually happened
To entertain

Used Primary Sources
Seeks truth
Aimed to get rid of bias
Let audience decide for themselves.

Used myths
Added his own interpretations
Aimed for both popular and truthful
history, which is hard to get both

Others view of him


Cicero: Doubtful parent of History seeking to entertain, used

myths and folklore. Cicero calls him a liar. Wrote the books On
Herodotus lies and On Herodotus thefts
Thucydides criticised the romance in his works
Hartog: Though he is the father of history, he is not really a
Fehling: He wanted to make popular history and lied to make it more
appealing. It was a matter of staving off oblivion rather then
increasing knowledge.
Some thought his work favoured Athens
Warren: Sought truth, didnt favour Athens.

Who was he?

An Athenian, 460-395BC
Wrote about Peloponnesian wars (Peloponnesia vs Athens)
Military commander and discussed those issues in his History.


460-395 BC

How did he write/record History?


Sought facts and truth and used them to reveal lessons about human
nature to help those in power to understand their people.
Entered into characters minds and tried to guess what their actions
would have been.
Wrote speeches he hadnt heard or couldnt remember much of.
With references to speeches in this historymy habit has been to
make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them
Honest about his bias though.
Tried to fit events to patterns and made characters fit into those
Relied on what he saw and the accounts of eyewitnesses. (Primary
sources) and aimed to get rid of bias and error in his accounts.
Tested his work to see if it was truthful.
Used reason, not fate or the role of the gods to explain events.
Interpretted and explained told the audience what to think
Wrote political/military history.


To persuade/teach those in power.

To reveal human nature: finding the truth behind what happened

was important because it revealed certain things about human
nature. (Warren).
I have written my work, not as an essay which is to win the applause
of the moment, but as a possession for all time. (Thucydides).

Logical and used reason, not fate.
Primary sources.
Tested sources for reliability
Looked for personal errors and bias
in his own work.
Honest about his bias.

Made up speeches or the actions of
characters even though he didnt
Tried to fit history and characters
into a pattern
Aimed to teach, interpreted it
himself. Possibly twisting it to get
the lessons he wanted
Political history wants to please
those above him?

Others view of him


Thucydideswrote true history (Warren)

Bernard Bailyn
Who was he?

1922 present.


Modern historian
Studied American colonial and revolution era history.

How should history be written or recorded?


History = what happened + what we know about what happened. The

memory of things said and done
Good history = accurate and truthful history.
History should: help us understand the past, help us understand the
present and why the world is as it is and help us stop making the
same mistakes.
Historians see errors or gaps in history and create possible
Should be done to seek truth, not to prove a point, or it will be

Sources should be critically analysed for their truth, reliability and

Cant pass judgement. Historians are biased by their current world
views, therefore the history they write is biased. We cant put our
thoughts onto the past.
Must be written with empathy for both sides, regardless of the
Should be to teach the public, yet should be accurate. So people can
learn and understand.

What motive should a historian have?


Study it if they enjoy it

To find truth and explore the past
To understand why things are how they are now.
So the truth can be found and history cant be distorted for personal
A way of getting out of the boundaries of ones own life and culture
and seeing more of what Human experience has been. (Bailyn)
To make decisions based to some extent on what has gone before.

Analyses sources critically

Explanation of gaps in history may be
inaccurate and biased.

Seeks to overcome bias (recognises

that every generation has bias).
History shouldnt be politically
Seeks truth and accuracy, as well as
popular history but not at the
expense of the first two.

John Vincent
Source: An intelligent persons guide to history book on historiography.
Who was he?

Modern historian.
Born 1937


Post Modern

How has history been written/how should it be written?


History is deeply maleessentially non-youngabout the rich and

famous, not the poor
History has been written by the rich and powerful, the victorious, the
males, the old, the educated and therefore the upper class.
It shows how the powerful used power.
It is constantly censored.
It is about hatred, not love. History is hopeless on love, but
excellent on hatred.
It is one-sided and biased.
Studying history is not about finding truth, but finding errors and
distortions. about assessing distortion, not copying out truths.
It is about evidence, yet the evidence used it biased and refined
depending on the historian and their motives and their views.
Political history aims for an ideology to succeed, not for truth.
History cannot be unbiased, since biased people write it.
The aim is for objectivity, but it is impossible to achieve. No
evidence, No history; imperfect evidence, imperfect history.
History is written to please the people. If people like a certain bias,
that is what is written about.


To prove that bias is everywhere, truth and objectivity are impossible

and that we write our own culture and views into history.

Recognises Bias


Who was he?

A monk of the 2 Northumbrian Abbeys



672-735 BC
Had a library at the Monestary with the writings of Eusebius and
Orosius and Gildas.
Christianity was key to society. Church and state were joined.

How did he write/record History?

Tried to convince and persuade convert (Like the historians he

Blames bad happenings on peoples sin. (e.g. the fall of Rome was due
to sin)
Recorded miracles, telling them dramatically.
Named sources One of the bretherenthe venerable priest and
servant of Christ Guthfrid My principle authorityhas been the
most reverend Abbot Albinushe carefully transmitted to me verbally
or in writing through Nothelm, a priest of the church of London
(Ecclesiastical History of the English people.)
Used primary sources, records and eye witnesses.
Got lots of sources. I am not dependant on any one author but on
countless faithful witnesses who either know or remember the facts,
apart from what I know myself.
Tried to prove that Gods hand was in history. God rewarded good
kings with victory and prosperity and punished bad ones with earthly
Had one perspective and aimed to convince
Did not record the successes of pagan kings since it didnt fit his
Wrote politically and religiously, though both were linked at the time.
For things should not be loved for the sake of places, but places for
the sake of good things


To convert people to God

To show Gods hand at work

Used primary sources
Referenced sources
Used many sources and
trusted/reliable ones.

Used History to prove a point and
recorded what proved his point.
Political bias. Done for the pope.
Dramaticised some elements.

Others view of him


Not accurate, over-dramatic and popular.

Some of the miracles are particularly dramatic and defy every
natural law Webb.
Reference of sources was excellent and followed by many.

The Renaissance Historians

Who were they?

Father of Rennaisance Pentrach, who was a Florentine scholar

Leonardo Bruni (1374-1444)
Machiavelli (1469-1527)


After the Medieval period

14th - 16th Century
Looked to classical historians

How did they write/record History?


A More humanist Approach

This is not to say that the humanists adopted a non-christian stance.
They emphasised a learning of the past being used to help society to
progress in its Christianity, not to become less Christian. (Warren)
Sought to teach moral lessons from History
Looked to classical historians, especially the Roman ones (Cicero and
Livy). Petrach said of Livy: Thou Matchless Historian.
Modelled history on the history of the Classical Historians.
Leonardo Bruni paralleled the rise of Florence with that of Rome.
Thought the study of History was of great value.
Applied lessons from history to their own times and used history to
help understand the world.


To teach lessons from History

To reflect on their own times.
To be aware of change
Thought medieval history was worthless, so probably to show that, or
else to praise the classical historians.

More humanistic approach
potentially less biased.

Medieval Historians

Copied Classical historians, tried to
parallel Rome with Florance write
what fits, possibly leaving out
Thought Medieval history was
Drew lessons from History possible
meant twisting the truth to find


Church and State were combined

Strict class systems

How did they write/record History?


Saw their function as chronicling then working out of Gods purposes

in the world. Things happened, ultimately, because God willed them
to happen (Evans)


To persuade and convert people


Trying to fit History to patterns.

Romantic Era
Who was they?

Sir Walter Scott

Edmund Burke
Leopold Von Ranke (See separately)

- After Medieval era.
How did he write/record History?

They came to see the past as exciting because it was different

It Provided the only possible basis for the kind of political stability
that had been so rudely shattered by the French Revolution (Evans)
Simply finding out about the past was something to cherish and
preserve (Evans)
Therefore they sought truth, not interpretation or opinion.
History was seen as the only proper foundation for a true
understanding of the institutions of state and society in the present
(Evans) History helped to understand the present.


Disregard Medieval history.

Learn about the past and therefore the present
Maintain stability in society

Sought truth
Didnt try to shape it for moral

Bias against medieval history

Leopold Von Ranke

Who was he?



German nationalism was becoming more prevalent as he grew up.

Lutheran beliefs

How did he write/record History?


Independent from philosophy and literature

Very specific (political and diplomatic), not wide
Lutheran Christian beliefs. Believed God was in control but that
we could not understand his will, only glimpse it through history. But
God was separate to history and events could not be explained by
religion or miracles.
Didnt try to fit a pattern to history
Fairly narrative style History with flair and using dramatic
Wrote on nations and the history of the European nations
I have not devoted much space to less significant events (Ranke,
Civil Wars and Monarchy in France in the sixteenth and seventeenth
century) biased by his view of what is significant. He wrote mainly
political history, and the significant events depended on the sources
he had access to.
Peter Gay: Ranke establishes his characters with the precision of a
novelist and uses speed, colour, variety, freshness of diction, and
superb control
History is Not simply intellectual, but emotional and spiritual as well.
Each time must be studied on its own terms, not judged by the
Objectivity, but believed that by it one could see Gods work through
it imposing a value-system on the past
extinguish my own self, as it were, to let the things speak (Ranke:
English History: Principally in the seventeenth century)
To history has been assigned the role of judging the past, of
instructing the present for the benefit of future ages. To such high
offices this work does not aspire: it wants only to show what actually
happened (Ranke Histories of the Latin and Germanic Nations)
Wanted to collect facts and understand the meaning behind them.

The past could not be judged by the standards of the present

History has to be understood as the people of the past understood it.
God ordained events
Texts must be tested for truth, reliability and usefulness, motive and
context. Their inner consistency with itself must be tested and
consistency to other texts of the time.
Primary sources were the purest, most immediate documents
As many sources as possible are necessary for accuracy, primary
sources are best.
Did not want simple facts, but also the feelings and opinions of the
creators of the sources.
Ranke argued that the Historians task was both a science and an
art Warren J. History and the Historians


To find truth and what actually happened

Criticised texts
Sought truth
Primary sources and tested for

Still biased, though he aimed not to
His books still only had evidence that
suited his purpose
Did not research too widely, left out
information he viewed as

Many texts
Aimed for objectivity
Didnt try to judge the past by the
Others view of him

To the next generation Ranke was note Rankine enough (Evans)

They made him say what they wanted him to say and used him to
support their arguments for scientific history in ways which Ranke
had not expressed himself.

Scientific History

19th Century up till WWI


Herbert Baxter Adams

Fustel de Coulages History is and should be a science (1862)

View of how should history be written:


Not personal and no opinion

Entirely objective. Looking at the facts
Filling gaps in history with fact, not opinion
History will eventually be exhausted and everything will be
discovered that can be discovered.
Logical, not metaphorical, literary or philosophical.


Nationalistic: Tried to prove their nation superior by following their

views. Since this originated in Germany it was rejected by some
British/other historians
Seek truth and be objective
Show themselves as superior to those before
To find reliable sources/the reliability of sources.

Sought truth
Not personal more objective
Tested sources for reliability

Did not acknowledge that we are
subjective, therefore what we write
will be
Not personal Not really accurate
history, since it was about personal
Not all facts recorded,
interpretations still proved wrong at

George Trevelyan
Who was he/context?


How did He think History should be written?


History is an art

If history was objective literature, emotion and speculative thought

would be banished from the human races contemplation of its own
past (Trevelyan)
Sought truth, but included speculation, interpretation of the facts
Unlike science History had no practical value unless it was widely
disseminated (Evans)
The collection of facts, the weighing of evidence as to what events
happened, are in some senses scientific, but not the discovery of the
cause and effects of these events (Tevelyan)
Much like Ranke
Criticised sources, tested for reliability
Interpretation was also essential, though only done after finding


Perhaps rebelling against the Scientific approach since it originated in

To find and interpret truth

Sought truth
Sought to fill the gaps
Critically analysed sources
Researched widely

Interpretation may be at the cost of
Nationalistic bias

Post World Was One Views

1. History was Chaotic and Hopeless
- One emergency following upon anotherthe ground gained by one
generation may be lost by the next (H.A.L. Fisher)
2. Scepticism: Objectivity was an unachievable goal.
- After WWI each nations historians tried to blame the other and were
not in any way objective.
- Historians included: William Dilthey, R.G. Collingwood, Benedetto
- History written from the perspective of the writer and the time
he/she lives in. All history is contemporary History (Croce).
- Gathering information was biased, since if the information didnt
prove the persons point, it would be left out.
- History would never stop being written since every generation had a
different perspective.

Sit Lewis Namier


Cold war

How did He write/record History?


People acted in the past because of personal motives, not

Thorough research admired
Highly selective in the evidence he used bias
No pattern in history


Rebelling against the enthronement of Ideology (Evans) at the time

from the Communists

Very Thorough

Selected what evidence to use
Had a motive

Others view of him


Admired disproven an rejected

Thoroughness was always admired though.

Nazi History
How did they write/record History/Motive?

No accurated, aimed to indoctrinate

Twisted/made up history for personal gain, not truth.


Biased, untruthful.

Marxist History
How did He write/record History/Motive?

History all moves toward a certain point

Revolution is inevitable
History has direction and is reaching a pinnacle


Fitting a pattern to it

Post World War 2.

Social Science History

Laslett, Carr.
Focussed on groups of people, not personal
Gathered as much information as possible
No interpretations, just fact.
Seeking objectivity
Written for specialists, academic history
Bias/subjectivity not acknowledged.
Completely opposed to Traditional History
Criticise sources

Traditional History

Elton, Trevelyan
Focussed on groups and individuals
Facts and interpretation used
Acknowledged that subjectivity and bias are inevitable
For the wider public
Imagination used, but limited and facts sought
Truth sought for and aimed to be objective/self-criticise
Seek reliable sources/criticise sources
Gathered as much information as possible.

In Essence, they were both the same, just that scientific history claimed to
not have errors, while traditional history acknowledged its errors and sought
to get rid of them.


Cambridge head of Modern History

How did He write/record History?


Sought truth and accuracy

Personal opinion recognised to explain gaps
Objectivity is both desirable and attainable (Evans)

The past really happened, the historians job is to find out what
Test sources for reliability and usefulness
Primary sources
Looking for the reasons behind history. Why did it happen.

Seeking truth

Being human, he is biased and
subjective like everyone else.

Primary sources
Tested sources + looked for personal
Aimed for objectivity
Enlightenment Historians
Who were they?

18th Century European

Ranke, Gibbon, Rousseau, Voltaire


After the Renaissance and rejected it

How did they write history?


Demanded that one should recognise the defects of old attitudes

and escape through embracing the new Warren J (History and the
The man of sense of the enlightenment was therefore no friend of
established religion Warren J
Used sense, not religion to explain things
based on an understanding of Human nature and the laws governing
human behaviour Warren J
Aimed to teach to improve education, the legal system and
Rousseau believed religion was needed for virtue in society
Evaluated forms of government and judged them, used experience
and refused to use religion to explain happenings.
More narrative thrust, less detailed
The philosophic historian would light up the entire room, even if
that meant ignoring the nooks and crannies of mere detail Warren
History should show the development of civilisation of manners and
customs, legal and political institutions
Assumed Human nature was constant through time
Wanted history to be popular available to all.


To educate and improve society

To understand human nature
Promote secularism and religious tolerance

Less religiously motivated
Available to all
Aimed to improve society

Assumed Human nature was the
same patterns
Popular, less detailed
Aimed to improve society
Used experience biased and based
on their own worldview.

Who was he?

Wrote on the Decline and fall of the Romans Empire



How did He write/record History?


Wanted to make people consider, used literary techniques to do so.

Wanted to challenge and engage with readers
Did not pass judgement
Did question sources critically, but had no systematic technique for
doing so
Said human behaviour/nature was constant through time fitting a
pattern to history
Opinions and arguments, ideals reflected 18th century
philosophy/concerns, did not leave them out of his work.
Promoted a certain form of government as better than others
Did not believe history repeated itself.


To promote his ideals and opinions

To engage with the reader and make them think and reflect on both
their views and his own



Accurate History
Did not believe History repeated
itself or had a simple pattern
Made his opinions clear

Biased and opinion in it

Did not systematically critically
analyse his sources
Believed human behaviour remained

Marxist Historians
Who were they?

Followers of Karl Marx, a contemporary or Ranke (1818-83)


Industrialisation, 1800s

How did they write/record History?


History = industrialisation and the dominance of capitalism.

Proletariat vs Bourgeois.
In Marxs ideology, life was a continual struggle
Believed that economic/material conditions shaped everything of
significance in society
All ideas come from money or wanting money. Relationships are based
on money
Money motivates, money and class status
All history works toward revolution and the end of class conflict by
the destruction of the class system
Believed that greed was made by capitalism and would dissapear with
an end to it, thus allowing co-operation to replace competition
Ideologies and political structures are shaped by wealth. No human
free will, we are controlled by money
Affects history in communist countried or communist historians and
those who are affected by the Marxist ideology
Advanced the study of economic and social history

- To show that money is at the centre and that the lower class will
overthrow all others and end class conflict



Economic and social history

Fixing a pattern to History

Preconcieved ideas bought to bear
on all history

Others view of them

Islamic re-write of Gallipoli Legend (Article)


History is impersonal: what they feltwhat they atethese personal

details are lacking in the historical documents
Muslims are re-writing the role of Mustafa Ataturk, the Turkish
Commander. He had founded the Secular Turkish state.
There definitely seems to be a moveto reduce the role of Ataturk
and increase the motivation of Turks at Gallipolito be fired by their
belief in Islam
To say they looked on it as a Kind of Holy War Broadbent
As turkey is becoming less secular and mor ilsmaic, Ataturks role is
being removed and replaced by Islamic motivation Religious History
Ataturk always called on his troops to fight for the motherland
rather than fighting for Allah
WW1, Turkey was mostly Muslim, but many did not respond to the
Caliphs call to defend the empire
Because Ataturk represents the last remnants of the secular
nationhood and they want to move towards an Islamic government,
they have to kill this idea, this myth of Ataturk (Kemaloglu)

Indigenous australians going through Oxford indigenous history, no longer

the victors writing.

Who was he?


How did He write/record History?



Others view of him