What is History

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Time Estimation[edit | edit source]

Time estimation for the completion of the required material in this section.

  • Lecture = 30 min.
  • Required Reading & Review Questions = 30 min.
  • Test Yourself Questions = 30 min.

Lecture[edit | edit source]

Coming Soon


  • A definition of history as a discipline
  • The birth of history by Herodotus
  • Thucydides, the founder of scientifc history

Required Reading[edit | edit source]

Review Questions[edit | edit source]

  • Where does the word ‘history’ come from?
  • What were the uses of the word ‘history’ in ancient and modern times?
  • Give a definition of history as a discipline.
  • Name some of the complementary disciplines that historians use in order to understand the past?
  • Why did Herodotus write his Histories?
  • How did Herodotus learn about the events he refers to?
  • Identify the part(s) of Herodotus writing in the first three paragraphs that he makes reference(s) to different versions of the same event.
  • Identify the part(s) of Herodotus writing in the first three paragraphs that he makes reference(s) to stories he heard.
  • Should historians, according to Thucydides, take for granted whatever they are told? Give examples of his opinion from the assigned paragraphs.
  • What is the method that Thucydides used in order to find the true course of events?
  • Why does Thucydides believe that his account may not attract much interest?
  • Why has he written his account?
  • Does Thucydides make any differentiation among the causes of the Peloponnesian War he is going to describe?

Test Yourself Questions[edit | edit source]

  • Write a short paragraph explaining what history is.
  • In a short essay compare and contrast the methods that Herodotus and Thucydides used in order to write their accounts.

Additional Information[edit | edit source]

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Further Reading[edit | edit source]

  • Carr, Edward Hallett. What is history ? This is a short book that offers some basic answers to what history is.
  • Stern, Fritz. Ed. The varieties of history: from Voltaire to the present. This is a more demanding collection of writings of a number of historians from various historical schools since the age of Enlightenment. It will give you an idea of how many different aspects of the study of history (historiography) exist.