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INTRODUCTION TO HISTORY

1. Introduction
 Foundation of historical knowledge
 Human beings –primitive and civilized cherished the idea of history from early times
 Wandered from place to place
 Assembled at the shade of a tree or around fire place, shared their experiences –pleasant
and bitter.
 Commemoration of their adventures –erected monuments Composed ballads, legends and
epics
 It was not the real history
 Lack of critical analysis
 No difference between real and unreal; probable and improbable
 Full of superstitions
 No written history
 Recitation – in the form of poetry
 Transmission from one generation to another –subjected to modification of the oral
traditions

2. Meaning of History
 Writing scientific history started in the 6th century B.C.
 The Greeks or the Ionians laid the foundations of historical writing.
 The Greek word istoria meant learning or a collection of information
 The German word geschichte stood for event
 The Arab word Tarikh stood for dates
 And the sanskrit word
 Ithikasa for talk or legend
 Historiography is the history of historical writing
 What is important is not historical characters and historical events.
 What is important is historians, their treatment of history, their methods and problems.
3. Definition of History

3.1. Synopsis

 History has been defined by various scholars


 There are different types of definitions
 Simple definitions
 Narrow definitions
 Complex definitions
 Harsh definitions
 Working definition

3. 2. Simple Definitions

3. 2. 1. Aristotle:

History is an account of unchanging past.

Renier:

History is a study which is concerned with the human past

3. 2. 2. E. H. Carr

 History is a link between the past and the present.


 It is an unending dialogue between the past and the present.
 Understanding the past is the key to understanding the present

3. 2.3. Robinson:

 History could be used for overcoming the natural bewilderment of unfamiliar situations.
3.3. Narrow definitions:

3. 3.1. Thomas Carlyle

Carlyle has treated it from the angle of historical characters, for he asserts that it is nothing but
the biography of great men. The scope is narrowed. What the other people did, what factors and
the like also influenced the events

3. 3.2. Burckhardt

 History is the record of what one age finds worthy of note in another.
H.G.wells:

 Human history is in essence a history of ideas.

3. 4. Complex definitions

3. 4.1. Charles Firth:

“History is the record of life of human soicities, of the changes which these societies habe
gone through, of the ideas which have determined the behaviour of these societies and of the
material conditions which have helped or hindered their development”

3. 4.2. York Powell

History is the record of the condition of mankind living in social state and the laws which
govern those conditional and living in social state and the laws which govern these condition and
bring about changes.

3. 4.3. Clide And Beers

 They define history as the record of things thought, said and done. They make a
distinction between actual history and written history
 He makes a distinction between actual history and written history
 Actual history is the series of thoughts events as they really happened.
 Written history is usually restricted and distorted for it is the series of thoughts and events
which an individual affirms or holds in memory.
3. 4.4. Travelyan:

 It is a house in which all subjects dwell.


3. 4.5. Johnson:

 History is everything that ever happened.


3. 5. Harsh definitions:

3. 5.1. Voltaire:

 The French philosopher says, “history is nothing but a picture of crimes and misfortunes”
3. 5. 2. Bocario:

 “That nation is happiest when it is without a history”.


 These definitions represented a distorted picture, for history is considered as filled with
wars and disorders. Wars have followed wars but countries continue to exist and mankind
seeks to create and consolidate areas of order and progress.
Working definition:

History is the study of man’s past. It is the story of what mankind did, depicting what had
happened. In other words it is the study of events in mans struggle for progress.

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