By John Burrow

This unheard of e-book via one among Britain’s so much well known historians describes the highbrow influence that the research and attention of background has had within the Western global over the last 2,500 years.

Treating the perform of heritage now not as an remoted pursuit yet as a side of human society and an important a part of the tradition of Europe and the US, John Burrow magnificently brings to existence and explains the specific characteristics 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 provide us the background of educational self-discipline yet a historical past of selections: the alternative of pasts, and the methods they've been demarcated, investigated, awarded or even occasionally realized from as they've got replaced in response to political, non secular, cultural, and (often most crucial) partisan and patriotic situations. Burrow goals, in addition, to alter our perceptions of the the most important turning issues within the historical past of background, permitting the tips that historians have had approximately either their very own occasions and their founding civilizations to emerge with unforeseen freshness.

Burrow argues that taking a look at the historical past of background is without doubt one of the finest methods we need to comprehend the previous. definitely, this quantity stands on my own in its ambition, scale and fascination.

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Extra resources for A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century

Example text

I t is a speech. 29 A HISTORY OF HISTORIES Pericles' speech - enhanced for modern readers by echoes, not accidental, i n the Gettysburg Address - is an oratorical tour de force w h i c h appropriately ends w i t h an exhortation t o the Athenians not merely to rally to the defence of liberty and of their city, but t o fall i n love w i t h i t , while earlier i t has presented Athens as w o r t h y of love. The speech begins, like Lincoln's, w i t h a disclaimer of any need of the dead for honour by the living: the former are sufficiently sanctified by their sacrifice.

61). 170). Whether this proceeds f r o m awe of the gods and a sense of unease at making them an object of inquiry, f r o m a sense of decorum and a desire not to give offence, or f r o m such knowledge having been imparted to h i m under pledge of secrecy is not entirely clear. Probably, taking the large number of his utterances on the subject together, i t is a mixture of all three. As seems to have been common, he regards the gods of all peoples as the same, only the names differing, and holds that Greek knowledge of the gods derived originally f r o m the Egyptians.

Both morally and materially, Athens ended the Persian Wars as the dominant power i n Greece, centre of a confederation w h i c h rapidly became referred to as its empire over dependent and tributary states. I n the fifty years f r o m the Persian invasion (and the conclusion of Herodotus' history) to the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War among the Greek states (and the beginning of Thucydides' history) Athens' grip tightened. Thucydides gives a brief account of this period - the so-called Pentecontaetia (because i t covers fifty years) - as a preamble to his history of the war.

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A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and by John Burrow
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