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Encyclopedia > Historian
Herodotus (5th century BC), one of the earliest nameable historians whose work survives.

A historian is an individual who studies and writes about history, and is regarded as an authority on it.[1] Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all events in time. If the individual is concerned with events preceding written history, the individual is a historian of prehistory. Although "historian" can be used to describe amateur and professional historians alike, it is reserved more recently for those who have acquired graduate degrees in the discipline.[2] Some historians, though, are recognized by equivalent training and experience in the field.[2] "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century at roughly the same time that physicians also set standards for who could enter the field. This article is about the social science. ... Herodotus of Halicarnassus (Greek: Hēródotos Halikarnāsseús) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC (c. ... The 5th century BC started the first day of 500 BC and ended the last day of 401 BC. // The Parthenon of Athens seen from the hill of the Pnyx to the west. ... This article is about the social science. ... This article is about authority as a concept. ... This article is about the concept. ... Stonehenge, England, erected by Neolithic peoples ca. ... A degree is any of a wide range of status levels conferred by institutions of higher education, such as universities, normally as the result of successfully completing a program of study. ...


History analysis

The process of historical analysis involves investigation and analysis of competing ideas, facts and purported facts to create coherent narratives that explain "what happened" and "why or how it happened". Modern historical analysis usually draws upon other social sciences, including economics, sociology, politics, psychology, anthropology, philosophy and linguistics. While ancient writers do not normally share modern historical practices, their work remains valuable for its insights within the cultural context of the times. An important part of the contribution of many modern historians is the verification or dismissal of earlier historical accounts through reviewing newly discovered sources and recent scholarship or through parallel disciplines like archaeology. The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write history. ... A narrative is a construct created in a suitable medium (speech, writing, images) that describes a sequence of fictional or non-fictional events. ... Face-to-face trading interactions on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. ... Sociology (from Latin: socius, companion; and the suffix -ology, the study of, from Greek λόγος, lógos, knowledge [1]) is the scientific or systematic study of society, including patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture[2]. Areas studied in sociology can range from the analysis of brief contacts between anonymous... For other uses, see Politics (disambiguation). ... Psychological science redirects here. ... This article is about the social science. ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... For the journal, see Linguistics (journal). ... The 2000-year-old remains of Ancient Rome, Italy, are being excavated and mapped by these archaeologists Roman theater, Alexandria, Egypt Archaeology, archeology, or archæology (from Greek: αρχαίος, archaios, combining form in Latin archae-, ancient; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the science that studies human cultures through the recovery, documentation, analysis...

Historiography in Antiquity

Herodotus and Thucydides were the founders of the discipline of history, although there are other notable Greek histories including Plutarch's Parallel Lives. Herodotus of Halicarnassus (Greek: Hēródotos Halikarnāsseús) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC (c. ... For other uses, see Thucydides (disambiguation). ... Mestrius Plutarchus (Greek: Πλούταρχος; 46 - 127), better known in English as Plutarch, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Plutarch in Greek Plutarchs Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans is a series of biographies of famous men, arranged in tandem to illuminate their common moral virtues or failings. ...

Concerning Herodotus (5th century BC), one of the earliest nameable historians whose work survives, his recount of strange and unusual tales are gripping but not necessarily representative of the historical record. Despite this, The Histories of Herodotus displays some of the techniques of more modern historians. He interviewed witnesses, evaluated oral histories, studied multiple sources and then pronounced his particular version. Herodotus's works covered what was then the entire known world of the Greeks, or at least the part regarded as worthy of study, i.e., the peoples surrounding the Mediterranean. Herodotus was also known for visitng the various battle sites he wrote about, including the battle of Thermopylae. At about the same time, Thucydides pioneered a different form of history, one much closer to reportage. In his work, History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides wrote about a single long conflict that lasted 27 years between Athens and Sparta with its origins and results. But, as it was mainly within living memory and Thucydides himself was alive throughout the conflict and a participant in many of the events, there was less room for myths and tall tales. Herodotus of Halicarnassus (Greek: Hēródotos Halikarnāsseús) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC (c. ... The 5th century BC started the first day of 500 BC and ended the last day of 401 BC. // The Parthenon of Athens seen from the hill of the Pnyx to the west. ... The Histories of Herodotus by Herodotus is considered the first work of history in Western literature. ... This article is about the historical discipline; see Oral tradition for the oral transmission of historical information. ... The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ... For other battles at Thermopylae, see Battle of Thermopylae (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Thucydides (disambiguation). ... Reportage can be a single journalists report of news (especially when witnessed first-hand), distributed through the media. ... This article is about the capital of Greece. ... For modern day Sparta, see Sparti (municipality). ...

Sima Qian was a Prefect of the Grand Scribes (太史令) of the Han Dynasty and is regarded as the father of Chinese historiography because of his highly praised work, Records of the Grand Historian (史記), an overview of the history of China covering more than two thousand years from the Yellow Emperor to Emperor Han Wudi (漢武帝). His work laid the foundation for later Chinese historiography. Li Chunfeng was a Chinese historian who wrote the history of the Jin dynasty. (漢武帝). Sima Qian Si Ma Qian (司馬遷) (c. ... The Records of the Grand Historian or the Records of the Grand Historian of China (Chinese: 史記; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Shih-chi; literally Historical Records), written from 109 BCE to 91 BCE, was the magnum opus of Sima Qian, in which he recounted Chinese history from the time of the mythical... Li Chunfeng was a Chinese mathematician who lived in the 600s in the Sui dynasty. ...

Ibn Abd-el-Hakem was an Egyptian who wrote the History of the Conquest of Egypt and North Africa and Spain, which was the earliest Arab account of the Islamic conquests of those countries. Much like Herodotus' works, it mixes facts with legends, and was often quoted by later Islamic historians. Al-Jahiz was a famous Arab scholar and historian. Hamdani, an Arab historian,was the best representatives of Islamic culture during the last effective years of the Abbasid caliphate. Ali al-Masudi was an Arab historian, known as the “Herodotus of the Arabs.” Ibn Khaldun was a famous Arab Muslim historian and was the forefather of historiography and the philosophy of history. He is best known for his Muqaddimah "Prolegomenon". Ibn Abd-el-Hakem (d. ... Al-Jahiz (in Arabic الجاحظ) (real name Abu Uthman Amr Ibn Bahr al-Kinani al-Fuqaimi al-Basri) (born in Basra, 776 - 869) was a famous Arab scholar probably of Abyssinian descent. ... Hamdani, in full Abu Mahommed Ul-Ijasan Ibn Ahmad Ibn Yaqub Ul-Hamdant (d. ... Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn Masudi (أبو الحسن ØŒ علي بن الحسين المسعودي) (?, Baghdad , Iraq - 956, Cairo,Egypt), was an Arab historian, geographer and philosopher. ... Ibn KhaldÅ«n or Ibn Khaldoun (full name, Arabic: , ) (May 27, 1332 AD/732 AH – March 19, 1406 AD/808 AH), was a famous Berber Muslim polymath: a historian, historiographer, demographer, economist, philosopher, political theorist, sociologist and social scientist born in present-day Tunisia. ... Philosophy of history or historiosophy is an area of philosophy concerning the eventual significance, if any, of human history. ... The Muqaddimah, or the Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun (Arabic: مقدّمة ابن خلدون), records an early Muslim view of universal history. Many modern thinkers view it as one of the first works of sociology. ...

Much of the groundwork in creating the modern figure of the historian was done by Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu (1689–1755). His wide-ranging Spirit of the Laws (1748) spanned legal, geographical, cultural, economic, political and philosophical studies and was greatly influential in forging the fundamentally interdisciplinary historian. Referred to as "the first modern historian", Edward Gibbon wrote his grand opus, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (three vols., 1776–1788). However, some authors such as Christiansen regard ancient Greek author Polybius as the first historian of a modern kind, criticising sources and making unbiased judgements based on presumed neutral analysis; indeed, Livy used him as a source. Polybius, one of the first historians to attempt to present history as a sequence of causes and effects, carefully conducted his research—partly based on what he saw and partly on the communications of eye-witnesses and the participants in the events. Montesquieu redirects here. ... The Spirit of the Laws (French: De lesprit des lois) is a book on political theory by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, published in 1748. ... Edward Gibbon (1737–1794). ... This article is about the book. ... Polybius (c. ... A portrait of Titus Livius made long after his death. ...

Twentieth-century developments

At the dawn of the twentieth century, Western history remained oriented toward the "great man theory" of history concerning war, diplomacy, science and high politics. This point of view was predisposed toward the study of a small number of powerful men within a given socio-economic elite. More often than not, this has been furthered by the traditional whig school of thought, which holds that history is "protestant, progressive... [and] studies the past with reference to the present."[3] This has been gradually been replaced with a more critical perspective. For example, it is a common misconception that Thomas Edison alone invented the incandescent light bulb; a traditional history might highlight Edison's invention at the expense of all others. In contrast, a modern history of Edison or the lightbulb mentions Joseph Wilson Swan, Heinrich Göbel, A.N. Lodygin, and Warren De la Rue in order to show that Edison's activities were one part of a group of inventors and rivals in the commercial deployment of the technology. The Great man theory is a theory held by some that aims to explain history by the impact of Great men, or heroes: highly influential individuals, either from personal charisma, genius intellects, or great political impact. ... -1... This article is about negotiations. ... A magnet levitating above a high-temperature superconductor demonstrates the Meissner effect. ... Whig history is a pejorative name given to a view of history that is shared by a number of eighteenth and nineteenth century British writers on historical subjects. ... Topics in Christianity Preaching Prayer Ecumenism Relation to other religions Movements Music Liturgy Calendar Symbols Art Criticism Christianity Portal This box:      Protestantism encompasses the forms of Christian faith and practice that originated with the doctrines of the Reformation. ... For other uses, see Progressivism (disambiguation). ... Edison redirects here. ... The incandescent light bulb or incandescent lamp is a source of artificial light that works by incandescence, (a general term for heat-driven light emissions which includes the simple case of black body radiation). ... This article needs cleanup. ... Heinrich Göbel, or later: Henry Goebel (April 20, 1818 - December 4, 1893), born in Germany, was a precision mechanic and inventor, an early pioneer who did much work on developing the light bulb. ... Alexander Nikolayevich Lodygin Alexander Nikolayevich Lodygin (1847 – 1923) (Александр Николаевич Лодыгин in Russian) was a Russian electrical engineer and inventor, one of inventors of the Incandescent light bulb. ... Warren De la Rue (18 January 1815 - 19 April 1889) was a British astronomer and chemist, most famous for his pioneering work in astronomical photography. ...

Since the 1960s, history as an academic discipline has undergone several evolutions. These changes fostered advances in a number of areas previously disregarded in historiography. Formerly neglected topics have become the subject of academic study, such as the history of popular and mass culture, sexuality, cultural geography, and the lives of ordinary people. Revisionist histories have attempted to "set the record straight" by redefining the impression society holds of the past. Howard Zinn's 1980 book, A People's History of the United States was one of the first works of history to revolutionize the field, opting to describe, for example, the native Carib peoples who greeted Christopher Columbus, rather than the explorer himself. The 1978 work Orientalism, by Edward Said, argues in the same vein that the western approach to describing the Orient inherently characterizes it as inferior. The 1960s decade refers to the years from the beginning of 1960 to the end of 1969. ... Popular culture (or pop culture) is the widespread cultural elements in any given society that are perpetuated through that societys vernacular language or lingua franca. ... This article is about human sexual perceptions. ... Cultural geography is a sub-field within human geography. ... A peoples history is a type of historical work which tries to look at historical events from the perspective of the common people: the disenfranchized, oppressed, poor, non-conformist, or otherwise forgotten, as opposed to that of the power structure. ... Howard Zinn (born August 24, 1922) is an American historian, political scientist, social critic, activist and playwright, best known as author of the bestseller[5] , A Peoples History of the United States. ... Year 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar). ... A Peoples History of the United States, 2003 hardcover edition A Peoples History of the United States is a nonfiction book by American historian and political scientist Howard Zinn, in which he seeks to present American history through the eyes of those rarely heard in mainstream histories. ... Carib family (by John Gabriel Stedman) Drawing of a Carib woman Carib, Island Carib or Kalinago people, after whom the Caribbean Sea was named, live in the Lesser Antilles islands. ... Christopher Columbus (1451 – May 20, 1506) was a navigator, colonizer, and explorer and one of the first Europeans to explore the Americas after the Vikings. ... Year 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar). ... Edward Said Orientalism is a 1978 book by Edward Said that marked the beginnings of postcolonial studies. ... Edward Wadie Saïd, Arabic: , , (1 November 1935 – 25 September 2003) was a Palestinian-American literary theorist and Palestinian activist. ... The term the Orient - literally meaning sunrise, east - is traditionally used to refer to Near, Middle, and Far Eastern countries. ...

Historians have also started investigating the histories of ideas surrounding various categories of people, such as gender (women's history), racial minorities (e.g. African-American history) or the disabled. More recently, historians have begun using the power of computers to pose new research questions to historical data in a methodology known as digital history. Womens history is a term that refers to information about the past in regard to the female human being. ... African American History or Black American History, a history of American blacks or Black Americans in the United States from their arrival in the Americas in the 16th century until the present day. ... Digital history is the use of digital media and tools for historical practice, presentation, analysis, and research. ...

Education and profession

Many historians are employed at universities and other facilities for post-secondary education.[4] In addition, it is common, although not required, for many historians to have a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in their chosen areas of study.[4] During the preparation of their thesis for this degree, many develop into their first book, since regular publishing activities are essential for advancement in academia. There is currently a great deal of controversy among academic historians regarding the possibility and desirability of the neutrality in historical scholarship. The job market for graduate historians is relatively limited. Historians typically work in libraries, universities, archival centers, government agencies (particularly heritage) and as freelance consultants. Many with an undergraduate history degree also may become involved with administrative or clerical professions and an undergraduate history degree is often used as a "stepping stone" to further studies such as a law degree.[citation needed] Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated Ph. ... This article is about the thesis in academia. ... Academia is a collective term for the scientific and cultural community engaged in higher education and research, taken as a whole. ... For other uses of objectivity, see objectivity (disambiguation). ... Stepping Stone was the first major single by Liverpool-based pop group The Farm. ... A Law degree is the degree conferred on someone who successfully completes studies in law. ...

See also

The American Historical Association (AHA) is a society of historians and teachers of history founded in 1884 and incorporated by the United States Congress in 1889. ... Denialism describes the position of governments, business groups, interest groups, or individuals who reject propositions that are strongly supported by scientific or historical evidence and seek to influence policy processes and outcomes accordingly. ... The Great man theory is a theory held by some that aims to explain history by the impact of Great men, or heroes: highly influential individuals, either from personal charisma, genius intellects, or great political impact. ... A peoples history is a type of historical work which tries to look at historical events from the perspective of the common people: the disenfranchized, oppressed, poor, non-conformist, or otherwise forgotten, as opposed to that of the power structure. ... Pseudohistory is a pejorative term applied to texts which purport to be historical in nature but which depart from standard historiographical conventions in a way which undermines their conclusions. ... Public history is the practice of history outside of the traditional academic setting of the university. ... Whig history is a pejorative name given to a view of history that is shared by a number of eighteenth and nineteenth century British writers on historical subjects. ...


  1. ^ "historian". Wordnet.princeton.edu. Accessed 28 June 2008
  2. ^ a b Herman, A. M. (1998). Occupational outlook handbook: 1998-99 edition. Indianapolis: JIST Works. Page 525.
  3. ^ Herbert Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History (New York: W.W. Norton, 1965), v, 3-4.
  4. ^ a b bls.gov : Social Scientists, Other; This site delineates the requirements for Social scientists that work for the various levels of the US Government. (cf., The Ph.D. or an equivalent degree is a requirement for most positions in colleges and universities and is important for advancement to many top-level nonacademic research and administrative posts.)


Listed by date
  • Richard B. Todd, ed. (2004). Dictionary of British Classicists, 1500–1960, Bristol: Thoemmes Continuum, 2004 ISBN 1-85506-997-0.
  • Han, S. (2003) Ancient History and Early Singapore, Secondary 1. Singapore : Pearson Education Pte. Ltd.
  • Kelly Boyd, ed. (1999). Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing. London [etc.] : Fitzroy Dearborn ISBN 1-884964-33-8
  • Lateiner, D. (1989). The historical method of Herodotus. Phoenix, 23. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • John Cannon et al., eds. (1988). The Blackwell Dictionary of Historians. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1988 ISBN 0-631-14708-X.
  • Hartog, F. (1988). The mirror of Herodotus: the representation of the other in the writing of history. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Erik Christiansen (1970). The Last Hundred Years of the Roman Republic, Odense: Andelsbogtrykkeriet
  • Gottschalk, L. R. (1950). Understanding history; a primer of historical method. New York: Knopf
  • Barnes, M. S. (1896). Studies in historical method. Heath's pedagogical library. Boston: D.C. Heath & Co.
  • Taylor, I. (1889). History of the transmission of ancient books to modern times, together with the process of historical proof: or, a concise account of the means by which the genuineness of ancient literature generally, and authenticity of historical works especially, are ascertained, including incidental remarks upon the relative strength of the evidence usually adduced in behalf of the Holy Scriptures. Liverpool: E. Howell.
  • Herodotus, Rawlinson, G., Rawlinson, H. C., & Wilkinson, J. G. (1862). History of Herodotus. A new English version. London: John Murray.
  • Véricour, L. R. d. (1850). Historical analysis of Christian civilisation. London: J. Chapman.
  • Taylor, I. (1828). The process of historical proof. London: Printed for B. J. Holdsworth.

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The United States Mint Historian's Corner (381 words)
The Historian's Corner strives to preserve our heritage by sharing pieces of our history through a body of primary source material from which the public can find new insight on the relationships among numismatics, art, design, and government—from the birth of our Nation’s coinage to the present day.
Gain access to an information resource that can be used to track the history of coinage in United States and in the future, conduct research on United States Mint programs and operations.
We hope the benefits to the numismatic hobby are numerous, and that the opportunity for research extends from an introductory or casual level of interest to the graduate and even post-graduate level of study.
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