For questions regarding primary and secondary evidence that allows us to draw conclusions about historical happenings. Use this tag for requests for analysis of specific sources. More general questions on how historians study sources should be tagged with historiography.

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18
votes
2answers
453 views

Which lost historical documents, when uncovered, led to the most substantial revisions in historiography?

I have this romantic idea about the lost writings of Epicurus that perhaps somewhere at the bottom of the Aegean Sea there still lies a ship sunken in Ancient Greek times with copies of the ...
15
votes
3answers
427 views

What are the most comprehensive historical references for ancient India?

India is referenced in many ancient Greek and Persian sources, but these are often fragmentary. Which sources (if any) exist which describe ancient India in detail? Since ancient can be interpreted ...
13
votes
3answers
471 views

Historical/legendary/mythological accounts that turned out to be true

Reading Herodotus' Histories, one is often baffled by passages like (3.102): {102} [...] Indians [..., of the North] make expeditions for the gold. For in the parts where they live it is desert on ...
13
votes
0answers
228 views

How common was banditry in 16th & 17th Great Britain and Ireland?

I want to know about highwaymen and thieves and brigands who preyed on travellers. so, I am not interested in other organised criminal gangs such as smugglers or urban thieves.
13
votes
1answer
235 views

The riddle of Marco's Millions

The question is asked in the context of theories about the use of 'millions' or 'milioni' in association with Marco Polo and the reason for the use of the word as the Italian title for his book, known ...
12
votes
5answers
492 views

Are there ancient historical sources which have been permanently lost?

I'm in a Year 11 Ancient history class studying Rome, and whenever I look over ancient sources on wikipedia, there is always a list of lost works, and occasionally a sentence describing how ...
10
votes
1answer
184 views

Who compared giving women the vote to giving cows the vote (& in what context)?

I recall hearing (in History class) that when women were campaigning to get the vote, some (powerful?) people suggested that if women were given the right to vote, you might as well give the vote to ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How do historians deal with Historical Bias?

A while ago while watching Crash Course World History, John Green mentioned how Alexander the Great died from the flu despite many people from that time claiming that he died in battle (because this ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

Did Hongwu Emperor flay 5000 women, and why?

On Wikipedia, there is a snippet that reads: The Hongwu Emperor flayed many servants, officials and rebels.[5][6] In 1396 he ordered the flaying of 5000 women.[7] The problem is that the second ...
9
votes
1answer
225 views

In Studying the peoples of pre-Roman Britain, what are our primary reference sources?

Where do we get our information on the people's of pre-Roman Britain?
9
votes
1answer
146 views

What is a good, authoritative source on the history of Tibet?

I'd like to know more about this topic as people often discuss it with me. What is a good book for me to read to gain a better understanding of Tibetan history?
8
votes
1answer
266 views

Indian account of the Battle of the Hydaspes River

Are there Indian accounts of the Battle of the Hydaspes River? If so, what are they, who authored them, and how do they differ from the Greek & Roman accounts?
6
votes
1answer
299 views

What is the origin of these WW1 “official history” maps?

I'm looking for a source, preferably the original atlas or set of documents in facsimile, for the following WW1 maps (and their siblings): I've only found these fragments, reproduced on the Web ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Are these remarks by Napoleon on Jesus genuine?

The German edition of Wikiquote contains the following alleged words of Napoleon (in translation): I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person ...
5
votes
1answer
137 views

Is there any evidence of Edward VIII trying to influence the UK Government?

Edward VIII was King of the UK, however he abdicated because he wanted to marry a divorced woman. Someone told me that the "real reason" was that he was trying to influence the UK government and/or ...
4
votes
1answer
226 views

PANDA Source Analysis

In History at school we learnt the PANDA method to analyse sources, to test for bias and authenticity. P urpose - What is the purpose for which the source was created? Was it to convert people to a ...
4
votes
0answers
74 views

Visit of Greek philosophers to Rome in 155 BCE

In 155 BCE a delegation of three Greek philosophers arrived in Rome on a political mission (to negotiate the settlement of war fines). During their stay they succeeded in raising Greek philosophy to ...
3
votes
4answers
528 views

Why were the 8th Route Army better at fighting the Japanese than the Nationalists were?

Numerous sources have noted the (Communist) 8th Route Army's effectiveness in its resistance against Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) occupation; British, American observers, even Japanese commanders have ...
3
votes
1answer
228 views

How is it known that Phidias used the golden ratio in the Parthenon?

I can see it is widely accepted he did, so there must be some source backing this up, since no work of his has survived (except for a vase in Olympia with the inscription "I belong to Phidias"). What ...
3
votes
1answer
239 views

Sources on common people history [closed]

Most of history i have heard has been about states, monarchies, grand buildings, etc. I'd like to get a picture of the general population throughout history. For example: where and how the general ...
3
votes
0answers
77 views

Are there any extant original first-century manuscripts of any of Josephus' works?

It has been claimed that there are no surviving originals of any of Josephus' works. I have not found any help through Google, and so I wonder if anyone can give me any information about this, along ...
2
votes
0answers
262 views

First-hand sources for medieval urban life in central Europe

I am a teacher and I would like to do an exercise with my students concerning the urban life in the Middle Ages. I am looking for original, first-hand sources who describe urban life from the 11th ...
2
votes
1answer
293 views

What are the oldest primary sources of recorded history in china?

There is for instance Sima Qian, according to Wikipedia the first Chinese historian, who wrote the Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian) in 109 BCE. But does this primary source still exist, or do ...
1
vote
0answers
22 views

Is there a way to determine where specific Quartermaster Depot companies were based in WWII?

My father-in-law was a master sergeant of a Quartermaster Corps Depot Company during the Battle of the Bulge. I would like to find out where his depot was located (and I'm assuming it moved from time ...
0
votes
1answer
522 views

Was the Dargah Shrine at Ajmer built over a Hindu temple?

This article points that the popular Ajmer Sufi Shrine (Dargah) of Khwaja Chisti in India was built on a demolished Hindu Temple (Varaha Temple). What are the historical sources for such a claim? The ...