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14

The Ancient Spartan society was based around the laws of Lycurgus, the rhetrae1, that were passed down through oral tradition. A possible explanation of why the laws were not written, and why Spartans didn't keep records in general, comes from Plutarch's The Life of Lycurgus: [Plut. Lyc. 13.1] None of his laws were put into writing by Lycurgus, indeed, ...


13

To the particular point of Norman Cantor's credit on the book you're looking at, I too am a big Cantor fan but he also kind of had a really bad drop-off at the end of his life. The Last Knight in particular was not terribly well researched and lacked a lot of the panache that Cantor's other work had. Perhaps this accolade came from that twilight era of his ...


11

If you are serious about learning the history of Christianity, you should be motivated to find more books period. A single book, especially one attempting to cover a massive subject like Christianity, cannot possibly suffice for anything beyond a cursory read. It will be "incomplete" regardless of how old or new it is, if only because you're fitting ...


10

Historians interpolate meaning from multiple conflicting textual sources in the documentary record of the past. This is the natural behaviour of the historian. Between a newspaper article on Thursday and one of Friday the historian must simulate the occurrences of the intervening day, and then imagine that totality of "Thursday" and how it would impact on ...


9

The basis for the 5,000 years figure comes from tracing Chinese "history" to the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. This figure includes over 1,000 years of legends. The next 1000 years are semi-legendary, being only somewhat corroborated by historical evidence. We start to have fragmentary historical records for a few centuries after that, but true ...


8

This is a really tough question to answer. History is not just the study of what happened in the past and when it happened. Sometime around sophomore or junior year of high school, more perceptive students pick up on the fact that history is about the interpretation of various events and the sheer breadth and variety of interpretations is what makes the ...


8

The answer lies in history being a discursive and inductive practice where our evidentiary materials are untrustworthy. A preponderance of the evidence, correctly interpreted, with a correct interpretation of what constitutes relevant evidence is required. This is obviously debatable. My invaluable peasant letters are your irrelevant ephemera. Proofs can't ...


8

The answer lies, I believe, in the obscure end of the Merovingian epoch and is quite hard to understand from a modern perspective seeing that the geopolitical entitles involved disappeared completely under the Carolingians (at the risk of being off-topic, I still remember fondly reading these stories as a child and not understanding a word, so foreign seemed ...


8

When we use historical methods and sources we're doing history. When we use influence and governance, we're doing politics. The distinction between history and politics isn't in the event, it is in your relationship to the event and the use to which you're trying to put the event. If I research the legal status of Kosovo with an intent to determine how a ...


8

The term Radical Republican comes from the Dunning School (Burgess-Dunning School or Progressive School). This was the majority viewpoint from 1900-1950. It was derogatory. A "radical Republican" is motivated by vindictiveness, revenge and party politics, rather than national reconstruction, healing after the Civil War or a genuine motivation to help the ...


8

Non-historians need to be aware that historians produce history using historiography. Historiography is an empirical methodology, it deals with the outside world using fallible human apparatus. Historiography is a discursive methodology, it deals with the close reading of large sets of known to be fallible and incomplete texts. This means that history ...


7

Novels are not typically accorded a high status as a primary source by historians because they have a purpose other than the truthful representation of the past as it was, as recreated from the documentary records of the past. Novels are incapable of "accuracy" in this sense. Similarly: plays and movies are incapable of historical accuracy. Novels may ...


7

According to the official website of the Richard III Society, in their primer "A Brief Biography and Introduction to Richard's Reputation" by Wendy E.A. Moorhen: The Great Debate, as the study of Richard's reputation became known, truly began in the seventeenth century when Horace Walpole wrote his Historic Doubts and rattled the cages of the ...


7

Postmodern This is a cultural rather than a historical science term. It refers to the contemporary line of reasoning which can be also called untra-relativism, i.e., not just that any statement's veracity is relative, but its meaning is relative as well. Modern et al I think this terminology went like this: Pre-modern: 1500-1800 Modern: 1800-WW2 ...


7

Thomas Pornin's answer is very good answer to the question of "Can we know anything about Jesus?" But since your question was technically "What do we know about Jesus?", I thought I'd add a few facts about Jesus that the majority of secular and religious historians alike agree upon. Jesus existed Virtually no serious historian believes that Jesus never ...


7

There is some reason to believe that the Lapis Niger includes a contemporary reference to the king, and it dates from thge period associated with the monarchy. It could be argued that the use of 'rex' here is purely religious - just like in Greece the word continued in use for religious purpose long after the political institution was left heind. However ...


6

I think the biggest thing that separates Nero from other emperors at this time is the fact that he was actually deposed in his lifetime and thus didn't have successors telling people not to write bad stuff about him. For instance, I would love to see the source on the previous poster's point that he supposedly set people on poles and lit them on fire to ...


6

Here is an internet archive of photographs and film footage of the USS Hornet (CV-8), during her construction and operation. There is a sizable section on her participation in the Battle of Midway, with both stills and motion pictures (can't really call it video... it was shot on film.) So, no, there is no conspiracy to cover up the USS Hornet's (CV-8) ...


6

I think the closest thing is the Early Modern Period. 1450 - 1750 as long as you're talking about Europe. It was followed by the "Age of Revolution" apparently.


6

The points that Samuel raised are all valid, books don't really attempt to present a fair and balanced depiction of events, however I still think it's a good question, and to answer your question directly: Yes, for the most part it is pretty accurate, as long as you recognize the perspective that it's coming from. As the title suggests, the book is focused ...


6

Well, to be factual, more like 4100 years+ of history is available for study. Xia Dynasty is dated back to cca 2100 BC - 1600 BC, numerous sites approves these dates. Before these days dates and historical records get more and more inaccurate and entering into the realm of legends. "5000 years" seems more like a generous rounding up, but it is not very far ...


6

Gospels are a source, like any other. If we were to exclude sources simply because they were written down four decades after the facts, then most of History would disappear. For instance, most of what we know on Genghis Kahn is from The Secret History of the Mongols, a document which was written several decades after his death. Fact is that known sources on ...


6

There is a lot to learn about a society from its buildings, especially if you know what they are used for. For example, find the largest and most decorated buildings (not meaning just decoration, but things like enormous windows, big halls, dramatic stairways, no smaller buildings near them). Are they: for religious activities? for watching people compete ...


6

One theory is that the early kingdom period was actually a period of Etruscan domination which the Roman mythmakers (whose work is reflected in Livy) later reworked as the tale of the Tarquinian dynasty. An interesting discussion of this can be found in the book The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars by Tim Cornell. ...


5

First off, the study of history is composed of three basic types of sources. Primary sources Secondary sources Tertiary sources Primary sources are the originals from the time of the event. Histories, for example, is a primary source. It was written at the time of or soon after the event(s) occurred. Secondary sources are basically compilations of ...


5

What are the criteria of professionality in history and which are fundamental? First thing you need to look for is the bibliography and endnotes/footnotes. Archival research is a must for professional historians when they are writing their dissertation, which eventually becomes their first manuscript/book. As well, they have to discuss and incorporate ...


5

Historiographically, viewing history through a progressive lens is as over-generalised as viewing history through a conservative, Marxist or Ayn Rand lens. However the term "Whig History" is used as a slur. An Ye Olde Tory criticism of history blending into the future, in the manner of Cosmopolitanism, Technological Progressivism or Post-Humanism. The ...


5

My understanding is that both schools are "broad" interpretive frameworks. The obvious deficiencies of "intentionalism" are clear—we can clearly demonstrate the plurality of emergent genocidal conducts, and these cross German and NSDAP racial categories. The POW origins of systematic camp based killing should be sufficient indication. Goldhagen posits ...


5

It is theorized that ancient Proto-Indo-Europeans (4000-3000 BC) considered fame and glory as a form of (at least symbolic) immortality. Thus earning war glory was very important for their warriors. The memory of their deeds was transmitted in oral form by poets. In connection with this, one should mention the reconstructed expression in PIE language ...


5

Certainly from at least the time of Hammurabi and his Code of Laws, circa 1780 B.C., as the excerpt below readily shows (translated by L. W. King): When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land, assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly ...



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