Questions tagged [historiography]

Tag for questions on the study of history itself, such as methodologies or techniques.

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2answers
314 views

Does history use hypothesis testing using statistical methods?

To what extent does the study of history use hypothesis testing? By Hypothesis testing I mean the usage of p-values and significance levels to dictate how an actual event differs from the event by ...
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Is it true that the term “Byzantine” is less present in historians of Protestant tradition? [closed]

Trying to answer the question Why did the term "Byzantine Empire" enter common usage instead of "Eastern Roman Empire" or "Roman Empire", I find a presentation by the ...
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Who used “Byzantine” as a derogatory/negative term for the first time? [migrated]

By this I mean: in English or other European language from which it may have entered English with that meaning. What I mean is not one or other bad opinion about "the Byzantine", but the ...
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How long does a generation last?

Question: Generetion, as a time period, is a widespread concept (or perhaps an idea) in History, in Social Sciences, and also in common language. Do historians have some sort of consensus on the time ...
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1answer
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Where can I obtain the full “British Statistical Blue Books” of British colonies in Africa?

I'm a poli sci grad student looking to access the full British statistical blue books which catalog statistics for British colonies. Does anyone know where I can obtain access to them, preferably free ...
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1answer
160 views

When did it become popular to drop the A.D. in dates?

Since when did it become popular to shorthand years from 2020 A.D. to 2020? I haven't seen anything after a google search, and in fact I wonder if it was even popular to use A.D., ever. I don't recall ...
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1answer
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Is there a term for the principle of preferring earlier statements over later statements made by historical eye witnesses?

Back when I was majoring in History in college, one professor explained to the class that when a person made multiple statements about a time or event they lived through or were involved with, and ...
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1answer
213 views

What criteria are used to determine the popularity of Medieval European rulers?

It is relatively common to see certain monarchs described as "popular" while others are "unpopular". It confounds me as to what specific evidence has been used to determine this, ...
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Are there alternatives to tripartite periodisation of history?

Human history is usually divided in three parts, ancient history, medieval (or post-classical) history and modern history (sometimes divided in early and late modern), as can be seen in the wikipedia ...
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1answer
365 views

How are historical nutrition data gathered?

In the book 'Sapiens', Yuval N. Harari mentions that after the Agricultural Revolution child mortality soared because of malnutrition. While I can see how eating only carbohydrate-based products leads ...
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Is there a term historians use for an unknown person? [closed]

History documentaries (especially about the ancient past) often use representative actors to illustrate the narration. This usually happens when describing events where the participant's names are ...
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1answer
84 views

Is there a name for the critical method of assessing historical narratives via the consultation of primary sources?

In natural science, an educated guess at scientific fact is called a hypothesis. Hypotheses are rigorously tried by experiments conducted repeatedly under carefully controlled conditions. This is ...
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1answer
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Why was the Gilgamesh flood tablet such a sensation?

In 1872 George Smith translated the famous Flood Tablet (tablet XI of the Standard Babylonian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh), causing a sensation due to its striking similarity to the story of Noah'...
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How were ancient Indian mathematical texts found to modern scholarship?

Unlike e.g. Greco-Roman or Chinese texts, which were written on relatively durable writing material, most ancient Indian literature was done on palm-leaf manuscripts, which typically don't survive ...
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Are the historical sources from the ancient history trustable?

Are the historical books of Herodot or Polybius or any other historian from ancient history usually correct? Did they add some 'drama' in their books or did they desire to gain favor of those of high ...
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3answers
590 views

How to build historical maps?

Is there an online tool that allows one to create a historical map given a time period and region/country of interest? I have found this question, What are good online sources for historical maps?, ...
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How does history as a scholarly discipline or disciplinary practice justify its existence as a social practice?

The discipline of history as emergent in the 19th century in its scholarly practice or intellectual discipline exists as a social phenomena in many contemporary societies. Contemporary societies ...
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1answer
201 views

How widely accepted are Tolstoy's views on history within the academic community?

Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace is a historic fiction and part essay in which Tolstoy regularly expresses his views on how events happen. More specifically, Tolstoy says that the actions of great men such ...
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Who were the social elites of the European middle ages?

I have recently been reading into the European Middle Ages, where one of the challenges is the limited sources available. I have often seen seen this described as a source bias towards the elite ...
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735 views

Which 'evidence' is there for a claim that 'Chinese discovered America in 636'?

The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics is a branch of the Ministry of Planning, Budget, and Management. On its own website it has a history timeline with a few curious dates: catálogo ...
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2answers
639 views

How do archaeologists date cave paintings?

Imagine I get hold on 15000 yr old pigments and I draw an iguana next to a bison at "Altamira Caves"... how does one know that that drawing wasn't made 15000 years back? Would people then start saying ...
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How and in what ways has our understanding of the historical method improved since the publication of E. H. Carr's “What is History” in 1961?

This is partially answered in this question, but that only characterizes the modern consensus on what history is able to answer - it does not go into depth about how that modern consensus has evolved. ...
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5answers
842 views

Were Allied high commanders that bad at the end of WW2?

I have heard by some friends, speaking of military history, that Allied commanders were well known for being, at best, mediocre in their performance of fight. They were not able to give precise ...
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How useful are mythological king lists and geneologies for historians? [closed]

(some sources distinguish between mythology and legends; for the purpose of this question, I'm asking about narrations about human beings. For example stories of everyday human beings, genealogies of ...
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3answers
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Why do all my history books divide Chinese history after the Han dynasty?

I will be teaching middle school World History this year. I surveyed seven different textbooks from different publishers and notice, unlike all other histories of other regions in the world, Chinese ...
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1answer
395 views

Can world systems theory apply to empires?

World systems theory categorizes the economic relationships of countries by placing them in a core or a periphery. In this model, core countries exploit resources in the peripheral countries. This ...
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1answer
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Entry-level articles on USA slavery?

I am a first period history student in Brazil, and have been studying the formation of American colonial societies during the 16th and 17th centuries. We have only now started studying the formation ...
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1answer
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Can anyone render this passage from Lorenzo Valla's original Latin translation of Herodotus into modern text?

Can anyone render this passage from Lorenzo Valla's original Latin translation of Herodotus into modern text? I'm not looking for a translation, rather, I need to have the typographics normalized. ...
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Are there any important biographies of nobodies?

Biographies usually cover interesting people who said and did notable things. I'm curious about lives notable just for their contexts: the stories of unremarkable people in historically remarkable ...
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360 views

What do we mean when we say history is a science?

When Mark the moderator says "history is a science", what does he mean? I know what someone means when they say "biology is a science". They mean "I can express my rationality in terms of the living ...
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204 views

Why did the recorded history of Poland start after the reign of Miezsko I?

Norman Davies says this in his book, God's Playground, Volume I regarding Miezsko I: He started the recorded history of the Poles which has continued without a break from that day to this. Even I ...
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283 views

Micromanagement before the modern era?

We read a lot about the problem of micromanagement today, particularly in examples of failed leadership. And Google Ngram Viewer shows the first occurrences of the word in the 1970s. Did ancient (...
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1answer
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Which historians argue that WWII was caused by Fascism as a reaction to Communism?

It's been suggested that fascist movements of post-WW1 Europe emerged in reaction to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and against worker sympathies to similar internationalist socialist movements ...
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Is this movie “History of the World: Every Year” credible?

I love history and one thing, which was showed to me recently in a university course, helped very much to arrange things in my mind. I'm talking about a video of the map world year by year - History ...
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What kind of evidence (if any) could be used to identify a large conquest in the time before writing?

From what I understand, writing wasn't completely developed during the Bronze Age. So, if there was an Alexander-the-Great-style conquest that united the known world for a short period of time, what ...
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581 views

Is there a consensus on when history began? [closed]

When did history begin, according to the most accepted view among Western historians'? (credible sources would be appreciated) I vaguely remember from my Marxist-oriented history courses in high ...
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3answers
876 views

What were the flaws in the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey?

According to this source, "Some historians have identified flaws in the [U.S. Strategic Bombing] survey, based on contemporary evidence." I have unsuccessfully searched the internet for these ...
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1answer
240 views

What is the year of Ethelred the Unready's Laws of London?

I refer to De Institutis Lundonie (Laws of London) by Ethelred the Unready (or Æthelred II) (Google Books). According to Britannia and Jerome Arkenberg, it is of the year 978. According to this book,...
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Do historians agree that most wars are caused by religion?

I'm not a historian, but this is a very common claim that crops up in debates over God's existence and religious scripture. What is the opinion of the community of professional historians?
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How is Goswami's stand on nationalism distinct from Andersons'?

Benedict Anderson in his 'Imagined Communities' argued that nationalism is modular, that is transplanted to the third world without acknowledging the agency of the intellectual elite, by simply ...
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105 views

Why don’t historians tolerate eisegesis, when they continuously engage in it?

Historians disrespect excessively eisegetic readings when producing their works. Eisegesis is the production of meaning in reading texts through external inspiration. The inspiration could be divine, ...
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335 views

What limits historiographically valid hermeneutics of exegesis in relation to theories of action or agents?

Hermeneutics is the field of the problem of reading dubious documents and document sets; Figuring out what actually happened. Exegesis is the act of producing a reading in a non divinely inspired ...
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403 views

Are there recommended practices for writing about oppressed peoples?

This question is about responsible historiography. History as written by winners tends to devalue and misrepresent the experiences of subordinate groups (see Textbooks: Zinn People’s History; Labour: ...
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1answer
326 views

How objective are books like “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”? How are they “proven”?

How objective are books like "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind"? How are they "proven"? How can one assess the objectivity of historical literature? Why is it still not subjective, if not even ...
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162 views

What do historians say would have been Napoleon's optimal strategy after Borodino? [closed]

There is a saying that everyone is a general after the battle, but I still could not figure out what could have Napoleon done differently in order to save his army and consequently empire after ...
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237 views

Fact Checking and Referencing in Historical Studies

Hello I am new to this subject on a serious basis, and my first question, or set of questions, isn't actually a history question itself, but more of a question of the protocol for fact checking in the ...
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Any public database of all political entities throughout history?

Some possible candidates I found online: Wikipedia, grouped by century: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_entities_in_the_1st_century http://dataforhistory.org/? But unfortunately ...
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Do historians support the existence of brothers to Jesus?

Jesus does not have a brother in some Christian traditions, his mother Mary is a perpetual virgin. For instance the Catholic church holds this theory as a theologoumenon, namely a theological ...
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4answers
561 views

Can historiography be thought of as “fractal”?

In developing this answer, and others, it seems fairly typical that I start out broad and then add more and more detail as necessary to answer the question and respond to comments. Sometimes the act ...
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1answer
347 views

Was every Roman citizen part of a curia?

In a book by German historian Klaus Bringmann, I read that during the regal period, the whole population was divided into three tribes. He furthermore states that each tribe was divided into 10 curiae ...

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