Questions tagged [sources]

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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16 votes
1 answer
2k views

Where was gunpowder invented/ discovered?

There are many people on the internet claiming that India discovered/ invented gunpowder for eg, many of these claims quote Dr. Gustav Oppart (acs.org, and see below). Wikipedia says that gunpowder ...
2 votes
0 answers
51 views

Did William Ward write "An Address At a Meeting of the Society for Political Information held at the Talbot Inn in Derby, July 16th 1792"?

William Ward (1769–1823) the Baptist missionary assistant to William Carey (1761-1834) was a Derby man and, as a youth at any rate, a radical. He is said to have been the author of "An Address At ...
5 votes
0 answers
115 views

Sources for tracking a ship in the 1840s

I am trying to determine the itinerary of a Danish ship that traveled in the "East Indies" 1841–43. I have its name, captain, departure from and return to Copenhagen. Additionally, I have ...
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6 votes
2 answers
143 views

Was there an Act of Oblivion in 1686 for those involved in the Monmouth Rebellion 1685?

K.W.H. Howard The Axminster Ecclesiastica 1660-1689 is an annotated reprint of an old Axminster Church record book. In a FN p. 113 it states “Act of Oblivion 1686. A general amnesty for those ...
9 votes
1 answer
859 views

When did Lincoln claim that "Vicksburg is the key" to winning the civil war?

In researching the Civil War, I've seen a quote, attributed to Abraham Lincoln, come up several times. The most complete version of the quote I have found comes from this website which gives the quote ...
4 votes
1 answer
204 views

Where can I find the original Arabic version of bin Laden's 1996 fatwa?

For a paper in my Arabic class, I would like to cite from bin Laden's 1996 fatwa "إعلان الحرب ضد الأمريكيين الذين يحتلون أرض الحرمين الشريفين" In English: "Declaration of War Against ...
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5 votes
2 answers
779 views

What is the reasoning behind these huge numbers for participants in the Battle of Grunwald 1410?

I was reading about the Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg) in 1410 during the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War and I found this strange excerpt from current Wikispeedia, (which is based on an old Wikipedia ...
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1 vote
1 answer
400 views

Do historians use Rig Veda as a reliable source of historical event?

Rig veda is the oldest text in Hinduism, it is as old as 1500 BCE. It contains many historical reference so, do historians use the historical accounts mentioned in the Rig Vedas as reliable sources of ...
24 votes
3 answers
5k views

Did the Vikings use horses in battle?

We are currently working on a project which purpose is to depict the Vikings through a digital card video game and we are in the process of researching which cards to put into the game. We have some ...
4 votes
3 answers
153 views

What was Sir John Mandeville's source regarding Beersheba and its chronology?

After men have crossed this desert on the way to Jerusalem, they come to a city which is called Bersabee [Beersheba] which was once a fine city in habited by Christian men, and still there are some of ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Are there any contemporary diaries about the Yugoslav Wars?

I struggle to find any, I think about diary, as written by someone who was at the heart of the war, with some proper understanding of the things happening around him, like the "Berlin Diary" ...
2 votes
1 answer
124 views

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 ...
7 votes
0 answers
136 views

Are there any sources supporting the claim that Jews were less affected by epidemics?

There is a common thread that Jews historically suffered less from epidemics because of Jewish ritual requirements of cleanliness. E.g., Wikipedia - Perceived Jewish immunity has 3 weakly supporting ...
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4 votes
0 answers
429 views

Are there any references of Muhammad's letter to Khosrow II, outside of Islamic historiography?

In Islamic tradition and history it is said that Muhammad sent a letter to Khosrow II, a Sasanid king who was titled king of the kings, inviting him to Islam. As history is an interactional phenomenon,...
35 votes
4 answers
4k views

What is this symbol in a financial record from Wisconsin, USA, in 1860?

I am trying to read some records about wages in Wisconsin in 1860 (the data is from the Social Statistics schedules of the Decennial Census). I cannot read the record from Milton, Rock County, ...
1 vote
1 answer
124 views

Which ancient cults would cut out the hearts of live animals and offer them as sacrifices?

Which ancient cults would cut out the hearts of live animals and offer them as sacrifices? The Mishnah (Avodah Zarah 2:3) mentions a concept called עורות לבובין which Maimonides and other commentators ...
12 votes
1 answer
871 views

What is the source of "the three most useless things in the world are the Great Wall, Pyramids, and the Yamato"?

I watched 'Naval Legends: Yamato' yesterday, and it included a phrase that was attributed to the crew of the ship: "The world's three most useless things are the Chinese Great Wall, Egyptian ...
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2 votes
1 answer
316 views

Are stories passed down from generation to generation considered primary sources? [closed]

I much prepare a lesson differentiating primary/secondary sources, and their functions, and usually this is clear cut, but I ran into a case that challenges me, and also is relevant to the course ...
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2 votes
0 answers
74 views

Where does Edmund Burke explain aristocratic eccentricity as a reaction to the influx of non-titled country gentlemen?

I am looking for the source of a notion of Edmund Burke’s that the English aristocracy turned to eccentric behavior in order to distinguish themselves from the “new men” who were acquiring estates in ...
7 votes
1 answer
273 views

How would an early Medieval German market have looked?

I am trying to find sources on how a medieval German market would have looked. Any artwork (painting, wood carving, wood print) would be perfect, but even just a description would already be great. My ...
1 vote
1 answer
529 views

Is there footage of Valery Legasov's report at the IAEA Conference in Vienna?

There is a pdf of the report, I could not find any video footage except for brief mentions. However there were lots of cameras there during the report. How to find the full video? Valery Legasov's ...
4 votes
2 answers
291 views

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 ...
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

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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1 vote
2 answers
122 views

Can oral tradition be used as a source in scholarly papers?

If I wanted to write a scholarly paper on, say, Native America wars, would I be able to cite oral traditions as reliable sources of information? As a made-up example, "the war lasted exactly ...
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8 votes
1 answer
265 views

What is the source for John Adams Sr. writing about Hamilton taking blame for Washington?

I know I read a while ago one of John Adams' writings about how people were generally discontented with Washington during the latter years of his administration, but expressed anger towards Hamilton ...
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18 votes
5 answers
14k views

What is the origin of the lake tank image that has become a meme?

This image, the template for the "Panzer of the Lake" meme, depicts a soldier from an unknown nation looking at what appears to me to definitely be a Panzer. However, no-one seems to know the origins ...
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20 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is there a historical source that might explain why so many countries use 35 as a minimum age for the president / the highest office person?

Reading the list of presidential qualifications by country I have noticed that in many countries the minimum required age is 35 (some countries raise it to 40). I am wondering if there is any ...
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4 votes
1 answer
266 views

Where to find Cixi‘s 1865 decree dismissing Prince Gong?

Zhang Rong‘s Cixi biography titled »EMPRESS DOWAGER CIXI: THE CONCUBINE WHO LAUNCHED MODERN CHINA«, Chapter 6, Loc 1365 on kindle claims: Without the rigid etiquette, she realised, Prince Gong was ...
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1 vote
0 answers
38 views

Are there primary source to learn about trade in Southeast Asia circa 1450-1750?

I was wondering if anyone knew any primary sources that will help me learn more about trade in Southeast Asia from 1450-1750. Years are a bit flexible. I only have two in mind The Suma Oriental by ...
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3 votes
3 answers
3k views

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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5 votes
1 answer
175 views

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. ...
9 votes
1 answer
3k views

The most awesome army: 80 men left and 81 returned. Is it true?

On this wikipedia page, I read the funny story of the Lichtenstein's army, which should have at least earned the title of the "most friendly army in the world". I am not a historian, and I have no ...
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4 votes
1 answer
547 views

Did the Picture Post publish the 1857 photo "Two Sepoys of the 31st Native Infantry Who Were Hanged at Lucknow" in 1939?

On the front line of empire, colonials had been developing an increasingly aestheticised response to violence since at least the 1850s, when the Italian-British commercial photographer Felice Beato ...
3 votes
2 answers
137 views

Where can I find this paper by Jean Buridan?

I'm trying to make a timeline of momentum for my physics class and I keep running across a paper by Jean Buridan called QM XII.9: 73ra. I don't know what any of this means, and I don't know how to ...
9 votes
1 answer
650 views

What evidence do we have to claim the Ancient Romans kept African grey parrots as pets?

The book Birds: Myth, Lore and Legend by Rachel Warren Chadd and Marianne Taylor states: [...] The Ancient Romans, who kept both Rose-ringed Parakeets and African Greys (Psittacus erithacus), ..., ...
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

What is the source for this Leonardo Da Vinci quote?

"Art is the queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world."  Where exactly does this Leonardo Da Vinci quote come from? Was it part of a larger paragraph - if so ...
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8 votes
1 answer
5k views

Did Napoleon III reserve a special set of aluminum cutlery for special guests?

Slate (2010): the minor emperor Napoleon III reserved a prized set of aluminum cutlery for special guests at banquets. (Less favored guests used gold knives and forks.) I see the above claim (or ...
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23 votes
1 answer
637 views

What did Zhang Zuolin say after his train blew up?

Zhang Zuolin was an early 20th century Chinese warlord of Manchuria. He was fatally wounded by the Japanese Army on June 4, 1928, using a bomb laid beneath tracks where his armoured train travelled ...
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2 votes
1 answer
110 views

Where are official images and metadata of cave paintings housed?

I have seen a few cave paintings at the British Museum and a couple other museums, but not very many and only of specific types. I also saw Lascaux (French International Center for Cave Art) which ...
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6 votes
0 answers
243 views

What were the primary sources for interrogation of US soldiers in 1943 Tunisia?

Edwin Palmer Hoyt's Hitler's War contains this passage: In January General von Arnim's army in Tunisia had enjoyed considerable success in limited actions against the Americans. The Germans had ...
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28 votes
3 answers
3k views

Do we have any surviving texts by Romano-Celtic authors?

Do we have any surviving texts or references to texts with Romano-Celtic authors and how common were 'non-Greco-Italian' (I'm not sure of the best term for that) authors? Specifically within the Roman ...
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

Did a German plane really land in Moscow in 1941 May?

I just read this small Wikipedia page about a 1941 Purge of the Red Army. There is something rather shocking: In May, a German Junkers Ju 52 landed in Moscow, undetected by the ADF beforehand, ...
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7 votes
2 answers
165 views

What is the source for the Baal Shem Tov's signature?

According to Chabadpedia, the following comprises the signature of Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov: Is this actually the Baal Shem Tov's signature? Where was it copied from? The article ...
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17 votes
1 answer
2k views

What (primary) sources are there on the life of female slaves in Classical Greece, more specifically Athens?

Since there was often a difference in what jobs male and female slaves were respectively made to work in (and there even being one exclusive to women, being a wet nurse), I was wondering whether, for ...
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5 votes
1 answer
3k views

Source of the Napoleon "God/Devil/immortal" quote

I heard in a history lecture (I don't know who the lecturer was) the following quote about Napoleon: Some say he's God (an angel?), some say he's the Devil, but everyone agrees he isn't mortal. ...
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2 votes
1 answer
263 views

How do historians get their hands on diaries and letters of ordinary people?

In several books by different authors historians often refer to diaries. Often, these are diaries of ordinary people. There are also countless statements like Such and such German officer wrote this ...
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1 vote
0 answers
46 views

The histories of California by Alvarado and Vallejo

In the 1870s H.H. Bancroft employed bilingual scribes to visit elderly Californios and record their oral histories. Two of his best sources were Juan Bautista Alvarado and his uncle, just one year ...
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3 votes
3 answers
338 views

Can I get my hands on a translation of Ahmad ibn Fadlan's manuscript?

I have read a couple of fiction novels, based on the renowned manuscript. But is an English translation of the actual Arabic text available online?
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5 votes
3 answers
796 views

Did West Russia really have a rock shortage in WW2? And if so, what was the cause?

I have a previous question that led to this one. There is an article talking about German rail activities in Russia during WW2, and it also talks about the state of the Russian rail network to begin ...
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1 vote
0 answers
182 views

What strategies are there for analysing omissions in historical sources?

Individual historical texts record only a fraction of what actually happens, and critical readers may recognize incomplete explanations. Depending on what they know about the author and their ...
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