70

"History is written by victors" may itself be an example of history written by the losers! While the quote is commonly misattributed to Winston Churchill, it's origins are unknown and it might be inspired by Hermann Göring's quote: We will go down in history either as the world's greatest statesmen or its worst villains. On a (perhaps) more serious note, ...


39

All the bad press given to Vikings (and the like) by angry monks suggests not always. Depends if the victors build a tradition of literacy and of documenting history or whether they just go build more longboats and get drunk.


25

An important example from ancient history is the Peloponnesian war. The most important account of it comes from Thucydides, "the father of history". Thucidydes was an Athenian, and Athens lost the war. I am not aware of any Spartan accounts of this war that survived.


17

Here are some other examples: The US Civil War. Much of the history was driven by the South's need to justify itself especially after the first 20 years up to about 1960 or so. The Fall of the Roman Republic Virtually all of the surviving histories were written by the conservative factions of Rome and not by the Caesarian side. Augustus didn't mind that ...


16

The Arab-Israeli conflict. The Arabs lost to Israel in 4 wars (1948, 1967, 1973, 1982) but their version of history is the most accepted today (even the universal acceptance of the term "Palestinian people"). Thus Israelis are portrayed "colonizers", Zionism was portrayed as racism in the UN, and Israel as an apartheid state. This while Israel is the ...


16

Not every thesis has a single antithesis or opposite. However, we can highlight a few trends or schools of thought in historiography (the study of history) that contrast most sharply with the Great Man Thesis. One such answer is implicitly given in the question itself: historical sociology. The early sociologist Herbert Spencer directly critiqued the Great ...


14

Ptolemy da Lucca (c. 1236 – c. 1327), also known as Bartholomew of Lucca, Tolomeo da Lucca, and Tolomeo Fiadoni is considered today an advocate of republicanism, mainly from his contributions to Thomas Aquinas' De Regimine Principum (On the Government of Rulers), which he completed after Auquinas' death (1274). Ptolemy's main influences were Aristotle's ...


14

Socrates changed how philosophy itself was to be conceived. Rather than a "sophist" ("wise one" - the tag often used for earlier Greek philosophers), Socrates described himself simply as a "philo-sopher" ("lover of wisdom"). Michael Picard makes this point in his Bedside Book of Philosophy: [Socrates] eschewed rhetorical devices that deceived the ...


14

Xenophon gave specific reasons for some of his works but for others he did not. Xenophon (about 431 BC to 354 BC) produced a very wide range of work during his lifetime: historical, biographical, philosophical, instructional. He never stated a primary purpose for all his works and we can deduce that some of what he wrote was aimed at specific audiences. ...


13

The subdivisions of heaven and the theme of a vision of an ascent to heaven originate from Jewish mysticism. Different parts of the Talmud come from different times, but this idea is very old. During the 5th century BCE, when the works of the Tanakh were edited and canonised and the secret knowledge encrypted within the various writings and scrolls ("...


13

I think there are these reasons: Around the time of its decline, Chinese philosophy was quasi-religious, and exclusionary. That is, Mohism was actively suppressed by regimes that adopted other philosophies, such as Confucianism. Some of its doctrines became obsolete Some of its doctrines were absorbed by the other philosophies Exclusion Mohism arose ...


10

The entire Bible is pretty much written by the losers of history, written from the perspective of the Hebrew slaves, the prophets, and the exiles, rather than the Pharaoh, the king, and the conquerors, respectively. Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, the Greeks, and the Romans all had their empires, but the perspective was taken from a particular people who ...


10

You are taking the quote out of context. Here is the complete text from the Story of Civilization: Twelve years he wandered, imbibing wisdom from every source, sitting at every shrine, tasting every creed. Some would have it that he went to Judea and was moulded for a while by the tradition of the almost socialistic prophets; and even that he found ...


9

It is a long and complicated story, but a very brief outline is the following. Copernicus book was published in 1543. For about 70 years after that the Church did not express any "official opinion" on it. The book was discussed by several writers, some supported and others criticized the theory, as it usually happens with scientific theories. The church did ...


9

Theory of history is so closely related to "historiography" or the practice of writing and criticising history that we may as well consider them to be basically coaligned. Therefore you will want to read EH Carr's "What is History?" and a textbook aimed at honours / post-graduate coursework students on historiography. Ranke started modern history with the ...


9

I am reading Andrew Weatcroft's's The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburg, Ottomans, and the Battle for Europe (see also here). It contains this relevant statement in relation to a (from some perspective) loosing party rewriting history: Of course, once the great [Ottoman attack on Vienna in 1683] failed, history was rewritten and the sultan portrayed as wisely ...


8

The Spanish Civil War is an example of loser-dominated historiography. That the Rebels won is beyond doubt, but the Loyalists wrote all the history... it's hard to think of a history of the war which is sympathetic to the winning side.


8

It was clearly a remarkable period for English scientific thought, but historians of science bicker about why. One very good reason might be the work of Sir Francis Bacon, essentialy the founding father of British 'natural philosophy. By the 1640's he had followers, described by Robert Boyle as the 'invisible college', which may refer to a group of early ...


8

The opposite view holds that extra-human dynamics govern the courses of events. This is a recurring theme of Tolstoy's War and Peace, a fundamental principle of Marx's dialectical materialism; it is also regurgitated by Jared Diamond in his Guns Germs & Steel. People who believe in governing dynamics would argue that the Renaissance was caused by ...


8

There's a model of the Stoa Basileios (or Royal Stoa), seat of the archon basileus, at the end of 5th century BC on the site of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA). This is close to the date (399 BC) that Plato's Euthyphro took place. "Model of the Royal Stoa at the end of 5th c. B.C. with the addition of the annexes. Model realised ...


8

In a specific case, his work was clearly intended as instructional manual for others: His work On Horsemanship addresses cavalry officers and others either involved with the training of horses or the leading of mounted troops. Thus sitting "between" your two positions of "for future generations" and "for own satisfaction". The twist being that he almost ...


7

Has its accuracy changed since? North Vietnam won over South Vietnam. Taliban won over Northern Alliance prior to US getting involved in 2001 Hezbollah effectively won against everyone (forced Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, and squeezed 'liberals' out of Lebanese politics). Depending on your definition of liberal, theocrats won in Iran in 1979. ...


7

Counterexamples: Spanish Civil War: one can argue that republicans were more liberal Chinese Civil War: one can argue that kuomitang was more liberal Russian Civil War: some anti-bolshevik factions were fighting under the slogan of support of the Russian Constituent Assembly - more liberal WW2: one can easily argue that USSR was less liberal than the 3rd ...


7

Its an interesting thesis. The problem is that "important" out he left himself essentially makes it a No true Scottsman argument. In other words, it isn't really a falsifiable statement. Any counter-argument I could possibly make can be dismissed as "not really an important war" (or failing that, you could try to argue against the liberality/fanacisim of the ...


7

If you are looking for examples: The history of most major invasions of Europe is written or significantly influenced by the Europeans (who happened to be on the loosing end). The Huns and Attila, the Mongols, the Vikings (OK, they are European, too), the Ottoman Turks; even if there is a significant body of information (e,g in case of Ottoman Empire), the ...


7

This question probably can't produce anything but opinion-based answers, but I'll take my shot. I would say two factors are at play here: First, the lauding of extravagant praise on an "alien" system was often used by classical-era writers as a method of criticizing flaws in their domestic system. Tacitus' Germania is a typical example of this. Athens ...


6

First of all I want to point out that Christianization did not bring any improvements in moral standards at the time. Conversely, the moral was gradually degrading whether due or not the advent of Christianity. Ancient Rome had possibly the most extensive legislation on social care and charity at the time, which included orphanages, pensions, alimentary ...


6

Yes, there were some, more than one and surely more than we know. These known ones were from times about 6 centuries before Christ. Scriptures of Buddhism were not less revolutionary. Buddha is considered as a teacher of people and gods. Christ had never reached so far. Avesta of Zarathustra was the first documented teaching of kindness. Even in the ...


6

Looks like you've rediscovered Jaspers's concept of the Axial Age. However, if I understand correctly he did not posit that the Chinese and Western cultures influenced each other, but rather that they arose simultaneously under similar circumstances. Nevertheless, this might be a good starting point to explore from.


6

After some searching, I cannot find an older succinct expression of the concept than that in the book Ecclesiastes from the Hebrew Tanakh, which has become the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. Ecclesiastes (Koheleth in Hebrew) is a piece of wisdom literature on the topic of futility, which dates to somewhere between 450-180 BCE. In Ecclesiastes 1:9 it ...


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