A historical figure is a famous person in history, such as Florence Nightingale or Napoleon.
The significance of such figures in human progress has been debated. Some think they play a crucial role, while others say they have little impact on the broad currents of thought and social change. The concept is generally used in the sense that the person really existed in the past, as opposed to being legendary. However, the legends that can grow up around historical figures may be hard to distinguish from fact. Sources are often incomplete and may be inaccurate, particularly those from early periods of history. Without a body of personal documents, the more subtle aspects of personality of a historical figure can only be deduced. With historical figures who were also religious figures attempts to separate fact from belief may be controversial.
In education, presenting information as if it were being told by a historical figure may give it greater impact. Since classical times, students have been asked to put themselves in the place of a historical figure as a way of bringing history to life. Historical figures are often represented in fiction, where fact and fancy are combined. In earlier traditions before the rise of a critical historical tradition, authors were less careful to be as accurate as possible when describing what is known of the historical figures and their actions, interpolating imaginary elements intended to serve a moral purpose to events: such is the Monk of St. Gall's anecdotal account of Charlemagne, De Carolo Magno. More recently there has been a tendency once again for authors to freely depart from the "facts" when they conflict with their creative goals.
Other articles related to "historical figure, historical figures, figures":
... Many films have depicted historical figures ... Often the way in which the films interpret these figures and their times reflects the social and cultural values of the period in which the film was made ... Historical figures are familiar to the general reader and so may be used in speculative fiction so that readers marvel at their appearance in novel settings or with a fresh perspective ...
... Babadag became an important place of pilgrimage, visited in 1538 by Suleiman the Magnificent, and the most important urban centre in 16th-century Dobruja ... The town however decayed during the frequent wars that ravaged the region during the 17th century, and was eventually burned down, along with the mausoleum to Saltik, during the Russo-Turkish Wars ...
... Gershom Bulkeley Royalist minister (historical figure), teacher of John Holbrook ... Eleazer Kimberly Puritan schoolmaster (historical figure) ... of New England (including Connecticut), an officer of the King's Dragoons, and a knight (historical figure) ...
Famous quotes containing the words figure and/or historical:
“A child... who has learned from fairy stories to believe that what at first seemed a repulsive, threatening figure can magically change into a most helpful friend is ready to believe that a strange child whom he meets and fears may also be changed from a menace into a desirable companion.”
—Bruno Bettelheim (20th century)
“The proverbial notion of historical distance consists in our having lost ninety-five of every hundred original facts, so the remaining ones can be arranged however one likes.”
—Robert Musil (18801942)