History (from Greek ἱστορία - historia, meaning "inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation") is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about these events. The term includes cosmic, geologic, and organic history, but is often generically implied to mean human history. Scholars who write about history are called historians.
History can also refer to the academic discipline which uses a narrative to examine and analyse a sequence of past events, and objectively determine the patterns of cause and effect that determine them.
Historians sometimes debate the nature of history and its usefulness by discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present.
Stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the tales surrounding King Arthur) are usually classified as cultural heritage or legends, because they do not support the "disinterested investigation" required of the discipline of history. Events occurring prior to written record are considered prehistory.
Herodotus, a 5th century B.C. Greek historian is considered to be the "father of history", and, along with his contemporary Thucydides, helped form the foundations for the modern study of human history. Their influence has helped spawn variant interpretations of the nature of history which have evolved over the centuries and continue to change today. The modern study of history is wide-ranging, and includes the study of specific regions and the study of certain topical or thematical elements of historical investigation. Often history is taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in University studies.
Read more about History: Etymology, Description, History and Prehistory, Historiography, Philosophy of History, Historical Methods, Areas of Study, Historians, The Judgement of History, Pseudohistory, Teaching History
Famous quotes containing the word history:
“The principle office of history I take to be this: to prevent virtuous actions from being forgotten, and that evil words and deeds should fear an infamous reputation with posterity.”
—Tacitus (c. 55117)
“It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.”
—Henry James (18431916)
“Jesus Christ belonged to the true race of the prophets. He saw with an open eye the mystery of the soul. Drawn by its severe harmony, ravished with its beauty, he lived in it, and had his being there. Alone in all history he estimated the greatness of man.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)