History as Chronicle

Aug 2010
15,664
Welsh Marches
#11
They can be, but there are quite a variety of sources of information for historical events, often one starts from narratives rather than chronicles, containing implicit or explicit interpretations of the events in question, or from letters, or from scattered information recorded in a variety of different sources, and evidence of a matterial nature may often be essential. History is not compiled in a mere mechanical fashion by putting together individual 'facts'.
 
Jun 2013
451
Connecticut
#13
Since I wrote the OP, I've come more and more to the conclusion that history is a list of happenings.
The historians' task seems to be to present this list in a logical order so that when we read of these past events they seem to follow a pattern. That pattern is one of "if they did this, then that happened".
The narrative of how this is presented makes it readable or not.
Chnges to history happen when more data, i.e. lists of "stuff", are found and attempts are made to fit them into a chronology. This can change the idea of "if they did this, then that happened".
History IS storytelling. Only instead of dragons there's ME-262s; instead of black magic there's saturation bombing....
Could this thinking be why history is considered useless today? It's value is entertainment of a different order.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,090
Sydney
#14
History is memory , it's record of events on a chronological timeline
I concur on the cause and consequences discussion but this is already speculative by nature
 
Jun 2018
104
New York
#15
Since I wrote the OP, I've come more and more to the conclusion that history is a list of happenings.
The historians' task seems to be to present this list in a logical order so that when we read of these past events they seem to follow a pattern. That pattern is one of "if they did this, then that happened".
The narrative of how this is presented makes it readable or not.
Chnges to history happen when more data, i.e. lists of "stuff", are found and attempts are made to fit them into a chronology. This can change the idea of "if they did this, then that happened".
History IS storytelling. Only instead of dragons there's ME-262s; instead of black magic there's saturation bombing....
Could this thinking be why history is considered useless today? It's value is entertainment of a different order.
That's not a bad way of putting it. I look at History as the story of Man, but I can also see it as a list of happenings like you put it.

I have thoughts on why people think history is considered useless, mostly along the lines of 'we're better off now than they were a hundred years ago' and so on and so forth. Am I right? Who knows, it's up to the individual why they may think history is useless. I just think a lot of it comes down to the improvements Man has made over the centuries and how each left us better off than before (seemingly).
 
Jan 2017
4,090
Sydney
#16
as an counterpoint to chronicles and their often stark enumeration of events
there is private diaries
the most famous is probably Samuel Pepys diary ,
the man was at the center of politics , was intimate with the gears of policy
it is a treasure trove of London cultural , social and political life of 17th century London , including the plague and the great fire

Now there is something of equal interest
Johan van Oldenbarnevelt diary of his last years has been found
'A little miracle': Dutch statesman's diary found 200 years after it was lost

he was a most eminent politician , a founder of the Dutch republic which he steered with a sure hand toward victory over Spain
he promoted the house of Orange , was a founder of the East India company
his fall was due to this most explosive mixture of state sovereignty and religion
basically he was shafted by his erstwhile protege Maurice of Nassau
his two sons seeking revenge failed to get Maurice assassinated and ended up on the block

Diaries are of course very biased and personal
but they bring to history the flesh and breath of life that dry chronicles so severely lack
 

Similar History Discussions