History Defined

Topics: History, Historian, Art Pages: 3 (863 words) Published: November 29, 2006
History Defined
History is the explanation of change over time. A constant characteristic of history is that it is grounded in fact and actuality. However, the re-telling of concrete events must be perfectly crafted to provide meaning and efficiently relay experiences. Such crafting requires a number of various artistic literary aspects. History is not so much glorious as it is concrete and faithful- if a given event has occurred than it is possible, but if it has not yet occurred, it is not certain. Various philosophers have assorted opinions of what makes history distinct; however, each agrees in one steady characteristic of history: that it discerns truth while being constrained by facts. Author Norma Thompson believes history's purpose is to describe any given event, not to recount the event itself. Thompson agrees that is it the "responsibility of historians to extract from their retellings of events any traces of myth." Therefore, historians necessitate the discipline to extract. This obedience can be perceived as a rare art form. Author Jacqueline de Romilly understands Greek history as the rise and fall of men. She writes that the history of the Greeks follows a cyclic pattern that is strictly factual and logically methodical. De Romilly goes on to comment that the rise and fall of man was mingled in those who wrote about history, but also "in the very existence of man." Another writer, Francois de Polignac, focuses on the connection of social and spatial aspects in relation to history, commenting that "the religious factor was at the heart of the debate." While there does, indeed, exist other ways of relaying past events, history as a literary genre is multi-faceted. The writing of history has the ability to balance its factual nature while juxtaposing the perfect amount of inventive aspects such as comedy, tragedy, and epic poetry. This very precision in itself is a form of art.

In order for a work to be deemed as historical, its elements must...
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