Historian

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An historian is an individual who studies and writes about history, and is regarded as an authority on it.[1] Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all events in time. If the individual is concerned with events preceding written history, the individual is an historian of prehistory. Although "historian" can be used to describe amateur and professional historians alike, it is reserved more recently for those who have acquired graduate degrees in the discipline.[2] Some historians, though, are recognized by equivalent training and experience in the field.[2] "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century at roughly the same time that physicians also set standards for who could enter the field.

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History analysis

The process of historical analysis involves investigation and analysis of competing ideas, facts and purported facts to create coherent narratives that explain "what happened" and "why or how it happened". Modern historical analysis usually draws upon other social sciences, including economics, sociology, politics, psychology, anthropology, philosophy and linguistics. While ancient writers do not normally share modern historical practices, their work remains valuable for its insights within the cultural context of the times. An important part of the contribution of many modern historians is the verification or dismissal of earlier historical accounts through reviewing newly discovered sources and recent scholarship or through parallel disciplines like archaeology.

Historiography in Antiquity

Traditionally, Herodotus and Thucydides have been regarded as the founders of the discipline of history. Yet that is disputed by many especially with the notable evidence of the Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Concerning Herodotus (5th century BC), one of the earliest nameable historians whose work survives, his recount of strange and unusual tales are gripping but not necessarily representative of the historical record. Despite this, The Histories of Herodotus displays some of the techniques of more modern historians. He interviewed witnesses, evaluated oral histories, studied multiple sources and then pronounced his particular version. Herodotus's works covered what was then the entire known world of the Greeks, or at least the part regarded as worthy of study, i.e., the peoples surrounding the Mediterranean. Herodotus was also known for visiting the various battle sites he wrote about, including the battle of Thermopylae. About 25 years after Herodotus, Thucydides pioneered a different form of history, one much closer to reportage. In his work, History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides wrote about a single long conflict that lasted 27 years between Athens and Sparta with its origins and results. But, as it was mainly within living memory and Thucydides himself was alive throughout the conflict and a participant in many of the events, there was less room for myths and tall tales. Moreover, he had the custom of including transcriptions of speeches that were supposedly delivered by historic figures, although, more commonly, they were made up by Thucydides himself according to what he felt those people should have said at the moment they delivered them..

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