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The Importance of Historiography in Studying History

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The word History is derived from the Greek word istorio meaning investigation, research, exploration or information. History is study of the past narrating the life of men and the stories created by them. It narrates how men fought against the entire natural phenomenon for food, shelter, clothing, political and social organization. Since history is created by men long time ago, it gave men an opportunity to reconstruct the events and the life of men thus, helping in interpreting and understanding their history. Furay and salevouris (1988) define historiography as “the study of the way history has been and is written.” While studying historiography, it should not study the past events directly instead it is the changing interpretation of the events. Thus, historiography is the study of those same events differently. In fact, historiography is intended attempts to recuperate knowledge of and represent in writing true descriptions or narration of past events which has indeed happened and just need to focus more so that, one can accumulate knowledge about what has been actually happened. Hence., the following paragraphs will discuss about various ideas of historiography by different scholars, along with its importance in studying history and the general criticism on historiography.

Since the world came in to being, there came human form or a living organism, human form had some sense of the past, both their own possession and that of their society or people as a whole. There is something incredible nature that has distinguished human from other species. Later in the medieval period, both Greeks and Roman historian lost that charm of writing which was not in a worthy quality and less in integrity. It was mainly due to the rise of the Christianity as they belief them to be savior and was sent to protect the wellbeing of men. To assert humanity and to condemn the peacefully and to rule over the subject they need to record and to preserve its traditions and to make followers to be faithful. Slowly, Christianity took control over men again by its supernatural influence such as inquiry became sin and critical and analytical writing which once had been the glory of Greek.

Before the father of history, Herodotus composed histories, history was viewed as a record of the occasion that were carefully planned and only conveyed either by the god or by their delegate operator. As it was, those occasions recorded in old archives were not considered as human activities but rather were deeds of the god legitimately or in a roundabout way. However, it was unequivocally contended by the semi history that such history seems, by all accounts, to be minor affirmation of those information that the author of the history has, yet not the appropriate response of the inquiries, nor the consequence of any specialist.

Historiography tells the story of the successive stages of the evolution or development of historical writing. It has come to include the evolution of the idea and techniques associated with writing of history, and the changing attitude towards the nature of history itself. Ultimately it comprises the study of the development of man’s sense for the past. While history is the historian’s reconstruction of the past., it deals with evidence. The material that the past leaves behind as records has to be used with great care for the simple reason that they may not be wholly authentic or genuine.

To discuss about the different scholars in development of historiography, Herodotus used his method to write of far-off events reported to him at second or third hand with curiosity and keen power d the observation, he tried to know how the things happened. Basically, he looked for rational explanations, showing the influence of the climate and geographical factors. He patriotic in the treatment of Greeks but he justly gives both sides of most political disputes and testifies to the heroism, honor and chivalry of the Persian. Thus, he wrote in a style which was at once loose, easygoing, romantic and fascinating, satisfying men’s need for entertainment for marvelous stories.

While most of the western scholars has same perspectives like Herodotus. But the Chinese scholar or historian has no right to write their own view. They were sponsored by the ruler, emperor and aristocrats to write about their own history. Chinese historiography was not influenced by the outside historians. It is known as ‘Shi’ and requires three things, historical virtue, talent and knowledge. thus, it gives the clear picture about the seriousness of history. Moreover, they wrote history of the past for the betterment of the future using solid example from moral lesson from historical events. In fact, their writings are different but it contains similar sections and subjects. Thus, dynastic history was later replaced by the comprehensive history and Chinese wrote only comprehensive history.

What Thucydides is to Greek, Tacitus to Rome, Ibn khaldun is to the Arab historiography. Khaldun had remarked “it is the science of circumstances and events and its causes are profound. Thus, it is an ancient, original part of wisdom and deserves to be one of its science”. Usually, Muslims adopted the method of criticism, observation, comparison and examination. Criticism to analyze accounts of historical events, the source of these accounts and the techniques used by historians. Examining and comparing various different accounts in order to get rid of falsifications and exaggerations and obtain some objective idea of what had actually happened. They mentioned a historian has to be learned, accurate in observation and skilled in comparing text with subtext in order to be capable of effective criticism and clarification.

Historians examine and interpret sources from the past, including documents, architectures art, and even human remains because they consider primary source. However, historiography has a general criticism as Rome has rich political background and they measured the writing of history in quantity than quality and Roman historians thought only about wars, conquest and administration instead neglected the social economic or cultural themes of history. Nevertheless, some historians like Chinese historians did not care about the cause and effect as they wrote what they were told to write. They were more based on text rather than methods adopted by the Greeks. In general, historiography is so biased. For example, Pictor wrote both on morality and history of the prestige of roman state and its people only.

To conclude, history has been one of the interesting subjects to be learned with the help of historiography as it helps to interpret the past events differently. It is the point at which one looks at the period in which the dynamic students of the history composed that the most sense is made of their work. Historiography is nothing in the event but an impression of the occasions that brought forth it. Similarly, as the progressives were engaged with the development to improve the part of the basic man in a period of innovative change, so did the dynamic history specialists see the warriors of the revolution as contenders for the parcel of the normal man.

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