Download A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and by John Burrow PDF

By John Burrow

This unheard of e-book by means of one in every of Britain’s so much sought after historians describes the highbrow effect that the learn and attention of historical past has had within the Western global during the last 2,500 years.

Treating the perform of heritage now not as an remoted pursuit yet as a side of human society and a vital a part of the tradition of Europe and the US, John Burrow magnificently brings to existence and explains the targeted features present in the paintings of historians from the traditional Egyptians and Greeks to the current, together with Livy, Tacitus, Bede, Froissart, Clarendon, Gibbon, Macaulay, Michelet, Prescott and Parkman. the writer units out to not supply us the heritage of educational self-discipline yet a heritage of selections: the alternative of pasts, and the methods they've been demarcated, investigated, provided or even occasionally realized from as they've got replaced based on political, spiritual, cultural, and (often most vital) partisan and patriotic situations. Burrow goals, to boot, to alter our perceptions of the an important turning issues within the heritage of heritage, permitting the information that historians have had approximately either their very own occasions and their founding civilizations to emerge with unforeseen freshness.

Burrow argues that taking a look at the heritage of background is likely one of the best methods we need to comprehend the prior. definitely, this quantity stands on my own in its ambition, scale and fascination.

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Extra info for A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century

Example text

Herodotus lists conscientiously, sometimes amusingly, occasionally incredibly, w h a t became the standard objects of ethno­ graphic curiosity: clothing, diet, marriage and funerary customs, ranks of society, religious beliefs and practices, health and the treatment of disease. His o w n attitude throughout is tolerant and unshockable. As he says - i t is one of the ways i n w h i c h he anticipates Montaigne * - every people considers its o w n customs best, even those customs most bizarre to others.

We do not get into a state with our next-door neighbour if he enjoys himself in hisown way, nor do we give him the kind of black looks which, though they do no real harm, still do hurt people's feelings. We are free and tolerant in our private lives; but in public affairs we keep to the law. This is because it commands our deep respect. 37) This is the most famous passage i n the funeral oration pronounced by Pericles, leader of the Athenian democracy, over Athenian soldiers w h o had died during the first year of the Peloponnesian W a r (431 в с ) .

Such exiles were not uncommon: Xenophon experienced the same, b o t h i n Persia and i n Sparta. Thucydides continued t o write about b o t h sides w i t h the same dispassionateness, recognizing the virtues of both Athenians and Spartans and their attendant weaknesses: the former bold, enter­ prising, overconfident and rash, the latter conservative, moderate Thucydides prized moderation - and cautious to the point of slug­ gishness. Both commit w h a t we should call atrocities, though i t is those by the Athenians that tend t o make more impression on the reader.

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