Portal:History

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Herodotus (c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC), often considered the "father of history"

History (from Greek ἱστορία, historia, meaning "inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past as it is described in written documents. Events occurring before written record are considered prehistory. It is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Scholars who write about history are called historians.

History can also refer to the academic discipline which uses a narrative to examine and analyse a sequence of past events, and objectively determine the patterns of cause and effect that determine them. Historians sometimes debate the nature of history and its usefulness by discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present.

Stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the tales surrounding King Arthur), are usually classified as cultural heritage or legends, because they do not show the "disinterested investigation" required of the discipline of history. Herodotus, a 5th-century BC Greek historian is considered within the Western tradition to be the "father of history", and, along with his contemporary Thucydides, helped form the foundations for the modern study of human history. Their works continue to be read today, and the gap between the culture-focused Herodotus and the military-focused Thucydides remains a point of contention or approach in modern historical writing. In East Asia, a state chronicle, the Spring and Autumn Annals was known to be compiled from as early as 722 BC although only 2nd-century BC texts survived.

Ancient influences have helped spawn variant interpretations of the nature of history which have evolved over the centuries and continue to change today. The modern study of history is wide-ranging, and includes the study of specific regions and the study of certain topical or thematical elements of historical investigation. Often history is taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies.

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Though in ruins, the Flavian Amphitheatre, now known as the Colosseum, still stands today
The inaugural games of the Flavian Amphitheatre were held in AD 80, on the orders of the Roman Emperor Titus, to celebrate the completion of the Colosseum, then known as the Flavian Amphitheatre (Latin: Amphitheatrum Flavium). Vespasian began construction of the amphitheatre around AD 70, and it was completed by Titus soon after Vespasian's death in AD 79. After Titus' reign began with months of disasters – including the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, a fire in Rome, and an outbreak of plague – he inaugurated the building with lavish games which lasted for more than a hundred days, perhaps partially in an attempt to appease the Roman public and the gods.

Little documentary evidence of the nature of the games (ludi) remains. They appear to have followed the standard format of the Roman games: animal entertainments in the morning session, followed by the executions of criminals around midday, with the afternoon session reserved for gladiatorial combats and recreations of famous battles. The animal entertainments, which featured creatures from throughout the Roman Empire, included extravagant hunts and fights between different species. Animals also played a role in some executions which were staged as recreations of myths and historical events. Naval battles formed part of the spectacles but whether these took place in the amphitheatre or on a lake that had been specially constructed by Augustus is a topic of debate among historians.

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Painting, ca. 1485. An artist's interpretation, since the only portrait for which she is known to have sat has not survived.
Joan of Arc (French: Jeanne d'Arc; French pronunciation: ​[ʒan daʁk]; 6 January c. 1412 – 30 May 1431), nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" (French: La Pucelle d'Orléans), is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years' War, and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. She was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée, a peasant family, at Domrémy in north-east France. Joan claimed to have received visions of the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's coronation at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory.

On 23 May 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundian faction, a group of French nobles allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English and put on trial by the pro-English bishop Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. After Cauchon declared her guilty she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age.

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Japanese samurai, circa 1860. Followers of the bushido code of conduct and wielding a sharp sword, a katana, samurais were Japan's equivalent of European knights for hundreds of years. Samurai were more or less abolished in favor of a Western-style army in 1873, but their importance in Japanese history persists in the country's culture, even today.

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December 13

George Gershwin
George Gershwin

Francesco Bianchini (b. 1662) · Ana Néri (b. 1814) · Dora Marsden (d. 1960)

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Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another. You are brothers.

— Muhammad, 7th century Islamic prophet

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History of the Latter Day Saint movement

"Well, church history actually is what we would call a constitutional issue in this church. On the day the church was organized, a revelation was given that there would be a history kept, and faithfully; really since that day, the church has kept history."
Marlin K. Jensen

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History by region – Ancient Egypt • Ancient Greece • Ancient Rome • History of China • History of the Middle East • History of Mesoamerica • History of India

History by continent – Africa • The Americas • Antarctica • Asia • Australia • Eurasia • Europe • North America • Oceania • South America

List of time periods Prehistory • Protohistory • Ancient history • Modern history • Future history

The Ages of history – Stone Age • Copper Age • Bronze Age • Iron Age • Dark Ages (historiography) • Middle Ages • Age of Discovery • Renaissance • Age of Enlightenment • Industrial Age • Space Age • Information Age

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History of art Dance • Film • Music • Painting • Theatre
History of philosophy Ancient • Medieval • Modern • Contemporary
History of logic
History of science Theories/sociology • Historiography • Mathematics • Pseudoscience • Scientific method
History of the natural sciencesAstronomy • Biology • Chemistry • Ecology • Geography • Physics • Geology
History of the social sciencesAnthropology • Economics • Education • Geography • Linguistics • Political science • Psychology • Sociology
History of science by era In early cultures • In Classical Antiquity • In the Middle Ages • In the Renaissance • Scientific Revolution
History of technology Agriculture & agricultural science • Architecture • Biotechnology • Chemical engineering • Communication • Computing (Computer science, Software engineering) • Electrical engineering • Invention • Materials science • Measurement • Medicine • Military technology • Transport

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