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What is History?

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What is History?

The Series “The Lost Highway Of History” will follow with investigations into people and events of the past.

Many focus today in our modern world on the more tangible academic disciplines like medicine, chemistry, physics, etc. What one must realize, however, whether it regards politics, culture, community, religion, philosophy, and even the hard sciences, is that history plays an integral role in our daily lives and the way we think. It helps form our worldview and presuppositions. Thus, the more one knows and understands history the more that individual can have a clear perspective of the world around them. Although history is a science or body of knowledge, it is in itself subject to bias by those who study it. Consequently, it takes critical thinking, external critics, and peer review to establish a highly probable understanding of the past.

These time periods are best understood under these categories though some historians will disagree with one another:

  1. Ancient History- Ancient History deals with those times before Alexander the Great, but can also be included up until the “fall of Rome.”
  2. Classical Antiquity- Some create a distinction from Ancient History that separates the Greek and Roman worlds from those prior to 800 BC; however, they tend to overlap and focus more on the Mediterranean Civilizations such as the Greek and Romans.
  3. Late Antiquity- This is a period which has developed in the past fifty years, and it tends to run the dates around 250 AD – 800 AD. It is the transition period between Classical Antiquity and the Medieval era.

    Ancient Constantinople via Educational Geography

  4. Medieval- One might depending on their view of the Middle Ages, establish the Early Middle Ages around 800-1000 AD. The High Middle Ages would then start at 1000 continuing into the Fourteenth Century; however, this can become confused when trying to integrate the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim or Arab elements of the Western World with the Latin. The last of this period is the Late Middle Ages which displays decline and rebirth. This period continues into the early 16th Century and includes the Renaissance. As additional scholarly work continues, it would be no surprise if these periods are adjusted in the future.

    The History Channel

  5. Modern- The 16th century commences the Early Modern period with the Age of Discovery, Colonialism, and the Reformation, also factoring into this is the previous conquering of the Byzantine Empire by the Ottoman Turks. Thus, in the 18th century with the coming of the Enlightenment, Nationalism, and Revolution there begins a late modern period which spans into the present. However, it is evident as the years flow by and new scholarship is developed that these labels will be updated in the future as well. It doesn’t seem reasonable that in the year 2500 that they will still describe these in the same way.

Thus, for some, history is an adventure to read that grounds itself in reality, while for others it is more than that, it is a mirror that allows us to peer into our very selves and the complex world around us.

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A graduate student with degrees in History and Religious Studies, his interests include studying philosophy, religion, and history. He also enjoys hiking, travel, and supporting his community.

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