Presentation on theme: "Intro to Ancient History 11: What is history for?."— Presentation transcript:
Intro to Ancient History 11: What is history for?
Discuss… Hegel remarks somewhere that all facts and personages of great importance in world history occur, as it were, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. The future is dark, the present burdensome; only the past, dead and finished, bears contemplation. Those who look upon it have survived: they are its products and victors. No wonder, therefore, that men concern themselves with history. He who forgets the past is condemned to repeat it.
Why bother with the question? Pragmatism: others will ask it (employers, government, family … ) Need for self-justification? Answer is potentially revealing about the psychology of historians. Answer affects how history is practised, what sort of history gets written etc.
Possible answers Pragmatic: transferable skills Knowledge as an end in itself; curiosity Key to present: origins, explanations Cross-cultural comparison; theories Lessons of history: parallels, repetition, even prediction? Past as source of personal/social/national identity, hence source of power