History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past, particularly how it relates to humans.〔(【引用サイトリンク】 title=History Definition )〕〔(【引用サイトリンク】 title=What is History & Why Study It? )〕 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. Events occurring prior to written record are considered prehistory.
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.〔〔p 52〕
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 BCE 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 Asia, a state chronicle, the Spring and Autumn Annals was known to be compiled from as early as 722 BCE although only 2nd century BCE 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.
The word ''history'' comes ultimately from Ancient Greek ἱστορία (''historía''), meaning "inquiry","knowledge from inquiry", or "judge". It was in that sense that Aristotle used the word in his 〔Ferrater-Mora, José. ''Diccionario de Filosofia''. Barcelona: Editorial Ariel, 1994.〕 (''Perì Tà Zôa Ηistoríai'' "Inquiries about Animals"). The ancestor word is attested early on in Homeric Hymns, Heraclitus, the Athenian ephebes' oath, and in Boiotic inscriptions (in a legal sense, either "judge" or "witness", or similar).
The Greek word was borrowed into Classical Latin as ''historia'', meaning 'investigation, inquiry, research, account, description, written account of past events, writing of history, historical narrative, recorded knowledge of past events, story, narrative'. ''History'' was borrowed from Latin (possibly via Old Irish or Old Welsh) into Old English as ''stær'' ('history, narrative, story'), but this word fell out of use in the late Old English period.〔"history, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2014. Web. 9 March 2015.〕
Meanwhile, as Latin became Old French (and Anglo-Norman), ''historia'' developed into forms such as ''istorie'', ''estoire'', and ''historie'', with new developments in the meaning: 'account of the events of a person's life (beginning of the 12th cent.), chronicle, account of events as relevant to a group of people or people in general (1155), dramatic or pictorial representation of historical events (c1240), body of knowledge relative to human evolution, science (c1265), narrative of real or imaginary events, story (c1462)'.〔
It was from Anglo-Norman that ''history'' was borrowed into Middle English, and this time the loan stuck. It appears in the thirteenth-century ''Ancrene Riwle'', but seems to have become a common word in the late fourteenth century, with an early attestation appearing in John Gower's ''Confessio Amantis'' of the 1390s (VI.1383): 'I finde in a bok compiled | To this matiere an old histoire, | The which comth nou to mi memoire'. In Middle English, the meaning of ''history'' was "story" in general. The restriction to the meaning 'the branch of knowledge that deals with past events; the formal record or study of past events, esp. human affairs' arose in the mid-fifteenth century.〔
With the Renaissance, older senses of the word were revived, and it was in the Greek sense that Francis Bacon used the term in the late sixteenth century, when he wrote about "Natural History". For him, ''historia'' was "the knowledge of objects determined by space and time", that sort of knowledge provided by memory (while science was provided by reason, and poetry was provided by fantasy).〔Cf. "history, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2014. Web. 9 March 2015.〕
In an expression of the linguistic synthetic vs. analytic/isolating dichotomy, English like Chinese (史 vs. 诌) now designates separate words for human history and storytelling in general. In modern German, French, and most Germanic and Romance languages, which are solidly synthetic and highly inflected, the same word is still used to mean both "history" and "story".
The adjective ''historical'' is attested from 1661, and ''historic'' from 1669.〔Whitney, W. D. ''(The Century dictionary; an encyclopedic lexicon of the English language )''. New York: The Century Co, 1889.〕
''Historian'' in the sense of a "researcher of history" is attested from 1531. In all European languages, the substantive "history" is still used to mean both "what happened with men", and "the scholarly study of the happened", the latter sense sometimes distinguished with a capital letter, "History", or the word ''historiography''.〔
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