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Historia by Nikolaos Gyzis

Historia by Nikolaos Gyzis


History (from Greek ἱστορία, historia, meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" 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. Historians place the past in context using historical sources such as written documents, oral accounts, ecological markers, and material objects including art and artifacts.

History also includes the academic discipline which uses narrative to describe, examine, question, and analyze a sequence of past events, investigate the patterns of cause and effect that are related to them. Historians seek to understand and represent the past through narratives. They often debate which narrative best explains an event, as well as the significance of different causes and effects. Historians also 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. History differs from myth in that it is supported by evidence. However, 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 thematic elements of historical investigation. History is often taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies.

Herodotus, a 5th-century BC Greek historian is often considered (within the Western tradition) to be the "father of history," or, by some, the "father of lies." Along with his contemporary Thucydides, he 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 have survived.

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The Ezana Stone – This tablet, situated in a field and well below today's ground surface, is believed to have been erected some time during the first half of the fourth century of the current era by King Ezana of Axum in what is now called Ethiopia.
The 4th-century AD Ezana Stone containing a dual Sabaean-style Ge'ez and Greek inscription recording the victories of King Ezana of Axum over the Kushites of Meroe (in modern Sudan)

Ethiopian historiography includes the ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern disciplines of recording the history of Ethiopia, including both native and foreign sources. The roots of Ethiopian historical writing can be traced back to the ancient Kingdom of Aksum (c. AD 100 – c. 940). These early texts were written in either the Ethiopian Ge'ez script or the Greek alphabet, and included a variety of mediums such as manuscripts and epigraphic inscriptions on monumental stelae and obelisks documenting contemporary events. The writing of history became an established genre in Ethiopian literature during the early Solomonic dynasty (1270–1974). In this period, written histories were usually in the form of royal biographies and dynastic chronicles, supplemented by hagiographic literature and universal histories in the form of annals. Christian mythology became a linchpin of medieval Ethiopian historiography due to works such as the Orthodox Kebra Nagast. This reinforced the genealogical traditions of Ethiopia's Solomonic dynasty rulers, which asserted that they were descendants of Solomon, the legendary King of Israel.

Ethiopian historiographic literature has been traditionally dominated by Christian theology and the chronology of the Bible. There was also considerable influence from Muslim, pagan and foreign elements from within the Horn of Africa and beyond. Diplomatic ties with Christendom were established in the Roman era under Ethiopia's first Christian king, Ezana of Axum, in the 4th century AD, and were renewed in the Late Middle Ages with embassies traveling to and from medieval Europe. Building on the legacy of ancient Greek and Roman historical writings about Ethiopia, medieval European chroniclers made attempts to describe Ethiopia, its people, and religious faith in connection to the mythical Prester John, who was viewed as a potential ally against Islamic powers. Ethiopian history and its peoples were also mentioned in works of medieval Islamic historiography and even Chinese encyclopedias, travel literature, and official histories. Read more...
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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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Statue of Giovanni Villani in the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo

Giovanni Villani (Italian pronunciation: [dʒoˈvanni vilˈlaːni]; c. 1276 or 1280 – 1348) was an Italian banker, official, diplomat and chronicler from Florence who wrote the Nuova Cronica (New Chronicles) on the history of Florence. He was a leading statesman of Florence but later gained an unsavory reputation and served time in prison as a result of the bankruptcy of a trading and banking company he worked for. His interest in and elaboration of economic details, statistical information, and political and psychological insight mark him as a more modern chronicler of late medieval Europe. His Cronica is viewed as the first introduction of statistics as a positive element in history. However, historian Kenneth R. Bartlett notes that, in contrast to his Renaissance-era successors, "his reliance on such elements as divine providence links Villani closely with the medieval vernacular chronicle tradition." In recurring themes made implicit through significant events described in his Cronica, Villani also emphasized three assumptions about the relationship of sin and morality to historical events, these being that excess brings disaster, that forces of right and wrong are in constant struggle, and that events are directly influenced by the will of God.

Villani was inspired to write his Cronica after attending the jubilee celebration in Rome in 1300 and noting the venerable history of that city. He outlined the events in his Cronica year for year, following a strictly linear narrative format. He provided intricate details on many important historical events of the city of Florence and the wider region of Tuscany, such as construction projects, floods, fires, famines, and plagues. Read more...

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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.

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