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Study of History

  • Date Submitted: 01/21/2012 12:10 AM
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Etymology

History by Frederick Dielman (1896)
A derivation from *weid- "know" or "see" is attested as "the reconstructed etymon wid-tor ["one who knows"] (compare to English wit) a suffixed zero-grade form of the PIE root *weid--'see' and so is related to Greek eidénai, to know "...[2][10]
Ancient Greek ἱστορία[11] (hístōr) means "inquiry","knowledge from inquiry", or "judge". It was in that sense that Aristotle used the word in his Περὶ Τὰ Ζῷα Ἱστορίαι[12] (Perì Tà Zôa Ηistoríai "Inquiries about Animals"). The ancestor word ἵστωρ 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 word entered the English language in 1390 with the meaning of "relation of incidents, story". In Middle English, the meaning was "story" in general. The restriction to the meaning "record of past events" arises in the late 15th century. It was still in the Greek sense that Francis Bacon used the term in the late 16th 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).
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.[13]
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...

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