"If you would understand anything, observe
its beginning and its development."
Some more thoughts on the question: "What is History?"
•"History is science, no less and no more." J.B. Bury
•"History is a people’s memory, and without memory man is demoted to the lower animals." Malcolm X
•"History is now strictly organized, powerfully disciplined, but it possesses only a modest educational value and even less conscious social purpose." J. H. Plumb
•"History is more or less bunk." Henry Ford
•"History is an argument without end." Peter Geyl
•"History: an account mostly false, of events unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools." Ambrose Bierce
Clio, the Muse of History:
• "Clio . . . to thee, O Muse, has been vouchsafed the power to know the hearts of the gods and the ways by which things come to be." Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica (Roman epic C1st A.D.)
• "Begin thou, unforgetting Clio, for all the ages are in thy keeping, and all the storied annals of the past." Statius, Thebaid (Roman epic C1st A.D.)
Siege of Antioch, October 1097-July 1098.
The Hindenberg Disaster, May 6, 1937.
Ambrose Bierce, c. 1866
Clio, the Muse of History (detail from Johannes Vermeer's "The Art of Painting" c. 1666, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)