Historical Disclaimer

By , September 23, 2010 12:31 pm

History is not science.  If ten different people witness the same event and are required to write about it you can be guaranteed only one thing:  you will get ten different accounts of what just happened.  A wise friend of mine once told me twenty years ago that “history books are written by those who won the war”.  I say he is wise because I have never seen anything to go contra to this.

History is not real.  Often times when you read of sensantional history you are being tested to see if you are going to bestow authenticity and romance to the author’s account of the story.  This is where you have to develop a filter to decide what is truth, what is embellished, and what is outright bullshit.  In my experience, the truth wears plain clothes.  The truth is not sensational.  So how do you find the truth?  This is a tricky question.  I believe you have to look at concrete evidence, science, and economics to be able to lend credibility to an historical event.  The Colosseum for example is something you can touch, something you can see.  This lends credibility to the accounts of the fights that happened at the Colosseum.  This lends credibility to the prisoner executions there.  This lends credibility to the fact that thousands of Jewish slaves were brought from Jerusalem to Rome.  These Jewish slaves were helpful to the Roman economy while the Colloseum was being built and provided much of the menial labor.

There are volumes of books written about Julius Caesar’s military conquests.  There are hundreds of thousands of paragraphs written to account for his battle at Alesia and many military scholars who consider this battle one of the most famous in military history.  The truth is that the majority percentage of the volumes of books come from one book:  Commentarii de Bello Gallico.  Any guess on who wrote that book?  If you guessed Julius Caesar, you are correct.  Do you see where I’m going with this?

In the category of posts I’ve labled History, I make no claims as to the authenticity of the stories I tell.  I’m not an accredited historian.  I didn’t study history in college.  Reading about history is just a hobby of mine that I enjoy.  This web log is just a way for me to leave my children with some historical perspective from their dad’s viewpoint.  Maybe one day my children will want to know what their father thought about the historical record from his viewpoint.  Maybe they can profit from my preening through the record and taking out the points that I think might interest them as those points have interested me.  That’s the hope.

If you disagree with any of the posts on history in this web log, please leave a comment.  I am always hoping to improve upon the accounts told here and get things in better order.

I will end this disclaimer with a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte:

History is a set of lies agreed upon.

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