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Is history written by the victors?

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franciscosan View Drop Down
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    Posted: 15 Jun 2019 at 09:08
We like to say, history is written by the victors but how much of that is true?  
Sometimes it is the vanquished who have time on their hands.  I believe that Churchhill wrote his history after he was kicked out of power(?).  Demosthenes speeches were mainly from a time when he was part of a minority party in Athens.  Thucydides wrote his "Peloponnesian War" while in exile.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jun 2019 at 01:16
Bronte sisters, especially Charlotte. By age 30 sisters Emily and Anne are dead and she is an unmarried, toothless, emotional wreck. Then has to let the publisher in on the fact that she is in fact a woman, which plummeted future book sales. 

She did manage to squeeze out Jane Ere before she died age 39.
Historically the book gained importance in the women's fight for the vote and as more women entered university level study of literature. Bronte herself never argued for women's right to vote but the fact that her success and acceptance as an author was changed merely by the revelation of her sex, forced honest thinkers to question the inequality of the sexes, at least as authors. In her own time there weren't any obvious benefits to being and author other than a little money.


Edited by Vanuatu - 16 Jun 2019 at 01:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jun 2019 at 01:08
It certainly is.

While we have published tomes on Historic Victories, particularly in battle, later and closer examination quite often reveals the exaggerations written into history.

Many such incidents can be found over time on the web site History Today.
“The biggest surprise in a man’s life is old age.”
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2019 at 12:22
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

We like to say, history is written by the victors but how much of that is true?  
Sometimes it is the vanquished who have time on their hands.  I believe that Churchhill wrote his history after he was kicked out of power(?).  Demosthenes speeches were mainly from a time when he was part of a minority party in Athens.  Thucydides wrote his "Peloponnesian War" while in exile.

I think it depends on the era, area, etc.. For example Middle Eastern and Islamic history until very recently suffered from that syndrome. A lot of it was written in the 800-900s by people writing an origin story for the late 600s with little to none surviving written material to use as source material. In a lot of ways this had the adverse affect creating a creation myth taken as fact. For example a lot of the work done now on the time period uses more obscure source material from the outside perspective to craft that early era. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2019 at 14:57
I did not know that about Islamic history, but it makes sense.  From what I understand, early Islam "discouraged" the development of stories about Mohammad's travels.  No equivalents of "Washington slept here."

An Aztec king had all the histories burned, so things started with him.

I can't find the DVD set but I get this the "Great Courses" Mayan and Aztec course.  I don't remember the presenter.


Edited by franciscosan - 10 Aug 2019 at 13:17
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2019 at 20:46
There's also an odd argument that pages of history were written in the early medieval period to underline Charlemagne, thus our calendar is actually extended by something like three hundred years. Somehow I doubt that's the case, but it's interesting how we accept dating systems so readily. I seem to remember that anomalies in Egyptian history have led to similar speculation, in that the acceopted chronology is in fact a gross distortion of what really happened.
 
Something like this is easily dismissed but how sure are we of historical chronology? But unless anyone can provide substantial evidence the accepted chronology has to remain... erm... accepted.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2019 at 14:04
It seems to me that for every account written by the victors, there's a counter claim made by the losers.

The result is that, centuries later, archaeologists reveal a version of something that may or may not have happened, and, lacking evidence to the contrary, that version is accepted.

Remember the old saying "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." ?


Edited by toyomotor - 08 Aug 2019 at 14:06
“The biggest surprise in a man’s life is old age.”
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