History Is Memory

Decent Essays

History can be defined in a number of ways. One could say history is a record of events that occurred in the past, or another person could say that history is the knowledge and facts of the past. Carl Becker’s definition is perhaps the simplest and finest definition of history. Becker defines history as “the memory of things said and done” (223). Memory is history, which is what history truly is and how it should be looked at by mankind. As long as mankind has that memory, then that memory of the things said and done will become history. For mankind to truly be able to define what history is, they must understand the importance of preservation, interpretations, and periodization with the things said and done.
If history is memory, and that memory is lost, then history can be lost forever. The Earth itself is billions of years old and mankind has been around on the planet for only a few thousands of those years. In her book, Marnie Hughes-Warrington mentions a piece of work from R. G. Collingwood in which he defines history as “a science whose business is to study events not accessible to our observation” (35). Mankind has only been around for a small number of blinks of an eye, which means that there is a significant amount of history that mankind still does not know about, and possibly may never know. Aphrodite of Melos for example, is a famous and beautiful ancient Greek freestanding statue from the Hellenistic Period. The arms of the statue are missing and mankind does

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