A Sense of History

History (from Greek ἱστορία, historia, meaning inquiry) is the study of the past…

History is asking questions.


And answering them.

Herodotus of Halicarnassus here presents his research so that human events do not fade with time. May the great and wonderful deeds – some brought forth by the Hellenes, others by the barbarians – not go unsung as well as the causes that led them to make war on each other.

Herodotus: The Histories, 1:1

History is us, a lifetime from now.


  • Prague Spring
  • The D’Oliveira affair
  • The murder of Martin Luther King
  • Paris student riots
  • Tet offensive

(I am history.)

But this bloke is much more history than me:

Kerma culture burial, 2050-1750 BC, Sudan (British Museum)

History Is People

History is people a thousand years ago. Or three thousand…

Nebamun, the accountant, who liked hunting in his free time
The Aztec priest who yielded this knife…
And his victim.
The bored palace guards who scratched this board game into the stone…
…at the foot of this statue.

This was the game they played:

The royal game of Ur, British Museum

Every day, we make history.

History Is:






History Is Dates

  • 776 B.C. First Olympic Games
  • 451 A.D. Battle of Catalaunum
  • 1492 A.D. Reconquest of Granada
  • 1602 A.D. St Matthew and the Angel by Caravaggio
  • 1961 A.D. First manned space flight

History Is…




History is people. Legends. Games. Museums. Facts and artefacts. Questions. Treasure. Manuscripts. Places. History is shocking; history is inspiring. History is…

…you tell me.

You may also like:A Sense of History (a page of quotes)
⇒ The Blog of the British Museum

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