What is History?


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What is History?

  1. 1. Welcome to Selinsgrove Area High School and World American History and Geography 1 What is History? 1
  2. 2. History is a record of the past! <ul><li>The record may take many different forms, such as: memories; first hand accounts; artifacts; and myths. </li></ul><ul><li>From the past, something is left behind. These remnants are sometimes found in bits and pieces, or all at once. Until then history will remain a mystery. </li></ul>The Iceman 2
  3. 3. History is a record of the past: memories <ul><li>What do we know about memories? </li></ul><ul><li>We know that as time goes on memories become clouded and vague. </li></ul><ul><li>When this happens history is lost or distorted, and with the passing of time becomes a mystery. </li></ul>Stonehenge 3
  4. 4. History is a record of the past: memories <ul><li>Stonehenge is an example of a memory that has become clouded and vague. </li></ul><ul><li>At the time of its construction everyone knew what purpose the stones served. Now these memories are lost. There have been many guesses about its purpose – from the absurd (a landing for space ships) to the probable (an agricultural tool). </li></ul><ul><li>There have been many guesses about it purpose, some absurd like it is a landing pad for space ships to the not so absurd idea that it was used as an agricultural tool. If a person from then was alive today they could tell us the purpose, but instead we have to settle for a voice fading in and out. </li></ul>4
  5. 5. History is a record of the past: memories <ul><li>Sometimes history is voices the fade in and out. These voices may be from the people who witnessed the events or some family story passed on. </li></ul><ul><li>The picture on the left is an artist’s depiction of the continent Atlantis. The only record we have of this city was from Plato. According to historians it is believed to have been a story passed down to him. </li></ul><ul><li>In this instance the memory of a place was passed on but with no proof that it ever existed. This story has become a legend. </li></ul>5
  6. 6. History is a record of the past: first hand accounts <ul><li>First hand accounts are the words from someone who was actually there. </li></ul><ul><li>The clip you just saw was from the movie Gladiator. How do we know that the crowds’ thumbs up would keep the slaves alive and a thumbs down would mean certain death? From firsthand accounts. </li></ul><ul><li>A person actually at a real gladiatorial battle witnessed these events and recorded them. </li></ul><ul><li>First hand accounts give the historian an idea about the past through the eyes of the people who actually lived during the events being told! </li></ul>
  7. 7. History is a record of the past: first hand accounts <ul><li>When history is written down someone could read it, right? Not always as we saw and heard in the clip. Sometimes the language it is written in hasn’t been spoken in hundreds or even thousands of years. </li></ul><ul><li>If there is no way translate the language into one that we use in modern times this civilizations’ history could be lost forever. </li></ul>7
  8. 8. History is a record of the past: first hand accounts? <ul><li>Here is an example of a first hand account that was distorted for personal gain. </li></ul><ul><li>In this clip they talked about the Battle of San Juan Hill and Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. In actuality Roosevelt’s unit fought at Kettle Hill. </li></ul><ul><li>Even today you’ll find that some history textbooks still have this battle as San Juan Hill. In fact in the new Wahg book purchased over the summer the writers have Roosevelt at San Juan Hill rather than Kettle Hill. </li></ul><ul><li>What does this say about first hand accounts? </li></ul>8
  9. 9. History is a record of the past: discovered all at once <ul><li>There are times when historians get lucky and make one discovery that answers their questions. The Rosetta Stone did that for the world. </li></ul><ul><li>For years historians and archeologists tried to crack the mystery behind the Egyptian hieroglyphics with no success. </li></ul><ul><li>It wasn’t until the discovery of the Rosetta Stone that we had a key to learning about Egyptian hieroglyphics. </li></ul><ul><li>The Stone is carved in 3 languages – hieroglyphics, Latin, and demotic. Archeologists thus used the other languages as a key to decipher the Egyptian writing. </li></ul>Rosetta Stone 9
  10. 10. History is a record of the past: discovered in bits and pieces! <ul><li>The clip just shown is from the movie Titanic. </li></ul><ul><li>Originally it was thought that when the Titanic sunk it was in one solid piece. </li></ul><ul><li>It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the Titanic was found and the world discovered that the Titanic broke into two pieces like you saw here! </li></ul><ul><li>Also it was discovered that, when Titanic sank, a series of holes were punched in the Titanic and not one huge hold as had been thought. </li></ul>10
  11. 11. History is a record of the past: Its from the point of view of the teller <ul><li>Perhaps the most famous photograph made during the Civil War, this gripping image conveys the horror of all the conflict in an unforgettable manner. </li></ul><ul><li>Here the teller is a picture. Unfortunately, to get this “gripping image” the body of the dead solider had to be moved. </li></ul><ul><li>So in order to get the desired effect from the picture things had to be distorted a bit. </li></ul>Rebel Sharpshooter at Gettysburg 11 Does this mean history could be nothing but lies?
  12. 12. History is a record of the past: interpretation <ul><li>The clip just seen shows how things are embellished for personal gain. </li></ul><ul><li>The speech that Mel Gibson gave in the movie Braveheart was actually made up. The writer of the story put his creative flare to work for that speech. To this day no one knows what was said before this battle. Also, this battle was fought on a bridge and not in an open field like was shown in the movie. </li></ul><ul><li>This distorted image without any background in the subject could become history. </li></ul>12
  13. 13. History is a record of the past: interpretation <ul><li>Interpretation can also lead to distorted images about a people and their customs, such as we saw in this last clip. </li></ul><ul><li>These images can leave an impression on people that may not be favorable, such as the idea of dragging a dead child across the land to find his killer. </li></ul>13
  14. 14. History is a record of the past: artifacts and myths <ul><li>Sometimes discoveries are made that give us a new look at history. For example, the Trojan War was thought to be a myth until Henrich Schliemann discovered artifacts at the ancient city of Troy. With the discovery the Trojan War was no longer a legend but fact! </li></ul><ul><li>So, what becomes of history? </li></ul>14
  15. 15. History is a record of the past: artifacts and myths <ul><li>Answer: Sometimes the myth becomes history. </li></ul><ul><li>Fortunately myths can sometimes lead us to history. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes these myths help to make the people proud of their heritage or of their people. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember the clip we saw earlier in Gladiator. To keep the people alive the audience gave a thumbs up, however in reality to a thumbs up meant death to the participants. Thumbs down meant the participants would live. </li></ul>15
  16. 16. History is a record of the past: artifacts and myths <ul><li>Another example used earlier is the continent of Atlantis. </li></ul><ul><li>According to the myth the entire continent disappeared overnight. </li></ul><ul><li>Plato is the only one who ever mentioned this continents possible existence, yet to this date nothing concrete has been found to support his statement. </li></ul><ul><li>For the time being, Atlantis will remain a myth with a bit of mystery attached to it. </li></ul>16
  17. 17. History is a record of the past: mystery <ul><li>The clip shown here is from the documentary on the Iceman. </li></ul><ul><li>Little was known about this time period until his discovery. </li></ul><ul><li>Paleolithic people were thought to run around naked or half naked and had little technology. </li></ul><ul><li>After his discovery we realize that his remains tell a different story. </li></ul>17
  18. 18. History is a record of the past: mystery <ul><li>A controversial discovery was made a few years ago concerning the Egyptian Sphinx. For years it was believed that the great Egyptian civilization built the Sphinx and the pyramids. </li></ul><ul><li>Recently the Sphinx.was observed to have erosion on it. The erosion was not caused by the wind but by water. </li></ul><ul><li>It stopped raining heavily in this area about 10,000 years ago when this erosion would have had to occur. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>* This means that the Sphinx could be older than 10,000 years and this could change history forever although many people disagree. </li></ul></ul>18
  19. 19. What is history: Summary <ul><li>A record of the past </li></ul><ul><li>Memories of things once said and done </li></ul><ul><li>First hand accounts </li></ul><ul><li>Discovered in bits and pieces or all at once </li></ul><ul><li>Told from the point of view of the teller </li></ul><ul><li>Lies told to stir patriotism, make money, etc…. </li></ul><ul><li>Open for interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>Artifacts and myths both founded and unfounded </li></ul><ul><li>Mystery because we may never discover the things we want to know about an civilization, artifact, etc… </li></ul>19
  20. 20. What will future generations say about us? <ul><li>Imagine someone finds the clip you just saw? What would the future think of us, what would you think of the events that unfolded? </li></ul><ul><li>Imagine seeing MTV, the 3 stooges, or listening to rock and roll two to four thousand years from now. Imagine the stories they invent to explain us! </li></ul>20
  21. 21. What is History bibliography <ul><li>Chevron, dir. What is History?. 1984 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Ren and Stimpy.” Wave Central. 22 Feb 2001 <http:// www.wavcentral.com >. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Iceman.” Discovery Channel . 17 Feb 2001<http:// www.discovery.com >. </li></ul><ul><li>Video Braveheart </li></ul><ul><li>Video Titanic </li></ul><ul><li>Video Gladiator </li></ul><ul><li>Discovery Channel. “Iceman.” Discovery Channel . 1998. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Rebel Sharpshooter.” Carole Thompson Fine Photographs . 11 May 2001< http://www.southernphotos.com/rebel.html > </li></ul><ul><li>“ Stonehenge.” BBC NEWS . 23 May 2001 http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_1235000/1235214.stm </li></ul><ul><li>“ Sphinx.” Guardian’s Sphinx . 25 May 2001 http://guardians.net/egypt/sphinx </li></ul><ul><li>“ Atlantis.” Atlantis 26 May 2001 http://www.angelfire.com/ri/allfantasy/atlantis.htm </li></ul>21