historians on history
[Edward Gibbon, Leopold von Ranke, Fernand Braudel]
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Quotes About History
Historians on History

We have gathered together a selection of quotes about history where the views of several famous historians on history are set out in an interesting way.

The historians featured include Edward Gibbon, Leopold von Ranke and Fernand Braudel :-

       "In its Greek origins, historia meant inquiry, and from Thucydides onwards, the past has been studied to understand its connections with the present."
Simon Schama.


       "History . . . is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind."
Edward Gibbon.


  "The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see; and in that record you can find yourself and your country both examples and warnings; fine things to take as models, base things rotten through and through, to avoid."


       "What experience and history teach is this - that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it."
G. W. F. Hegel


  "Everything must be recaptured and relocated in the general framework of history, so that despite the difficulties, the fundamental paradoxes and contradictions, we may respect the unity of history which is also the unity of life."
Fernand Braudel


  "The function off the historian is neither to love the past nor to emancipate himself from the past, but to master and understand it as the key to the understanding of the present."
E. H. Carr


"You have reckoned that history ought to judge the past and to instruct the contemporary world as to the future. The present attempt does not yield to that high office. It will merely tell how it really was."
Leopold von Ranke


"Since history has no properly scientific value, its only purpose is educative. And if historians neglect to educate the public, if they fail to interest it intelligently in the past, then all their historical learning is valueless except in so far as it educates themselves."
G. M. Trevelyan.


"To each eye, perhaps, the outlines of a great civilization present a different picture. In the wide ocean upon which we venture, the possible ways and directions are many; and the same studies which have served for my work might easily, in other hands, not only receive a wholly different treatment and application, but lead to essentially different conclusions."
Jacob Burckhardt


"Imagination plays too important a role in the writing of history, and what is imagination but the projection of the author's personality."
Pieter Geyl

"Every work of history constructs contexts and designs, forms in which past reality can be comprehended. History creates comprehensibility primarily by arranging facts meaningfully and only in a very limited sense by establishing strict causal connections."
Johan Huizinga

Introductory quotations
"Central" mysticism insights
"Other" spiritual wisdom
"Central" poetry insights
"Other" poetry wisdom
Sources of mysticism quotes


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Historians on History
Edward Gibbon, Leopold von Ranke, Fernand Braudel