Posted by: Dominic | November 5, 2010

Historias Apodeixis

“Historias apodeixis” is a phrase borrowed from the Greek historian Herodotus. Writing in the fifth-century BCE, he called his own work a historias apodeixis, meaning “publication of inquiries.”

The book we now call Herodotus’ Histories is, indeed, much different from what we today consider history. Myth, oracles, anthropology, geography, ethnography, and theology all have their places in Herodotus alongside the “traditional” subjects of politics and war. From its very outset, history was not a fixed category.

The word history itself comes from Greek historia, meaning inquiry or investigation – no other value or connotation was attached to it. Its descendants include history in English, but also more ambiguous iterations such as storia in Italian – a word which can be both history and, simply, story. And at its most basic, I think, history is just a collection of stories about the past.

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