Saturday, 2 September 2017

HISTORY IS FRAGILE

#historywars #statues #history

A Hellenist's perspective on the latest rounds of the History Wars

On Social Media I'm seeing a lot of accusations and verbiage flying from right to left and between  traditionalists and conservatives and liberals and progressives and other factions on the theme of

You re trying to REWRITE / ERASE HISTORY !

The plain sad truth is that History is FRAGILE!

History has been rewritten or erased or lost for centuries.

Greek history is a good example of this.

We have writings by Herodotos and Polybius and Plutarch and various Hellenistic and Roman and Byzantine era historians who mention dozens of  historians biographers and chroniclers whose works no longer survive:

EPHOROS TIMAEUS ACUSILAUS THEOPOMPOS HELLANICOS and many more!

So what are we fighting about?

A silly kids cartoon version of history and about how diverse Roman Britain was or whether or not certain American statues of Lee and Columbus should be pulled down or elsewhere if statues of Captain Cook or Lenin or Lee or Governor Macquarie should be moved or destroyed.

Meanwhile I see libraries replacing print classics with ebooks or etexts regardless of whether or not readers have internet access or replacing older classics with whatever is on the current bestseller list instead of trying to have a balance of both.

One of my local libraries has taken their entire set of LOEBS off the main shelving and moved them to STACK (Shame on you #CHATSWOOD library) and we fight about cartoons and third rate statues instead of protecting primary sources whether they be artifacts archives or text.

Holy Muses will people spend less time arguing and reading political interpretations and more time actually reading primary sources?

In Greek or English read Herodotos and other historians!

If you're defending Robert E.Lee cos he was a "christian gentleman" ( well compared to some of his worse behaved contemporaries) read also first hand accounts of what it was like to be a slave !

If you defend Columbus statues do not do it by showing disdain for Amerind culture.

If you think Captain Cook statues should not be vandalized (personally I think simply changing the inscriptions would be a better action) remember in the past people have vandalized local Koori rock art and think how people of Aboriginal descent feel about that?

Don't want history broken?

Define PRIMARY SOURCES

Get people to visit and fund museums and libraries

and READ history
so we debate using facts not ideology and interpretations!

PLEASE