Thursday, August 1, 2019

History is Written by the Losers

It’s not the victors who write history; some of the most profound works of history have been written by the losers. Herodotus wrote his Histories after his country was defeated in the Greco-Persian Wars. Thucydides wrote his History of the Peloponnesian War when his city-state Athens was defeated by Sparta. The defeat of the Florentine republic inspired Niccolò Machiavelli to write his works of history. It's noteworthy that Edward Gibbon gave his multivolume work on history the title, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire—the focus of his historiography is on analysis of the causes for which the Roman Empire fell to the barbarians (essentially, Gibbon is writing from the perspective of the member of an empire that has lost the war). In our times, America won the First World War and the Second World War, but the best works on these wars have been written by the European and Asian historians.

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