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The History Portal

Herodotus (c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC), often considered the "father of history"

History (from Greek ἱστορία, historia, meaning 'inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation') is the past as it is described in written documents, and the study thereof. Events occurring before written records are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Scholars who write about history are called historians.

History also includes the academic discipline which uses a narrative to examine and analyse a sequence of past events, and objectively determine the patterns of cause and effect that determine them. Historians sometimes debate the nature of history and its usefulness by discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present.

Stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the tales surrounding King Arthur), are usually classified as cultural heritage or legends, because they do not show the "disinterested investigation" required of the discipline of history. Herodotus, a 5th-century BC Greek historian is often considered within the Western tradition to be the "father of history", or by some the "father of lies", and, along with his contemporary Thucydides, helped form the foundations for the modern study of human history. Their works continue to be read today, and the gap between the culture-focused Herodotus and the military-focused Thucydides remains a point of contention or approach in modern historical writing. In East Asia, a state chronicle, the Spring and Autumn Annals, was known to be compiled from as early as 722 BC although only 2nd-century BC texts have survived.

Ancient influences have helped spawn variant interpretations of the nature of history which have evolved over the centuries and continue to change today. The modern study of history is wide-ranging, and includes the study of specific regions and the study of certain topical or thematical elements of historical investigation. Often history is taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies.

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The Empire at its greatest extent under Justinian in 550
The Byzantine Empire (or Byzantium) was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the "Roman Empire" (Greek: Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, Basileia Rhōmaiōn) or Romania (Ῥωμανία) to its inhabitants and neighbours, it was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State and maintained Roman state traditions. Byzantium is today distinguished from ancient Rome proper insofar as it was oriented towards Greek culture, characterised by Christianity rather than Roman paganism and was predominantly Greek-speaking rather than Latin-speaking.

The Byzantine Empire existed for more than a thousand years, from its genesis in the 4th century to 1453. During most of its existence, it remained one of the most powerful economic, cultural, and military forces in Europe, despite setbacks and territorial losses, especially during the Arab–Byzantine wars. The Empire recovered during the Macedonian dynasty, rising again to become a preeminent power in the Eastern Mediterranean by the late 10th century, rivalling the Fatimid Caliphate.

After 1071, however, much of Asia Minor, the Empire's heartland, was lost to the Seljuq Turks. The Komnenian restoration regained some ground and briefly reestablished dominance in the 12th century, but following the death of Emperor Andronikos I Komnenos (r. 1183–85) and the end of the Komnenos dynasty in the late 12th century the Empire declined again. The Empire received a mortal blow in 1204 from the Fourth Crusade, when it was dissolved and divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms.

Successive civil wars in the 14th century further sapped the Empire's strength, and most of its remaining territories were lost in the Byzantine–Ottoman Wars, which culminated in the Fall of Constantinople and the conquest of remaining territories by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.

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Nikita Zotov, rotogravure by Alexandr Osipov, 1882–1883
Count Nikita Moiseevich Zotov (Russian: Никита Моисеевич Зотов) (1644 – December 1717) was a childhood tutor and life-long friend of Russian Tsar Peter the Great (Russian: Пётр I Алексеевич, "Великий"). Historians disagree on the quality of Zotov's tutoring. Robert K. Massie, for example, praises his efforts, but Lindsey Hughes criticizes the education that he gave to the future Tsar.

Not much is known about Zotov's life aside from his connection to Peter. Zotov left Moscow for a diplomatic mission to Crimea in 1680, and returned to Moscow before 1683. He became part of the "Jolly Company", a group of several dozen of Peter's friends that eventually formed The All-Jesting, All-Drunken Synod of Fools with Zotov being appointed "Prince-Pope" of the Synod, and regularly presiding over their entertainments and festivities. He accompanied Peter on many important occasions, such as the Azov campaigns and the extorturing information from the Streltsy on high treason after their uprising. Zotov held a number of state positions, including c.1701 a head position in the Tsar's personal secretariat (Russian: Тайная канцелярия). Three years before his death, Zotov married a woman 50 years his junior. He died in December 1717 of unknown cause.

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Sameul Daniell - Kora-Khokhoi preparing to move - 1805.jpg

The Khoikhoi were a historical group of Khoisan people, native to southwest Africa. The Khokhois had settled the region in the 5th century AD, and when Europeans first arrived there in 1652, they were still practicing traditional pastoral agriculture. Here, they are dismantling their huts in preparation for moving to more fertile grazing grounds.

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February 24: Shrove Monday (Western Christianity, 2020); Independence Day in Estonia (1918)

Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson

Joseph Banks (b. 1743) · Carlo Buonaparte (d. 1785) · Sridevi (d. 2018)

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It is of the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it.

— Aristotle, 4th-century Greek philosopher

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