History is the study of history. Events prior to the invention of written records are often viewed as prehistorical. “Prehistorals” is a broader umbrella term containing both prehistorical events and the subsequent memory, creation, accumulation, documentation, interpretation, and presentation of those events. Thus, all events in the course of human history are placed in the category of “history.”
Throughout much of human history, oral tradition has been the main source of information, the primary sources of which have been the writings of various peoples. Written records, of course, date from ancient times and must be recorded in some form by someone other than the writer. Written texts can themselves be archetypes for history; for instance, many ancient poems, songs, and stories document ancient events. As such, the events in such literature serve as a vital source of knowledge for future study.
Ancient societies developed complex laws and rules and engaged in political struggles over land and resources. Individuals lived in the social order established by these societies, sometimes acting as hereditary lords or as local leaders, who wrote the rules and laws that governed their land and their lives. The written records of these societies usually served as the primary source of history. However, much of what we call history today only represents the written records of events and activities prior to the time of Christ. In most cases, the written records did not survive beyond the life of Christ. In addition, much of what we think of as history actually represents the collective unconscious of mankind, which was shaped through the processes of history, including its socialization during the historical period of its development.
A common thread throughout all history is the desire of groups of people to form and shape the world around them. This was most pronounced during the period of the Glorious Revolution, when people from all over Europe came together to free France from the control of the French monarchy. At that time, there was much more interregional trade than had been the case ever since the advent of the European nations’ unity. While some were merchants who brought their own goods to market and others were farmers who supplied foodstuffs to the larger cities, the overall impact on Europe’s culture was far-reaching and profound. Through the written records, we can learn about the lives of other cultures and also about the different ways in which people lived during this historic period.
Much of what we know about history can be deduced from the written records. For example, during the years immediately following the Fall of Rome, the Western Roman Empire had major political and military influence over the Roman Catholic Church. These records record much of what was done during the reigns of Emperor Trajan and Emperor Valentinus. As the years went by, these records gradually became tainted with Roman insanities and corruption. When the Christians began to reconvert to Judaism and Christianity, much of the written information about ancient Jewish and Roman history became tainted with heretic writings and anti-Christian polemic.
The development of writing gave us a much more accurate and comprehensive way to understand history. Early man could not have known much about nature and his relations to nature. He could not have foreseen the massive impact his actions would have. Only through his writings and his interpretation of those events, however, was man able to put together an accurate picture of how his world worked. That is why they call him the Father of History.