Friday, July 23, 2010

History Fail

Michael Tomasky gives his readers a quiz to test their historical knowledge. Question 1 is:

1. Arguably the first great work of history in the Enlightenment era was by Edward Gibbon and in six volumes described:

a. The Greco-Roman wars
b. The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire
c. The "Mohametan" conquest of Iberia

He believes the answer is so obvious that "If you didn't get this one, you should have stopped right then and there.". However Edward Gibbon did not describe the "Rise and Fall" of the Roman Empire but the "Decline & Fall" as the name of his great work indicates. Gibbon starts at a point where Rome was near the peak of its powers.


Robert said...

Doh! Tomasky obviously meant well, though.

Noting that also causes one to ponder for a moment if any historian writing today about events a couple of thousand years before, will be similarly read and still considered relevant in 2240?

One suspects Gibbon might well still be.

Ross said...

The thing about Gibbon is that he is possibly the oldest historian whose work is still read as a source of historical analysis rather than simply as a near primary source (like say Herodutus). In terms of his whole outlook and philosophy he was a man ahead of his time.