History

The Future becomes the Present;

The Present becomes the Past;

The Past becomes History;

History becomes Legend;

Legend becomes Myth.

So much of what we know about the Past has become lost in Legend and Myth. And much of it is a mixture of relics, oral histories and should have beens.

Was there a Great Flood such as that survived by Noah? Or was there a memory of a great flood among the peoples of the eastern Mediterranean area that was used by a writer of the Bible to teach a lesson?

Did the story of Atlantis have an actual historical basis, such as, the destruction of the Minoan culture owing in part to the volcanic eruption at Thera/Santorini?

Was there really a Trojan War as told by Homer? There is physical evidence for the destruction of a city at the site where Calvert and Schliemann believed Troy to be.

In The Rise of Rome Anthony Everitt divides his history into three parts: Legend, Story and History. I am finding the Story section to be quite interesting as it is a blend of fact, as we currently understand it, and fiction. How does one decide what is factual and what is not?

Physical evidence does not tell us the whys of things and the voices of those who lived two thousand years ago are long gone. Some of their writings survive, but what writer, including myself does not bring his own preconceptions, biases and desires to his writing? Ferretting out the “truth” is a fascinating adventure.

How will Future treat our heroes and villains, our stories and legends?

What will it make of George Washington and the Cherry Tree as told by Mason Weems? And, how about, tossing a coin across the Potomac? What will people believe about Washington if the Washington Monument and his head on Mount Rushmore survive into the far future but there are no writings or electronic media?

How do you write an accurate history of the 20th century if the only evidence you have are the writings of A. Hitler, J. Goebbels and, maybe, W. Churchill?

How do you explain the United States in the second half of that century if you have no knowledge of Joe McCarthy, Lester Maddox, Rosa Parks and the Vietnam War?

What will people several thousand years from now make of the 2000 election and its “hanging chads” – I think they’ll have a great chuckle.

Future – Present – Past – History – Legend – Myth. Will the story of the human race continue until it passes the point where we become Myth and that Myth becomes Forgotten?

11.27.2012

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *