Why Study History?


No one ever answered this question better than Titus Livius, whom we know as Livy, who wrote his History of Rome during the time of Augustus Caesar. And here is his answer.

“The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see; and in that record you can find for yourself and your country both examples and warnings; fine things to take as models, base things, rotten through and through, to avoid.”

Any questions?

4 comments on “Why Study History?

  1. “Any questions”? Yeah, why bother studying history when it’s guaranteed to be repeated, no matter what. It’s human nature and that’s all history is. After all, history began with Adam and Eve and will end that way. It’s in our nature, said the snake.

    PS: However, i’m not saying we shouldn’t study history, after the bible and the Constitution, because it does enlighten people; gives them something to argue about with the superiority of historical knowledge. I think it’s the expectations that what one will find in historical (not biblical) accounts will support their view. Unfortunately, my study of history has revealed that everything good that man has accomplished is always followed by something good that is lost, even from the same heroes of history. We just don’t take our “medicine.” So what do we say to that? The usual “Nobody’s perfect” and then get on with repeating it all over again. Even Livy didn’t take his own advice. If a person is not doing individual research on her own, there’s the problem of how history is taught. But that’s another issue for another time.

  2. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned to appreciate history all the more. It is not simply the study of past events, but can illuminate the reasons for these events and the psychology of these events. Lots of bad things happened in the past, but lots of good things can be learned. I suspect that the events of the next decade or so will make for interesting history.

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