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As scholars and Humanists in the Renaissance were busy rediscovering Classical texts and deepening their awareness of ancient culture, they were also delving into the emerging nuances of historiography. Not only were intellectuals interested with preserving the events and memories of the past, but they were also interested in how this was performed. Ancient scholars, along with writers throughout the Middle Ages, certainly contributed to this discussion by placing a value on eye-witness accounts and facts based on human events (as opposed to mythological events).
The rediscovery of such texts by Renaissance intellectuals allowed this discussion of historical methodology to thrive and develop further. It was these scholars, devoted to rhetoric and its utility in creating didactic texts, who gave historiography a platform during the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By definition, Historiography concerns itself with the study of history – not simply the works produced by historians, but the methodology of said historians as well. What is considered an acceptable source? What would adequate verification of that source look like? Does one use narrative, poetry, a speech or another form of writing to convey the historical subject matter they have in mind? These questions, among others, were tackled by multiple authors during the Renaissance.
This entry seeks to give the reader a general introduction to historiography, as well as the environment which so greatly fostered its development during the Renaissance.
KeywordsHistorical Subject Matter Renaissance Historiography Renaissance Scholars Francesco Guicciardini Thucydides
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