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Muslim historiography

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  1. Historiography in Antiquity
  2. Modern historiography
  3. Roman historiography

The first detailed writings on the subject of historiography itself appeared in the works of the Arab Muslim historian and historiographer Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), who is regarded as the father of historiography and the philosophy of history, especially for his historiographical writings in the Muqaddimah (Latinized as Prolegomena) and Kitab al-I'bar (Book of Advice). Among many other things, his Muqaddimah laid the groundwork for the observation of the role of state, communication, propaganda and systematic bias in history.

Muslim historical writings first began developing earlier from the 7th century with the reconstruction of Muhammad's life in the centuries following his death. Due to numerous conflicting narratives regarding Muhammad and his companions from various sources, it was necessary to verify which sources were more reliable. In order to evaluate these sources, various methodologies were developed, such as the "science of biography", "science of habit" and "Isnad" (chain of transmission). These methodologies were later applied to other historical figures in the Islamic civilization. Egyptology began in Arab Egypt from the 9th century, with the first known attempts at deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs made by Dhul-Nun al-Misri and Ibn Wahshiyya. Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (838-923) is known for writing a detailed and comprehensive chronicle of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern history in his History of the Prophets and Kings in 915.

Until the 10th century, history most often meant political and military history, but this was not so with Persian historian Biruni (973-1048). In his Researches on India, he did not record political and military history in any detail, but wrote more on India's cultural, scientific, social and religious history. He also discussed more on his idea of history in another work The Chronology of the Ancient Nations. Biruni is considered the father of Ideology for his detailed studies on Indian history. Other famous Muslim historians included Urwah (d. 712), Ibn Ishaq (d. 761), Al-Waqidi (745-822), Ibn Hisham (d. 834), and Ibn Hajar (1372-1449), among others.

Franz Rosenthal wrote in the History of Muslim Historiography:

"Muslim historiography has at all times been united by the closest ties with the general development of scholarship in Islam, and the position of historical knowledge in Muslim education has exercised a decisive influence upon the intellectual level of historical writing....The Muslims achieved a definite advance beyond previous historical writing in the sociological understanding of history and the systematisation of historiography. The development of modern historical writing seems to have gained considerably in speed and substance through the utilization of a Muslim Literature which enabled western historians, from the seventeenth century on, to see a large section of the world through foreign eyes. The Muslim historiography helped indirectly and modestly to shape present day historical thinking."

III. Give synonyms to the underlined words:

§ treatises on specific subjects;

§ exploring the lives;

§ morally corrupt and dissolute;

§ groundwork for the observation;

§ detailed writings;

§ numerous conflictingnarratives;

§ necessary to verify;

§ historical figures;

§ various sources;

§ subsequent author of history;

§ considered the father

IV. Find English equivalents for the following:

- фундамент історіографії;

- ухил в історії;

- династичний цикл;

- неминуща історична цінність;

- спроби розшифровування;

- історична постать;

- суперечливі розповіді;

- грунтовне вивчення;

- вичерпні літописи

V. Study the given below lexical units (provide the Ukrainian variants):

o the groundwork for professional historiography;

o monumental lifelong achievement;

o individual biographies;

o lives and deeds of commoners;

o subsequent author;

o dynastic cycles;

o conflicting narratives;

o various methodologies;

o science of biography;

o science of habit;

o detailed and comprehensive chronicle;

o social and religious history;

o the father of Ideology


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