Herodotus and Sima Qian: Great Historians

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History writing has evolved much over time with the contributions of many people. In the modern sense, it can be traced back to ancient Greece and China, where historians Herodotus and Sima Qian began keeping records of human existence. Although they were not literally the first people to write history, together they are named the first great historians of the Western world and the East because of their individual innovations and extensive work that has long affected history writing up until this day. There is much to debate when it comes to the greatness of these ancient historians, and although some believe they were both important and successful in what their works, The Histories and The Records of a Historian, accomplished, others believe the total opposite. Thomas R. Martin, the author of Herodotus and Sima Qian: The First Great Historians of Greece and China, argues that the two men were indeed vital to the progression of history writing over time. In my opinion, Herodotus and Sima Qian made huge advancements in history writing, and their titles as the first great historians of the Western world and the East are very fitting. Martin makes it clear that the importance of analyzing the greatness of Herodotus and Sima Qian is based on the fact that neither one of these historians had any idea about the other ones work, but developed their history in similar ways. Common insights and themes emerged in both of their styles of history writing. It’s also important to understand their personal accomplishments and the differences in their works as well to show what individually makes them great. Herodotus and Sima Qian lived during vastly different historical time periods, but Martin explains that the nature of their history wri... ... middle of paper ... ...stions about the restrictions of women’s roles in Chinese society. Herodotus and Sima Qian were undoubtedly great historians due to their substantial advancements in history writing. Thomas R. Martin concludes that the link between Herodotus and Sima Qian is their common goal to create history as a guide to the past, and that the history they create is left up to individual interpretation. Although the time period, backgrounds, and situations between the two historians were vastly different, comparing both of their work is an opportunity to view the writing of history across cultures and around the world. Their ability to write intricate and lengthy histories during the time in which they lived and under the circumstances they faced make them great historians. The way they composed their material and shared it with the world should be recognized and accounted for.

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