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Traditionally, historians have recorded events of the past, either in writing or by passing on an oral tradition, and have attempted to answer historical questions through the study of written documents and oral accounts.
From the beginning, historians have also used such sources as monuments, inscriptions, and pictures.
is attested early on in Homeric Hymns, Heraclitus, the Athenian ephebes' oath, and in Boiotic inscriptions (in a legal sense, either "judge" or "witness", or similar).
The Greek word was borrowed into Classical Latin as historia, meaning "investigation, inquiry, research, account, description, written account of past events, writing of history, historical narrative, recorded knowledge of past events, story, narrative".
The study of history has sometimes been classified as part of the humanities and at other times as part of the social sciences.
In the 20th century, French historian Fernand Braudel revolutionized the study of history, by using such outside disciplines as economics, anthropology, and geography in the study of global history.
Their works continue to be read today, and the gap between the culture-focused Herodotus and the military-focused Thucydides remains a point of contention or approach in modern historical writing.In general, the sources of historical knowledge can be separated into three categories: what is written, what is said, and what is physically preserved, and historians often consult all three.But writing is the marker that separates history from what comes before.Historians sometimes debate the nature of history and its usefulness by discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present.Stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the tales surrounding King Arthur), are usually classified as cultural heritage or legends, because they do not show the "disinterested investigation" required of the discipline of history.
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Scholars who write about history are called historians.