Saturday, July 29, 2017


An Alexandrian Age

Steven Runciman (1903-2000), History of the Crusades, Vol. I (1951; rpt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), p. xiii:
History-writing today has passed into an Alexandrian age, where criticism has overpowered creation. Faced by the mountainous heap of the minutiae of knowledge and awed by the watchful severity of his colleagues, the modern historian too often takes refuge in learned articles or narrowly specialized dissertations, small fortresses that are easy to defend from attack. His work can be of the highest value; but it is not an end in itself. I believe that the supreme duty of the historian is to write history, that is to say, to attempt to record in one sweeping sequence the greater events and movements that have swayed the destiny of man.

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