History is a discipline which focuses on past circumstances that are recorded in written works. All the other events that happened before the invention of written records are considered prehistory.
The discipline relates also to the collection, memory and discovery of data about past circumstances. In addition, the term history indicates the academic discipline which analyses and describes past occurrences, as well as determines patterns of cause and effects which caused these events.
The historical theory is a concept which refers both to historical events and hypothesis.
Six are the main historical theories: cyclical theory, linear theory, great man theory, everyman theory, geography theory and Marxist theory.
The cyclical theory proves that history is a repetition of different historical patterns which keep happening in different forms around the world, without making progress.
Contrary to the cyclical theory, the linear theory states that history is not a repetition of events but a progress. Additionally, it focuses on the concept of cause and effect.
The great man theory asserts that history is created by the individuals' intellect and knowledge.
Instead, the everyman theory confirms that history is shaped and created by the efforts of a large group of people (e.g. farmers, merchants and religious figures).
The geographic theory states that the natural environment is the major determinant of history as it affects the potentials and needs of a group of people.
Finally, the Marxist theory supports the fact that history is originated from the conflict between different social classes (powerful people who control the economy and powerless people who struggle to survive).
The term historical method relates to all the techniques and guidelines that historians adopt to research and write history. To prove historical evidence, historians have to show primary sources, which are original documents, artefacts or information, created during the historical period considered. As well as this, historians should look for secondary sources, which are pieces of information that typically need an analysis of primary source materials.
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