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The Handbook of History
History (from Greek ἱστορία - historia, meaning "inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the human past, with special attention to the written record. Scholars who write about history are called historians. It is a field of research which uses a narrative to examine and analyse the sequence of events, and it often attempts to investigate objectively the patterns of cause and effect that determine events. Historians debate the nature of history and its usefulness. This includes discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present. The stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the legends surrounding King Arthur) are usually classified as cultural heritage rather than the "disinterested investigation" needed by the discipline of history.
The word history comes from Greek ἱστορία (historia), from the Proto-Indo-European *wid-tor-, from the root *weid-, "to know, to see". This root is also present in the English words wit, wise, wisdom, vision, and idea, in the Sanskrit word veda, and in the Slavic word videti and vedati, as well as others. (The asterisk before a word indicates that it is a hypothetical construction, not an attested form.)
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