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Cassels , Alan 1996, IDEOLOGY AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS IN THE MODERN WORLD, Routledge 11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE,London and New York
What we now refer to as ‘international’ history was the primary concern of those whose work is now recognized as the first attempt by Europeans to conduct a truly ‘historical’ investigation of the past, and it has remained a central preoccupation of historians ever since. Herodotus, who attempted to explain the Persian Wars, approached the subject quite differently from his successor, Thucydides. Herodotus believed that the answers to the questions that arose from the confrontation between the Persians and the Greeks would be found in the differences between the two cultures; accordingly, he examined the traditions, customs and beliefs of the two civilizations. Critics have long pointed out that he was haphazard in his selection and cavalier his use of evidence. The same has never been said of Thucydides, who, in attempting to explain the Peloponnesian Wars, went about his task more methodically, and who was meticulous in his use of evidence. Over the next two thousand years, men like Machiavelli, Ranke and Toynbee have added to the tradition, but the underlying dichotomy between the ‘anthropological’ and the ‘archival’ approach has remained. Diplomatic historians have been condemned as mere archive-grubbers; diplomatic history as consisting of what one file-clerk said to another. The ‘world-historians’, the synthesizers, have been attacked for creating structures and patterns that never existed, for offering explanations that can never be tested against the available evidence.
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