The study of our past is a vast field. It is mysterious, deep and extremely fascinating. The pharaohs of Egypt, the civilization that flourished in the Indus valley, ancient Greeks and Romans, these are only a few of the so many communities which have now vanished. Although they are gone their relics and stories remain and their story will be told as long as humanity continues to thrive on this planet.
Fascination with the Past
What makes all those people and their traditions and practices so interesting? Maybe it is because they lived in a world so different from the one we are familiar with. Human beings are alike in so many ways, the capacity for intelligent thinking, yearning for love, same basic needs and a drive to express ourselves. And yet the question remains, how did people who are so similar fundamentally create empires so different? The answer to the question is a complex one and trying to answer that question throws light on more questions. What is the true nature of humanity? Studying history is a path to studying ourselves.
Ancient history offers us perspective. It is an escape from the mundane modern life. The thrilling tales of mighty rulers, wars fought out to a bitter end. They are entertaining as well as inspiring. It is surprising how much humans have achieved despite very little advance in technology. Rumors of ancient lost secrets and priceless artifacts still have archeologists and even bounty hunters digging deep. Countless novels have been written and movies made which relate to archeology and often some long lost civilization.
Understanding of the Past
Studying history is not just memorizing dates and events. It is more about understanding why something occurred. Just like our life is defined by our experiences history tries to paint a larger picture. It can define how we behave as a collective. Studying and analyzing the causes and effects of a past event is exactly what is required to prevent it from happening again or to repeat it. Just like experimental observations are important for science to progress history studies events over long intervals of time.
Also our ancestors are a part of us. We bear our identities with pride. We all come from history. In all the stories we hear about our homeland there was somebody related to us living those tales. Understanding who we once were and how that part of us influences the world we live in now is truly what makes ancient history such a fascinating study.