The Relativism of Historical Truth

Use this forum to discuss the June 2018 Book of the Month"The Girl Who Knew da Vinci" by Belle Ami
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Re: The Relativism of Historical Truth

Post by KMSingh »

I guess I'm not sure what she meant by the relativism of historical truth. I minored in history for my BA and had to study this thing called historiography. Historians know that new evidence can come to light at any time. Also, that even primary sources can be unreliable. So you have to take various things into account when studying any historical figure or event.

I think art history is especially prone to getting in a rut about certain theories about artists, their works, or what it all means. I remember the controversy that erupted around the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel when it was cleaned a few years ago. For generations, art historians had been basing their understanding of Michelangelo's paintings on works that hadn't been cleaned. Quite a few of them got their noses out of joint when the ceiling was revealed in all its brightness.

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Post by RT_offscript »

cristinaro wrote:
01 Jun 2018, 16:34
Visiting the Uffizi Gallery, Angela tackles the issue of whether the missing painting belongs to Leonardo da Vinci or not. As she learns the real story of the painting, she ponders on the relativism of historical truth: “It makes you wonder how many other things we consider true about the past are shadowed in misconceptions and cover-ups.”

What are your views on the matter? Would you be tempted to google some historical names and places in the novel to distinguish between fact and fiction?
Hi Cristinaro -

Sometimes, I also ponder on the relativism of historical truth. After all, history is written by the victors.

I chuckled at your mention of google, by the way. Before I read your posted topic, I did try to verify some of the historical names and places. Instead of learning history in school, I realized that I enjoy learning history by reading and watching historical fiction; and then, I would verify everything shortly afterwards.

So, based on my cursory research into our recorded history, Lorenzo and Giuliano de Medici were real. Simonetta Vespucci was also alive in the 1400s. As for Giuliano's death, his mistress (Fioretta Gorini), and his son (Pope Clement VII) are also facts.

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Post by DC Brown »

History is not only written by the victors, but also the rich. Things they want us to believe, truth or not. Someone once said if you tell a lie long enough and loud enough the people will believe it. I have seen that happen, and the outcome was not good.

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Post by Jajachris »

Miriam Molina wrote:
04 Jun 2018, 20:44
I actually plan to Google the historical details. But I know that recorded history may not be accurate. The powers-that-be can and do dictate history.
True, history can be inacurate and influenced. This was a major tool used by colonialists in the tussle for power, to tweak history. Afterall a person who has no history will believe what he is told about himself.

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Post by Mbrooks2518 »

As the saying goes, history is written by the victors.
I do sometimes come across events or objects in books (and movies and TV shows) that I google to see if they are real.

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