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What is History?
A family history springs different sources of information. One is birth
and death records, deeds, wills, and family records. Military records are
useful. There usually are not existing written records of daily life,
these areas have to be filled in by guesses based on the extant records.
We must be careful not to confuse our historical musings with history.
Because a certain thing happened to one person it does not mean that it
happened to another or that we should ascribe it to another.
Recently on this list the statement that “it has been recorded” without any
reference. The particular reference, when it was produced was to Sir James
Douglas. The assumption was then made that if it happened to the leader it
happened to his followers, notably Sir William Sinclair. That is assumption
A statement was made "when the Templars were excommunicated." Had I missed
something? Quickly I wrote to Wallace-Murphy the acknowledged expert on
Templar matters. His new book not yet in print is a cracker.
He replied " The order was suppressed, not excommunicated. While various
individuals within the order, Jaques de Molay among them, paid the price
usually reserved for heretics and despite the accusations of heresy made at
the instigation of Philip le Bel, the order as a whole was not officially
declared as heretical, although many members in France."
Once before I took umbrage at the ‘Fact’ that there were 9 Sinclair knights
at Hastings. Only one is recorded. A explanation was offered. The
explanation fell far short of historical method. Family names are recent
in invention. Names were territorial or occupational.
The records of genealogy that Lenna and others keep so meticulous
together with the physical evidence are the backbone of historical writings.
The Celts had been combatants for centuries. They harassed Greece and
Rome. The Vikings, which make up the half of Gaelic blood, were one of the
most blood thirsty bands of pirates in history. The fortunes of the clans
and their chiefs was based on booty from neighbouring lands.
We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind -- mass merchandising,
advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant
translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing
blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods,
the pre-empting of any free or original imaginative response to experience
by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel.. The fiction is
History is not a straight line. Sinclairs do not stand at the cutting
edge of it as representatives for all mankind. We believe in the future as
if it were a religion; we believe that there is nothing we cannot
accomplish, that solutions wait somewhere for all problems, like brides.
Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel
and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which fills
more than half our history we should not omit them. It would be more
consistent if we told the whole story, separating
our guesses form available records. That is history
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