Must we divide history into periods?

Must we divide history into periods?

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A book by a well-known French historian Jacques Le Goff Must we divide history into periods? has been published.

One of the key concerns of mankind that persists since the birth of humanity is the problem of conducting the time on Earth. It was the calendar that enabled the organization of everyday life since it is almost always associated with the order of nature, with two fundamental referential points - with the sun and the moon. But these same calendars generally determine time as an iteration of annual periods organized in a cyclic manner, and precisely this fact may make them inappropriate tool for the study of the longer periods of time. Even if it is not likely for the humanity to predict its own future, it is important for it to take control of its long past.
In order to organize the history, we have forged a variety of terms: there was talk of "ages", "epochs", "cycles". But it seems that it is most appropriate to speak of "periods". The word "period" comes from the Greek word períodos and it identifies a circular path. Between the 14th and the 18th century, the term took on the meaning of a "flow of time" or an "age". The derivative "periodization" was coined in the 20th century.
The concept of "periodization" will be the guiding principle of this book. It depicts our approach towards the problem of time and our non-neutrality in its division. The objective is to show that the more or less widely recognized postulates that lie behind the division of time periods often do not comply with our concepts of sense and values.

Jacques Le Goff (1924 - 2014) belonged to the group of historians gathered around the journal Annales, the most influential periodical issue of modern scientific history.
In his works Le Goff advocates a "one long Middle Ages" on the basis of experience of the "imaginary", more specifically what people imagined and how they perceived reality. He specifically tried to observe how people relatet to time, how they measured it and devided their periods of work and rest. Le Goff created important works of "medieval imagery" through the prism of "the birth of purgatory". More specifically it is about the analysis of changing notions about life after death as a part of the transformation of feudal Christianity in the 12th and 13th century.
From 2000 he was a corresponding member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and in 1999 he wrote the foreword to the English and the French edition of the first volume of the edition "Croatia and Europe", published by the Academy, that was dedicated to a period of Croatian history from the 7th to the 12th century.
The most famous works of Le Goff are Intellectuals in the Middle Ages, Medieval imagery, The civilization of the Medieval West and Must we divide history into periods?

  • ISBN: 978-953-8075-05-6
  • Year of the edition: 2015
  • Number of pages: 124
  • Cover: paperback
  • Original title: Faut-il vraiment découper l’histoire en tranches?
  • Original language: French
  • Translation: Hrvoje Gračanin
  • Dimensions: 128x200 mm