Allegory on writing history by Jacob de Wit (1754). An almost naked Truth keeps an eye on the writer of history. Pallas Athena (Wisdom) on left gives advice.

Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing history as an academic discipline, and by extension is any body of historical work on a particular subject. The historiography of a specific topic covers how historians have studied that topic using particular sources, techniques, and theoretical approaches. Scholars discuss historiography by topic—such as the historiography of the United Kingdom, that of WWII, the British Empire, early Islam, and China—and different approaches and genres, such as political history and social history. Beginning in the nineteenth century, with the development of academic history, there developed a body of historiographic literature. The extent to which historians are influenced by their own groups and loyalties—such as to their nation state—remains a debated question.[1]

In the ancient world, chronological annals were produced in civilizations such as ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. However, the discipline of historiography was first established in the 5th century BC with the Histories of Herodotus, the founder of Greek historiography. The Roman statesman Cato the Elder produced the first history in Latin, the Origines, in the 2nd century BC. His near contemporaries Sima Tan and Sima Qian in the Han Empire of China established Chinese historiography with the compiling of the Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian). During the Middle Ages, medieval historiography included the works of chronicles in medieval Europe, Islamic histories by Muslim historians, and the Korean and Japanese historical writings based on the existing Chinese model. During the 18th century Age of Enlightenment, historiography in the Western world was shaped and developed by figures such as Voltaire, David Hume, and Edward Gibbon, who among others set the foundations for the modern discipline.

The research interests of historians change over time, and there has been a shift away from traditional diplomatic, economic, and political history toward newer approaches, especially social and cultural studies. From 1975 to 1995 the proportion of professors of history in American universities identifying with social history increased from 31 to 41 percent, while the proportion of political historians decreased from 40 to 30 percent.[2] In 2007, of 5,723 faculty in the departments of history at British universities, 1,644 (29%) identified themselves with social history and 1,425 (25%) identified themselves with political history.[3]


In the early modern period, the term historiography meant "the writing of history", and historiographer meant "historian". In that sense certain official historians were given the title "Historiographer Royal" in Sweden (from 1618), England (from 1660), and Scotland (from 1681). The Scottish post is still in existence.

Historiography was more recently defined as "the study of the way history has been and is written – the history of historical writing", which means that, "When you study 'historiography' you do not study the events of the past directly, but the changing interpretations of those events in the works of individual historians."[4]

Other Languages
العربية: علم التأريخ
asturianu: Historiografía
azərbaycanca: Tarixşünaslıq
башҡортса: Тарихнамә
беларуская: Гістарыяграфія
български: Историография
čeština: Historiografie
Cymraeg: Hanesyddiaeth
Ελληνικά: Ιστοριογραφία
español: Historiografía
Esperanto: Historiografio
français: Historiographie
한국어: 역사학
हिन्दी: इतिहास-लेख
hrvatski: Historiografija
Bahasa Indonesia: Historiografi
interlingua: Historiographia
íslenska: Sagnaritun
italiano: Storiografia
Кыргызча: Историография
latviešu: Historiogrāfija
Lëtzebuergesch: Historiographie
lietuvių: Istoriografija
مصرى: التأريخ
Bahasa Melayu: Historiografi
Mirandés: Storiografie
Nederlands: Geschiedschrijving
日本語: 史学史
Napulitano: Storiografia
occitan: Istoriografia
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਇਤਿਹਾਸਕਾਰੀ
Patois: Ischriagrafi
português: Historiografia
română: Istoriografie
Simple English: Historiography
српски / srpski: Историографија
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Historiografija
svenska: Historiografi
Türkçe: Tarihyazımı
українська: Історіографія
vèneto: Storiografia
Tiếng Việt: Thuật chép sử
Volapük: Jenotemipenav
中文: 史学史