History Main / WrittenbytheWinners

18th May '17 11:31:42 AM BeerBaron
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** In another backstory example, The ancient Falmer (Snow Elves) were nearly exterminated in a war with Ysgramor and his [[BadassArmy 500 Companions]] from Atmora. As part of destroying all traces of the Falmer culture in Skyrim that he could find, Ysgramor also destroyed any evidence of anything that happened other than what ''his'' official histories record. For instance, he claims that the Falmer attack on Saarthal was "unprovoked". However, surviving records of the Elves claim that the attack was in response to repeated "provocations and blasphemies" committed by the early Nords.
16th May '17 12:30:07 PM BeerBaron
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** Speaking of the Dwemer, following their disappearance, the only groups in positions to know much about the Dwemer were the Dunmer (having been turned from the Chimer) and the Nords, both of whom warred with the Dwemer and wouldn't have had any reason to say anything good about them. In the years that followed, the Dwemer would be demonized by the Dunmer and popularized by ahistorical tales like [[UnreliableNarrator Marobar Sul's]] ''[[InGameNovel Ancient Tales of the Dwemer]]'' series. Not helping matters is that their [[ConLang language]] was quickly lost after their disappearance, making it impossible for anyone to read the Dwemer's own records. (A means of translation was discovered around the time of ''Morrowind'', but was apparently lost again by the time of ''Skyrim'' 200 years later.)
10th May '17 11:13:01 AM BeerBaron
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** Additionally, the Septim Empire would later play up the relationship between Alessia's Nedic people ([[{{Precursors}} ancestors]] of most of the modern races of Men) and the Nords, whose support [[FounderOfTheKingdom Tiber Septim]] badly needed to forge his empire. The Nedes were extinct as a unique race centuries before Septim's rise to power.
9th May '17 9:00:17 AM BeerBaron
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** Between ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', the Thalmor were the most intact organization at the end of the Oblivion Crisis (by virtue of not being there to lose half their army), and were able to spread enough propaganda and threaten enough countries to write a completely false series of legends as historical canon and get away with it. Specifically, anything that people, especially Mer, praised? "We did it". Saved the world from Mehrunes Dagon? "We did it". Brought back the twin moons that are worshipped by the Khajiit? "We did it".

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** Also from the backstory, the Ayleids (Wild Elves) are the "losers" to the Alessian Empire "winners". While there is plenty of evidence that the Ayleids [[KickTheDog committed atrocities]] against their human slaves, there has almost certainly been some exaggeration of the centuries since. Even though several [[TokenHeroicOrc rebel Ayleid lords]] supported Alessia during the [[SlaveRevolt revolt]] and were permitted to keep their lands and culture after the war, even they would be demonized once the monkey prophet Maruhk came to power. In addition to the persecution of any elves within the empire, he also [[UnPerson destroyed any records and cultural artifacts]] of the Ayleids that could be found. Eventually, only the (almost certainly heavily biased) Imperial records of the Alessian Revolt remained.
** Between ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', the Thalmor were the most intact organization at the end of [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Thalmor]] took credit for ending the Oblivion Crisis (by virtue of not being there to lose half which brought them great support in their army), homeland. They assassinated Potentate Ocato 10 years later, irreparably destabilizing the Third Cyrodiilic Empire. Under their leadership, the Altmer quickly seceded and were able annexed Valenwood in order to spread enough propaganda reform the [[AntiHumanAlliance Aldmeri]] [[TheEmpire Dominion]] of old (and to give them a buffer state between their homeland and threaten enough countries to write Cyrodiil). They then took credit for resolving a completely false series of legends as historical canon and get away crisis with it. Specifically, anything that people, especially Mer, praised? "We did it". Saved the world from Mehrunes Dagon? "We did it". Brought back the twin moons that are worshipped by brought them Elsweyr, homeland of the Khajiit? "We did it".[[CatFolk Khajiit]], as a client state.
24th Apr '17 2:28:06 PM JulianLapostat
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* RealLife/WrittenByTheWinners

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* RealLife/WrittenByTheWinners[[RealLife/WrittenByTheWinners Real Life]]



!!To minimize the danger of [[FlameWar history politicizing discussion]], [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment please do not add any examples that are less than 200 years in the past]].
[[folder:Real Life - Antiquity]]
* Nearly all of our information about UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire comes from Roman sources; these are often unreliable, as rewriting history to suit the present generation (or people in power) was a long-established Roman tradition. The only reason we are at all aware of the Romans ever doing anything bad is because of ValuesDissonance (they wrote about something that seemed ''good'' to them, like efficiently exterminating a particularly troublesome tribe) and political grudges (i.e. they saw some imperial conquest as strengthening the power-base of someone they disliked so they slagged it and used it as propaganda). Furthermore, our information about the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity has been through Christianity, which means we need to keep in mind the possibility of HistoricalHeroUpgrade and HistoricalVillainUpgrade, particularly with regards to Christian and Pagan emperors.
** There is little evidence outside a few passages in Suetonius to suggest that Tiberius had a [[MoralEventHorizon rape palace]] built on Capri. It is also worth remembering that Suetonius was commissioned to write his history by the Flavian dynasty which succeeded Tiberius's own Julio-Claudians. The Flavians were akin to modern "family values" politicians who espoused a return to the piety of Augustus and the Republic, in deliberate contrast to the supposed excesses of the later Julio-Claudians.
** While the {{Flanderization}} of UsefulNotes/{{Caligula}} is surreal enough, it's nothing compared to what his daughter and sister got (measured in surrealness rather then evilness). The [[UnreliableNarrator official history]] on the emperor Caligula teaches us that the conspiracy that had him murdered was very brave, wise, and benevolent. Not only was Caligula so evil and mad that he totally deserved to die, his two-year-old daughter who was murdered at the same time (because she was his only heir and thus a threat to the usurper) was '''also''' so evil that she totally deserved to die. The same history writing tell us not only that all political decisions he ever made were evil, crazy, and stupid, but also that many of them were very popular... but that's only because the population is stupid. The later theory was also used to HandWave why empress Drusilla was considered a popular politician... while using unsubstantiated slander to {{Retcon}} her into a mere SexSlave of her brother.
** The objective historical truth about Drusilla is that the imperial oath was aimed at her as well as her brother, that the coins of the empire depicted her like they would depict any emperor, that she had an imperial cult around her just like the other emperors had, and that there was a national mourning when she died. Also, that she was married to another man and that her brother was married to another woman. Two of the funny quirks about the rumors about BrotherSisterIncest is that 1) they seem to have started after Caligula's death, and thus long after Drusilla's death. 2) that the story was simplified by pretending that Drusilla's husband and Caligula's wife didn't exist, rather than commenting on how ''they'' reacted to the stories.
* A more direct Roman example is their own writings about their enemies, especially the Celtic and Germanic tribes. The Romans were happy to malign them, and since they had little in the way of a written culture, historians pretty much took the Romans' word for it until the second half of the twentieth century. For example, all the evidence we have of druidic human sacrifice derives from Roman sources. However, there is archaeological evidence (ritually killed corpses) to back up ''some'' human sacrifice at least, though it may well have been exaggerated.
** One weird part of the exaggerated lurid tales of HumanSacrifice ascribed by Romans to their enemies (Carthage, Celts, Germans) is that it has overshadowed the fact, mentioned by Livy and Pliny the Elder that the Romans themselves practised human sacrifice and ritual murder. After defeat at Cannae, the Romans sacrificed two Gauls and two Greeks (both were married couples and likely slaves) by burying them alive in the Roman Forum. Livy insists that this was the last time it happened but Pliny states it was only banned decades later in 97 BCE, which must mean that it was a lot more widespread and regular and such phrases smacks like SuspiciouslySpecificDenial. Thanks to the Romans getting HistoricalHeroUpgrade with NostalgiaFilter in later Europe, you often find novels like ''Literature/{{Salammbo}}'' demonize the Carthaginians by mixing in a bunch of human sacrifice cults but not pointing out that Romans did the same after Cannae.
** Likewise there is evidence that the Romans did see other forms of execution as ritual murder. For instance, deformed infants were left "exposed" (and sometimes dumped in trash heaps), and Vestal Virgins who were "unchaste" were buried alive in stone pillars. It's also argued that GladiatorGames evolved from earlier sacrificial rituals as did some lurid forms of execution such as tossing people to lions (Christians most famously but others also). But almost none of this shows up in CrystalSpiresAndTogas inspired works on Roman history.
* The only contemporary account of the Battle of Thermopylae to survive is by Herodotus, who came from a Greek town ruled by the Persian Empire but settled in Athens and wrote primarily for an Athenian audience. Other, later accounts from antiquity were also written by Greeks and are based either on Herodotus or other Greek historians, whose works have been lost. The Persian view of the battle, either in some form of historiography or in official documents, has not been handed down to us after the wars of Alexander the Great and the fall of the Achaemenid Empire, and the destruction of Persepolis. Later historians could note that the numbers given by Herodotus, especially for Xerxes' army, are too fantastic to be true, but are left to speculate as to what the actual ones may have been according to what they think is probable. This often can depend on where they come from.
* In many cases, it was also a case of history being written by those who could write, period or sheer dumb luck as to what accounts survived into posterity.
** The battle of Kadesh (1274 B.C.) is a well-known example. It is practically only documented from the Egyptian side, which should have something to do with the fact that the Hittite Empire was overthrown, never to return, about a century later while the Egyptian Empire survived in one form or another until Roman times and so was much more effective in preserving Ramasses II's ebullient accounts and monuments. Historians are still debating on whether, once you subtract Pharaonic propaganda, the battle should in truth be regarded as an Egyptian victory, a Hittite one, or a draw.
** UsefulNotes/ThePeloponnesianWar was won by Sparta and its allies over Athenes and its allies, it is essentially handed down to us in the writings of two Athenians, Thucydides and Xenophon, the latter of whom incidentally fought for Sparta against Athens. Whether the Spartans wrote or not, we don't know, since after their defeat at the Battle of Leuctra, they decayed and folded under Alexander. All of our information about Sparta comes from the Athenians, which considering it was a representative government of some kind and so filled with political competition and partisan grudges does provide a lot of sophisticated insight into that conflict.
* In a strange ''inversion'', ''Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms'' ([[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory very loosely]] [[{{novelization}} novelized]] as ''Literature/RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'') was officially commissioned by a supporter of the losing side (Shu) after the fact, and as a result many historical characters from Wu and Shu (who lost) are [[HistoricalHeroUpgrade lionized]], while Wei, the victor, is [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade demonized]]. Cao Cao, in particular: he was historically rather a good ruler.
* Common practice in UsefulNotes/ImperialChina was that when one dynasty got overthrown and another took over, the new dynasty would write off the last Emperor of the former dynasty as a weak ruler. The justification was that the ruler if he had lost, he no longer had "the Mandate of Heaven", so basically if bad things happened under someone's government, such as a flood, a natural disaster or the other, and if it provoked a rebellion and the ruler died and the rebel won, well, that old guy obviously was a total loser, the worst. Considering that this land always included the Yangtze river, which tends to flood a lot, some people now believe that it was not Heaven which had decided the old Emperor should go, but that the last Emperor of a dynasty just had the bad luck that all those disasters happened during his reign, making the populace unruly, which a noble could then take advantage of in order to become Emperor himself (or herself, on one occasion).
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life - Class/Groups]]
* From a class perspective as opposed to a national one: Most of history (at least until modern times) focused on ruling and upper class males because ruling and upper class males dominated society, were generally the ones who knew how to write history, and were only interested in the affairs of their peers (i.e. other ruling and upper class males). There were remarkably few historical works that focus exclusively on women, members of the peasant classes. Indeed, the development of sociology in the 19th Century, led to what came to be called in the 20th Century as "history from below" with the intention of correcting and deconstructing the victor's history.
** Creator/KarlMarx was the first to challenge what we call "the Great Man" idea of history by insisting that most historical events such as changes of Kings or battles between one dynasty or another were meaningless to the vast majority of the subject peoples on either side, and that real history was changes in means of productions and social classes. Historians following on from Marx such as Fernand Braudel devised the concept of the "longue duree" which more or less put trade and economic activity and groups into focus.
** In the case of UsefulNotes/TheRomanRepublic, the reputations of the groups known as "populare" such as the Gracchi, Marius, Cinna, Clodius Pulcher, and Caesar while not entirely made into heroes are more nuanced and even positive today. Except for Caesar, no writings of theirs survive since they were brutally murdered and pretty much no one writing after them could be entirely fair to them. Some have also tried to balance the writings dismissal of "the Mob" in such works. This extends to the Middle Ages where peasant uprisings and revolts in the Black Death and other slave rebellions in the colonies are seen very differently today than they were in that era.
** [[{{Pirate}} Privateers]] get this naturally... some of the biggest and most well known? UsefulNotes/SirFrancisDrake and Capt. Morgan (the one who... you know... has a certain drink named after him). Celebrated heroes in England... demons of history to Spain. Likewise, during UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfPiracy, 25% of all pirate crews were runaway slaves joining the pirate crews at a time when slavery was totally ''legal'' and ''profitable'' and most of the soldiers in the English navy were denied meritorious advancement, and a lot of them were press-ganged, poor men kidnapped from England and forced to work crappy jobs. Oh and UsefulNotes/{{Blackbeard}} never killed anybody and accepted a pardon, when he was attacked by GlorySeeker officers who attacked him while and he and his crew were drunk to elevate their reputation and in a modern legal sense, one would argue that Blackbeard was a victim of extra-legal vigilante execution and denied due process.
* Knights, albeit they both won and lost various wars, so this is more on them as a social/political class. Much like how we found out more recently with the samurai, the knights in most cases weren't the nicest of people.
** Sure, the KnightInShiningArmor existed, but they were in no way the majority and the guy who came closest to living up to that, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Terrail,_seigneur_de_Bayard Chevalier de Bayard]] came in UsefulNotes/TheRenaissance. Most knights were essentially mercenaries who just happened to be much more heavily armed than the average one. Most nobles didn't trust them as far as they could throw them, King Philip IV of France had [[UsefulNotes/TheKnightsTemplar the original Knights Templar]] almost completely wiped out (primarily because he didn't want to pay off France's monetary debt to them), with his son having the pope finish the job.
** From the 10th to 16th centuries, most knights were pretty infamous for being particularly brutal and (ironically) honorless. Some of this did exist in writing from the time, like when Creator/GeoffreyChaucer sneaked in a comment about the sacking of Alexandria in the Knight's Prologue, which was historically known for a battle where the knights raped and pillaged everything they saw. Most of this part of knight history went away when the knights jazzed up their stories for the nobility. When not officially at war, knights commonly started waging private wars against each other. They were more like rival gangs at times than anything to do with "chivalry".
* Since most of history has been very patriarchal, women tended to get written out of history and if the ever came to power or were seen as influential, well they are demonized, made into TheVamp, subject to male PsychologicalProjection. Many historians have started correcting or qualifying the LadyMacbeth reputations of Livia Augusta, Theodora among many others.
* Seeing that most of Western history has been written by Christians naturally you're going to get a very Christian centered view of history:
** All the Roman emperors who persecuted Christianity? Why, naturally they were all perverted, decadent and cruel leaders. Emperor Constantine who made Christianity the state religion in the Roman Empire? Well, naturally he was a good and noble man whom we shall remember as ''Constantine the Great'' even if he murdered his own wife and son and persecuted Pagans. That makes him "Equal to the Apostles" since he submitted to a deathbed conversion and helped the Church. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_of_women_in_the_early_Christian_church The women of the Roman Empire]] who risked their lives and happiness to back the Church before it was cool and raised their children to be Christians and so increased their numbers, at a time when the poor preferred Mithraism and Manicheanism. [[StayInTheKitchen Obviously they aren't "Equal to the Apostles"]].
** UsefulNotes/{{Charlemagne}}, who is credited with Christianizing Europe in the 6th and 7th century. In Western history books he is hailed as a hero, the Catholic Church praises him too, but the fact of the matter is that his troops invaded several European regions to forcibly convert pagans to Christianity. Thousands of people were massacred in order to obtain this goal (4,000 Saxons were killed for refusing to become Christians at Verdun, in one infamous incident, which is more people than were killed by the historically vilified Spanish Inquisition over the course of three and a half ''centuries'') and those kept alive were naturally very willing to accept him as their new king and Christianity as their new faith.
** The very atheistic Friedrich Engels ironically wrote a popular book that revised the German Reformation and made Thomas Muntzer a real-hero while labeling Martin Luther as a collaborator and SellOut. Muntzer was a true Christian who wanted more rights for peasants while Luther was a cunning man on a power trip whose rebellion against the Church was driven by personal ambition and ended when he founded the right royal backers, by which time Muntzer was executed and Luther wrote a missive about how that guy was a total loser. In East Germany, Muntzer was celebrated as an IconOfRebellion while West Germans championed Luther, though no longer as an uncritical great man.
** It's only in the 20th Century, [[UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust for fairly obvious reasons]], that Christian persecution of Jews (alternatively condoned and opposed but never entirely discredited until the latter half of the 20th Century) began to be applied to the whole of the Church history. Kings, Emperors, Priests, reformers and popes came to be measured on how kind and fair they were to minorities. The otherwise corrupt UsefulNotes/PopeAlexanderVI came to be seen as ALighterShadeOfGray since he was religiously tolerant, while the likes of reformist Protestant Martin Luther came to be seen as a PoliticallyIncorrectHero for his very bigoted tracts.
** That Christians were executed for their religion by Romans is true enough, but it's not often told that after the Edict of Milan, Roman pagans were executed in the exact same way, except that the executions only stopped when the last non-Christian was dead. Seeing that UsefulNotes/{{Nero}} persecuted Christians and Rome became Christian only a few centuries later it's not difficult to see that his legacy has made him a lot more evil than he might have been in real life. Not to mention that, although Christians were persecuted, the extent has been somewhat exaggerated, with it going in waves at different periods of the late Roman Empire. Martyrdom in fact was very popular among some Christians, to the extent that some in fact ''sought it out'' by provoking others (the Circumcellions). Stories of martyrs were very popular, the more gruesome the better, to the point that it became something akin to torture porn. After the Christians gained power, the persecutions became reversed as mentioned above -- pagans were killed, pagan temples destroyed, and eventually paganism banned entirely, along with the Greek philosophy schools.
** All the explorers and missionaries in European colonies who converted the local African, Latin American, Asian and Australian tribes to Christianity are also remembered as good, well-intentioned people. In reality they all invaded civilizations that had existed centuries before them and had the audacity to tell the locals that they were primitive people who needed to be guided by European colonials and change to their faith, because theirs was just ridiculous.
* Of course with the greater secularism of history in the last two hundred years or so, and the fact that Christianity is no longer the dominant belief in charge, it becomes necessary to counter some anti-religious and anti-Christian views, especially in the case of regimes that did promote an anti-religious viewpoint or use past propaganda for persecution. Nobody wins or loses forever after all:
** For instance, while Christianity at various points was involved in anti-semitism, it was never a total and complete policy by the Church. During the First Crusade, Catholic Bishops and other priests risked their lives to protect Jews from the Rhineland pogroms, and they did it without extortion of conversion. Anti-semitism actually increased with the decline of Church power over that of Kings (which many thinkers associated with "modernity"). The likes of UsefulNotes/EdwardTheFirst, King Philip IV (who moved UsefulNotes/ThePope from Rome to Avignon and crushed the Templars) and the Crown of Castile-Leon were the ones who expelled Jews from England, France and Spain and all three regimes are considered important in centralizing the Kingdom-Nation-State. The ghettoes was invented in the very cosmopolitan and sophisticated Republic of Venice. Likewise, the deist Creator/{{Voltaire}} was a vicious anti-semite.
** As for conversion and missionary activities, in cases of traditionalist societies such as India and UsefulNotes/{{Japan}} (cf, ''Film/{{Silence}}''), "conversion" is always regarded as "forced" and that Christian communities are really "Hinduss waiting to be brought back". The idea that lower caste people were genuinely attracted to the egalitarian nature of Christianity (and Islam or Buddhism before it), that they would want to reject the casteist aspects of Hinduism out of religious freedom, naturally doesn't enter into this discourse. Even the likes of UsefulNotes/MahatmaGandhi, while peacable and tolerant, projected this vision about Indian conversion while modern secular nationalism notes that while it was driven by imperialism, there was genuine authentic feeling among some groups and these new converts were not necessarily well treated by the missionaries themselves ([[SocialClimber who largely used them to bridge a path to royal patronage]]) but they valued the faith and the message of Christ more than the people who represented it.
** The likes of Edward Gibbon and the French Revolutionaries and other secular advocates (such as Creator/GoreVidal and Creator/SalmanRushdie), and later Communist regime intellectuals, have sometimes voiced a view that Ancient Rome or pagan cultures were more tolerant and superior than Christian and Islamic societies that followed. And of course more liberated sexually. Pre-Christian Rome was a varied society but it was an incredibly nasty society with horrible punishments for "unchaste" Vestal Virgins (they were buried alive in public in a stone chamber). Children who were deformed were exposed and dumped in garbage and female infanticide was ripe in Arabia until [[http://www.mwlusa.org/topics/equality/eminence_women.htm the Prophet Muhammed personally shut it down]]. Likewise, UsefulNotes/{{Augustus}} more or less promoted Roman SocialistRealism and passed laws criminalizing adultery and would exile people for their sexual conduct in ways that even Victorians would see as a bit much, old bean. And the Ancient Greeks were far more into homoeroticism than the Latins who while not opposed to it, tended to frown upon it, and indulged in gay-bashing as invective (cf, UsefulNotes/JuliusCaesar).
* The case of various Native American nations in North America. Whereas the predominate view was of "civilized" European people bring civilization to the frontier by defeating the "savages," now the popular view is the tragedy of the Native Peoples fighting a HopelessWar against the rapacious European conquerors. In fact, evidence exists that North America actually had a very large native population before foreign illnesses brought over from Europe wiped out the vast majority of the people living there. By the time the settlers showed up for good, there were very few people left to resist them compared to before. It actually works the other way as well. A popular view of pre-Columbian Native Culture [[NobleSavage is one of great nobility and peace]]. While individual tribes may have been somewhat peaceful, tribes fought each other just as much as European states did and for the same reasons. One way to tell is by common tribal name. If the common name was given by the tribe itself, it likely means "the people" or something similar. If given a name by Europeans, it often refers to a nearby natural characteristic (lake, waterfall, etc...). If named by another tribe, there's a very good chance it means something close to "enemy". For instance, "Apache" comes from a Zuni word meaning "enemy". They call themselves the Ndee.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life - Other Events and Figures]]
* Inverted with the chronicles of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain in the mid to late-5th century. All known records dating to the time of the Saxon migrations into Britain were written either by the Britons themselves, or historians sympathetic ''to'' the Britons (read: Christian monks and chroniclers). The main source dating to the period was Gildas, whose work was openly hostile and formed the basis of even the later ''Anglo-Saxon'' historians such as Bede. The Saxons themselves didn't begin keeping written records until a couple centuries later (the time of Bede). The Anglo-Saxons, therefore, received a significant HistoricalVillainUpgrade (''especially'' once they got tied into Arthurian myth).
* All accounts of the Battle of Hastings, the most famous being the Bayeux Tapestry, were created by the Norman conquerors. No Saxon account of the battle survives. There's a nuance to this because the Bayeux Tapestry was commissioned by Normans, but actually made by Saxon needle workers. Some historians think they could have smuggled the implication that Harold swore allegiance to William only under duress onto the Tapestry under the noses of the Normans.
* UsefulNotes/VladTheImpaler benefited from this. Sure, he was incredibly brutal, but it was that brutality that kept at bay the Ottomans who were trying to conquer Wallachia at every turn, at least for a time (Vlad ultimately failed to keep Wallachia free and ended his days in a Hungarian prison). As a result, modern Romanians consider him a national hero, who was "harsh but fair". Pretty good deal for a guy who spent decades putting people's heads on pikes. Of course, since those heads generally didn't belong to his own citizens, he did better than some of his contemporaries and of course Romantic xenophobic nationalism (which is the time when the Romanians started thinking fondly of Vlad) has a way of sanding off the rough edges of the past.
* UsefulNotes/RichardIII is a good example. While he wasn't the nicest guy around, he was also not the monster that the dynasty that succeeded him portrayed him as, either, as the modern research shows. It doesn't help that Creator/WilliamShakespeare was [[Theatre/RichardIII with the Tudors on this issue]]. The discovery of his remains in early 2013 and evidence of his death in battle served to reignite the debate over his HistoricalVillainUpgrade and in 2015, he was given a royal burial.
* In much the same manner of Richard III, [[Theatre/{{Macbeth}} Macbeth]], King of Scotland, was rather unsurprisingly vilified by some rather biased English scholars after his death. In truth, none of the contemporary sources of the time dubbed him a tyrant. In reality, Macbeth's rule was by many accounts very successful, not to mention lengthy. In a period where monarchs were being killed and overthrown in short accord, his reign lasted 17 years. In fact, his reign was so secure he was even able to safely make a pilgrimage to Rome, a journey few rulers of the time would have undertaken for fear of being usurped in their lengthy absence.
* A rare subversion can be seen in the Mongol conquests of everything from China to Hungary. In addition to more conventional tools of war, among their most effective weapon was their reputation. They deliberately committed horrific atrocities, and actively encouraged the spread and exaggeration of the stories (which were pretty bad to begin with by any standard). The primary purpose of this was to make their enemies shake in their boots when the Mongols came knocking, breaking the enemy morale, and leading many adversaries to outright surrender without a fight (it was that or be butchered down to the last man, woman, child, and dog).\\
\\
The sheer amount of those who chose to surrender due to hearing such gruesome tales may have even saved lives in the long run, at the cost of absolutely brutalizing those that did die. This is a subversion as both winners and losers agree on their version of events -- the losers because they were powerless to stop the flow of rumors counter-productive to the war effort, and the winners because it suits them to have a reputation as bloodthirsty warmongers that only give you one chance to surrender before they take everything you own, slaughter your children, rape your wife, burn down your house, use you as a human shield against your own soldiers (often by filling a spiked trench with corpses so that they could ride over it) and then have a good laugh about it, not necessarily in that order.
* Peter I of Castile is Peter ''the Lawful'' in chronicles written by his supporters and Peter ''the Cruel'' in those written by his enemies. Since he lost the civil war that dethroned him, the second version is the one that has stuck to the modern day. He was among other things, considered to be friendly with Jews in the time of Reconquista.
* In Sweden, the Danish King Christian II is remembered as "Christian the Tyrant" because of his mass execution of Swedish nobility and ultimately failed attempts to re-take control of the rebellious Swedes. This name largely stuck because of the efforts of King Gustaf I Vasa, the revolutionary leader who deposed him from the Swedish throne, who was an absolute master of propaganda and slander against his opponents. There is a common belief among Swedes that King Christian II is called "Christian the Good" or "Christian the Peasant-Friend" in Denmark. This is not actually true, but the UrbanLegend has survived because it is such a great illustration of this trope.
* Pretty much [[HistoricalHeroUpgrade anything you were taught]] about UsefulNotes/ChristopherColumbus or the story of Thanksgiving in Elementary School, if you're American. Though this is slowly changing. However, authors also point out that Columbus while obviously not a good person might also have been on the receiving end of a smear campaign by rival Spanish nobles who exaggerated and demonized him to ruin his reputation.
* UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution. America won, so the war is written as downtrodden citizens rising up against an oppressive ruler. If America lost, it would have gone down as a minor footnote in the ''long'' history of the Anglo-French wars and the ''longer'' list of insurrections against Britain (of which the American Revolution would not even be the biggest or the costliest).
* UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution.
** UsefulNotes/LouisXVI and UsefulNotes/MarieAntoinette were not nearly as bad of people as their contemporaries made them out to be. At best, they were victims of a corruption within the system that made a revolution almost inevitable regardless of their actions taken, and at worst they were just naive and incompetent. Of course to some this overlaps with HistoricalVillainDowngrade because people act as if their fault was stupidity and not active malice when they are clearly guilty, as seen in many surviving documents, of fomenting a civil war and trying to unleash a foreign army on their own subjects. However after the Bourbon Restoration, the people who judged the King guilty were called [[TheKingslayer regicides]], and they were made into saint-like beings with their flaws played down and made into "tragic figures".
** UsefulNotes/MaximilienRobespierre is the biggest casualty of this. He was a popular leader, beloved by the French public up to and during the ReignOfTerror. He campaigned for minority rights, extending the right to vote to Protestants, Jews and French Blacks, supported education for women. He also abolished slavery in 1794 and planned schemes for wealth redistribution. He was by no means the sole dictator of the Reign of Terror, though many of the death warrants were directly signed by him. Nevertheless, once he started to speak out against the corruption of the Committee they went against him, had him guillotined and tarnished his reputation for all time. To this day, there is no street in Paris with his name on it, or any major monument except in working class areas such as Marseilles.
** The Jacobin party as a whole were vilified as extremists by the Girondins and Royalists who succeeded to power after Thermidor and had prime positions under Bonaparte. The Jacobins were not innocent, but the Girondins were engaged in high level corruption and behind the scenes dealing with Austria and England, they later declared a war against Austria, which Robespierre denounced as a BreadAndCircuses move to divert away from the reforms they had consistently failed to uphold, and when the early phase of the war had started going against France, leading to Austria coming in hair's breadth of occupying Paris, the Jacobins supported by the Paris crowd went in open insurrection to protect the Revolution and the French people. It was the Jacobin party that led France to victory in the early stages of the Revolutionary Wars thanks to their open meritocracy, their culling of aristocratic nobles and royals from army positions and introduction of {{Conscription}}.
* For some reason, Napoleon the master propagandist is considered a reliable witness of the era he helped shape, so his lapidary judgments on his contemporaries often take up a disproportionate amount of place. Even when he talks about his Republican rivals or potential rivals (Hoche, Desaix, Moreau, Kléber...). Of course Napoleon did win over them.
** The most common misconceptions about Napoleon, namely his height (TheNapoleon) comes from the success of English propaganda and the rise of the Anglophone. It is a fact that Napoleon was of average height for his time[[note]]The image of him being short stemmed from him usually being surrounded by his bodyguard unit, which was staffed by very tall men, making him look short by comparison[[/note]] and no historian has found conclusive proof that Napoleon was driven to conquest because of insecurity regarding his height. On the flip-side, it should be noted that Napoleon published his memoirs a mere few years after his defeat, and it became an instant best-seller and cemented his legend, so even though Napoleon lost, he did write his own take on history, a highly self-centered and self-pitying one at that, but equally influential nonetheless.
** The discourse of UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars itself. The British argue that they were defending and liberating Europe from a tyranny, conveniently forgetting that they were the ones who first broke the Treaty of Amiens and started the war, after refusing to honor the terms of the original agreement (removing ships from Malta) and that they were themselves an Empire. Napoleonic supporters emphasize his meritocracy, modernization, secularisation (liberation of Jews from ghettoes) while ignoring the fact that he brought back slavery after Revolutionary France had abolished it, and the large scale colonisation and WarForFunAndProfit that underpined Napoleon's administration.
* Subverted a few times where the events in question were much more important and significant to the losing side than to the winning one.
** The popular image of the UsefulNotes/HundredYearsWar is very much shaped by the English narrative (partly helped by William Shakespeare) and what people remember are the three great victories of Crecy, Poitiers (Maupertuis), and Agincourt, while even the French hardly remember their resounding victories at Patay, Formigny, and Castillon, preferring to focus on tragic heroine Joan of Arc -- and even in her case more on the comparatively minor achievement in the relief of Orléans instead of her involvement at Patay, and her death.
** The popular image of the English-Scottish wars from the middle ages to the last "1745" Jacobite rebellion seem largely dominated by Scottish narratives, probably because these wars are important in defining the Scottish identity, while they [[ButForMeItWasTuesday were of relatively minor importance]] to the English, who had bigger fish to fry in wars against e.g. the French and Spanish or among themselves. Thus while Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn are well-remembered, not a lot of Englishmen care to remember Culloden with pride and even battles where the English forces achieved brilliant and resounding victories despite being outnumbered, like Flodden Field and Dunbar (1650), are almost unknown.
** For patriotic Serbians, the lost Battle of Kosovo (1389) is perhaps ''the'' defining moment of their country's history. For the Turks it [[ButForMeItWasTuesday is one hard-fought Ottoman victory among many]]. The battle ended up in a ''draw'', with both army commanders being killed and both armies being crippled and unable to continue the fight. Family ties (the Serbian prince Lazar's daughter married Murad's son) and shifting of allegiances (some Serbians lords, including Lazar's son, were allies of the Ottoman empire) muddle the issue even more.
** Similar to the Scottish example but even more extreme, ''every battle'' in which the Irish faced the English is almost completely forgotten about in England while being seen as watershed moments in Irish history. This includes not only the rare occasions when the Irish actually won, such as Yellow Ford (1598) but also occasions like the Battle of Kinsale (1601) when English commanders pulled off spectacular victories. The one partial exception seems to be the Battle of the Boyne (1690) -- and even there it is only recalled in England because Ulster Unionists are so vocal about it.
* The Spanish nobleman the Duke of Alva enjoys a good reputation in Spain, but in Belgium and the Netherlands he is remembered as an evil man who came to their country in the 16th century to persecute everyone who resisted the Spanish occupation and burn them on the stake. Since the Dutch won the Eighty Years' War against Spain he and king Philippe II of Spain are naturally seen as villains who were justifiably defeated.
** The Spanish in general have a term called "Black legend" where they note that writers of UsefulNotes/TheEnlightenment such as Creator/{{Voltaire}} [[note]]Who for all his status as a free-speech icon and critic of the Church was a strong anti-Semite[[/note]] as well as English writers tended to paint Spain as autocratic, backward, medieval and generally less enlightened than the Northern European nations. English writers made much of the New World colonization and treatment of indigenous peoples and likewise exaggerated the early bloody years of The Inquisition to a period stretching for centuries. In actual practice, the Inquisition executed fewer people in its entire period (it ended during UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte's invasion) than the numbers killed in the reign of Elizabeth alone, and practiced none of the witch burnings which were active in the Protestant nations, but the famous Creator/CateBlanchett biopic will give you the opposite impression.
* The Vikings are another exception. While the Norse (i.e. the Scandinavians) eventually wrote their history, it was 200-300 years later and their accounts are considered mostly semi-legendary. The contemporary accounts were written by monks and Arab travelers.
** [[WebVideo/CrashCourse History is mostly written by the winners, but when it's written by the losers they are very bitter about the winners]].
* The wars of independence in Latin America at the early 19th century will usually get this treatment. It was a [[WarIsGlorious glorious war]] between TheEmpire (Spain and the royalists) and LaResistance (the South Americans fighting for their freedom). But initially, it was a CivilWar between the supporters of the factions that sought to rule Spain when the king was captured by Napoleon. One example may be Manuel Belgrano, sent from Buenos Aires (modern Argentina) to fight against the royalists in Asunción (modern Paraguay). For Argentine history, Belgrano was a model of virtue and moral values, akin to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson. For Paraguayan history, Belgrano was a ruthless expansionist conqueror, akin to Attila the Hun.
* The Battle of Tours/Poitiers during the Arab Islamic wars of expansion was inflated by Frankish historians as the pinnacle battle that prevented the conquest of Europe by the Islamic armies. Arab scholars of the post-battle period rarely mention this defeat, but ''do'' describe a much more important one: the failure to capture Constantinople, capital of the surviving Roman Empire. The Arab army that the Franks faced was a much smaller expeditionary force that was already 4000 miles from their homeland when they crossed the Pyrenees.
[[/folder]]

to:

!!To minimize the danger of [[FlameWar history politicizing discussion]], [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment please do not add any examples that are less than 200 years in the past]].
[[folder:Real Life - Antiquity]]
* Nearly all of our information about UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire comes from Roman sources; these are often unreliable, as rewriting history to suit the present generation (or people in power) was a long-established Roman tradition. The only reason we are at all aware of the Romans ever doing anything bad is because of ValuesDissonance (they wrote about something that seemed ''good'' to them, like efficiently exterminating a particularly troublesome tribe) and political grudges (i.e. they saw some imperial conquest as strengthening the power-base of someone they disliked so they slagged it and used it as propaganda). Furthermore, our information about the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity has been through Christianity, which means we need to keep in mind the possibility of HistoricalHeroUpgrade and HistoricalVillainUpgrade, particularly with regards to Christian and Pagan emperors.
** There is little evidence outside a few passages in Suetonius to suggest that Tiberius had a [[MoralEventHorizon rape palace]] built on Capri. It is also worth remembering that Suetonius was commissioned to write his history by the Flavian dynasty which succeeded Tiberius's own Julio-Claudians. The Flavians were akin to modern "family values" politicians who espoused a return to the piety of Augustus and the Republic, in deliberate contrast to the supposed excesses of the later Julio-Claudians.
** While the {{Flanderization}} of UsefulNotes/{{Caligula}} is surreal enough, it's nothing compared to what his daughter and sister got (measured in surrealness rather then evilness). The [[UnreliableNarrator official history]] on the emperor Caligula teaches us that the conspiracy that had him murdered was very brave, wise, and benevolent. Not only was Caligula so evil and mad that he totally deserved to die, his two-year-old daughter who was murdered at the same time (because she was his only heir and thus a threat to the usurper) was '''also''' so evil that she totally deserved to die. The same history writing tell us not only that all political decisions he ever made were evil, crazy, and stupid, but also that many of them were very popular... but that's only because the population is stupid. The later theory was also used to HandWave why empress Drusilla was considered a popular politician... while using unsubstantiated slander to {{Retcon}} her into a mere SexSlave of her brother.
** The objective historical truth about Drusilla is that the imperial oath was aimed at her as well as her brother, that the coins of the empire depicted her like they would depict any emperor, that she had an imperial cult around her just like the other emperors had, and that there was a national mourning when she died. Also, that she was married to another man and that her brother was married to another woman. Two of the funny quirks about the rumors about BrotherSisterIncest is that 1) they seem to have started after Caligula's death, and thus long after Drusilla's death. 2) that the story was simplified by pretending that Drusilla's husband and Caligula's wife didn't exist, rather than commenting on how ''they'' reacted to the stories.
* A more direct Roman example is their own writings about their enemies, especially the Celtic and Germanic tribes. The Romans were happy to malign them, and since they had little in the way of a written culture, historians pretty much took the Romans' word for it until the second half of the twentieth century. For example, all the evidence we have of druidic human sacrifice derives from Roman sources. However, there is archaeological evidence (ritually killed corpses) to back up ''some'' human sacrifice at least, though it may well have been exaggerated.
** One weird part of the exaggerated lurid tales of HumanSacrifice ascribed by Romans to their enemies (Carthage, Celts, Germans) is that it has overshadowed the fact, mentioned by Livy and Pliny the Elder that the Romans themselves practised human sacrifice and ritual murder. After defeat at Cannae, the Romans sacrificed two Gauls and two Greeks (both were married couples and likely slaves) by burying them alive in the Roman Forum. Livy insists that this was the last time it happened but Pliny states it was only banned decades later in 97 BCE, which must mean that it was a lot more widespread and regular and such phrases smacks like SuspiciouslySpecificDenial. Thanks to the Romans getting HistoricalHeroUpgrade with NostalgiaFilter in later Europe, you often find novels like ''Literature/{{Salammbo}}'' demonize the Carthaginians by mixing in a bunch of human sacrifice cults but not pointing out that Romans did the same after Cannae.
** Likewise there is evidence that the Romans did see other forms of execution as ritual murder. For instance, deformed infants were left "exposed" (and sometimes dumped in trash heaps), and Vestal Virgins who were "unchaste" were buried alive in stone pillars. It's also argued that GladiatorGames evolved from earlier sacrificial rituals as did some lurid forms of execution such as tossing people to lions (Christians most famously but others also). But almost none of this shows up in CrystalSpiresAndTogas inspired works on Roman history.
* The only contemporary account of the Battle of Thermopylae to survive is by Herodotus, who came from a Greek town ruled by the Persian Empire but settled in Athens and wrote primarily for an Athenian audience. Other, later accounts from antiquity were also written by Greeks and are based either on Herodotus or other Greek historians, whose works have been lost. The Persian view of the battle, either in some form of historiography or in official documents, has not been handed down to us after the wars of Alexander the Great and the fall of the Achaemenid Empire, and the destruction of Persepolis. Later historians could note that the numbers given by Herodotus, especially for Xerxes' army, are too fantastic to be true, but are left to speculate as to what the actual ones may have been according to what they think is probable. This often can depend on where they come from.
* In many cases, it was also a case of history being written by those who could write, period or sheer dumb luck as to what accounts survived into posterity.
** The battle of Kadesh (1274 B.C.) is a well-known example. It is practically only documented from the Egyptian side, which should have something to do with the fact that the Hittite Empire was overthrown, never to return, about a century later while the Egyptian Empire survived in one form or another until Roman times and so was much more effective in preserving Ramasses II's ebullient accounts and monuments. Historians are still debating on whether, once you subtract Pharaonic propaganda, the battle should in truth be regarded as an Egyptian victory, a Hittite one, or a draw.
** UsefulNotes/ThePeloponnesianWar was won by Sparta and its allies over Athenes and its allies, it is essentially handed down to us in the writings of two Athenians, Thucydides and Xenophon, the latter of whom incidentally fought for Sparta against Athens. Whether the Spartans wrote or not, we don't know, since after their defeat at the Battle of Leuctra, they decayed and folded under Alexander. All of our information about Sparta comes from the Athenians, which considering it was a representative government of some kind and so filled with political competition and partisan grudges does provide a lot of sophisticated insight into that conflict.
* In a strange ''inversion'', ''Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms'' ([[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory very loosely]] [[{{novelization}} novelized]] as ''Literature/RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'') was officially commissioned by a supporter of the losing side (Shu) after the fact, and as a result many historical characters from Wu and Shu (who lost) are [[HistoricalHeroUpgrade lionized]], while Wei, the victor, is [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade demonized]]. Cao Cao, in particular: he was historically rather a good ruler.
* Common practice in UsefulNotes/ImperialChina was that when one dynasty got overthrown and another took over, the new dynasty would write off the last Emperor of the former dynasty as a weak ruler. The justification was that the ruler if he had lost, he no longer had "the Mandate of Heaven", so basically if bad things happened under someone's government, such as a flood, a natural disaster or the other, and if it provoked a rebellion and the ruler died and the rebel won, well, that old guy obviously was a total loser, the worst. Considering that this land always included the Yangtze river, which tends to flood a lot, some people now believe that it was not Heaven which had decided the old Emperor should go, but that the last Emperor of a dynasty just had the bad luck that all those disasters happened during his reign, making the populace unruly, which a noble could then take advantage of in order to become Emperor himself (or herself, on one occasion).
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life - Class/Groups]]
* From a class perspective as opposed to a national one: Most of history (at least until modern times) focused on ruling and upper class males because ruling and upper class males dominated society, were generally the ones who knew how to write history, and were only interested in the affairs of their peers (i.e. other ruling and upper class males). There were remarkably few historical works that focus exclusively on women, members of the peasant classes. Indeed, the development of sociology in the 19th Century, led to what came to be called in the 20th Century as "history from below" with the intention of correcting and deconstructing the victor's history.
** Creator/KarlMarx was the first to challenge what we call "the Great Man" idea of history by insisting that most historical events such as changes of Kings or battles between one dynasty or another were meaningless to the vast majority of the subject peoples on either side, and that real history was changes in means of productions and social classes. Historians following on from Marx such as Fernand Braudel devised the concept of the "longue duree" which more or less put trade and economic activity and groups into focus.
** In the case of UsefulNotes/TheRomanRepublic, the reputations of the groups known as "populare" such as the Gracchi, Marius, Cinna, Clodius Pulcher, and Caesar while not entirely made into heroes are more nuanced and even positive today. Except for Caesar, no writings of theirs survive since they were brutally murdered and pretty much no one writing after them could be entirely fair to them. Some have also tried to balance the writings dismissal of "the Mob" in such works. This extends to the Middle Ages where peasant uprisings and revolts in the Black Death and other slave rebellions in the colonies are seen very differently today than they were in that era.
** [[{{Pirate}} Privateers]] get this naturally... some of the biggest and most well known? UsefulNotes/SirFrancisDrake and Capt. Morgan (the one who... you know... has a certain drink named after him). Celebrated heroes in England... demons of history to Spain. Likewise, during UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfPiracy, 25% of all pirate crews were runaway slaves joining the pirate crews at a time when slavery was totally ''legal'' and ''profitable'' and most of the soldiers in the English navy were denied meritorious advancement, and a lot of them were press-ganged, poor men kidnapped from England and forced to work crappy jobs. Oh and UsefulNotes/{{Blackbeard}} never killed anybody and accepted a pardon, when he was attacked by GlorySeeker officers who attacked him while and he and his crew were drunk to elevate their reputation and in a modern legal sense, one would argue that Blackbeard was a victim of extra-legal vigilante execution and denied due process.
* Knights, albeit they both won and lost various wars, so this is more on them as a social/political class. Much like how we found out more recently with the samurai, the knights in most cases weren't the nicest of people.
** Sure, the KnightInShiningArmor existed, but they were in no way the majority and the guy who came closest to living up to that, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Terrail,_seigneur_de_Bayard Chevalier de Bayard]] came in UsefulNotes/TheRenaissance. Most knights were essentially mercenaries who just happened to be much more heavily armed than the average one. Most nobles didn't trust them as far as they could throw them, King Philip IV of France had [[UsefulNotes/TheKnightsTemplar the original Knights Templar]] almost completely wiped out (primarily because he didn't want to pay off France's monetary debt to them), with his son having the pope finish the job.
** From the 10th to 16th centuries, most knights were pretty infamous for being particularly brutal and (ironically) honorless. Some of this did exist in writing from the time, like when Creator/GeoffreyChaucer sneaked in a comment about the sacking of Alexandria in the Knight's Prologue, which was historically known for a battle where the knights raped and pillaged everything they saw. Most of this part of knight history went away when the knights jazzed up their stories for the nobility. When not officially at war, knights commonly started waging private wars against each other. They were more like rival gangs at times than anything to do with "chivalry".
* Since most of history has been very patriarchal, women tended to get written out of history and if the ever came to power or were seen as influential, well they are demonized, made into TheVamp, subject to male PsychologicalProjection. Many historians have started correcting or qualifying the LadyMacbeth reputations of Livia Augusta, Theodora among many others.
* Seeing that most of Western history has been written by Christians naturally you're going to get a very Christian centered view of history:
** All the Roman emperors who persecuted Christianity? Why, naturally they were all perverted, decadent and cruel leaders. Emperor Constantine who made Christianity the state religion in the Roman Empire? Well, naturally he was a good and noble man whom we shall remember as ''Constantine the Great'' even if he murdered his own wife and son and persecuted Pagans. That makes him "Equal to the Apostles" since he submitted to a deathbed conversion and helped the Church. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_of_women_in_the_early_Christian_church The women of the Roman Empire]] who risked their lives and happiness to back the Church before it was cool and raised their children to be Christians and so increased their numbers, at a time when the poor preferred Mithraism and Manicheanism. [[StayInTheKitchen Obviously they aren't "Equal to the Apostles"]].
** UsefulNotes/{{Charlemagne}}, who is credited with Christianizing Europe in the 6th and 7th century. In Western history books he is hailed as a hero, the Catholic Church praises him too, but the fact of the matter is that his troops invaded several European regions to forcibly convert pagans to Christianity. Thousands of people were massacred in order to obtain this goal (4,000 Saxons were killed for refusing to become Christians at Verdun, in one infamous incident, which is more people than were killed by the historically vilified Spanish Inquisition over the course of three and a half ''centuries'') and those kept alive were naturally very willing to accept him as their new king and Christianity as their new faith.
** The very atheistic Friedrich Engels ironically wrote a popular book that revised the German Reformation and made Thomas Muntzer a real-hero while labeling Martin Luther as a collaborator and SellOut. Muntzer was a true Christian who wanted more rights for peasants while Luther was a cunning man on a power trip whose rebellion against the Church was driven by personal ambition and ended when he founded the right royal backers, by which time Muntzer was executed and Luther wrote a missive about how that guy was a total loser. In East Germany, Muntzer was celebrated as an IconOfRebellion while West Germans championed Luther, though no longer as an uncritical great man.
** It's only in the 20th Century, [[UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust for fairly obvious reasons]], that Christian persecution of Jews (alternatively condoned and opposed but never entirely discredited until the latter half of the 20th Century) began to be applied to the whole of the Church history. Kings, Emperors, Priests, reformers and popes came to be measured on how kind and fair they were to minorities. The otherwise corrupt UsefulNotes/PopeAlexanderVI came to be seen as ALighterShadeOfGray since he was religiously tolerant, while the likes of reformist Protestant Martin Luther came to be seen as a PoliticallyIncorrectHero for his very bigoted tracts.
** That Christians were executed for their religion by Romans is true enough, but it's not often told that after the Edict of Milan, Roman pagans were executed in the exact same way, except that the executions only stopped when the last non-Christian was dead. Seeing that UsefulNotes/{{Nero}} persecuted Christians and Rome became Christian only a few centuries later it's not difficult to see that his legacy has made him a lot more evil than he might have been in real life. Not to mention that, although Christians were persecuted, the extent has been somewhat exaggerated, with it going in waves at different periods of the late Roman Empire. Martyrdom in fact was very popular among some Christians, to the extent that some in fact ''sought it out'' by provoking others (the Circumcellions). Stories of martyrs were very popular, the more gruesome the better, to the point that it became something akin to torture porn. After the Christians gained power, the persecutions became reversed as mentioned above -- pagans were killed, pagan temples destroyed, and eventually paganism banned entirely, along with the Greek philosophy schools.
** All the explorers and missionaries in European colonies who converted the local African, Latin American, Asian and Australian tribes to Christianity are also remembered as good, well-intentioned people. In reality they all invaded civilizations that had existed centuries before them and had the audacity to tell the locals that they were primitive people who needed to be guided by European colonials and change to their faith, because theirs was just ridiculous.
* Of course with the greater secularism of history in the last two hundred years or so, and the fact that Christianity is no longer the dominant belief in charge, it becomes necessary to counter some anti-religious and anti-Christian views, especially in the case of regimes that did promote an anti-religious viewpoint or use past propaganda for persecution. Nobody wins or loses forever after all:
** For instance, while Christianity at various points was involved in anti-semitism, it was never a total and complete policy by the Church. During the First Crusade, Catholic Bishops and other priests risked their lives to protect Jews from the Rhineland pogroms, and they did it without extortion of conversion. Anti-semitism actually increased with the decline of Church power over that of Kings (which many thinkers associated with "modernity"). The likes of UsefulNotes/EdwardTheFirst, King Philip IV (who moved UsefulNotes/ThePope from Rome to Avignon and crushed the Templars) and the Crown of Castile-Leon were the ones who expelled Jews from England, France and Spain and all three regimes are considered important in centralizing the Kingdom-Nation-State. The ghettoes was invented in the very cosmopolitan and sophisticated Republic of Venice. Likewise, the deist Creator/{{Voltaire}} was a vicious anti-semite.
** As for conversion and missionary activities, in cases of traditionalist societies such as India and UsefulNotes/{{Japan}} (cf, ''Film/{{Silence}}''), "conversion" is always regarded as "forced" and that Christian communities are really "Hinduss waiting to be brought back". The idea that lower caste people were genuinely attracted to the egalitarian nature of Christianity (and Islam or Buddhism before it), that they would want to reject the casteist aspects of Hinduism out of religious freedom, naturally doesn't enter into this discourse. Even the likes of UsefulNotes/MahatmaGandhi, while peacable and tolerant, projected this vision about Indian conversion while modern secular nationalism notes that while it was driven by imperialism, there was genuine authentic feeling among some groups and these new converts were not necessarily well treated by the missionaries themselves ([[SocialClimber who largely used them to bridge a path to royal patronage]]) but they valued the faith and the message of Christ more than the people who represented it.
** The likes of Edward Gibbon and the French Revolutionaries and other secular advocates (such as Creator/GoreVidal and Creator/SalmanRushdie), and later Communist regime intellectuals, have sometimes voiced a view that Ancient Rome or pagan cultures were more tolerant and superior than Christian and Islamic societies that followed. And of course more liberated sexually. Pre-Christian Rome was a varied society but it was an incredibly nasty society with horrible punishments for "unchaste" Vestal Virgins (they were buried alive in public in a stone chamber). Children who were deformed were exposed and dumped in garbage and female infanticide was ripe in Arabia until [[http://www.mwlusa.org/topics/equality/eminence_women.htm the Prophet Muhammed personally shut it down]]. Likewise, UsefulNotes/{{Augustus}} more or less promoted Roman SocialistRealism and passed laws criminalizing adultery and would exile people for their sexual conduct in ways that even Victorians would see as a bit much, old bean. And the Ancient Greeks were far more into homoeroticism than the Latins who while not opposed to it, tended to frown upon it, and indulged in gay-bashing as invective (cf, UsefulNotes/JuliusCaesar).
* The case of various Native American nations in North America. Whereas the predominate view was of "civilized" European people bring civilization to the frontier by defeating the "savages," now the popular view is the tragedy of the Native Peoples fighting a HopelessWar against the rapacious European conquerors. In fact, evidence exists that North America actually had a very large native population before foreign illnesses brought over from Europe wiped out the vast majority of the people living there. By the time the settlers showed up for good, there were very few people left to resist them compared to before. It actually works the other way as well. A popular view of pre-Columbian Native Culture [[NobleSavage is one of great nobility and peace]]. While individual tribes may have been somewhat peaceful, tribes fought each other just as much as European states did and for the same reasons. One way to tell is by common tribal name. If the common name was given by the tribe itself, it likely means "the people" or something similar. If given a name by Europeans, it often refers to a nearby natural characteristic (lake, waterfall, etc...). If named by another tribe, there's a very good chance it means something close to "enemy". For instance, "Apache" comes from a Zuni word meaning "enemy". They call themselves the Ndee.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life - Other Events and Figures]]
* Inverted with the chronicles of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain in the mid to late-5th century. All known records dating to the time of the Saxon migrations into Britain were written either by the Britons themselves, or historians sympathetic ''to'' the Britons (read: Christian monks and chroniclers). The main source dating to the period was Gildas, whose work was openly hostile and formed the basis of even the later ''Anglo-Saxon'' historians such as Bede. The Saxons themselves didn't begin keeping written records until a couple centuries later (the time of Bede). The Anglo-Saxons, therefore, received a significant HistoricalVillainUpgrade (''especially'' once they got tied into Arthurian myth).
* All accounts of the Battle of Hastings, the most famous being the Bayeux Tapestry, were created by the Norman conquerors. No Saxon account of the battle survives. There's a nuance to this because the Bayeux Tapestry was commissioned by Normans, but actually made by Saxon needle workers. Some historians think they could have smuggled the implication that Harold swore allegiance to William only under duress onto the Tapestry under the noses of the Normans.
* UsefulNotes/VladTheImpaler benefited from this. Sure, he was incredibly brutal, but it was that brutality that kept at bay the Ottomans who were trying to conquer Wallachia at every turn, at least for a time (Vlad ultimately failed to keep Wallachia free and ended his days in a Hungarian prison). As a result, modern Romanians consider him a national hero, who was "harsh but fair". Pretty good deal for a guy who spent decades putting people's heads on pikes. Of course, since those heads generally didn't belong to his own citizens, he did better than some of his contemporaries and of course Romantic xenophobic nationalism (which is the time when the Romanians started thinking fondly of Vlad) has a way of sanding off the rough edges of the past.
* UsefulNotes/RichardIII is a good example. While he wasn't the nicest guy around, he was also not the monster that the dynasty that succeeded him portrayed him as, either, as the modern research shows. It doesn't help that Creator/WilliamShakespeare was [[Theatre/RichardIII with the Tudors on this issue]]. The discovery of his remains in early 2013 and evidence of his death in battle served to reignite the debate over his HistoricalVillainUpgrade and in 2015, he was given a royal burial.
* In much the same manner of Richard III, [[Theatre/{{Macbeth}} Macbeth]], King of Scotland, was rather unsurprisingly vilified by some rather biased English scholars after his death. In truth, none of the contemporary sources of the time dubbed him a tyrant. In reality, Macbeth's rule was by many accounts very successful, not to mention lengthy. In a period where monarchs were being killed and overthrown in short accord, his reign lasted 17 years. In fact, his reign was so secure he was even able to safely make a pilgrimage to Rome, a journey few rulers of the time would have undertaken for fear of being usurped in their lengthy absence.
* A rare subversion can be seen in the Mongol conquests of everything from China to Hungary. In addition to more conventional tools of war, among their most effective weapon was their reputation. They deliberately committed horrific atrocities, and actively encouraged the spread and exaggeration of the stories (which were pretty bad to begin with by any standard). The primary purpose of this was to make their enemies shake in their boots when the Mongols came knocking, breaking the enemy morale, and leading many adversaries to outright surrender without a fight (it was that or be butchered down to the last man, woman, child, and dog).\\
\\
The sheer amount of those who chose to surrender due to hearing such gruesome tales may have even saved lives in the long run, at the cost of absolutely brutalizing those that did die. This is a subversion as both winners and losers agree on their version of events -- the losers because they were powerless to stop the flow of rumors counter-productive to the war effort, and the winners because it suits them to have a reputation as bloodthirsty warmongers that only give you one chance to surrender before they take everything you own, slaughter your children, rape your wife, burn down your house, use you as a human shield against your own soldiers (often by filling a spiked trench with corpses so that they could ride over it) and then have a good laugh about it, not necessarily in that order.
* Peter I of Castile is Peter ''the Lawful'' in chronicles written by his supporters and Peter ''the Cruel'' in those written by his enemies. Since he lost the civil war that dethroned him, the second version is the one that has stuck to the modern day. He was among other things, considered to be friendly with Jews in the time of Reconquista.
* In Sweden, the Danish King Christian II is remembered as "Christian the Tyrant" because of his mass execution of Swedish nobility and ultimately failed attempts to re-take control of the rebellious Swedes. This name largely stuck because of the efforts of King Gustaf I Vasa, the revolutionary leader who deposed him from the Swedish throne, who was an absolute master of propaganda and slander against his opponents. There is a common belief among Swedes that King Christian II is called "Christian the Good" or "Christian the Peasant-Friend" in Denmark. This is not actually true, but the UrbanLegend has survived because it is such a great illustration of this trope.
* Pretty much [[HistoricalHeroUpgrade anything you were taught]] about UsefulNotes/ChristopherColumbus or the story of Thanksgiving in Elementary School, if you're American. Though this is slowly changing. However, authors also point out that Columbus while obviously not a good person might also have been on the receiving end of a smear campaign by rival Spanish nobles who exaggerated and demonized him to ruin his reputation.
* UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution. America won, so the war is written as downtrodden citizens rising up against an oppressive ruler. If America lost, it would have gone down as a minor footnote in the ''long'' history of the Anglo-French wars and the ''longer'' list of insurrections against Britain (of which the American Revolution would not even be the biggest or the costliest).
* UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution.
** UsefulNotes/LouisXVI and UsefulNotes/MarieAntoinette were not nearly as bad of people as their contemporaries made them out to be. At best, they were victims of a corruption within the system that made a revolution almost inevitable regardless of their actions taken, and at worst they were just naive and incompetent. Of course to some this overlaps with HistoricalVillainDowngrade because people act as if their fault was stupidity and not active malice when they are clearly guilty, as seen in many surviving documents, of fomenting a civil war and trying to unleash a foreign army on their own subjects. However after the Bourbon Restoration, the people who judged the King guilty were called [[TheKingslayer regicides]], and they were made into saint-like beings with their flaws played down and made into "tragic figures".
** UsefulNotes/MaximilienRobespierre is the biggest casualty of this. He was a popular leader, beloved by the French public up to and during the ReignOfTerror. He campaigned for minority rights, extending the right to vote to Protestants, Jews and French Blacks, supported education for women. He also abolished slavery in 1794 and planned schemes for wealth redistribution. He was by no means the sole dictator of the Reign of Terror, though many of the death warrants were directly signed by him. Nevertheless, once he started to speak out against the corruption of the Committee they went against him, had him guillotined and tarnished his reputation for all time. To this day, there is no street in Paris with his name on it, or any major monument except in working class areas such as Marseilles.
** The Jacobin party as a whole were vilified as extremists by the Girondins and Royalists who succeeded to power after Thermidor and had prime positions under Bonaparte. The Jacobins were not innocent, but the Girondins were engaged in high level corruption and behind the scenes dealing with Austria and England, they later declared a war against Austria, which Robespierre denounced as a BreadAndCircuses move to divert away from the reforms they had consistently failed to uphold, and when the early phase of the war had started going against France, leading to Austria coming in hair's breadth of occupying Paris, the Jacobins supported by the Paris crowd went in open insurrection to protect the Revolution and the French people. It was the Jacobin party that led France to victory in the early stages of the Revolutionary Wars thanks to their open meritocracy, their culling of aristocratic nobles and royals from army positions and introduction of {{Conscription}}.
* For some reason, Napoleon the master propagandist is considered a reliable witness of the era he helped shape, so his lapidary judgments on his contemporaries often take up a disproportionate amount of place. Even when he talks about his Republican rivals or potential rivals (Hoche, Desaix, Moreau, Kléber...). Of course Napoleon did win over them.
** The most common misconceptions about Napoleon, namely his height (TheNapoleon) comes from the success of English propaganda and the rise of the Anglophone. It is a fact that Napoleon was of average height for his time[[note]]The image of him being short stemmed from him usually being surrounded by his bodyguard unit, which was staffed by very tall men, making him look short by comparison[[/note]] and no historian has found conclusive proof that Napoleon was driven to conquest because of insecurity regarding his height. On the flip-side, it should be noted that Napoleon published his memoirs a mere few years after his defeat, and it became an instant best-seller and cemented his legend, so even though Napoleon lost, he did write his own take on history, a highly self-centered and self-pitying one at that, but equally influential nonetheless.
** The discourse of UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars itself. The British argue that they were defending and liberating Europe from a tyranny, conveniently forgetting that they were the ones who first broke the Treaty of Amiens and started the war, after refusing to honor the terms of the original agreement (removing ships from Malta) and that they were themselves an Empire. Napoleonic supporters emphasize his meritocracy, modernization, secularisation (liberation of Jews from ghettoes) while ignoring the fact that he brought back slavery after Revolutionary France had abolished it, and the large scale colonisation and WarForFunAndProfit that underpined Napoleon's administration.
* Subverted a few times where the events in question were much more important and significant to the losing side than to the winning one.
** The popular image of the UsefulNotes/HundredYearsWar is very much shaped by the English narrative (partly helped by William Shakespeare) and what people remember are the three great victories of Crecy, Poitiers (Maupertuis), and Agincourt, while even the French hardly remember their resounding victories at Patay, Formigny, and Castillon, preferring to focus on tragic heroine Joan of Arc -- and even in her case more on the comparatively minor achievement in the relief of Orléans instead of her involvement at Patay, and her death.
** The popular image of the English-Scottish wars from the middle ages to the last "1745" Jacobite rebellion seem largely dominated by Scottish narratives, probably because these wars are important in defining the Scottish identity, while they [[ButForMeItWasTuesday were of relatively minor importance]] to the English, who had bigger fish to fry in wars against e.g. the French and Spanish or among themselves. Thus while Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn are well-remembered, not a lot of Englishmen care to remember Culloden with pride and even battles where the English forces achieved brilliant and resounding victories despite being outnumbered, like Flodden Field and Dunbar (1650), are almost unknown.
** For patriotic Serbians, the lost Battle of Kosovo (1389) is perhaps ''the'' defining moment of their country's history. For the Turks it [[ButForMeItWasTuesday is one hard-fought Ottoman victory among many]]. The battle ended up in a ''draw'', with both army commanders being killed and both armies being crippled and unable to continue the fight. Family ties (the Serbian prince Lazar's daughter married Murad's son) and shifting of allegiances (some Serbians lords, including Lazar's son, were allies of the Ottoman empire) muddle the issue even more.
** Similar to the Scottish example but even more extreme, ''every battle'' in which the Irish faced the English is almost completely forgotten about in England while being seen as watershed moments in Irish history. This includes not only the rare occasions when the Irish actually won, such as Yellow Ford (1598) but also occasions like the Battle of Kinsale (1601) when English commanders pulled off spectacular victories. The one partial exception seems to be the Battle of the Boyne (1690) -- and even there it is only recalled in England because Ulster Unionists are so vocal about it.
* The Spanish nobleman the Duke of Alva enjoys a good reputation in Spain, but in Belgium and the Netherlands he is remembered as an evil man who came to their country in the 16th century to persecute everyone who resisted the Spanish occupation and burn them on the stake. Since the Dutch won the Eighty Years' War against Spain he and king Philippe II of Spain are naturally seen as villains who were justifiably defeated.
** The Spanish in general have a term called "Black legend" where they note that writers of UsefulNotes/TheEnlightenment such as Creator/{{Voltaire}} [[note]]Who for all his status as a free-speech icon and critic of the Church was a strong anti-Semite[[/note]] as well as English writers tended to paint Spain as autocratic, backward, medieval and generally less enlightened than the Northern European nations. English writers made much of the New World colonization and treatment of indigenous peoples and likewise exaggerated the early bloody years of The Inquisition to a period stretching for centuries. In actual practice, the Inquisition executed fewer people in its entire period (it ended during UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte's invasion) than the numbers killed in the reign of Elizabeth alone, and practiced none of the witch burnings which were active in the Protestant nations, but the famous Creator/CateBlanchett biopic will give you the opposite impression.
* The Vikings are another exception. While the Norse (i.e. the Scandinavians) eventually wrote their history, it was 200-300 years later and their accounts are considered mostly semi-legendary. The contemporary accounts were written by monks and Arab travelers.
** [[WebVideo/CrashCourse History is mostly written by the winners, but when it's written by the losers they are very bitter about the winners]].
* The wars of independence in Latin America at the early 19th century will usually get this treatment. It was a [[WarIsGlorious glorious war]] between TheEmpire (Spain and the royalists) and LaResistance (the South Americans fighting for their freedom). But initially, it was a CivilWar between the supporters of the factions that sought to rule Spain when the king was captured by Napoleon. One example may be Manuel Belgrano, sent from Buenos Aires (modern Argentina) to fight against the royalists in Asunción (modern Paraguay). For Argentine history, Belgrano was a model of virtue and moral values, akin to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson. For Paraguayan history, Belgrano was a ruthless expansionist conqueror, akin to Attila the Hun.
* The Battle of Tours/Poitiers during the Arab Islamic wars of expansion was inflated by Frankish historians as the pinnacle battle that prevented the conquest of Europe by the Islamic armies. Arab scholars of the post-battle period rarely mention this defeat, but ''do'' describe a much more important one: the failure to capture Constantinople, capital of the surviving Roman Empire. The Arab army that the Franks faced was a much smaller expeditionary force that was already 4000 miles from their homeland when they crossed the Pyrenees.
[[/folder]]
24th Apr '17 2:26:57 PM JulianLapostat
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!! Example Subpages:
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* RealLife/WrittenByTheWinners
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24th Apr '17 1:47:06 PM JulianLapostat
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** Domitian and UsefulNotes/{{Nero}} seem to have gotten the shaft from Christian scholars, for example, while Constantine is very well thought of. Of course, Domitian and Nero also had contemporary detractors who made sure their names were vilified, possibly with cause, at least partially. UsefulNotes/{{Caligula}} wasn't nearly as batty as he's portrayed by Suetonius, and Nero wasn't anywhere near Rome when it burned; when he returned, he organised massive aid for the city, despite the rumors he contributed to the damage. Also, he played the lyre, not the fiddle (which did not exist then), so [[WhileRomeBurns the fiddling thing]] is wrong anyway.



** The reverse also applies. In cases of traditionalist societies such as India and UsefulNotes/{{Japan}} (cf, ''Film/{{Silence}}''), "conversion" is always regarded as "forced" and that Christian communities are really "Hinduss waiting to be brought back". The idea that lower caste people were genuinely attracted to the egalitarian nature of Christianity (and Islam or Buddhism before it), that they would want to reject the casteist aspects of Hinduism out of religious freedom, naturally doesn't enter into this discourse. Even the likes of UsefulNotes/MahatmaGandhi, while peacable and tolerant, projected this vision about Indian conversion while modern secular nationalism notes that while it was driven by imperialism, there was genuine authentic feeling among some groups and these new converts were not necessarily well treated by the missionaries themselves ([[SocialClimber who largely used them to bridge a path to royal patronage]]) but they valued the faith and the message of Christ more than the people who represented it.
* Of course with the greater secularism of history in the last two hundred years or so, it becomes necessary to counter the other viewpoint:
** [[note]] It should be noted, however, that Luther's anti-Semitism was ''religious'', not racial; if a Jew became a Christian, he was willing to embrace that person. And he also wrote that ''Christians'' deserved to be killed, and [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill wantonly so]], if they rioted or otherwise violently disobeyed authority; [[KnightTemplar he had that harsh a view of what constituted law and order]]. [[/note]]

to:

* Of course with the greater secularism of history in the last two hundred years or so, and the fact that Christianity is no longer the dominant belief in charge, it becomes necessary to counter some anti-religious and anti-Christian views, especially in the case of regimes that did promote an anti-religious viewpoint or use past propaganda for persecution. Nobody wins or loses forever after all:
** For instance, while Christianity at various points was involved in anti-semitism, it was never a total and complete policy by the Church. During the First Crusade, Catholic Bishops and other priests risked their lives to protect Jews from the Rhineland pogroms, and they did it without extortion of conversion. Anti-semitism actually increased with the decline of Church power over that of Kings (which many thinkers associated with "modernity"). The reverse also applies. In likes of UsefulNotes/EdwardTheFirst, King Philip IV (who moved UsefulNotes/ThePope from Rome to Avignon and crushed the Templars) and the Crown of Castile-Leon were the ones who expelled Jews from England, France and Spain and all three regimes are considered important in centralizing the Kingdom-Nation-State. The ghettoes was invented in the very cosmopolitan and sophisticated Republic of Venice. Likewise, the deist Creator/{{Voltaire}} was a vicious anti-semite.
** As for conversion and missionary activities, in
cases of traditionalist societies such as India and UsefulNotes/{{Japan}} (cf, ''Film/{{Silence}}''), "conversion" is always regarded as "forced" and that Christian communities are really "Hinduss waiting to be brought back". The idea that lower caste people were genuinely attracted to the egalitarian nature of Christianity (and Islam or Buddhism before it), that they would want to reject the casteist aspects of Hinduism out of religious freedom, naturally doesn't enter into this discourse. Even the likes of UsefulNotes/MahatmaGandhi, while peacable and tolerant, projected this vision about Indian conversion while modern secular nationalism notes that while it was driven by imperialism, there was genuine authentic feeling among some groups and these new converts were not necessarily well treated by the missionaries themselves ([[SocialClimber who largely used them to bridge a path to royal patronage]]) but they valued the faith and the message of Christ more than the people who represented it.
* Of ** The likes of Edward Gibbon and the French Revolutionaries and other secular advocates (such as Creator/GoreVidal and Creator/SalmanRushdie), and later Communist regime intellectuals, have sometimes voiced a view that Ancient Rome or pagan cultures were more tolerant and superior than Christian and Islamic societies that followed. And of course more liberated sexually. Pre-Christian Rome was a varied society but it was an incredibly nasty society with horrible punishments for "unchaste" Vestal Virgins (they were buried alive in public in a stone chamber). Children who were deformed were exposed and dumped in garbage and female infanticide was ripe in Arabia until [[http://www.mwlusa.org/topics/equality/eminence_women.htm the greater secularism of history Prophet Muhammed personally shut it down]]. Likewise, UsefulNotes/{{Augustus}} more or less promoted Roman SocialistRealism and passed laws criminalizing adultery and would exile people for their sexual conduct in the last two hundred years or so, it becomes necessary to counter the other viewpoint:
** [[note]] It should be noted, however,
ways that Luther's anti-Semitism was ''religious'', even Victorians would see as a bit much, old bean. And the Ancient Greeks were far more into homoeroticism than the Latins who while not racial; if a Jew became a Christian, he was willing opposed to embrace that person. And he also wrote that ''Christians'' deserved it, tended to be killed, frown upon it, and [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill wantonly so]], if they rioted or otherwise violently disobeyed authority; [[KnightTemplar he had that harsh a view of what constituted law and order]]. [[/note]] indulged in gay-bashing as invective (cf, UsefulNotes/JuliusCaesar).
24th Apr '17 1:26:42 PM JulianLapostat
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* Seeing that most of Western history has been written by Christians naturally you're going to get a very Christian centered view of history:

to:

* Since most of history has been very patriarchal, women tended to get written out of history and if the ever came to power or were seen as influential, well they are demonized, made into TheVamp, subject to male PsychologicalProjection. Many historians have started correcting or qualifying the LadyMacbeth reputations of Livia Augusta, Theodora among many others.
* Seeing that most of Western history has been written by Christians naturally you're going to get a very Christian centered view of history:



** The very atheistic Friedrich Engels ironically wrote a popular book that revised the German Reformation and made Thomas Muntzer a real-hero while labeling Martin Luther as a collaborator and SellOut (and a vicious anti-semite). In East Germany, Muntzer was celebrated as an IconOfRebellion while West Germans championed Luther, though no longer as an uncritical great man.
** It's only in the 20th Century, [[UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust for fairly obvious reasons]], that Christian persecution of Jews (alternatively condoned and opposed but never entirely discredited until the latter half of the 20th Century) began to be applied to the whole of the Church history. Kings, Emperors, Priests, reformers and popes came to be measured on how kind and fair they were to minorities. The otherwise corrupt UsefulNotes/PopeAlexanderVI came to be seen as ALighterShadeOfGray since he was religiously tolerant, while the likes of reformist Protestant Martin Luther came to be seen as a PoliticallyIncorrectHero for his very bigoted tracts. [[note]] It should be noted, however, that Luther's anti-Semitism was ''religious'', not racial; if a Jew became a Christian, he was willing to embrace that person. And he also wrote that ''Christians'' deserved to be killed, and [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill wantonly so]], if they rioted or otherwise violently disobeyed authority; [[KnightTemplar he had that harsh a view of what constituted law and order]]. [[/note]]
* That Christians were executed for their religion by Romans is true enough, but it's not often told that after the Edict of Milan, Roman pagans were executed in the exact same way, except that the executions only stopped when the last non-Christian was dead.
** Seeing that UsefulNotes/{{Nero}} persecuted Christians and Rome became Christian only a few centuries later it's not difficult to see that his legacy has made him a lot more evil than he might have been in real life.
** Not to mention that, although Christians were persecuted, the extent has been somewhat exaggerated, with it going in waves at different periods of the late Roman Empire. Martyrdom in fact was very popular among some Christians, to the extent that some in fact ''sought it out'' by provoking others (the Circumcellions). Stories of martyrs were very popular, the more gruesome the better, to the point that it became something akin to torture porn. After the Christians gained power, the persecutions became reversed as mentioned above -- pagans were killed, pagan temples destroyed, and eventually paganism banned entirely, along with the Greek philosophy schools.

to:

** The very atheistic Friedrich Engels ironically wrote a popular book that revised the German Reformation and made Thomas Muntzer a real-hero while labeling Martin Luther as a collaborator and SellOut (and SellOut. Muntzer was a vicious anti-semite).true Christian who wanted more rights for peasants while Luther was a cunning man on a power trip whose rebellion against the Church was driven by personal ambition and ended when he founded the right royal backers, by which time Muntzer was executed and Luther wrote a missive about how that guy was a total loser. In East Germany, Muntzer was celebrated as an IconOfRebellion while West Germans championed Luther, though no longer as an uncritical great man.
** It's only in the 20th Century, [[UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust for fairly obvious reasons]], that Christian persecution of Jews (alternatively condoned and opposed but never entirely discredited until the latter half of the 20th Century) began to be applied to the whole of the Church history. Kings, Emperors, Priests, reformers and popes came to be measured on how kind and fair they were to minorities. The otherwise corrupt UsefulNotes/PopeAlexanderVI came to be seen as ALighterShadeOfGray since he was religiously tolerant, while the likes of reformist Protestant Martin Luther came to be seen as a PoliticallyIncorrectHero for his very bigoted tracts. [[note]] It should be noted, however, that Luther's anti-Semitism was ''religious'', not racial; if a Jew became a Christian, he was willing to embrace that person. And he also wrote that ''Christians'' deserved to be killed, and [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill wantonly so]], if they rioted or otherwise violently disobeyed authority; [[KnightTemplar he had that harsh a view of what constituted law and order]]. [[/note]] \n* That Christians were executed for their religion by Romans is true enough, but it's not often told that after the Edict of Milan, Roman pagans were executed in the exact same way, except that the executions only stopped when the last non-Christian was dead.
** That Christians were executed for their religion by Romans is true enough, but it's not often told that after the Edict of Milan, Roman pagans were executed in the exact same way, except that the executions only stopped when the last non-Christian was dead. Seeing that UsefulNotes/{{Nero}} persecuted Christians and Rome became Christian only a few centuries later it's not difficult to see that his legacy has made him a lot more evil than he might have been in real life.
**
life. Not to mention that, although Christians were persecuted, the extent has been somewhat exaggerated, with it going in waves at different periods of the late Roman Empire. Martyrdom in fact was very popular among some Christians, to the extent that some in fact ''sought it out'' by provoking others (the Circumcellions). Stories of martyrs were very popular, the more gruesome the better, to the point that it became something akin to torture porn. After the Christians gained power, the persecutions became reversed as mentioned above -- pagans were killed, pagan temples destroyed, and eventually paganism banned entirely, along with the Greek philosophy schools.



** The reverse also applies. In cases of traditionalist societies such as India, "conversion" is always regarded as "forced" and that Christian communities are really "Hindus waiting to be brought back". The idea that lower caste people were genuinely attracted to the egalitarian nature of Christianity (and Islam or Buddhism), that they would want to reject the casteist aspects of Hinduism out of religious freedom, naturally doesn't enter into this discourse. Even the likes of UsefulNotes/MahatmaGandhi, while peacable and tolerant, projected this vision.

to:

** The reverse also applies. In cases of traditionalist societies such as India, India and UsefulNotes/{{Japan}} (cf, ''Film/{{Silence}}''), "conversion" is always regarded as "forced" and that Christian communities are really "Hindus "Hinduss waiting to be brought back". The idea that lower caste people were genuinely attracted to the egalitarian nature of Christianity (and Islam or Buddhism), Buddhism before it), that they would want to reject the casteist aspects of Hinduism out of religious freedom, naturally doesn't enter into this discourse. Even the likes of UsefulNotes/MahatmaGandhi, while peacable and tolerant, projected this vision. vision about Indian conversion while modern secular nationalism notes that while it was driven by imperialism, there was genuine authentic feeling among some groups and these new converts were not necessarily well treated by the missionaries themselves ([[SocialClimber who largely used them to bridge a path to royal patronage]]) but they valued the faith and the message of Christ more than the people who represented it.
* Of course with the greater secularism of history in the last two hundred years or so, it becomes necessary to counter the other viewpoint:
** [[note]] It should be noted, however, that Luther's anti-Semitism was ''religious'', not racial; if a Jew became a Christian, he was willing to embrace that person. And he also wrote that ''Christians'' deserved to be killed, and [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill wantonly so]], if they rioted or otherwise violently disobeyed authority; [[KnightTemplar he had that harsh a view of what constituted law and order]]. [[/note]]
24th Apr '17 1:17:02 PM JulianLapostat
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* Common practice in Imperial China was that when one dynasty got overthrown and another took over, the new dynasty would write off the last Emperor of the former dynasty as a weak ruler. The justification was that the ruler if he had lost, no longer had "the Mandate of Heaven", so basically if bad things happened under someone's government, such as a flood, a natural disaster or the other, and if it provoked a rebellion and if by some mistake or the other, or purely bad luck, the ruler died and the rebel one, well, that old guy obviously was a total loser, the worst. Considering that this land always included the Yangtze river, which tends to flood a lot, some people now believe that it was not Heaven which had decided the old Emperor should go, but that the last Emperor of a dynasty just had the bad luck that all those disasters happened during his reign, making the populace unruly, which a noble could then take advantage of in order to become Emperor himself (or herself, on one occasion).

to:

* Common practice in Imperial China UsefulNotes/ImperialChina was that when one dynasty got overthrown and another took over, the new dynasty would write off the last Emperor of the former dynasty as a weak ruler. The justification was that the ruler if he had lost, he no longer had "the Mandate of Heaven", so basically if bad things happened under someone's government, such as a flood, a natural disaster or the other, and if it provoked a rebellion and if by some mistake or the other, or purely bad luck, the ruler died and the rebel one, won, well, that old guy obviously was a total loser, the worst. Considering that this land always included the Yangtze river, which tends to flood a lot, some people now believe that it was not Heaven which had decided the old Emperor should go, but that the last Emperor of a dynasty just had the bad luck that all those disasters happened during his reign, making the populace unruly, which a noble could then take advantage of in order to become Emperor himself (or herself, on one occasion).



* From a class perspective as opposed to a national one: Most of history (at least until modern times) focused on ruling and upper class males because ruling and upper class males dominated society, were generally the ones who knew how to write history, and were only interested in the affairs of their peers (i.e. other ruling and upper class males). There were remarkably few historical works that focus exclusively on women, members of the peasant classes. Indeed, the development of sociology in the 19th Century, led to what came to be called in the 20th Century as "history from below" with the intention of correcting and deconstructing the victor's history.
** Creator/KarlMarx was the first to challenge what we call "the Great Man" idea of history by insisting that most historical events such as changes of Kings or battles between one dynasty or another were meaningless to the vast majority of the subject peoples on either side, and that real history was changes in means of productions and social classes. Historians following on from Marx such as Fernand Braudel devised the concept of the "longue duree" which more or less put trade and economic activity and groups into focus.
** In the case of UsefulNotes/TheRomanRepublic, the reputations of the groups known as "populare" such as the Gracchi, Marius, Cinna, Clodius Pulcher, and Caesar while not entirely made into heroes are more nuanced and even positive today. Except for Caesar, no writings of theirs survive since they were brutally murdered and pretty much no one writing after them could be entirely fair to them. Some have also tried to balance the writings dismissal of "the Mob" in such works. This extends to the Middle Ages where peasant uprisings and revolts in the Black Death and other slave rebellions in the colonies are seen very differently today than they were in that era.
** [[{{Pirate}} Privateers]] get this naturally... some of the biggest and most well known? UsefulNotes/SirFrancisDrake and Capt. Morgan (the one who... you know... has a certain drink named after him). Celebrated heroes in England... demons of history to Spain. Likewise, during UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfPiracy, 25% of all pirate crews were runaway slaves joining the pirate crews at a time when slavery was totally ''legal'' and ''profitable'' and most of the soldiers in the English navy were denied meritorious advancement, and a lot of them were press-ganged, poor men kidnapped from England and forced to work crappy jobs. Oh and UsefulNotes/{{Blackbeard}} never killed anybody and accepted a pardon, when he was attacked by GlorySeeker officers who attacked him while and he and his crew were drunk to elevate their reputation and in a modern legal sense, one would argue that Blackbeard was a victim of extra-legal vigilante execution and denied due process.
* Knights, albeit they both won and lost various wars, so this is more on them as a social/political class. Much like how we found out more recently with the samurai, the knights in most cases weren't the nicest of people.
** Sure, the KnightInShiningArmor existed, but they were in no way the majority and the guy who came closest to living up to that, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Terrail,_seigneur_de_Bayard Chevalier de Bayard]] came in UsefulNotes/TheRenaissance. Most knights were essentially mercenaries who just happened to be much more heavily armed than the average one. Most nobles didn't trust them as far as they could throw them, King Philip IV of France had [[UsefulNotes/TheKnightsTemplar the original Knights Templar]] almost completely wiped out (primarily because he didn't want to pay off France's monetary debt to them), with his son having the pope finish the job.
** From the 10th to 16th centuries, most knights were pretty infamous for being particularly brutal and (ironically) honorless. Some of this did exist in writing from the time, like when Creator/GeoffreyChaucer sneaked in a comment about the sacking of Alexandria in the Knight's Prologue, which was historically known for a battle where the knights raped and pillaged everything they saw. Most of this part of knight history went away when the knights jazzed up their stories for the nobility. When not officially at war, knights commonly started waging private wars against each other. They were more like rival gangs at times than anything to do with "chivalry".



** All the Roman emperors who persecuted Christianity? Why, naturally they were all perverted, decadent and cruel leaders. Emperor Constantine who made Christianity the state religion in the Roman Empire? Well, naturally he was a good and noble man whom we shall remember as ''Constantine the Great''.
** Charlemagne, who is credited with Christianizing Europe in the 6th and 7th century. In Western history books he is hailed as a hero, the Catholic Church praises him too, but the fact of the matter is that his troops invaded several European regions to forcibly convert pagans to Christianity. Thousands of people were massacred in order to obtain this goal (4,000 Saxons were killed for refusing to become Christians at Verdun, in one infamous incident, which is more people than were killed by the historically vilified Spanish Inquisition over the course of three and a half ''centuries'') and those kept alive were naturally very willing to accept him as their new king and Christianity as their new faith.

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** All the Roman emperors who persecuted Christianity? Why, naturally they were all perverted, decadent and cruel leaders. Emperor Constantine who made Christianity the state religion in the Roman Empire? Well, naturally he was a good and noble man whom we shall remember as ''Constantine the Great''.
Great'' even if he murdered his own wife and son and persecuted Pagans. That makes him "Equal to the Apostles" since he submitted to a deathbed conversion and helped the Church. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_of_women_in_the_early_Christian_church The women of the Roman Empire]] who risked their lives and happiness to back the Church before it was cool and raised their children to be Christians and so increased their numbers, at a time when the poor preferred Mithraism and Manicheanism. [[StayInTheKitchen Obviously they aren't "Equal to the Apostles"]].
** Charlemagne, UsefulNotes/{{Charlemagne}}, who is credited with Christianizing Europe in the 6th and 7th century. In Western history books he is hailed as a hero, the Catholic Church praises him too, but the fact of the matter is that his troops invaded several European regions to forcibly convert pagans to Christianity. Thousands of people were massacred in order to obtain this goal (4,000 Saxons were killed for refusing to become Christians at Verdun, in one infamous incident, which is more people than were killed by the historically vilified Spanish Inquisition over the course of three and a half ''centuries'') and those kept alive were naturally very willing to accept him as their new king and Christianity as their new faith.
** The very atheistic Friedrich Engels ironically wrote a popular book that revised the German Reformation and made Thomas Muntzer a real-hero while labeling Martin Luther as a collaborator and SellOut (and a vicious anti-semite). In East Germany, Muntzer was celebrated as an IconOfRebellion while West Germans championed Luther, though no longer as an uncritical great man.



* [[{{Pirate}} Privateers]] get this naturally... some of the biggest and most well known? UsefulNotes/SirFrancisDrake and Capt. Morgan (the one who... you know... has a certain drink named after him). Celebrated heroes in England... demons of history to Spain.
* From a class perspective as opposed to a national one: Most of history (at least until modern times) focused on ruling and upper class males because ruling and upper class males dominated society, were generally the ones who knew how to write history, and were only interested in the affairs of their peers (i.e. other ruling and upper class males). There were remarkably few historical works that focus exclusively on women, members of the peasant classes, or the bourgeoisie. Indeed, the development of sociology in the 19th Century, led to what came to be called in the 20th Century as "history from below" with the intention of correcting and deconstructing the victor's history.
* Knights, albeit they both won and lost various wars, so this is more on them as a social/political class. Much like how we found out more recently with the samurai, the knights in most cases weren't the nicest of people. Sure, the KnightInShiningArmor existed, but they were in no way the majority. Most knights were essentially mercenaries who just happened to be much more heavily armed than the average one. Most nobles didn't trust them as far as they could throw them, King Philip IV of France had [[UsefulNotes/TheKnightsTemplar the original Knights Templar]] almost completely wiped out (primarily because he didn't want to pay off France's monetary debt to them), with his son having the pope finish the job. From the 10th to 16th centuries, most knights were pretty infamous for being particularly brutal and (ironically) honorless. Some of this did exist in writing from the time, like when Creator/GeoffreyChaucer sneaked in a comment about the sacking of Alexandria in the Knight's Prolouge, which was historically known for a battle where the knights raped and pillaged everything they saw. Most of this part of knight history went away when the knights jazzed up their stories for the nobility. When not officially at war, knights commonly started waging private wars against each other. They were more like rival gangs at times than anything to do with "chivalry".
24th Apr '17 12:42:52 PM JulianLapostat
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In RealLife and actual history, it is certainly true that historical accounts can be subject to the personal bias of the writer and readers have to be wary of them, which is what the saying warns us about. However, applying the saying in such a simplistic manner can potentially be as reductive, misleading, and more importantly just as binary as "the winners' narrative". To say that history is written by the winners ''should'' mean that we should treat both the winners and losers fairly and not present a one-sided view. Academic historians would qualify this by stating that our knowledge about our past, certain figures and events, is based only on a few sources and furthermore, our understanding of history is never static and unchanging. [[ZigZaggedTrope History is, in truth, written and rewritten by all sorts of people with different agendas]]. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historiography Historiography]] is a separate discipline that actually studies and keeps track of how people's opinions about the past and certain events change throughout history. Likewise, "winners" and "losers" mean a variety of things. In the military-political sense, ''losers'' at times do end up writing history; since they've often been deprived of actual power after their defeat, they often spend their time [[StillFightingTheCivilWar sulking and writing about how things would have been so much better had they won]] - just ask [[ThoseWackyNazis a Neo-Nazi]] or [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Cause_of_the_Confederacy a Confederate apologist]]. The "real" actual and potential losers in this situation would be in the racial-economical sense, (African-Americans, Jews, LGBT and other minorities).

to:

In RealLife and actual history, it is certainly true that historical accounts can be subject to the personal bias of the writer and readers have to be wary of them, which is what the saying warns us about. However, applying the saying in such a simplistic manner can potentially be as reductive, misleading, and more importantly just as binary as "the winners' narrative". To say that history is written by the winners ''should'' mean that we should treat both the winners and losers fairly and not present a one-sided view. Academic historians would qualify this by stating that our knowledge about our past, certain figures and events, is based only on a few sources and furthermore, our understanding of history is never static and unchanging. [[ZigZaggedTrope History is, in truth, written and rewritten by all sorts of people with different agendas]]. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historiography Historiography]] is a separate discipline that actually studies and keeps track of how people's opinions about the past and certain events change throughout history. The reason for those changes is that people who win in one era, would lose in the other and their conquerors will be as generous to the defeated as they were to their defeated. Likewise, "winners" and "losers" mean a variety of things. In the military-political sense, ''losers'' at times do end up writing history; since they've often been deprived of actual power after their defeat, they often spend their time [[StillFightingTheCivilWar sulking and writing about how things would have been so much better had they won]] - just ask [[ThoseWackyNazis a Neo-Nazi]] or [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Cause_of_the_Confederacy a Confederate apologist]]. The "real" actual and potential losers in this situation would be in the racial-economical sense, (African-Americans, Jews, LGBT and other minorities).
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