When History Gets It Wrong

Contributor: Suzanne Riordan. Lesson ID: 13320

Historical inaccuracies are quite common, from the days of the Greeks until today. What are some things you've always "known" about history that might be wrong? Find out here!



learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Just like everyone else, people who write history books can sometimes get it wrong!

  • What are some of the false facts of history?

Find out in False History Facts Everyone Thinks Are True, from AnswersVideo:

History, like most areas of study, takes a lot of research, evidence, time, reasoned arguments, and vigorous debate to get the facts straight.

  • Or should we say to get the story straight?

That is because history is both facts and stories, both a science and an art. Because historians cannot travel into the past and make direct observations of events, they must take the evidence that they have and create a story out of it.

Because there is so much individuality in a historian's work, it is not surprising to learn that historians can have their own viewpoints and agendas. A historian's work is also shaped by the times in which (s)he lives and his or her own personal experiences. Therefore, a historian may not always see both sides of a story.

Sometimes, a historian simply misunderstands something and writes a false fact that will be believed for years, until someone else comes along and corrects it.

Consider the case of Herodotus, the Father of History. Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian and one of the earliest writers of history whose works we can still read.

  • But did the Father of History get all his facts straight?

Find out in Why is Herodotus called "The Father of History"? - Mark Robinson, from TED-Ed:

  • What facts did Herodotus get wrong?

Let's explore some other areas of history that have been misunderstood.

For years, people have believed the following "facts" about history. Let's delve into them and find out how true they actually are. (You can click on each to reveal its details.)

Well, now that you've learned about some of history's famous false facts, move on to the Got It? section, where you'll review some of the facts you learned and decide how historians should do their job!

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