Questions to Ask of a Source
A historian will ask a variety of questions in order to find out historical information about a source. The same questions can be asked of either a Primary Source or a Secondary Source. There are six key questions to ask:
WHO? WHERE? WHAT? WHEN? HOW? WHY?
Listed below are a selection of questions that might be asked of a source by a historian. Please note that not every question will be used for every source.
- WHO made it?
- WHO used it?
- WHO is in the picture?
- WHOSE opinion does it show?
Who made it? The Romans in AD 45
Who used it? The Romans
Who is in the picture? The head on the coins show who was emperor.
- WHERE is it?
- WHERE was it?
- WHERE was it made?
- WHERE was it used?
Where is it? It is in the Louvre art gallery, Paris.
Where was it? It was in Italy. It is now in the Louvre gallery, Paris.
Where was it made? It was made in Italy by Leonardo da Vinci.
Where was it used? It was used to hang on a wall for decoration.
- WHEN was it made?
- WHEN was it used?
- When does it show?
When was it made? It was made in 1215.
When was it used? It was used in 1215 to force King John to grant concessions to the barons
When does it show? It shows the feelings of the barons in 1215.
- HOW was it made?
- HOW was it used?
- HOW has it survived?
How was it made? It was made in a factory - there may be a stamp on the base of the mug that gives details of the factory or potter.
How was it used? It was/is used for people to drink hot beverages from.
How has it survived? It has survived because it was made this year.
- WHY was it made?
- WHY has it survived?
Why was it made? Because people like Van Gogh paintings and because there is only one original painting; posters like this enable many people to see art.
Why has it survived? It has survived because it is fairly new and has been looked after.
The Neo-Assyrian Empire used earthen ramps, siege towers and battering rams in sieges; the Greeks and Alexander the Great created destructive new engines known as artillery to further their sieges, and the Romans used every technique to perfection. That is to say, the Romans were not inventors, but they were superb engineers and disciplined, tough soldiers who fought against great odds and won, repeatedly.... Read More
Demetrius I, King of Macedon, invented many siege engines including battering rams and siege towers. For the Siege of Rhodes, he created the Helepolis, the Taker of Cities, a huge armored siege tower containing many heavy catapults.
The island city of Rhodes maintained its neutrality among the warring nations of the time, although it remained friendly to Ptolemy I of Egypt, the enemy of Demetrius of... Read More
In the first part of this series, we noted the siege equipment of the Assyrians consisted of complex battering rams, earthen ramps and a dedicated corps of engineers and sappers. Alexander the Great and the Greeks would take the next steps in the evolution of siege warfare. The Greeks had invented the catapult circa 399 B.C. Alexander innovated by fastening catapults and ballistas on the decks of ships to breach... Read More
While sieges had taken place earlier than the Neo-Assyrian Empire, such as that between Egyptian Pharoah Thutmose III and Canaanite rebels led by Kadesh at the Megiddo fortress in the 15th century B.C., the Assyrians perfected the art of siege warfare during the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 911 to 609 B.C.
Through war and conquest, Assyria became the most powerful empire the world had yet seen. After the... Read More
For one thousand years, chariots rolled through the Middle East, terrifying armies, destroying infantry lines and changing the face of war. Sumerians used heavy battlewagons with solid wheels drawn by wild asses around 2600 B.C. Until the innovation of spoked wheels, the weight of the battlewagons hindered their utility in war. The domestication of the horse inspired further chariot innovation as horses... Read More