You can interpret the past only on the basis of the highest power of the present. Only in the strongest tension of your noblest characteristics will you surmise what from the past is great and worth knowing and preserving. Like by like! Otherwise you drag the past down to your level. Do not believe a piece of historical writing if it does not spring out of the head of the rarest of spirits. You will always perceive the quality of its spirit if it is forced to express something universal or to repeat once more something universally known. The true historian must have the power of reshaping the universally known into what has never been heard and to announce what is universal so simply and deeply that people overlook the simplicity in the profundity and the profundity in the simplicity. No person can be simultaneously a great historian, an artistic person, and a numskull.
— Friedrich Nietzsche in The Use and Abuse of History for Life