Ancient history

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(Redirected from Recorded history)
Ancient Rome. Picture provided by [ Classroom Clip Art
Ancient Rome. Picture provided by [ Classroom Clip Art
Ancient history is from the period of time when writing and historical records first appear, roughly 5,500 years before the Birth of Christ. For some, the discovery of agriculture, roughly 6,000 BC is the beginning of ancient history. The most common date for an end of ancient history in Europe is AD 476 (the fall of the Western Roman Empire), however the exact date is still disputed among various historians. In Europe ancient history was followed by Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000-5,500 years, with cuneiform possibly being the oldest form of writing. Genetic evidence, however, points to the first appearance of human beings about 150,000 years ago. There is also a growing body of evidence that Homo sapiens first left Africa about 60,000 years ago.


The most prominent civilisations of the Ancient Era:

What is written ancient history?

Temple Acropolis Greece. Picture provided by Classroom Clip Art (
Temple Acropolis Greece. Picture provided by Classroom Clip Art (

Ancient history is remote, selective, ill-documented, and bias. Of the 142 books of Livy's History of Rome only 35 survive. Ancient history's written records are the product of human memory. The memory of things said and done. The recorded memory is not confused with the event itself by the critical modern historian. In the ancient world miracle, sorcery, demons, Gods, supernatural, etc. are taken for granted and are real to the majority of people. To question the reality of the supernatural, in the ancient world, would make you look irrational or even insane. In the ancient world historians copy from each other, epitome, without footnotes and not always recording their sources. Without the primary source we have no idea whether the copy is correct or has been edited. Independent research and the questioning of early writers and their primary sources are rare. Personal interviews and the use of interrogation techniques to determine "what really happened or why" are basically non-existent. The more data that is discovered can make the memory of the ancient past more confusing. For example, if I have one version of an event and nothing else, it is more comforting than if I have four different versions of the same event. If I have duplicate data this does not make an event true. One of the great fallacies of ancient history is "the closer the event is to the time of its recording the truer it becomes". This fails to take human creativity, hearsay and the notorious fallacy of eye-witness testimony into account. The goal of the modern ancient historian is objectivity. There is usually an educational guess, based on the interpretation of surviving physical evidence, about the "reason" events occured, not what happened.

The modern novice to ancient history has a tendency to come to satisfying conclusions, fill in the blanks, and create convictions too quickly, without using the proper caution that comes from experience and an acceptance of the unknown. There is a preference for a complete story. As always, the present generation assumes they have a more accurate picture of ancient events than the past generation. Critical modern professional historians are aware that they cannot examine the records of the past without any preconceived ideas which will effect their perception, inference and translation of ancient texts. The novice has yet to learn this. (Becker 1931, Loftus 1996, Thomas & Wick 1993, MacMullen 1990, Dodds 1964, Thorndike 1923, MacMullen 1966) Note: This is not new original research. This is old stuff to the professional ancient historian.


Beginning of ancient history

  • 10,000 BC - invention of agriculture is the earliest given date for the beginning of Ancient Era
  • 3,300 - oldest historical documents
  • 5,000
  • 4,000

Important events

End of ancient history in Europe

The exact date era of ancient history ends is still disputed among historians. Most common dates are:


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