Ancient history

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This article is about history from the beginning of writing. For earlier periods, see Prehistory. For other uses, see Ancient history (disambiguation).
"Ancient" redirects here. For other uses, see Ancient (disambiguation).
"Ancient World" redirects here. For the TV series, see The Ancient World (TV series).
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The Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis, built of marble and limestone between c. 460–406 BC, is a symbol not just of Ancient Greek architecture, but for Antiquity in general
Ancient history
Preceded by prehistory
Near East
Sumer · Egypt · Elam · Akkad · Assyria · Babylonia · Mitanni · Hittites · Sea Peoples · Anatolia · Israel and Judah · Arabia · Berbers · Phoenicia · Persia
Europe
Minoans · Greece · Illyrians · Argaric · Nuragic · Tartessos · Iberia · Celts · Germanics · Etruscans · Rome · Slavs · Daco-Thracians
Horn of Africa
Land of Punt · Opone · Macrobia · Kingdom of Dʿmt · Axumite Empire · Mosylon · Sarapion
Eurasian Steppe
Proto-Indo-Europeans · Afanasievo · Indo-Iranians · Scythia · Tocharians · Huns · Xionites · Turks
East Asia
China · Japan · Korea · Mongolia
South Asia
Indus Valley Civilisation · Vedic period · Mahajanapadas · Nanda Empire · Maurya Empire · Sangam period · Middle Kingdoms · Gupta Empire
Mississippi and Oasisamerica
Adena · Hopewell · Mississippian · Puebloans
Mesoamerica
Olmecs · Epi-Olmec · Zapotec · Mixtec · Maya · Teotihuacan · Toltec Empire
Andes
Norte Chico · Sechin · Chavín · Paracas · Nazca · Moche · Lima · Tiwanaku · Wari
West Africa
Dhar Tichitt · Oualata · Nok · Senegambia · Djenné-Djenno · Bantu · Ghana Empire
Southeast Asia and Oceania
Vietnam · Austronesians · Australia · Polynesia · Funan · Tarumanagara
See also

History of the world · Ancient maritime history
Protohistory · Axial Age · Iron Age
Historiography · Ancient literature
Ancient warfare · Cradle of civilization

  • Category
Followed by Post-classical history
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Human history
Human Era
Prehistory   (Pleistocene epoch)
Holocene
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    Neolithic – Contemporary
    (10,000 BCE – 2020 CE)

  • Age of the human race
  • Recorded history
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Ancient
  • Bronze age
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  • Africa
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  • Oceania
  • East Asia
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Postclassical

  • Africa
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  • East Asia
  • South Asia
  • Southeast Asia
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Modern
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  • Africa
  • North America
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  • Modernity
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Ancient history as a term refers to the aggregate of past events[1] from the beginning of writing and recorded human history and extending as far as post-classical history. The phrase may be used either to refer to the period of time or the academic discipline.

The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beginning with the Sumerian cuneiform script, with the oldest coherent texts from about 2600 BC.[2] Ancient history covers all continents inhabited by humans in the period 3000 BC – AD 500.

The broad term "ancient history" is not to be confused with "classical antiquity". The term classical antiquity is often used to refer to Western history in the Ancient Merranean from the beginning of recorded Greek history in 776 BC (first Olympiad). This roughly coincides with the traditional date of the founding of Rome in 753 BC, the beginning of the history of ancient Rome, and the beginning of the Archaic period in Ancient Greece.

The academic term "history" is not to be confused with colloquial references to times past. History is fundamentally the study of the past, and can be either scientific (archaeology) or humanistic (history through language).

Although the ending date of ancient history is disputed, some Western scholars use the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD (the most used),[3][4] the closure of the Platonic Academy in 529 AD,[5] the death of the emperor Justinian I in 565 AD,[6] the coming of Islam,[7] or the rise of Charlemagne[8] as the end of ancient and altical European history. Outside of Europe the 450–500 time frame for the end of ancient times has had difficulty as a transition date from ancient to post-classical times.

During the time period of ancient history (starting roughly from 3000 BC), the world population was already exponentially increasing due to the Neolithic Revolution, which was in full progress. According to HYDE estimates from the Netherlands, world population increased exponentially in this period. In 10,000 BC in prehistory, the world population had stood at 2 million, rising to 45 million by 3,000 BC. By the rise of the Iron Age in 1,000 BC, the population had risen to 72 million. By the end of the period in 500 AD, the world population is thought to have stood at 209 million. In 3,500 years, the world population increased by 100 times.[9]