Ancient history is the aggregate of past events from the beginning
of recorded human history and extending as far as the Early Middle
Ages or the Post-classical Era. The span of recorded history is
roughly 5,000 years, beginning with Sumerian
Cuneiform script, the
oldest discovered form of coherent writing from the protoliterate
period around the 30th century BC.
The term classical antiquity is often used to refer to history in the
Old World 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. 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), the closure of the
Platonic Academy in 529
AD, the death of the emperor
Justinian I in 565 AD, the coming
of Islam or the rise of Charlemagne as the end of ancient and
Classical European history.
In India, ancient history includes the early period of the Middle
Kingdoms, and, in China, the time up to the Qin
1.2 Source text
2.2 Timeline of ancient history
2.2.1 Middle to Late Bronze Age
2.2.2 Early Iron Age
2.2.3 Classical Antiquity
22.214.171.124 Early classical ancient history
126.96.36.199 Mid-classical ancient history
188.8.131.52 Late classical ancient history
184.108.40.206 Classical ancient history end
3 Prominent civilizations
3.1 Comparative timeline
3.2 Comparison table
3.3 Historical ages
Asia (Near East)
3.4.2 Ancient Persia
3.5.4 Land of Punt
3.5.5 Nok culture
3.6 South Asia
3.6.1 Indus Valley Civilization
3.6.3 Middle kingdoms
3.7 East Asia
220.127.116.11 Ancient era
18.104.22.168 Spring and Autumn
22.214.171.124 Warring States
3.8.1 Andean civilizations
3.9.4 Late Antiquity
3.9.5 Germanic tribes
Religion and philosophy
4.2 Science and technology
4.3 Maritime activity
4.5 Artwork and music
5 See also
8 External links
Historians have two major avenues which they take to better understand
the ancient world: archaeology and the study of source texts. Primary
sources are those sources closest to the origin of the information or
idea under study. Primary sources have been distinguished from
secondary sources, which often cite, comment on, or build upon primary
Archaeological field surveys
Reasons that an area undergoes an archaeological field survey.
Artifacts found: Locals have picked up artifacts.
Literary sources: Old literary sources have provided archaeologists
with clues about settlement locations that have not been
Oral sources: In many locations, local stories contain some hint of a
greater past, and there is often some truth to them.
Local knowledge: In many cases, locals actually know where to find
something that is of interest to archaeologists.
Previous surveys: In some places, a survey was carried out in the
past, and is recorded in an obscure academic journal.
Previous excavations: Excavations carried out before the middle of the
20th century are notoriously poorly documented.
Lack of knowledge: Many areas of the world have little known about the
nature and organisation of past human activity.
Main article: Archaeology
Archaeology is the excavation and study of artefacts in an effort to
interpret and reconstruct past human behavior.
Archaeologists excavate the ruins of ancient cities looking for clues
as to how the people of the time period lived. Some important
discoveries by archaeologists studying ancient history include:
The Egyptian pyramids: giant tombs built by the ancient Egyptians
beginning about 2600 BC as the final resting places of their royalty.
The study of the ancient cities of
Mohenjo-daro (Pakistan), and Lothal in
India (South Asia).
The city of Pompeii: an ancient Roman city preserved by the
eruption of a volcano in AD 79. Its state of preservation is so great
that it is a valuable window into Roman culture and provided insight
into the cultures of the
Etruscans and the Samnites.
The Terracotta Army: the mausoleum of the First Qin
The discovery of
Knossos by Minos Kalokairinos and Sir Arthur Evans.
The discovery of
Troy by Heinrich Schliemann.
Main article: Source text
Most of what is known of the ancient world comes from the accounts of
antiquity's own historians. Although it is important to take into
account the bias of each ancient author, their accounts are the basis
for our understanding of the ancient past. Some of the more notable
ancient writers include Herodotus, Thucydides, Arrian, Plutarch,
Polybius, Sima Qian, Sallust, Livy, Josephus, Suetonius, and Tacitus.
A fundamental difficulty of studying ancient history is that recorded
histories cannot document the entirety of human events, and only a
fraction of those documents have survived into the present day.
Furthermore, the reliability of the information obtained from these
surviving records must be considered. Few people were capable
of writing histories, as literacy was not widespread in almost any
culture until long after the end of ancient history.
The earliest known systematic historical thought emerged in ancient
Greece, beginning with
Herodotus of Halicarnassus (484–c. 425 BC).
Thucydides largely eliminated divine causality in his account of the
Athens and Sparta, establishing a rationalistic
element which set a precedent for subsequent Western historical
writings. He was also the first to distinguish between cause and
immediate origins of an event.
Roman Empire was one of the ancient world's most literate
cultures, but many works by its most widely read historians are
lost. For example, Livy, a Roman historian who lived in the 1st
century BC, wrote a history of Rome called Ab Urbe Condita (From the
Founding of the City) in 144 volumes; only 35 volumes still exist,
although short summaries of most of the rest do exist. Indeed, only a
minority of the work of any major Roman historian has survived.
Main article: Prehistory
Prehistory is the period before written history. The early human
migrations in the
Lower Paleolithic saw
Homo erectus spread across
Eurasia 1.8 million years ago. The controlled use of fire occurred
800,000 years ago in the Middle Paleolithic. 250,000 years ago, Homo
sapiens (modern humans) emerged in Africa. 60–70,000 years ago, Homo
sapiens migrated out of
Africa along a coastal route to South and
Southeast Asia and reached Australia. 50,000 years ago, modern humans
Asia to the Near East.
Europe was first reached by modern
humans 40,000 years ago. Humans migrated to the Americas about 15,000
years ago in the Upper Paleolithic.
10th millennium BC
10th millennium BC is the earliest given date for the invention of
agriculture and the beginning of the ancient era.
Göbekli Tepe was
erected by hunter-gatherers in the
10th millennium BC
10th millennium BC (c. 11,500 years
ago), before the advent of sedentism. Together with Nevalı Çori, it
has revolutionized understanding of the Eurasian Neolithic. In the 7th
Jiahu culture began in China. By the 5th millennium BC,
Neolithic civilizations saw the invention of the wheel and
the spread of proto-writing. In the 4th millennium BC, the
Cucuteni-Trypillian culture in the Ukraine-Moldova-
develops. By 3400 BC, "proto-literate" cuneiform is spread in the
Middle East. The 30th century BC, referred to as the Early Bronze
Age II, saw the beginning of the literate period in
Ancient Egypt. Around the 27th century BC, the Old Kingdom of Egypt
First Dynasty of
Uruk are founded, according to the earliest
reliable regnal eras.
Timeline of ancient history
Main article: Timeline of ancient history
Brief ancient chronology
(Common Era years in astronomical year numbering)
Middle to Late Bronze Age
Bronze Age forms part of the three-age system. It follows the
Neolithic Age in some areas of the world.
In the 24th century BC, the Akkadian Empire was founded in
First Intermediate Period of Egypt
First Intermediate Period of Egypt of the 22nd century BC was
followed by the
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
Middle Kingdom of Egypt between the 21st to 17th
centuries BC. The
Sumerian Renaissance also developed c. the 21st
century BC in Ur. Around the 18th century BC, the Second Intermediate
By 1600 BC,
Mycenaean Greece developed. The beginning of the Shang
dynasty emerged in
China in this period, and there was evidence of a
fully developed Chinese writing system. The beginning of Hittite
dominance of the Eastern
Mediterranean region is also seen in the
1600s BC. The time from the 16th to the 11th centuries BC around the
Nile is called the
New Kingdom of Egypt. Between 1550 BC and 1292 BC,
Amarna Period developed in Egypt.
Early Iron Age
Iron Age is the last principal period in the three-age system,
preceded by the Bronze Age. Its date and context vary depending on the
country or geographical region.
During the 13th to 12th centuries BC, the
Ramesside Period occurred in
Egypt. Around 1200 BC, the
Trojan War was thought to have taken
place. By around 1180 BC, the disintegration of the Hittite Empire
was under way.
In 1046 BC, the Zhou force, led by King Wu of Zhou, overthrew the last
king of the Shang dynasty. The
Zhou dynasty was established in China
Pirak is an early iron-age site in Balochistan, Pakistan, going back
to about 1200 BC. This period is believed to be the beginning of the
Iron Age in
India and the subcontinent.
In 1000 BC, the Mannaean Kingdom began in Western Asia. Around the
10th to 7th centuries BC, the
Neo-Assyrian Empire developed in
Mesopotamia. In 800 BC, the rise of Greek city-states began. In 776
BC, the first recorded Olympic Games were held.
Main article: Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural
history centered around the
Mediterranean Sea, which begins roughly
with the earliest-recorded Greek poetry of
Homer (9th century BC), and
continues through the rise of
Christianity and the fall of the Western
Roman Empire (5th century AD), ending in the dissolution of classical
culture with the close of Late Antiquity.
Such a wide sampling of history and territory covers many rather
disparate cultures and periods. "Classical antiquity" typically refers
to an idealized vision of later people, of what was, in Edgar Allan
Poe's words, "the glory that was Greece, the grandeur that was Rome!"
In the 18th and 19th centuries AD, reverence for classical antiquity
was much greater in
Europe and the
United States than it is today.
Respect for the ancients of
Greece and Rome affected politics,
philosophy, sculpture, literature, theatre, education, and even
architecture and sexuality.
In politics, the presence of a
Roman Emperor was felt to be desirable
long after the empire fell. This tendency reached its peak when
Charlemagne was crowned "Roman Emperor" in the year 800, an act which
led to the formation of the Holy Roman Empire. The notion that an
emperor is a monarch who outranks a mere king dates from this period.
In this political ideal, there would always be a Roman Empire, a state
whose jurisdiction extended to the entire civilized world.
Epic poetry in
Latin continued to be written and circulated well into
the 19th century.
John Milton and even
Arthur Rimbaud received their
first poetic educations in Latin. Genres like epic poetry, pastoral
verse, and the endless use of characters and themes from Greek
mythology left a deep mark on Western literature.
In architecture, there have been several Greek Revivals, (though while
apparently more inspired in retrospect by
Roman architecture than
Greek). Still, one needs only to look at
Washington, DC to see a city
filled with large marble buildings with façades made out to look like
Roman temples, with columns constructed in the classical orders of
In philosophy, the efforts of St
Thomas Aquinas were derived largely
from the thought of Aristotle, despite the intervening change in
religion from paganism to Christianity. Greek and Roman authorities
Galen formed the foundation of the practice of
medicine even longer than Greek thought prevailed in philosophy. In
the French theatre, tragedians such as
Molière and Racine wrote plays
on mythological or classical historical subjects and subjected them to
the strict rules of the classical unities derived from Aristotle's
Poetics. The desire to dance like a latter-day vision of how the
Greeks did it moved
Isadora Duncan to create her brand of
Renaissance was partly caused by the rediscovery of
Mediterranean in c. the 4th century BC. Phoenician cities are
labelled in yellow, Greek cities in red, and other cities in grey.
Early classical ancient history
776 BC: First Olympic Games, generally considered the beginning of
753 BC: Founding of Rome (traditional date)
Piye (once transliterated as Piankhi; d. 721 BC) was a
Kushite king who conquered
Egypt and founded the Twenty-fifth dynasty
Tiglath-Pileser III becomes the new king of Assyria. With
time he conquers neighboring countries and turns
Assyria into an
Spring and Autumn period
Spring and Autumn period begins in China; Zhou dynasty's power
is diminishing; the era of the Hundred Schools of Thought
c. 750 BC: Breach of the
Marib Dam in
Arabia Felix. Three
new dams were built by the Sabaeans.
c.615 BC: Rise of the Median Empire.
612 BC: Attributed date of the destruction of
Nineveh and subsequent
fall of Assyria.
600 BC: Sixteen Maha Janapadas ("Great Realms" or "Great Kingdoms")
emerge. A number of these Maha Janapadas are semi-democratic
c. 600 BC:
Pandyan kingdom in South India
599 BC: Mahavira, founder of
Jainism is born as a prince at
Kundalavana, who ruled
Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), founder of
Buddhism is born as a
prince of the
Shakya tribe, which ruled parts of Magadha, one of the
551 BC: Confucius, founder of Confucianism, is born
550 BC: The
Achaemenid Empire is founded by Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great overthrows Croesus King of Lydia
544 BC: Rise of
Magadha as the dominant power under Bimbisara.
539 BC: The Fall of the Babylonian Empire and liberation of
the Jews by Cyrus the Great
529 BC: Death of Cyrus the Great
Cambyses II of
Persia conquers Egypt
c. 512 BC:
Darius I (Darius the Great) of Persia, subjugates
eastern Thrace, Macedonia submits voluntarily, and annexes Libya,
Empire at largest extent
509 BC: Expulsion of the last King of Rome, founding of Roman Republic
Democracy instituted by
Cleisthenes at Athens
Eastern Hemisphere in 500 BC.
c. 500 BC: Panini standardizes the grammar and morphology of Sanskrit
in the text Ashtadhyayi. Panini's standardized
Sanskrit is known
as Classical Sanskrit.
Pingala develops system ranks of binary patterns.
490 BC: Greek city-states defeat Persian invasion at Battle of
Greek city states decisively defeat the Persians at the
Battle of Salamis
Battle of Salamis and the Battle of Plataea, ending once and for all
the Persian threat to Greece.
480 BC King Leonidas of Sparta died 10 August
Warring States period
Warring States period begins in
China as the Zhou king became
a mere figurehead;
China is annexed by regional warlords.
c. 469 BC: Birth of Socrates
465 BC: Murder of Xerxes I of Persia
460 BC: First
Peloponnesian War between
Athens and Sparta
449 BC: End of the Greco-Persian Wars. Macedonia,
Thrace and Ionia
gain independence from
447 BC: Building of the
Nanda dynasty comes to power.
404 BC: End of Peloponnesian War between the Greek city-states
399 BC: February 15—The Greek philosopher Socrates is sentenced
to death by Athenian authorities in Athens, condemned for impiety and
the corruption of youth. He refuses to flee into exile and is
sentenced to death by drinking hemlock.
c. 385 BC: The Greek philosopher Plato, a former disciple of
Socrates, founds a philosophical school at the Akademia, from land
purchased from Akademus, in Athens – later famously known as the
Academy. There, Plato, and the later heads of the school, called
scholarchs, taught many of the brilliant minds of the day, including
the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle
335 BC: The Greek philosopher Aristotle founds his philosophical
school – known then as the Lyceum (named because it was located
near the site of the Lyceum gymnasium in Athens) – and begins
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great defeats
Darius III of Persia
Darius III of Persia in the Battle
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great defeats Indian king Porus in the Battle of
the Hydaspes River.
Eastern Hemisphere in 323 BC.
323 BC: Death of
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great at Babylon
Chandragupta Maurya overthrows the Nanda
307 BC: The Greek philosopher
Epicurus founds his philosophical
school, the Garden of Epicurus, outside the walls of Athens.
Chandragupta Maurya seizes the satrapies of Paropanisadai
(Kabul), Aria (Herat), Arachosia (Qanadahar) and Gedrosia
(Baluchistan) from Seleucus I Nicator, the Macedonian satrap of
Babylonia, in return for 500 elephants.
c. 302 BC: Pandyan dynasty, Chola dynasty, and
Chera dynasty rule
separate areas in South India
Zeno of Citium
Zeno of Citium founds the philosophy of
Athens (the philosophy derives its namesake from the fact that
Zeno and his followers would regularly meet near the Stoa Poikile
("Painted Porch") of the Athenian agora.)
c. 252 BC:
Ashoka the Great
Ashoka the Great becomes the emperor of the Mauryan
c. 252 BC: Thục
Dynasty takes over Việt Nam (then Kingdom of Âu
c. 249 BC: Rise of Parthia (Ashkâniân), the third native
dynasty of ancient Persia
c. 233 BC: Death of
Ashoka the Great; Decline of the
221 BC: Construction of the
Great Wall begins.
c. 220 BC: Qin Shi Huang, ruler of the Qin dynasty, unifies
of Warring States period)
c. 220 BC: Simuka, founder of the
Satavahanas dynasty, rules area in
Kingdom of Nan Yueh
Kingdom of Nan Yueh is established by Tch'ao T'o (Trieu
208 BC: The
Xiongnu replaces the Mongolic Donghu as the dominant tribe
of the Mongolian steppe and then five years later defeats the Yuezhi
in Gansu, making a cup out of the skull of their leader.
c. 206 BC:
Liu Bang is proclaimed emperor and the
Han dynasty is
Scipio Africanus defeats
Hannibal at Battle of Zama
Eastern Hemisphere in 200 BC.
Artaxiad Dynasty in Armenia is founded
c. 184 BC:
Shunga Empire founded.
149 BC–146: Third and final Punic War; destruction of Carthage
Greece was destroyed by Rome and Roman authority
became supreme throughout Greece.
140 BC: The first system of imperial examinations was officially
China by the
Han dynasty emperor Han Wu Di.
c. 127 BC: Chang-Kien finds the western lands of civilisation and
trading opens on routes of the
111 BC: The Nam Viet Kingdom[a] (Triệu Dynasty) is destroyed by the
first Chinese domination of Viet Nam.
Eastern Hemisphere in 100 BC.
Tigranes the Great
Tigranes the Great reigns in Armenian empire.
53 BC: Led by General Surena, the Parthians decisively defeat a Roman
invasion at the Battle of Carrhae[b]
49 BC: Conflict between
Julius Caesar and
Pompey the Great
Pompey the Great lead to the
Roman Civil War.
Mid-classical ancient history
Julius Caesar murdered by
Marcus Brutus and others; the
end of the
Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.
27 BC: Octavian is proclaimed princeps (first citizen) by the Roman
Senate and adopts the title
Augustus (lit. "the august one").
6 BC: Earliest estimated date for birth of
Jesus of Nazareth
5 BC: Birth of
Jesus Christ (Ussher chronology)
World in 1.
9: Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, the Imperial Roman Army's bloodiest
14: Death of
Augustus (Octavian), ascension of his adopted son
Tiberius to the throne
29: Crucifixion of
Year of the four emperors
Year of the four emperors in Rome
70: Destruction of
Jerusalem by the armies of Titus.
World in 100.
Roman Empire at largest extent under
Kingdom of Champa
Kingdom of Champa in Central Việt Nam
Eastern Hemisphere in 200 AD.
3rd century: The
Empire established in the Malay
Three Kingdoms period begins in
China after the fall of Han
226: Fall of the
Parthian Empire and Rise of the Sassanian Empire
238: Defeat of
Gordian III (238–244),
Philip the Arab
Philip the Arab (244–249),
and Valerian (253–260), by Shapur I of Persia, and Valerian is
Emperor Wu established Jin dynasty providing a temporary unity of
China after the devastating
Three Kingdoms period.
Late classical ancient history
Diocletian splits the
Roman Empire into Eastern and
World in 300.
Edict of Milan
Edict of Milan legalized
Christianity throughout the Roman
Empire, and thus ended the previous state-sanctioned persecution of
Samudragupta becomes the emperor of the Gupta empire
378: Battle of Adrianople, Roman army under Eastern Roman Emperor
Valens is defeated by the Germanic tribes
Theodosius I outlaws all pagan religions in favour
Alaric I sacks Rome for the first time since 390 BC
Skandagupta repels an
Indo-Hephthalite attack on India.
476: Romulus Augustus, last Western
Roman Emperor is forced to
abdicate by Odoacer, a half
Hunnish and half
Scirian chieftain of the
Odoacer returns the imperial regalia to Eastern Roman
Emperor Zeno in
Constantinople in return for the title of dux of
Italy; traditionally, the most frequently cited date for the end of
Roman Empire (although the Eastern Roman Empire, based in
Constantinople, would still continue to exist until 1453)
529 The Eastern
Justinian I ordered the prominent
philosophical schools of antiquity throughout the Eastern Roman Empire
(including the famous Academy in Athens, among others) to close
down—allegedly, because Justinian frowned upon the pagan nature of
Classical ancient history end
The transition period from
Classical Antiquity to the Early Middle
Ages is known as Late Antiquity. Some key dates marking that
293: reforms of
Roman Emperor Diocletian
395: the division of
Roman Empire into the Western
Roman Empire and
Eastern Roman Empire
Eastern Hemisphere in 476 AD.
476: the fall of Western Roman Empire
529: closure of
Platonic Academy in
Athens by Byzantine Emperor
610: the rise of Islam
The beginning of the post-classical age (known generally as the Middle
Ages) is a period in the history of
Europe following the fall of the
Roman Empire spanning roughly five centuries from AD 500 to
1000. Aspects of continuity with the earlier classical period are
discussed in greater detail under the heading "Late Antiquity". Late
Antiquity is the transitional centuries from
Classical Antiquity to
Middle Ages in both mainland
Europe and the
generally from the end of the Roman Empire's Crisis of the 3rd century
(c. 284) to the Islamic conquests and the re-organization of the
Empire under Heraclius.
3300 – 750 BC
Sumer, Babylonia, Assyric Highlands
Dairy farming, textile, metal working, potter's wheel, sexagesimal
3000 – 500 BC
potter's wheel, Agriculture, dams, city planning, Mathematics, temple
builders, Astronomy, Astrology, Medicine, literature, Martial arts
3000 – 30 BC
Egyptian Pyramids, Mummification,
Decimal system, Solar calendar
3000 – 350 BC
Mud brick temple, pottery, Nubian pyramids, Solar calendar
2000 BC – 1200 AD
Mexico, Central America
Agriculture, Architecture, Astronomy, chemistry, cotton, drama,
dyeing, mathematics, medicine, physics, poetry, vigesimal system
2100 BC – 1 AD
Silk, Pottery, Chinaware, Metals, Great Wall, Paper
Agriculture, architecture, landscaping, postal service
2700 BC – 1500 BC (Cycladic and Minoan civilization), 1600 BC –
1100 BC (Mycenaean Greece), 800 BC (Ancient Greece)
Greece (Peloponnese, Epirus, Central Greece, Western Greece, Macedon),
Agriculture, winemaking, architecture poetry, drama, philosophy,
history, rhetoric, mathematics, political science, astronomy, physics,
chemistry, medicine, warfare
600 BC – 400 AD
Agriculture, Roman calendar, concrete
1325 AD – 1519 AD
Agriculture, smelting, metalworking
1300 AD – 1532 AD
Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile
Textile looms, agriculture,
Asia (Near East)
Main article: Ancient Near East
Ancient Near East
Ancient Near East is considered the cradle of civilization. It was
the first to practice intensive year-round agriculture; created the
first coherent writing system, invented the potter's wheel and then
the vehicular- and mill wheel, created the first centralized
governments, law codes and empires, as well as introducing social
stratification, slavery and organized warfare, and it laid the
foundation for the fields of astronomy and mathematics.
Mesopotamia is the site of some of the earliest known civilizations in
the world. Early settlement of the alluvial plain lasted from the
Ubaid period (late 6th millennium BC) through the
Uruk period (4th
millennium BC) and the Dynastic periods (3rd millennium BC) until the
Babylon in the early 2nd millennium BC. The surplus of
storable foodstuffs created by this economy allowed the population to
settle in one place instead of migrating after crops and herds. It
also allowed for a much greater population density, and in turn
required an extensive labor force and division of labor. This
organization led to the necessity of record keeping and the
development of writing (c. 3500 BC).
Babylonia was an
Amorite state in lower
Mesopotamia (modern southern
Babylon as its capital.
Babylonia emerged when Hammurabi
(fl. c. 1728–1686 BC, according to the short chronology) created an
empire out of the territories of the former kingdoms of
Amorites being ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Babylonia
adopted the written
Akkadian language for official use; they retained
Sumerian language for religious use, which by that time was no
longer a spoken language. The Akkadian and Sumerian cultures played a
major role in later Babylonian culture, and the region would remain an
important cultural center, even under outside rule. The earliest
mention of the city of
Babylon can be found in a tablet from the reign
of Sargon of Akkad, dating back to the 23rd century BC.
The Neo-Babylonian Empire, or Chaldea, was
Babylonia under the rule of
the 11th ("Chaldean") dynasty, from the revolt of
Nabopolassar in 626
BC until the invasion of
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great in 539 BC. Notably, it
included the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, who conquered the Kingdom of
Judah and Jerusalem.
Akkad was a city and its surrounding region in central Mesopotamia.
Akkad also became the capital of the Akkadian Empire. The city
was probably situated on the west bank of the Euphrates, between
Sippar and Kish (in present-day Iraq, about 50 km (31 mi)
southwest of the center of Baghdad). Despite an extensive search, the
precise site has never been found. Akkad reached the height of its
power between the 24th and 22nd centuries BC, following the conquests
of king Sargon of Akkad. Because of the policies of the Akkadian
Empire toward linguistic assimilation, Akkad also gave its name to the
predominant Semitic dialect: the Akkadian language, reflecting use of
akkadû ("in the language of Akkad") in the Old Babylonian period to
denote the Semitic version of a Sumerian text.
Assyria was originally (in the Middle Bronze Age) a region on the
Upper Tigris, named for its original capital, the ancient city of
Assur. Later, as a nation and empire that came to control all of the
Egypt and much of Anatolia, the term "Assyria
proper" referred to roughly the northern half of
southern half being Babylonia), with
Nineveh as its capital. The
Assyrian kings controlled a large kingdom at three different times in
history. These are called the Old (20th to 15th centuries BC), Middle
(15th to 10th centuries BC), and Neo-Assyrian (911–612 BC) kingdoms,
or periods, of which the last is the most well known and best
documented. Assyrians invented excavation to undermine city walls,
battering rams to knock down gates, as well as the concept of a corps
of engineers, who bridged rivers with pontoons or provided soldiers
with inflatable skins for swimming.
Mitanni was an Indo-Iranian empire in northern
c. 1500 BC. At the height of
Mitanni power, during the 14th century
BC, it encompassed what is today southeastern Turkey, northern Syria
and northern Iraq, centered around its capital, Washukanni, whose
precise location has not been determined by archaeologists.
For more details on this topic, see
Mesopotamia and the
Main article: Persia
Elam is the name of an ancient civilization located in what is now
southwest Iran. Archaeological evidence associated with
Elam has been
dated to before 5000 BC. According
to available written records, it is known to have existed from around
3200 BC – making it among the world's oldest historical
civilizations – and to have endured up until 539 BC. Its culture
played a crucial role in the Gutian Empire, especially during the
Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded it, when the Elamite language
remained among those in official use. The Elamite period is considered
a starting point for the history of Iran.
Medes were an ancient Iranian people. They had established their
own empire by the 6th century BC, having defeated the Neo-Assyrian
Empire with the Chaldeans. They overthrew
Urartu later on as well. The
Medes are credited with the foundation of the first Iranian empire,
the largest of its day until
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great established a unified
Iranian empire of the
Medes and Persian, often referred to as the
Achaemenid Persian Empire, by defeating his grandfather and overlord,
Astyages the king of Media.
Achaemenid Empire was the largest and most significant of the
Persian Empires, and followed the
Median Empire as the second great
empire of the Iranians. It is noted in western history as the foe of
Greek city states in the Greco-Persian Wars, for freeing the
Israelites from their Babylonian captivity, for its successful model
of a centralized bureaucratic administration, the Mausoleum of
Halicarnassus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), and for
Aramaic as the empire's official language. Because of the
Empire's vast extent and long endurance, Persian influence upon the
language, religion, architecture, philosophy, law and government of
nations around the world lasts to this day. At the height of its
Achaemenid dynasty encompassed approximately
8.0 million square kilometers, held the greatest percentage of
world population to date, stretched three continents (Europe,
Africa) and was territorially the largest empire of classical
Geographical extent of Iranian influence in the 1st century BC. The
Parthian Empire (mostly Western Iranian) is shown in red, other areas,
Scythia (mostly Eastern Iranian), in orange.
Parthia was an Iranian civilization situated in the northeastern part
of modern Iran. Their power was based on a combination of the
guerrilla warfare of a mounted nomadic tribe, with organizational
skills to build and administer a vast empire – even though it never
matched in power and extent the Persian empires that preceded and
followed it. The
Parthian Empire was led by the Arsacid dynasty, which
reunited and ruled over significant portions of the
Near East and
beyond, after defeating and disposing the
Hellenistic Seleucid Empire,
beginning in the late 3rd century BC. It was the third native dynasty
Iran (after the Median and the
Parthia had many wars with the
Roman Republic (and subsequently the
Roman Empire), which marked the start of what would be over 700 years
of frequent Roman-Persian Wars.
The Sassanid Empire, lasting the length of the
Late Antiquity period,
is considered to be one of Iran's most important and influential
historical periods. In many ways the Sassanid period witnessed the
highest achievements of Persian civilization and constituted the last
Empire before the Muslim conquest and the adoption of
Islam. During Sassanid times,
Persia influenced Roman
civilization considerably, and the Romans reserved for the
Sassanid Persians alone the status of equals. Sassanid cultural
influence extended far beyond the empire's territorial borders,
reaching as far as Western Europe, Africa, China, and India,
playing a role, for example, in the formation of both European and
Asiatic medieval art.
For more details on this topic, see Persian
Empire and the
The early history of the
Hittite empire is known through tablets that
may first have been written in the 17th century BC but survived only
as copies made in the 14th and 13th centuries BC. These tablets, known
collectively as the
Anitta text, begin by telling how
Kussara or Kussar (a small city-state yet to be identified by
archaeologists) conquered the neighbouring city of
However, the real subject of these tablets is Pithana's son Anitta,
who conquered several neighbouring cities, including
Assyrian inscriptions of
Shalmaneser I (c. 1270 BC) first mention
Uruartri as one of the states of Nairi – a loose confederation of
small kingdoms and tribal states in the
Armenian Highland from the
13th to 11th centuries BC. Uruartri itself was in the region around
Lake Van. The Nairi states were repeatedly subjected to attacks by the
Assyrians, especially under Tukulti-Ninurta I (c. 1240 BC),
Tiglath-Pileser I (c. 1100 BC), Ashur-bel-kala (c. 1070 BC),
Adad-nirari II (c. 900),
Tukulti-Ninurta II (c. 890), and
Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 BC).
The Kingdom of Armenia was an independent kingdom from 190 BC to 387
AD, and a client state of the Roman and Persian empires until 428.
Between 95 BC – 55 BC under the rule of King Tigranes the Great, the
kingdom of Armenia became a large and powerful empire stretching from
the Caspian to the
Mediterranean Seas. During this short time it was
considered to be the most powerful state in the Roman East.
Pre-Islamic Arabia and
Ancient history of Yemen
The history of
Pre-Islamic Arabia before the rise of
Islam in the 630s
is not known in great detail. Archaeological exploration in the
Arabian peninsula has been sparse; indigenous written sources are
limited to the many inscriptions and coins from southern Arabia.
Existing material consists primarily of written sources from other
traditions (such as Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, etc.) and
oral traditions later recorded by Islamic scholars.
The first known inscriptions of the
Kingdom of Hadhramaut
Kingdom of Hadhramaut are known
from the 8th century BC. It was first referenced by an outside
civilization in an Old Sabaic inscription of Karab'il Watar from the
early 7th century BC, in which the King of Hadramaut, Yada`'il, is
mentioned as being one of his allies.
Dilmun appears first in Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets dated to the
end of 4th millennium BC, found in the temple of goddess Inanna, in
the city of Uruk. The adjective
Dilmun refers to a type of axe and one
specific official; in addition, there are lists of rations of wool
issued to people connected with Dilmun.
Sabaeans were an ancient people speaking an Old South Arabian
language who lived in what is today Yemen, in south west Arabian
Peninsula; from 2000 BC to the 8th century BC. Some
lived in D'mt, located in northern
Ethiopia and Eritrea, due to their
hegemony over the Red Sea. They lasted from the early 2nd
millennium to the 1st century BC. In the 1st century BC it was
conquered by the Himyarites, but after the disintegration of the first
Himyarite empire of the Kings of Saba' and dhu-Raydan the Middle
Sabaean Kingdom reappeared in the early 2nd century. It was finally
conquered by the Himyarites in the late 3rd century.
Kingdom of Awsan
Kingdom of Awsan with a capital at
Hagar Yahirr in the
wadi Markha, to the south of the wadi Bayhan, is now marked by a tell
or artificial mound, which is locally named Hagar Asfal. Once it was
one of the most important small kingdoms of South Arabia. The city
seems to have been destroyed in the 7th century BC by the king and
mukarrib of Saba Karib'il Watar, according to a Sabaean text that
reports the victory in terms that attest to its significance for the
Himyar was a state in ancient
South Arabia dating from 110 BC. It
conquered neighbouring Saba (Sheba) in c. 25 BC,
Qataban in c. 200 AD
Hadramaut c. 300 AD. Its political fortunes relative to Saba
changed frequently until it finally conquered the Sabaean Kingdom
around 280 AD. It was the dominant state in
Arabia until 525 AD.
The economy was based on agriculture.
Foreign trade was based on the export of frankincense and myrrh. For
many years it was also the major intermediary linking East
Mediterranean world. This trade largely consisted of exporting
Africa to be sold in the Roman Empire. Ships from Himyar
regularly traveled the East African coast, and the state also exerted
a considerable amount of political control of the trading cities of
Nabataean origins remain obscure. On the similarity of sounds,
Jerome suggested a connection with the tribe
Nebaioth mentioned in
Genesis, but modern historians are cautious about an early Nabatean
Babylonian captivity that began in 586 BC opened a power
vacuum in Judah, and as Edomites moved into Judaean grazing lands,
Nabataean inscriptions began to be left in
Edomite territory (earlier
than 312 BC, when they were attacked at
Petra without success by
Antigonus I). The first definite appearance was in 312 BC, when
Hieronymus of Cardia, a Seleucid officer, mentioned the Nabateans in a
battle report. In 50 BC, the Greek historian
Diodorus Siculus cited
Hieronymus in his report, and added the following: "Just as the
Seleucids had tried to subdue them, so the Romans made several
attempts to get their hands on that lucrative trade."
Petra or Sela was the ancient capital of Edom; the Nabataeans must
have occupied the old
Edomite country, and succeeded to its commerce,
after the Edomites took advantage of the
Babylonian captivity to press
forward into southern Judaea. This migration, the date of which cannot
be determined, also made them masters of the shores of the Gulf of
Aqaba and the important harbor of Elath. Here, according to
Agatharchides, they were for a time very troublesome, as wreckers and
pirates, to the reopened commerce between
Egypt and the East, until
they were chastised by the Ptolemaic rulers of Alexandria.
Lakhmid Kingdom was founded by the Lakhum tribe that immigrated
Yemen in the 2nd century and ruled by the Banu Lakhm, hence the
name given it. It was formed of a group of
Arab Christians who lived
in Southern Iraq, and made al-Hirah their capital in (266). The
founder of the dynasty was 'Amr and the son Imru' al-Qais converted to
Christianity. Gradually the whole city converted to that faith. Imru'
al-Qais dreamt of a unified and independent
Arab kingdom and,
following that dream, he seized many cities in Arabia.
Ghassanids were a group of South Arabian Christian tribes that
emigrated in the early 3rd century from
Yemen to the
Jordan and the
Holy Land where they intermarried with
Hellenized Roman settlers and Greek-speaking Early Christian
communities. The Ghassanid emigration has been passed down in the rich
oral tradition of southern Syria. It is said that the
from the city of
Ma'rib in Yemen. There was a dam in this city,
however one year there was so much rain that the dam was carried away
by the ensuing flood. Thus the people there had to leave. The
inhabitants emigrated seeking to live in less arid lands and became
scattered far and wide. The proverb "They were scattered like the
people of Saba" refers to that exodus in history. The emigrants were
from the southern
Arab tribe of
Azd of the
Kahlan branch of Qahtani
Though the Ugaritic site is thought to have been inhabited earlier,
Ugarit was already important enough to be fortified with a
wall early on. The first written evidence mentioning the city comes
from the nearby city of Ebla, c. 1800 BC.
Ugarit passed into the
sphere of influence of Egypt, which deeply influenced its art.
Iron Age kingdom of
Israel (blue) and kingdom of Judah (yellow)
History of Ancient
Israel and Judah
Israel and Judah were related
Iron Age kingdoms of the ancient Levant
and had existed during the Iron Ages and the Neo-Babylonian, Persian
Hellenistic periods. The name
Israel first appears in the stele of
the Egyptian pharaoh
Merneptah c. 1209 BC, "
Israel is laid waste
and his seed is no more." This "Israel" was a cultural and
probably political entity of the central highlands, well enough
established to be perceived by the Egyptians as a possible challenge
to their hegemony, but an ethnic group rather than an organised
state; Archaeologist Paula McNutt says: "It is probably ...
Iron Age I [that] a population began to identify itself as
'Israelite'," differentiating itself from its neighbours via
prohibitions on intermarriage, an emphasis on family history and
genealogy, and religion.
Israel had emerged by the middle of the 9th century BC, when the
Shalmaneser III names "
Ahab the Israelite" among his
enemies at the battle of Qarqar (853). Judah emerged somewhat later
than Israel, probably during the 9th century BC, but the subject is
one of considerable controversy.
Israel came into increasing
conflict with the expanding neo-Assyrian empire, which first split its
territory into several smaller units and then destroyed its capital,
Samaria (722). A series of campaigns by the Neo-Babylonian Empire
between 597 and 582 led to the destruction of Judah.
Followed by the fall of
Babylon to the Persian empire, Jews were
allowed, by Cyrus the Great, to return to Judea. The Hasmonean Kingdom
(followed by the Maccabean revolt) had existed during the Hellenistic
period and then the
Herodian kingdom during the Roman period.
Phoenicia was an ancient civilization centered in the north of ancient
Canaan, with its heartland along the coastal regions of modern-day
Syria and Israel. Phoenician civilization was an enterprising
maritime trading culture that spread across the
the period of 1550 to 300 BC.
A written reference, Herodotus's account (written c. 440 BC) refers to
a memory from 800 years earlier, which may be subject to question in
the fullness of genetic results. (History, I:1). This is a legendary
introduction to Herodotus' brief retelling of some mythical
Hellene-Phoenician interactions. Though few modern archaeologists
would confuse this myth with history, a grain of truth may yet lie
Khafre's Pyramid (4th dynasty) and
Great Sphinx of Giza
Great Sphinx of Giza (c. 2500 BC or
Ancient Egypt and Outline of ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was a long-lived civilization geographically located in
north-eastern Africa. It was concentrated along the middle to lower
reaches of the
Nile River reaching its greatest extension during the
2nd millennium BC, which is referred to as the
New Kingdom period. It
reached broadly from the
Nile Delta in the north, as far south as
Jebel Barkal at the
Fourth Cataract of the Nile. Extensions to the
geographical range of ancient Egyptian civilization included, at
different times, areas of the southern Levant, the Eastern Desert and
Red Sea coastline, the
Sinai Peninsula and the Western Desert
(focused on the several oases).
Ancient Egypt developed over at least three and a half millennia. It
began with the incipient unification of
Nile Valley polities around
3500 BC and is conventionally thought to have ended in 30 BC when the
Roman Empire conquered and absorbed Ptolemaic
Egypt as a
province. (Though this last did not represent the first period of
foreign domination, the Roman period was to witness a marked, if
gradual transformation in the political and religious life of the Nile
Valley, effectively marking the termination of independent
The civilization of ancient
Egypt was based on a finely balanced
control of natural and human resources, characterised primarily by
controlled irrigation of the fertile
Nile Valley; the mineral
exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions; the early
development of an independent writing system and literature; the
organisation of collective projects; trade with surrounding regions in
east / central
Africa and the eastern Mediterranean; finally, military
ventures that exhibited strong characteristics of imperial hegemony
and territorial domination of neighbouring cultures at different
periods. Motivating and organizing these activities were a
socio-political and economic elite that achieved social consensus by
means of an elaborate system of religious belief under the figure of a
(semi)-divine ruler (usually male) from a succession of ruling
dynasties and which related to the larger world by means of
Kushite state was formed before a period of Egyptian incursion
into the area. The
Kushite civilization has also been referred to as
Nubia. The first cultures arose in
Sudan before the time of a unified
Egypt, and the most widespread is known as the Kerma civilization. It
is through Egyptian, Hebrew, Roman and Greek records that most of our
knowledge of Kush (Cush) comes.
It is also referred to as
Ethiopia in ancient Greek and Roman records.
Josephus and other classical writers, the
covered all of Africa, and some parts of
Europe at one time
or another. The Kushites are also famous for having buried their
monarchs along with all their courtiers in mass graves. The Kushites
also built burial mounds and pyramids, and shared some of the same
gods worshipped in Egypt, especially Amon and Isis.
Empire was an important trading nation in northeastern
Africa, growing from the proto-Aksumite period c. 4th century BC to
achieve prominence by the 1st century AD. Its ancient capital is found
in northern Ethiopia, the Kingdom used the name "Ethiopia" as early as
the 4th century. Aksum is mentioned in the 1st century AD
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea as an important market place for ivory,
which was exported throughout the ancient world, and states that the
ruler of Aksum in the 1st century AD was Zoscales, who, besides ruling
in Aksum also controlled two harbours on the Red Sea:
Massawa) and Avalites (Assab). He is also said to have been familiar
with Greek literature. It is also an alleged resting place of the
Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant and home of the Queen of Sheba. Aksum was also one
of the first major empires to convert to Christianity.
Land of Punt
The Land of Punt, also called Pwenet, or Pwene by the ancient
Egyptians, was a trading partner known for producing and exporting
gold, aromatic resins, African blackwood, ebony, ivory, slaves and
wild animals. Information about Punt has been found in ancient
Egyptian records of trade missions to this region. The exact location
of Punt remains a mystery. The mainstream view is that Punt was
located to the south-east of Egypt, most likely on the coast of the
Horn of Africa. The earliest recorded Egyptian expedition to Punt was
Sahure of the Fifth
Dynasty (25th century BC)
although gold from Punt is recorded as having been in
Egypt in the
time of king Khufu of the Fourth
Dynasty of Egypt. Subsequently,
there were more expeditions to Punt in the Sixth
Dynasty of Egypt, the
Eleventh dynasty of Egypt, the Twelfth dynasty of
Egypt and the
Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. In the Twelfth dynasty of Egypt, trade
with Punt was celebrated in popular literature in "Tale of the
Nok culture appeared in
Nigeria around 1000 BC and mysteriously
vanished around 200 AD. The civilization’s social system is thought
to have been highly advanced. The Nok civilization was considered to
be the earliest sub-Saharan producer of life-sized Terracotta which
have been discovered by archaeologists. A Nok sculpture resident
at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, portrays a sitting dignitary
wearing a "Shepherds Crook" on the right arm, and a "hinged flail" on
the left. These are symbols of authority associated with ancient
Egyptian pharaohs, and the god Osiris, which suggests that an ancient
Egyptian style of social structure, and perhaps religion, existed in
the area of modern
Nigeria during the late Pharonic period.
(Informational excerpt copied from
Nok culture articles)
Carthage was founded in 814 BC by Phoenician settlers from the city of
Tyre, bringing with them the city-god Melqart. Ancient Carthage
was an informal hegemony of Phoenician city-states throughout North
Africa and modern
Spain from 575 BC until 146 BC. It was more or less
under the control of the city-state of
Carthage after the fall of Tyre
to Babylonian forces. At the height of the city's influence, its
empire included most of the western Mediterranean. The empire was in a
constant state of struggle with the Roman Republic, which led to a
series of conflicts known as the Punic Wars. After the third and final
Carthage was destroyed then occupied by Roman forces.
Nearly all of the territory held by
Carthage fell into Roman hands.
Standing Buddha, Gandhara, 1st century AD.
History of South Asia,
History of India, and Ancient
The earliest evidence of human civilization in
South Asia is from the
Mehrgarh region (7000 BC to 3200 BC) of Pakistan. Located near the
Bolan Pass, to the west of the
Indus River valley and between the
present-day Pakistani cities of Quetta, Kalat and Sibi,
discovered in 1974 by an archaeological team directed by French
archaeologist Jean-François Jarrige, and was excavated continuously
between 1974 and 1986. The earliest settlement at Mehrgarh—in the
northeast corner of the 495 acres (2.00 km2) site—was a small
farming village dated between 7000 BC–5500 BC. Early Mehrgarh
residents lived in mud brick houses, stored their grain in granaries,
fashioned tools with local copper ore, and lined their large basket
containers with bitumen. They cultivated six-row barley, einkorn and
emmer wheat, jujubes and dates, and herded sheep, goats and cattle.
Residents of the later period (5500 BC to 2600 BC) put much effort
into crafts, including flint knapping, tanning, bead production, and
metal working. The site was occupied continuously until about 2600
In April 2006, it was announced in the scientific journal Nature that
the oldest evidence in human history for the drilling of teeth in vivo
(i.e. in a living person) was found in Mehrgarh.
Mehrgarh is sometimes
cited as the earliest known farming settlement in South Asia, based on
archaeological excavations from 1974 (Jarrige et al.). The earliest
evidence of settlement dates from 7000 BC. It is also cited for the
earliest evidence of pottery in South Asia. Archaeologists divide the
occupation at the site into several periods.
Mehrgarh is now seen as a
precursor to the Indus Valley Civilization.
Indus Valley Civilization
Main article: Indus Valley Civilization
A possible representation of a "yogi" or "proto-Shiva", 2600–1900
Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization (c. 3300–1700 BC, flourished
2600–1900 BC), abbreviated IVC, was an ancient civilization that
flourished in the Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra river valleys primarily in
what is now Pakistan, although settlements linked to this ancient
civilization have been found in eastern Afghanistan, and western
India. Minor scattered sites have been found as far away as
Turkmenistan. Another name for this civilization is the Harappan
Civilization, after the first of its cities to be excavated, Harappa
in the Pakistani province of Punjab. The IVC might have been known to
the Sumerians as the Meluhha, and other trade contacts may have
included Egypt, Africa, however the modern world discovered it only in
the 1920s as a result of archaeological excavations and rail road
building. Prominent historians of Ancient
India would include Ram
Sharan Sharma and Romila Thapar.
See also: Mahajanapadas, Magadha, and
The births of
Mahavira and Buddha in the 6th century BC mark the
beginning of well-recorded history in the region. Around the 5th
century BC, the ancient region of
Pakistan was invaded by the
Achaemenid Empire under Darius in 522 BC forming the easternmost
satraps of the Persian Empire. The provinces of Sindh and Panjab were
said to be the richest satraps of the Persian
Empire and contributed
many soldiers to various Persian expeditions. It is known that an
Indian contingent fought in Xerxes' army on his expedition to Greece.
Herodotus mentions that the Indus satrapy supplied cavalry and
chariots to the Persian army. He also mentions that the Indus people
were clad in armaments made of cotton, carried bows and arrows of cane
covered with iron.
Herodotus states that in 517 BC Darius sent an
expedition under Scylax to explore the Indus. Under Persian rule, much
irrigation and commerce flourished within the vast territory of the
Persian empire was followed by the invasion of the Greeks
under Alexander's army. Since Alexander was determined to reach the
eastern-most limits of the Persian
Empire he could not resist the
temptation to conquer
India (i.e. the Punjab region), which at this
time was parcelled out into small chieftain-ships, who were
feudatories of the Persian Empire. Alexander amalgamated the region
into the expanding Hellenic empire. The Rigveda, in Sanskrit,
goes back to about 1500 BC. The Indian literary tradition has an oral
history reaching down into the
Vedic period of the later 2nd
A political map of the Mauryan Empire, including notable cities, such
as the capital Pataliputra, and site of the Buddha's enlightenment.
India is usually taken to refer to the "golden age" of
classical Indian culture, as reflected in
beginning around 500 BC with the sixteen monarchies and 'republics'
known as the Mahajanapadas, stretched across the Indo-Gangetic plains
Afghanistan to Bangladesh. The largest of these
nations were Magadha, Kosala, Kuru and Gandhara. Notably, the great
Mahabharata are rooted in this classical period.
Amongst the sixteen Mahajanapadas, the kingdom of
Magadha rose to
prominence under a number of dynasties that peaked in power under the
Ashoka Maurya, one of India's most legendary and famous
emperors. During the reign of Ashoka, the four dynasties of Chola,
Pandya were ruling in the South, while the King Devanampiya
Tissa was controlling the Anuradhapura Kingdom (now Sri Lanka). These
kingdoms, while not part of Ashoka's empire, were in friendly terms
Maurya Empire. There was a strong alliance existed between
Devanampiya Tissa (250–210 BC) and
Ashoka of India, who sent
Arahat Mahinda, four monks, and a novice being sent to Sri Lanka.
Devanampiya Tissa at Mihintale. After this meeting,
Devanampiya Tissa embraced
Buddhism the order of monks was established
in the country. Devanampiya Tissa, guided by
Arahat Mahinda, took
steps to firmly establish
Buddhism in the country.
Satavahanas started out as feudatories to the Mauryan Empire, and
declared independence soon after the death of
Ashoka (232 BC). Other
notable ancient South Indian dynasties include the
Banavasi, western Ganga dynasty, Badami Chalukyas, Western Chalukyas,
Hoysalas, Kakatiya dynasty, Pallavas, Rashtrakutas of Manyaketha and
Middle kingdoms of India
Middle kingdoms of India and Gupta Empire
The period between AD 320–550 is known as the Classical Age, when
most of North
India was reunited under the
Gupta Empire (c. AD
320–550). This was a period of relative peace, law and order, and
extensive achievements in religion, education, mathematics, arts,
Sanskrit literature and drama. Grammar, composition, logic,
metaphysics, mathematics, medicine, and astronomy became increasingly
specialized and reached an advanced level. The
Gupta Empire was
weakened and ultimately ruined by the raids of Hunas (a branch of the
Hephthalites emanating from Central Asia). Under
Harsha (r. 606–47),
India was reunited briefly.
The educated speech at that time was Sanskrit, while the dialects of
the general population of northern
India were referred to as Prakrits.
The South Indian
Malabar Coast and the
Tamil people of the Sangam age
traded with the
Graeco-Roman world. They were in contact with the
Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Syrians, Jews, and the
The regions of South Asia, primarily present-day
Pakistan and India,
were estimated to have had the largest economy of the world between
the 1st and 15th centuries AD, controlling between one third and one
quarter of the world's wealth up to the time of the Mughals, from
whence it rapidly declined during British rule.
History of China
An oracle bone
Territories occupied by different dynasties and modern political
states throughout the history of China
The early part of the
Shang dynasty described in traditional histories
(c. 1600–1300) is commonly identified with archaeological finds at
Zhengzhou and Yanshi, south of the Yellow
Henan province. The last capital of the Shang (c.
1300–1046 BC) at
Anyang (also in Henan) has been directly confirmed
by the discovery there of the earliest Chinese texts, inscriptions of
divination records on the bones or shells of animals—the so-called
Towards the end of the 2nd millennium BC, the Shang were overrun by
Zhou dynasty from the Wei
River valley to the west. The death of
King Wu of Zhou
King Wu of Zhou soon after the conquest triggered a succession crisis
and civil war that was suppressed by Wu's brother, the Duke of Zhou,
acting as regent. The Zhou rulers at this time invoked the concept of
Mandate of Heaven
Mandate of Heaven to legitimize their rule, a concept that would
be influential for almost every successive dynasty. The Zhou initially
established their capital in the west near modern Xi'an, near the
Yellow River, but they would preside over a series of expansions into
River valley. This would be the first of many population
migrations from north to south in Chinese history.
Spring and Autumn
Main article: Spring and Autumn period
In the 8th century BC, power became decentralized during the Spring
and Autumn period, named after the influential Spring and Autumn
Annals. In this period, local military leaders used by the Zhou began
to assert their power and vie for hegemony. The situation was
aggravated by the invasion of other peoples from the northwest, such
as the Quanrong, forcing the Zhou to move their capital east to
Luoyang. This marks the second large phase of the Zhou dynasty: the
Eastern Zhou. In each of the hundreds of states that eventually arose,
local strongmen held most of the political power and continued their
subservience to the Zhou kings in name only. Local leaders for
instance started using royal titles for themselves. The Hundred
Schools of Thought of Chinese philosophy blossomed during this period,
and such influential intellectual movements as Confucianism, Taoism,
Mohism were founded, partly in response to the changing
political world. The
Spring and Autumn period
Spring and Autumn period is marked by a falling
apart of the central Zhou power.
China now consisted of hundreds of
states, some only as large as a village with a fort.
Main article: Warring States period
After further political consolidation, seven prominent states remained
by the end of the 5th century BC, and the years in which these few
states battled each other is known as the Warring States period.
Though there remained a nominal Zhou king until 256 BC, he was largely
a figurehead and held little power. As neighboring territories of
these warring states, including areas of modern
Sichuan and Liaoning,
were annexed, they were governed under the new local administrative
system of commandery and prefecture. This system had been in use since
Spring and Autumn period
Spring and Autumn period and parts can still be seen in the modern
system of Sheng and Xian (province and county). The final expansion in
this period began during the reign of Ying Zheng, the king of Qin. His
unification of the other six powers, and further annexations in the
modern regions of Zhejiang, Fujian,
Guangxi in 214 BC
enabled him to proclaim himself the First
Emperor (Qin Shi Huangdi).
History of Japan
Japan first appeared in written records in AD 57 with the following
mention in China's Book of the Later Han: "Across the ocean from
Luoyang are the people of Wa. Formed from more than one hundred
tribes, they come and pay tribute frequently." According to the
Emperor Jimmu, in 660 BC, unified the many peoples of the
Japanese archipelago and established order. The Book of Wei, written
in the 3rd century, noted the country was the unification of some 30
small tribes or states and ruled by a shaman queen named
Han dynasty and Wei dynasty, Chinese travelers to Kyūshū
recorded its inhabitants and claimed that they were the descendants of
the Grand Count (Tàibó) of the Wu. The inhabitants also show traits
of the pre-sinicized Wu people with tattooing, teeth-pulling and
Book of Wei records the physical descriptions which
are similar to ones on
Haniwa statues, such men with braided hair,
tattooing and women wearing large, single-piece clothing.
History of Korea
According to the
Samguk Yusa and other Korean medieval-era Folklore
Gojoseon was the first Korean kingdom.
founded in 2333 BC by the legendary ruler Dangun, said to be descended
from the Lord of Heaven. Then,
Korea was governed for Jizi and
the 40th generation descendant. According to Records of the
Korea was founded by Wiman from
China in 197 BC.
In 105 BC,
Korea and ruled for about 400
Three Kingdoms (Baekje, Goguryeo, and Silla) conquered other
successor states of
Gojoseon and came to dominate the peninsula and
much of Manchuria. The three kingdoms competed with each other both
economically and militarily;
Baekje were the more
powerful states for much of the three kingdoms era. At times more
powerful than the neighboring Sui dynasty,
Goguryeo was a regional
power that defeated massive Chinese invasions multiple times. As
one of the
Three Kingdoms of Korea,
Silla gradually extended across
Korea and eventually became the first state since
Gojoseon to cover
Korean peninsula in 676. In 698, former
Goguryeo general Dae
Balhae as the successor to Goguryeo.
Silla itself fell apart in the late 9th century, giving way to
the tumultuous Later
Three Kingdoms period (892–936), which ended
with the establishment of the Goryeo Dynasty. After the fall of
Balhae in 926 to the Khitan, much of its people were absorbed into
History of Vietnam
Around 3000 BC, the 15 different
Lạc Việt ethnic tribes lived
together in many areas with other inhabitants. Due to increasing needs
to control floods, fights against invaders, and culture and trade
exchanges, these tribes living near each other tended to gather
together and integrate into a larger mixed group. Among these Lac Viet
tribes was the Van Lang, which was the most powerful tribe. The leader
of this tribe later joined all the tribes together to found the Hồng
Dynasty in 2897 BC. He became the first in a line of earliest
Vietnamese kings, collectively known as the Hùng kings (Hùng
Vương). The Hùng kings called the country, which was then located
on the Red
River delta in present-day northern Vietnam, Văn Lang. The
Văn Lang were referred to as the Lạc Việt. The next
generations followed in their father's footsteps and kept this
appellation. Based on historical documents, researchers correlatively
delineated the location of
Văn Lang Nation to the present day regions
of North and north of Central Vietnam, as well as the south of
present-day Kwangsi (China).
Đông Sơn culture
Đông Sơn culture was a prehistoric
Bronze Age culture that was
centered at the Red
River Valley of northern Vietnam. Its influence
flourished to other parts of Southeast Asia, including the
Indo-Malayan Archipelago from about 2000 BC to 200 AD. The theory
based on the assumption that bronze casting in eastern
in northern China; however, this idea has been discredited by
archaeological discoveries in north-eastern Thailand in the 1970s. In
the words of one scholar, "Bronze casting began in
Southeast Asia and
was later borrowed by the Chinese, not vice versa as the Chinese
scholars have always claimed. Evidence of early kingdoms of Vietnam
other than the
Đông Sơn culture
Đông Sơn culture in Northern
Vietnam was found in
Cổ Loa, the ancient city situated within present-day Hà Nội.
History of Mongolia
North-western Mongolia was Turkic while south-western Mongolia had
come under Indo-European (Tocharian and Scythian) influence. In
antiquity, the eastern portions of both Inner and
Outer Mongolia were
inhabited by Mongolic peoples descended from the Donghu people,
including the Xianbei, Wuhuan, Rouran, Tuoba, Murong, Shiwei, Kumo Xi
and Khitan. These were Tengriist horse-riding pastoralist kingdoms
that had close contact with the Chinese. The Donghu are first
Sima Qian as already existing in
Inner Mongolia north of
the state of Yan in 699–632 BC. The Mongolic-speaking Xianbei (208
BC-234 AD) originally formed a part of the Donghu confederation, but
existed even before that time, as evidenced by a mention in the Guoyu
"晉語八" section which states that during the reign of King Cheng
of Zhou (reigned 1042–1021 BC) the Xianbei came to participate at a
meeting of Zhou subject-lords at Qiyang (岐阳) (now Qishan County)
but were only allowed to perform the fire ceremony under the
supervision of Chu (楚), since they were not vassals by covenant
(诸侯). As a nomadic confederation composed of the Xianbei and
Wuhuan, the Donghu were prosperous in the 4th century BC, forcing
surrounding tribes to pay tribute and constantly harassing the State
of Zhao (325 BC, during the early years of the reign of Wuling) and
the State of Yan (in 304 BC General Qin Kai was given as a hostage to
In 208 BC
Xiongnu emperor Modu Chanyu, in his first major military
campaign, defeated the formerly superior Donghu, who split into the
Xianbei and Wuhuan. The Xianbei fled east all the way to Liaodong. In
49 AD the Xianbei ruler Bianhe attacked the
Xiongnu and killed 2000
people after having received generous gifts from
Emperor Guangwu of
Han. In 54 AD the Xianbei rulers Yuchoupen and Mantu presented
themselves to the Han emperor and received the titles of wang and gou.
Until 93 AD the Xianbei were quietly protecting the Chinese border
Xiongnu attacks and received ample rewards. From 93 AD
the Xianbei began to occupy the lands of the Xiongnu. 100,000 Xiongnu
families changed their name to Xianbei. In 97 AD Feijuxian in Liaodong
was attacked by the Xianbei, and the governor Qi Sen was dismissed for
inaction. Other Xianbei rulers who were active before the rise of the
Xianbei emperor Tanshihuai (141–181) were Yanzhiyang, Lianxu and
Cizhiqian. The Xianbei gave rise to different Mongolic branches, for
Rouran (330–555), Khitan (388–1218) and Shiwei
(444–present day). The Khitans developed the
Khitan scripts in
920–925 AD. The
Rouran king Shelun was the first major leader of the
steppes to adopt (in 402 AD) the title of Khagan (可汗) or Qiudoufa
Khan (丘豆伐可汗) (which was originally a title used by Xianbei
The Mongols of Genghis Khan were the Menggu sub-tribe of the Shiwei
Xianbei. The first surviving Mongolian text is the Stele of
Yisüngge (ru), a report on sports in
Mongolian script on stone,
that is most often dated at the verge of 1224 and 1225. Other
early sources are written in Mongolian, Phagspa (decrets), Chinese
(the Secret history), Arabic (dictionaries) and a few other western
Main article: Huns
Huns left practically no written records. There is no record of
what happened between the time they left Mongolian Plateau and arrived
Europe 150 years later. The last mention of the northern Xiongnu
was their defeat by the Chinese in 151 at the lake of Barkol,
after which they fled to the western steppe at
Kangju (centered on the
city of Turkistan in Kazakhstan). Chinese records between the 3rd and
4th centuries suggest that a small tribe called Yueban, remnants of
northern Xiongnu, was distributed about the steppe of Kazakhstan.
Further information: Pre-Columbian, New World, and
History of the
In pre-Columbian times, several large, centralized ancient
civilizations developed in the Western Hemisphere, both in
Mesoamerica and western South America.
South America has the largest ancient
civilization register, spanning 4,500 years from Norte chico to the
latest civilization, the
Further information: Mesoamerica
Mesoamerican ancient civilizations included the Olmecs and Mayans.
Between 2000 and 300 BC, complex cultures began to form and many
matured into advanced Mesoamerican civilizations such as the: Olmec,
Izapa, Teotihuacan, Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec, Huastec, Purépecha,
"Toltec" and Aztec, which flourished for nearly 4,000 years before the
first contact with Europeans. These civilizations' progress included
pyramid-temples, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and theology.
The Zapotec emerged around 1500 years BC. They left behind the great
city Monte Alban. Their writing system had been thought to have
influenced the Olmecs but, with recent evidence, the
Olmec may have
been the first civilization in the area to develop a true writing
system independently. At the present time, there is some debate as to
whether or not
Olmec symbols, dated to 650 BC, are actually a form of
writing preceding the oldest Zapotec writing dated to about 500
Olmec symbols found in 2002 and 2006 date to 650 BC and 900
BC respectively, preceding the oldest Zapotec writing.
Olmec symbols found in 2006, dating to 900 BC, are known as the
The earliest Mayan inscriptions found which are identifiably Maya date
to the 3rd century BC in San Bartolo, Guatemala.
Main article: Classical Antiquity
Classical antiquity by region
Africa · Anatolia · Balkans · Britain ·
Egypt · Gaul · Greece · Hispania · Italy
The history of the
Etruscans can be traced relatively accurately,
based on the examination of burial sites, artifacts, and writing.
Etruscans culture that is identifiably and certainly Etruscan
Italy in earnest by 800 BC approximately over the range
of the preceding
Villanovan culture. The latter gave way in
the 7th century to a culture that was influenced by Greek traders and
Greek neighbors in Magna Graecia, the
Hellenic civilization of
From the descendants of the
Villanovan people in
Etruria in central
Italy, a separate Etruscan culture emerged in the beginning of the 7th
century BC, evidenced by around 7,000 inscriptions in an alphabet
similar to that of Euboean Greek, in the non-Indo-European Etruscan
language. The burial tombs, some of which had been fabulously
decorated, promotes the idea of an aristocratic city-state, with
centralized power structures maintaining order and constructing public
works, such as irrigation networks, roads, and town defenses.
Main article: Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is the period in
Greek history lasting for close to a
millennium, until the rise of Christianity. It is considered by most
historians to be the foundational culture of Western Civilization.
Greek culture was a powerful influence in the Roman Empire, which
carried a version of it to many parts of Europe.
The earliest known human settlements in
Greece were on the island of
Crete, more than 9,000 years ago, though there is evidence of tool use
on the island going back over 100,000 years. The earliest
evidence of a civilisation in ancient
Greece is that of the Minoans on
Crete, dating as far back as 3600 BC. On the mainland, the Mycenaean
civilisation rose to prominence around 1600 BC, superseded the Minoan
civilisation on Crete, and lasted until about 1100 BC, leading to a
period known as the Greek Dark Ages.
The Archaic Period in
Greece is generally considered to have lasted
from around the eighth century BC to the invasion by Xerxes in 480 BC.
This period saw the expansion of the Greek world around the
Mediterranean, with the founding of Greek city-states as far afield as
Sicily in the West and the Black sea in the East. Politically,
the Archaic period in
Greece saw the collapse of the power of the old
aristocracies, with democratic reforms in
Athens and the
development of Sparta's unique constitution. The end of the Archaic
period also saw the rise of Athens, which would come to be a dominant
power in the Classical period, after the reforms of
Solon and the
tyranny of Pisistratus.
The Classical Greek world was dominated throughout the fifth century
BC by the major powers of
Athens and Sparta. Through the Delian
Athens was able to convert Pan-hellenist sentiment and fear of
the Persian threat into a powerful empire, and this, along with the
conflict between Sparta and
Athens culminating in the Peloponnesian
war, was the major political development of the first part of the
The period in
Greek history from the death of Alexander the Great
until the rise of the Roman empire and its conquest of
Egypt in 30 BC
is known as the
Hellenistic period. The name derives from the Greek
word Hellenistes ("the Greek speaking ones"), and describes the spread
of Greek culture into the non-Greek world following the conquests of
Alexander and the rise of his successors.
Following the Battle of
Corinth in 146 BC,
Greece came under Roman
rule, ruled from the province of Macedonia. In 27 BC, Augustus
organised the Greek peninsula into the province of Achaea. Greece
remained under Roman control until the break up of the Roman empire,
in which it remained part of the Eastern Empire. Much of Greece
remained under Byzantine control until the end of the Byzantine
For more details, see the articles in the category of Ancient Greek
Timelapse of area under Roman control.
Main article: Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew out of the city-state of
Rome, originating as a small agricultural community founded on the
Italian Peninsula in the 9th century BC. In its twelve centuries of
existence, Roman civilization shifted from a monarchy to an oligarchic
republic to an increasingly autocratic empire.
Roman civilization is often grouped into "classical antiquity" with
ancient Greece, a civilization that inspired much of the culture of
Ancient Rome contributed greatly to the development of
law, war, art, literature, architecture, and language in the Western
world, and its history continues to have a major influence on the
world today. The Roman civilization came to dominate
Europe and the
Mediterranean region through conquest and assimilation.
Throughout the territory under the control of ancient Rome,
residential architecture ranged from very modest houses to country
villas. A number of Roman founded cities had monumental structures.
Many contained fountains with fresh drinking-water supplied by
hundreds of miles of aqueducts, theatres, gymnasiums, bath complexes
sometime with libraries and shops, marketplaces, and occasionally
However, a number of factors led to the eventual decline of the Roman
Empire. The western half of the empire, including Hispania, Gaul, and
Italy, eventually broke into independent kingdoms in the 5th century;
the Eastern Roman Empire, governed from Constantinople, is referred to
as the Byzantine
Empire after AD 476, the traditional date for the
"fall of Rome" and subsequent onset of the Middle Ages.
Further information: Culture of ancient Rome
Main article: Late Antiquity
Roman Empire underwent considerable social, cultural and
organizational change starting with reign of Diocletian, who began the
custom of splitting the
Empire into Eastern and Western halves ruled
by multiple emperors. Beginning with
Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great the Empire
was Christianized, and a new capital founded at Constantinople.
Germanic tribes disrupted Roman rule from the late 4th
century onwards, culminating in the eventual collapse of the
the West in 476, replaced by the so-called barbarian kingdoms. The
resultant cultural fusion of Greco-Roman, Germanic and Christian
traditions formed the cultural foundations of Europe.
Main article: Germanic peoples
Map of the Nordic
Bronze Age culture, around 1200 BC.
The expansion of the
Germanic tribes 750 BC – AD 1 (after
the Penguin Atlas of World
Settlements before 750 BC
New settlements by 500 BC
New settlements by 250 BC
New settlements by AD 1
Germanic peoples to Britain from what is now northern
Germany and southern
Scandinavia is attested from the 5th century
(e.g. Undley bracteate). Based on Bede's Historia ecclesiastica
gentis Anglorum, the intruding population is traditionally divided
into Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, but their composition was likely less
clear-cut and may also have included ancient Frisians and Franks. The
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle contains text that may be the first recorded
indications of the movement of these
Germanic Tribes to Britain.
Jutes were noted to be a confederation in
Geographia written by
Ptolemy in around AD 150.
Anglo-Saxon is the term usually used to describe the peoples living in
the south and east of
Great Britain from the early 5th century
AD. Benedictine monk
Bede identified them as the descendants of
three Germanic tribes: the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes, from the
Jutland peninsula and
Lower Saxony (German: Niedersachsen, Germany).
Angles may have come from Angeln, and
Bede wrote their nation came
to Britain, leaving their land empty. They spoke closely related
Germanic dialects. The Anglo-
Saxons knew themselves as the "Englisc,"
from which the word "English" derives.
Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in
Iron Age Europe.
Proto-Celtic culture formed in the Early
Iron Age in Central Europe
(Hallstatt period, named for the site in present-day Austria). By the
Iron Age (La Tène period),
Celts had expanded over wide range
of lands: as far west as
Ireland and the Iberian Peninsula, as far
Galatia (central Anatolia), and as far north as Scotland.
By the early centuries AD, following the expansion of the Roman Empire
and the Great Migrations of Germanic peoples, Celtic culture had
become restricted to the
British Isles (Insular Celtic), with the
Continental Celtic languages extinct by the mid-1st millennium AD.
Viking refers to a member of the Norse (Scandinavian) peoples, famous
as explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates, who raided and
colonized wide areas of
Europe beginning in the late 8th. These
Norsemen used their famed longships to travel. The
Viking Age forms a
major part of Scandinavian history, with a minor, yet significant part
in European history.
Further information: Anglo-Saxons, Celts, Viking, Norsemen, Viking
Age, and Barbarian
Religion and philosophy
Main articles: Axial age,
History of philosophy, Development of
History of religion
Further information: Axial Age,
Religions of the Ancient Near East,
Ancient Egyptian religion, Historical Vedic religion, Ancient Roman
religion, Ancient Greek religion, Paganism,
Religions of the Ancient
Near East, Ancient Egyptian religion, Historical Vedic religion, Greek
polytheism, Roman polytheism, Celtic polytheism, Confucianism, Taoism,
History of Buddhism,
History of Hinduism,
Hellenistic philosophy, Roman imperial cult, Early Christianity, and
Decline of Greco-Roman polytheism
New philosophies and religions arose in both east and west,
particularly about the 6th century BC. Over time, a great variety of
religions developed around the world, with some of the earliest major
ones being Hinduism, Buddhism, and
Jainism in India, and
Zoroastrianism in Persia. The Abrahamic religions trace their origin
to Judaism, around 1800 BC.
Indian philosophy is a fusion of two ancient traditions:
Sramana tradition and Vedic tradition.
Indian philosophy begins with
Vedas where questions related to laws of nature, the origin of the
universe and the place of man in it are asked.
Jainism and Buddhism
are continuation of the
Sramana school of thought. The Sramanas
cultivated a pessimistic world view of the samsara as full of
suffering and advocated renunciation and austerities. They laid stress
on philosophical concepts like Ahimsa, Karma, Jnana, Samsara and
Moksa. While there are ancient relations between the Indian
the Iranian Avesta, the two main families of the Indo-Iranian
philosophical traditions were characterized by fundamental differences
in their implications for the human being's position in society and
their view on the role of man in the universe.
In the east, three schools of thought were to dominate Chinese
thinking until the modern day. These were Taoism, Legalism and
Confucianism. The Confucian tradition, which would attain dominance,
looked for political morality not to the force of law but to the power
and example of tradition.
Confucianism would later spread into the
Korean peninsula and Goguryeo and toward Japan.
In the west, the Greek philosophical tradition, represented by
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, was diffused throughout
Europe and the
Middle East in the 4th century BC by the conquests of Alexander III of
Macedon, more commonly known as Alexander the Great. After the Bronze
Iron Age religions formed, the rise and spread of Christianity
through the Roman world marked the end of
Hellenistic philosophy and
ushered in the beginnings of Medieval philosophy.
Science and technology
Main article: Ancient technology
History of science,
History of mathematics, and
History of philosophy
In the history of technology and ancient science during the growth of
the ancient civilizations, ancient technological advances were
produced in engineering. These advances stimulated other societies to
adopt new ways of living and governance.
The characteristics of
Ancient Egyptian technology
Ancient Egyptian technology are indicated by a
set of artifacts and customs that lasted for thousands of years. The
Egyptians invented and used many basic machines, such as the ramp and
the lever, to aid construction processes. The Egyptians also played an
important role in developing
Mediterranean maritime technology
including ships and lighthouses.
The history of science and technology in
India dates back to ancient
times. The Indus Valley civilization yields evidence of hydrography,
metrology and sewage collection and disposal being practiced by its
inhabitants. Among the fields of science and technology pursued in
India were Ayurveda, metallurgy, astronomy and mathematics. Some
ancient inventions include plastic surgery, cataract surgery,
Hindu-Arabic numeral system
Hindu-Arabic numeral system and Wootz steel.
The history of science and technology in
China show significant
advances in science, technology, mathematics, and astronomy. The first
recorded observations of comets and supernovae were made in China.
Traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and herbal medicine were
Ancient Greek technology
Ancient Greek technology developed at an unprecedented speed during
the 5th century BC, continuing up to and including the Roman period,
and beyond. Inventions that are credited to the ancient
Greeks such as
the gear, screw, bronze casting techniques, water clock, water organ,
torsion catapult and the use of steam to operate some experimental
machines and toys. Many of these inventions occurred late in the Greek
period, often inspired by the need to improve weapons and tactics in
Roman technology is the engineering practice which supported
Roman civilization and made the expansion of Roman commerce and Roman
military possible over nearly a thousand years. The
Roman Empire had
the most advanced set of technology of their time, some of which may
have been lost during the turbulent eras of
Late Antiquity and the
Early Middle Ages. Roman technological feats of many different areas,
like civil engineering, construction materials, transport technology,
and some inventions such as the mechanical reaper went unmatched until
the 19th century.
Qanats which likely emerged on the Iranian plateau and possibly also
Arabian peninsula sometime in the early 1st millennium BC
spread from there slowly west- and eastward.
Main article: Ancient maritime history
The history of ancient navigation began in earnest when men took to
the sea in planked boats and ships propelled by sails hung on masts,
like the Ancient Egyptian
Khufu ship from the mid-3rd millennium BC.
According to the Greek historian Herodotus,
Necho II sent out an
expedition of Phoenicians, which in three years sailed from the Red
Africa to the mouth of the Nile. Many current historians
tend to believe
Herodotus on this point, even though
was in disbelief that the
Phoenicians had accomplished the act.
Hannu was an ancient Egyptian explorer (around 2750 BC) and the first
explorer of whom there is any knowledge. He made the first recorded
exploring expedition, writing his account of his exploration in stone.
Hannu travelled along the
Red Sea to Punt, and sailed to what is now
part of eastern
Ethiopia and Somalia. He returned to
Egypt with great
treasures, including precious myrrh, metal and wood.
Main article: Ancient warfare
Ancient warfare is war as conducted from the beginnings of recorded
history to the end of the ancient period. In Europe, the end of
antiquity is often equated with the fall of Rome in 476. In China, it
can also be seen as ending in the 5th century, with the growing role
of mounted warriors needed to counter the ever-growing threat from the
The difference between prehistoric warfare and ancient warfare is less
one of technology than of organization. The development of first
city-states, and then empires, allowed warfare to change dramatically.
Beginning in Mesopotamia, states produced sufficient agricultural
surplus that full-time ruling elites and military commanders could
emerge. While the bulk of military forces were still farmers, the
society could support having them campaigning rather than working the
land for a portion of each year. Thus, organized armies developed for
the first time.
These new armies could help states grow in size and became
increasingly centralized, and the first empire, that of the Sumerians,
formed in Mesopotamia. Early ancient armies continued to primarily use
bows and spears, the same weapons that had been developed in
prehistoric times for hunting. Early armies in
Egypt and China
followed a similar pattern of using massed infantry armed with bows
Artwork and music
Ancient Iranians attached great importance to music and poetry.
7th-century silver plate. The British Museum.
Ancient art history, Ancient music, and Ancient art
Ancient music is music that developed in literate cultures, replacing
Ancient music refers to the various musical systems
that were developed across various geographical regions such as
Persia, India, China, Greece, Rome,
Mesopotamia (see music
of Mesopotamia, music of ancient Greece, music of ancient Rome, Music
Ancient music is designated by the characterization of the
basic audible tones and scales. It may have been transmitted through
oral or written systems. Arts of the ancient world refers to the many
types of art that were in the cultures of ancient societies, such as
those of ancient China, Egypt, Greece, India, Persia,
Classical Civilisation portal
Outline of ancient history
Outline of ancient China
Outline of ancient Egypt
Outline of ancient India
Outline of classical studies
Outline of ancient Greece
Outline of ancient Rome
List of ancient dishes
List of ancient dishes and foods
List of historians, inclusive of most major historians
List of history journals#Classical
Timeline of ancient history
^ In the modern period, roughly the area called Canton and Cochin
^ Crassus and his son were killed during the battle and almost all of
Roman army were killed or captured. even the golden aquilae (legionary
battle standards) was captured by Parthian's army (It was first and
last time that aquilae was captured by Roman's enemy).
^ WordNet Search – 3.0, "History" Archived 2005-09-17 at the Wayback
^ see Jemdet Nasr period, Kish tablet; see also The Origin and
Development of the
Cuneiform System of Writing, Samuel Noah Kramer,
Thirty Nine Firsts In Recorded History, pp 381–383
^ Clare, I. S. (1906). Library of universal history: containing a
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history, as we have already seen, ended with the fall of the Western
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^ United Center for Research and Training in History. (1973).
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Middle Ages, is the fall of the Western Roman Empire.)
^ Hadas, Moses (1950). A
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^ Robinson, C. A. (1951).
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^ Breasted, J. H. (1916). Ancient times, a history of the early world:
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History of India from 600 B.C. to the
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^ Hoernle, A. F. R., & Stark, H.A. (1906). A
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^ Foster, S. (2007). Adventure Guide. China. Hunter travel guides.
Edison, NJ: Hunter Publishing. p. 6-7 (cf., "Qin is perceived as
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^ Gernet, J. (1996). A
History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
^ "Primary, secondary and tertiary sources". Lib.umd.edu. 2008-05-23.
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^ "Primary, secondary and tertiary sources". Archived from the
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^ Oscar Handlin et al., Harvard Guide to American
History (1954) p.
^ Petrie, W. M. F. (1972). Methods & aims in archaeology. New
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^ Gamble, C. (2000).
Archaeology the basics. London: Routledge.
^ Wheeler, J. R. (1908).
Archaeology [a lecture delivered at Columbia
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^ Barton, G. A. (1900).
Archaeology and the Bible. Green fund book,
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^ Watkin, David (2005). A
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