A beautiful collection of images of Europe in ancient times and today
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history in the Old World until the Early Middle Ages in Europe.
The span of recorded history altogether is roughly 5,000 years, with Cuneiform script emerging from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC being the oldest form of writing discovered so far. This is the beginning of history, as opposed to prehistory, according to the definition used by most historians.
The term classical antiquity is often used to refer to ancient history since the beginning of recorded Greek history in about 776 BC (First Olympiad). This coincides, roughly, with the traditional date of the founding of Rome in 753 BC, the beginning of the history of ancient Rome. Although the ending date of ancient history is disputed, Western scholars use the fall of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476, or the death of the emperor Justinian I, or the coming of Islam and the rise of Charlemagne as the end of ancient European history.