Difference Between Ancient, Medieval and Modern History

By Shivank Goel|Updated : September 21st, 2022

The Main Difference Between Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History lies in its timeline and the significant historical events that have shaped today's modern world.

Difference between Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History PDF

This article talks about the major differences between the phases of history. It also covers Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History briefly with relevant factoids. Let's take a closer look at how the world we live in today came into being.

Differences between Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History

The table below discusses the important differences between the phases of history that shall serve as a great way of recapitulation.

Basis

Ancient History

Medieval History

Modern History

Timeline

This period extends for a total of 5000 years, beginning from 6,000 BCE to 650 CE.

This period lasted from the 5th century to the 15th century.

Modern age history begins from the 15th century and extends till the late 18th century.

Characteristic events

Beginning of the Iron Age, Indus Valley Civilization, Gupta Empire, and Roman Empire.

Dark Ages, Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Renaissance and colonization.

Events that changed history

The rise and fall of the Indus Valley civilization and the growth of the Greek Kingdom.

The fall of the Roman empire.

The Industrial Revolution, territorial expansion, colonization, and international trade.

Population

The population was the least during this time, around 209 million at the end of ancient history.

The world population gradually began to rise and was believed to be around 461 million during the 15th century.

The population is recorded to have risen to around 7.8 billion.

Ancient History

Ancient history refers to the earliest records of human settlements and describes the time period between 6,000 BCE and 650 CE, although the stretch of years is debatable among scholars and historians. Some of the landmark events from this era include the beginning of the Iron Age, the Roman Empire, and the Gupta Empire.

Medieval History

Medieval history refers to the time period extending from about 500 to 14001500 CE. It is also known as the Middle Ages and has three divisions early, central or high, and late middle age. The first reference to the term Middle Ages is found in the works of 15th- century scholars. The Middle Ages was a time of reorganization of society's economic, political, social, and cultural sections. It also marks a time of urban and agricultural growth.

The beginning and the end of the Middle Ages are questionable. Some historians define the period as beginning between (c. 250c. 750 CE) and entering into the 10th century or later. Some scholars include the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation into a single timeline that ends in the second half of the 16th century.

Modern History

Modern history is used to describe the time period extending from the late 15th century to the beginning of the 18th century. It refers to an age of unparalleled human evolution, the fast-paced Industrial Revolution, the colonization of Africa, Asia, and North America, continental expansion, and international trade.

Timelines of modern history are quoted differently based on region. Some sources also divide modern history into Early, Late, and Contemporary or Present modern history that covers the two major World Wars and the current times.

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FAQs on Difference Between Ancient, Medieval and Modern History

  • The Difference Between Ancient Medieval and Modern History periods lies in their varied culture, lifestyle, living conditions, archaeological structure, literature, etc.

  • Human history is commonly divided into three main eras ancient (6,000 BCE 650 CE), Medieval (5th century to the 15th century), and Modern History (15th century to late 18th century). The timelines are debatable among scholars.

  • History is divided into ancient, medieval and modern in an attempt to present the characteristics of a time, and its central features as they appear to us. Therefore, the terms used to periodize—that is, to distinguish across periods—become significant. They represent our preconceptions of the past.

  • Learning about the difference helps us understand people, societies, culture, diversity, etc. We learn to study and analyze patterns of past events that can impact current events.

  • James Mill was a Scottish economist and politician who is responsible for dividing Indian history into three periods namely Hindu, Muslim and British.

  • The three main differences are in their timeline, cultural and social events, and human evolution.

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