Difference between Ancient, Medieval and Modern History

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The difference between Ancient, Medieval and Modern History lies in its timeline and the significant historical events shaping today’s modern world. The Difference Between Ancient Medieval and Modern History can be identified based on Timeline, characteristics, events, population, etc. Ancient History is the period where the earliest discovered human territories were seen, roughly around 6000 BC. Medieval History, also known as post-old-style History, is stated to have begun around 500 AD.

Difference Between Ancient, Medieval and Modern History PDF

Modern History covers the time of extra-mainland evolutions to the present day. This article briefly covers Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History with relevant factoids, including the time period of ancient, medieval and modern history of India. Let’s take a closer look at how the world we live in today came into being. This page talks about the principal difference between Ancient, Medieval and Modern History or the phases of history.

Difference 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. Read about the basic disparity between modern, ancient and medieval history.

Ancient, Medieval and Modern History

Difference between Ancient, Medieval and Modern History


Ancient History

Medieval History

Modern History


This period extends for a total of 5000 years, 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 until the late 18th century.

Characteristic events

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


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.

Time Period of Ancient, Medieval and Modern History of India

The Time Period of Ancient, Medieval and Modern History of India extends from 6,000 BCE till the late 18th century. Let’s discuss more Ancient Medieval and Modern History Time Period individually and how they differ.

Ancient History

The ancient time period refers to the earliest records of human settlements and describes the period between 6,000 BCE and 650 CE. However, the number of years is debatable among scholars and historians.

Landmarks of 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 1400–1500 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 reorganizing 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 the 10th century or later.
  • Some scholars include the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation into a timeline ending in the second half of the 16th century.

Modern History Time Period

Modern history describes 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, covering the two major World Wars and the current times.

Ancient and Medieval History

During Ancient history, people focused on creating mixed human societies for large empire evolution. In contrast, during Medieval History, people started using advanced science and technologies along with trading activities on a large scale. A tabular comparison of Ancient and Medieval History is given below.

Ancient vs Medieval

Difference Parameter Ancient History Medieval History
Another Name It is also known as the Stone Age or Iron Age. It is also known as the dark age period.

Important Empires &


History of Mesopotamia (6000 BCE – 1100 BCE)

Old Kingdom (3000 BC) – Egypt

Vedic period India (1750 – 500 BCE)

Indus Valley Civilization (3500 BCE – 1300 BCE)

Zhou Dynasty (1200 BCE – 500 BCE) – China

Middle Kingdom (2000 BCE – 1300 BCE) – Egypt

Mahajanapadas ( 600 – 300 BCE) – India

Shang Dynasty (1800 BCE – 1200 BCE) – China

New Kingdom (1300 BCE – 700 BCE) – Egypt

Byzantine Empire (476–1453) – Southeast Europe

Period of Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907–960) – China

Nara period (709–795) – Japan

Merovingian dynasty (481–751) – France

Islamic Golden Age (750–1300) – Middle East

Viking Age ( 793–1066) – Scandinavia, Europe

Middle kingdoms of India (500–1206)

Carolingian dynasty (751–987) – France


No classification

Classified into 3 ages:

Early Middle Ages – Europe

High Middle Ages (11th century – 14th century) – Europe

Late Middle Ages (14th century – 15th century) – Europe


Key difference between Ancient, Medieval and Modern History

The key difference between Ancient, Medieval and Modern History is that Ancient History extends from 6,000 BCE to 650 CE, Medieval and Modern History was between 5th to 15th century, and Modern age history started from the 15th century until the late 18th century.

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