Old Age

what is ancient age

The Ancient Age is period of history from the appearance of the first forms of writing to the fall of the Roman Empire.

The term is part of the periodization established in the 17th century by the German historian Cristóbal Celarius. Although this periodization system is highly controversial due to its Eurocentric approach, it is the one used conventionally.

The appearance of writing allowed for the first time the registration of social life through different documents, whether in stone or on paper (papyrus) such as laws and treaties (example: Hammurabi code), which allows a somewhat clearer approach to the events of the past.

Periods of the Ancient Age

Ancient Near East

It includes the study of Mesopotamia and the civilizations that developed there: Sumeria, Acad, Babylon and Assyria. It also includes the study of ancient Persia, Anatolia and Armenia, ancient Mediterranean Levant, Syria, Jordan, ancient Arabia and Egypt.

classical antiquity

It includes the conformation of the Greek and Roman civilizations from the first Olympiad or the foundation of Rome (8th century BC) to the splendor of the Roman Empire (2nd century AD).

late antiquity

This period begins with the crisis of the Roman Empire that occurred in the third century. However, regarding its completion, the authors are divided. Some place the end of the Late Age at the end of the Empire in the 5th century, while others place it in the 8th century, the period when Charlemagne came to power and Islam in the Iberian Peninsula.

See also: The ages of History.

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Characteristics of the Old Age

The different civilizations that are studied during this period share a series of common characteristics, although they differ profoundly in other elements.

Among the common characteristics we can mention:

  • Development of writing systems (cuneiform writing; pictograms; hieroglyphics; Phoenician, Greek and Roman alphabets);
  • Start of urban life;
  • Formation of political power;
  • Appearance of religions organized around the temple and the priesthood;
  • Social stratification;
  • Slave ownership;
  • Payment of taxes.

See also:

  • Middle Ages.
  • Prehistory.
  • Modern age.
  • Hellenistic art.