Talk:Ancient history

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external links[edit]

I would like to place an external link to an online history portal that I believe offers added-value to wikipedia's history enthusiasts. This portal,, offers a good selection of history books, DVDs and posters that can be purchased online. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Anasl001 (talkcontribs) 15:37, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Old talk[edit]

Would it be possible to indicate some kind of time period associated with each of the civilisations here? - Stuart Presnell

10,000 years is too long for writing. Earliest was around 3200 BC.

I knocked it back to 5000-5500.

Cmon guys, that Madonna zinger is perfect, just leave it there!

  • I can appreciate a good joke as much as the next guy, but this isn't the place for it. Maybe you should start a blog, yeah? Fernando Rizo T/C 21:35, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
    • I'd read the blog. Hell it may be the next Onion, or not. David D. 21:51, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Breaking history[edit]

Suppose we can divide history from the beginning of writing until 1945 into groups, just as pre-historic time is divided into periods like the "Age of Fishes", "Amphibians", "Reptiles", and "Mammals". What can we have??

We can start with the Age of Egypt, which begins when writing begins and ends sometime around 1500 B.C.E. I really don't know exactly.

Next, we have the Age of Greece, which ends around 30 B.C.E.

The next period is the Age of Rome, which runs from 30 B.C.E. to 476 C.E. when the Roman Empire was broken.

Then comes the Age of Early English, which runs from 476 to 1066, when the Norman King defeated the English King.

The next group is the Age of Middle English, 1066 to 1492.

From 1492 to 1776 is the Age of Discovering America.

The last period is the Age of Semi-Modern Life, 1776 to 1945.

Any years that you feel surprised do not serve as borders?? 15:43, 31 May 2004 (UTC)

I think that the standard ages are sufficient:
The stone age
The bronze age
The iron age
The pre-dark age
The dark age
The middle age
The Renaissance
The pre-modern age
The modern age
The atomic age
The digital age
(i thought that is was something like that...) 19:05, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

First of all, terms like Age of Greece, Age of Rome, the Renaissance, Age of Early English, etc., are very Eurocentric. Where would you place, say, the various early Chinese dynasties in this schema? Should those be defined only in terms of Western history? Second of all, terms like Bronze Age, Iron Age, etc., are a product of Victorian historical writing and are not used by "serious" modern writers because (1) they're far too imprecise, (2) no two scholars would agree on where an "age" begins or ends, and (3) the terms themselves are misleading. Does the previous "age" (e.g., Atomic Age) end when the next one (e.g., Digital Age) begins? I'm not aware that we have ever left the Atomic Age. Modern historians use the simple and easily understood framework of centuries and decades, where an exact year cannot be ascertained for some event. Where's the problem? --Michael K. Smith 13:10, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

This isn't a natural transition from the above discussion, but it kind of has to do with it.

Shouldn't some non-European dates be provided for the end of ancient history? Although I still find 476 to be the most convenient end date, other areas of the world went through some sort of transition around the same time. Western Asia was overrun by Muslims in the 600s. The Gupta Dynasty fell in the 500s. China was reunified by the Sui in 589. Japan began to emerge onto the historical scene. Can some other, Asian date be provided for the end of antiquity? Brutannica 19:53, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Then there are those terms like Axial Age/Axial Revolution used to refer to the Eurasian period that saw the emergence of Buddha, the Hebrew Prophets, Lao Zu, Zoroaster(ianism), Confucius, Pericles, Socrates-Plato-Aristotle, Epictetus, Epicurus, Jesus, etc. When I teach, I let the philosophical impetus of the Axial Age crystallize into something called the Classical Period, in which the Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty flourish. Dw5 (talk) 02:06, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

And Ancient Africa ? Kemet, Kerma, Napata Meroe, Nok, Pount, Damat, Aksoum ? 18:17, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

The "golden age of Pericles" (Χρυσούς αιών του Περικλέους) - 5th century BC - should be added in the Classical Antiquity list. (Reasons: invigoration and establishment of democracy, acropolis of Athens)

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Dmarnerides (talkcontribs) 15:39, 13 October 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't this be merged with Antiquity? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 14:57, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Ok, it has been done. Antiquity is a disambig. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 20:46, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Problem with dates[edit]

Under important events, it says "# 410- Alaric sacks Rome for the first time since 390 BC". 390 BC is 20 years AFTER 410 BC, so this is like saying "in 1989, George Bush senior became the first Bush elected US President since George Bush Jr. in 2001". I don't know the facts about the raids and can't find them anywhere, so perhaps this needs to be reviewed by a knowed person, or else that line needs to be deleted.

Alaric's raid was 410 AD (and is in its correct place in the list), i.e. 800 years after 390 BC. Varana


The problem that I think some people are running into is the Biblical Account of history vs. the scientific account of history. On the average, the population of religious people tend to think that the earth can be no more than a little over 6000 years old. (Not to offend anyone, but, the scientific proof dates it at much much longer than that). Also, another mistake I keep seeing is BC vs BCE and AD vs CE. I see both formats on this page BC/BCE and AD but no CE. (BCE-Before the Common Era and CE-Common Era). To keep this page as close to the valid scientific account as possible, I think that BCE and CE should be used in place of BC and AD. Again, sorry if this offended anyone.

AscottW 04:27, 8 November 2007 (UTC)AscottWAscottW 04:27, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure that "on the average" most religious folk believe in young earth chronology, and I suppose to "keep this page as close to the valid scientific account" BPE (Before the Present Era (the archeological system)) might be better, eh. As a world historian (and a religious person to boot), BCE and CE are quite acceptable for historical dating. In any case, if using BC/AD, then one should be sure that AD sits before the date and BC after it; CE and BCE both go after. Dw5 (talk) 02:46, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm not trying to offend anyone either, but who came up with this "Common Era" crap? What happened in AD 1 to begin a "Common Era?" It doesn't make any sense! It's dishonest! Life in the present has NEXT TO NOTHING in common with life in AD 1! You might as well say the "Common Era" begins with the signing of the Declaration of Independence or the extinction of the Dinosaurs, it'd be about as "scientific." Where does this silly euphemism come from, what makes it so "scientifically valid," and why are we all being forced to switch over to it? I mean, I have absolutely no problem with a secular dating convention, but why the hell would you begin it in AD 1? THAT DATE IS SPOKEN FOR. I realize this may not be the place for this, but my head was about to explode. Sorry. Ştefan 03:10, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

All dates referring to AD have been changed to CE. All dates referring to BC have been changed to BCE. Unless we want to use another dating system such as Aztec, Muslim, Masonic, Discordian, etc., we must continue to use the Gregorian (Christian/Catholic) calendar. However, we can easily change our religious annotations to secular/scientific annotation such as BCE and CE.THC Loadee (talk) 17:40, 3 February 2009 (UTC)THC Loadee

Your edit was reverted because it violated WP:ERA. VMS Mosaic (talk) 09:45, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Alright, I don't think this practice of using both date systems is efficient or logical. If Wikipedia is not a religious biased site then using BCE/CE is the practical choice. So, how do I go about changing the WP:ERA policy on Year numbering systems?THC Loadee (talk) 00:19, 5 February 2009 (UTC)THC Loadee

The issue has been discussed to death since at least 2004 on multiple talk pages. For example, see Wikipedia talk:Eras. The thing to keep in mind is that Wikipedia does not take positions on issues of this nature (i.e., those of a political or politically correct nature). It appears you believe your position is the correct position and therefore should be forced on all Wikipedians regardless of consensus. That is simply not the way Wikipedia works. The initial editor(s) of an article decide(s) which of the acceptable (i.e., commonly used) era formats the article will use. If you insist on discussing it, I think Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) would be the place to start, but it would be a good idea to first read any previous discussions in the archives of that page. VMS Mosaic (talk) 03:26, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Great, thanks for filling me in and pointing me in the right direction. As far as which format is correct, it seems to me that there isn't a right answer, however, there is no denying that BC/AD is a Christian reference, and therefore has no place in a non-religious, secular, encyclopedia. There's something to be said for consistancy. Besides, there's a site for religious folk. It's called conservapedia. THC Loadee (talk) 19:31, 6 February 2009 (UTC)THC Loadee


Where should information regarding the time before written history began be placed? Also as the time when written language became used varies by country, does 'Ancient History' cover times such as the Bronze Age and Neolithic in Britain?

in the sense of "Antiquity", no. "Ancient Greece/Rome/China/India" is definitely taken to be limited to the Iron Age covered by historical information. We should treat pre-history separaterly. dab () 16:41, 21 July 2006 (UTC)


Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the Exodus soley a biblical event, with little or no historical proof? Darkahn 02:54, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

You're absolutely correct, and there isn't even a consensus within the Book of Exodus. Basically, 90% of what's in the Pentateuch is "folk history" and should not be treated as "real" history. (And I won't even start on the Gospels. . . .) --Michael K. Smith 12:59, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Why are Biblical events listed as "historical"? There is little evidence to support the claim that the Hebrews were actually from outside of the area of Israel. At most this is still under debate in the historical/ archeological community. Biblical references without non-Biblical corraboration should be removed.
I'm not sure it is entirely accurate to refer to anything in history as proven. There is only historical evidence, but there is no historical proof. With regards to the specific case of the Exodus, I agree that there is not sufficient consensus for that story to get fair treatment in such a broad ranging article as this one. On the other hand, the Holy Bible is an important historical document, which has been carefully preserved for centuries. It's value to the student of ancient history cannot be over-stated, and its claims cannot be dismissed out of hand. -ErinHowarth (talk) 06:32, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Primary sources?[edit]

Ancient historians are called 'primary sources' in this article. But aren't primary sources the ones recorded by people involved in the events themselves? Government archives and memoirs for example. Even a historian writing about events that happened during his lifetime isn't technically a primary source, but a historian of events that passed before his birth (like Herodotus) is definitely not a primary source. Renke 16:35, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I quite agree. Examples of primary sources are birth certificates, newspaper clippings and journal entries. In the case of ancient history, the primary sources are things like inscriptions on monuments, ledger books and coins. Anything created by a historian is by definition a secondary source. If the "historian" was an eye witness to the event, then the "history" is actually a memoir or journalism. I think that would be the case with some of what Josephus wrote in first-century Jerusalem. -ErinHowarth (talk) 06:26, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Good Job!!![edit]

I thought he/she did a great job writing this!

P.S. We're studying this in school right now

I think he/she did a great job describing everything!

Missing citations[edit]

What part of the article is missing citations or needs footnotes? Please list them in bullet order. J. D. Redding 14:29, 2 May 2008 (UTC)


The introduction seems very confusing to me as it is currently written.

Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of human history until the Early Middle Ages.[1] The term classical antiquity is often used to refer to the timeframe of ancient Greece and ancient Rome. The beginning of history is signified with Sumerian cuneiform being the oldest form of writing discovered so far. Ancient history include the 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 Rome. The ending date of ancient history falls in the 5th century and 6th century. Western scholars often use the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, the death of the emperor Justinian I in 565, or the coming of Islam in 632 CE as the end of ancient European history.

It starts out trying to define the title. This is done quite succinctly in the first sentence; although it doesn't actually include any dates, but then the introduction goes on to talk about classical antiquity. I suppose this is included in the introduction because classical antiquity and ancient history are sometimes used interchangeably when they shouldn't be, but I think it would be clearer to stick to what ancient history is rather than to introduce the definition of another term so soon in the introduction. I suggest moving this bit down the page to where the article begins describing ancient Greece and Rome. The third sentence introduces the importance of ancient Sumerian cuneiform as the start point for ancient history, this seems to contradict the first sentence and requires clarification. The forth and fifth sentence are referring the ancient Greece and Rome again. Certainly these two civilizations are important, but I'm not sure its entirely appropriate to single them out like this in the introduction. The seventh and eighth sentences give us several alternate ending dates for ancient history in a less-than-coherent way. I think this information can be delivered much more consisely. In addition, I think the introduction ought to refer to the major sections of the article: Section 1: the study of ancient history, Section 2: the chronology and Section 3: the prominent civilizations of ancient history; therefore, I propose the following:

Ancient history is the study of human civilizations from the advent of writing in 3000 BC (see Sumerian cuneiform) to the fall of Rome in 476 AD. Not all historians agree on these dates. Some historians date the end of ancient history with the death of the emperor Justinian I in 565 AD or the coming of Islam in 632 AD. The study of ancient history is greatly enhanced by the study of archeology due to the scarcity of historical source material. The breadth of ancient history includes 35 centuries on five continents (Asia, Africa, America, Europe and Austrailia).

The number of continents is up for debate, of course, I choose five because, looking through the list of items in the chronology and the list of prominent civilizations, ancient American is taken as a single entity, and Antarctica is not mentioned at all. What do you think? -ErinHowarth (talk) 08:04, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

North and South America should certainly be distinguished. I'm not happy with the Ancient chronology table as it is linear which causes problems if you want to talk about two important aspects of history occurring in the same century. --Doug Weller (talk) 20:40, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree. I've started working out a possible new structure for the chronology section that groups items first by millenia and sub divides them by continet, but I'm actually having trouble taking Asia in all at once. It seems ncessary to divide it into West Asia (i.e. the Middle East), East Asia (i.e. China), and South Asia (i.e. India). I haven't started working on America yet. What do you think distinguishes the ancient history of North America with the ancient history of South America? I might guess the Aztecs in North America and the Inca in South America. They were prominent at the same time rather than sequentially, but they didn't interact with each other very much. -ErinHowarth (talk) 00:24, 6 May 2008 (UTC)


I think that Section 2: Chronology ought to be combined with Section 3: Prominent Civilizations. Personally, I prefer a chronological organization, but I dislike the current chronology which is essentially a list of dates. I think a brief narrative for each century would be easier to read. However, we are talking about 35 centuries. What do you think? -ErinHowarth (talk) 08:04, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Wow! Someone rewrote the entire page since I made this humble suggestion. It looks like a lot of hard work was deleted and replaced with something cmpletely different. -ErinHowarth (talk) 00:29, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I've decided I don't like the new thematic structure. I much prefer a chronological and geographical structure. I've posted what I'm working on to my user page, if anyone is interested in seeing it. It's not ready to go here yet, but if you have any suggestions, I would like to hear them. -ErinHowarth (talk) 06:58, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

'General information' and 'Further reading'[edit]

"The standard order for optional appendix sections at the end of an article is See also, Notes (or Footnotes), References, Further reading (or Bibliography), and External links; the order of Notes and References can be reversed." and see WP:Layout In other words, 'general information' should be put under 'further reading'. And IMHO, the books now in further reading should be deleted as they are very, very out of date and superceded by more recent works, such as the Cambridge Ancient History Set. --Doug Weller (talk) 20:45, 4 May 2008 (UTC)


Reddi, I appreciate your efforts, but I am not sure they are an unmixed blessing (pre-Reddi version). Please try to announce what you are going to do if you want to completely re-structure major articles, and try to collaborate with people. --dab (��) 13:42, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Ok ... being bold ... hope didn't step on alot of toes ... article before was a timeline not a real article to delineate ancient history. Sincerely, J. D. Redding 18:23, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Reddi's version does have the advantage of removing much material that is effectively duplicated in more regionally-focused articles (like Ancient Egypt)- at the apparent cost of adding in NEW duplicated material from thematically-focused articles (like Ancient music). I see that the substantive chronology has been moved from this article to Timeline of Ancient history, but it appears that the quite nice list of "Prominent civilizations of ancient history" is gone (although SOME of it exists at civilization). I also just glanced at User:ErinHowarth's version, which has different advantages (and disadvantages). I really like the fact that her version includes sections on the entire world- both Reddi's version and the previous version are basically Euro-Centric, with lip service paid to Asia and no mention of the rest of the world. This isn't entirely our fault, as the historic record has the same bias. However, her version appears to be basically an extended and expanded timeline, rather than a general encyclopedia article on Ancient History (I'm not sure Reddi's version is really encyclopedic either, as it is mostly a list of a series of relevant themes). I'm uncertain about the best next step- In a way, either version of this article is really just acting as a links-list to a series of geographic and/or thematic articles on the Ancient World. Maybe that's okay, but are any of these versions really a good encyclopedic article on what Ancient History IS? TriNotch (talk) 15:27, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree that expansion and improvement is called for ... but with such a high level article as this one is, it's alil hard IMO it get to the fine details ... that would be more appropriate IMO again for sub articles [like the mains, the further, and the regular links. JIMO, J. D. Redding

yes, I did not revert Reddi because some of his edits are clearly an improvement. They are still rather erratic, partly due to lack of familiarity with WP:MOS issues, and some discussion or collaboration would have worked wonders. I am sorry, but "Ancient history" is an "Eurocentric". Or at least an "Old World" centric one, including the Near East, India and China. The Americas, sub-Saharan Africa and Australia have no "ancient history" in this sense for lack of written records, and move from Prehistory directly into the Modern (colonial) period. Let's not duplicate the scope of the Prehistory article here. --dab (��) 15:41, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

With respect, Olmec and Zapotec writing begins around 500 BCE in Mesoamerica (the Isthmian_script for example) and possibly as early as 900 BCE (the Cascajal Block). We do have SOME grasp of political and military history from Mesoamerica in the relevant period... which is almost always overlooked by Old World scholars. But I understand your assertion; Ancient History DOES have this bias, and certainly we should not duplicate Prehistory. So, apart from this quibble, do you have any suggestions? TriNotch (talk) 15:52, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
If Reddi has simply copied text into this article with no acknowledgement, that's copyvio. I'm not entirely sure how you are supposed to do it but you need to put some sort of link in the edit summary so it can be traced back to the original author. I agree we already have a Prehistory article which shouldn't be duplicated. In fact, much of the article looks very unbalanced, and I think the article has lost a lot more than it has gained. The section on archaeology (Reddi's not responsible for it I think) is clearly written by someone who doesn't know much about archaeology - the definition is wrong for a start. I'll try to do something about it. --Doug Weller (talk) 16:48, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I initially only intended to suggest that it was substantive content duplication of articles we already have, not literal word-for-word duplication. There is no copy-vio from non-Wikipedia sources insofar as I can see. However, I went and looked at some of the articles linked to (i.e. Ancient music) and I have learned that the relevant section is indeed a word for word copy from that article. Hmmm. Still not acceptable. We may have to revert it after all because so much of it is duplicated material. Comments? Reddi? A shame, because rewriting the article in SOME way probably is a good idea. TriNotch (talk) 22:07, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I've got another problem with the group of historical articles that Reddi has just created, which I think links with some additions here. I don't think it is a coincidence that the non-literate Native American cultures he has included in Ancient American history are linked to fringe claims about Judean, etc inscriptions. He is clearly going down some odd road in Ancient Australian history about ancient aborigine writing (which doesn't exist). All his new articles have large bits about non-literate cultures -- ok, some have petroglyphs, but history is about written texts that we can read, not about possible writing in early cultures, or the use of symbols, that's prehistory. Then there's this one, take another look at the bits about science and technology and maritime contacts. Electrical knowledge, aerodynamic stuff, etc -- take a look at his citations also. These all can be seen as linked to a fringe agenda.--Doug Weller (talk) 07:48, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Reversion to pre-Reddi article[edit]

Looking at the comments and the past few days, it's finally struck me that this should have been discussed and that editors aren't generally happy with the drastic change. So, I've reverted to the first good version before Reddi deleted most of it, and am replacing some of the acceptable references Reddi added,which won't include his quick guide to SAT tests that he added :-). It clearly needs work. More citations, and can we get rid of the huge timeline which in any case makes it hard to read? Either delete it entirely, or put it further down. Definitely get rid of anything that is archaeology, not history.--Doug Weller (talk) 07:58, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

End date for Ancient History[edit]

At the moment, the article says "Although the ending date of ancient history is disputed, currently most Western scholars use the fall of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476," and cites a 1916 and a 1951 book. How can these be used to say what scholars currently think? Doug Weller (talk) 17:07, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Removed "currently". J. D. Redding 19:29, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Climate_changes_of_535–536 could do. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:37, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Ancient Electricity section[edit]

This text says: Some have suggested that the Egyptians had some form of understanding electric phenomena from observing lightning[81] and interacting with electric fish (such as the Malapterurus electricus) or other animals (such as electric eels). with footnotes " ^ Bruno Kolbe, Francis ed Legge, Joseph Skellon, tr., "An Introduction to Electricity". Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1908. 429 pages. Page 391. (cf., "[...] high poles covered with copper plates and with gilded tops were erected 'to break the stones coming from on high'. J. Dümichen, Baugeschichte des Dendera-Tempels, Strassburg, 1877") '^ Heinrich Karl Brugsch-Bey and Henry Danby Seymour, "A History of Egypt Under the Pharaohs". J. Murray, 1881. Page 422. (cf., [... the symbol of a] serpent' is rather a fish, which still serves, in the Coptic language, to designate the electric fish [...]) Dendera light says "Proponents of this fringe interpretation have also used a text referring to "high poles covered with copper plates" to argue this[4] but Dr. Bolko Stern has written in detail explaining why the copper covered tops of poles (which were lower than the associated pylons) do not relate to electricity or lightning, pointing out that no evidence of anything used to manipulate electricty had been found in Egypt and that this was a magical and not a technical installation.
I think the text in this article is misleading and if no one else fixes it I will in a few days when I have more time. --Doug Weller (talk) 19:03, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Lightning rod? ... don't fix this article .. fix the POV in the other article. J. D. Redding 19:26, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

What is POV about using a scholarly source? What is POV is not using it. --Doug Weller
Nothing wrong with alternative / differing views in a controversy. That article doesn't really ...
No mention that some authors have suggested that the Ancient Egyptians had some form of understanding of the electric phenomena, from observing lightning and interacting with electric fish (such as the Malapterurus electricus) or other animals (such as electric eels).
Dr. Bolko Stern is the only one that is mentioned in any detail (BTW, how much electrical knowledge did he have in 1896?) ... that is a POV edit style ... not NPOV ...
J. D. Redding 15:14, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Huh? In 1896, much was known by physicists about electricity, though the electron was discovered by J.J. Thomson during the following year, 1897. The Nobel Prizes were first awarded in the year 1901, and Thomson won his in 1906 for his discoveries concerning the electron. List of Nobel laureates in Physics.
Nevertheless, a great deal was already known about electricity from the 18th Century and the first half of the 19th Century, though the discoveries by these men: Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 90), Charles Coulomb (1736 - 1806), Alessandro Volta (1745 - 1827), Andre Ampere (1775 - 1836), Georg Ohm (1789 - 1854), Michael Faraday (1791 - 1867), Joseph Henry (1797 - 1878), Gustav Kirchhoff (1824 - 87), and Wilhelm Weber (1804 - 1891).
Kirchhoff made his discoveries in electricity while he was a graduate student in Germany during the 1840s, but then he moved on to other fields of physics such as spectroscopy. Kirchhoff's circuit laws are named for him.
The above pioneers in the scientific study of electricity had the basic units of electricity named for them: the coulomb (unit), volt, ampere, ohm, farad, henry (unit), and weber (unit). There is also an unusual unit, little-used, the franklin (unit), which is usually called the statcoulomb. There is another one, the gauss (unit), which was named by Carl Friedrich Gauss, an esteemed mathematician and sometimes an older coworker with Wilhelm Weber in Germany.
Also by 1896, there were already bachelor's degree programs in electrical engineering at the technical universities of Europe and also at colleges and institutes of technology in the United States such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and the Georgia School of Technology.
Hence, to claim that in 1896, nobody knew much about electricity is a specious thing to say. You really ought to read a lot of history of science and technology before making such spurious comments. LOTs was known about electricity in 1896. (talk) 19:55, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Readd later[edit]

According to Thales of Miletus, writing at around 600 BC, a form of electricity was known to the Ancient Greeks who found that rubbing fur on various substances, such as amber, would cause a particular attraction between the two. The Greeks noted that the amber buttons could attract light objects such as hair and that if they rubbed the amber for long enough they could even get a spark to jump. An object found in Iraq in 1938, dated to about 250 BC and called the Baghdad Battery, resembles a galvanic cell and is believed by some to have been used for electroplating, although this is unproven and contoversial. Other cultures would also have encounters with electromagnetic forces. Some have suggested that the Egyptians had some form of understanding electric phenomena from observing lightning[1] and interacting with electric fish (such as the Malapterurus electricus) or other animals (such as electric eels).[2] J. D. Redding 18:35, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

About the first sentence[edit]

The first sentence currently states this: "...some less defined point in the rest of the world (for example, the Austronesian regions, and North, Central, and South America)". Well, my sole objection is that this in not exactly the rest of the inhabited world! First of all the term Austronesian conventionally applies to a certain language family and not to a group of homogeneous peoples or to a specific geographic area. A better phrasing would be "Pre-Historic Oceania" or something, which includes Australasia (New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea), Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Furthermore, why isn't there a single reference to Sub-Saharan Africa? At least, it should be mentioned in the first sentence, as not fitting in the mainly Eurasian Ancient History scheme, along with Oceania and the Americas. Omnipedian (talk) 03:20, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

The article isn't about pre-historic anything though. We haver Prehistory and Protohistory to cover the periods before writing. Dougweller (talk) 12:47, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Meseems, I wasn't very clear about my objection. I did recognize that "Ancient history starts at some less defined point in the rest of the world". What I was trying to say is that calling "Austronesia and the Americas" as the rest of the world was plain wrong and that we should either reword the description of the "rest of the world" or don't describe what the rest of the world means because it is kind of self-evident. I was glad to see that the latter practice was eventually applied. Aside from that, it is also true that the previous editions of the article may have contained some ambiguity in the way the term "history" was treated in this article (Old World's written history, that is), but I, for one, believe that the new introduction, and the sections "Prehistory" and "Ancient maritime activity" clarified this matter. For the record, my initial post was not meant to initiate an argue over Prehistory vs. History, or an argument about whether the history of Americas belongs to the article or not; a proposal, btw, to which one should rather oppose based on the article's current scope. Maybe a part of the confusion is due to the fact that the article bears such a generic name ("Ancient History") that it almost naturally provokes some users to complain about its alleged "Eurasiocentrism". Of course, I do realize that the name of the article is based on the subject-matter's most common name in traditional historiography; I'm just trying to give an explanation why there is so much argumentation over this matter. -- (f.k.a. Omnipedian) Omnipaedista (talk) 08:15, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Should be noted[edit]

Ancient history starts at some less defined point in the rest of the world such as the Oceania regions and the Austronesian regions. This also includes the early history of Australia. The documentation of Aboriginal history is challenging, due to the fact that Aboriginal people did not have writing prior to 1827. Further information on such challenges can be found in "A New History of Western Australia" (Stannage, 1981, UWA Press). See history of Indigenous Australians and the prehistory of Australia for further details and the history of North, Central, and South America).

J. D. Redding 13:30, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

So they have another definition, but this article makes it clear that it covers written history. Oh, and Omnipedian's point wasn't about prehistory versus ancient history as I understood it. Dougweller (talk) 13:37, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Why the conflict over prehistory versus ancient history? Ancient history starts at some less defined point in the rest of the world.

It should be noted to help readers, alleviate the euro-centrism of the article, and state the appropriate information.

BTW, reference to Sub-Saharan Africa should be included [in line with the rest of his comment], but with the blanket reverts I [and i suspect others would] find it hard to contribute constructively.

J. D. Redding 13:57, 16 April 2009 (UTC)


removing ancient history![edit]

Reddi, do you understand "disambiguation"? This is the article on recorded history prior to 500 AD in the "Old World".

Pre-Columbian America is an eminently respectable topic, but this isn't the page discussing it. So you found an 1834 soundbite discussing "American anqituities". That's great. Make American antiquity a redirect to Pre-Columbian and discuss the field of your interest at the proper place.

Complaining that this article is Eurasia-centric (not "Eurocentric") is like complaining that the Pre-Columbian page is "America-centric", or that the Europe article is blatantly Eurocentric. It's known as "article scope". Thank you. --dab (𒁳) 07:49, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I think that you put in the "Old World" thing ... it's really about ancient history. Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history.

I put in most of the Chinese/Asian history IIRC a "long" time ago ...

Please don't remove American ancient history from the ancient history page. It's known as "article scope".

Thanks. J. D. Redding 10:01, 17 April 2009 (UTC) ps. the ancient Americans are in the infobox if u didn't notice ...

I realize that it is no good trying to talk sense to you. You have been doing this for years now, consistently ignoring the patient attempts of many erudite editors to explain it to you. You keep inserting prehistorical cultures, while this article is about historical cultures. I am not sure what a written past is, but I am sure you found the term somewhere and now parrot it without understanding. The problem you have is that you try to make judgements without the willingness to sit down and learn some background about a field first. In your case the history of writing and the nature of historicity. This sort of thing used to be taught to beginners at university. I do not know when, where or how you received your education, but something has clearly gone wrong. You seem to have been left with the impression that it is ok to skip the "studying" stop and rush straight to the "lecturing" stage based on whatever happens to cross your mind at the moment.

I wouldn't put it past you to insist we include a section on galaxy formation in this article if you happened to stumble on the phrase "early history of the universe" in some reference in the context of cosmology. --dab (𒁳) 14:01, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I will ignore the personal attacks ... please do not continue to make disparaging remark against me. Thanks. =-]
Anyways, apparently you didn't read any of the above links like "The Encyclopedia of world history By Peter N. Stearns, William Leonard Langer ... particularly from Page 21 on ..." ... read reliable sources citing or covering ancient history a bit and it may help you.
The information applicable to this article is on the written past from the beginning of recorded human history ending at differing times [depending on the source].
J. D. Redding 16:19, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

right. I suggested a compromise toc which would have included mention of "Ancient America"[1]. You turned this down and resumed revert-warring. Please note that your revision has been objected to by several editors, you are editing against consensus, and there is no way your current behaviour will get you the revision you want. --dab (𒁳) 15:22, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. Dougweller (talk) 15:56, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Bull. There was no consensus attempt on your part. You classified it as prehistoric and it's not! Writing of the Americans are part of Ancient history! Have you read any references in the talk page here?!?!?!!?! The is recorded Gaming of the page is not acceptable [eg., the retitled section]. This page needs a tag / warning.
Several editors? WHO? The only other editor that has made any comment is Dougweller beside you Dbachmann. Dougweller doesn't like me, it's clear from earlier interaction with him ... and you too as I would say from your comments. I do not make insult to people but it hard not to when people remove referenced and scholarly information.
Consensus reality is not good substitute for referenced facts. Ignoring facts don't make the facts untrue or not needed. Just because some Wikipedia editor says ancient history is just the Ancient Greeks doesn't mean it just the Greeks when the preponderance of facts and scholarly references say it's different and includes civilizations worldwide including but not limited to the Americas.
A reason this page has a C grade is that people have provided facts. I think that you and dougweller both objected to the ending dates of Ancient history IIRC awhile ago ... I couldbe wrong, but that is my recollection ... because you two didn't like it ... but they got referenced [by me] ... Hell, I wouldn't be surprised that you would try to remove everything but for ancient Greece and Rome from this page.
Are you going to try to add information that needs to be in here? I've worked on articles that are in the C+ grade, ex. History of the world, Maritime history and this article are just a few, because they are inclusive of the totality of available information [what a good encyclopedia article needs] and referenced ... and I have have not suffered the jabs of idiots that have labored to stop me.
... much work concerning referenced information is available to be put in but it may be unlikely ... This page need a tag on it to expand and de-Europeanize [or de-"Eurasian"ify ... whatever you'd like to think] along with noting that few editors are "guarding" it ..
This is one reason why Wikipedia suffers ... cliques of editors that 'own' pages ... ignoring reliable references and published scholarly books.
Your behavior is unacceptable. The above disparaging remark [about my education and what not] is out of the blue when it is clearly not called for.
This is not acceptable. And I don't suffer idiot easily.
J. D. Redding 01:55, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Reddi, stop edit-warring, you will only get yourself blocked. You are clearly editing against consensus. Your idiosyncratic interpretation of "ancient histor" failed to convince even one editor here, as far as I can see. Learn to play by the rules. --dab (𒁳) 07:26, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

This is referenced material. See above section. Removing reliable referenced material is not acceptable. J. D. Redding 02:48, 29 May 2009 (UTC) (PS., your ""'ing at me does nothing for you or your actions.)

what is the point of bringing up the exact same gripe every couple of weeks, Reddi? It'll only get you the exact same answers you got last time. If you have nothing to add to what has been said before, I really don't see why you bother. --dab (𒁳) 16:33, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

visual time line[edit]

Article needs a nice visual timeline like ... will start on it shortly ...

Should it be in a template?

J. D. Redding 11:53, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

you may want to consider building on Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures. You may also want to consider stop trying to squeeze world history into a single article. This article needs judicious tightening more than it needs expansion. --dab (𒁳) 14:37, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

It would be ancient history. Not entirely world history. Nor prehistoric information. Sheesh.

J. D. Redding 16:22, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Article length[edit]

Despite the removal of the tag by Reddi, our guidelines suggest that this article is indeed too long. There's no rush to do anything about it, but interested editors should read WP:TOOLONG. Dougweller (talk) 16:33, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

The possibilities are:

* Section 3 Ancient civilizations (Another bulky section; it redirects to this page now)

I think both could be moved off, replacing each with a passage of prose that captures the essence of the sections and the new article. I'll move them shortly if there is no objection (I think I tried to split off #2 from the article before, but certain people objected though it the worst of the two.). J. D. Redding 16:47, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Moved Ancient civilizations [section 3]. J. D. Redding 17:56, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

What part of 'no rush' didn't you understand? Not only did you not wait for any discussion, you've breached our licenses by doing a copy and paste that way. Dougweller (talk) 18:10, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Issue raised here [2]. Dougweller (talk) 18:18, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Let's please leave this as it is until we can get some more input. This is supposed to be collaborative, ya know? Dougweller (talk) 18:44, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Been here four days? can it get moved already? J. D. Redding 11:43, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

There is nothing wrong with the approach of just cutting this article down to what is actually essental to the topic. There isn't a single point addressed in this article that won't be treated in at least ten other places on Wikipedia. Of course, it is impossible to trim this article to something reasonable as long as Reddi keep stuffing it with even more material of tenuous relevance. --dab (𒁳) 15:14, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

That not the procedure of wikipedia:summary style. The personal snipe I'll ignore. J. D. Redding 15:49, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

It's something you do at times, Reddi. This article can be cut quite a bit -- too many infoboxes and maps, for a start. Some sections are far too long. Dougweller (talk) 18:12, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

it isn't a personal attack to state that Reddi's edits cause a lot of workload for other editors without contributing any value. It might get personal if I began to speculate on the real life reasons of Reddi's failure to produce valid content. Which I will not do. Reddi cannot or will not deliver encyclopedic content and needs a string of editors just to clean up behind him. Stating as much is simple WP:SPADE. The question is, how are we going to handle this? I certainly have better things to do than babysitting this article. --dab (𒁳) 07:14, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Removed your personal comments.
Didn't know two editors owned this article. J. D. Redding 12:23, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

"la la WP:IDHT" isn't a solution Reddi. You are clearly unable or unwilling to collaborate. This means that you will have no influence on article content. Anyone who is barely literate is welcome to contribute, but constructive collaboration isn't optional. --dab (𒁳) 07:48, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

So 2 editors can make the decision for the article? Editors can "lalala" all they want ... whatever, that isn't a "consensus" ...

I have tried to collaborate with you Dbachmann. I've tried to collaborate with others. I do collaborate with many other editors. But when there isn't an attempt to work together, then constructive collaboration cannot be done. J. D. Redding 14:08, 17 July 2009 (UTC)


Let's start here. I'd get rid of the huge 'before the common era' list, and the maps which are in any case I think of mixed and dubious quality. Dougweller (talk) 18:20, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Certain maps can be kept [better ones?] and a summary [highlights?] of the timeline [greece, rome, etc. ...]. Reduce it; I think I tried to a long time ago [years?], but it was reversed. J. D. Redding
I forgot about / didn't see / missed the Timeline of Ancient history; Ancient chronology should redirect to that article. J. D. Redding (PS., striking my earlier comment which follows ...)

Can we not just split off 'Chronology' to Ancient chronology ... would be a great articles unto it's own. And with a split, certain maps can be kept [better ones?] and a summary [highlights?] of the timeline [greece, rome, etc. ...]. The information would be available indepth [the split off article], but it would alleviate the bulk here. More specifically and along your suggestion, doing a split we could remove 'before the common era' here, but the list would be in the full chrono ... I think the full chronology is important, but it is bulky. J. D. Redding 03:58, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Timeline conversion[edit]

Basic timeline for dates of the article ...


Comments? J. D. Redding 17:03, 16 July 2009 (UTC)


User:Xythianos insists on replacing the mention of the Battle of Salamis and the Battle of Plataea with the Battle of Thermoyplae, for no other reason than Thermopylae is a Persian victory (never mind a Pyrrhic one) while Salamis and Plataea are not [3]. This reasoning is just nationalist POV-pushing and highly flawed. In the timeline, we include what is most significant. While Thermopylae is indeed important, it is dwarfed in importance by Salamis and Plataea. These were the decisive engagements that ended the Persian campaign in Greece once and for all. As for Thermopylae, it was not particularly important in the sense that it was a Persian victory, but because of its effect on Greek morale. The claims for "balance" and "NPOV" are malarkey and window-dressing for what is really just nationalist POV-pushing. Athenean (talk) 05:12, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

While we're on the subject, the claim that the Persians invented the windmill is based on a source that clearly credits the Babylonians [4] (you might need to wait a bit for the page to load). Athenean (talk) 05:57, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Batteries, windmills and qanats[edit]

  • The origin of qanats is generally to be assumed on the Iranian plateau (with some scholars also taking the Arabian peninsula and Assyria/Urartu in consideration) long before Persia and the Achaemenid dynasty existed. Cf. Andrew Wilson: "Hydraulic Engineering and Water Supply", in: John Peter Oleson: Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008 (editor), ISBN 978-0-19-973485-6, p.291f.
  • The identification of the Baghdad artifact as batteries is an extreme minority view which should not been given undue weight here by presenting it as a given fact. A key overview article as "Ancient History" should refer to scholarship which enjoys wider support.
  • The authenticity of the anecdote of a windmill involving the second caliph Umar (AD 634–644) is questioned on the grounds that it only appears in a 10th-century document, three centuries after the event it purports to record. Therefore, most scholars are inclined to date the introduction of windmills to the date of publication. Besides, Hero of Alexandria constructed an early early as the 1st century AD. Cf. Dietrich Lohrmann, "Von der östlichen zur westlichen Windmühle", Archiv für Kulturgeschichte, Vol. 77, Issue 1 (1995), pp. 1–30 (8). Gun Powder Ma (talk) 14:47, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Once again, do NOT revert someone's well sourced edit until it has been discussed first or I will have to report you.

  • You changed the title of the section "Ancient Iran" to "Persia" and reworded a few other things without any valid reason, when that section clearly reflects several Iranian civilizations, (Medes, Elams, Persians, etc), not all Persian and not all younger than the Achaemenid Empire. So once again, do not change someone's sourced and legible edits without discussing it first. Also have a look at History of Iran and Ancient Iranian peoples.
  • Second of all, stop messing with the technology section, It's been backed up by several sources that Qanats DID originate on the Iranian plateau (the oldest Qanat is in Iran), then only later spread eastwards to other areas affected by the significant Iranian-influence at that time.[3][4][5][6][7][8] Again, not ALL Iranian civilizations were Persian. With the Parthian Battery, scholars have supported the fact that they did create electricity. Obviously not in the same context of modern batteries, but in relation to the way they worked.[9] And with the windmills, that one German source does not prove anything, because the construction of "an early windmill" by Hero of Alexandria (if actually valid), still doesn't quite change the Persian invention of vertical-axis windmills.[10]
  • Thirdly, It's highly frustrating when you keep removing the infamous Battle of Thermopylae from the timeline; (which I should mention is the only Achamenid victory over the Greeks included in the entire timeline) and keep replacing it with the less known Salamis and Plataea. There's already too much weight given to the Greek accomplishments. So stop pushing your POV's onto this article, and stop trying to take away even more weight from the mention of Iranian accomplishments in the article. Let's say that I'm getting a strong sense of your Anti-Iranian ambitions right now.--Xythianos (talk) 20:58, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
The lesser known Salamis and Plataea? Maybe lesser known to you. FYI, Salamis and Plataea were the decisive engagements that ended the conflict. Thermopylae is important too, but only because of its effect on Greek morale and the damage inflicted on the Persians, not because it was a Persian victory (some victory, at that). This isn't about "balancing" Persian vs. Greek accomplishments (and Thermopylae was if anything a Spartan accomplishment, not a Persian one. If Persia had had enough "accomplishments" like Thermopylae, there wouldn't be a Persia today). In the timeline we include what is most important in ancient history, regardless of whose "accomplishment" it was. Plataea and Salamis were the most important battles of the war, because they decided its outcome. The Persian was completely destroyed at Plataea in spite of its "victory" at Thermopylae. We have three excellent articles here about these battles. Read them (particularly the part about "A number of historians believe that a Persian victory would have hamstrung the development of Ancient Greece, and by extension western civilization, and this has led them to claim that Salamis is one of the most significant battles in human history.[2]") then come back and tell me that Thermoyplae is the most important. As for the battery stuff, it is WP:FRINGE, while the Persian vertical shaft windmills are from the 9th century AD, therefore not ancient history. It would also greatly help your cause if you adopted a more civil tone. It is extremely difficult to win people over to your cause when you shout insults at them. As any ancient philosopher would tell you. Athenean (talk) 21:43, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Your petty attempts at ad hominem, Xythianos, I am willing to ignore graciously. You may have made there some legitimate name changes related to Iran and the Persians, but unfortunately your habit of complete reverts has made them so far difficult to distinguish from your contentious edits related to ancient technologies and battles:

  1. Thermopylae was only a one battle of the 2nd Greek-Persian war and I still seee no reason why it should be given more weight than the whole war part of which it was.
  2. Baghdad battery: forget it - WP:Fringe or very close to it.
  3. Qanats: My cited reference, the Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World, is an award-winning book on ancient technology, and much more recent (2008) than most of your references. The passage below which I have cited is written by the incumbent chair holder of ancient archaeology of Oxford University. The origin of the qanat on the Iranian (not Persian) plateau has been in recent years qualified by archaeological discoveries in other parts of the Near East and North Africa:
It was long held that the qanat must have originated in Persia, largely because that is where the largest numbers of qanats are found; and their origin has frequently been attributed to the Achaemenids. More recently, several archaeologists working in the Arabian Peninsula have argued that qanats (ajlaj) originated there, claiming to have discovered pre-Achaemenid qanats of the early first millennium B.C. (Magee 2005). To date the arguments are inconclusive; ...The earliest securely dated qanats belong to the Achaemenid period at Ayn Manawir in the Kharga Oasis in Egypt, where remains of 22 ancient qanats are known. They are dated both by stratigraphic finds and by associated ostraka recording the sale of water rights from 443 B.c. onward. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 22:31, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

My "petty attempts at ad hominem? I hope you're not serious because you've both called me a Persian nationalist and a Iranian ultra-nationalist numerous times for simply adding properly sourced, weighted, and relevant information to this article. You've also reverted my edits countless times, Athenean has told me to "eff off" among other pathetic personal attacks he made. Still, I don't see why we can't just get along and work through this as productively as we are able to. Keep in mind that if we want to remain as objective as possible in this article, there has to be an effort made from both sides of the debate to tone down the individual biases.

  • In regards to the Battle of Thermopylae you say, "Thermopylae is important too, but only because of its effect on Greek morale and the damage inflicted on the Persians, not because it was a Persian victory (some victory, at that)." This is exactly what should not be happening on Wikipedia. If that's not pushing your POV, then I don't know what really is. Yes it has been a part of some editors' nationalistic agendas to deny, undermine, and distort such historical achievements, but we need to keep in mind that this is Wikipedia (an international Encyclopedia) and that we must distance ourselves from those certain individuals in their silly and pathetic neo-political agendas. Denying Khashayar's (Xerxes') conquering of Greece would be like denying Alexander's of Persia. I'm adamant about including it in the timeline because it's an infamous battle, particularly in popular culture.
  • In regards to the Windmills, "The earliest windmill design is the vertical axis system developed in Persia

about 500-900 A.D." I'm certain that falls within Ancient History. It was first recorded "by the Persian geographer Estakhri in the 9th century."

  • In regards to the Qanat, there is no such thing as the "Persian plateau" and I don't understand what you're trying to say. It originates on the Iranian plataeu and I've given you more than six sources which confirm this. Again, you keep using the word Persian in the wrong context when we're talking about Ancient Iranians. Again, see History of Iran and Ancient Iranians.
  • And in regards to the "battery stuff", it's not WP:FRINGE just because you feel that it is. I've backed my point with valid sources, so no, I will not "forget about it" just because you tell me I should.--Xythianos (talk) 00:08, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Again with the personal attacks. Keep in mind that everything you write on wikipedia is recorded for perpetuity and can and will be used against you if need be. Comments like "we must distance ourselves from those certain individuals in their silly and pathetic neo-political agendas." will not go down well with admins if and when they are brought to their attention. Now, until you stop with the personal attacks and adopt a more civil attitude, this discussion will get nowhere. I am flexible and willing to compromise, but I find it very hard to do so when I am continuously insulted. You are on final warning. Further incivility will be reported, and considering your edit-warring here and on other articles, will likely result in some sort of sanction. Now, are you willing to adopt a more civil, co-operational attitude? Athenean (talk) 00:34, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Athenean, like I said, I'm willing to cooperate with you and other editors on this, however on the condition that you immediately put an end to the personal attacks (like going around and calling me a Persian ultra-nationalist troll.) Also, since I'd like to see real progress (so far I'm not seeing much), more of a willingness to compromise is needed from your side of the discussion. Let me know when you can make this happen.--Xythianos (talk) 03:42, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

It's clear that you have no agreement from other editors and you need that before replacing your edits. Being adamant sounds like a declaration you will WP:Edit war, hopefully you didn't mean that.
Ancient history ends shortly after 500.
The battery claim is fringe (and terribly minor, if it ever happened it rapidly disappeared]]. It's clearly a contested subject, there is no agreement that these artefacts were batteries.
Neither of the two main relevant articles say Xerxes conquered Greece, so clearly that shouldn't be in this article. Dougweller (talk) 05:21, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Wondering if you've seen this Dougweller?--Xythianos (talk) 05:42, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Nope, and it's not relevant. Dougweller (talk) 05:52, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Huh? You are mixing up things big time, Xythianos. I have never called you a "Persian nationalist and a Iranian ultra-nationalist numerous times". How can I, I did not even know you or your contributions until yesterday! Keep cool and don't blame people who disagree with you of being anti-Persian. Given your continuous rant you only force them to become increasingly anti-Xythianos. Second: I have been using the term "Iranian plateau", not "Persian plateau", in the article, just like you seem to prefer, so what's up with you? Gun Powder Ma (talk) 08:24, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

What? No no no, I was talking to Athenean there. Anyway, are you guys okay with me making these changes or not? Like I said, I'm open to compromise, but It's only fair that you do as well. I'd like to at least include to the Iranian origin of Qanats in the technology section, considering that Dougweller considers the batteries as WP:FRINGE and the Windmills outside the dates of Ancient History, (even though it says in this article that some academics consider the Islamic Conquests (which came 140 years after the Windmills) to be the end of Ancient History) but once again I'll compromise since I don't want to be blocked by Dougweller. Also, I'd like to change the title of the "Persia" section (since that section describes Ancient Iranians and not only Persians, making it technically wrong.) And if we're going to take out Thermopolae, we're also taking out the two additional events you added to the timeline after me in rebellion, to balance the weight. Is this all okay?--Xythianos (talk) 04:04, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

Plataea and Salamis stay, Thermopylae is out, for reasons explained previously. Ok with the rest. Athenean (talk) 04:35, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

Gun Powder Ma, is there something you wanted to say? You reverted the edit again, so I'm assuming that there is.--Xythianos (talk) 07:31, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

The qanat part has not been agreed upon. See my top reference above. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 07:31, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

Like I said earlier, you're argument there is invalid because my sentence (hoping you at least read it before changing it) was in reference to Ancient Iranian technology as a whole, and not only to Achaemenid Persia. Achaemenid Persia was not the first Iranian civilization.... Refer to Ancient Iranians and History of Iran.--Xythianos (talk) 07:51, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

What exactly is invalid? Your version says that the qanat originates in "Ancient Iran" and my version says that the qanat emerged "likely on the Iranian plateau and possibly also in the Arabian peninsula". This is true to the Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World above. So where is your problem? You propose that we should also add that, despite this, the oldest qanats are actually found in Ancient Egypt? Gun Powder Ma (talk) 08:12, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
Ah yes, I had forgotten about the qanats. While it has been traditionally thought that the technology originated in Iran, there is now solid evidence of old qanats in the Arabian peninsula, and the sourcing for that is rock-solid as GPM points out. So I think GPM's version is better in that sense. I also think the final end-date of the G-P Wars should be mentioned, that is something I would expect our readers would be interested in. Athenean (talk) 15:15, 28 July 2011 (UTC)


  1. ^ Bruno Kolbe, Francis ed Legge, Joseph Skellon, tr., "An Introduction to Electricity". Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1908. 429 pages. Page 391. (cf., "[...] high poles covered with copper plates and with gilded tops were erected 'to break the stones coming from on high'. J. Dümichen, Baugeschichte des Dendera-Tempels, Strassburg, 1877")
  2. ^ Heinrich Karl Brugsch-Bey and Henry Danby Seymour, "A History of Egypt Under the Pharaohs". J. Murray, 1881. Page 422. (cf., [... the symbol of a] 'serpent' is rather a fish, which still serves, in the Coptic language, to designate the electric fish [...])
  3. ^ Ahmad Y Hassan, Transfer Of Islamic Technology To The West, Part Ii: Transmission Of Islamic Engineering
  4. ^ Qanat, Kariz and Khattara: Traditional Water Systems in the Middle East - By Peter Beaumont, Michael E. Bonine, Keith Stanley
  5. ^ The Traditional Crafts of Persia: Their Development and Technology by Hans E. Wulff
  6. ^ p. 4 of Mays, L. (2010-08-30). Ancient Water Technologies. Springer. ISBN 9789048186310. 
  7. ^ Desertification in the third millennium: proceedings of an international, A. S. Alsharhan. p.377‏
  8. ^ Dry: life without water, Ehsan Masood,Daniel Schaffer. p.182‏
  9. ^ Tests by Western scientists have revealed that when the jar of the battery was filled with vinegar (or other electrolytes), it was capable of generating between 1.5-2.0 volts.
  10. ^

Conflicting Dates[edit]

There are conflicting dates in sections: &

In particular, has

• 285: Emperor Diocletian splits the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western Empires

• 395: Roman Emperor Theodosius I outlaws all pagan religions in favour of Christianity

But has

• 395: the division of Roman Empire into the Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire

Someone with more expertise than myself may want to correct this and proofread the dates in these sections

Doug10940 (talk) 14:04, 25 September 2011 (UTC)Doug10940

"History is the study of the written past"[edit]

Variants on the claim that history is the study of the written past appear both here and in History_of_the_world. In both cases, the only reference for this important claim was the first reference in the article. Thiw original reference attributed the claim to Crawford, 1927, in the journal Antiquity, and in particular to the sentence:

"History education in the United States is primarily the study of the written past. Defining history in such a narrow way has important consequences"

Many problems when you look under the hood.

First is that O.G.S. Crawford, the 'Crawford' in question, wrote 7 different articles in 1927, the year in which he founded the journal Antiquity. So it's a pain to track down which article is intended.

But in fact, none of the articles were intended. The real source for this sentence is M. Elaine Davis, Antiquity 74 (2000), 194-198. What has happened here is that someone was probably looking at some very sloppy bibliographic information for this sentence, and, as sometimes happens with bibliographic records, got an erroneous reference to the first issue, dated 1927, edited by O.G.S. Crawford, and just gave that reference. This looks like a case where the original source was not directly consulted at any point, although perhaps careful examination of the edit history will suggest otherwise (ie, a correct reference that was erroneously contracted one possible mechanism).

This mis-attribution is not insignificant, for two reasons.

First, O.G.S. Crawford, as founding editor of the journal Antiquity, is a plausible authority on which to base such an important claim. According to a description of one of her books, M. Elaine Davis is a "Former classroom teacher and science education specialist" and may not be an adequate source for the fundamental definition of the practice of history.

Still worse, Davis probably doesn't even agree with the sentiment being attributed to her. We are taking her out of context. To give a bit more context, what she wrote in the article is that:

"History education in the United States is primarily the study of the written past. Defining history in such a narrow way has important consequences; authorship of the past is severely restricted, and the history of certain groups is legitimised while others are devalued."

What we see is not that she is making a prescriptive claim about what history is and ought-to-be, as the reference originally implied, but instead that she is setting up 'history education in the united states' in order to make an important criticism of US teaching practice.

In short, the original source is not a prominent scholar of antiquities making a statement about how history ought to be, but a contemporary educator criticizing american educational practice. This error seems to be propagating around to some extent on Wiki, as I noticed it in two important articles, see above.

This seems to create a puzzle for this article that can be solved in one of two ways.


(a) Find a new authoritative source for the claim that "History is the study of the written past"; or,

(b) define history in a new way, which probably would require some significant thought and editorial work.

Afewnotes (talk) 21:33, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

The references cited above seem to have changed, but the current reference is no less troublesome. A Princeton dictionary is cited (note 2) as the consensus among "most historians," but in fact the Princeton source makes no mention of "most historians," or any alleged consensus. The Princeton source is consistent with popular usage, that "History" is 1. The aggregate of past events, or 2. A written record of past events, or 3. The practice of studying and recording past events (plus some other definitions). Thus we have History, versus Recorded History, versus the Practice of the Historian. The specific practice of studying written records is only a subset of the Practice of the Historian. Furthermore, this article (except in the first sentence) treats History as the aggregate of all past events, however attested. There has been a scholarly distinction between the pre-historical period (before people starting writing Recorded History that survives) and the historical period afterward, but this is not to say that events of the pre-historical period are not History -- that they are not in fact events. Although the scholarly distinction might be useful in some contexts, it starts to confuse matters when applied world-wide, where different cultures crossed the prehistory/history line millenia apart. So referring to a particular calendar year as either prehistorical or historical depends on the location and culture you are considering. Bottom line: 1) Wikipedia should not say that History is exclusively the study of written records. 2) This article (Ancient History) is, and should be, primarily about History, not about Recorded History, not about the Practice of the Historian.UnvoicedConsonant (talk) 17:50, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
I made the change in the lead, to present History as the aggregate of past events. — Preceding unsigned comment added by UnvoicedConsonant (talkcontribs) 18:09, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

Ancient Persia[edit]

In the last paragraph in the section on "Ancient Persia", a sentence begins as follows:

"In many ways the Sassanid period witnessed the highest achievement of Persian civilization...."

The use of the singular "achievement" in "the highest achievement of Persian civilization" makes it sound like the Sassanid period witnessed (that is, was witness to) just one achievement, even though it was the highest one. I don't think that was what was meant. I think the problem is the choice of verb, "witnessed". I think what was meant was that the Sassanid period represented (that is, was itself) the highest achievement of Persian civilization. If I do not hear to the contrary, I will change "witnessed" to "represented". Either that or change "achievement" to "achievements". (One might also consider changing "the highest achievement" to "the zenith" -- the high point.) – CorinneSD (talk) 23:36, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

I think it's redundant with the first sentence, myself. But yeah, it's weird to be a witness to yourself. --Xavexgoem (talk) 21:55, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

So, which one of the following do you think is the most correct and best expressed? --

  • In many ways the Sassanid period witnessed the highest achievements of Persian civilization..."
  • In many ways the Sassanid period represented the highest achievement of Persian civilization..."
  • In many ways the Sassanid period represented the zenith of Persian civilization..."

Of course, other suggestions are welcome. CorinneSD (talk) 00:49, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

Explanation of revert[edit]

[5] "Ancient history is the aggregate of past events from human history recorded in written by contemporaries of those events, and it extends as far as the Postclassical Era or the Early Middle Ages." makes little sense and we don't need even more unsourced content. --NeilN talk to me 21:39, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Outline of ancient history[edit]

Note that there is an old Outline of ancient history out there. There's a proposed move on the talk page to move it from the Outlines project to draftspace. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 08:41, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

If some of the WikiProject regulars have an opinion, the draft was removed from all the projects listed here. In my view, a proposed outline of this topic should not be confined to the Outlines project but if the projects don't think a outline is within its scope, that's fine. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 18:12, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

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