Ancient history is the aggregate of past events from the beginning of writing and recorded human history and extending as far as post-classical history. The phrase may be used either to refer to the period of time or the academic discipline.
The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beginning with the Sumerian cuneiform script, with the oldest coherent texts from about 2600 BC. Ancient history covers all continents inhabited by humans in the period 3000 BC – AD 500.
The broad term "ancient history" is not to be confused with "classical antiquity". The term classical antiquity is often used to refer to Western history in the Ancient Mediterranean from the beginning of recorded Greek history in 776 BC. This roughly coincides with the traditional date of the founding of Rome in 753 BC, the beginning of the history of ancient Rome, and the beginning of the Archaic period in Ancient Greece.
The academic term "history" is not to be confused with colloquial references to times past. History is fundamentally the study of the past, and can be either scientific or humanistic.