What is the difference between ancient, medivial and modern history?
How did historians divide it into 3 periods?
Ancient usually ends about 476 AD (the final fall of the western Roman empire). The Medieval usually ends in 1453 at the fall of the eastern Roman (Byzantine) empire. Modern is anything after that.
About 2000 years
Midevil is around 1500 AD
Modern History is the last 200 years or so
The origins of periodization is very old and first became part of the Western tradition in the myths of Ancient Greece and The Bible. Virgil spoke of a distant Golden Age and recurrent cycles of history. The Bible outlines a narrative of history from Creation to the End of time. One Biblical periodization scheme commonly used in the Middle Ages was Saint Paul's theological division of history in to three ages: the first before the age of Moses (under nature); the second under Mosaic law (under law); the third in the age of Christ (under grace). But perhaps the most widely discussed periodization scheme of the Middle Ages was the Six Ages of the World, where every age was a thousand years counting from Adam to the present, with the present time (in the Middle Ages) being the sixth and final stage.
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of human history until the Early Middle Ages in Europe, the Qin Dynasty in China, the Chola Empire in India, and some less defined point in the rest of the world (for example, in the Americas). (The period following antiquity is the Imperial era in China and the period of the Middle Kingdoms in India; one might consider the end of antiquity in the Americas to be the start of the colonization of the Americas.) The goal of the modern day critical ancient historian is objectivity. The term classical antiquity is often used to refer to ancient history since the beginning of 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 ancient Rome.
Although the ending date of ancient history is disputed, currently most Western scholars use the fall of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476, the death of the emperor Justinian I or the coming of Islam in 632 as the end of ancient European history. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 ? 5,500 years, with Sumerian cuneiform being the oldest form of writing discovered so far. This is the beginning of history by the definition used by most historians.
The Middle Ages form the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three "ages": the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Modern Times. The idea of such a periodisation is attributed to Flavio Biondo, an Italian Renaissance humanist historian.
The Middle Ages are commonly dated from the fall of the Western Roman Empire (or by some scholars, before that) in the 5th century to the beginning of the Early Modern Period in the 16th century, marked by the rise of nation-states, the division of Christianity in the Reformation, the rise of humanism in the Italian Renaissance, and the beginnings of European overseas expansion which allowed for the Columbian Exchange. There is some variation in the dating of the edges of these periods which is due mainly to differences in specialization and focus of individual scholars. Commonly seen periodization ranges span the years ca. 400?476 AD (the sackings of Rome by the Visigoths to the deposing of Romulus Augustus) to ca. 1453?1517 (the Fall of Constantinople to the Protestant reformation begun with Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses). Dates are approximate, and are based upon nuanced arguments; for other dating schemes and the reasoning behind them, see "periodisation issues", below.
The Middle Ages witnessed the first sustained urbanization of northern and western Europe. Modern European states owe their origins to events unfolding in the Middle Ages; present European political boundaries are, in many regards, the result of the military and dynastic achievements in this tumultuous period.
Modern history describes the history of the Modern Times, the era after the Middle Ages.
The concepts and ideas developed since then are part of Modernity. Modern history may contain references to the history of Early modern Europe from the turn of the 15th century until the late 18th century, but generally refers to the history of the world since the advent of the Age of Reason and the Age of Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The term should not be confused with modernism, a late 19th and early 20th century movement in art.
These are all really nothing more than convenient labels for different periods.
Ancient history is roughly from the earliest recorded events (with BC--"Before Christ"-- or BCE--"Before Common Era" --and a descending numbering system--300 BC is before 200 BC-- until approximately the birth of Jesus Christ, after which the numbering of years in the West is sequential, followed with AD or CE in some cases, to distinguish years with the same number) to around the fifth century of the AD ("Year of the Lord") or CE ("Common Era").
The medieval period is usually considered to be from the sixth to about the sixteenth century, and from the seventeenth on is pretty much modern history.
The thing is, history is actually living and vibrant--and doesn't necessarily allow itself to be rigidly categorized. After all, the people who lived in the three periods mentioned all thought that THEY were in the MODERN period.
I can just hear some Babylonian teen saying something like,
"Dad, come on! This isn't the reign of Nebuchadnezzar! We're in the fifth year of Xerxes!" Or, perhaps in China, someone observing to his friend, "Oh, that went out with the Ch'in Dynasty!"
Even the medieval period is sometimes broken down into the so-called Dark Ages, High Middle Ages, and Renaissance, so you see the labels can easily be blurred.
Prehistory: Anything before 4000 bce. (Writing, religious events that may or may not have occurred do indicate some history.)
Ancient Era: 4000 - aprox. 750 bce. (This was the age of early civilizations. Biblical kings, Egyptian priests, Babylon, ect., until the earliest dates of the classical burgeoning.)
Classical/Hellenistic Era: 750 bce.- 476 ce. (This encompassed the age of Alexander, and the great minds of Alexandria, but this is primarily a timeline of the city Rome's influence over her Empire.)
Middle Ages: 476 - 1453 (The fall of the city of Rome itself to the fall of the last remnants of her Empire in the East.)
Modern Age: 1453 - ? (This is of some dispute. Some would identify disparate parts of this age as actual eras. There would be the age of Empires, the age of Discovery, the Industrial age, followed by the modern age. In reality, all of these ages are the culmination of both Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation beginning in the 14th and culminating in the 16th centuries, and whose legacy is the model of advancement today.)