When Did Ancient Times Begin and End?

When it comes to ancient times, the question of when they began and ended can be a bit complicated. The exact dates that mark the beginning and end of ancient times vary depending on the region and civilization in question. In this article, we will explore some of the general timelines associated with ancient times.

The Beginning of Ancient Times

For much of Europe and the Mediterranean, ancient times are considered to have begun around 3200 BCE with the rise of early civilizations such as Sumeria in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. This period is often referred to as the Bronze Age due to the widespread use of bronze for tools, weapons, and other objects.

In other parts of the world, such as China and India, ancient times began earlier. In China, the Xia Dynasty is thought to have begun around 2100 BCE, while in India the Indus Valley Civilization emerged around 2600 BCE.

The End of Ancient Times

The end of ancient times is similarly difficult to pin down. For many regions, it is marked by a transition from antiquity to medieval times. This transition was often characterized by changes in political systems, religion, and technology.

In Europe and parts of Asia Minor, this transition occurred with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 CE. In China, it came about with the fall of the Han Dynasty in 220 CE. For India, it was marked by a period known as the Gupta Empire which lasted from approximately 320-550 CE.

Ancient Times Around The Globe

It’s worth noting that these timelines are just generalizations – different regions had their own unique timelines based on their own histories and cultures.

For example, Mesoamerica (which includes areas like modern-day Mexico and Central America) had its own distinct timeline for ancient times. The Olmec civilization emerged around 1200 BCE and was followed by the Maya civilization, which reached its peak around 600-900 CE.

In South America, the Inca Empire emerged around 1400 CE and lasted until the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. Meanwhile, in Africa, ancient times varied greatly depending on the region – for example, Ancient Egypt emerged around 3100 BCE while other African civilizations like Aksum (located in modern-day Ethiopia) emerged much later.


In short, ancient times are a complex and varied period of human history that spanned many different regions and civilizations. While general timelines can be established for some regions, it’s important to remember that each civilization had its own unique timeline based on its own history and culture. By understanding these timelines, we can gain a better appreciation for the rich tapestry of human history.