Human History

Not to be confused with Human history, History of the world, World History, or History of the Earth.

Recorded history, sometimes referred to as written history, is a concept describing the availability of a written record or some other form of documented communication that can be used to support a specific historical narrative. For some regions of the world, written history is limited to a relatively recent period in human history whereas the earliest written history starts around the 4th millennium BC with the invention of writing. Thus recorded history in different contexts may refer to different periods of time depending on what is being recorded.

Historical accounts

Recorded history begins with the accounts of the ancient world by antiquity's own historians. The earliest chronologies date back to Mesopotamia (Sumer) and ancient Egypt (Early Dynastic). Some of the more notable ancient historians include: Josephus Flavius, Herodotus, Thucydides, Polybius, Manetho (Greek historiography), Zuo Qiuming, Sima Qian (Chinese historiography), Livy, Sallust, Plutarch, Tacitus, Suetonius (Roman historiography). Although valuable, these accounts have significant limitations because many of them are written in a historical tradition not focused on documenting events and factual information, but instead focused on the political or ideological repercussions of stories of the past.

In pre-modern societies, epic poetry, mythography, collections of legends, and religious texts were often treated as sources of historical information, and so one may see references to such writers as Homer, Vyasa, Valmiki and to such works as the biblical Book of Exodus as historical sources.


In historical practice, the sources which create recorded history are called Primary sources. Primary sources are firsthand written evidence of history made at the time of an event by a present person. Historians think of those sources as the closest to the origin of the information or idea under study.[1][2] These types of sources can provide researchers with, as Dalton and Charnigo put it, "direct, unmediated information about the object of study."[3] Historians use other types of sources to understand history as well. Secondary sources are written accounts of history based upon the evidence from primary sources. These are sources which, usually, are accounts, works, or research that analyze, assimilate, evaluate, interpret, and/or synthesize primary sources. Tertiary sources are compilations based upon primary and secondary sources and often tell a more generalized account built on the more specific research found in the first two types of sources.[1][4][5]

See also

History portal


External links

  • More on ancient scripts
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.