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  1. #1
    Regular Member KING CUNOBELIN's Avatar
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    Question When does "prehistory" end and "history" begin?

    The answer to this question has to depend upon where and what culture one is discussing, as to when its own specific "history" or written records began. However, in the broader terms such as we use here, the HISTORY FORUM site has Prehistory as anything dating before the 8th century bc. Between the 8th and 5th centuries bc are classed as Ancient History (generally the Classical Period). Yet I do think that Homer recorded some good measure of "history" in The Iliad, with very many verifiable details included. Therefore Ancient History can be extended back in the Aegean region to 1275bc, to the time of the Trojan War. Then again, much of the early biblical material (and supporting sources such as the Dead Sea scrolls, Midrash, Mishim, Koran etc) can be found to show details that are historically true and coincident with the evidence found in Egyptian archaeology. This ought to mean that we can press Ancient History back to 1500bc in Egypt and the surrounding region. The Epic of Gilgamesh has much to suggest it was a broadly true record of life in Sumer before 2000bc, so the Ancient History of Iraq can be said to go back to that time, or earlier. Maybe our beloved Ancient History could lose its Iron Age fixation of 750bc and be allowed to stretch back at least to the Late Bronze Age of 1300bc? This might normalise Ancient History by providing it with a sufficiently lengthy time-window to gain some proper identity within the strata of the ages of humanity. Although still a contentious matter of sorts, the period of Prehistory could then be set to pre-13th century bc? One thing that is certain, it is quite hard for me to arrive at any conclusive opinion on the matter, so does it really matter at all?

  2. #2
    Average Member Sven Buchholz's Avatar
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    Re: When does "prehistory" end and "history" begin?

    Pre Historyis closely linked to the art of writing! You are very close to the answer whensay HOMER.
    After thebattle of Troy ca 1200 BC everything seemed tocome to a standstill. The “black ages”. The Mycenaeans had learned the art of writing from the Minoans,the syllabic writing Linear B, encrypted by Ventris and Chadwick 1952. Thatseemed to be forgotten during those years. The period has almost no history. Life started around 700with the new Greek alphabet, a phonetic alphabet, almost identical from the onewe have today! The Greeks stole the letters from the Phoenicians; they had exclusively consonants, so the Greeks had to change some of them into vowels because theGreek language has many vowels.

  3. #3
    Regular Member KING CUNOBELIN's Avatar
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    Re: When does "prehistory" end and "history" begin?

    Ah Sven, an intelligent reply. whilst the earliest events of prehistory are recorded in the oldest forms of writing, the passage of the history of writing is non-linear in the Western world. It has not progressed continuously, but in fits and starts, with stalls and complete wipeouts here and there, like Linear A. I do not agree therefore that because language enter the doldrums around 1000 bc, we should therefore drag Anient History back to before that time. No, languages are very much older than phonetic scripts, going back before 3000 bc, when some of the earliest symbols were used to express ideas. It is the events and the people who enact them that history is made up of, not the writings of those thereafter. They are recordists, and of course, we know that much of what government-sponsored people have to say is naught but a bunch of lies and contrivances! King Cunobelin rules!

  4. #4
    Sr. Member Zeus10's Avatar
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    Re: When does "prehistory" end and "history" begin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sven Buchholz View Post
    Pre Historyis closely linked to the art of writing! You are very close to the answer whensay HOMER.
    After thebattle of Troy ca 1200 BC everything seemed tocome to a standstill. The “black ages”. The Mycenaeans had learned the art of writing from the Minoans,the syllabic writing Linear B, encrypted by Ventris and Chadwick 1952. Thatseemed to be forgotten during those years. The period has almost no history.


    I fully agree with you that Ventris and Chadwick actually never decrypted the Linear B, they just "encrypted" it in such way to spread the tale that this is an earlier form of Greek.

    Life started around 700with the new Greek alphabet, a phonetic alphabet, almost identical from the onewe have today! The Greeks stole the letters from the Phoenicians; they had exclusively consonants,
    No language can work without vowels, because they are the most unrestricted sounds the human can produce.

    ...so the Greeks had to change some of them into vowels because theGreek language has many vowels.
    I thought that the earlier form of Greek has had a syllabic character, according to Ventris' en(de)cryption, how come it changed that character to a diphthongic one, in the consecutive form of Greek we know, meanwhile the syllabic language is a very advanced form of speech in contrast to the diphthongic one.
    The only thing neccessary for the triumph of evil is for good man doing nothing.

  5. #5
    Jr. Member Nick's Avatar
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    Re: When does "prehistory" end and "history" begin?

    Prehistory ends, naturally, with the birth of the first civilisations: Sumeria, Egypt, Crete, and earlier cities like Gobekli Tepe

  6. #6
    Regular Member KING CUNOBELIN's Avatar
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    Re: When does "prehistory" end and "history" begin?

    Nick I completely agree with you! And that was the point I hoped to draw out of this thread, that we need to change these narrow time windows that do not take into account the exceptions of local histories, such as the Egyptian and Sumerian which have left detailed records, constituting some material of early history. We also need to present dating tables that show accurate cross-discipline and cross-cultural coherence so that others can start to get a clearer view of the subject matter. I think narrow time windows and the currently poorly defined (ie. often technically incorrect) time categories (eg. Prehistory, Ancient History etc) fail to allow for the long transitions of the widespread ancient world. For instance, the Iron Age represents its own illusion, because that 700bc dateline provided so universally is only true of swords, because they needed to be of a minumum standard of steel in order to be effective. People were making iron objects long before that and in very many places, so in Egypt ritual iron objects were found as early as 1500bc, which is usually called the Middle Bronze Age. We can easily get lost in the conflicts that this dating system creates for all and sundry. However, there is no doubt some relevance to the Early, Middle & Late Bronze Age phases because their transitions are marked by changes in lifestyle and in metalwork that are manifest in specific regions. Yet meanwhile, throughout the latter half of the Bronze Age phases, some peoples were smelting and working iron. I think it is purely because of the inherent confusion of the dating system(s) that we use in the west that so many people about us now find themselves entirely confused about the ancient world. It should be a natural thing to study, not an intellectual challenge or a conundrum. We have a crisis of conflict, whereby it may well suit the academic world forever to maintain such difficulty & hypocrisy within their presented model, at the cost to the rest of humanity of being left in the dark, with no right to any opinion that really matters - "JUST ACCEPT OUR CATEGORIES" leads to a common standard as set, so I really think that now, in its developing period, we should really try to re-defin the ages of humanity in a model that takes into account many of the conflicts and exceptions that have been thrown up by consequent finds made after the categories of ages were first suggested in the academic world. In one year, I could present such a model myself if I was dedicated to doing it, so I do not think it is a big task, although it clearly would be riddled with difficulties to reconcile.

  7. #7
    Regular Member KING CUNOBELIN's Avatar
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    Re: When does "prehistory" end and "history" begin?

    Quote Originally Posted by carolgreen270 View Post
    o depend upon where and what culture one is discussing, as to when its own specific "history" or written records began. However, in the broader terms such as we use here, the HISTORY FORUM site has Prehistory as anything dating before the 8th century bc. Between the 8th and 5th centuries bc are classed as Ancient History (generally the Classical Period). Yet I do think that Homer recorded some good measure of "history" in The Iliad, with very many verifiable details included. Therefore Ancient History can be extended back in the Aegean region to 1275bc, to the time of the Trojan War. Then again, much of the early biblical material (and supporting sources such as the Dead Sea scrolls, Midrash, Mishim, Koran etc) can be found to show details that are historically true and coincident with the evidence found in Egyptian archaeology. This ought to mean that we can press Ancient History back to 1500bc in Egypt and the surrounding region. The Epic of Gilgamesh has much to suggest it was a broadly true record of life in Sumer before 2000bc, so the Ancient History of Iraq can be said to go back to that time, or earlier. Maybe our beloved Ancient History could lose its Iron Age fixation of 750bc and be allowed to stretch back at least to the Late Bronze Age of 1300bc? This might normalise Ancient History by providing it with a sufficiently lengthy time-window to gain some proper identity within the strata of the ages of humanity. Although still a contentious matter of sorts, the period of Prehistory could then be set to pre-13th century bc? One thing that is certain, it is quite hard for me to arrive at any conclusive opinion on the matt
    ADMINISTRATOR: THIS QUOTE IS JUST A PASTING OF MY OPENING ENTRY WITH A WEB ADDRESS INSERTED. I FIND IT INSULTING, CAN YOU DELETE IT. YOU WILL FIND THIS MMBER HAS INSERTED THIS AWKWARD RUBBISH INTO VARIOUS THREADS, ALL INAPPROPRIATE. PLEASE SORT IT OUT.

  8. #8
    Administrator Caesar's Avatar
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    Re: When does "prehistory" end and "history" begin?

    Quote Originally Posted by KING CUNOBELIN View Post
    ADMINISTRATOR: THIS QUOTE IS JUST A PASTING OF MY OPENING ENTRY WITH A WEB ADDRESS INSERTED. I FIND IT INSULTING, CAN YOU DELETE IT. YOU WILL FIND THIS MMBER HAS INSERTED THIS AWKWARD RUBBISH INTO VARIOUS THREADS, ALL INAPPROPRIATE. PLEASE SORT IT OUT.
    You are right King Cunobelin. Carolgreen is acting like a spammer and all his irrelevant posts will be deleted and he will be banned if we find him spamming again.

  9. #9
    Progressing Member dublin's Avatar
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    Re: When does "prehistory" end and "history" begin?

    Word Historia just means a story. Written histories are sometimes a lot less reliable than oral ones, because a lot more people had an interest to forge them. Sometimes oral histories contain data that is much older and more reliable than any written record we have.

  10. #10
    Moderator blackknight's Avatar
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    Re: When does "prehistory" end and "history" begin?

    Quote Originally Posted by dublin View Post
    Word Historia just means a story. Written histories are sometimes a lot less reliable than oral ones, because a lot more people had an interest to forge them. Sometimes oral histories contain data that is much older and more reliable than any written record we have.
    But not many nations have a strong tradition in oral history.

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