Recorded history  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Recorded history (sometimes called record history) can be defined as human history that has been written down or recorded by the use of language. It starts in the 4th millennium BC, with the invention of writing. The period before this is known as prehistory.

Recorded history begins with the accounts of the ancient world by antiquity's own historians. Although it is important to take into account the bias of each ancient author, their accounts are the basis for our understanding of the ancient past. Some of the more notable ancient writers include: Sima Qian, Herodotus, Manetho, Chanakya, Sun Tzu, Josephus, Thucydides, Tacitus, Livy, Polybius, Sallust, Suetonius.

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; however, the authors of these texts were not concerned with determining what happened in the past, but were instead concerned with creating a cultural narrative based upon or supplementing history, and so their testimony should be used with caution.

Primary sources are firsthand written evidence of history made at the time of the event by someone who was present. They have been described as those sources closest to the origin of the information or idea under study. These types of sources have been said to provide researchers with "direct, unmediated information about the object of study."

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. These are sources which, on average, do not fall into the above two levels.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Recorded history" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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