For students of history and even who like knowing about history, ancient history holds a special place. This is because it represents a world that is left far behind but was very similar to ours when you look at it closely. The basics of civilization had its seeds sown in those times and they have remained unchanged down the centuries.
Early history is often specifically referred to as the history of Greece and Rome from the ancient times to the Middle Ages. But this does not mean that those were the only civilizations that were present at those times, there were other civilizations mushrooming and burgeoning all around the world at more or less the same period. Other empires like that in China and Mohenjodaro and Harappa (India) in Asia, Mesopotamia, Egypt in Africa, Aztecs, Mayans and Incas in Latin America etc. flourished at around this time too. So the term ancient history should ideally also include the study of these civilizations.
The main handicap in studying ancient history is that we know too little of that period, this is because the exact happenings of the old times have not been well documented or it has been lost. The ones that remain of course contain a biased view of the authors and cannot always be fully depended upon. Thus, whatever knowledge we have of the ancient world is through archaeology. Important archaeological finds to date are the Egyptian pyramids, the city of Mohenjodaro and Harappa, Pompeii-the city destroyed by the volcano, as well as the Chinese terracotta army.
The Classical age of history that comprises mainly the Roman and Greek civilizations also extends to the Mediterranean region of Phoenicia, Scythia, Carthage, and to the Hittites and Etruscans. The historians who have recorded the events of this age are Livy, Herodotus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Polybius, Thucydides etc. Such were the knowledge, learning and teaching of the great people of this age that they are followed to this day. For example, in philosophy and literary theory, Aristotle remains unchallenged, Hippocrates and Galen form the basis of the medicinal world. They have influenced every facet of our lives like politics, sculpture and architecture.
Thus, if a timeline is created to represent the major events of ancient history then it will be seen that the beginnings start with the Sumerian Civilization followed by the Egyptian civilization, the Indus Valley civilization, the Shang dynasty of China and the Greek and Roman Civilization. The two other notable civilizations from the Americas are the Maya and Inca.
While studying early history thus, concentrating on a single civilization does not suffice, you need to focus uniformly on the developments of each continent. For example, in America itself there have been the Mayas, Incas and the Olmec civilizations, which have all contributed to ancient history in their own particular way.