In an ancient history research paper or essay, an adequately chosen topic is critical. A clear and relevant idea is just a starting point for time-consuming writing. You have to do a sufficient analysis coupled with thoughtful writing to bring history alive.
Ancient history, though, is an extensive period for research. Understandably, it can be quite challenging for students to pick one single topic to write about.
Our team has a solution for you!
Take a look at these interesting ancient history topics to get inspired. Gain an idea of what direction to follow. Even the most remote history can appear exciting and intriguing. This article can help you to get started!
📜 Ancient History Essay Questions
You might be wondering which events of the past are considered ancient history. Usually, this term refers to the circumstances from the beginning of writing human history to the beginning of post-classical history.
Be mindful that people can also apply it to the discipline itself!
Historians estimate the span of recorded history to be around 5000 years. It begins with the Sumerian script and ends with the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
There are three main ways to examine ancient history:
- Through primary sources
- Through archaeological discoveries
- Through secondary sources
We divided this list periodically and regionally. In our opinion, it is by far the easiest way to present ancient history topics for essay writing.
🏛️ Ancient Greece Topics
- Intellectual Achievements of Ancient Philosophers
- The concept of time in Presocratics
- The religious and social function of Greek Mythology. This essay strives to understand the function of mythology in Ancient Greece. Consider it both from the religious but also from a social function. Surprisingly, these functions cannot be fully isolated from one another. Just as religion explains society, society, at the same time, shapes the religion.
- The role of poets in Ancient Greece
- The primary emphasis of Spartan Education
- Three stages in burial rituals in Ancient Greece
- Causes of the Trojan War. In this research paper, comment on the roots o the Trojan War as recorded in myths. Consider other historical documents as well. An excellent source for anyone who is writing an essay about the Trojan War would be Homer and his works. Check Iliad out if you haven’t done it yet.
- Infanticide in Ancient Greece
- Agamemnon as a leader of Greece. This historical figure made a significant impact on Greece and the ancient world in general. In the essay, you should write about his military achievements. Elaborate on his reforms and his policy, both foreign and domestic.
- History of Greek Alphabet
- Homer’s influence on the history of Greece
- The origin of the Olympic games. Most of us get excited about the Olympic Games. In this research topic, students can learn more about the way this sport event originated. What sports were included from the very beginning? Who was able to participate?
- Plato and Aristotle political philosophy
- Divine Support during the Greco-Persian Wars
- Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. This essay is a bit more challenging but great for someone who wants to understand Plato on a much deeper level. Talk about what the philosopher meant when he spoke about the Cave. Why was he so concerned with the nature of human perception? What was the main message there for us?
- Slavery in Ancient Greece. As in many other societies of the ancient world, slavery was a widely accepted practice. Some of the most famous philosophers, such as Aristotle, thought that slavery was natural. In this essay, students can discuss how slavery became an acceptable practice in ancient Greece. How did the owners treat their slaves? What jobs did the slaves do?
- The main features of Ancient Greek Architecture
- Roman influence on the development of Ancient Greek Art
- Basic principles and notions of Euclid geometry
- Ancient Greek Drama
🏺 Ancient Rome Topics
- Ancient Roman Emperors: the best and the worst
- Gender relationships in Ancient Rome. Expose the gender roles in Ancient Rome by examining the mythology and position in the family. Look for the representations in art, literature, and poetry. These sources will reveal the true position that men and women held in Ancient Roman society.
- Law and Justice in Ancient Rome
- Slavery in Ancient Rome
- Constitutional System in Ancient Rome
- Trade and Economy in Ancient Rome
- The architecture of Ancient Rome. A great essay topic to consider. First of all, we can still see some of its remainings today and appreciate it for its beauty. Second of all, it allows us to understand the power that Rome had. Talk about the most famous Roman architecture and implemented styles. What are the innovations used by Roman architects?
- Agricultural deities in Ancient Rome
- Clothing in Ancient Rome
- Ancient Roman Diet
- Languages in Ancient Rome: Classical and Vulgar. You cannot claim to understand a culture without understanding its language. Look at this linguistic division. Consider what it tells us about the social structure of Roman society.
- Epicurean philosophy and how it influenced the Roman way of thinking
- Entertainment and sports in Ancient Rome. Romans engaged in a variety of different sports, including racing, boxing, jumping, wrestling, etc. The theater was significant as well. You can also talk about board games that were popular in Ancient Rome.
- Julius Ceasar and the Rise of the Roman Empire
- Dictatorship and Democracy in Ancient Rome
- Early Latin Literature
- Constitutional reforms of Julius Ceasar
⚖️ Ancient Egypt Topics
- Architecture, art, and technology in the Old Kingdom
- Egyptian Pyramids and the construction techniques. One of the most mysterious structures ever. Egyptian Pyramids intrigued generations and generations of people. In this essay, you can talk about the history of the pyramids in Egypt. Elaborate on the techniques that were used to build them.
- The purpose of the pyramids in Giza
- History of the Great Sphinx
- Tutankhamun’s Tomb
- Ancient Egyptian beliefs about life and death. You cannot talk about Ancient Egypt without touching upon their belief system about life and death. Students can talk about how the idea of immortality influenced their beliefs. How did Ancient Egyptians get into the afterlife? What did they have to do?
- Mummification process in Ancient Egypt. Mummification was an integral part of ancient Egyptian religion. They saw this step to be essential to living well in the afterlife. Comment on the way the mummification process took place in Egypt, starting from “the most perfect” method. Mention a technique used to avoid major expenses.
- Ancient Egypt in the Bible. Ancient Egypt is one of the most commonly mentioned locations in the Bible. The Egyptians play critical roles in the Bible accounts. Does the Bible give an accurate description of Ancient Egypt?
- The importance of the Nile river
- The place of religion in Egyptian Civilization
- Innovation during the Reign of Hatshepsut
- Who were pharaohs?
- The formal writing system in Ancient Egypt
- Entertainment in Ancient Egypt. Learning about what people of the past did for fun is enjoyable, isn’t it? For instance, Ancient Egyptians liked to go swimming, rowing, dancing, fishing, and hunting. You can write about one, or about several activities that Egyptians did. Just pick and see what you can find!
- Burial Ceremonies in Ancient Egypt
- Arts and Music in Ancient Egypt
- Gender role of women in Ancient Egypt
- Clothing and makeup in Ancient Egypt: why were cleanliness and appearance so important?
🐉 Ancient China Topics
- The significance of the Silk Road for Ancient China
- Why was the Great Wall built?
- What was the purpose of the Forbidden City? Explain what the Forbidden City was built for. Why was it was this way? You can talk about how its symbolic meaning changed over the centuries. What did it mean then and signifies now?
- The Terracotta Army as a symbol of life and power
- The Battle of the Red Cliffs: the causes and the outcomes
- History of science and technology in Ancient China. Ancient China is famous for its inventions. It held leading positions in the world in many fields. Of course, you can examine the four primary inventions—papermaking, printing, gunpowder, and the compass. There are other less known inventions such as bronze, acupuncture, a toothbrush, and paper money.
- The key accomplishments of the Han Dynasty in Ancient China
- Three Major Religions in Ancient China
- Literature and Philosophy in Ancient China
- The teachings of Confucius
🧮 Ancient Middle East Topics
- The Sumerians and Mesopotamia
- How did the Sumer Language develop and die?
- The Hanging Gardens of Babylon the Great. One of the Seven Wonders of the World. No one knows if they existed for real, but they were included in the list. You can simply try to answer a question: what is so special about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon?
- Science and Technology in Mesopotamian Civilization
- Gender roles in Ancient Mesopotamia. Just like many other nations in the ancient world, ancient Mesopotamia was a patriarchal society. Men were the heads of the household. The gender roles were clearly defined. Talk about what women were allowed to do in Ancient Mesopotamia. What were they not allowed to do, and why?
- Ancient Mesopotamian Religion and Philosophy
- Akkadian Empire: the rise and the fall
- A written history of Ancient Israelites. Consider archeological excavations, the Hebrew Bible, and other ancient scrolls. Ancient Israelites have a long and exciting story to talk about. Write about it if you agree with this statement.
- The Pre-Islamic Middle East
- The consequences of the Persian-Greek Wars
🔱 Ancient Historical Figures to Write about
It is tough to identify one single ancient historical figure to write about. First of all, there were a lot of them. Furthermore, this period of history is very long.
The abundance of influential rulers, artists, writers, and religious leaders is incredible. Even a very determined person can get confused. However, there is no need to worry because we are here to help.
These 15 historical figures can be a great focus of your next essay writing:
- Cleopatra. One of the most captivating women that ever lived. She was beautiful, smart, and extremely powerful. The last queen of Egypt is worth writing about.
- Julius Ceasar. A powerful ruler, a philosopher, a writer. Julius Ceasar is played a critical role in the events that led to the rise of the Roman Empire.
- Tutankhamun. His reign is not as significant as his tomb. You can still talk about his short reign and the cause of his death. You can also elaborate on the recent DNA and genographic research. Conducted as an attempt to understand the story of Tut, the latest findings are quite intriguing.
- Alexander the Great. He was believed to be a descendent of God. Alexander was a military genius, an incredible warrior, an influential leader. What accomplishments made him earn the title “great”?
- Aristotle. Many consider him to be one of the greatest philosophers of all time. He made notable contributions to logic, criticism, biology, and many other topics.
- Plato. Known as the Father of Western political philosophy, Plato is never underrated. His most remarkable contributions include the theory of forms. There, Plato looked for solutions to universal problems.
- Augustine of Hippo. We all heard of him as Saint Augustine, or Augustinus, or the doctor of the Church. Why was he considered one of the best theologians of Western Christianity? For more information about his life and personality, read the autobiographical book The Confessions.
- Jesus Christ. There are a lot of debates happening regarding the nature of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, historians do not doubt that he existed. He was the most famous person that has ever lived. Besides, he is the central figure of the Christian religion.
- Caligula. Almost all the accounts of this Roman Emperor agree that he was cruel and vicious. However, he was a noble and moderate ruler in the first years of his reign. Some historians believe that Caligula was mentally ill.
- Cicero. Cicero was a Roma orator, lawyer, and philosopher. He believed in the existence of an ideal form of government. You can talk about his political or philosophical views and accomplishments.
- Confucius. In the essay about Confucius, talk about what he believed in and the religion that he started. Confucianism rests upon the belief that human beings are teachable, perfectible, and ultimately kind. The Golden Rule of Confucius that he taught all his followers to apply can become a great topic to discuss.
- Constantine the Great. This Roman Emperor can rightfully claim his title. For starters, he made Christianity into the religion of the state. That’s just one of the many things students can write about.
- Euclid. He was the father of geometry. What did he discover? What were his major works and accomplishments? Students all over the world still apply the principles that this great mathematician once discovered.
- Hammurabi. Much can be said about this Babylonian king. However, the most significant accomplishment of Hammurabi is the Code that he developed.
- Homer. Homer and his works had an immense effect on Western Culture. Nevertheless, we know very little about Homer himself. Some people even believe that Homer did not exist.
✍️ 5 Great Topics for Historical Analysis
By definition, a good historical analysis is to be analytical. It means that it should go beyond simple description and narration. So, strive to do that.
The focus of historical analysis is on interpretation and building connections between events. Plus, it depends on the goals of your research paper. Sometimes you will concentrate on understanding how and why certain things happened. Other times, you will be looking into the way a specific event was recorded. You may even take a more historiographical approach. It all depends on the type of assignment you’ve received.
To be able to produce an excellent historical analysis, follow these steps:
- Read your assignment carefully and understand what you have to do;
- Ask the right questions;
- Collect the sources: both primary and secondary;
- Read them. Examine them. Understand them;
- Build your arguments based on the sources;
- Keep looking for some additional relevant information;
- Strive to be original and creative.
Additionally, make sure you use a proper style. Don’t be afraid to ask your reader rhetorical questions. Bring up citations from various sources and seek opportunities to open up a discussion.
Engage your readers to think. For that, don’t choose an obscure history topic. Stay focused on the issues and historical events that are truly important and influential.
Here are some ancient history topics for historical analysis:
- An impact of Genghis Khan on the ancient world
- How did Mongol rule in Russia differ from the one in China?
- A juxtaposition of the Sumerian and Mayan civilization
- Did the Trojan Horse exist?
- The historical significance of Carthage, and why is it unknown?
We hope you enjoyed this blog post. Do not hesitate to share ancient history topics with your peers. Take this as a learning opportunity, and good luck!
- Research Paper Topics about Ancient and Classical History: Online Research Library Questia
- Ancient History, Celts and Minoans: HISTORY, A&E Television Networks
- Ancient History Topics: Thames & Hudson
- Points About Ancient Greek History: N.S. Gill for ThoughtCo
- Ancient and Medieval History: Infobase
- Ideas about Ancient world: TED Talk, Ideas Worth Spreading
- Writing: Joshua L. Mark for Ancient History Encyclopedia
- A Brief Guide to Writing the History Paper: Harward College Writing Center
- Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Students by Patrick Rael, Bowdoin College
- Writing about History: Elspeth H. Brown, Department of History, for Writing Advice, University of Toronto
- Useful Links: History Department, Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, Boston College