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Is there a word or short phrase that encompasses the three main stages of Western history: ancient, medieval, and then modern?

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  • This is for my dad, a non-native English speaker who is writing an article on the topic. He thought that "three-tiered history" would work but I had my doubts and suggested "written history" or just plain "history."
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 14:26
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    History is the best. Throughout history... reinforces it. Your dad might be describing ages. Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 18:09
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    The distinction between the three stages is not well-defined and is very rarely used; in fact, I would have described it with more than three stages. So "three-tiered history" sounds formal and academic without any knowledge of the three tiers for Joe Bloggs to know what it's talking about. As @medica says, just "history" would be best; that, or expand the idea into a longer sentence. Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 20:47
  • @Watercleave Yes; most of the treatments I've come across in the last few years (OK, I admit it, mainly pictorials) separate 'medieval' into 'Dark Ages' and 'Medieval'. Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 22:50
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    I think "Western history" should suffice.
    – augurar
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 2:12

2 Answers 2

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Wikipedia has an entry called "Universal History", to quote (emphasis mine):

"Universal history is the representation of general facts both of entire nations and of individuals. Its uses are manifold. It teaches human nature and the experience of all centuries. Universal history is commonly divided into three parts, viz. ancient, medieval, and modern time"

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I think it might depend on the context, but "since recorded history" or "... rarely mentioned in recorded history" might work.

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  • But if modern history is to be included, how can "rarely mentioned in recorded history" be correct or suitable?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 22:43
  • Emphasis was on "recorded History". Then I thought this excluded some, so I added the second phrases. eg."The role of women is rarely mentioned in recorded history. On the other hand, history often records the efforts of the wealthy and influential." Not meant to be a political statement - this is a page about language use?
    – Pauline
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 0:04
  • Could you include your example in your answer? I.e. "The role of women is rarely mentioned in recorded history. On the other hand, history often records the efforts of the wealthy and influential." This makes your answer clearer and more complete IMO.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 2:29

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