That was my main point, but many ancients did not presume to have a 'philosophy of history', they told a story, like Herodotus, or analyzed an historical event, like Thucydides. With Polybius, the idea of the rise and decline of cultures (Roman and Greek/Hellenistic, respectively) became more widespread. Christian historians were more interested in the bioigraphies of martyrs and church leaders, less interested in civil history, and inclined to leave historical purposes to Divine benevolence.
That is what I thought you meant. From what I understand almost universally the ancients saw history as cyclical. You do not give Chrisianity its due, however. For in my opinion it was divine revelation that began history, first with Creation, but also in God's guidance of the Jews in and through human events and individuals in preparation for Redemption and now looking forward to the final consummation. Christianity stopped the cycles. The Old Testament is the first progressive history, but many Christians have continued that perspective.
The belief in "progress" is a poor substitute eschatalogy without reference to anything beyond the material world. Evolution too is a hollow imitation.