Guide 1177 B.C. : the year civilization collapsed

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They grew to power over two millennia, but they collapsed simultaneously almost overnight. What happened? The density of their connection can be learned from trade goods found in shipwrecks, from Egyptian hieroglyphs and wall paintings, and from countless well-preserved clay-tablet letters written between the states.

The tin required for all that bronze tin was the equivalent of oil today came from Afghanistan 1, miles to the east.

1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed

In the 12th Century B. For Cline the defining moment was the battle in B. Do they really explain the general collapse, as historians long assumed? Cline thinks the failure was systemic, made of a series of cascading calamities in a highly interdependent world. There were indeed invasions—they might have been soldiers, or refugees, or civil war, or all three.

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But the violence was probably set in motion by extensive drought and famine reported in tablet letters from the time. We will all die of hunger.

Eric Cline: B.C.: When Civilization Collapsed - The Long Now

May you know it! The interlinked collapses played out over a century as central administrations failed, elites disappeared, economies collapsed, and whole populations died back or moved elsewhere. In the dark centuries that followed the end of the Bronze Age, romantic myths grew of how wondrous the world had once been. Homer sang of Achilles, Troy, and Odysseus. Those myths inspired the Classical Age that eventually emerged. We would also like to recognize George Cowan - for being the first to sponsor this series. For more information about donations and Seminar Sponsorship, please contact donate longnow.

We are a public c 3 non-profit, and donations to us are always tax deductible. Membership: Dashboard Membership Dashboard Members get a snapshot view of new Long Now content with easy access to all their member benefits. Membership Newsletters Published monthly, the member newsletter gives in-depth and behind the scenes updates on Long Now's projects. About Eric Cline Introduction Summary twitter facebook.


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  • B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed.

When chaos overwhelmed civilization Archaeologist Cline began by declaring that the time he would most like to be transported to is the Late Bronze Age in the Mediterranean—the five centuries between and B. In recent months, Cline has been able to engage the public with serious archaeological scholarship. Major media outlets such as the Huffington Post and the New Yorker , reviewed the book favorably, and helped him continue the conversation. These calamities led to the collapse of the various interrelated civilizations and cultures of the Aegean, the Near East and Egypt.

1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed

Cline gathers all previous research on the topic and then looks at the big picture, by discussing ancient geopolitics in terms that makes sense to a non-specialist. The arrival of the Sea Peoples c.


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In the first half of the volume, Cline describes the major Bronze Age civilizations that were soon to collapse, concentrating on the international connections among them. In his first chapter, he covers most of the significant events relating to the rise of Mycenaean civilization. The third chapter continues the theme of foreign contacts into the next century the 13th , concentrating on the rise of Assyria, the second rise and then fall of the Hittites and their conflicts with the Mycenaeans over western Anatolian territory.

Cline does not neglect the peripheral regions, such as the important Mediterranean port city of Ugarit, the vital copper trade from Cyprus, or the appearance of the Israelites in Canaan. By the time he gets to Chapter Four, which deals largely with the 12th century, the coming collapse is quite clear. He also mentions other, non-Sea People related changes in this chapter—the end of the Kassite dynasty in Mesopotamia, the destruction of a few major Hittite sites, and destruction of some major palace sites in the Aegean, including Mycenae, and more gradual cultural change on Cyprus.

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Chapter Five pulls all these disparate changes together, as Cline discusses additional possible causes such as earthquakes, but especially droughts and amines caused by climate change, and internal rebellions in individual cities. Cline suggests that all these factors may well have affected the previously robust international trade, and therefore can be seen as together as leading to collapse. While the parallels between ancient and modern have become clear to journalists who have reviewed the book, they have perhaps concentrated on the doom-and-gloom too much to understand what Cline says about what happened next.

Israelites and Judahites developed in Canaan as a result of the power vacuum left by the collapse, and their codex now referred to as the Bible still serves as the basis of three of the major world religions of today. The cultures and writings of Classical Greece also emerged from the post-collapse memories and mythologies of the warfare at the end of the Bronze Age.