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1177 B.C. : The Year Civilization Collapsed…

1177 B.C. : The Year Civilization Collapsed (2014)

by Eric H. Cline

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Turning Points In Ancient History

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6852422,096 (3.58)24
"In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh's army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians. The thriving economy and cultures of the late second millennium B.C., which had stretched from Greece to Egypt and Mesopotamia, suddenly ceased to exist, along with writing systems, technology, and monumental architecture. But the Sea Peoples alone could not have caused such widespread breakdown. How did it happen? In this major new account of the causes of this "First Dark Ages," Eric Cline tells the gripping story of how the end was brought about by multiple interconnected failures, ranging from invasion and revolt to earthquakes, drought, and the cutting of international trade routes. Bringing to life the vibrant multicultural world of these great civilizations, he draws a sweeping panorama of the empires and globalized peoples of the Late Bronze Age and shows that it was their very interdependence that hastened their dramatic collapse and ushered in a dark age that lasted centuries. A compelling combination of narrative and the latest scholarship, 1177 B.C. sheds new light on the complex ties that gave rise to, and ultimately destroyed, the flourishing civilizations of the Late Bronze Age--and that set the stage for the emergence of classical Greece"--… (more)
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English (20)  Spanish (3)  French (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
This provides a review of thinking and the archeological finds the thinking is based on about the end of the large empires shortly before the end of the bronze age. The date 1177BC is when the Egyptians report having defeated the Sea People. Archeology hasn't yet told us who the Sea People were or how much actual damage they did. Earthquakes, famines and wars all between 1250 BC and 1130 BC make it clear that the Sea People weren't the areas only problems. Plagues are even mentioned for their absence, which bugs me, because often when new people show up it's partly because the residents, hence defenders, are sparse. ( )
  quondame | Nov 23, 2019 |
Overall this was a good general survey of the Mediterranean world at the end of the Bronze Age. I enjoyed the emphasis on how a sort of proto-globalization existed during this era as I think culturally we don't appreciate how ancient societies were incredibly interconnected with one another. This topic is an immense one and I appreciate the author attempting to streamline it for general readers who may not have any historical background; I think there's a lot of value in popular histories like this.

I do feel, however, the writing was somewhat broad and vague without much detail in certain sections that would've benefited. But otherwise this is a good addition to the popular history of the ancient world ( )
  ElleGato | Sep 24, 2018 |
Recommended by a history professor from Lyon College and did not disappoint in its telling of fairly significant trade and diplomatic relations among the ancient peoples spanning Eurasia to Africa. Book read a bit like a Dan Carlin "Hardcore History" podcast in its focus on connections and what other people were doing at the same time. The book also had my favorite benefit of forcing me to another book to look something up. In this case, The Sea People, who apparently are in need of additional focused research and a few books of their own as they remain a mystery. ( )
  JFOliveira | May 28, 2018 |
Quite repetitive and a bit dry. I was hoping for a stronger narrative. I did find the underlying mystery of the Sea People intriguing, though.

Awarding one bonus star because I thought the author's obvious enthusiasm for his subject was rather endearing. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Overproduction, vast inequalities, endemic war, exhaustion of resources, climate shifts - what I learned was that the first "global civilization" sounds much like the last. No single cause brings down complex human systems, but when these factors conjoin, at some point, they fall. The process unfolds over decades, and frenzied activity - construction, diplomacy, trade, commerce - continues right up to the last, so that it is only clear in retrospect that some order which may have lasted for centuries is gone for good.

I would have liked to hear more speculation about what happens to common people in these situations - their lives are not recorded, so it's difficult. But when city after city was burned to the ground, what became of the people in them? I suppose we could look at contemporary examples like Syria to get some sense.

Humans make pretty things, but our history isn't pretty. It's beyond disturbing - it seems a complete concession to entropy and waste, for our species and for our planetary ecosystem. Now more than ever, works like this make me wonder if what we call civilization is the best we'll ever do. ( )
  CSRodgers | Dec 9, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
This book by Eric Cline is the first in the series Turning Points in Ancient History edited by Barry Strauss. In the words of Strauss, this series “looks at a crucial event or key moment in the ancient world”, and the series seems targeted—judging from this first book—at a broad audience of both students and experts in the field. Cline’s book takes as its crucial event the battle between Ramses III of Egypt and the so-called Sea Peoples in 1177 B.C., a point in history that marked the end of the Late Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean. Cline is careful not to suggest that this battle alone was responsible for the wave of destructions dated to the beginning of the twelfth-century; rather, he treats this battle as a point of departure for addressing a variety of calamities—both natural and anthropogenic—that affected much of the Eastern Mediterranean and brought an end to the Late Bronze Age.

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cline, Eric H.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Belza, CeciliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strauss, BarryForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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