September 11

Ep. 0028: The Collapse of Bronze Age Civilizations, Part 2

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • Some possible explanations for the collapse, including:  disease; seismic activity; climate change resulting in food shortages; mass migration (often violent), including the so-called “Sea Peoples,” who ravaged much of the Eastern Mediterranean before being stopped by the Egyptians; changes in weapons, armor, and tactics that might have allowed barbarians to defeat the armies of Bronze Age kings;
  • The explanation Prof CJ finds the most plausible, which he terms (in very non-academia-jargon) “The Clusterfuck-Perfect Storm” model of civilizational collapse, which more refined scholars often refer to as “general systems collapse”
  • The cascading/domino/multiplier effects that might have occurred as problems compounded and existing institutions proved unable to cope effectively with them
  • How the people & institutions in charge failed
  • How the high degree of centralization in Bronze Age kingdoms ultimately made them more fragile & less able to adapt to changing circumstances than they might have been if they’d been more decentralized
  • A brief mention of the effects of the collapse, as much as can be figured out, on the lives of regular people who lived through it
  • How the collapse may have set the stage for eventual ‘Renaissance’ in some areas, but that may have been no consolation to people who had to eke out an existence during Dark Ages which in some cases lasted a few centuries

Next time, the Dangerous History Podcast will zoom in particularly on the case of the Greeks, since they were in most ways the hardest hit by the collapse and foundered in the longest Dark Age, yet ultimately emerged to produce the Classical civilization we still marvel at today.

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Posted September 11, 2014 by profcj in category "Ancient History", "Podcasts

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