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Monday, February 13, 2017

The Collapse of Civilization


Bronze Age collapse

Another late night documentary. This one is only 45 minutes long. Before I watched this I couldn't have told you when the Bronze Age was, only that it was a long time ago, and I certainly knew nothing of any 'collapse'. Well, YouTube fixed that.

3200 years ago the eastern Mediterranean was home to several advanced civilizations. Okay, no airplanes, rockets or computers, but writing, art and architecture, but in a span of 50 years the whole thing came crashing down and the area entered a 'dark age'.

Notes on people, places and things mentioned in the video:
  • Krzystof Nowicki (never mind that it sounds like Christoph Navitsky) Polish Archaeologist, the man responsible for upsetting the archeological applecart.
  • Battle of the Delta, Egypt finally puts a stop to the attacks of the 'sea-people'.
  • Karfi, local high point / archaeological site on Crete

The population of the entire world at this time was somewhere between 50 and 100 million.

Wars at this time were fought between armies of war chariots. Each chariot was manned by a driver and an archer. The thing that got me was that the sea-people where able to defeat the armies of the empires because they used their javelins on the horses that pulled the chariots.

There is some kind of disconnect here. I'm thinking that the sea-people succeeded because they were not following the established 'rules of war' that the empire's armies were using, and those rules meant that horses were sacred and not to be touched, only enemy soldiers were fair game. It was a matter of honor, and probably economics. Horses may have been worth more than gold back then. Then the sea-people came, all members of the underclass for whom horses were nothing more than symbols of oppression.

Back during the time of Spanish Armada (circa 1600 AD), the British believed in using their cannon to destroy their enemies, but the Spanish wanted to bring their ships alongside their enemy, grapple, board and defeat them in individual combat. We know how that worked out. (The British won, the Spaniards went home and licked their wounds.)

A couple of years ago there was a film about stone age warriors in New Zealand. There was one man who had a whole area all to himself because everyone was terrified of him. A group of young toughs go after him, but for some reason (honor?) they do not attack him en masse, but one at a time. The old guy defeats them all, one at a time. Oddest story of combat I've ever seen.

Honor and glory are two qualities that have been associated with warriors since forever. Along with honor, there were rules, and as long as things were 'fair', the rules stood. But when outsiders enter the fray, or when the fight is no longer 'fair', those rules are discarded, and if you cannot adapt, you are likely to lose.


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