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.
©2014 Eric H. Cline. Published by Princeton University Press. (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
A very thorough and expansive analysis of the theories and factors that led to the collapse of civilization in the late Bronze Age. This not my field of study but I found it fascinating.
Didn't read the print version.
Yes.The subject is outside the general realm of even some who are fairly well educated in history. These are the stories that lead up to the beginning the direction modern civilization has taken. As such, they enhance our understanding of people and events before the time frame when most of us are in at least somewhat familiar territory.
A good reader -- and Caploe is a very good one -- is able to be make the words on the page his own and to tell the story rather than reading the script. That's what happens here. Good writing is meant to be heard. One thing we do when we read is to translate vision into "hearing." A good reader can help us skip the intermediate step.
No, Too complex. As a matter of fact, I kind of wished I had some charts, timelines, etc. to look back at.
It's hard to tick off a history buff, but this one brought back recurring nightmares from that Ancient History course. Egyptians, Minoans and Hittites were the easy ones…
This should never have been an audio book--especially with the terrible narrator and his golly-gee intonations. I plowed on courageously through half the book, then just chucked it.
A waste of time and money for me.
I was disappointed by the lack of supporting information. Where is the evidence to support assertions regarding climate? Where is the data on dusts and pollens in lakebed muds and regional glaciers? Where is the supporting evidence in preserved woods from the regions?
Were there any economists involved or consulted in the research for this book, because economics were discussed. Extra-regional migrations or population shifts were hinted at, yet that was not discussed at length. If that is significant, it needs further research.
The author focuses on individual leaders/kings/envoys who are supposed to drive whole cultures and economies, and does not satisfactorily delve into the contributions of lesser individuals/groups/cultures/religions of an area which have a more significant impact on the flow of goods and services.
This book has no insights into the history and talks little of the collapse of civilization.
It has little to do with the title. It sounds like a continual recitation of silly ancient names, like reading all the begats in the Bible. It recounts some facts but does little to give a historical perspective.
Andy Caploe is a very professional narrator with a well modulated speaking voice, but he is not a good choice for this book. He would be better suited selling reverse mortgages to seniors or counting down the pop top 40. His tone is overacted interestedness, which does not come across as genuine and sounds like he is reading the book to 3rd graders.
This book makes you realize that a good historian does more than tell what happened. This could have been a good book in the hands of a better historian.
I would like a refund, please.
Say something about yourself!
When I first saw the printed volume, I was happy to see that it was also available as an audiobook. The historical subject is one I have not heard of before and so I quickly downloaded it and started listening. I was disappointed fairly quickly.
If you are not intimately familar with the subject, the names for the ancient kingdoms and entities are completely new to you. The author does go to some troubles to help you over this hurdle. However, without a scorecard immediately at hand, it is hard to remember the names of the players.
The narrator is fairly good but sometimes I felt it was a lecture for high school students.
I will not download any of the follow on books in the series - this one was a bit too painful
Great narration and a fascinating story. The book is a bit heavy on dates, geographical locations and more academic language that doesn't work optimally in an audio book but apart from that it was a great listen.
Painfully filled with trivia and characters that might appeal to a PHD in archaeology but terribly uninteresting to an average reader. The whole premise of the book could have been adequately explained in ten pages.
This is a deftly written and performed, expertly researched and presented, historical account that goes a long way in explaining the multi-faceted causes of the current collapse of the Syrian, Libyan, Iraqi populations in the current near east.
After finishing the book, I had to reread the book description to be sure it said what I remembered. Indeed, it describes this book as a "gripping" story of the collapse as the author explains what caused the downfall of the late bronze age civilizations.
That is a complete misrepresentation of this book, so perhaps my disappointment should fall on the publisher.
The author spends the majority of the book piling on facts about individual cities and empires and their trading networks, from the 15th century onward, presumably to support his thesis of interconnectedness. As an introduction to these societies it was only rudimentary at best, but then he spent far more words than were required to establish that the societies had regular trading and diplomatic relations.
After completing the slog through this section, I was relieved to finally get to the 12th century, so I could find out what happened in the collapse and why it happened. Well, I still don't know either of those things, and I suspect the author doesn't either.
His account of the collapse, if you could call it that, consists of him recounting the results of archaeological research at different cities, recounting what one researcher believes happened, then immediately contradicting that with what another researcher believes, then saying, something to the effect of "we really don't know for sure". Rinse and repeat across the Mediterranean, in no clear order. He never really even talks about what happened in Egypt in 1177 BC, other than to mention there were some battles. Odd, considering that's the title of his book.
So now we get to the explanation, where the author is going to explain what caused the collapse. That's the promise of this book, right? Nope, the author throws up one probable explanation after another, and then immediately explains why that couldn't possibly be it. At the end of the book, it felt like he just threw his hands in the air and said "Well, it's probably everything".
He doesn't even flesh out his own thesis, that the interconnectedness made them fall in a domino effect. He repeats it over and over again, but doesn't make a clear, convincing case of how cutting ties would result in the failure of a state. (The closest thing I could gather as evidence was the Hittites relying in imported grain due to a famine during this time period.) Was breakdown of relations and trade with a failing society the cause of the next societal failure down the chain, or just a correlation?
Clearly, we don't know what happened here, or how. That's fine, I get that it's very challenging to piece it together from 3000 year old fragments. However, the description led me to believe I'd get a gripping tale of a glorious era of civilization, its demise, and what brought it down. Instead I got a disjointed recitation of research findings, lots of academic namedropping, and tons of conjecture. Probably good for an archeology class or academic setting, which is how it should have been advertised.
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