We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The Eastern Mediterranean and trade routes to the East are particularly vulnerable to the stressors the Professors outlines in this talk.
Like the American Southwest, the region is prone to radical swings of climate. Despite their obvious wealth, late Bronze age societies were fragile, on a par with the Aztec, Mayan and pre-Columbian states of the Americas, as wide discrepancies in living standards, leadership cults, and the panoplies of icons these societies erect attract iconoclasts during times of hardship. Also, people tend to settle along perennial waterways and confluences of rivers, but rivers tend to follow fault lines. This propensity to build lasting cities invites their periodic ruin by earthquakes.
Not to be forgotten though (and not mentioned in the lecture) is the clear militarism that underwrote the relative stability leading up to the collapse. The value of bronze was primarily in prosecuting wars. So one can imagine that the calm before the storm was a result of an unsteady truce resolved among military opponents. Truces of that mettle rarely stand the test of serial perturbations like those described as the smitten who acquiesce to any truce are always plotting to revisit the terms of it when they might see an advantage. One modern example is Germany after its rout in WWI.
Overall, an excellent bite of brain-candy for this bored reader on a rainy winter day in Arizona. Thanks for bringing this treat to me, Bird Dog!
The Minoan civilization was clearly ended by the volcanic eruption of Thera. I have been to Akrotiri, the Minoan city buried under 50 feet of volcanic ash by the eruption. The caldera is the bay of Santorini, the modern city built upon the volcanic ash. The ash was used in the Suez canal to make waterproof concrete and the city discovered when ash was partially removed. The eruption occurred in about 1300 BC.
@ steveaz & @ Mike K - Bravo Zulu on your excellent remarks!
The Book of this title, btw, can be had @ Amazon (where else?) - Hardcover is a bit pricey, but the Paperback & Kindle versions are quite reasonable. Highly recommended.
For my part, I've been going back into writings about our ancient history - currently in Persian Fire, by Tom Holland. As his reader reviews testify, he has a keen ability to write it as a story that flows together, and I can visualize the civilizations between the two great rivers, the Assyrian brutality of empire, the hubris of ancient Babylon, and he makes the ancient great kings like Cyrus, Darius, Nebuchadnezzar come alive in his writings. Rubicon, The Forge of Christendom, & In the Shadow of the Sword are lined up next in the batting order.
The Jacksonian Grouch
Apparently radiocarbon dating places the major eruption about 1500 to 1600 BC, not 500 years earlier. I doubt anyone replaced those residents of Akrotiri as the city was 100 feet beneath ash, like Pompeii.
The Mycenaeans occupied Crete, not Thera.
Mycenaean weaponry has been found in burials on Crete. That demonstrates Mycenaean military influence not many years after the eruption. Many archaeologists speculate that the eruption caused a crisis in Minoan civilization, making them vulnerable to conquest by the Mycenaeans.