A. Roy King's Reviews > 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed

1177 B.C. by Eric H. Cline
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it was amazing

"1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed," by historian and archaeologist Eric H. Cline, weaves together many sources to try to explain the demise of the regional Mediterranean civilization of the Late Bronze Age (LBA). 1177 BCE is the date conventionally given to the final onslaught of the poorly-understood "Sea Peoples," described in an inscription attributed to Egyptian King Ramesses III.

I'm not sure how to evaluate the 1177 date Cline bases his book title on, given the speculative chronology used to date events in the 2nd millennium BCE, but that date is in a way secondary to Cline's larger purpose in this book, that is, to bring to life the LBA and to describe the economy and international relations that held together the Mediterranean world of that time. The author goes to great lengths to show what scholarship reveals about the interdependent economies of Egypt, Canaan, Anatolia, Mycenae, Crete, and Cyprus during the 300 or so years before the LBA civilization fell apart.

Cline also reviews the diversity of ideas as to why that collapse occurred -- was it an earthquake storm, climate change, civil unrest, war, population shifts, economic over-extension? Cline takes kind of an all-of-the-above approach with a dose of chaos theory thrown in. Although he doesn't mention it, Cline's analysis makes me think of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's idea of "fragility" -- that a complex system can be constructed in such a way that it is threatened by unanticipated vulnerabilities that can take it down suddenly.

ARK -- 11 November 2014

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Reading Progress

November 3, 2014 – Started Reading
November 3, 2014 – Shelved
November 10, 2014 – Finished Reading

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