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Battle in Central Europe resulting in Bronze Age Collapse

I used to be just lately trying into the occasions that brought on the collapse of most Bronze Age civilizations, and I discovered this map that exhibits invasion/migration patterns.—1150-bce/

Wanting on the map I see there was a considerable quantity of motion from Central Europe. Wanting into varied sources such because the Metropolitan museum in NYC I discovered there was a serious tradition shift on the similar time in Europe as nicely, together with a change in burial practices and non secular beliefs, in addition to a large enhance in steel working and superior weaponry. To me plainly no matter occurred in Europe to drastically alter their tradition led to migration and the “sea folks” that contributed to the collapse of Bronze age civilizations. Does anybody have extra details about what particularly occurred in Central Europe round 1200 BCE, and is there a correlation between the 2 as I’m result in imagine?

As a bonus query is there an inventory or map on the market that exhibits the order and possible dates every metropolis collapsed? A lot appreciated.

Comments ( 42 )

  1. If you solve this question on Reddit that would be incredible. I don’t think anyone really knows how it went down yet.

  2. I’ve seen several youtubes about this, and I like the evidence and conclusions in this one

  3. I don’t think anyone really knows. Maybe mass migration due to the long term effects of natural climate change.

  4. I was under the impression that most experts now discount the Dorian invasion hypothesis.

  5. Extra Credits on YouTube has a great series on the collapse of the Bronze Age

  6. This map is not in any way authoritative, it’s guesswork. For example, no one knows who the ‘sea people’ were or if they were even one group at all rather than lots of bands of different displaced people.

    Most evidence suggests that there was not a lot going on in central Europe at this point. All the big empires were in the south or East of the med, and these empires were highly interconnected and interdependent (like the modern world). Thus catastrophic events like famines, eruptions (Thera) or political collapse in one place might have been amplified and taken down the others. It’s called system collapse.

    That said, we really don’t know a lot about this period. Gaps in the material record could be hiding anything. The theory I explain above is simply the most likely based on the incomplete evidence we have.

    EDIT: Plus ‘collapse’ is a weird concept considering it happened over hundreds of years. Generally, there was a decline, but it’s very hard to pin it to a single cause when it happened over such a long period.

  7. Any correlation with massive volcanic events/climatic changes? The area is well known for that sort of thing extinguishing civilizations

  8. God I love this subject, one of the most interesting event in ancient history.
    First, I remember that there’s a map illustrating the sacked cities with dates that were documented and survived the centuries, like in hellas, anatolia, ugarit, levant, egypt. It seems that it started around the aegean sea, again of what we know of. There’s the dorian invasion theory attached to it, that supposedly they came from the north (thrace, epirus, illyrian) or maybe farther who knows, there’s an good research about DNA of early greeks very closely related to “georgians” near caucasus. Did it start with only one greedy/wary nation ? We know that the sea people were a coalition (dwelling in their islands far away on the dark sea; a approximation of what I remember a pharaon (rameses II?) said about them)

  9. A book on this subject which I have found useful is: Eric H. Cline, “1177 BC– the Year Civilization Collapsed”.

  10. Man, the title wording made me think there was a collapre underway right now, and when i got to the “bronze age” part i was like “what we’re not in the bronze age tho”

  11. This is a really good question. 1200 bc Europe would have been interesting

  12. If you’re into this subject I doubt this will help, but Fall of Civilizations and The Histocrat both have fantastic videos on the subject. Both are narrations based of the source material if that is/not what you’re looking for.

  13. What the hell is the Bronze Age?

  14. The sea peoples were almost definitely all Mediterranean and very likely mostly Greek.

    However, looking beyond the Mediterranean for causes of the collapse is certainly a good idea. The collapse certainly involved a breakdown of the bronze trade, whose ingredients were sourced in large part from northern Europe. If migrations cut off those trade routes, it could certainly be a contributing factor.

  15. The podcast “Tides of History” has had some very interesting episodes on the Bronze Age Collapse.

    Episodes 111-114 were pretty great and on topic. Episode 106 also directly addressed the question. It’s a great series.

  16. I’ll be honest. This post is written more like a revisionist question. As in, it sounds like you want there to have been more to central Europe during this time, and the mystery and lack of information about it, is the “evidence” or “feeling” you have of them having ties to the mysterious sea peoples.

  17. The only hard evidence we have of the sea peoples is from Egyptian sources. It depicts a barbarian sea faring group. It’s extremely unlikely (read: impossible) that they were from any kind of land locked area. There’s also no evidence that Northern Europe or Central Europe had developed sailing to the level of sophistication needed.

    Most historians see the sea peoples as a coalition of raiders strongly backed by Greeks and Mediterranean people.

  18. I think the Dorian invasion is earlier than the Bronze Age collapse. By 500 years or so? It could be there are other arrows on this map that are earlier or later.

    I think there is no simple explanation to the events surrounding the Bronze Age collapse; and perhaps that’s why it’s so tantalizing to speculate about.

  19. This is a bit of a joke answer, but -The Trojan War.

  20. I don’t have a good map with dates for each city, but I do have dates on some notable cities from my notes! I’m in a class on the Ancient Mediterranean.

    In general we can tell if a city was attacked or not through archaeological evidence. Cities like Troy (VIIa)*, Gibala, and Ugarit were considered razed because a lot of arrowheads were found embedded in walls & buildings, skeletons show signs of non-crushing violent injury and there is evidence of widespread fires.

    In contrast cities like Troy (VI)* and Tiryns were likely destroyed by earthquakes because skeletons show signs almost exclusively of crushing injuries, buildings are destroyed but without any evidence for weapons or (significant) fire, and the specific destruction pattern for the buildings. ((Invaders don’t shake blocks out of all of the buildings in a city))

    *Troy VI and Troy VIIa are both in the same location, but they’re different archaeological layers. i.e. Troy VI was destroyed by an earthquake, but the people rebuilt after the destruction.

    |Troy (VI)|Earthquake|~1300 BC|Reoccupied after|
    |Troy (VIIa)|Razed / War|~1190-1180 BC|Reoccupied after|
    |Ugarit|Razed / War|~1190 BC|No reoccupation|
    |Emar|Razed / War|~1185 BC|?|
    |Gibala|Razed / War|~1192-1190 BC|No reoccupation|
    |Megiddo|Razed*|~1130 BC|Only the Palace part of the city was razed|
    |Lachish|Earthquake|~1150-1130 BC|No reoccupation|
    |Hattusas|Razed / War||Royal quarter was emptied before razing|
    |Pylos|Earthquake???|~1180 BC||
    |Mycenae|Earthquake???|~1190 BC||

    This is one of my favorite periods in history and I too question what was going on in the surrounding areas beyond the Mediterranean, especially up in Europe. We know that there was trade coming from Europe such as tin and amber, and the amber was coming from pretty far north so at least some people up in Europe knew about these Mediterranean cultures!

  21. *Then who was king? Who was not the king?*
    -Sumerian King List on the time of the drought about 2200 BC.

  22. I had a classics and Roman history professor who used to say that there is a misconception about separation, that the pre-iron age societies we look at now only appeared to be unconnected. ‘The illusion of separation’ was his term. Largely proven now of course but when he was coming up there were stil very clear borders.

    One of the examples that I remember the best is about the supply of wheat, that if there was a blight on the crop in Egypt, the shortage would be felt as far away as the Indus and Central Europe.

    There might be something to a theory of the inverse leading to the Bronze Age collapse. Lacking the means to feed themselves in a harsher north, people follow supply lines south to the Mediterranean, taking to raiding and piracy to survive. The same can be said for how the Balkans were later settled from the south.

  23. I wonder if there is a good podcast that delves into the Bronze Age collapse.

  24. I have a personal theory about that. I don’t know how valid it is but it makes sense to me.

    The sensational way to put it would be, “the Trojan War caused the Bronze Age Collapse.”

    Obviously it’s more complicated than that.

    My theory is that Troy, which is located near one of the two Turkish straits, had trading connections with grain kingdoms along the cost of what’s Ukraine today. If we assume such farming kingdoms existed, Troy would be in a perfect position to flourish by playing middleman between these states and the hungry nations of the eastern Mediterranean, which would explain why such a powerful Trojan state existed in the first place that it could defy all of Greece like contemporary histories suggest it did.

    We know the years before the collapse were marked by declining yields in most if not all of the major players in the region, and as the years went on and yields began to shrink further and further but the population didn’t decline along with it. Usually when yields decline populations decline too Famine, disease, starvation, confilict over remaining sources of food, all usually combined to ensure the nation goes demographically negative until the population has shrunk to the level it can support. This didn’t happen in the late Bronze Age. Or at least when it did happen, it happened all at once suddenly, rather than gradually..

    Why? I believe it was because there was a source of plentiful grain to import — a region that even today is one of the great suppliers of the world’s food. Ukraine.

    So the grain farms of the northern Black Sea, which I admit I’m presuming to exist but have been there as far back in recorded history as you care to go, became a critical source of food for the empires around the eastern Mediterranean and Troy prospered as a middleman, possibly by shipping the grain itself, and possibly by collecting strait fees or navigation fees on other merchant shipping to help ships traverse the straits safely to reach their customers on the other side.

    This in turn would explain why Troy, despite being only one city, could have the economic clout and resources to face the might of the Mycenaean Greeks and think they had a shot (also possibly why the siege of Troy didn’t work very well, as they had a ready source of food behind the siege lines that the Mycenaeans couldn’t easily stop).

    A long siege of Troy would, however, cut off the rest of the eastern Mediterranean from these supplies of desperately needed grain. It would turn the Turkish straits into a warzone and the Greeks would be trying to use their powerful navy to isolate Troy. The grain kingdom(s) of Crimea and the northern Black Sea, robbed of their customer base by the inconvenient strait, may have even fallen apart without a source of revenue they had become dependent on to fund their states, and when the siege settled down, the region had devolved back into a more primitive state, removing these kingdoms from the board as grain exporters for a period of time.

    With the Trojan grain network gone, nations that had become more and more dependent on its merchants for food now had that support kicked out from under them. With growing populations and shrinking food supplies, and the deficit no longer easy to make up from import, collapse became inevitable. Ironically, this is also a plausible explanation for why the Greek themselves didn’t exploit their victory to colonize the straits until many centuries later. Pulling down Troy’s house pulled down their own as well!

    It’s just an idea. But I think it checks out if you believe (as I do) that the Troy that was besieged by the Greeks was the one that flourished during the late Mycenaean era, and I believe that’s where the consensus is right now.

  25. Maybe this is more appropriate to ELI5?

    These are very good questions and deserve a LOT of study.

  26. I love this. Most historians are sure that “sea people“ existed and caused the sudden collapse of the bronze age but we know almost nothing about them. Real life mistery.

    [This]( is a very good documentary on the topic

  27. Lol, I thought the title was saying that central Europe was about to collapse into the bronze age, and was like “damn, it’s getting that backwards up there?”

  28. An Egyptian pharaoh said something like this about the sea people- “They dwelled in their islands far away on the dark sea”.

    We know Southern Britannia has always been famous for its Tin, especially Cornwall. Tin and Copper make bronze. Herodotus said the Phoenicians sailed to the British isles for tin. I wonder if there was some type of powerful federation that came down from the British isles (islands far away on the dark sea) and raided where they sold their tin at whenever those places stopped buying. Idk fun thought🤷‍♂️

  29. The rise in iron production and new iron weapons threw the power balance out of wack, too. This is not the only factor, but too many people tend to look for only one factor. Likely there were dozens of factors, some being more important than others in different areas

  30. I am no historian and an absolute noob, but a lover of Greek mythology and would love to see how the fall of Troy fits into all this

  31. The theory goes that a huge volcanic eruption in Indonesia/Flores changed the weather patterns in Europe. This resulted in repeating draughts and famine.
    The people rioted and civilizations fell. The very complex traderoutes that transported copper and tin was disrupted. Tin and copper was the ingredients of making bronze. This lead to a high pressure to refine the art of turning iron-ore into steel.

  32. I loved The Horse, The Wheel and Language. It’s an unbelievably well sourced and detailed explanation of roughly 5000 BCE to approximately 1000 BCE.
    Worth every penny.

  33. For a long time I’ve believed the collapse happened because some people figured out how to make steel and went nuts over expanding then when their steel production ran out they lost their new territory. There’s been plenty of discoveries of high carbon iron in the time period. Be it from meteors or just early attempts at heating iron with charcoal. Remember too that the metal ages mostly only refer to Europe and the time periods fall apart once you start looking at China and Egypt. After all King Tut had an iron dagger in the 14th century BC.

  34. Nobody knows. There are theories but there’s no evidence other than the Palace structure collapsing and settlements abandoned. It wasn’t necessarily an invasion either, the only evidence of that is from Egypt. That map is a complete fabrication from guessing too

  35. There is some recent work by Luigi Pascali that finds that the transition from bronze to iron destroyed the need for trade routes and that decimated economies.

  36. The Bronze Age collapse is really just guess work nothing is definitive. The Sea People narrative is mostly based off of a couple of Egyptian texts that could be used to explain why everything “collapsed,” but very few sites in the Levant show signs of actual warfare, rather many seem to have just been abandoned or burned, but not necessarily in fighting. Eric Cline talks a lot about this, but it seems that it was probably related to long period of drought that led to the collapse. We can tell that there were major droughts due to pollen analysis from soil cores, and this is corroborated by hittite, ugaritic, and Egyptian sources all discussing famine. This further would explain why the Sea People went to Egypt, as they were almost certainly Greeks leaving their homeland. We can tell this due to various things, but the major red flag is the philistine culture which appears in Palestine, because they basically pop up out of nowhere in the archaeological record using Greek style pottery, hearths, architecture, etc. they also have done genetic analysis on philistine bodies and found that they were of Greek ancestry

  37. “The Sea People” really are a mystery and there seem to be distinct references in multiple cultures referring to a destructive, mobile force who seem to come from sea travel to seek and pillage (and destroy) many many developed settlements around the Med. What if there were all the described calamities described from widespread famine and natural disasters and the “strong (brutal) survive” situation takes hold and the Sea People are an amalgamation of surviving folk who band together thinking “everything has gone to shit and if I want to survive I opt in with these mobile warlords and pillage for a living”. Like a 000 failed settlements each had a couple incredibly tough survivors and that ‘A’ Team of brutality was the Sea People. No other organizing force like religion or culture- just survival by taking.

  38. I’m just hypothesizing here, but it could be a case of population pressure like that of the equally dramatic Migratory era during the late-Roman empire. There seemed to be a rapid uptake in warfare and fortification in places like the Italian peninsula as well in the period right before the BAC. My guess is the general European population might had reached a population level where there wasn’t enough land to support people (with their current agricultural technology at least) or some widespread natural disaster (drought, flood) disturbed the balance of food production/consumption, so local tribes became much more competitive for land and resources, eventually leading to widespread intensive warfare. Those that were defeated then had to move away, either into the territories of the BA states, or forced other tribes to migrate and put pressure on them. While the militaries of the BA states might have handled the occasional intrusion by these “less sophisticated” groups, a constant torrent of desperate (and armed) people fleeing their homelands to gain refuge/loot eventually overwhelm the defenses of the BA states.

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