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History                  1,000 BC
Africa
Southwest Asia
Egypt
Indus Valley
China
Europe
South America
Mesoamerica
North America
Other

Africa

 The first European Dark Age was that period between 1200 and 700 BC when Phoenician civilisation flowered. The recovery of Europe brought them two centuries of appalling disaster, when the Phoenicians were virtually wiped off the face of the earth. Aware of the growing threat to their trade and to their very existence they built around themselves a wall of secrecy that has concealed the most brilliant colonising achievement of the later Semites so successfully that even today it remains unappreciated. Doubtless the total destruction of Carthage in the third Punic War 149-146 BC has been mostly responsible for the totality of our 1gnorance. (135)

Southwest Asia

 

At about 500 BC the capital of the Achaemenid empire was Persepolis, in central Iran. This grand stairway ascends to the Palace, and along it are reliefs that illustrate real life processions to pay homage to the king. Some of these sculpted figures carry flowers and other gifts for the ruler. (46)

Ekron's time of prosperity was fleeting, as was the Neo-Assyrian Empire's. In the late seventh century BC, first Egypt and then Babylon broke away from the empire, and Babylonian forces conquered Nineveh in 612. Ekron itself fell to the Babylonians of Nebuchadnezzar in 603, and the entire city and its grand palace with Achish's designatory stone became ruins. Then the Philistines largely disappeared from history. The Neo-Assyrian Empire, which scholars consider the first of the classical empires, was followed by the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans. (95)

An Israeli archaeologist has discovered a fragment of a stone monument with inscriptions bearing the first known reference outside the Bible to King David and the ruling dynasty he founded, the House of David. A split among the Israelites after the death of Solomon in the tenth century BC had led to the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah, centered at Jerusalem. As related in I Kings, when war broke out between the two kingdoms, Asa secured an alliance with Ben-Hadad, king of Aram at Damascus in Syria, who defeated the forces of Baasha. Indeed, as Dr. Jack M. Sasson, professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said, "No personality in the Bible has been confirmed by other sources until Ahab, not David or Abraham or Adam and Eve." Dr. Biran surmised that in a reversal of fortune the kingdom of Israel defeated the Arameans in another war some 30 years after the erection of the stele at Dan. The victorious King Ahab apparently had Ben-Hadad's old stele shattered. In time the fragments were used in the construction of the pavement and surrounding walls. Archaeologists are continuing the search, hoping to find the rest of the stele. The stele also makes important references to the Aramean god of storms and warfare, Hadad, and to chariots and horsemen presumably captured by Ben-Hadad from Baasha.

The original name "Habiru" (for Hebrews) may have been applied initially to any groups of nomads or immigrants, but later was associated only with people living in Israel. The name Israel came from the term Isra-el, the title Jacob used when the Hebrews reoccupied Canaan around 1400 BC, 40 years after their exodus from Egypt. (113)

Around 722 BC the Assryian Empire dominated West Asia and 50 years later conquered Egypt. During a 200-year period, the Assyrians rose to be taken down by the Chaldeans, who, along with Egypt, fell under the Persians. (113)

The Hebrews had to contend with Baal's followers when they followed YHVHs instructions to take over Canaan as their new home. In the long struggle to conquer local rulers and establish the land of Israel, the Hebrews slaughtered scores of local kings and their followers, all of whom were loyal to Baal. Yet, Hebrews continued to be drawn to the worship of Baal, with YHVH and his prophets and judges for generations fighting a war against cultural co-optation of the Hebrews by local followers of Baal. In fact this conflict grew more intense as the centuries passed and became symbolized as an eternal struggle between good and evil in the Jewish mind by the time of the Essenes. (113)

1190 BC using iron, Destruction of Mykenaeans, Crete, Hittites, Ugarit and other Phoenician ports. (135)

Assurbanipal did not act as later Christian conquerors did. He did not destroy a single document that fell into his victorious hands. All materials were carefully preserved and brought to Nineveh, where the king's scribes translated and classified them to be deposited in the library. We can say now that Assurbanipal created the first 'Encyclopedia Assyriana' and indeed his statue should be standing in halls of higher learning, replacing those of the ignorants who, not so long ago, believed that the Sun revolves around the Earth. (141)

The two empires - Egyptian and Hittite - bordered each other in Syria. The inevitable clash between them came at the beginning of the thirteenth century. The two formidable armies met at Kadesh on the Orontes River in western Syria. On one side was Muwatallis, the Hittite king; on the other side stood the then young and inexperienced Ramesses II. We have records of the battle from both sides and both claim victory. The truth was somewhere in the middle. Apparently the battle ended with no clear winner and the two great powers had to compromise. The new Hittite king, Hattusilis III, and the now battle-hardened Ramesses II soon signed a peace treaty that pronounced friendship between the two powers and renounced hostilities "forever." It was sealed with the symbolic act of Ramesses taking a Hittite princess as his bride. (143)

By 1130 BC, we see a whole different world, so different that an inhabitant of Mycenae, or of No Amon (the capital of Egypt, today's Luxor), or of Hattusha from 1230 BC would not be able to recognize it. By then, Egypt was a poor shadow of its past glory and had lost most of its foreign territories. Hatti was no more, and Hattusha lay in ruins. The Mycenaean world was a fading memory, its palatial centers destroyed. Cyprus was transformed; its trade in copper and other goods had ceased. Many large Canaanite ports along the Mediterranean coast including the great maritime emporium of Ugarit in the north were burnt to ashes. Impressive inland cities, such as Megiddo and Hazor, were abandoned fields of ruins. (143)

What happened? Why did the old world disappear? Scholars who have worked on this problem have been convinced that a major cause was the invasions of mysterious and violent groups named the Sea Peoples, migrants who came by land and sea from the west and devastated everything that stood in their way. The Ugaritic and Egyptian records of the early twelfth century BC mention these marauders. A text found in the ruins of the port city of Ugarit provides dramatic testimony for the situation around 1185 BC. Sent by Amrnurapi, the last king of Ugarit, to the king of Alashiya (Cyprus), it frantically describes how "enemy boats have arrived, the enemy has set fire to the cities and wrought havoc. My troops are in Hittite country, my boats in Lycia, and the country has been left to its own devices." Likewise, a letter of the same period from the great king of Hatti to the prefect of Ugarit expresses his anxiety about the presence of a group of Sea People called Shiqalaya, "who live on boats." "The foreign countries made a conspiracy in their islands...No land could stand before their arms...They were coming forward toward Egypt, while the flame was prepared before them. Their confederation was the Philistines, Tjeker, Shekelesh, Denyen, and Weshesh, lands united. They laid their hands upon the lands as far as the circuit of the earth, their hearts confident and trusting: 'Our plans will succeed!" The seaborne invaders look very different from the Egyptians, or from representations of Asiatic people in Egyptian art. The most striking feature in their appearance is their distinctive headgear: some wear horned helmets, others strange feathered headdresses." (143)

The truth is, we really don't know the precise cause of the Late Bronze Age collapse throughout the region. Yet the archaeological evidence for the outcome is clear. The most dramatic evidence comes from southern Israel - from Philistia, the land of the Philistines, who were one of the Sea Peoples mentioned in the inscription of Ramesses III. Excavations in two of the major Philistine centers - Ashdod and Ekron - uncovered evidence about these troubled years. In the thirteenth century BC, Ashdod in particular was a prosperous Canaanite center under Egyptian influence. Both Ashdod and Ekron survived at least until the days of Ramesses III and at least one of them, Ashdod, was then destroyed by fire. The Philistine immigrants founded cities on the ruins, and by the twelfth century BC, Ashdod and Ekron had become prosperous cities, with a new material culture. The older mix of Egyptian and Canaanite features in architecture and ceramics was replaced by something utterly new in this part of the Mediterranean: Aegean-inspired architecture and pottery styles. (143)

We know from the Merneptah stele that there was a people named Israel living in Canaan by 1207 BC. Though the Israelites might not have marched into Canaan as a unified army, the signs of their arrival seemed to be clear. In comparison to the monumental buildings, imported luxury items, and fine ceramic vessels uncovered in the levels of the preceding Canaanite cities, the rough encampments and implements of the arriving Israelites seemed to be on a far lower level of civilization than the remains of the population they replaced. (143)

The discovery of the remains of a dense network of highland villages - all apparently established within the span of a few generations - indicated that a dramatic social transformation had taken place in the central hill country of Canaan around 1200 BC. There was no sign of violent invasion or even the infiltration of a clearly defined ethnic group. Instead, it seemed to be a revolution in lifestyle. In the formerly sparsely populated highlands from the Judean hills in the south to the hills of Samaria in the north, far from the Canaanite cities that were in the process of collapse and disintegration, about two-hundred fifty hilltop communities suddenly sprang up. Here were the first Israelites. Their inhabitants drew water from nearby springs or stored winter rainwater in rock-cut, plastered cisterns for use all year round. Most surprising of all was the tiny scale of these settlements. In most cases they were no more than a single acre in size and contained, according to estimates, about fifty adults and fifty children. The entire population of these hill country villages at the peak of the settlement process, around 1000 BC, could not have been much more than forty-five thousand. (143)

Until a few years ago, virtually all biblical archaeologists accepted the scriptural description of the sister states of Judah and Israel at face value. They portrayed Judah as a fully developed state as early as the time of Solomon and tried their best to produce archaeological proof of the building activities and effective regional administration of the early Judahite kings. Yet...the supposed archaeological evidence of the united monarchy was no more than wishful thinking. And so it was also with the monuments attributed to the successors of Solomon. The identification of forts reportedly built by Solomon's son Rehoboam throughout Judah and the linking of the massive fortifications at the site of Tell en-Nasbeh north of Jerusalem with the defense works undertaken by the Judahite king Asa at the biblical city of Mizpah proved to be illusory. Like the Solomonic gates and palaces, these royal building operations are now known to have taken place almost two hundred years after the reigns of those particular kings. (143)

...excavations conducted there in recent decades have shown that suddenly, at the end of the eighth century BC, Jerusalem underwent an unprecedented population explosion, with its residential areas expanding from its former narrow ridge - the city of David - to cover the entire western hill. A formidable defensive wall was constructed to include the new suburbs. In a matter of a few decades - surely within a single generation - Jerusalem was transformed from a modest highland town of about ten or twelve acres to a huge urban area of 150 acres of closely packed houses, workshops, and public buildings. In demographic terms, the city's population may have increased as much as fifteen times, from about one thousand to fifteen thousand inhabitants. (143)

In 605 BC, the Babylonian crown prince later known as Nebuchadnezzar crushed the Egyptian army at Carchemish in Syria, causing the Egyptian forces to flee in panic back toward the Nile. With that defeat, the Assyrian empire was finally and irrevocably dismembered, and Nebuchadnezzar, now king of Babylon, sought to gain complete control over all the lands to the west. The Babylonian forces soon marched down the Mediterranean coastal plain, laying waste to the rich Philistine cities. In Judah, the pro-Egyptian faction that had taken over the Jerusalem court a few months after the death of Josiah was thrown into a panic... The archaeological finds convey only the last horrible moments of violence. Signs of a great conflagration have been traced almost everywhere within the city walls. Arrowheads found in the houses and near the northern fortifications attest to the intensity of the last battle for Jerusalem. The private houses, which were set alight and collapsed, burying all that was in them, created the charred heaps of rubble that stood as a testament to the thoroughness of Jerusalem's destruction by the Babylonians for the next century and a half. And so it was all over. Four hundred years of Judah's history came to an end in fire and blood. The proud kingdom of Judah was utterly devastated, its economy ruined, its society ripped apart. The last king in a dynasty that had ruled for centuries was tortured and imprisoned in Babylon. His sons were all killed. The Temple ofJerusalem - the only legitimate place for the worship of YHWH - was destroyed. The religion and national existence of the people of Israel could have ended in this great disaster. Miraculously, both survived. (143)

The mighty Neo-Babylonian empire crumbled and was conquered by the Persians in 539 BC. In the first year of his reign, Cyrus, the founder of the Persian empire, issued a royal decree for the restoration of Judah and the Temple: Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel - he is the God who is in Jerusalem. (143)

Traces of the beliefs of the Grooved Ware People survived in two major strands: the teachings of Enochian Judaism, and the Celtic legends of the Druids. These two strands recombined - some time around 580 BC - at the time of the fall of Solomon's Temple, when a princess of the line of David was taken to Ireland for safety, and established the royal line of the High Kings of Tara by marrying the native king. The Roman Empire tried, unseccessfully, to destroy both these strands of Enochian belief in the first century AD. (160)

1020 BC Saul became first king of Israel (160)

1002 BC David King of Israel (160)

972 BC Solomon builds his Temple (160)

586 BC Destruction of Solomon's Temple (160)

539 BC Start of Zerubbabel's Temple (160)

Egypt

 Around 722 BC the Assryian Empire dominated West Asia and 50 years later conquered Egypt. During a 200-year period, the Assyrians rose to be taken down by the Chaldeans, who, along with Egypt, fell under the Persians. (113)

The story has in fact been corroborated by a description of the devastating series of attacks now known from Egyptian records to have been made by the Libyan and the western Mediterranean sea-peoples in alliance, combined with a formidable body of land-peoples. They destroyed Ugarit, the Hittite Empire, Crete and the Mykenaean cities. They twice attempted - and twice failed in the attempt - to conquer Egypt herself. They were defeated by the Pharaoh Merneptah about 1234 and again by Rameses III early in the twelfth century. It was a campaign made both by sea and by land that shook the civilised world of the eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia to its foundations. It was one of the turning points of world history, when bronze gave way to iron, sea-power to land-power. It should be noticed that the western sea-peoples had previously been fighting as mercenaries both for the Hittites and the Egyptians in the long and inconclusive struggle these two great powers fought for control of Syria and Palestine. They knew their ground and they already knew their enemies.(135)

The seventh century was a time of great revival in both Egypt and Judah. In Egypt, afrer a long period of decline and difficult years of subjection to the Assyrian empire, King Psarnrnetichus I seized power and transformed Egypt into a major international power again. As the rule of the Assyrian empire began to crumble, Egypt moved in to fill the political vacuum, occupying former Assyrian territories and establishing permanent Egyptian rule. Between 640 and 630 BC, when the Assyrians withdrew their forces from Philistia, Phoenicia, and the area of the former kingdom of Israel, Egypt took over most of these areas, and political domination by Egypt replaced the Assyrian yoke. (143)

The two empires - Egyptian and Hittite - bordered each other in Syria. The inevitable clash between them came at the beginning of the thirteenth century. The two formidable armies met at Kadesh on the Orontes River in western Syria. On one side was Muwatallis, the Hittite king; on the other side stood the then young and inexperienced Ramesses II. We have records of the battle from both sides and both claim victory. The truth was somewhere in the middle. Apparently the battle ended with no clear winner and the two great powers had to compromise. The new Hittite king, Hattusilis III, and the now battle-hardened Ramesses II soon signed a peace treaty that pronounced friendship between the two powers and renounced hostilities "forever." It was sealed with the symbolic act of Ramesses taking a Hittite princess as his bride. (143)

By 1130 BC, we see a whole different world, so different that an inhabitant of Mycenae, or of No Amon (the capital of Egypt, today's Luxor), or of Hattusha from 1230 BC would not be able to recognize it. By then, Egypt was a poor shadow of its past glory and had lost most of its foreign territories. Hatti was no more, and Hattusha lay in ruins. The Mycenaean world was a fading memory, its palatial centers destroyed. Cyprus was transformed; its trade in copper and other goods had ceased. Many large Canaanite ports along the Mediterranean coast including the great maritime emporium of Ugarit in the north were burnt to ashes. Impressive inland cities, such as Megiddo and Hazor, were abandoned fields of ruins. (143)

What happened? Why did the old world disappear? Scholars who have worked on this problem have been convinced that a major cause was the invasions of mysterious and violent groups named the Sea Peoples, migrants who came by land and sea from the west and devastated everything that stood in their way. The Ugaritic and Egyptian records of the early twelfth century BC mention these marauders. A text found in the ruins of the port city of Ugarit provides dramatic testimony for the situation around 1185 BC. Sent by Amrnurapi, the last king of Ugarit, to the king of Alashiya (Cyprus), it frantically describes how "enemy boats have arrived, the enemy has set fire to the cities and wrought havoc. My troops are in Hittite country, my boats in Lycia, and the country has been left to its own devices." Likewise, a letter of the same period from the great king of Hatti to the prefect of Ugarit expresses his anxiety about the presence of a group of Sea People called Shiqalaya, "who live on boats." "The foreign countries made a conspiracy in their islands...No land could stand before their arms...They were coming forward toward Egypt, while the flame was prepared before them. Their confederation was the Philistines, Tjeker, Shekelesh, Denyen, and Weshesh, lands united. They laid their hands upon the lands as far as the circuit of the earth, their hearts confident and trusting: 'Our plans will succeed!" The seaborne invaders look very different from the Egyptians, or from representations of Asiatic people in Egyptian art. The most striking feature in their appearance is their distinctive headgear: some wear horned helmets, others strange feathered headdresses." (143)

The truth is, we really don't know the precise cause of the Late Bronze Age collapse throughout the region. Yet the archaeological evidence for the outcome is clear. The most dramatic evidence comes from southern Israel - from Philistia, the land of the Philistines, who were one of the Sea Peoples mentioned in the inscription of Ramesses III. Excavations in two of the major Philistine centers - Ashdod and Ekron - uncovered evidence about these troubled years. In the thirteenth century BC, Ashdod in particular was a prosperous Canaanite center under Egyptian influence. Both Ashdod and Ekron survived at least until the days of Ramesses III and at least one of them, Ashdod, was then destroyed by fire. The Philistine immigrants founded cities on the ruins, and by the twelfth century BC, Ashdod and Ekron had become prosperous cities, with a new material culture. The older mix of Egyptian and Canaanite features in architecture and ceramics was replaced by something utterly new in this part of the Mediterranean: Aegean-inspired architecture and pottery styles. (143)

Indus Valley

 

China

 

Europe

 In the early first millennium BC, the eastern Mediterranean world entered a period of complex political and economic interaction. Greek city-states continued their millennia-old traditions of combat, the Phoenicians of the Levant established a rich trading empire that reached as far west as Spain, and the Etruscans of Italy began to lay the political and economic foundations of what would become the Roman Empire. (50)

The first European Dark Age was that period between 1200 and 700 BC when Phoenician civilisation flowered. The recovery of Europe brought them two centuries of appalling disaster, when the Phoenicians were virtually wiped off the face of the earth. Aware of the growing threat to their trade and to their very existence they built around themselves a wall of secrecy that has concealed the most brilliant colonising achievement of the later Semites so successfully that even today it remains unappreciated. Doubtless the total destruction of Carthage in the third Punic War 149-146 BC has been mostly responsible for the totality of our ignorance. (135)

The end of the Minoans seems to have come suddenly. About 1400 BC the island of Thera exploded, earthquake and tidal wave swept the area, the Minoans were destroyed. Somewhere between 1450 and 1400 the Mykenaeans raided and took over Minoan Crete - perhaps weakened by volcanic eruption, tidal waves and earthquakes - not only the island itself but the long-established sea-routes of the Minoans. So that when they took over Crete they would know the routes already. Thenceforward to about 1200 BC Crete and mainland Greece flourish. The alliance which helped destroy them, led by the Peoples of the Sea, was probably, a heterogeneous alliance of all the sea-peoples whose livelihood had been endangered, or who had been put out of business by Mykenaean naval interests. (135)

Greek-speaking Crete collapsed in 1200 BC and the Mykenaean cities were also destroyed by the western sea-peoples and their Dorian associates. The Greeks apparently lost the art of writing for three or four hundred years, and they never recovered the same skills in sailing or their former knowledge of the sea. With the fall of Mykenae the first Dark Age of Europe had set in, not of Greece alone but of the whole Mediterranean world and of western Europe. (135)

1450 BC Island of Thera explodes. Capture of Crete by Mykenaeans. (135)
1250 BC Sacking of Troy and Troad by Mykenaeans. (135)
1235- Campaigns in Mediterranean by Peoples of the Sea, with land allies. (135)
1190 BC using iron, Destruction of Mykenaeans, Crete, Hittites, Ugarit and other Phoenician ports. (135)
1230 BC Phoenician colony founded at Lixus, in Morocco. (135)
1210 BC Phoenician founding of Cadiz. The first two colonies being outside the Mediterranean on the Atlantic coast, ports taken over from the defeated Peoples of the Sea.
(135)
1100 BC Phoenician founding of Utica.
(135)

The world created by this Egyptian-Hittite stalemate offered increasing opportunities for another great power, in the West. It was a strong force not because of military might but because of maritime skills. This was the Mycenaean world, which produced the famous citadels of Mycenae and Tiryns and the opulent palaces of Pylos and Thebes. (143)

Traces of the beliefs of the Grooved Ware People survived in two major strands: the teachings of Enochian Judaism, and the Celtic legends of the Druids. These two strands recombined - some time around 580 BC - at the time of the fall of Solomon's Temple, when a princess of the line of David was taken to Ireland for safety, and established the royal line of the High Kings of Tara by marrying the native king. The Roman Empire tried, unseccessfully, to destroy both these strands of Enochian belief in the first century AD. (160)

When Jacobite Christianity came first to Wales, and later to Ireland and Scotland, it was easily accepted. The remnants of the native Druidism readily mutated into Celtic Christianity. This Enochian form of Christianity survived well into the sixth century AD, and we traced it through the teachings of the early Celtic saints and the poems of Taliesin. The sites of the Grooved Ware People have always been held sacred, and for the last 3,000 years have been the object of battles between the various lines of the royal houses of Britain and the descendants of the Priests of the Jerusalem Temple. (160)

1200 BC Population of Scotland declines, possible plague (160)

South America

 The Inca Empire, an endeavor conceived in desperation and executed by force of arms, arose to stanch a spreading stain of blood, eight centuries of intertribal war. (167)

Mesoamerica

 What is particularly important, however, is that this Epi-Olmec script contains logograms that are semantically equivalent to very similar-looking Mayan glyphs and that the Olmec were using essentially the same calendar. These Epi-Olmec inscriptions refer to the accession of various rulers, to what seems to be a war between brothers-in-law, and to other dynastic and calendrical matters. (51)

North America

 

Other