CLA237H5 Chapter 5: Chapter 5

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18 May 2016

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Chapter 5- The dark age, 1200-800 BC
The Collapse of The old States
oAt the end of the bronze age the whole of the east Mediterranean was in crisis
oCollapse of hit tikes opened gates to invaders who overran country side
oIron Age (1100 BC)- Powerful new kingdoms in the east emerged (ex. Phrygia and urartu., both had wealthy and literate courts)
oPopulation movements convulsed the near east through the 12 and 11th centuries BC
oSemitic speaking pastoralists called Aramaeans exploited Assyria’s decline to settle in Damascus
o12th/11th centuries BC: movements of population, fall of states, murder of thousands, burning of cities, economic chaos
oAgriculture declined, monumental stone architecture disappeared, Greece fell hardest and took longest to recover
Life Among Ruins
oBronze-makers needed tin from eastern Anatolia, but after 1100 BC supply dried up
oInhabitants of Cyprus knew how to work iron but rarely did because bronze was abundant. Iron ores are widely distributed in the
east Mediterranean but require very hot temperatures to refine, unlike the copper from which bronze is made. As the tin trade
decline, Cypriote smiths improved techniques of iron-smelting, breaking down the iron-bearing ore
o1050: iron was serviceable alternative to bronze
o1025-925 BC: darkest stretch of Greek Dark age, Iron working established but Greek peninsula was largely cut off from outside
world. Even within Greece, commuincations were limited and regions developed local oatterns of behaviour
Crete, Minoan-mycenaean styles of houses, burials, art religion continued on small scale bt old centers of power around shores of
Aegean, the Mycenaean heritage was forgotten
Athens, Argos, Thebes on mainland and Lefkandi on Euboea, numbered no more than 1000 or 2000 ppl and most Greeks lived in
villages of a few dozen, rarely staying in one location for more than a generation or 2
Dark Age “Heroes”
oIn 1981, in Lefkandi: found remains of large building (1000-950 BC), 5 times as big as normal house of Dark Age. 2 burials under
floor: cremation of man in decorated bronze urn, 200 year old heirloom from Cyprus, with iron weapons and inhumation (burial w/e
burning) of a woman adorned with gold jewelry. In an age where gold grave goods are rare, hers are remarkable. Babylonian gold
chest piece (which was already thousand years old, an heirloom). Iron knife with ivory handle beside her. Inhumation rare, she may
have been human sacrifice at man’s funeral. Second shaft had four horses, a huge pot stood over the graves and after funeral, the
large hosue was deliberately filled with earth and converted to giant mound
oHeroes: men born from sexual union of gods and mortals
oAge of heroes in days of Mycenaean palaces
oBurial at Kefkandi earliest known example of someone accorded such “heroic” honours at death and most splendid throughout the
entire Dark Age
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