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Bronze Age collapse

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Mandy
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2010, 01:20:17 pm »

Changes in warfare

Robert Drews argues[12] that the appearance of massed infantry, using newly developed weapons and armor, such as cast rather than forged spearheads and long swords, a revolutionizing cut-and-thrust weapon,[13] and javelins, and the appearance of bronze foundries, suggest "that mass production of bronze artifacts was suddenly important in the Aegean". (For example, Homer uses "spears" as a virtual synonym for "warrior", suggesting the continued importance of the spear in combat.) Such new weaponry, furnished to a proto-hoplite model of infantry which was able to withstand attacks of massed chariotry, would destabilize states that were based upon the use of chariots by the ruling class and precipitate an abrupt social collapse as raiders and/or infantry mercenaries began to conquer, loot, and burn the cities.[14][1][2
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Mandy
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« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2010, 01:20:39 pm »

General systems collapse

A general systems collapse has been put forward as an explanation for the reversals in culture that occurred between the Urnfield culture of the 12-13th centuries BC and the rise of the Celtic Hallstatt culture in the 9th and 10th centuries.[15] This theory may, however, simply raise the question of whether this collapse was the cause of, or the effect of, the Bronze Age collapse being discussed. General Systems Collapse theory, pioneered by Joseph Tainter,[16] hypothesizes how social declines in response to complexity may lead to a collapse resulting in simpler forms of society.

In the specific context of the Middle East, a variety of factors - including population rise, soil degradation, drought, cast bronze weapon and iron production technologies - could have combined to push the relative price of weaponry (compared to arable land) to a level unsustainable for traditional warrior aristocracies. As such it was not any one factor, but a combination of factors, that in complex societies that were increasingly fragile and not resilient, that contributed to the collapse.

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