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1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed


There are very few published titles which focus on the tumultuous events that took place in the Eastern Mediterranean at approximately 1200 BCE. Out of those few, however, Dr. Eric H. Cline’s 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed , stands out among the rest as one of the best and most thoroughly researched work focused on this period. Dr. Cline is an author, historian, archaeologist, and professor of history and archaeology at The George Washington University in Washington D.C. He is also holds many other prestigious and related titles. That aside, it comes as no surprise that Dr. Cline exhausts the many sources at his disposal (in many cases, he consults with other accredited scholars and archaeologists in their respective academic disciplines) and provides the reader with enough archaeological and historical evidence to provide a more accurate and up-to-date conclusion of the collapse of the Late Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean and general Near East.

What we do know is that the world of the Near East during the Late Bronze Age would end and be redefined to pave the way for the Iron Age. Entire nations and empires would collapse and in some cases completely disappear (i.e. Mycenaean, Hittite, Ugarit, etc.) while others would be weakened (i.e. Egypt), giving way for new ethnic groups (i.e. Greece, Israel, Phoenicia, Neo-Assyria, etc.) to rise and establish themselves within a new world order. Eric Cline attempts to answer the unanswered question, “What brought about these events?” In the process, he not only focuses on the phenomena the Egyptians referred to as the Sea Peoples but also looks into the internal struggles, hardships, and at the economic and political relationships held by the greater nations of the Late Bronze Age. The key to Cline’s research is that he rejects the common notion of a single event bringing about the end of this era. He instead proposes that a series of events took place to create a sort of “system failure”, which culminated into what he coins as a “perfect storm” resulting in the end of the world as the ancients knew it.

This book is presented as a mystery novel. Cline writes in such a way that the reader does not need to be an expert in the topics highlighted. He presents the evidence in an appropriate and easy to understand manner. The book begins with the events that led to the collapse of the Bronze Age civilizations. He then goes back in time, to the point where these same civilizations appeared within the historical record and then moves forward in time to the point of disruption and sometimes destruction, revealing clues to our mystery at every stage. To quote historian, professor, and author, Amanda Podany, Cline possesses a talent to bring “to life an era that is not well known to most readers.” One thing is for certain, once started, you will not want to put it down.

By Petros Koutoupis


Seems like an exciting read! Catchy title as well.