The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe ca. 1200 B.C.

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The Bronze Age came to a close early in the twelfth century B.C. with one of the worst calamities in history: over a period of several decades, destruction descended upon key cities throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, bringing to an end the Levantine, Hittite, Trojan, and Mycenaean kingdoms and plunging some lands into a dark age that would last more than four hundred years. In his attempt to account for this destruction, Robert Drews rejects the traditional explanations - earthquakes, migrations, drought, ...
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Overview

The Bronze Age came to a close early in the twelfth century B.C. with one of the worst calamities in history: over a period of several decades, destruction descended upon key cities throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, bringing to an end the Levantine, Hittite, Trojan, and Mycenaean kingdoms and plunging some lands into a dark age that would last more than four hundred years. In his attempt to account for this destruction, Robert Drews rejects the traditional explanations - earthquakes, migrations, drought, systems collapse - and proposes a military one instead. Combining fascinating archaeological facts with vivid descriptions of military tactics, Drews presents the transition from chariot to infantry warfare as the primary cause of the Great Kingdoms' downfall. Late in the thirteenth century B.C. the barbarians who until then had been little cause for concern to the Great Kingdoms, and who had served the kings as mercenary "runners" in support of the chariots, awoke to the fact that en masse they could destroy a chariot army. There followed an orgy of slaughter, looting, and destruction. From the ashes arose the city-states of Greece and the tribal confederacy of Israel, communities that depended on massed formations of infantrymen. In making these arguments, the author uses textual and archaeological evidence to reconstruct what actually happened in the Bronze Age chariot battles, as well as the combat that characterized the Catastrophe.
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Editorial Reviews

Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews
[Drews] has differentiated between evidence and speculation so that those who will continue to debate the Catastrophe can use the book effectively. What is more important is that he has laid to rest some archaeological factoids which in their turn were based on no more than guesswork.
— David W. J. Gill
The Journal of Military History
[The End of the Bronze Age] provides a concise overview of the problem and the present state of our knowledge.... Drews has produced a thought-provoking work with an intriguing thesis, informative and thorough in its scholarship, sound and imaginative in its arguments.
— J. P. Karras
The Times Literary Supplement
Unusually sophisticated.... Well argued and learned.
— A. M. Snodgrass
Bryn Mawr Classical Review

[Drews] has differentiated between evidence and speculation so that those who will continue to debate the Catastrophe can use the book effectively. What is more important is that he has laid to rest some archaeological factoids which in their turn were based on no more than guesswork.
— David W. J. Gill
The Journal of Military History - J.P. Karras
[The End of the Bronze Age] provides a concise overview of the problem and the present state of our knowledge.... Drews has produced a thought-provoking work with an intriguing thesis, informative and thorough in its scholarship, sound and imaginative in its arguments.
Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews - David W.J. Gill
[Drews] has differentiated between evidence and speculation so that those who will continue to debate the Catastrophe can use the book effectively. What is more important is that he has laid to rest some archaeological factoids which in their turn were based on no more than guesswork.
The Times Literary Supplement - A.M. Snodgrass
Unusually sophisticated.... Well argued and learned.
The Journal of Military History - J. P. Karras
[The End of the Bronze Age] provides a concise overview of the problem and the present state of our knowledge.... Drews has produced a thought-provoking work with an intriguing thesis, informative and thorough in its scholarship, sound and imaginative in its arguments.
Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews - David W. J. Gill
[Drews] has differentiated between evidence and speculation so that those who will continue to debate the Catastrophe can use the book effectively. What is more important is that he has laid to rest some archaeological factoids which in their turn were based on no more than guesswork.
The Times Literary Supplement - A. M. Snodgrass
Unusually sophisticated.... Well argued and learned.
From the Publisher

"[The End of the Bronze Age] provides a concise overview of the problem and the present state of our knowledge.... Drews has produced a thought-provoking work with an intriguing thesis, informative and thorough in its scholarship, sound and imaginative in its arguments."--J. P. Karras, The Journal of Military History

"[Drews] has differentiated between evidence and speculation so that those who will continue to debate the Catastrophe can use the book effectively. What is more important is that he has laid to rest some archaeological factoids which in their turn were based on no more than guesswork."--David W. J. Gill, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Unusually sophisticated.... Well argued and learned."--A. M. Snodgrass, The Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691048116
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Pt. 1 Introduction
Ch. 1 The Catastrophe and Its Chronology 3
Ch. 2 The Catastrophe Surveyed 8
Pt. 2 Alternative Explanations of the Catastrophe
Ch. 3 Earthquakes 33
Ch. 4 Migrations 48
Ch. 5 Ironworking 73
Ch. 6 Drought 77
Ch. 7 Systems Collapse 85
Ch. 8 Raiders 91
Pt. 3 A Military Explanation of the Catastrophe
Ch. 9 Preface to a Military Explanation of the Catastrophe 97
Ch. 10 The Chariot Warfare of the Late Bronze Age 104
Ch. 11 Footsoldiers in the Late Bronze Age 135
Ch. 12 Infantry and Horse Troops in the Early Iron Age 164
Ch. 13 Changes in Armor and Weapons at the End of the Bronze Age 174
Ch. 14 The End of Chariot Warfare in the Catastrophe 209
Bibliography 227
Index 245
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