Eric Cline, 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed

On February 25, 2015, Professor Eric Cline (The George Washington University) delivered a lecture at The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, on the collapse of civilization at the end of the Late Bronze Age. The lecture was on the same subject as his recent book, 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (2014).

For more than three hundred years during the Late Bronze Age, from about 1500 BC to 1200 BC, the Mediterranean region played host to a complex international world in which Egyptians, Mycenaeans, Minoans, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Cypriots, and Canaanites all interacted, creating a cosmopolitan and globalized world-system such as has only rarely been seen before the current day. It may have been this very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age. When the end came, as it did after centuries of cultural and technological evolution, the civilized and international world of the Mediterranean regions came to a dramatic halt in a vast area stretching from Greece and Italy in the west to Egypt, Canaan, and Mesopotamia in the east. Large empires and small kingdoms, that had taken centuries to evolve, collapsed rapidly. With their end came the world’s first recorded Dark Ages. It was not until centuries later that a new cultural renaissance emerged in Greece and the other affected areas, setting the stage for the evolution of Western society as we know it today. Blame for the end of the Late Bronze Age is usually laid squarely at the feet of the so-called Sea Peoples, known to us from the records of the Egyptian pharaohs Merneptah and Ramses III. However, as was the case with the fall of the Roman Empire, the end of the Bronze Age empires in this region was not the result of a single invasion, but of multiple causes. The Sea Peoples may well have been responsible for some of the destruction that occurred at the end of the Late Bronze Age, but it is much more likely that a concatenation of events, both human and natural — including earthquake storms, droughts, rebellions, and systems collapse — coalesced to create a “perfect storm” that brought the age to an end.
Lecture by Eric Cline on “1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed


Professor Cline also delivered a similar lecture to the National Capital Area Skeptics, on October 8, 2016, in Bethesda, Maryland:


Theo van den Hout: “A is for Anatolia: Writing and Literacy in the Hittite Kingdom”

Theo van den Hout delivers a lecture examining the chronological development of writing and literacy in the Hittite Kingdom, Brown University,  April 11, 2013. The lecture commences at 3:45.

Theo van den Hout is Professor of Hittite and Anatolian Languages in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago.

He received his PhD in Hittite and Anatolian languages from the University of Amsterdam in 1989 after a BA and MA in Classics, Comparative Indo-European linguistics and Anatolian studies at both Leiden and Amsterdam. Currently he is Professor of Hittite and Anatolian Languages at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, and editor-in-chief of the Chicago Hittite Dictionary (CHD) since 2000. He is the author of several books, most recently “The Elements of Hittite”(Cambridge UP 2011) and many articles.

While interested in all aspects of Late Bronze and Iron Age Anatolia his work focuses on Hittite culture, history, and language. Besides his work on the dictionary his recent personal interests are ancient record management, literacy and writing in Hittite society.

Ancient Near East Monographs: SBL Open Access Series

Ancient Near East Monographs/Monografías sobre el Antiguo Cercano Oriente is an open access series from the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL):

The focus of this ambitious series is on the ancient Near East, including ancient Israel and its literature, from the early Neolithic to the early Hellenistic eras. Studies that are heavily philological or archaeological are both suited to this series, and can take full advantage of the hypertext capabilities of “born digital” publication. Multiple author and edited volumes as well as monographs are accepted. Proposals and manuscripts may be submitted in either English or Spanish. Manuscripts are peer reviewed by at least two scholars in the area before acceptance. Published volumes will be held to the high scholarly standards of the SBL and the Centro de Estudios de Historia del Antiguo Oriente. The partnership between the SBL and the Centro de Estudios de Historia del Antiguo Oriente was initiated under the auspices of SBL’s International Cooperation Initiative (ICI) and represents the type of international scholarly exchange that is the goal of ICI.

The General Co-editors are Ehud Ben Zvi and Roxana Flammini.

PDFs of the titles include:

Israel Finkelstein, The Forgotten Kingdom: The Archaeology and History

Lester L. Grabbe and Martti Nissinen (eds.), Constructs of Prophecy in the Former and Latter Prophets and Other Texts

Alan Lenzi, Reading Akkaddian Prayers and Hymns: An Introduction

Graciela Gestoso Singer, El Intercambio de Bienes entre Egipto y Asia Anterior: Desde el reinado Tuthmosis III hasta el de Akhenaton

Juan Manuel Tebes, Centro y periferia en el mundo antiquo: El Negev y sus interacciones con Egipto, Asiria, y el Levante an la Edad del Hierro (1200-586 a.C)

Alan Lenzi has also written an accompanying article ‘Why You Should Submit Your Manuscript or Proposal to the Online, Open-Access Ancient Near East Monograph Series’