Recovery Development and Continued Instability
in the First Millennia BCE

  1. Rise and Fall - and expansion as well

    1. Civilizations of the first millennia BCE continue pattern of instability

      1. Period of expansion, generally through conquest

      2. Expansion leads to over extension

        1. resources strained, leads to famine, instability

        2. overextension means vulnerability to sudden shocks

    2. But at same time, large scale regional and multi-regional networks developing

  2. Limitations of Empire

    1. Zhou Dynasty China (1045-256 BCE)

      1. western horsemen conquer Shang region c. 1045 BCE

      2. develop a feudalistic system of government

        1. vassals receive land from king in exchange for military service

        2. loyalty maintained through elaborate ritual

      3. Zhou justify rule through idea of Mandate of Heaven

        1. Shang failed in duties to gods, failed to rule and live in a moral fashion

        2. Zhou fulfill these obligations, gain the Mandate

      4. Vassal system leads to decentralization

        1. breakdown of Zhou imperial power by 771 BCE

        2. Zhou kings flee east, power greatly diminished

        3. vassals compete among themselves

        4. China descends into near constant warfare (Warring States Period, 403-221 BCE)

      5. Despite warfare, Chinese cultural region expands; much intellectual innovation

    2. Empire building in the Eastern Mediterranean

      1. Assyrian Empire (c. 750-620 BCE)

        1. rapidly expanding militarized state conquers much of Middle East, Anatolia, neighboring regions

        2. maintains power through heavy tribute demands and extensive imperial display

        3. expansion and display lead to overextension, collapse

      2. New Babylonian Empire (c. 620-562 BCE)

        1. succeeds Assyrians, uses similar tactics

        2. establishes powerful imperial metropolis

        3. but again, unsustainable

  3. Commercial and Trade-Based Expansion

    1. Phoenicians

      1. Originate in East Mediterranean (roughly modern Lebanon)

      2. wealth based on Mediterranean trade

      3. Establish colonies throughout Mediterranean c. 800 BCE

      4. Enables survival of Phoenician culture after home region conquered

      5. Modern alphabets trace origin to Phoenician writing systemPhonecian Alphabet, compared to others

    2. Greece

      1. Fragemnt of Illiad scroll, oldest known example of the Illiad (c.2nd century BCE. Illiad Book 10, lines 421-434, 445-460).Fragment of the Illiad c. 150 BCE (Oldest known)

      2. Greek homeland resource poor, but productive in olives

      3. Turn to sea trade and colonization for survival

      4. City-state based culture - high levels of completion between city-states

      5. Emphasis on citizenship and civic duties, defined differently in different cities

        1. Sparta develops a notion of citizenship based on discipline, self-sacrifice, courage, military service

        2. Athens develops a form of citizenship participation in civic institutions, and a modest degree of democracy,

          1. all male citizens vote in the Ekklisia after c.500 BCE

          2. could pass legislation, conduct trials, declare, war, exile citizens

        3. wide variation in other Greek cities

      6. Along with Phoenicians, become key figures in Mediterranean commerce and trade

      7. Begin colonization in Black Sea and Mediterranean for excess population, new trade opportunities

    3. Rise of the City-States

      1. Greece and Phoenicia represent expansion of multiple city-states

      2. Provide an extensive commercial network in the Mediterranean

      3. Some, such as Carthage, will become nuclei for large kingdoms

  4. Problems of Development in Isolation

    1. City-States and small kingdoms develop in the Americas by 1500 BCE

    2. Andean Civilization

      1. Large commercial centers emerge in Peru region c.1500 BCE

        1. enormous monumental structures, primarily in form of mud-brick platforms

        2. evidence of human sacrifice

      2. These centers depend on access to resources across several environmental zones and microclimates

        1. ocean

        2. river beds and flood plains

        3. highland regions

      3. Very vulnerable to climate change, such as the periodic El Nino current

      4. Limited opportunities for trade for resource in difficult times

    3. Mesoamerica

      1. Agricultural villages emerge by at least 2500 BCE

      2. Late development may result from isolation

      3. Olmecs

        1. ceremonial centers and urban centers appear in southern Mexico c. 1200 BCE

        2. like other Amerindian cultures, built extensive ritual platforms

        3. depended on corn, beans, squash

        4. appear to have been ruled by shamanistic priest-kings

        5. decline gradually, but seem to have had widespread influence

    4. Sub-Saharan Africa

      1. Not as isolated as Americas, but isolation still seems to have slowed development

      2. post-1000 BCE, new trade routes and political changes spur development

        1. trans-Saharan trade expands post 1500 BCE (perhaps earlier)

        2. development of iron working by at least 500 BCE in West Africa

      3. Expansion of Nubia/Kush state after 750 BCE

        1. gains autonomy from Egypt after long domination

        2. expands trade networks from Mediterranean into Great Lakes region and beyond

      4. On east coast, Indian Ocean trade routes had been developing at least as early as 1000 BCE, perhaps earlier

        1. would time East Africa to Arabia, Persia, India

        2. in time spurred development of city-states along coast line

      5. Overall, access to trade routes spurs urban and state development