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Crisis to Collapse

Tim Cunningham
Jan Driessen

II. From Epistemology to Ontology : the Paradigm of the Lost Civilisation

4. The Classic Crisis ?

Some Features of Current Crisis Narratives for the Aegean Late Bronze-Early Iron Age

Saro Wallace

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The Aegean and east Mediterranean collapse of 1200 BC is a deservedly famous entity - so much so, in fact, that the organisers of this round table at first intended it to be set aside to make room for other case studies (see e.g. Drews 1996 ; Bachuber & Roberts 2009 ; Cline 2014). Yet recent work shows it actually makes less and less sense to model this collapse as one phenomenon, coincident and interlinked though its elements certainly are. It cannot be easily generalised at Aegean level - much less seen as part of a single east Mediterranean pattern. I take the opportunity to explore these nuances here as part of the wider comparative exercise of the volume - noting, too, the way the variability of Aegean crisis processes affected long-term trajectories of social development in that region. Iron Age Greece is known for the distinctive kinds of consensually-structured small states (poleis) developing there by at least 700 BC. I argue that the roots of those structures ...

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