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Why Did Ancient Civilizations Fail

Author: Scott A J Johnson
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1315512874
Size: 11.84 MB
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Ideas abound as to why certain complex societies collapsed in the past, including environmental change, subsistence failure, fluctuating social structure and lack of adaptability. Why Did Ancient Civilizations Fail? evaluates the current theories in this important topic and discusses why they offer only partial explanations of the failure of past civilizations. This engaging book offers a new theory of collapse, that of social hubris. Through an examination of Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Roman, Maya, Inca, and Aztec societies, Johnson persuasively argues that hubris blinded many ancient peoples to evidence that would have allowed them to adapt, and he further considers how this has implications for contemporary societies. Comprehensive and well-written, this volume serves as an ideal text for undergraduate courses on ancient complex societies, as well as appealing to the scholar interested in societal collapse.

Collapse

Author: Jared Diamond
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 0141976969
Size: 17.13 MB
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From the author of Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive is a visionary study of the mysterious downfall of past civilizations. Now in a revised edition with a new afterword, Jared Diamond's Collapse uncovers the secret behind why some societies flourish, while others founder - and what this means for our future. What happened to the people who made the forlorn long-abandoned statues of Easter Island? What happened to the architects of the crumbling Maya pyramids? Will we go the same way, our skyscrapers one day standing derelict and overgrown like the temples at Angkor Wat? Bringing together new evidence from a startling range of sources and piecing together the myriad influences, from climate to culture, that make societies self-destruct, Jared Diamond's Collapse also shows how - unlike our ancestors - we can benefit from our knowledge of the past and learn to be survivors. 'A grand sweep from a master storyteller of the human race' Daily Mail 'Riveting, superb, terrifying' Observer 'Gripping ... the book fulfils its huge ambition, and Diamond is the only man who could have written it' Economist 'This book shines like all Diamond's work' Sunday Times Jared Diamond (b. 1937) is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. Until recently he was Professor of Physiology at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the widely acclaimed Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies, which also is the winner of Britain's 1998 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize.

1177 B C

Author: Eric H. Cline
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400874491
Size: 54.30 MB
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In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh's army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians. The thriving economy and cultures of the late second millennium B.C., which had stretched from Greece to Egypt and Mesopotamia, suddenly ceased to exist, along with writing systems, technology, and monumental architecture. But the Sea Peoples alone could not have caused such widespread breakdown. How did it happen? In this major new account of the causes of this "First Dark Ages," Eric Cline tells the gripping story of how the end was brought about by multiple interconnected failures, ranging from invasion and revolt to earthquakes, drought, and the cutting of international trade routes. Bringing to life the vibrant multicultural world of these great civilizations, he draws a sweeping panorama of the empires and globalized peoples of the Late Bronze Age and shows that it was their very interdependence that hastened their dramatic collapse and ushered in a dark age that lasted centuries. A compelling combination of narrative and the latest scholarship, 1177 B.C. sheds new light on the complex ties that gave rise to, and ultimately destroyed, the flourishing civilizations of the Late Bronze Age—and that set the stage for the emergence of classical Greece.

Rome And The Classic Maya

Author: Rebecca Storey
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1315309394
Size: 61.69 MB
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This volume compares two of the most famous cases of civilizational collapse, that of the Roman Empire and the Classic Maya world. First examining the concept of collapse, and how it has been utilized in the historical, archaeological and anthropological study of past complex societies, Storey and Storey draw on extensive archaeological evidence to consider the ultimate failure of the institutions, infrastructure and material culture of both of these complex cultures. Detailing the relevant economic, political, social and environmental factors behind these notable falls, Rome and the Classic Maya contends that a phenomenon of “slow collapse” has repeatedly occurred in the course of human history: complex civilizations are shown to eventually come to an end and give way to new cultures. Through their analysis of these two ancient case studies, the authors also present intriguing parallels to the modern world and offer potential lessons for the future.

The Collapse Of Complex Societies

Author: Joseph Tainter
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521386739
Size: 59.22 MB
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Dr Tainter describes nearly two dozen cases of collapse and reviews more than 2000 years of explanations. He then develops a new and far-reaching theory.

The Rise And Fall Of Ancient Egypt

Author: Toby Wilkinson
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0679604294
Size: 78.42 MB
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER In this landmark work, one of the world’s most renowned Egyptologists tells the epic story of this great civilization, from its birth as the first nation-state to its final absorption into the Roman Empire—three thousand years of wild drama, bold spectacle, and unforgettable characters. Award-winning scholar Toby Wilkinson captures not only the lavish pomp and artistic grandeur of this land of pyramids and pharaohs but for the first time reveals the constant propaganda and repression that were its foundations. Drawing upon forty years of archaeological research, Wilkinson takes us inside an exotic tribal society with a pre-monetary economy and decadent, divine kings who ruled with all-too-recognizable human emotions. Here are the years of the Old Kingdom, where Pepi II, made king as an infant, was later undermined by rumors of his affair with an army general, and the Middle Kingdom, a golden age of literature and jewelry in which the benefits of the afterlife became available for all, not just royalty—a concept later underlying Christianity. Wilkinson then explores the legendary era of the New Kingdom, a lost world of breathtaking opulence founded by Ahmose, whose parents were siblings, and who married his sister and transformed worship of his family into a national cult. Other leaders include Akhenaten, the “heretic king,” who with his wife Nefertiti brought about a revolution with a bold new religion; his son Tutankhamun, whose dazzling tomb would remain hidden for three millennia; and eleven pharaohs called Ramesses, the last of whom presided over the militarism, lawlessness, and corruption that caused a crucial political and societal decline. Riveting and revelatory, filled with new information and unique interpretations, The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt will become the standard source about this great civilization, one that lasted—so far—longer than any other. From the Hardcover edition.

Dirt

Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520272900
Size: 38.95 MB
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Ranging from ancient times to modern-day environmental threats, a natural and cultural history of soil explains how an elimination of protective vegetation and an exposure to wind and rain causes severe erosion of cultivated soils, how the use and abuse of soil has shaped human history, and the how the rise of organic and no-till farming holds hope for the future.

Ancient Maya

Author: Arthur Demarest
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521533904
Size: 76.86 MB
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Ancient Maya comes to life in this new holistic and theoretical study.

How Civilizations Die

Author: David Goldman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1596982802
Size: 32.67 MB
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Thanks to collapsing birthrates, much of Europe is on a path of willed self-extinction. The untold story is that birthrates in Muslim nations are declining faster than anywhere elseâ??at a rate never before documented. Europe, even in its decline, may have the resources to support an aging population, if at a terrible economic and cultural cost. But in the impoverished Islamic world, an aging population means a civilization on the brink of total collapseâ?? something Islamic terrorists know and fear. Muslim decline poses new threats to America, challenges we cannot even understand, much less face effectively, without a wholly new kind of political analysis that explains how desperate peoples and nations behave. In How Civilizations Die, David P. Goldman, author of the celebrated Spengler column read by intelligence organizations world wide, ??reveals how, almost unnoticed, massive shifts in global power are remaking our future.

The Great Warming

Author: Brian Fagan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 9781596917804
Size: 15.16 MB
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From the 10th to 15th centuries the earth experienced a rise in surface temperature that changed climate worldwide-a preview of today's global warming. In some areas, including much of Western Europe, longer summers brought bountiful crops and population growth that led to cultural flowering. In others, drought shook long-established societies, such as the Maya and the Indians of the American Southwest, whose monumental buildings were left deserted as elaborate social structures collapsed. Brian Fagan examines how subtle changes in the environment had far-reaching effects on human life, in a narrative that sweeps from the Arctic ice cap to the Sahara to the Indian Ocean. The lessons of history suggest we may be yet be underestimating the power of climate change to disrupt our lives today.