This paper explores the Dark Ages and the major causes that thrust a splendid civilization like Greek into abrupt termination or presumably so. It briefly explores the authenticity of term Dark Age and its perceived occurrence…
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This paper explores the Dark Ages and the major causes that thrust a splendid civilization like Greek into abrupt termination or presumably so. It briefly explores the authenticity of term Dark Age and its perceived occurrence. Drawing on the observations and evidences of Rhys Carpenter and V. Desborough, the paper concludes that Dark Age is a term that scholars used to name the interruption reported between evolutionary transitions from Mycenaean to Ionian Age. Irrespective of the terminology, presumed Dark Age was caused by depopulation or migration of Mycenaean as a result of natural disasters (earthquake or volcanic) rather than foreign invasion or Trojan War. Greek Dark Ages: Major Causes of Termination Dark Ages of ancient Greek is the latest scholastic term that refers to the centuries between 1100 and 800 B.C. The time period attributed as Dark ranges from Mycenaean civilization’s collapse to the establishment of Ionian Age. Abrupt and unanticipated destruction of such a wealthy and civilized culture as Greek is source of surprise and intense debate among literary and archeological circles. This paper explores the Dark Ages, major causes that led Greeks into it and concludes that the Dark Age itself is nothing but a gap of literary evidence in the evolutionary process as a consequence of climatic upheaval in the region during late seventh and eighth centuries. The term “Dark Ages” is recently coined by modern scholars who refer it as the period that intervenes between 1200 BC with the downfall of the Mycenaean palaces and around emergence of a new state form, called the polis. Ancient writers never acknowledged major distinction between historical period and heroic age .During 700 BC, writings of Hesiod represents a gradual decline of Greek society and symbolizes them with five successive “Ages”, referred as gold, silver, bronze, heroes, and iron age (Works and Days 109-76 as cited in Hall, 2006, p.202).On the other hand, Thycydides depicted early Greek history as progressive marked with stable growth of resources and power. However, the Trojan War aftermath brought immediate instability and migration (as cited in Hall, 2006, p.202).Hall (2006) further states: There is no real sense of a cultural or economic “trough” that stands in stark contrast to conditions [neither]before the Trojan expedition, nor again of a “renaissance” associated with the rise of the polis…Greeks believed that polis had existed from time immemorial. (p.203) Scholars endorsed Thucydides’ general schema up to 1870s,however,some in general and George Grote in particular highlighted that lack of recent evidence hinders the construction of Greek historical narrative before 776 BC(as cited in Hall,2003,P.203).Later, Heinrich Schliemann’s excavations at Troy in 1870-90s,Mycenae in 1876, and Tiryns in 1884(as cited in Hall,2003,P.203) not only established that Greek mainland had been a home to civilized culture, but also confirmed the sudden end of palaces associated with “Mycenaean” civilization. The major concern here is the collapse of Mycenaean civilization and its reasons. It is believed (as cited in Hall, 2003): Following Fliners Petrie’s publication in 1890 of Mycenaean pottery in Egyptian context of the 18th and 19th Dynasties and his conclusion that the Mycenaean palaces has been destroyed around 1200 BC, it became evident… gap of approximately five centuries between the collapse of the palaces and the first extant literature as represented by Hesiod and the lyric poets of the 7th century BC. The sheer paucity of evidence for this intervening period had already by the last decade of the 19th century led historians to term it a “Dark Age” or “the medieval epoch of Greece. (p.203) Foreign invasion by Dorians or Sea Peoples and colonization, Trojan War, internal conflicts, depopulation, and great migrations as a result of natural disaster and unfavorable living conditions were a few but frequently
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