Pick a state/culture/civilisation to survive the Late Bronze Age Collapse

2) Correct. Ancient South Arabian is documented into SW modern South Arabia and was probably spoken at Najran in the Iron Age - and likely later. Arabic spread there, likely in the Roman period and certainly by Late Antiquity - some of the earliest attestations of Arabic script are from there, dated fifth century CE. Earlier inscriptions from the area are either in South Arabian or in so-called Thamudic F (also called Himaic) but show admixture from likely some form of Arabic.
As a bit of a sidenote, how does the fact Yemen still likely spoke South Arabian fit with the idea that the Ghassanids and Lakhmids were of Yemeni origin while being Arab? Something doesn't fit for me, especially considering the mode of migration seems to be with North Arabia as the point of origin and going in all directions rather than coming from the extreme south.

The linguistic landscape of Arabia before the general spread of Arabic seems to have been rather diverse, even if all the languages involved likely belonged to the same branch, and most to the same subbranch within it, of Semitic, and little direct evidence for non-Semitic languages anywhere has been found (indirect evidence in substrate placenames has been proposed).
It's noot related to Central Semitic in Arabia but I heard arguments about a Cushitic substratum in Modern South Arabia, which is interesting given it would have an extremely remote time depth if true.
4) It may have started a bit earlier, but mostly yes, the spread of Arabic into the whole Peninsula is thought to have happened largely in the Qedarite and Nabatean periods, with the exception of Greater Yemen (and perhaps Oman, about which we have nearly no evidence at all). The central parts of the peninsula yield a lot of written material tentatively dated to Hellenistic and Roman periods (mostly Thamudic, but some showing traces of actual Arabic), but very little of it is firmly datable so you have much room for hypotheses.
I found this:
 

Skallagrim

Banned
Its signs begin in the 1250s in Mycenaen Greece whose sites begin to show signs of intensive wars (coordinating with the common Greek view of an invasion of their lands shortly after the Homeric epics).
A minor correction:

The notion of an invasion of Greece (the "Dorian invasion") is increasingly dismissed. In fact, it's not the (historical) common Greek view, either. The Greeks referred to the "Return of the Herakleidai" (e.g. very definitely people they considered Greeks), and never to the supposed arrival of some kind of outsider people. Linguistics don't support any kind of external invasion at this stage, either. At most, the so-called Herakleidai (presumably leaders of a Dorian faction, basing their legitimacy on supposed descent from Herakles) were already in the Aegean well in advance, and carried out an 'elite replacement' in various regions around the time of the Bronze Age Collapse.

The signs of war and destruction in Mycenaean Greece around this time, we may surmise, are most likely caused by internecine warfare (possibly indeed an internal Dorian-Ionian contest for supremacy, as the ancient sources suggest). But there were no external invaders.

I would tend to conclude that the upheavals and conflicts within Mycenaean Greece were the result of some pre-existing factor. This might be famine and other shortages, caused by the collapse of trade. Rather than falling to some hypothetical invasion, Mycenaean Greece has probably fallen to "resource wars", against a back-drop of sudden and dramatic decline or shift in the material circumstances.

In short: Mycenaean Greece may well have been (one of) the first to fall victim to the Bronze Age Collapse, but it doesn't seem that this was due to any kind of invasion.
 
Last edited:
A minor correction:

The notion of an invasion of Greece (the "Dorian invasion") is increasingly dismissed. In fact, it's not the (historical) common Greek view, either. The Greeks referred to the "Return of the Herakleidai" (e.g. very definitely people they considered Greeks), and never to the supposed arrival of some kind of outsider people. Linguistics don't support any kind of external invasion at this stage, either. At most, the so-called Herakleidai (presumably leaders of a Dorian faction, basing their legitimacy on supposed descent from Herakles) were already in the Aegean well in advance, and carried out an 'elite replacement' in various regions around the time of the Bronze Age Collapse.

The signs of war and destruction in Mycenaean Greece, we may surmise, are most likely caused by internecine warfare (possibly indeed an internal Dorian-Ionian contest for supremacy, as the ancient sources suggest). But there were no external invaders.

I would tend to conclude that the upheavals and conflicts within Mycenaean Greece were the result of some pre-existing factor. This might be famine and other shortages, caused by the collapse of trade. Rather than falling to some hypothetical invasion, Mycenaean Greece has probably fallen to "resource wars", against a back-drop of sudden and dramatic decline or shift in the material circumstances.

In short: Mycenaean Greece may well have been (one of) the first to fall victim to the Bronze Age Collapse, but it doesn't seem that this was due to any kind of invasion.
Right.

In another post on the site, I discussed the idea that (I made a point that this is speculation and myself attempting to coordinate Assyrian renderings of matters) perhaps there was some sort of internal warfare occurring between the Great King of Ahhiyawa and some of his subjects. This war was then disturbed by an external agent, some sort of non-Greek entity from the north, which turned the tide in favor of one side and subsequently destroyed the Great King and then appointed new elites from among those who were rebels and or enemies of the Great King. This external agent then crossing the Aegaean into Anatolia, caused the mass havoc which caused the collapse of the Hatti north front. This would explain Assyrian recounts of campaigns into Anatolia, wherein there is described multiple external peoples who had invaded and replaced the Hatti and were in turn driven forth east and west by the Assyrian host.

So, I do not hold the view or speculate that a people moved in and replaced the Mycenae, only that some sort of external northern host was the cause for the Hatti northern collapse alongside the Kaska-Mushki groups which struck from the east. My view is that the beginnings of trouble emerged in Europe and then maneuvered its way south into the Middle East. Not the other way around as it once was held.
 

Skallagrim

Banned
Right.

In another post on the site, I discussed the idea that (I made a point that this is speculation and myself attempting to coordinate Assyrian renderings of matters) perhaps there was some sort of internal warfare occurring between the Great King of Ahhiyawa and some of his subjects. This war was then disturbed by an external agent, some sort of non-Greek entity from the north, which turned the tide in favor of one side and subsequently destroyed the Great King and then appointed new elites from among those who were rebels and or enemies of the Great King. This external agent then crossing the Aegaean into Anatolia, caused the mass havoc which caused the collapse of the Hatti north front. This would explain Assyrian recounts of campaigns into Anatolia, wherein there is described multiple external peoples who had invaded and replaced the Hatti and were in turn driven forth east and west by the Assyrian host.

So, I do not hold the view or speculate that a people moved in and replaced the Mycenae, only that some sort of external northern host was the cause for the Hatti northern collapse alongside the Kaska-Mushki groups which struck from the east. My view is that the beginnings of trouble emerged in Europe and then maneuvered its way south into the Middle East. Not the other way around as it once was held.
I definitely agree with your account of the "direction" of the collapse. I'm not sure about the notion of some external party. It's possible that the Herakleidai/Dorians enlisted a people from the North (presumably some "barbarian" people from the Balkan region) to aid them in overthrowing the Wanax of the Mycenaean Kingdom, and then proceeded to "direct these people elsewhere" once they had served their purpose. It would hardly be the first (nor the last) time such a thing was done. Indeed, it's never a good idea to let such "mercenaries" linger in your own country -- they might get ideas.

Two issues I perceive are:

1) There is no evidence of one such people with any kind of clear identity. The invaders cascading through the wider region strike me more as migratory refugees-turned-raiders than anything else. We also get accounts of Mycenaeans being among the "Sea Peoples". If they had simply sent their mercenary "allies" out into the world after being done with them, why would they -- and not these mercenaries -- be mentioned by name as being among the subsequent trouble-makers?

2) The notion of (surely relatively small) group of trouble-makers being able to threaten not one (or even two or three) but a whole succession of established states strikes me as implausible... unless these states were already facing some underlying trouble.

So while I agree that the enlistment of "barbarians" may have been involved, it seems to me that this must then have happened as an opportunistic move in the context of pre-existing destabilisation. The Herakleidai/Dorians realise the trouble, know that the Wanax is weakened, and decide to make their bid for power. They succeed, and send any auxiliaries on their way elsewhere post-haste. Other kingdoms are being affected by the problems that had already beset the Mycenaean Kingdom, and thus the success of these raiding bands is disproportionally great. In fact, the situation is so bad that a number of inhabitants of afflicted states also "turn pirate". This explains the listing of Greeks among the Sea Peoples, and helps to explain why they aren't clearly identified as one ethnos: they were, in reality, a disparate collection of desperate people.

This still leaves open the question of what caused the whole underlying crisis in the first place. The answer may be that we don't know because it wasn't anything super-obvious. We may well be looking at a cascade effect, wherein the mass of people turning to raiding made things much worse than they would otherwise have been. Thus turning a minor crisis into a major one... and spreading the effects toward the South-East.
 
As a bit of a sidenote, how does the fact Yemen still likely spoke South Arabian fit with the idea that the Ghassanids and Lakhmids were of Yemeni origin while being Arab? Something doesn't fit for me, especially considering the mode of migration seems to be with North Arabia as the point of origin and going in all directions rather than coming from the extreme south.


It's noot related to Central Semitic in Arabia but I heard arguments about a Cushitic substratum in Modern South Arabia, which is interesting given it would have an extremely remote time depth if true.

I found this:
1) It might be a historiographical construction by later Muslim genealogists. As far as I know, there is little or no archaeological, linguistic or epigraphic evidence for a major South Arabian migration to the North in Late Antiquity. It has likely something to do with a need for Arabic-speaking North Arabian groups such as Ghassan and Lakhm to construct a "prestigious" origin linking them with well-established sedentary and "imperial" South Arabians. Some admixture is historically plausible though.
2) Yep, Aleksandr Militar'ev suggested toponomastic (IIRC) evidence to that effect. I am agnostic on his theory, but I would not consider it unbelievable. From memory, he suggests two waves of Semiticization in Greater Yemen and surroundings (a West Semitic one giving rise to Modern South Arabian and Ethiopian Semitic, and a later Central Semitic one, likely sometime in the Middle Bronze, producing Ancient South Arabian) which would have overcome a preceding Cushitic stratum which would have lasted into the Bronze Age. It is a fascinating and plausible scenario, but I am not aware of any clear archaeological evidence in support.
3) Oh, yes. I use that text for my courses.
 
I definitely agree with your account of the "direction" of the collapse. I'm not sure about the notion of some external party. It's possible that the Herakleidai/Dorians enlisted a people from the North (presumably some "barbarian" people from the Balkan region) to aid them in overthrowing the Wanax of the Mycenaean Kingdom, and then proceeded to "direct these people elsewhere" once they had served their purpose. It would hardly be the first (nor the last) time such a thing was done. Indeed, it's never a good idea to let such "mercenaries" linger in your own country -- they might get ideas.

Two issues I perceive are:

1) There is no evidence of one such people with any kind of clear identity. The invaders cascading through the wider region strike me more as migratory refugees-turned-raiders than anything else. We also get accounts of Mycenaeans being among the "Sea Peoples". If they had simply sent their mercenary "allies" out into the world after being done with them, why would they -- and not these mercenaries -- be mentioned by name as being among the subsequent trouble-makers?

2) The notion of (surely relatively small) group of trouble-makers being able to threaten not one (or even two or three) but a whole succession of established states strikes me as implausible... unless these states were already facing some underlying trouble.

So while I agree that the enlistment of "barbarians" may have been involved, it seems to me that this must then have happened as an opportunistic move in the context of pre-existing destabilisation. The Herakleidai/Dorians realise the trouble, know that the Wanax is weakened, and decide to make their bid for power. They succeed, and send any auxiliaries on their way elsewhere post-haste. Other kingdoms are being affected by the problems that had already beset the Mycenaean Kingdom, and thus the success of these raiding bands is disproportionally great. In fact, the situation is so bad that a number of inhabitants of afflicted states also "turn pirate". This explains the listing of Greeks among the Sea Peoples, and helps to explain why they aren't clearly identified as one ethnos: they were, in reality, a disparate collection of desperate people.

This still leaves open the question of what caused the whole underlying crisis in the first place. The answer may be that we don't know because it wasn't anything super-obvious. We may well be looking at a cascade effect, wherein the mass of people turning to raiding made things much worse than they would otherwise have been. Thus turning a minor crisis into a major one... and spreading the effects toward the South-East.
Oh, I do not mean to say that these peoples or the external factor simply emerged and defeated a powerful Hatti state. But that the Hatti state was exhausted already and all it took was a push from its northern frontier to send it into a spiral that culminated in peoples crossing the Halys and conquering Ankuwa and the Kaska sacking Hattusa. The Hatti royalty ultimately survived as a vassal of the Assyrians in the city of Carchemish, which is perhaps a sufficient pretext for Assyria decimating the peoples supposedly at fault for the destruction of the Hatti homeland. In other words, the Assyrians claim to have engaged several distinct peoples whom they differentiate from their new Hattian vassals in their northern campaigns, these are peoples whom the Assyrians either fought in prior centuries, such as the Kaska, or completely new peoples who emerged in Assyrian records for the first time, such as the Phyrgians. Whom I would argue is the most likely external agent in assisting the collapse of the Great Kings of Ahhiyawa (I am using the term used by Assyria and Hatti) and then created a cascade effect much like the Cimmerians and Scythians in later eras. Except the Phyrgians would have entered via the Aegean rather than the Caucasian hill country as the Scythians did.

Hatti was of course exhausted for reasons that I am not entirely sure of. As I have mentioned, they were utilizing Assyria as its protector, paying them tribute to attack their northeastern flanks annually. At one point even, the Hatti dispatched envoys 'demanding' the Assyrians to protect their eastern flank and increasingly becoming more vocal about needing protection from the east. Assyria, managed to turn this dependency into a tool to demand vassalage from Hatti and later invaded Hatti three times in their south culminating in a massive defeat of Tudhaliya IV by Tukulti-Ninurta I and the dismantling of all Hatti power east of the Euphrates River. After this defeat is when Hatti began to collapse, so around 1209-1178 BCE. This weakness, is what was the proverbial 'blood in the water' as it were for all of the varied peoples from the west, northwest and northeast to then push into the Hatti hegemony and the Hattian ally of Egypt and crush them. Assyria was completely unaffected by this until these enemies began appearing along the Euphrates headwaters and the Assyrians gained the Neo-Hatti state of Carchemish as a vassal. Assyrian historical renderings alongside corroborations in Karduniash and Hatti explain why the Hatti collapsed, but not why the Hatti were weak enough to request Assyrian aid to protect their borders. Assyrian or Akkadian sources simply assume superiority of their forces, while Hatti leaves these matters mysterious; Egypt likely had little knowledge or interest.

Considering how invasions from the steppe and Europe typically operated, such as say the Hunnic invasion, it is no wonder that they can be diverse peoples and pick up mercenary along the way. If we lacked the written records from the period, we might be at a complete loss for instance as to what the Hunnic invasions consisted of or its nature. In much the same way, I speculate that there was a level of turbulence occurring in Europe as a result of meeting Bronze, amber and tin cravings of the world around it alongside typical warring between peoples, that is often discounted. This turbulence in Bronze Age Europe accounts for wars that may have been waged between relatively major forces such as the site at Tollense and thus helps tell us how possible it would be for a group of mercenary peoples or migratory raiders or armies could to dethrone the Great King in Mycenae.


Regarding the Sea Peoples, I have speculated before that they were possibly also some sort of mercenary previously enlisted in wars by the Hatti and the Arzawa states and the defeats Hatti incurred in war by the Assyrians, is what led them to turn sides and begin attacking along the Levantine coast. Certainly whatever they were, was a western addition to the collapse.

But one point. It should be mentioned that this Bronze Age collapse was one unique to the parts of Europe maintaining the Mid East and the associated areas. We do not find a Bronze Age Collapse in the Baltic, the Pontic Steppe, Central Asia and China, where the old Bronze Age trade network remained relatively the same. The main difference coming in the form of the 10th century innovation of predatory nomads and so forth. So it is something in my view peculiar to the lands that were trading tin and amber from Britain south to Iberia and east to Assyria and then from Iberia to Thracia in the east of Europe.
 
The Dorian migration doesn't necessarily have to coincide with the bronze age collapse.
Also I don't think the Dorian invasion necessarily implies an invasion of outsiders either but IMO it does involve populations that weren't linguistically part of the Mycenean Greek linguistic community and socio-politically weren't part of the of the palatial culture or the post-palatial culture.
So saying that the Dorians were Greeks doesn't mean the "dorian invasion" is debunked, how else do you explain the ethnic identities that we see in Archaic Greece that clearly distinguish Dorians from non-Dorians even within the same Polis with each also having sub-tribes or the fact NW Greek-Dorian, Attic-Ionian, Thessalian-Boetian and Arcado-Cypriotic are generally accepted linguistic branches of Greece.

If you have such a population with a relatively coherent identity with a relatively coherent language attached to them that has relatively complex borders with other Greek dialects, it says to me that Dorians as such must have existed as an actual grouping from the start or they coalesced into an actual community during the bronze age collapse or Greek dark ages.

Edit: Debunking the Dorian invasion on the basis that they were close ethnically or geographically to the/other Myceneans seems to me like debunking the Macedonian conquest under Philip II because the Macedonians were Greek or lived close to Greece, it doesn't follow.
 
Last edited:
The signs of war and destruction in Mycenaean Greece around this time, we may surmise, are most likely caused by internecine warfare (possibly indeed an internal Dorian-Ionian contest for supremacy, as the ancient sources suggest). But there were no external invaders.

I would tend to conclude that the upheavals and conflicts within Mycenaean Greece were the result of some pre-existing factor. This might be famine and other shortages, caused by the collapse of trade. Rather than falling to some hypothetical invasion, Mycenaean Greece has probably fallen to "resource wars", against a back-drop of sudden and dramatic decline or shift in the material circumstances.

In short: Mycenaean Greece may well have been (one of) the first to fall victim to the Bronze Age Collapse, but it doesn't seem that this was due to any kind of invasion.
Considering the Phrygian migration into Anatolia and the migration and violence experienced elsewhere further East and South it seems a bit too much special pleading to argue that absence of evidence of invasion, which is honestly a pretty high standard to demand for semi-prehistorical times, is evidence of absence of such invasions.

I'm not saying I know for certain there was a foreign invasion of Mycenean Greece that is particularly responsible for their fall but to demand such high amount of evidence despite the trend of the time and the fact that foreign invasion is not implausible at all seems to me too much, for example the Gallic invasion of Greece during the early 3rd century or the Celtic migration to Anatolia would be largely invisible without written sources, we cannot expect to find Tollense-like evidence for any given invasion.

So I'd not exclude the possibility of invasions from outside playing at least some role, heck I would consider it likely, why in the world would this be the only place that didn't see invasions or migrations or any sort of violent/tumultous contact with the outside?
 

Skallagrim

Banned
The Dorian migration doesn't necessarily have to coincide with the bronze age collapse.
Also I don't think the Dorian invasion necessarily implies an invasion of outsiders either but IMO it does involve populations that weren't linguistically part of the Mycenean Greek linguistic community and socio-politically weren't part of the of the palatial culture or the post-palatial culture.
So saying that the Dorians were Greeks doesn't mean the "dorian invasion" is debunked, how else do you explain the ethnic identities that we see in Archaic Greece that clearly distinguish Dorians from non-Dorians even within the same Polis with each also having sub-tribes or the fact NW Greek-Dorian, Attic-Ionian, Thessalian-Boetian and Arcado-Cypriotic are generally accepted linguistic branches of Greece.

If you have such a population with a relatively coherent identity with a relatively coherent language attached to them that has relatively complex borders with other Greek dialects, it says to me that Dorians as such must have existed as an actual grouping from the start or they coalesced into an actual community during the bronze age collapse or Greek dark ages.

Edit: Debunking the Dorian invasion on the basis that they were close ethnically or geographically to the/other Myceneans seems to me like debunking the Macedonian conquest under Philip II because the Macedonians were Greek or lived close to Greece, it doesn't follow.
Considering the Phrygian migration into Anatolia and the migration and violence experienced elsewhere further East and South it seems a bit too much special pleading to argue that absence of evidence of invasion, which is honestly a pretty high standard to demand for semi-prehistorical times, is evidence of absence of such invasions.

I'm not saying I know for certain there was a foreign invasion of Mycenean Greece that is particularly responsible for their fall but to demand such high amount of evidence despite the trend of the time and the fact that foreign invasion is not implausible at all seems to me too much, for example the Gallic invasion of Greece during the early 3rd century or the Celtic migration to Anatolia would be largely invisible without written sources, we cannot expect to find Tollense-like evidence for any given invasion.

So I'd not exclude the possibility of invasions from outside playing at least some role, heck I would consider it likely, why in the world would this be the only place that didn't see invasions or migrations or any sort of violent/tumultous contact with the outside?
My point is that there was no Dorian invasion, not that there were no Dorians or that there is no possibility of a conflict involving Dorians. My comments reflect this. So, contrary to what you write, the Dorian "invasion" is increasibly seen as a complete invention. Because in the context of that whole debate, that term refers explictly and exclusively to the idea that the Dorians were an external, non-Greek population who invaded Mycenaean Greece either just before the Bronze Age Collapse (thus being part of causing it) or during said collapse (thus exploiting it).

The fact of the matter is that this is simply not true. It's a bullshit hypothesis, made up by historians eager to "fill the blanks", in a time before Linear B was even decyphered, and they still thought Mycenaeans were pre-Indo-European. (In fact, the supposed "external Dorians" often looked suspiciously like a bunch of noble, blonde Indo-Europeans, arriving to rightfully replace those swarthy Mycenaeans, and found the real Greece.)

The truth is, of course, that the Mycenaeans were themselves Indo-European speaking, but were genetically closely related to the Minoans. The supposed Indo-European invasion of the Aegean had taken place, but much earlier (say, c. 3000 BC). It was presumably a small group of invaders, which replaced the pre-Indo-European elite, but didn't supllant the population. (Research from 2017 indicates that the genetic material of the Mycenaeans was, at most, 14% Indo-European.) And the Dorians? They were of the same sort. Cousins of all the other Greeks. Simply a group of Hellenes found in the Western regions of Greece before the Mycenaean collapse, but -- demonstrably -- became dominant in various Peloponnesian regions, either by exploiting that collapse... or as a result of having (been part of the process that) caused it. They were not some external people, and they did not "invade".

The example of Macedonians under Philippos II is actually quite funny, because Philippos was indeed recognised as a Greek. And why was that? Because he was an heir of the Argives, and thereby of Herakles himself. And how did the heirs of Herakles end up in the lands of Argos? Well, they ended up there during the so-called "Return of the Herakleidai". Philoppos II was a Greek by virtue of descending from the leaders of the Dorians.

To recapitulate: if you wish to argue that Dorians, being a group of West Hellenes, somehow took over large parts of the Peloponnesos in the general period of the Bronze Age Collapse... then we can agree. But this is not what is referred to as the so-called "Dorian Invasion". That term refers exclusively to the notion of an external, non-Greek people called "Dorians" who invaded Greece around this time; a bullshit hypothesis, fabricated out of thin air, in no small part to create a vaguely racist narrative where the Classical Greeks could actually be a bunch of Aryan Northerners, unrelated to anyone too swarthy.

(For this reason, rejecting the Dorian Invasion narrative is also not some case of saying "absence of evidence = evidence of absence". Rather, it is a case of knowing why this narrative was fabricated, and knowing that it was fabricated.)
 
Last edited:
I definitely agree with your account of the "direction" of the collapse. I'm not sure about the notion of some external party. It's possible that the Herakleidai/Dorians enlisted a people from the North (presumably some "barbarian" people from the Balkan region) to aid them in overthrowing the Wanax of the Mycenaean Kingdom, and then proceeded to "direct these people elsewhere" once they had served their purpose. It would hardly be the first (nor the last) time such a thing was done. Indeed, it's never a good idea to let such "mercenaries" linger in your own country -- they might get ideas.

Two issues I perceive are:

1) There is no evidence of one such people with any kind of clear identity. The invaders cascading through the wider region strike me more as migratory refugees-turned-raiders than anything else. We also get accounts of Mycenaeans being among the "Sea Peoples". If they had simply sent their mercenary "allies" out into the world after being done with them, why would they -- and not these mercenaries -- be mentioned by name as being among the subsequent trouble-makers?

2) The notion of (surely relatively small) group of trouble-makers being able to threaten not one (or even two or three) but a whole succession of established states strikes me as implausible... unless these states were already facing some underlying trouble.

So while I agree that the enlistment of "barbarians" may have been involved, it seems to me that this must then have happened as an opportunistic move in the context of pre-existing destabilisation. The Herakleidai/Dorians realise the trouble, know that the Wanax is weakened, and decide to make their bid for power. They succeed, and send any auxiliaries on their way elsewhere post-haste. Other kingdoms are being affected by the problems that had already beset the Mycenaean Kingdom, and thus the success of these raiding bands is disproportionally great. In fact, the situation is so bad that a number of inhabitants of afflicted states also "turn pirate". This explains the listing of Greeks among the Sea Peoples, and helps to explain why they aren't clearly identified as one ethnos: they were, in reality, a disparate collection of desperate people.

This still leaves open the question of what caused the whole underlying crisis in the first place. The answer may be that we don't know because it wasn't anything super-obvious. We may well be looking at a cascade effect, wherein the mass of people turning to raiding made things much worse than they would otherwise have been. Thus turning a minor crisis into a major one... and spreading the effects toward the South-East.
A bad climate in the Balkan area and elsewhere in Europe in the thirteenth century BCE seems to be supported by evidence, right?
I would suggest that the "Achaean" world was, while likely under one or two hegemons who the Orient saw as Great Kings roughly equivalent to the Hittite, Egyptian or Karduniashi ones, far less centralised politically looser than most Near Eastern polities. This would explain the obvious presence of Achaeans among the Sea Peoples (which I agree, with most current wisdom, to be largely originated in the Aegean region, but possibly taking other groups from elsewhere with them for the ride).
Whohever replaced the last Wanax, however, was unable to prevent a disintegration of the Mycenean palatial system.
I also agree that underlying systemic weakness went rampant at the end of the Late Bronze in Anatolia and the Levant especially, but in the Ancient Near East at large more generally. There IS archaeological evidence for a general decline in population and in the prosperity and freedom of the population enganged in primary production, though localised expetions exist. And there is indirect evidence for wide social discontent in this era in the Levant, some of which later recollected in the Hebrew Bible according to many reputed scholars. Late Bronze Age Near Eastern states were stretching their resources too thin and accumulating too much of them at the top of the social pyramid... at the first heavy external shock, the top-heavy structure vacillated (in Mesopotamia) crumbled or totally collapsed under the weight of its very top.
In Hatti specifically, the idea that Phrygians (as distinct from the Sea Peoples proper who invested the Levant) did indeed originate in the vicinity of Northern Greece and could have been involved in both the Mycenean and Hittite collapses has some limited linguistic evidence in favour and sounds reasonable; there is no actual proof I know of, though.
 
@Skallagrim

I find weird you interpreted the old idea about the Dorians like this because the narrative of the Greeks themselves seem to consider Dorians Greek, plus it seems you present even 2 competing old ideas, one being that the Dorians were the actual first Greek speakers to arrive in Greece and the second that they were non-Greek invading the region, both theories are at odds with the mythology and written sources and I don't believe they were ever standard theories or at least have not been since at least 70 years by now given how linear B has been known for.

In fact when you see scholars try to propose alternative to the Dorian invasion, they do not debunk specifically those 2 ideas of "actual first Greeks" or "non-Greeks" coming to the region, instead they offer explanations that try to explain away both the identity and linguistic existence of Dorians; for example with theories such as Chadwick's that sees the Dorians as a lower class caste/population that revolted. This is what I encountered when I saw scholar contesting the Dorian theory.
The truth is, of course, that the Mycenaeans were themselves Indo-European speaking, but were genetically closely related to the Minoans. The supposed Indo-European invasion of the Aegean had taken place, but much earlier (say, c. 3000 BC). It was presumably a small group of invaders, which replaced the pre-Indo-European elite, but didn't supllant the population. (Research from 2017 indicates that the genetic material of the Mycenaeans was, at most, 14% Indo-European.) And the Dorians? They were of the same sort. Cousins of all the other Greeks. Simply a group of Hellenes found in the Western regions of Greece before the Mycenaean collapse, but -- demonstrably -- became dominant in various Peloponnesian regions, either by exploiting that collapse... or as a result of having (been part of the process that) caused it. They were not some external people, and they did not "invade".
This is a weird subversion of the term "invasion", does it change anything if the Dorians came from north of the Thessaly or if they came from Epirus or the upland peripheries of the Mycenean world? If it's anything like the Greek historians explain then it's still an invasion, just like the Macedonian invasion or like the Gallic invasion.
In any case 3000 BCE for the Greek arrival is far too early, the earliest date given is usually around 2000 BCE.

Also Myceneans were likely not THAT similar to Minoans, we just lack mainland samples as of now, in fact 2 are like latter Classical Age samples and 2 are more Minoan-like.
Also remember that the source population behind the Greek language was not some 100% pure Steppe population most likely but one already admixed with Anatolian farmers and Hunter Gathers in in Northern/Central Europe, so it's likely more than 15% the actual contribution from outside, it's just that by this point it's diluted. It would be if you had 1/4 Greek and 3/4 Egyptian person and he spoke Greek and you assumed that the "original" Indo-European contribution is just 4% and that's responsible for the language he spoke, in actuality the population that brought said language to it was already quite distinct from the original Indo-Europeans.
Same concept applies to the Bell Beaker replacement in Britain and the genetic change in Iberia, it happened with a source population that was just 50-60% Indo-European by this point in time.
To recapitulate: if you wish to argue that Dorians, being a group of West Hellenes, somehow took over large parts of the Peloponnesos in the general period of the Bronze Age Collapse... then we can agree. But this is not what is referred to as the so-called "Dorian Invasion". That term refers exclusively to the notion of an external, non-Greek people called "Dorians" who invaded Greece around this time; a bullshit hypothesis, fabricated out of thin air, in no small part to create a vaguely racist narrative where the Classical Greeks could actually be a bunch of Aryan Northerners, unrelated to anyone too swarthy.

(For this reason, rejecting the Dorian Invasion narrative is also not some case of saying "absence of evidence = evidence of absence". Rather, it is a case of knowing why this narrative was fabricated, and knowing that it was fabricated.)
But this IS the standard narrative you get from reading the Greek sources and taking them at face value on the described basic structure, for example the "revolution" theory for the collapse of the Mycenean and the idea of Dorians as a sub-class within the Mycenean world is inherently at odds with an external invasion theory.

For example when you read Chadwick's "internal Dorian" theory you are not presented with arguments such as yours, this here is for example a linguistic work trying to support the idea of the Dorian invasion, look at how the argument is going, it's different from how you described it, your version of the debate is maybe well antiquated by now:

Or here:

Look at the "orthodox theory" described here.

Also here:

You can see here general arguments against the Dorian invasion and "evidence of absence" is used here to make an external Dorian invasion unlikely and by external we mean still within Greece but geographically distinct enough that the opposition to the Dorian invasion theory think requires archeological evidence to believe.
 
Last edited:
This turbulence in Bronze Age Europe accounts for wars that may have been waged between relatively major forces such as the site at Tollense and thus helps tell us how possible it would be for a group of mercenary peoples or migratory raiders or armies could to dethrone the Great King in Mycenae.
For those who are interested, here is a sneak preview of an as-yet-unpublished paper on the genetics of the Tollense river battle warriors. Authors are Joachim Burger and Vivian Link.
 
A bad climate in the Balkan area and elsewhere in Europe in the thirteenth century BCE seems to be supported by evidence, right?
I would suggest that the "Achaean" world was, while likely under one or two hegemons who the Orient saw as Great Kings roughly equivalent to the Hittite, Egyptian or Karduniashi ones, far less centralised politically looser than most Near Eastern polities. This would explain the obvious presence of Achaeans among the Sea Peoples (which I agree, with most current wisdom, to be largely originated in the Aegean region, but possibly taking other groups from elsewhere with them for the ride).
Whohever replaced the last Wanax, however, was unable to prevent a disintegration of the Mycenean palatial system.
I also agree that underlying systemic weakness went rampant at the end of the Late Bronze in Anatolia and the Levant especially, but in the Ancient Near East at large more generally. There IS archaeological evidence for a general decline in population and in the prosperity and freedom of the population enganged in primary production, though localised expetions exist. And there is indirect evidence for wide social discontent in this era in the Levant, some of which later recollected in the Hebrew Bible according to many reputed scholars. Late Bronze Age Near Eastern states were stretching their resources too thin and accumulating too much of them at the top of the social pyramid... at the first heavy external shock, the top-heavy structure vacillated (in Mesopotamia) crumbled or totally collapsed under the weight of its very top.
In Hatti specifically, the idea that Phrygians (as distinct from the Sea Peoples proper who invested the Levant) did indeed originate in the vicinity of Northern Greece and could have been involved in both the Mycenean and Hittite collapses has some limited linguistic evidence in favour and sounds reasonable; there is no actual proof I know of, though.
You speak of a top heavy social pyramid in Mesopotamia collapsing, interesting. How do you mean though? In both Assyria and Karduniash, the texts speak of ethnic strife, invasion and warfare with the Aramaens and their invasions into Mesopotamia and Elam. The subsequent centuries especially in Karduniash was framed in the format of Akkadian v. Aramaen influence both in population, cultural expression and in control over institutions, one which the Akkadians lost but were able to regain due to Assyrian interference and then subsequently lost again with the rise of the Chaldean state of Nabopolasser and his successor, Nebuchadnezzar II. Assur-dan II in his annals and discussion regarding the reform of the Assyrian military and the kingdom therein, talks at length about how the people of Akkad in Assyria had been enslaved, massacred and treated unjustly by the Aramaens, who comprised at the very least, a new influx of power and resistance into the region.

Tiglath-Pileser I(1116-1076 BCE) managed to maintain the prosperity of Assyria despite the fall of the Hatti state and managed to defeat most of the peoples and states that crushed the Hatti state. While it is somewhat ambiguous, I would conclude that Tiglath-Pileser I possibly created vassals out of much of Canaan, in addition to his famed conquest of Syria and then surge into Anatolia. His successor, Assur-bel-kala (1074-1056 BCE) would lose most of these conquests rapidly to the Aramaens who were attacking from all areas south and west the Assyrian state and its technical vassal, Karduniash under king Marduk-shapik-zeri (1082-1069 BCE), who was a vassal of his father and then upon his death, Assur-bel-kala appointed Adad-apal-iddina (1069-1046 BCE). Assur-bel-kala maintained Assyrian power internally and managed to keep a united front with Karduniash that his father created. However, very oddly, considering prior Assyrian military prowess, the Assyrians are completely unable to rescind the Aramaen advance and tide. I suspect that something very irregular and bad was festering beneath the surface of the Assyrian state and population even during the height of Assur-bel-kala. Ariba-Adad II (1056-1054 BCE) began his reign boasting enormously. He claimed to have exceeded Tiglath-Pileser I (impossible since his reign was only two years, he was claiming to have conquered in every direction without having even launched an annual campaign; a shameful display surely) and to have destroyed the Aramaens. Lies such as these only hid the true destitution on the front-lines and the division between Karduniash and Assyria at the moment.

Shamashi-Adad IV (1054-1050 BCE) was living with Adad-apal-iddina at the time and in 1054 BCE, for unknown reasons, Shamshi-Adad IV and a Karduniash army depose Ariba-Adad II and Shamshi-Adad IV becomes king. Following this, Assyria maintains its stagnation. Shamshi-Adad IV is succeeded by his exiled son, Assurnasirpal I (1050-1031 BCE) who composes large prayers for the safety of Assyria and himself and attempts to appease the gods, pointing towards as some scholars mention, the beginning of a true collapse of Assyria. Perhaps the situation in the west took worse turns and the Aramaens were more and more powerful and ascendant over Assyria and the attempts to remedy the situation failed. Likewise, the mention of disease points towards the predicted plague that was erupting in Assyria at the time, which may account for demographic fallout in Assyria in the transition from Bronze to Iron Age and a large replacement of population in western Mesopotamia with new arrivals from the south and west. Indeed, the old Mesopotamia of Akkadians, Hurrians and so forth was changing as the Aramaens would set their mark high.

The following kings would all follow the trends of Assurnasirpal I, increasing loss of lands in the west and the tightening of the noose around Assyria from all directions. The main difference increasingly became the decline of Karduniash as a reliable ally and partner against such encroachments. From 1133 BCE, Assyria and Karduniash had been for better or worse, joined to the hip against all foes from any side. This became less the case as the two would become isolated from each other diplomatically and politically. This isolation began around 1036 BCE and in the reign of Nabu-shum-libur (1033-1026 BCE) the kingdom of Karduniash was shattered into pieces by the Aramaens and split into two dynasties, both hidden away in marshlands, the so-called Sealand II and the Bazi state of Kari-Marduk. Aramaens seem to have conquered most of Karduniash.

Nabu-mukin-apli (978-943 BCE), possibly an Elamite, seems to have recaptured Babylon and Nippur an rebuilt a rough kingdom, which spent most of its time restoring Karduniash by subduing the Aramaen tribal realms that emerged all across northern and southern Karduniash (central Karduniash, remained distinctly Akkadian). Successive kings would in alliance and eventually vassalage with Assyria, seek to destroy the Aramaen influence, this led to wide rebellions and coups with Aramaen kings ascending to the throne and then being deposed by Assyria and so forth.

Assyria by contrast, was faced with a loss of contact to Karduniash and a smaller realm, but otherwise the integrity of its state remained the same, yet it lost all of the dearly won lands in the Bronze Age. Assur-dan II (934-911 BCE) reformed a more proficient military under better and more standardized noble command alongside a resumption of Assyrian annual military campaigns (it would seem no longer the lies of Ariba-Adad II would work). This progressed well as the Assyrians managed to peel away the Aramaen wall around them and by pushing west, they pushed south, regaining connections to the recovering Karduniash. Both states emerged in a bad way, with Assyria emerging far better off all things considered.

Considering this brief recap of the Bronze Age Collapse in Assyria, what do you mean by the top-heavy pyramid collapsing and how does this fit into the Aramaen surges?
 

Skallagrim

Banned
I find weird you interpreted the old idea about the Dorians like this because the narrative of the Greeks themselves seem to consider Dorians Greek
Yes, the Greek narrative does, as I have pointed out myself. The whole problem here is that the "Dorian Invasion model" is the historical view that the Dorians were not Greeks, but were external invaders. To speak of the "Dorian invasion" means, essentially, to make that claim. You seem somehow convinced that the "Dorian invasion" can also mean something else (such as, for instance, "Greek Dorians invading the Peloponnesos"). I say "seem" because it's very hard to figure out what you are actually trying to argue.

But let me, in any case, make it clear beyond any doubt: to say "Dorian invasion" is, by definition, to refer to the claim that the Dorians were non-Greek invaders who only entered Greece around the time of the Bronze Age Collapse. This idea was predominant in the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th. (See, for instance, J. B. Bury's famous history of Greece.)

You find it "weird" that I "interpreted" this idea in this way, but you seem not to grasp that this is what the term "Dorian invasion" refers to.

So I'm very glad that you apparently understand that the idea is nonsense and outdated, which it is, but you seem not to get that the idea still has adherents (especially in the popular histories, which often treat such an outdated notion as fact without asking critical questions). Thus, I objected in this thread when reference was made to the "Dorian invasion".

As far as I can understand it, you'd like to use the term "Dorian invasion" in a far broader way, indicating other historical models than the "external BAC-period invaders" one. Yet I cannot stress this enough: that just means you are using the term inaccurately, thus creating immense confusion about what is meant.

plus it seems you present even 2 competing old ideas, one being that the Dorians were the actual first Greek speakers to arrive in Greece and the second that they were non-Greek invading the region, both theories are at odds with the mythology and written sources and I don't believe they were ever standard theories or at least have not been since at least 70 years by now given how linear B has been known for.
1) I did not present the theory that "Dorians were the actual first Greek speakers to arrive in Greece". I have no idea where you get that impression. I said that Dorians are a group of Greeks, whose ancestors are a mix of (predominantly) pre-Indo-European inhabitants of the region and (additionally) a cohort of Ido-Europeans which arrived in the Aegean long before, and contributed (a bit) to the ancestry of all Greeks. In other words: the Dorians are just a subset of Greeks. No more, no less. They may have been distinct in that they were a peripheral group (we know they were historically located in the far West of Greece) and were perhaps not subject (or mere 'distant tributaries') to the Mycenaean Wanax.

2) The idea that the "Dorian invasion" model (of external non-Greek invaders) was never the standard theory is preposterous. It was pretty much the only theory for about a century. It's correct that it's severely outdated and obviously wrong -- but you may be surprised to learn how often it's still bandied about. Hence my objection to it.


At this stage, I could go sentence-by-sentence in refuting the assumptions you make in your post, but you'll understand that this would mostly be a succession of re-statements of the above. I trust I have made my general position clear, and have likewise gotten rid of any "confusion of terms". Thus, I will only pick certain of your points to still respond to, because they cover ground that hasn't been touched by the above.


In fact when you see scholars try to propose alternative to the Dorian invasion, they do not debunk specifically those 2 ideas of "actual first Greeks" or "non-Greeks" coming to the region, instead they offer explanations that try to explain away both the identity and linguistic existence of Dorians; for example with theories such as Chadwick's that sees the Dorians as a lower class caste/population that revolted.
I do not agree with Chadwick, and as the above indicates, I certainly don't envision the Dorians as some kind of "lower class" within Mycenaean Greece. In fact, I think that notion is a form of (lamentable) presentism: a mis-guided attempt to back-project modern ideas of class conflict upon the past.

As I have written: I simply view the Dorians as a sub-set of Greeks, who share the same basic ancestry, descending from the same populations. The distinction between them and other groups of Greeks was primarily geographical. This explains the linguistics perfectly, explains why the other Greeks recognised them as fellow Greeks, and explains why there is no evidence of some external invasion by supposed non-Greek Dorians. It makes endlessly more sense than the 'class conflict' model (which is as invented-from-thin-air as the "external invasion" idea).

This is a weird subversion of the term "invasion", does it change anything if the Dorians came from north of the Thessaly or if they came from Epirus or the upland peripheries of the Mycenean world? If it's anything like the Greek historians explain then it's still an invasion, just like the Macedonian invasion or like the Gallic invasion.
Here is the core of the problem. You insist on using the term "invasion" to cover something far broader than what is meant by the term "Dorian invasion". You say it makes no difference if Greeks invaded the Peleponnesos or external invaders barged into Greece. Obviously, these two scenarios are different.

The first notion implies that Dorians were part of the same people, and that the Greeks before the Bronze Age Collapse were Indo-European to the same (limited) extent as the later, Classical Greeks. That the Greeks of before the Greek Dark Ages are fundamentally the same ethnic group as the Classical Greeks of after the Dark Ages.

The second notion implies that Dorians were (non-Greek) Indo-European invaders from the North, genetically replaced the (supposedly non-Indo-European) Mycenaean population, and thus laid the basis of Classical Greece -- which in this model becomes wholly the product of a supposed 'Nordic' race of Greeks (descending from the supposedly 'Northern' Dorians). You may grasp why this model was extremely popular in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th?

The term "Dorian invasion" refers to that second model. It implies all the connotations of that model. But that model is nonsense, and in fact rather perfidious. As such, even if you do not intend it, by carelessly using the term "Dorian invasion", you always run the risk of legitimising that bunk history to any poorly-informed reader.

So yes, what is meant by "invasion" does change something. Using that word, in this context, has implications. It has baggage. If you want to reclaim the term "Dorian invasion" and use it differently, okay -- but then you'd do well to be very clear about what you mean by the term... and that you do not mean what that term is generally taken to mean.

Also Myceneans were likely not THAT similar to Minoans, we just lack mainland samples as of now, in fact 2 are like latter Classical Age samples and 2 are more Minoan-like.
Also remember that the source population behind the Greek language was not some 100% pure Steppe population most likely but one already admixed with Anatolian farmers and Hunter Gathers in in Northern/Central Europe, so it's likely more than 15% the actual contribution from outside, it's just that by this point it's diluted. It would be if you had 1/4 Greek and 3/4 Egyptian person and he spoke Greek and you assumed that the "original" Indo-European contribution is just 4% and that's responsible for the language he spoke, in actuality the population that brought said language to it was already quite distinct from the original Indo-Europeans.
I wrote 14%, not 4%. You have simply misread.
 
I'll skip over the point by point reply, I just want to show direct evidence of how the debate over whether Mycenean Greece was Greek speaking or not was already largely settled in the early 20th century with a understanding similar to our modern one, so the idea that the Dorian invasion brought Greek altogether to a non-Greek population was not popular opinion at the time or at least not one I found among the articles I found by googling, Bury himself didn't believe Dorians brought Greek to a non-Greek speaking Mycenean population.

1) I did not present the theory that "Dorians were the actual first Greek speakers to arrive in Greece". I have no idea where you get that impression. I said that Dorians are a group of Greeks, whose ancestors are a mix of (predominantly) pre-Indo-European inhabitants of the region and (additionally) a cohort of Ido-Europeans which arrived in the Aegean long before, and contributed (a bit) to the ancestry of all Greeks. In other words: the Dorians are just a subset of Greeks. No more, no less. They may have been distinct in that they were a peripheral group (we know they were historically located in the far West of Greece) and were perhaps not subject (or mere 'distant tributaries') to the Mycenaean Wanax.

2) The idea that the "Dorian invasion" model (of external non-Greek invaders) was never the standard theory is preposterous. It was pretty much the only theory for about a century. It's correct that it's severely outdated and obviously wrong -- but you may be surprised to learn how often it's still bandied about. Hence my objection to it.
My point here was to show that you have presented 2 competing ideas for how the "Dorian invasion" was understood, both cannot have been true. Either people in the past thought they are the first Greek or they are non-Greek, if they thought both it already shows that the term "Dorian invasion" had multiple meanings. In any case this an irrelevant point of mine given I will show down below how your understanding of how the old debate went appears to be off the mark even for the pre 1950 period.

Also I can find people in the early 20th century already taking as granted the idea that Dorians were Greek and that the effect of the/a dorian invasion was not the appearance of Greek altogether but the dialectal setting:


So strong is the evidence provided by the distribution of Greek dialects 1 in post-invasion times, that Buck wrote in 1926 that ' even if there were no tradition of a Dorian invasion, such a movement would have to be assumed
I find more preposterous the idea that 19th and early 20th century scholars somehow collectively conspired to ignore the standard ancient Greek narrative when, in fact, the mode of the time was to more or less be uncritical of ancient written sources.
So people in the 30s and 20s were using Dorian invasion to refer to an invasion of "West Greek"(linguistic classification) speaking people into the Achean/Mycenean world, but I and others in 2020 can't use the term because it's misleading and may imply the idea that Dorians-were non Greek?

19-20th century scholar Eduard Meyer also believed Achaeans/Myceneans were Greek speakers:


Eduard Meyer in his latest volume gives as his opinion that the Achaeans were, in general, the pre-Dorian Greek population of the mainland: their language was identical with or closely akin to the language of the pre-historic Arcadians: the Mycenaeans of the sixteenth century were such Greeks, and the Cretan palaces were destroyed about 1400 B.C. by Achaean princes.2

The point of the articile is to discuss, in a climate devoid of solid evidence, whether the Achaeans as such were originally Greek or not, I was confused at the start and though the author of the article thought Dorians were Greek but the Myceneans were not, instead the argument is whether the Achaeans were a group that migrated from Anatolia assimilated themselves into the Mycenean Greek society or not, again showing that even at this point the argument was not whether the Mycenean world was Greek or not. In fact he says this:
These newcomers of 2000 B.C. were quite possibly Greeks in some sense, but there is no evidence that they were Achaeans.
To us it's a very weird discussion to have but I think it shows what kind of debates peopel were having, also here a pretty damning statement there about the status of the debate:
The most recent discoveries,3 however, are tending more and more to demonstrate the essential continuity of the civilizations of the Greek mainland in the Helladic periods, and to diminish -the importance of the Minoan elements in the Mycenaean culture. Undoubtedly the prevalent opinion among scholars is that both the earlier and the later Mycenaeans were Greeks.
Heck there were scholars such as Beloch that believed there were no external immigration of Dorians during this period, showing examples of the modern debate as far back as the early 20th century:

Beloch denies that there was a Dorian invasion of the traditional sort, and believes that the Dorians of the Peloponnese were Achaeans. He thinks that these Achaeans certainly entered the Argolid before the fourteenth or thirteenth century, doubtless before the fifteenth, and therefore, since from the sixteenth to the thirteenth century, as he thinks, the Mycenaean kingdoms were supreme, there could not have been any great invasion during this period and these Dorian-Achaeans of his must have come in the seventeenth or eighteenth century.

Let's see another scholar from 1901:
Mr. Hall's general conclusions may perhaps be summed up very briefly as follows: Greek civilization was as far removed as possible from being sui generis, since the JEgean basin was the natural meeting place for Eastern and Western influences. But the" Mycenrean" civilization was Greek in origin and general character, in spite of strong Oriental influences. It was "chiefly identified" with the Achrean Hellenes, though there were" Mycenrean " peoples who were not Achrean, or even Greek. The beginnings of the "Mycenrean" culture were probably prre-Achrean, or " Pelasgic." But towards the end of the third millennium B. C., the various tribes of "Pelasgians" were slowly reduced to the position of a subject race by Hellenic tribes from the north. A mixed race resulted, and a remarkable increment in culture; whereas the later and similar incursion of Hellenes from the north which we call the " Dorian invasion" was followed by a sudden decline in culture.
Also some classic early 20th century cranial indexing:
" All the pra~-Hellenic tribes of Asia Minor, the iEgean, and Greece proper seem to have belonged to a single un-Aryan race" (p. 101), and to this race the" Pelasgians" are to be assigned. Indeed, for lack of a better term to connote this dark-haired, dolichocephalous race of the iEgean basin, Mr. Hall would prefer "Pelasgian" to "Iberian" or " Mediterranean." Toward such a conclusion as this many a bewildered student of Greek origins must have been slowly making his uncertain way, and he has been helped forward on that way by the very errors of Professor Ridgeway's somewhat erratic book. The earlier period of the "Mycemean Age," when Crete was the center of culture and. power, is probably prao-Aryan, or "Pelasgian" ; in the later period, when Argolis was the center of culture and power, the Aryan invaders from the north had assumed control. But of course this must be merely our working hypothesis until further light from the Cretan excavations modifies or confirms it.
So even within the climate of the time the idea of Myceneans as Greeks was not outside the racial ideology of the time.

GIven what I found so far I was skeptical of the idea of Bury thinking Dorians were the first Greeks, in fact he did not say that:


No reasonable system of chronology can avoid the conclusion that Greeks had already settled in the area of Aegean civilisation, when the Aegean civilisation of the bronze age was at its height.
Later you say that the Dorian invasion implies a "perfidious model" and you think that the idea that Aryan ubermensch Dorians invading swarthy Myceneans is the racialized view people in the past had.
You are completely wrong in saying that, instead the racialized view we find is that they already associated the Greek arrival earlier with the Mycenean instead and associate lighter phenotypes and racial terminology with this earlier arrival, so in fact it's our modern understanding that it's in line with their views.
In fact Bury despite the antiquated terminology and understanding of how genetics works(even in a social and not strictly biological sense) has a view similar to ours:
The meaning of the Greek conquest has been generally misconceived. It has been supposed that it carried with it the extermination or enthralment of all the original inhabitants of the countries which the invaders conquered, and that a new Aryan population spread over the whole land. This view rests on two false conceptions. It mistakes the character of the Greek invaders, and it mistakes the nature of their relations to the peoples whom they found in Greece.

The invaders spoke an Aryan speech, but it does not follow that The Greeks they all came of Aryan stock. There was, indeed, an Aryan element among them, and some of them were descendants of men of Aryan race who had originally taught them their language and brought them some Aryan institutions and Aryan deities. But the infusion of Aryan blood was probably small; and in describing the Greeks, as well as any other of the races who speak sister tongues, we must be careful to call them men of Aryan speech, and not men of Aryan stock. In historical Greece there were two marked types in the population, distinguished by light and dark hair,1 and there is no doubt that the men of light complexion came in with the invaders, though we cannot conclude that all the invaders were distinguished by the same feature.
But if it is certain that there was but little Aryan blood in ancient of the Greek Greece, it is also certain that the Greeks of history were very far onSfe oes from being exclusively the descendants of the " Greek" invaders. purity of The idea that the older inhabitants were entirely crushed out and a blood in the clear field left for the newcomers is due to exactly the same kind of Greeks of faise inference from language to race, which makes out Greeks and history. RomanS ; Celts and Germans, Slavs and Illyrians, Phrygians and Armenians, Persians and ancient Indians, to be the posterity of common Aryan ancestors, because they all spoke kindred tongues. The Greek language is vigorous and masterful, as its subsequent history has shown.2 It made a complete conquest of the languages of the older inhabitants ; in whatever land the Greeks settled, it became exclusively the language of the land. But the extermination of the older tongues does not mean the extermination of the older races. The men among whom the Greeks settled, or whom they conquered, learned the new tongue and forgot their own.

There was some sort of racial purity associated with Dorians, specifically Spartans, but that's still within the framework that Myceneans were Greek speaker themselves:
It seems probable that the Dorian invaders who subdued Laconia were more numerous than the Dorian invaders elsewhere. The eminent quality which distinguished the Dorians from other branches of the Greek race was that which we call " character" ; and it was in Laconia that this quality most fully displayed and developed itself, for here the Dorian seems to have remained a pure Dorian. How far the Laconian dialect represents the original dialect of the Dorians we cannot decide. But the Dorians of Laconia are perhaps the only people in Greece who can be said to have preserved in any measure the purity of their Greek blood.

Here is the core of the problem. You insist on using the term "invasion" to cover something far broader than what is meant by the term "Dorian invasion". You say it makes no difference if Greeks invaded the Peleponnesos or external invaders barged into Greece. Obviously, these two scenarios are different.
No I'm saying both cases are invasions because "invasion" ought to be a neutral term, if we act like it necessarily has deeper connotations we are legitimizing said connotations when the word itself shouldn't have such baggage given it would restrict our available vocabulary.

The term "Dorian invasion" refers to that second model. It implies all the connotations of that model. But that model is nonsense, and in fact rather perfidious. As such, even if you do not intend it, by carelessly using the term "Dorian invasion", you always run the risk of legitimising that bunk history to any poorly-informed reader.
Before castizing people for using actually completely legitimate and precise terminology you should actually read the modern debate instead of referencing already fringe pre-1950 scholarship.
I can theoretically go back in time and talk to early 20th century scholars, use the word "Dorian invasion" and support the concept we both hold using linguistic arguments that I would find today amongmodern scholars and those older scholars would understand me and find common understanding, how in the world is my terminology inaccurate or has possible wrong connotations when the mainstream opionion pre-1950 already appears to agree with us?
I have presented at least half a dozen scholars who wrote before 1950 that used the term Dorian invasion as I understand and use it and those scholars had the same kind of understanding about the linguistic situation in Bronze Age Greece as we do today, even before Linear B was deciphered.


So yes, what is meant by "invasion" does change something. Using that word, in this context, has implications. It has baggage. If you want to reclaim the term "Dorian invasion" and use it differently, okay -- but then you'd do well to be very clear about what you mean by the term... and that you do not mean what that term is generally taken to mean.
I'm not reclaiming anything, if you bothered to read the articles I showed before you would see that this is how the term is used today to refer to the standard ancient Greek narrative, today and also pre-1950 apparently. The opponents of the Dorian invasion in the remote and recent past, like Beloch and Chadwick, explictly tried to contest the idea that there was a migration at all, they were not contesting the concept by trying to show that the Dorians were Greek, which shows where the real debate lays today and in the past.

I wrote 14%, not 4%. You have simply misread.
I didn't misread.
My point is that the actual foreign contribution that brought Greek and Indo-European to Greece was higher than that 14%.
The example I used to explain is as follows: you have a 1/4 Greek and 3/4 Egyptian person or population that would have (15% divided by 4 = 3.75%) 4% Indo-European ancestry, said man/population would have not been Indo-Europeinazed not by that 3.75% indirect Indo-European ancestry but by the Greek genetic input, same argument applies for Greece and Western Europe as England experienced 90% replacement despite the new, likely IE speaking, Bell Beaker population being themselves just 50-55% Indo-European given they already mixed in the North European plain.
 
Last edited:
A minor correction:

The notion of an invasion of Greece (the "Dorian invasion") is increasingly dismissed. In fact, it's not the (historical) common Greek view, either. The Greeks referred to the "Return of the Herakleidai" (e.g. very definitely people they considered Greeks), and never to the supposed arrival of some kind of outsider people. Linguistics don't support any kind of external invasion at this stage, either. At most, the so-called Herakleidai (presumably leaders of a Dorian faction, basing their legitimacy on supposed descent from Herakles) were already in the Aegean well in advance, and carried out an 'elite replacement' in various regions around the time of the Bronze Age Collapse.

The signs of war and destruction in Mycenaean Greece around this time, we may surmise, are most likely caused by internecine warfare (possibly indeed an internal Dorian-Ionian contest for supremacy, as the ancient sources suggest). But there were no external invaders.

I would tend to conclude that the upheavals and conflicts within Mycenaean Greece were the result of some pre-existing factor. This might be famine and other shortages, caused by the collapse of trade. Rather than falling to some hypothetical invasion, Mycenaean Greece has probably fallen to "resource wars", against a back-drop of sudden and dramatic decline or shift in the material circumstances.

In short: Mycenaean Greece may well have been (one of) the first to fall victim to the Bronze Age Collapse, but it doesn't seem that this was due to any kind of invasion.
Thank you for this apt summary. I agree, what I've read doesn't support external invasion, and I definitely feel that post disaster chaos is the likley candidate for the site burning along with natural disasters.
 
You speak of a top heavy social pyramid in Mesopotamia collapsing, interesting. How do you mean though? In both Assyria and Karduniash, the texts speak of ethnic strife, invasion and warfare with the Aramaens and their invasions into Mesopotamia and Elam. The subsequent centuries especially in Karduniash was framed in the format of Akkadian v. Aramaen influence both in population, cultural expression and in control over institutions, one which the Akkadians lost but were able to regain due to Assyrian interference and then subsequently lost again with the rise of the Chaldean state of Nabopolasser and his successor, Nebuchadnezzar II. Assur-dan II in his annals and discussion regarding the reform of the Assyrian military and the kingdom therein, talks at length about how the people of Akkad in Assyria had been enslaved, massacred and treated unjustly by the Aramaens, who comprised at the very least, a new influx of power and resistance into the region.

Tiglath-Pileser I(1116-1076 BCE) managed to maintain the prosperity of Assyria despite the fall of the Hatti state and managed to defeat most of the peoples and states that crushed the Hatti state. While it is somewhat ambiguous, I would conclude that Tiglath-Pileser I possibly created vassals out of much of Canaan, in addition to his famed conquest of Syria and then surge into Anatolia. His successor, Assur-bel-kala (1074-1056 BCE) would lose most of these conquests rapidly to the Aramaens who were attacking from all areas south and west the Assyrian state and its technical vassal, Karduniash under king Marduk-shapik-zeri (1082-1069 BCE), who was a vassal of his father and then upon his death, Assur-bel-kala appointed Adad-apal-iddina (1069-1046 BCE). Assur-bel-kala maintained Assyrian power internally and managed to keep a united front with Karduniash that his father created. However, very oddly, considering prior Assyrian military prowess, the Assyrians are completely unable to rescind the Aramaen advance and tide. I suspect that something very irregular and bad was festering beneath the surface of the Assyrian state and population even during the height of Assur-bel-kala. Ariba-Adad II (1056-1054 BCE) began his reign boasting enormously. He claimed to have exceeded Tiglath-Pileser I (impossible since his reign was only two years, he was claiming to have conquered in every direction without having even launched an annual campaign; a shameful display surely) and to have destroyed the Aramaens. Lies such as these only hid the true destitution on the front-lines and the division between Karduniash and Assyria at the moment.

Shamashi-Adad IV (1054-1050 BCE) was living with Adad-apal-iddina at the time and in 1054 BCE, for unknown reasons, Shamshi-Adad IV and a Karduniash army depose Ariba-Adad II and Shamshi-Adad IV becomes king. Following this, Assyria maintains its stagnation. Shamshi-Adad IV is succeeded by his exiled son, Assurnasirpal I (1050-1031 BCE) who composes large prayers for the safety of Assyria and himself and attempts to appease the gods, pointing towards as some scholars mention, the beginning of a true collapse of Assyria. Perhaps the situation in the west took worse turns and the Aramaens were more and more powerful and ascendant over Assyria and the attempts to remedy the situation failed. Likewise, the mention of disease points towards the predicted plague that was erupting in Assyria at the time, which may account for demographic fallout in Assyria in the transition from Bronze to Iron Age and a large replacement of population in western Mesopotamia with new arrivals from the south and west. Indeed, the old Mesopotamia of Akkadians, Hurrians and so forth was changing as the Aramaens would set their mark high.

The following kings would all follow the trends of Assurnasirpal I, increasing loss of lands in the west and the tightening of the noose around Assyria from all directions. The main difference increasingly became the decline of Karduniash as a reliable ally and partner against such encroachments. From 1133 BCE, Assyria and Karduniash had been for better or worse, joined to the hip against all foes from any side. This became less the case as the two would become isolated from each other diplomatically and politically. This isolation began around 1036 BCE and in the reign of Nabu-shum-libur (1033-1026 BCE) the kingdom of Karduniash was shattered into pieces by the Aramaens and split into two dynasties, both hidden away in marshlands, the so-called Sealand II and the Bazi state of Kari-Marduk. Aramaens seem to have conquered most of Karduniash.

Nabu-mukin-apli (978-943 BCE), possibly an Elamite, seems to have recaptured Babylon and Nippur an rebuilt a rough kingdom, which spent most of its time restoring Karduniash by subduing the Aramaen tribal realms that emerged all across northern and southern Karduniash (central Karduniash, remained distinctly Akkadian). Successive kings would in alliance and eventually vassalage with Assyria, seek to destroy the Aramaen influence, this led to wide rebellions and coups with Aramaen kings ascending to the throne and then being deposed by Assyria and so forth.

Assyria by contrast, was faced with a loss of contact to Karduniash and a smaller realm, but otherwise the integrity of its state remained the same, yet it lost all of the dearly won lands in the Bronze Age. Assur-dan II (934-911 BCE) reformed a more proficient military under better and more standardized noble command alongside a resumption of Assyrian annual military campaigns (it would seem no longer the lies of Ariba-Adad II would work). This progressed well as the Assyrians managed to peel away the Aramaen wall around them and by pushing west, they pushed south, regaining connections to the recovering Karduniash. Both states emerged in a bad way, with Assyria emerging far better off all things considered.

Considering this brief recap of the Bronze Age Collapse in Assyria, what do you mean by the top-heavy pyramid collapsing and how does this fit into the Aramaen surges?
Sorry, I should have worded my post better. With reference to Mesopotamia, I was saying that the structure vacillated, but it did not collapse as it did in Anatolia and most of the Levant. Assyria and Karduniash remained strong states and while the palatial power did diminish, it did so later, more gradually and to a lesser extent than in Syria or Palestine. As you say, the decay was more pronounced in Karduniash but even there, I would talk about a long period of decline rather than collapse.
My point more generally was that palace economies of the Late Bronze did extract too much in terms of taxation and enserfment from the populace; ultimately, it was not sustainable and led to vulnerability to external shocks, most prominently in the case of Hatti, but also for Karduniash and even Assyria itself, and a general loss of territory for the largest surviving states. West of the Euphrates, "lighter" social structures emerged, with smaller states which demanded less resources and likely had a thinner administrative apparatus (compare Ugarit with the Iron Age Aramean states). Mesopotamia enjoyed higher agricultural productivity and the extractive palatial structures remained in place, despite phases of severe weakness (and Aramean infiltration as a consequence) as you note.
 
Sorry, I should have worded my post better. With reference to Mesopotamia, I was saying that the structure vacillated, but it did not collapse as it did in Anatolia and most of the Levant. Assyria and Karduniash remained strong states and while the palatial power did diminish, it did so later, more gradually and to a lesser extent than in Syria or Palestine. As you say, the decay was more pronounced in Karduniash but even there, I would talk about a long period of decline rather than collapse.
My point more generally was that palace economies of the Late Bronze did extract too much in terms of taxation and enserfment from the populace; ultimately, it was not sustainable and led to vulnerability to external shocks, most prominently in the case of Hatti, but also for Karduniash and even Assyria itself, and a general loss of territory for the largest surviving states. West of the Euphrates, "lighter" social structures emerged, with smaller states which demanded less resources and likely had a thinner administrative apparatus (compare Ugarit with the Iron Age Aramean states). Mesopotamia enjoyed higher agricultural productivity and the extractive palatial structures remained in place, despite phases of severe weakness (and Aramean infiltration as a consequence) as you note.
For me, an interesting question is the reasons for such extractions as issues for the populace. In the Classical era of Greece, the palatial and epic 'aesthetic' of the Bronze Age possessed a great fame and idealism. There is evidence that it was the same for many societies, at least those within Europe and certainly the case for Egypt. It is thus a paradox in that we have no information from the successors of these grand western Bronze Age societies wherein the Bronze Age societies are depicted as evil or destructive. Perhaps the only example being the rough tradition of the Hebrews and their views of the Egyptian kingdom, though this is a bit different.

Also, a question for you and anyone else: I tend to be of the opinion that the Bronze Age Collapse had something in particular to do with the collapse of certain societies responsible both for the production of British tin and those who consumed it alongside a series of collapses and urban destructions across the Mid East and the fall of their associated kingdoms. Making a point that the Bronze Age ended in these lands (note, I am using Bronze Age here for a type of society and material culture that existed during the Bronze Age, thus a liberal usage of 'Bronze Age') is important for it allows us to isolate who and what was spared and how their cultural complex developed. These were of course, the Central Asian semi-nomads or proto-Scythians, the Nordic Bronze Age, the Vedic civilization of Hindustan and the Shang-Zhou states of the Central Valley of China. In each of these lands, I feel that we can draw a certain continuity of cultural practices as inferred from archaeological evidences and all three of which would come to have serious staying power and influence.

The question thus, for any person, is how do we develop or would a surviving Bronze Age civilization develop? One would in such a scenario for each particular state, but considering the examples we have from otl, it should not be too hard.,

Regarding most of the Middle East, a surviving Bronze Age state post-Mitanni, may need to develop either in the way that Assyria did or in the way that the Zhou Dynasty did. A society that remained heavily based around a palatial construct and maintaining a generally grounded cultural complex from the Bronze Age, which demanded large amounts of tribute, both spiritually and economically from its subjects. In order to avoid the perceived tyranny and isolation gained by rulers within said system, notions of a Mandate of Heaven developed, wherein Han civilization moved towards one devoted to a series of supposed ancient customs, rituals, filial piety and a style of governance that entailed the necessity of success and prosperity for a state to garner legitimacy. In contrast, Assyria, the foremost state apparatus surviving the Bronze Age (even with the same royal dynasty!) simply hardened its militaristic and centralizing drive, reasserting the impetus of Duranki and the necessity to wage war for the survival of the state, alongside the redistribution of loot to provide the necessary funds to maintain such a top-heavy and stratified society. Frequent amounts of debt forgiveness, displays and ritualism was necessary to maintain such a society. In the end, loss of this impetus and without sufficient replacement to this impetus, culminated in defeat and collapse of the Assyrian system under Assurbanipal and Sinsharishkun was left to recover, a task he failed at after the 623 BCE defeat at the Second Battle of Uruk.


Anyway, as to answer the initial question of the thread; my choice is the Mitanni. Namely because the Mitanni possess, in my view, the most stable and enduring system of governance. While we are learning much, especially after the Syrian Civil War comes to a close (excavations at the supposed site of Washukanni may begin in earnest, thus possibly resulting in a truly fantastic discovery), it seems to me that the Mitanni operated somewhat like a more advanced version of the Arsacid and Sassanid empires. Both when counted correctly together, was one of the most enduring political orders in history. Assuming the Mitanni can challenge its aggressive enemies and take its initiative, something I have discussed elsewhere, the Mitanni could create an extremely long lasting political order that reforms the old palatial organizing factor with one related to a certain warrior cultural elite whose distribution act as the primary proliferation of the imperial and social system. Assuming the Mitanni are not destroyed by others, I would be extremely curious to see a world by 800 BCE with the Mitanni at the helm of the central Mid East, instead of Assyria.
 
Last edited:
For me, an interesting question is the reasons for such extractions as issues for the populace. In the Classical era of Greece, the palatial and epic 'aesthetic' of the Bronze Age possessed a great fame and idealism. There is evidence that it was the same for many societies, at least those within Europe and certainly the case for Egypt. It is thus a paradox in that we have no information from the successors of these grand western Bronze Age societies wherein the Bronze Age societies are depicted as evil or destructive. Perhaps the only example being the rough tradition of the Hebrews and their views of the Egyptian kingdom, though this is a bit different.

Also, a question for you and anyone else: I tend to be of the opinion that the Bronze Age Collapse had something in particular to do with the collapse of certain societies responsible both for the production of British tin and those who consumed it alongside a series of collapses and urban destructions across the Mid East and the fall of their associated kingdoms. Making a point that the Bronze Age ended in these lands (note, I am using Bronze Age here for a type of society and material culture that existed during the Bronze Age, thus a liberal usage of 'Bronze Age') is important for it allows us to isolate who and what was spared and how their cultural complex developed. These were of course, the Central Asian semi-nomads or proto-Scythians, the Nordic Bronze Age, the Vedic civilization of Hindustan and the Shang-Zhou states of the Central Valley of China. In each of these lands, I feel that we can draw a certain continuity of cultural practices as inferred from archaeological evidences and all three of which would come to have serious staying power and influence.

The question thus, for any person, is how do we develop or would a surviving Bronze Age civilization develop? One would in such a scenario for each particular state, but considering the examples we have from otl, it should not be too hard.,

Regarding most of the Middle East, a surviving Bronze Age state post-Mitanni, may need to develop either in the way that Assyria did or in the way that the Zhou Dynasty did. A society that remained heavily based around a palatial construct and maintaining a generally grounded cultural complex from the Bronze Age, which demanded large amounts of tribute, both spiritually and economically from its subjects. In order to avoid the perceived tyranny and isolation gained by rulers within said system, notions of a Mandate of Heaven developed, wherein Han civilization moved towards one devoted to a series of supposed ancient customs, rituals, filial piety and a style of governance that entailed the necessity of success and prosperity for a state to garner legitimacy. In contrast, Assyria, the foremost state apparatus surviving the Bronze Age (even with the same royal dynasty!) simply hardened its militaristic and centralizing drive, reasserting the impetus of Duranki and the necessity to wage war for the survival of the state, alongside the redistribution of loot to provide the necessary funds to maintain such a top-heavy and stratified society. Frequent amounts of debt forgiveness, displays and ritualism was necessary to maintain such a society. In the end, loss of this impetus and without sufficient replacement to this impetus, culminated in defeat and collapse of the Assyrian system under Assurbanipal and Sinsharishkun was left to recover, a task he failed at after the 623 BCE defeat at the Second Battle of Uruk.


Anyway, as to answer the initial question of the thread; my choice is the Mitanni. Namely because the Mitanni possess, in my view, the most stable and enduring system of governance. While we are learning much, especially after the Syrian Civil War comes to a close (excavations at the supposed site of Washukanni may begin in earnest, thus possibly resulting in a truly fantastic discovery), it seems to me that the Mitanni operated somewhat like a more advanced version of the Arsacid and Sassanid empires. Both when counted correctly together, was one of the most enduring political orders in history. Assuming the Mitanni can challenge its aggressive enemies and take its initiative, something I have discussed elsewhere, the Mitanni could create an extremely long lasting political order that reforms the old palatial organizing factor with one related to a certain warrior cultural elite whose distribution act as the primary proliferation of the imperial and social system. Assuming the Mitanni are not destroyed by others, I would be extremely curious to see a world by 800 BCE with the Mitanni at the helm of the central Mid East, instead of Assyria.
It is important, however, to note where, and by whom, written records regarding the memories of the Late Bronze Age came to us. The dominant classes of states who survived the collapse and had left a written record understandably referred back to that palace-dominated time as a time of greatness: mainly Egypt, Assyria, Karduniash, Karkemish (heir to Hatti in this sense). Those who were taxed to sustain the palace, and their heirs, rarely could put their own voice in writing, with with a few remarkable exception. The most outstanding of which, as you say, are parts the Hebrew Bible, in which the memory of Bronze Age palatial systems comes across as the opposite of what how things should be.
The Greek cultural memory is of course interesting. Their record is, in my opinion, somewhat mixed: the Hellenic epics are the products of an aristocratic world and ethos that probably regarded back to the Achaean Bronze Age hegemony with respect ("the Age of Heroes") but seems not to have considered, or remembered, its extractive, bureaucratic, "palatial" aspects. So there was clearly some degree of cultural continuity and even some at least vaguely historical memory (after all, we do have idependent written confirmation that the Acheans, as a unit, fought Troy and presumably a few other allied Anatolian states) but I think it was heavily filtered by the ethos and worldview of Archaic (Iron Age) Hellenes and their emerging decentralised political structure. Interestingly, the Classical Greek historical memory drew only limited connection between the massive Mycenean ruins and walls still visible, and the Mycenean heroes of their well-known epic.
We have little idea of what Iron Age Phoenicians thought of their Bronze Age predecessors, for example.
 
Top