Summary

In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh’s army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians. The thriving economy and cultures of the late second millennium B.C., which had stretched from Greece to Egypt and Mesopotamia, suddenly ceased to exist, along with writing systems, technology, and monumental architecture. But the Sea Peoples alone could not have caused such widespread breakdown. How did it happen?
In this major new account of the causes of this "First Dark Ages", Eric Cline tells the gripping story of how the end was brought about by multiple interconnected failures, ranging from invasion and revolt to earthquakes, drought, and the cutting of international trade routes. Bringing to life the vibrant multicultural world of these great civilizations, he draws a sweeping panorama of the empires and globalized peoples of the Late Bronze Age and shows that it was their very interdependence that hastened their dramatic collapse and ushered in a dark age that lasted centuries.
A compelling combination of narrative and the latest scholarship, 1177 B.C. sheds new light on the complex ties that gave rise to, and ultimately destroyed, the flourishing civilizations of the Late Bronze Age - and that set the stage for the emergence of classical Greece.
©2014 Eric H. Cline. Published by Princeton University Press. (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Michel on 24-04-14

Brilliant book: shame about the narrator.

Where does 1177 B.C. rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Notwithstanding the poor narration, this audiobook takes pride of place in my Ancient History collection.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 1177 B.C.?

Prof. Cline has satisfactorily resolved the issue of the Sea People.

What aspect of Andy Caploe’s performance might you have changed?

He reads this work as if it were a 'Gangster' novelette. He unnecessarily over-emphasizes words, and I found that I was listening to the delivery rather than the content.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, because I would carry out further research, after each section. This however was my choice.

Any additional comments?

It is a great pity that Prof. Cline was not allowed to read this work, himself. He is a great lecturer, (see the Great Courses on Audible) and would immediately engage and hold the listener. I shall buy the book.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Jim on 06-04-14

Entertaining and Thought Provoking

1177 B.C. strikes a fine balance between telling a story and acknowledging the extent to which gaps in the evidence make it difficult to speak write with certainty about the ancient world. A personal problem with histories covering this period is that they can either be a bit too dry to appeal to the general reader; focusing on tussles between academics at the cost of maintaining the reader's interest; or they gloss over the fact that historians are working with partial documents in dead languages and fragmentary archaeological evidence which evokes a suspicion that they're offering a superficial summary. Eric Cline hits a real sweet spot in acknowledging the uncertainties while maintaining a gripping narrative drive as he describes Bronze Age civilization; charts its destabilization and draws lessons about how our own world parallels many of the factors that lead to the 1177 BC collapse. After one listen it's gone straight back to the beginning for a second time. Highly recommended for history fans

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Brett M Miller on 12-09-14

Wanted to Like... And Did!

Where does 1177 B.C. rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I would rank 1177 B.C. in the top ten of my audiobook experiences. My academic training is in Ancient and Medieval History and Political Science, and I've enjoyed it enough to listen to it twice.

Many reviews criticize the prose or the narration, but I think those reviews miss the point. So, too, do the reviews that criticize the lack of scholarly notes/evidence in some areas. This is neither a novel nor a peer-reviewed, journal-level article. If you want the best dramatic readings, get Jim Dale. If you want to pore over notes and evidence, subscribe to the proper journals or get a membership to JSTOR.

However, if you want a coherent and interesting overview of the current state of scholarship regarding the Bronze Age Collapse, if you want an informative primer on that transitional period, this is a great book. It kept me awake and alert across the most boring parts of Wyoming, and added to the formulation of my research questions.

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86 of 87 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Emily on 15-04-14

But it was all going so well.....

What did you like best about this story?

What caused the almost simultaneous falls of so many great Bronze Age civilizations? The Minoans, the Hittites, the Trojans, the Babylonians and the Mycenaean Greeks all disappear around 1200 BC. What caused the decline and 2-step-back struggle of surviving Bronze Age civilizations in the Levant and Egypt? Who were these Sea Peoples which the ancient worlds' chroniclers wrote about with such dread?

What was going on?
Why did the world go through an Ancient Dark Age in 1177 BC?

Finally a comprehensive exploration of the current scholarship relating to what in the world was going on in the world around 1200 BC. Eric H. Cline presents the complicated history of the time through a cross-discipline survey of ancient literature, geology, archaeology, biblical scholarship, military accounts and diplomatic correspondence in a way that's well organized and easy to understand.

Great for anyone interested in ancient world history.

What does Andy Caploe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator gives some strange accents when reading ancient diplomatic letters. The ancient documents have enough emotional tone on their face and the narrator's performance in these instances detracts from the poignancy.

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52 of 53 people found this review helpful

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