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The great civilisation destroyer?

climate change ancient civilizations

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#1    questionmark

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    Cinicus Magnus

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 04:12 PM

New Scientist said:


War and unrest, and the collapse of many mighty empires, often followed changes in local climes. Is this more than a coincidence?

1200 BC. The most beautiful woman in the world, Helen, is abducted by Paris of Troy. A Greek fleet of more than a thousand ships sets off in pursuit. After a long war, heroes like Achilles lead the Greeks to victory over Troy.

At least, this is the story told by the poet Homer around four centuries later. Yet Homer was not only writing about events long before his time, he was also describing a long-lost civilisation. Achilles and his compatriots were part of the first great Greek civilisation, a warlike culture centred on the city of Mycenae that thrived from around 1600 BC.

By 1100 BC, not long after the Trojan war, many of its cities and settlements had been destroyed or abandoned. The survivors reverted to a simpler rural lifestyle. Trade ground to a halt, and skills such as writing were lost. The script the Mycenaeans had used, Linear B, was not read again until 1952.

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#2    cormac mac airt

cormac mac airt

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 05:50 PM

View Postquestionmark, on 06 August 2012 - 04:12 PM, said:


Too bad you have to register for an account to read the article. Is there an explaination within the article for the change in local climate, concerning the Mycenaeans?  Perhaps Santorini? And does the article cover more than just the Mycenaeans?

cormac

The city and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality. It shall be the ancient city of Athens, and we will suppose that the citizens whom you imagined, were our veritable ancestors, of whom the priest spoke; they will perfectly harmonise, and there will be no inconsistency in saying that the citizens of your republic are these ancient Athenians. --  Plato's Timaeus

#3    questionmark

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    Cinicus Magnus

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 05:54 PM

View Postcormac mac airt, on 06 August 2012 - 05:50 PM, said:

Too bad you have to register for an account to read the article. Is there an explaination within the article for the change in local climate, concerning the Mycenaeans?  Perhaps Santorini? And does the article cover more than just the Mycenaeans?

cormac

No, it covers the fertile crescent too. And registering costs nothing.

A skeptic is a well informed believer and a pessimist a well informed optimist
The most dangerous views of the world are from those who have never seen it. ~ Alexander v. Humboldt
If you want to bulls**t me please do it so that it takes me more than a minute to find out

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#4    cormac mac airt

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 06:55 PM

After several tries, finally got registered. Process isn't as user-friendly as I'd have hoped, since several times it gave me error messages, even though everything was typed in correctly.

That aside, it was a nice article. Although I have to question the articles mentioning the legendary Troy and Trojan War when discussing climate change as the cause of destruction of ancient civilizations.

cormac

The city and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality. It shall be the ancient city of Athens, and we will suppose that the citizens whom you imagined, were our veritable ancestors, of whom the priest spoke; they will perfectly harmonise, and there will be no inconsistency in saying that the citizens of your republic are these ancient Athenians. --  Plato's Timaeus

#5    questionmark

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    Cinicus Magnus

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 06:56 PM

View Postcormac mac airt, on 06 August 2012 - 06:55 PM, said:

After several tries, finally got registered. Process isn't as user-friendly as I'd have hoped, since several times it gave me error messages, even though everything was typed in correctly.

That aside, it was a nice article. Although I have to question the articles mentioning the legendary Troy and Trojan War when discussing climate change as the cause of destruction of ancient civilizations.

cormac

That is precisely what struck me odd, and why I have posted it here.

A skeptic is a well informed believer and a pessimist a well informed optimist
The most dangerous views of the world are from those who have never seen it. ~ Alexander v. Humboldt
If you want to bulls**t me please do it so that it takes me more than a minute to find out

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#6    Doug1o29

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 07:17 PM

View Postcormac mac airt, on 06 August 2012 - 06:55 PM, said:

Although I have to question the articles mentioning the legendary Troy and Trojan War when discussing climate change as the cause of destruction of ancient civilizations.
The Greek Trojan War seems to have occurred at the same time as the reign of Ramses III, often called "Egypt's last great king."  A lot of the world's people's were on the move at the time.  After Ramses III, Egypt went into decline.  Was it caused by climate change?  Ramses won the war against the Pelest; you'd thin the winner would prosper, unless there were other forces at work.

Anyway, I just read a paper on megadroughts in North America.  There have been four since 1300 AD, all worse than the Dust Bowl and the 1950s Drought.  Oklahoma has no aquifer.  We depend on runoff.  Another megadrought like the one from 1559 to 1582 will mean dry reservoirs - going to your faucet and not being able to get a drink.  I don't think that's going to happen during the current drought cycle, but the next one will begin sometime between 2035 and 2060.  With the climate warming, that one will probably be a megadrought.  Without water, this area will become desert.  And that's what global warming is really all about:  the effects of climate on people.
Doug

Stahle, D.W., F. K. Fye, E. R. Cook and R. D. Griffen.  2007.  Tree-ring reconstructed megadroughts over North America since A.D. 1300.  Climate Change (2007) 83:133-149.  DOI 10.1007/s10584-006-9171-x.

Edited by Doug1o29, 07 August 2012 - 07:20 PM.

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#7    questionmark

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    Cinicus Magnus

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 07:27 PM

View PostDoug1o29, on 07 August 2012 - 07:17 PM, said:

The Greek Trojan War seems to have occurred at the same time as the reign of Ramses III, often called "Egypt's last great king."  A lot of the world's people's were on the move at the time.  After Ramses III, Egypt went into decline.  Was it caused by climate change?  Ramses won the war against the Pelest; you'd thin the winner would prosper, unless there were other forces at work.

Anyway, I just read a paper on megadroughts in North America.  There have been four since 1300 AD, all worse than the Dust Bowl and the 1950s Drought.  Oklahoma has no aquifer.  We depend on runoff.  Another megadrought like the one from 1559 to 1582 will mean dry reservoirs - going to your faucet and not being able to get a drink.  I don't think that's going to happen during the current drought cycle, but the next one will begin sometime between 2035 and 2060.  With the climate warming, that one will probably be a megadrought.  Without water, this area will become desert.  And that's what global warming is really all about:  the effects of climate on people.
Doug

Stahle, D.W., F. K. Fye, E. R. Cook and R. D. Griffen.  2007.  Tree-ring reconstructed megadroughts over North America since A.D. 1300.  Climate Change (2007) 83:133-149.  DOI 10.1007/s10584-006-9171-x.

Egypt always depended on run offs, that would be the Nile. There is no record I remember that the Nile flooding ever failed. It could be a little weaker or a little stronger but it always came. In fact, the tax each farmer had to pay depended on how high the Nile flooded that year.

Having said that, we don't really know if there was a climate difference in Egypt during Ramses II reign because there are no records and no trees to check for rings (most wood was imported). Palm trees might have year layers but don't last long enough to check after 2000 years. And, while today we see Egypt as a large country at that time, besides a few cities in the Middle East, Egypt was three miles on either side of the river. The desert belonged to nobody.

A skeptic is a well informed believer and a pessimist a well informed optimist
The most dangerous views of the world are from those who have never seen it. ~ Alexander v. Humboldt
If you want to bulls**t me please do it so that it takes me more than a minute to find out

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#8    Doug1o29

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:51 PM

View Postquestionmark, on 07 August 2012 - 07:27 PM, said:

Egypt always depended on run offs, that would be the Nile. There is no record I remember that the Nile flooding ever failed. It could be a little weaker or a little stronger but it always came. In fact, the tax each farmer had to pay depended on how high the Nile flooded that year.
There were at least two episodes in which the Nile went dry, or nearly so; at least dry enough that its waters stagnated.  Those were at the end of the First Dynasty - archeologists think that is what brought it down.  The second time was in about 1340 BC and is probably what brought down Akhenaten.  If a Pharoah is in favor with the gods, they will send water.  If the water doesn't come, he must not have divine favor.

Quote

Having said that, we don't really know if there was a climate difference in Egypt during Ramses II reign because there are no records and no trees to check for rings (most wood was imported). Palm trees might have year layers but don't last long enough to check after 2000 years. And, while today we see Egypt as a large country at that time, besides a few cities in the Middle East, Egypt was three miles on either side of the river. The desert belonged to nobody.
I was talking about Ramses III (d. 1054 BC), not Ramses II (d. 1212 BC).  And, yes there are tree ring records going back that far.  Maybe I can round up one or two for you.
Doug

If I have seen farther than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants. --Bernard de Chartres
The beginning of knowledge is the realization that one doesn't and cannot know everything.
Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance. --Hippocrates
Ignorance is not an opinion. --Adam Scott




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