May 8, 2017

A Look At The Fall Of Civilizations (With An Emphasis On The Fall Of 1200 BC & Lost Knowledge Through Library Burnings)

1. Tracing The Sources Of Our Culture To The Paleolithic Age... With Art & Music Being Well Over 40,000 Years Old! 
2. Tracing Lost Megalithic Cultures From 9500 BC To The Present
3. The Ancient Shamanic Link To Yoga, Meditation & The Other Major Religions 
4. Was The Egyptian Pyramid Complex Built Up Over Time? From About 10,500 BC To About 2,500 BC? 
5. Lost Knowledge & Technology Of The Ancient World... And A Random Collection Of Inventions Showing How Inventive Humankind Is Given The Opportunity To Play At Tinkering

Western civilization traces its origins to the Ancient Greeks whose literature is the first literature of this civilization. Except for the Vedas, all the Indian texts from which most of eastern civilization's philosophy and religion was founded on also arose in the same period as Ancient Greece , i.e. 500 BC was the beginning of the Golden Age or when civilization became literate and could trace itself.

The reason we don't trace our civilization to the the literature of the Minoan civilization or the Indus valley civilization which were flourishing Bronze Age civilizations with sophisticated cities was because are 1200 BC there was massive turmoil in the form of wars from "the sea peoples" as the Egyptians called them (the only ones to survive that period with any records at all). We have found an indecipherable script in the Indus Valley and a growing theory is that the Vedas originate from that civilization but no libraries or records of any sort. We kinda got lucky with Egypt, it being a dessert (thus preserving many scrolls that would have perished in a climate like India) and having hieroglyphics carved on massive temples.

Bronze Age collapse

Also, when a civilization ends in war it is generally followed by massacres and burning of all the knowledge and artifacts of the previous culture/civilization before it. The reason 500 BC is the start point for record keeping for our civilization is because everything before it was burned to the ground and culture had stabilized enough to become intellectual after 500-1000 long dark age. Only Egypt remained from the wars of approximate 1200 BC but was permanently weakened by it and was basically a vassal state for most of its existence in modern civilization (Ancient Greek times one-wards), till it was completely taken over by the Desert Tribes (Muslim) invasion.  This post attempts to show this pattern to history that many people are not aware of.

Eric Cline | 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed

Any writings by thinkers, inventors, and writers from the Ancient world, like the Leonardo Da Vinci of Egypt or Greece or India, would have been kept in the libraries. Think of all the ideas and inventions that must have been lost in all the library burning throughout history long before we even knew of them. As only clay or stone will survive, many documents must have simply fallen apart and disintegrated over time. What was left was burned in our civilizations countless wars. People caught up in them probably saw it as the end of the world, just as people caught in Tsunami's or Earthquakes must think now, afterall, when you face death or die... its the end of the world for you. Whole communities caught in a flood from massive rains, rivers, tsunamis or invasions must have also thought the same way. The "end of the world" is a common theme in human experience as we are basically just apes living on a living planet racing away in space. Maybe we will destroy ourselves and make our planet uninhabitable, but it's more likely that we will just eventually dis pear from the annals of history like the civilizations before us. This post is intended to give you, the reader, a taste of that.

An example of humankind losing hundreds of years of accumulated knowledge before the Christian dark age before the enlightenment (Interestingly enough, most of the knowledge that made it to our civilization, such as Plato, made it to us through the Muslims who had a golden Age going while the Christians were going through a dark age. The Mongol invasions seems to have ended that a the civilization never recovered): 

The Library Of Alexandria

The Royal Library of Alexandria or Ancient Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. It was dedicated to the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BC until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC, with collections of works, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and gardens. The library was part of a larger research institution called the Museum of Alexandria, where many of the most famous thinkers of the ancient world studied. The library was created by Ptolemy I Soter, who was a Macedonian general and the successor of Alexander the Great. Most of the books were kept as papyrus scrolls. It is unknown precisely how many such scrolls were housed at any given time, but estimates range from 40,000 to 400,000 at its height.

Artist's conception of the Library of Alexandria

The Hidden Library Of Alexandria - Ancient Mystery Documentaries

The Royal Library of Alexandria, or Old Collection of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, was among the biggest as well as most significant collections of the old globe. It was committed to the Muses, the nine sirens of the fine arts. It thrived under the patronage of the Ptolemaic empire and worked as a significant facility of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BC till the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC. With collections of jobs, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and also yards, the collection belonged to a larger study organization called the Musaeum of Alexandria, where many of the most famous thinkers of the old globe studied. The library was created by Ptolemy I Soter, that was a Macedonian basic and the follower of Alexander the Great. Most of guides were kept as papyrus scrolls, as well as though it is unknown the amount of such scrolls were housed at any offered time, their integrated worth was incalculable. The collection is popular for having actually been burned, resulting in the loss of many scrolls and books, and has actually become a sign of the destruction of social expertise. When it happened, a few sources differ on who is responsible for the devastation and. There is a folklore of the burning of the Collection at Alexandria, the collection may have experienced many fires or acts of devastation over numerous years. Feasible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Collection of Alexandria include a fire set by Julius Caesar in 48 BC, a strike by Aurelian in the AD 270s, and the decree of Coptic Pope Theophilus in 391.


Alot of people will find remains and wonder where the culture went and why they didn't leave behind better records. Well, part of the reason is that when a conqueror conquers a new land they will often kill the leaders, enslave the population (which was normal for a long time as even Herodotus's "Histories" talks about slavery like a fact of life and enslaving a population was normal), AND they would destroy it's artifacts which would include any books or libraries. Occasionally a culture takes over another and grows more, like the Mongols did in China, but mostly it's about wiping out your predecessors.

Lets begin with the first time civilization of our recorded history collapsed...

Some quotes from past Historians documentation the multiple falls of the Library of Alexandria;

when the enemy endeavored to cut off his communication by sea, he was forced to divert that danger by setting fire to his own ships, which, after burning the docks, thence spread on and destroyed the great library.

— Plutarch, Life of Caesar[4]

Besides this there are many lofty temples, and especially one to Serapis, which, although no words can adequately describe it, we may yet say, from its splendid halls supported by pillars, and its beautiful statues and other embellishments, is so superbly decorated, that next to the Capitol, of which the ever-venerable Rome boasts, the whole world has nothing worthier of admiration. In it were libraries of inestimable value; and the concurrent testimony of ancient records affirm that 70,000 volumes, which had been collected by the anxious care of the Ptolemies, were burnt in the Alexandrian war when the city was sacked in the time of Caesar the Dictator.

— Marcellinus, Ammianus (1862), "Roman History: book 22.16.12–13", in Yonge, C.D.Roman History, London: H.G. Bohn

So perished that marvelous monument of the literary activity of our ancestors, who had gathered together so many great works of brilliant geniuses. In regard to this, however true it may be that in some of the temples there remain up to the present time book chests, which we ourselves have seen, and that, as we are told, these were emptied by our own men in our own day when these temples were plundered—this statement is true enough—yet it seems fairer to suppose that other collections had later been formed to rival the ancient love of literature, and not that there had once been another library which had books separate from the four hundred thousand volumes mentioned, and for that reason had escaped destruction.

— Orosius

Whatever little was left was destroyed, to some extent (there are always rebels who hide books to preserve knowledge from the current barbarians - a reaction we see even today with many servers of online libraries moving to Canada, i.e. it's a natural reaction to the sort of barbaric attitude that religious zealots - an important part of any conquerors strategy kit - bring to the table), by the Muslim invasions. But, by then, there was probably nothing left.

In AD 642, Alexandria was captured by the Muslim army of 'Amr ibn al-'As. There are four Arabic sources, all at least 500 years after the supposed events, which mention the fate of the library.

  • Abd'l Latif of Baghdad (1162–1231) states that the library of Alexandria was destroyed by Amr, by the order of the Caliph Omar.[19]
  • The story is also found in Al-Qifti (1172–1248), History of Learned Men, from whom Bar Hebraeus copied the story.[20]
  • The longest version of the story is in the Syriac Christian author Bar-Hebraeus (1226–1286), also known as Abu'l Faraj. He translated extracts from his history, the Chronicum Syriacum into Arabic, and added extra material from Arab sources. In this Historia Compendiosa Dynastiarum[21] he describes a certain "John Grammaticus" (490–570) asking Amr for the "books in the royal library." Amr writes to Omar for instructions, and Omar replies: "If those books are in agreement with the Quran, we have no need of them; and if these are opposed to the Quran, destroy them."[22]
  • Al-Maqrizi (1364–1442) also mentions the story briefly, while speaking of the Serapeum.[23]

This recorded fragment of politics gives us, what must have been, the reason throughout history for religious conquerors to destroy knowledge i.e. they are right and everything else is wrong. The conquests of Greece, for example, stands out as an attempt to bring knowledge together, which may have also been a result of the Persians step away from traditional custom by setting previously occupied people's free (like they did with the Israelites of Babylon). In any case, in most instances knowledge and remains of past culture are destroyed and that nightmare of history the mankind can't awake from with his incessant hordes of "justice", "cleansing" their lands of the previous people, who are of another race or religion, to pave the way for their "true" way of life.

Burning knowledge is a tradition that all races of humankind seem to have agreed upon when conquering an enemy of even when just establishing a new rule under a new emperor. In other words, book/knowledge burning was as common as campfires in the age before electricity.

The following is an outline of all the libraries filled with the knowledge of ancient people that have been burnt, with their knowledge and ideas and observations lost for all time (kinda like getting a sort of "cultural amnesia" about the origins of civilization but on a cultural scale).

Xianyang Palace and State ArchivesXianyangQin China206 BCXiang YuThe perpetrator, rebelling against emperor Qin Er Shi, led his troops into Xianyang in 206 BC. He ordered the destruction of the Xianyang Palace by fire.[7] (Qin Shi Huang had ordered the burning of books and burying of scholars earlier.)

Library of AlexandriaAlexandriaAncient EgyptDisputedDisputedDisputed,[8][9] see destruction of the Library of Alexandria.

Library of AntiochAntiochAncient Syria364 ADEmperor Jovian[10]The library had been heavily stocked by the aid of the perpetrator's non-Christian predecessor, Emperor Julian (the Apostate).

Library of the SerapeumAlexandriaAncient Egypt392Theophilus of AlexandriaThe library was burned and looted at the perpetrator's decree, who was ordered to do so by Theodosius I.

Library of
al-Hakam II
CórdobaAl-Andalus976Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir & religious scholarsAll books consisting of "ancient science" were destroyed in a surge of ultra-orthodoxy.[11][12]

Library of RayyRayyPersia1029Sultan Mahmud of GhazniBurned the library and all books deemed as heretical.[13]

Library of Banu Ammar (Dar al-'ilm)TripoliFatimid Caliphate1109CrusadersFollowing Sharaf al-Daulah's surrender to Baldwin I of Jerusalem, Genoese mercenaries burned and looted part of the city. The library, Dar al-'ilm, was burned.[14]

Library of GhaznaGhaznaGhurid empire1151'Ala ad-Din HusainCity was sacked and burned for seven days. Libraries and palaces built by the Ghaznavids were destroyed.[15]

Library of NishapurNishapurSeljuk Empire1154Oghuz TurksCity partially destroyed, libraries sacked and burned.[16]

NalandaNalandaIndia1193Bakhtiyar KhiljiNalanda University complex (the most renowned repository of Buddhist knowledge in the world at the time) was sacked by Turkic Muslim invaders under the perpetrator; this event is seen as a milestone in the decline of Buddhism in India.[17

Imperial Library of ConstantinopleConstantinopleByzantine Empire1204The CrusadersIn 1204, the library became a target of the knights of the Fourth Crusade. The library itself was destroyed and its contents burned or sold.

Libraries of ConstantinopleConstantinopleByzantine Empire1453Ottoman TurksAfter the Fall of Constantinople, hundreds upon thousands of manuscripts were removed, sold, or destroyed from Constantinople's libraries.[18]

House of WisdomBaghdadIraq1258Mongol InvadersDestroyed during the Battle of Baghdad

Madrassah LibraryGranadaCrown of Castile1499Cardinal CisnerosThe library was attacked by troops of the perpetrator in late 1499, the books were taken to the Plaza Bib-Rambla, where they were burned in public.

Bibliotheca CorvinianaOfenOttoman Empire1526Ottoman TurksLibrary was destroyed by Ottomans.[19]

Glasney CollegePenrynCornwallEngland1548Royal officialsThe smashing and looting of the Cornish colleges at Glasney and Crantock brought an end to the formal scholarship which had helped to sustain the Cornish language and the Cornish cultural identity.

Maya codices of the Yucatán
Dresden Codex p09.jpg
ManíYucatánMexico and Guatemala1562-07-12Diego de LandaBishop De Landa, a Franciscan monk and conquistador during the Spanish conquest of Yucatán, wrote: "We found a large number of books in these characters and, as they contained nothing in which were not to be seen as superstition and lies of the devil, we burned them all, which they (the Maya) regretted to an amazing degree, and which caused them much affliction." Only three extant codices are widely considered unquestionably authentic.

Raglan LibraryRaglan CastleWales1646Parliamentary ArmyThe Earl of Worcester's library was burnt during the English Civil War by forces under the command of Thomas Fairfax[20]

Library of CongressWashington, D.C.United States1814Troops of the British ArmyThe library was destroyed during the War of 1812 when British forces set fire to the U.S. Capitol during the Burning of Washington.[21]

The Royal Library of Antioch was commissioned by Antiochus III (or Antiochus the Great) of the Seleucid Empire (a successor state of Alexander the Great's empire) around 221 B.C. in Ancient Syria and opened it to scholars.
The Royal Library of Antioch was destroyed in 363 AD by the Christian Emperor Jovian, who "at the urging of his wife, burned the temple with all the books in it with his concubines laughing and setting the fire", which greatly displeased the citizens of the city as they could only watch angrily as the collection went up in smoke. Johannes Hahn in his work Gewalt und religiöser Konflikt (pp. 178–180) relates:
"Jovian ordered the destruction of the Traianeum, which Julian had converted to a library, because he wanted to gain the favor of the Antiochians. However, he failed completely: not only the pagans but also the Christians interpreted this as a barbaric act." [3]

Ancient Chinese book burning;

'[1]' Book burning of the First Qin Emperor
'[2]' Wang Mang's capital Chang'an was attacked and the imperial palace ransacked. Mang died in the battle and, at the end, forces burned the national library of Weiyang Palace.
'[3]' At the end of the Han dynasty, the Three Kingdoms dissipation of the state library by upheavals that resulted from the Wei (魏), Shu (蜀), and Wu (吳) contests
'[4]' At the end of Yang-Jia turbulence, dissipation of the state library by the upheavals of Western Jin.
'[5]' Emperor Yuan of the Liang dynasty surrounded by the Western Wei army in his castle; Yuan set fire to the collection of national records
Chancellor Li Si Said: "I, your servant, propose that all historians' records other than those of Qin's be burned. With the exception of the academics whose duty includes possessing books, if anyone under heaven has copies of the Shi Jing [Classic of Poetry], the Shujing [Classic of History], or the writings of the hundred schools of philosophy, they shall deliver them (the books) to the governor or the commandant for burning. Anyone who dares to discuss the Shi Jing or the Classic of History shall be publicly executed. Anyone who uses history to criticize the present shall have his family executed. Any official who sees the violations but fails to report them is equally guilty. Anyone who has failed to burn the books after thirty days of this announcement shall be subjected to tattooing and be sent to build the Great Wall. The books that have exemption are those on medicine, divination, agriculture, and forestry. Those who have interest in laws shall instead study from officials."[a]

Shiji Chapter 6. "The Basic Annals of the First Emperor of Qin" thirty-fourth year (213 BC)

The point here is that knowledge goes up in smoke in such library burning and some of this knowledge probably went back several thousand years. This creates a sort of cultural amnesia as people forget the past ages and remember only what their new rulers want them to through information control with acts such as knowledge destruction. This has happened so many times in history we could call it an aspect of human civilizations, i.e. we burn the past civilizations knowledge and start again because some tyrant or conqueror said so.

Factors In The Rise & Fall Of Civilizations

In Arnold Toybee's explanation of the history of the civilization he talked about how civilizations rise and fall. A basic overview of this monumental work is so important I just lifted out of Wikipedia and placed it here so its all on one page (it seems to be accurate summary based on a quick perusal)

Wikipedia's Summary Of Arnold Toybee's A Study Of History

Genesis and Growth
Toynbee argues that civilizations are born out of more primitive societies, not as the result of racial or environmental factors, but as a response to challenges, such as hard country, new ground, blows and pressures from other civilizations, and penalization. He argues that for civilizations to be born, the challenge must be a golden mean; that excessive challenge will crush the civilization, and too little challenge will cause it to stagnate. He argues that civilizations continue to grow only when they meet one challenge only to be met by another, in a continuous cycle of "Challenge and Response". He argues that civilizations develop in different ways due to their different environments and different approaches to the challenges they face. He argues that growth is driven by "Creative Minorities": those who find solutions to the challenges, who inspire (rather than compel) others to follow their cultural lead.
Toynbee does not see the breakdown of civilizations as caused by loss of control over the physical environment, by loss of control over the human environment, or by attacks from outside. Rather, it comes from the deterioration of the "Creative Minority", which eventually ceases to be creative and degenerates into merely a "Dominant Minority" — which compels the majority to obey without meriting obedience. He argues that creative minorities deteriorate due to a worship of their "former self", by which they become prideful and fail adequately to address the next challenge they face.
Universal state
He argues that the ultimate sign a civilization has broken down is when the dominant minority forms a "universal state", which stifles political creativity within the existing social order. The classic example of this is the Roman Empire, though many other imperial regimes are cited as examples. Toynbee writes:
"First the Dominant Minority attempts to hold by force—against all right and reason—a position of inherited privilege which it has ceased to merit; and then the Proletariat repays injustice with resentment, fear with hate, and violence with violence when it executes its acts of secession. Yet the whole movement ends in positive acts of creation—and this on the part of all the actors in the tragedy of disintegration. The Dominant Minority creates a universal state, the Internal Proletariat a universal church, and the External Proletariat a bevy of barbarian war-bands."
Toynbee developed his concept of an "internal proletariat" and an "external proletariat" to describe quite different opposition groups within and outside the frontiers of a civilization. These groups, however, find themselves bound to the fate of the civilization.[5] During its decline and disintegration, they are increasingly disenfranchised or alienated, and thus lose their immediate sense of loyalty or of obligation. Nonetheless an "internal proletariat" may form a "universal church" which survives the civilization's demise, co-opting the useful structures of the earlier time while creating a new philosophical or religious pattern for the next stage of history.[6][clarification needed]
Before the process of decay, the dominant minority had held the internal proletariat in subjugation within the confines of the civilization, causing these oppressed to grow bitter. The external proletariat, living outside the civilization in poverty and chaos, grows envious. Then, in the social stress resulting from the failure of the civilization, the bitterness and envy increase markedly.
Toynbee argues that as civilizations decay, there is a "schism" within the society. In this environment of discord, people resort to archaism (idealization of the past), futurism (idealization of the future), detachment (removal of oneself from the realities of a decaying world), and transcendence (meeting the challenges of the decaying civilization with new insight, e.g., by following a new religion). From among members of an "internal proletariat" who transcend the social decay a "church" may arise. Such an association would contain new and stronger spiritual insights, around which a subsequent civilization may begin to form. Toynbee here uses the word "church" in a general sense, e.g., to refer to a collective spiritual bond found in common worship, or the unity found in an agreed social order.
It remains to be seen what will come of the four remaining civilizations of the 21st century: Western civilizationIslamic societyHindu society, and the Far East. Toynbee argues two possibilities: they might all merge with Western Civilization, or Western civilization might develop a 'Universal State' after its 'Time of Troubles', decay, and die.
List of civilizations
The following table lists the 23 civilizations identified by Toynbee in vol. Vii. This table does not include what Toynbee terms primitive societies, arrested civilizations, or abortive civilizations. Civilizations are shown in boldface. Toynbee's "Universal Churches" are written in italic and are chronologically located between second- and third- generation civilizations, as is described in volume VII.
1st Generation2nd GenerationUniversal Church3rd Generation
MinoanHellenic (Greek and Roman)ChristianWesternOrthodox-RussianOrthodox-Byzantine
Syriac Society (Ancient IsraelPhoenicia etc.)IslamIslamic (at early stages divided into Iranian and Arabic, civilizations, which later were unified)
ShangSinic (see also Han Dynasty)Mahayana (Buddhism)ChineseJapanese-Korean ("Far Eastern")

The trend is that when a civilizations faces a big challenge, such as a war or a natural catastrophe, it will often deteriorate and die. In fact, the rise and fall of civilizations with regularity is one constant of human history that is yet to be overcome.

Note: The last major destruction of civilization that led to a barbaric age with all knowledge before it lost, was the 13th century. Here are a couple of documentaries about this time (to get an idea of the sort of factors that influence the growth and decay/fall of civilizations such as war or famine/natural-disaster)...

Mysterious civilisation of 'Sea Peoples' were wiped out by 'world war zero'

This post has now covered how easy and common it is for civilizations to fall and disappear which is important to keep in mind when studying history.

Tracing The Origins Of Culture & Civilization

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