Cultures > Bronze Age Collapse

Bronze Age Collapse

Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


The Bronze Age Collapse was a period of widespread societal upheaval and collapse that affected civilizations around the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East during the late second millennium BCE. While ancient Egypt was not as severely impacted as some other regions during this time, it still experienced significant disruptions. Here's an overview of the Bronze Age Collapse in ancient Egypt:

  1. Context:

    • The Bronze Age Collapse occurred during the late second millennium BCE, roughly between 1200 BCE and 1150 BCE.
    • It was characterized by the decline, collapse, or abandonment of numerous civilizations and city-states across the Eastern Mediterranean, Anatolia, the Levant, and Mesopotamia.
  2. Causes:

    • The exact causes of the Bronze Age Collapse are debated among historians and archaeologists.
    • Proposed factors include invasions and migrations of "Sea Peoples," internal rebellions, droughts, famines, earthquakes, and the breakdown of long-distance trade networks.
  3. Impact on Egypt:

    • Ancient Egypt was impacted by the Bronze Age Collapse, although it was not as severely affected as some other regions.
    • Egypt's centralized government, strong bureaucracy, and relatively isolated geographic position helped it withstand the collapse more effectively than decentralized states in the Near East.
    • However, there was still evidence of disruption, including economic decline, population movements, and political instability.
  4. Decline in International Trade:

    • The collapse of Bronze Age civilizations disrupted international trade networks, which had connected Egypt with other regions for centuries.
    • Egypt's trade with the Near East and Aegean declined during this period, impacting its economy and access to luxury goods and raw materials.
  5. Population Movements:

    • The Bronze Age Collapse led to population movements and migrations in the Eastern Mediterranean region, including into and out of Egypt.
    • There is evidence of increased immigration into Egypt during this time, with people seeking refuge or opportunities in the relatively stable and prosperous Nile Valley.
  6. Cultural Changes:

    • The Bronze Age Collapse brought cultural changes to Egypt, as interactions with neighboring regions decreased and Egypt's role in the broader Mediterranean world shifted.
    • Some scholars suggest that the collapse contributed to the decline of the New Kingdom's imperial ambitions and the emergence of a more introspective and conservative cultural outlook during the Third Intermediate Period.
  7. Recovery and Stability:

    • Despite the disruptions of the Bronze Age Collapse, Egypt eventually recovered and entered a period of stability and prosperity during the New Kingdom's later phases.
    • The decline of neighboring powers created opportunities for Egypt to expand its influence in the Levant and Near East, leading to renewed prosperity and territorial expansion.

In summary, while ancient Egypt was not as severely affected by the Bronze Age Collapse as some other regions, it still experienced disruptions and changes during this tumultuous period. The collapse led to economic decline, population movements, and cultural shifts, but Egypt's centralized government and geographic advantages helped it withstand the upheaval and eventually recover to achieve new heights of power and prosperity in the New Kingdom period.

Bronze Age Egypt

See Bronze Age Egypt

Third Intermediate Period

See Third Intermediate Period of Egypt

After apparently surviving for a while, the Egyptian Empire collapsed in the mid twelfth century BC (during the reign of Ramesses VI, 1145 to 1137 BC). Previously, the Merneptah Stele (c. 1200 BC) spoke of attacks from Libyans, with associated people of Ekwesh, Shekelesh, Lukka, Shardana and Tursha or Teresh possibly Troas, and a Canaanite revolt, in the cities of Ashkelon, Yenoam and the people of Israel. A second attack during the reign of Ramesses III (1186–1155 BC) involved Peleset, Tjeker, Shardana and Denyen.


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