Mycenaen Greece, the root of ancient Greek civilization
How did Mycenaean Greece, which built a powerful empire of the Aegean following the Minoan civilization, disappear into history? Mycenaean Greece collapsed suddenly after 200 years of prosperity. All the palaces all over Greece are burned down.
Scholars are divided on this cause. There are two main reasons. One is that around 1100 B.C., Dorians, who lived in northern Greece beyond the Pindos Mountains, collapsed, including Mycenae.
They were armed with a new weapon, an iron weapon. Another is due to a group of people who have a record of being called the sea peoples, but cannot identify exactly who they are. Especially, the fact that the sea people do not know their identity arouses people’s curiosity. This is because from 1200 B.C. to 1150 B.C. Egypt and the entire Eastern Mediterranean civilization were destroyed in an instant.
At that time, through hieroglyphics and linear letters, we found ourselves requesting the invasion and plunder of the sea people. Records show that they were not a single race, but a federation of multiple races. The Hittite Empire was destroyed by the sea people, and Egypt managed to survive, but then the brilliant civilization went downhill sharply.
In particular, because this region was forming a close trade network, the exchanges were completely cut off, and each civilization was isolated. Whatever the reason, due to this invasion, the Eastern Mediterranean, including Mycenaean Greece, will be introduced in an unprecedented long dark age. The reason it calls the Greek Dark Ages is that there is no record of it, so we can’t look into it.
The population declined dramatically, and those who survived could not afford to use letters or engage in civilizational activities such as architectural and artistic works. Of course, They couldn’t even think of rebuilding the ruined land.
It takes about 400 years to look into this dark age. It’s only now that the ancient Greek civilization that we’re familiar with begins.
How come the ancient Greek civilization, the root of Western civilization
But how come the ancient Greek civilization, the root of Western civilization, was born from the ruins where no civilization has been built for 400 years? We don’t know the details because we can’t look into the times, but we guess it’s probably for two reasons.
Ironware and alphabets. The former Minoan civilization and Mycenaean Greece were Bronze Age civilizations. But when the Dorias, the invaders in this area, brought iron in, the technological revolution took place. It was the Hittite Empire that had the original technology of this ironware.
They took advantage of the geographical advantage of securing abundant iron ore and strong winds and became equipped with iron manufacturing technology. And it became a huge empire based on the Iron Age around 1500 B.C.
As a result, we never informed the outside world of this source technology. When Hittite was destroyed by the sea people, the copyright of iron manufacturing technology was released. For now, ironware was rich in raw materials and easy to process, enabling mass production.
It was compared to the Bronze Age, which is rare and had weak strength. Therefore, if the Bronze Age was used to symbolize the ruler’s exclusive power rather than practicality, iron as a hard material was used as a practical tool such as weapons and agricultural equipment.
As a result, iron has the effect of dispersing economic power to the majority, not one person. In other words, it has to do with the spread of democratic iron in ancient Greece, where the majority is in power.
So if one of the key pillars of civilization is iron, the other is the alphabet The linear letter B, previously used by Mycenaeans, disappeared into the dark ages and no longer exists. The ancient Greeks brought in the Phoenician alphabet instead of the linear alphabet.
And that means the shift from syllable to phoneme. Phoenicians merchants who created an urban state in the eastern Mediterranean and engaged in trade in the Mediterranean Sea. They were not a big country like Hittite, but they showed their thin and long presence in history.
Along the way, they left alphabets and Galleys. In other words, do business by traveling around the sea on a high-performance Galley As we saw it, we felt the need to share text messages with locals, and It spread the alphabet to various regions as needed. One of the beneficiaries was the ancient Greeks. This alphabet becomes one of the gods that blossomed in ancient Greek civilization.
So let’s take a look at how the phoneme alphabet came about. Look at the Wadiel-Hol script, which is known as one of the origins of the Phoenician script.
This is a letter carved on a natural limestone cliff in Wadiel-Hol in central Egypt. This area is known as the place where the people who were mobilized to build the pyramids lived. The Habiru were people who wandered around in many parts of the Ancient Near East, including Mass-Portamia, Palestine, and Egypt, and were associated with the Hebrews. Habiru was a Semitic people.
The Semitic people are Semitic languages-speaking people who are believed to have originated from the biblical son of Noah, Shem. The Phoenicians and Hebrews are subordinated, and Arabic is the representative Semitic language. That means that around 1850 B.C., the Sem workers created letters to describe their language, and they carved letters on this cliff.
But this writing system was kind of weird. They borrowed Egyptian letters, but one letter wasn’t pointing to meaning, but pointing to a syllable was the sound of a consonant, a phoneme.
The alphabet was originally written by slaves, not by the ruling class. They created economical letters to communicate and survive despite the hard labor, and the distribution of these phonemes means that they have the possibility to read and write without memorizing thousands of complex letters.
This alphabetic system led to the Phoenician script, which was accepted in earnest by ancient Greece after the Dark Ages. But the Greeks didn’t take the Phoenician script as it was.
There were no vowels in the Phoenician script, only consonants. Semitic languages can read letters through context with consonants alone. However, Greek, which had a lot of vowels, was uncomfortable using this consonant-free character as it was.
So I turned consonants that are in the Phoenician script but not in Greek into vowels. This completes 17 consonants and 7 vowels in the Greek alphabet. Phonemes made up of consonants and vowels began in earnest.
These are the 26 letters of the alphabet that are used all over the world today through Rome. In other words, the emergence of the name alphabet, named after the Greek first letter alpha and the second letter beta, is also a key event in the history of humanity.
Now in ancient Greece, many people can express all kinds of objects and abstract concepts if they know only 24 letters of the alphabet. Naturally, the intellectual curiosity of the public increased, and the knowledge generated could spread beyond the minority elite to the public.
In Athens, for example, Ostracism, who writing the name of a person who is likely to be a dictator on a piece of pottery, tells us that many people could read and write him. In addition, unprecedented achievements have been made in education, political culture, and philosophy. At the beginning are Iliad and Odyssey, written in the Greek alphabet. In other words, the first output of the alphabet came from Homer.