Bronze Age

Following the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, the Bronze Age was the third phase in the development of material civilization among the ancient peoples of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East (Old Stone Age and New Stone Age, respectively). The word also refers to the first time metal was utilised. The beginnings of the Bronze Age differed by place; in Greece and China, for example, it began before 3000 bce, but in Britain it did not begin until around 1900 bce.

The period’s commencement is frequently referred to as the Chalcolithic (Copper-Stone) Age, owing to the first usage of pure copper (along with its predecessor toolmaking material, stone). Copper was previously utilised exclusively for small or valuable products due to its scarcity. Its usage was recognised in eastern Anatolia by 6500 bce, and it spread quickly. By the middle of the fourth century, a rapidly expanding copper metallurgy, with cast tools and weapons, was a factor driving Mesopotamian urbanisation. Copper usage was widely established in the Middle East by 3000, had spread westward into the Mediterranean area, and was beginning to permeate European Neolithic societies.

Bronze Age Characteristics

Bronze was made by people in ancient Sumer. It was the first industrial process. Tin is mined, melted, and mixed with copper to form bronze. Tin and copper should never be combined (except in Cornwell). They are mined in various locations. As a result, people were forced to exchange. Tin from Cornwall was sold to Phoenicia, which is located in the Mediterranean Sea.

Bronze was more durable and hard. It was utilised for tools and weapons by the Sumerians. Archaeologists discovered bronze, which they believe was used to store money and demonstrate one’s status. Originally, bronze was utilised to build weapons. However, craftsmen found that it could be utilised to create art. Both are significant, with several axe blades discovered across Europe.

Around the world, commercial networks began to emerge. This facilitated the spread of technology throughout Ancient Egypt, Asia, and Europe. Iron and copper smelting have also been discovered in several locations of Africa.

Trade with other civilizations became feasible because to the invention of bronze. People who had bronze were more powerful than those who did not. Bronze tools were made by bronzesmiths for large groups. Others had to go to a travelling bronzesmith, who would swap old bronze tools, food, and garments for new ones.

People in the early Bronze Age still migrated when they were hungry, in search of huntable animals. Later on, people began to settle in one location and erected permanent stone dwellings. For animal enclosures, a fence was built. Crops were also grown there. Every year, they replanted some of the land’s former crops. People were able to reside in one spot instead of needing to travel to acquire food because to the field system.

At various points during the Bronze Age, diverse human populations emerged. While certain societies advanced due to the discovery of metal alloys, humans in other regions of the world did not work with metals but instead established the earliest cuneiform writing systems, which gave origin to the history of mankind.

With the discovery of metal smelting and the establishment of nations or kingdoms with large-scale civilizations, the Bronze Age was the time of the most significant advances in the transition from prehistory to the history of mankind.

Civilizations of the Early Bronze Age

Among the early Bronze Age civilizations, the following stand out:

They were notable for inhabited ancient Mesopotamia, which is regarded as the cradle of civilization due to advances such as the founding of city-states and agricultural growth due to the construction of dams and irrigation canals. Furthermore, they acquired significant knowledge of astronomy and mathematics and constructed ziggurats, such as the one at Ur, which worshipped the deity Nanna or Moon.

They were notable for reaching their pinnacle of brilliance around the end of the Bronze Age, circa 1900 BC. They used force and diplomacy to gain control over Mesopotamia. King Hammurabi, who wrote the earliest collection of laws ever discovered, stood out. It was known as the Hammurabi Code, and it contained the law of retribution, which states that the punishment given is proportional to the offence committed, as well as the concept of innocence until proven otherwise. The Sumerian city of Ur was defeated by Babylon, which was located southeast of Mesopotamia.

They were notable for achieving significant urban growth in Mesopotamia’s northern area beginning around 1300 BC. The towns, however, were abandoned during the invasions of the Arameans, who were nomads who banded together with other Semitic groups and committed themselves to occupying a vast number of cities. The Arameans were able to establish themselves in the Fertile Crescent, a realm that included parts of Mesopotamia and Egypt.

The Chinese Bronze Age began at 1700 BC and lasted for 1500 years, spanning multiple dynasties. It was distinguished by the use of bronze in the metallurgical sector, which persisted even many years after the discovery of iron.

The pre-Hellenic civilizations were a set of cultures that existed previous to the Greek civilisation, which began around 3000 BC. Until 1200 a. C., which occurred during the transition from prehistory to the beginning of ancient history. For example, the Cycladic civilization, which benefited from the archipelago’s strategic geographical location in the Aegean Sea, which connected Europe and Asia, the Minoan civilization, which settled on the island of Crete, and the Mycenaean civilization, which settled in the Peloponnese, the southern peninsula of Greece’s current territory, and then reached to occupy the island of Crete and the north of the Mediterranean Sea.

Bronze Age Stages

Due to the variety of key breakthroughs that occurred, the Bronze Age was split into three major phases. The phases are as follows:

Ancient Bronze Age (3000 – 2000 BC):

It was distinguished by primitive inhabitants committed to hunting and fishing. Agricultural activity rose as a result of the use of bronze tools, and the metal trade flourished. The earliest flat axes have been discovered.

Middle Bronze Age (2000 – 1600 BC):

It was distinguished by agricultural-livestock activity, the domestication of the horse for forced labour, and increased trade through the exchange of food and metal things considered a luxury. There was evidence of several weapons of war, as well as confrontations that expanded as the great cities flourished.

Late Bronze Age (1600 – 1200 BC):

It had the most complicated social system, with minority factions that consolidated power and separation into social strata. Because the warlike conflicts were greater and more fierce, complex weaponry and protective features, such as shields and body armour, were developed. It was the transition era to the Iron Age owing to a tremendous cultural shift, including the development of writing systems, tombs as a symbol of authority, the differentiation of social class, and the construction of communities in higher areas secured by walls.

India during the Bronze Age

In some ways, you’re in a rare position to comprehend individuals who lived 5,000 years ago. Today, we are seeing a technological revolution with communications media that is radically transforming the globe. People 5,000 years ago were also witnessing tremendous technical developments. In this instance, though, it was not the internet that transformed their reality. It was bronze.

The Indian subcontinent’s Bronze Age began at 3,300 BCE and lasted until around 1,300 BCE. It’s worth mentioning that southern India never actually experienced this period, instead skipping right from the Copper Age to the Iron Age, thus we’ll largely be focused on the Bronze Age of northern India and Pakistan. While we name this time the Bronze Age, the spread of metal implements was only one invention in a world that also experienced the first significant phase of urbanisation. The Indian subcontinent’s whole world was about to shift.

Early Bronze Age and the Rise of the Indus Valley

So, how does a Bronze Age begin? This transition is defined by two key shifts. The first step is the advancement of metallurgy, notably the capacity to work with bronze. The second factor is urbanisation and the development of cities with more complicated social and political frameworks. The oldest evidence of both of these on the Indian subcontinent was discovered in Kot Diji, a site in modern-day Pakistan. Around 3,300 BCE, we witness bronze being utilised for jewellery and the beginnings of urbanism.

The closeness to the Indus River is most likely what drew humans to this location. This is a worldwide trend. When ancient people first began to urbanise, they frequently did it in lush river valleys with plenty of fresh water, decent farming land, and other resources. It wasn’t long until the patterns that began at Kot Diji spread down the Indus River, and the subcontinent’s first great civilizations named Indus Valley arose.

The end of the Bronze Age

The Bronze Age period ended suddenly at 1200 BC. C. for unknown reasons. Major civilizations such as Mycenaean Greece, Ancient Egypt, the Hittite empire of Turkey, and the peoples that inhabited the Middle East, North Africa, and Mediterranean Europe all perished in a short period of time.

It is thought that the end of the Bronze Age was precipitated by natural disasters such as significant droughts and earthquakes, which produced, among other things, starvation and disorder in society.

Overview of the Bronze Age

The Bronze Age was distinguished by the following characteristics:

The discovery of the metal foundry.

The creation of densely populated societies.

The establishment of a centralised monarchy or administration.

The earliest sophisticated social system with class difference, with the populace and the ruling class.

Increased military engagements using modern weaponry.

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