The World History Rewritten
section of this site is a short voyage thorough the human history. It
should not be treated as a complete compendium of our history but
rather as an illustration of practical use of tools presented in this
work. The whole lecture goes in
more or less chronological order.
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of first civilizations
It is hard to describe the very beginning of first
civilizations (and first states), because there are no written
documents that could help us. Of course we could find some clues
analyzing the most advanced cultures North American Indian, early
African states (which were described by European voyagers and traders)
or history of Medieval Ireland, but you should remember that many
“facts” from ancient history are really reasonable guesses made by
historians. So, I am not going to describe the exact reasons for
uprising of early countries.
According to models presented here, the very first states
appear with the invention
of the trade. When ancient communities accumulated enough
technologies (generally pottery, mining, agriculture and domestication
of animals) to create
the surplus of goods that could be traded, the first states and
governments appeared. We can discover the choice of very first traded
goods analyzing the system of clay tokens from Syria and Mesopotamia
region. These tokens were sealed
in clay envelopes and
were (probably) used as a kind of money or credit - an owner of goods
go to another city and after presenting the envelope, could get these
from local “banker”. Generally, the very first civilizations
in regions that had large agricultural surplus and easy ways to trade
The best places were river valleys.
First governments could emerge in many ways:
- A village could be conquered or dominated by
group which will collect non-voluntary tax from merchants, craftsmen
peasants as a charge for “protection”. The leader of such group sooner
later becomes a king. It is the mob-like (or mafia-like) scenario.
- A family, or the group of families could buy or
collect large share of land this way taking control of the majority of
the land owned by the village community. In consequence they can
dominate poorer peasants, and turn them into clients or dependent
peasants. The head of the strongest clan (family) sooner or later
becomes a king.
- A village community could nominate a group of
people to build some constructions important for the community (like
or temples). These administrators could become a privileged group of
aristocracy”, and eventually the most influential of them (like the
priest) could become a king.
- A group of the richest merchants could
council and government to administrate the village, and to promote the
village turns into feudal
country and sometimes immediately becomes a populistic country. When the location of the village offers
possibilities to easy expansion, the village usually becomes a feudal
state. When the village is located in a place that is the nexus of
important trade routes and the village have limited space to expand
(because of natural borders or other strong villages in the close
vicinity), it usually becomes the populistic state - good example here were Sumerian
city-states. Sometimes a group of neighbouring villages form a tribal
federation which eventually evolves into a feudal state.
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Links to ancient
So, somewhere in the fourth millennia
BC (4000-3000 BC) the civilization of Sumer emerged
swamp region close to the sea coast of Arabian Gulf in Mesopotamia. Our
about the history of these city-states is not complete, but remained
give us enough proves to be sure that Sumeria was the civilization of populistic,
city-states (here we can find for example the very first parliament
consisted of two-chambers) fighting with each other - more or less the
same as in Ancient Greece. Trade and inventions of Sumerians
accelerated development of Mesopotamia and probably India (maybe also
At the end of 4th millennia
trade backbone of river Nile was united and the kingdom of Egypt emerged
- probably the first large feudal
state. Somewhere in the 3rd millennia emerged the civilization Harappa &
Mohenjo Daro (maybe populistic) in the Indus Valley in India and Minoan
civilization on the islands of Aegean Sea (for sure populistic). We
cannot be sure when the first feudal state in China
appeared (in a the Valley of
- today’s Shaanxi, Henan and Shanxi provinces) but probably also more
or less the same time.
Here is the complete site about Ancient Egypt
(I wish all sites I quote here were like this one).
Or short and little more
complete summaries of the history of Ancient Egypt, for those who
want only a brief introduction.
Populistic cultures made some important technology advances that
enables great colonization and trade expansion of these civilizations.
After some time (about 2400 B.C.) populistic cultures of Sumer
city-states goes to the limits of their expansion and was conquered by
barbarian tribes - since then the
history of Mesopotamia is the
story of successive feudal empires (Akkad, Babylonia, Assyria
periodically invaded by barbarians. Somewhere in the middle of 3rd millennia a Minoan civilization (see
below) started expansion in Mediterranean basin.
Map added - October 2006 (based on http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/images/riv-vall.gif)
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Minoan civilization evolved on Crete and other islands of
Aegean Sea in the Bronze Age. Military expansion across the sea
is more expensive that land expansion, so Minoan Empire expansion was
probably mostly the trade expansion and thus could last longer and
spread over the larger area. A few hundred year before the final fall,
economy of the Minoan Empire probably started to decline. This crisis
forced Minoans to start military expansion (mentioned in Greek myths) and
launched the migrations of Indo-European barbarian tribes. Minoan state
finally fell about 1500 BC because of eruption of volcano on Thira (or
Thera) island and the invasion of Greek tribes.
Why Minoan civilization was populistic?
First, why I believe that Minoan civilization was populistic:
- In Egyptian writings Minoans (called Keftiu) were
always mentioned as a traders, and the lists of traded goods shows that
to trade with many distant countries.
- There are no evidences of intensive military
expansion in close vicinity of Crete (except the last decades before
the final fall of Minoan civilization). There are no great monuments to
glorify great kings and conquerors.
- Minoans had large fleet and ruled over the seas. This
is typical for merchant countries that have to protect large sea
- The scale of migrations launched by the fall of
Minoan civilization is too large for a feudal country. When a feudal
country falls, the fall is relatively shallow and barbarian tribes
which conquers the country are usually absorbed by the higher culture.
- Minoan art is typical for populistic countries (i.e.
very distributed), where the money for art comes from large number of
rich people, not only from the monarch’s court.
Why I believe that Minoan trade spanned the whole
Well, let’s compare Crete with Netherlands in XVIth and XVIIth century.
Netherlands, a relatively small country, had colonies in such a distant
as Indonesia or South Africa, and almost no colonies (only trade
on the coasts of large feudal countries or in places where trade was
profitable (like Africa or Northern America).
The same was probably true for Minoans. Crete was too small island to
conquer feudal states and strong barbarian tribes, so Minoans probably
had only a trade outposts and maybe small colonies in places that could
offer goods for
profitable sea trade (such as: ivory, gold, copper, tin, slaves,
pottery, etc.). So its perfectly legal for Minoans to have trade
outposts in Georgia (Kolchida or Kolkhida), Romania, Northern Turkey,
Tunisia, Spain or Italy (maybe also in Etruria).
Of course there are only weak evidences here:
- Trade with Black Sea region have to be important, because
of the wealth city of Troia (Troy).
- There are numerous archeological evidences of rapid
economic development of different communities which lived on
Mediterranean coast more or less 2000 BC.
- Probably Phoenicians took over some of Minoan colonies.
This could explain, how they could start such a distant trade (with
Northern Africa and Spain), very soon after the fall of Minoan
civilization (actually its
Myceanean successors ca. 1200 BC).
- Directions of migrations of Indo-European tribes suggest
some locations of Minoan trade outposts (ex. Black Sea region,
- And most important, Minoan artifacts were found by
archaeologists in different places around the west coasts of
Why the eruption of Thira volcano was so
It was probably the strongest eruption of volcano in historic times (a
few times stronger than eruption of Krakatau volcano in 1883). The Isle
Thira (Thera) exploded and disappeared - today here are few small isles
around an undersea volcano.
- Great Tsunami waves probably destroyed all ports and
ships on northern coasts of Crete and in all colonies in close vicinity
(Greek cities of
Athens and Argos were built a few miles from coast because of the fear
of Poseidon’s anger - i.e. probably tsunami).
- Volcanic ashes probably destroyed most of the farms
on Crete causing hunger.
- Floating pumice probably blocked ports and coasts for
many months, making sailing across the Aegean Sea very difficult.
So, the eruption destroyed the trade of Minoan Empire
launching the economic crisis and the final collapse of Minoan state
Greek tribes (Achaians)
that conquered Crete, formed here and in Greece some feudal states (Mycenian civilization). Around 1200 B.C.
they probably destroyed the state of Troia,
and shortly after that they were conquered by another Greek tribes
(these times Dorians).
A word about migration of Indo-European tribes
Indo-European tribes had a few stages:
- It was started probably around 2000 B.C, when
Indo-Europeans (probably) came to Greece and Asia Minor.
- Then, there was a migration launched by the fall of
Minoan Empire (more or less 1500 B.C.).
- And the migration after the fall of Troy and Mycenian
civilization (more or less 1200 B.C., the same time as the invasion of
“sea nations” into Egypt).
To be honest, I don’t know reasons for the first wave of
Indo-European migrations (except that it was launched by some economic
changes in the Black Sea basin). Of course it is possible that the
Minoan civilization before 2000
B.C. traded with Black Sea region, then started to trade with West
Mediterranean Sea region, and that shift of trade launched the first
migrations of Indo-Europeans. It is possible, and very likely
(according to mechanisms which drives great barbarian migrations), but
you have to remember that there is no material proof for this
Invasion of Sea Nations (and Dorians) was the beginning of the
dark period in the history of Aegean Sea region. It is important to
note (and this
will be true for the fall of the Roman Empire and early centuries of
Ages too) that when the general level of technologies declined, the
basics technologies did not. Technologies that were used in a
existence - in agriculture, sea sailing or war - remain on more or less
same level as before the fall, and there was even some advances (for
use of iron weapons). Only the high-level technologies: like a writing
advanced construction technologies used in Minoan palaces, completely
Common, everyday technologies are very important, even if are less
than “great discoveries”, because these technologies create the
basement for building more advanced communities and cultures.
And a final note:
You have to remember that generally all “facts” from the ancient
history (i.e. before 500 B.C.) bases in a great part on
guesses made by
historians. So the same is true for my constructs. Using my laws I am
sure that Sumer and Minoan civilizations were populistic, but
am writing here about the migrations of Indo-European tribes and the
political system of ancient India civilization is no more than guessing.
Warsaw, 19 November 2003
Last revision: April-May 2006
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Below is the
general timeline of ancient civilizations for your reference.
Generally, all ancient chronologies are unclear. Before
the first Olympic Games (776 BC)
people were counting time in relative manner (example: third year of
king X rule), chronicles are incomplete, and some cities and artifacts
are dated only roughly (using archaeological methods). Therefore you
may find (many) other chronologies of ancient history before the first
||End of the last Ice Age.
||First “cities” in Middle
East. One of the oldest was Jericho in
revolution. Humans, especially in Middle East made many discoveries
that for the first civilizations. Especially discoveries in agriculture
and domestication of animals allowed the rapid growth of population,
and created the food surplus that allowed the emergence of
civilizations. First discoveries of this technological “revolution”
were agriculture and pottery, and last were writing, bronze working
Why the Fertile Crescent of Middle East? Probably there was two reasons:
In other regions Neolithic Revolution started later (although it is not
the rule, for example the oldest pottery come from Japan and Korea).
finally Middle East buildings of stone and clay last longer than wooden
structures of Europe, India or China. Therefore much more
archaeological evidences of early cultures survived here
- Thanks to the climate region was very fertile,
therefore new discoveries in agriculture were very effective.
Population density increased and the number of inventors too.
- Middle East was a kind of “crossroads” of trade
routes. Therefore the diffusion of new technologies between human
communities was faster.
||Clay tokens in Mesopotamia
and Syria. Probably were used as a kind of “currency” guaranteed by
||Ubaid period in Mesopotamia
||Many Neolithic “cities” in
Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, India, Egypt and China. Rather shelters
than true cities.
|ca. 5600 BC
waters of Mediterranean Sea (after the Ice Age) overflowed the
straight turning a freshwater lake of Black Sea into a salt sea and
flooding a plain between Romania and Crymea peninsula.
Note: I use blue
background for hypothesis that are not proved yet but you may find
|5000 - 3200 BC
|Sahara was turning from
steppe to desert. Some of the nomadic tribes migrate into Egypt.
||Number of traded goods in
Mesopotamia increases, therefore system of clay tokens complicate. Some
of Mesopotamia became “true” cities.
|| Important city of Uruk in
(Sumeria), maybe populistic.
||Early Sumer (or pre-Sumer)
civilization. Mesopotamian reed ships coated with tar
(probably) sailed along
Arabian Peninsula to Red Sea and Egypt and along Iranian coast to
India. Early villages in Arabia.
||A few cultures in Europe
thanks to flint stone mining. Stonehenge.
Flood in Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia (the same as China) was periodically
affected by floods. One of them was especially disastrous starting a
myth of Deluge
(known from Bible and other Mesopotamian texts). Archaeologists found a
thick layer of mud in cities of Sumeria suggesting a several week long
flood, but there are
no evidences if was one or a few floods.
||Amount of tradable goods
increases making clay token system too complicate, so it evolves in
early writing system - a Cuneiform script.
||The Unification of Egypt. First
Pharaoh Menes-Naramer ruler of the Southern (Upper) Egypt conquered the
Egypt. First large feudal
to David Rohl’s hypothesis Egypt was united by the tribe of sailboat
people from the coast of Red Sea (more or less like Russia was united
by Vikings), who had some connections with Sumer civilization.
||Early beginnings of Indus Valley
||Early beginnings of Minoan
civilization (island of Crete)
||Early city of Troy (close
to straights between Aegean Sea and Black Sea).
||Beginning of Bronze Age
(first in Mesopotamia) - axes, knifes, nails, sickles.
Several populistic city-states close to Persian Gulf: Ur, Eridu, Uruk,
Umma, Lagash, Nippur, Kish, Isin, Girsu, etc. Trade expansion to
“emerging markests” of Northern Mesopotamia (ex. Babylon was originally
a Sumerian colony), Elam and India. Map.
|Early Dynastic period and
Kingdom in Egypt. Construction of Pyramids - Egypt was extremely
rich these times because of coordinated agriculture and large deposits
gold. Pyramids as great government investments, had Keynesian effect on
|3rd millennium BC
|Indus Valley civilization.
Cities of Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Lothal.
|3rd millennium BC
|Kingdom of Elam in
|3rd millennium BC
|Pre-palace period of
||Quite well documented
history and every day life of Sumer. Wars between city-states. Decline
of populistic civilization of Sumer.
||Migration of Akkadians (from
Arabia) to Sumer.
Syria) invade North Mesopotamia.
Mesopotamia creating first large feudal kingdom here. Sargon I.
mountains in west Iran) destroyed Akkadian empire. Mesopotamia -
opposite than relatively isolated Egypt - had open borders, so its
history was much more chaotic.
|| First Intermediate
(chaos) Period in Egypt.
||Populistic civilization on
Minoan Crete. It is my guess based on two premises: 1. average cycle of
and fall of populistic civilization is about 700 years (compare Greece,
Phoenicia, Etruscans, Medieval-Renaissance Italy) 2. Because of
economic connections there was probably some correlation between Minoan
an Egyptian history (Intermediate Periods).
||Feudal Sumer kingdom in
Mesopotamia destroyed by Elamites.
|ca. 2100 BC
|First (legendary) Xia
dynasty in China.
||Few cultures in
Mediterranean: Island of Malta, Island of Sardinia, Cities of El-Argar
culture in Spain, Polada culture in Italy. Maybe a side effect of
||First wave of migrations
tribes (from northern coasts of Black Sea): Greeks to
to Asia minor, Aryans
move east (maybe to Iran).
||Early cultures in America:
Olmecs in Mexico, Chavin in Peru.
||Many small kingdoms in
Mesopotamia. Economic prosperity of early Assyria.
conquered central Mesopotamia - capital of Babylon.
|ca. 1750 BC
of Amorite king Hammurabi famous from his law code.
|ca. 1700 BC
from mountains north invaded Northern Mesopotamia.
|| Old Hittie Kingdom in
||Hurrian and Indo-European
Mitanni Kingdom in northern Mesopotamia.
||Decline of Harappa &
Indus Valley from north.
(chaos) period in Egypt. Northern Egypt under the rule of Hyksos tribes
||Mycenaean civilization of Achaeans
|Eruption of Thira volcano.
(Achaeans) conquered Crete. End of Minoan civilization. Age of chaos in
the Mediterranean started (see Ipuwer papyrus,
||Exodus - Jews
ran away from Egypt (according to “New Chronology, traditional
chronology places Exodus in XIIIth century BC! - see arguments).
is a hypothesis that Egyptian Plagues were a side-effect of Thira
eruption and crossing the Sea of Reeds (hebrew Jam Suf) was possible
thanks to a tsunami wave. Warning: There is
absolutely no proof for this hypothesis (the same as for other
||Shang dynasty in China
||Iron Age. But for a few
centuries (until ca. 1200 BC) Hitties had monopoly on iron working. Age
of war chariots invented by Indo-Europeans.
Zargos mountains in western Iran) conquered Babylonia.
||Dynasty of the Kassites in
Babilonia. Cultural decline.
|New Hittie Empire.
||Military expansion of
Egypt to Palestine and Syria during the XVIIIth dynasty (Thutmose III)
and the XIXth
dynasty (Ramses II). Wars with Mittani and Hittie (Hatti) Empire.
||Achaeans (Greek) states in
Greece, on Crete, and in Southern Italy (late Mycenaean civilization).
||Achaeans destroyed city of
tribes from central Greece) invasion destroyed Achaean kingdoms of
(Indo-Europeans from Balkans) invaded Asia Minor and destroyed Hittie
||Probably the migration of Latin
(Indo-European) tribes to Italy.
||Raids of iron-armed Sea People (Sea
Nations) against Egypt and other countries in West Mediterranean.
||Assyria defeated the
Mitanni Kingdom and became the major power in Northern Mesopotamia.
||Sea expansion of
Phoenician city-states (from Lebanon). First Phoenician colonies: Utica
(in Tunisia), Lixus (in Morocco), Gades (in Southern Spain).
||Culture of Tartessos in
Arabia) migrated to Mesopotamia.
|| Invasion from Elam
destroyed Kassities kingdom in Babylonia.
||Expansion of Assyrian
under the rule of Tiglathpileser I (First Assyrian Empire).
||Urartu kingdom in Armenia.
|| King Solomon in Palestine.
||Beginning of Zhou dynasty
||Third Intermediate Period
in Egypt. Political decline.
||Aryan expansion in
northern India (Ganges Valley). Many feudal states.
||Villanova culture in Italy
- rise of populistic Etruscan city-states..
||Second Assyrian Empire.
Example of expansion of middle-income country. Assyrian conquests were
brute. First large armies equipped with iron weaponry. Late Assyrian
(Assurbanipal) created large libraries of old Babylonian and Sumerian
||Reforms of Lycurgus in
Sparta - first populistic city-state in Greece.
||Greek colonization in
||Phoenician city of
Carthage (in Tunisia) founded (traditionally 814 BC).
|| First Olympic Games
(traditionally 753 BC).
||“Springs and Autumns”
period in China. Feudal decomposition of late Zhou dynasty.
||Fall of the Assyrian
Empire defeated by Medes
(from Iran) and Babylonians (general Nabopolassar).
|Invasions from northern
coasts of Black Sea. Cimmerians
raided Assyria and Asia Minor. Then Scyths
(Scythians) made some raids to Central Europe and Middle East.
(Chaldean Empire) of king Nebuchadnezzar II known from the Bible.
||After 700 BC
Late Period in Egypt.
to Herodotus Phoenician expedition launched by pharaoh Necho sailed
||593 BC Solon’s
reforms in Athens.
|Gautama Buddha in India.
||Persians leaded by king
Cyrus II conquered Babylonia - Persian Empire.
||Banishment of Etruscan
kings - populistic republic in Rome.
Dates above are rounded, simplified for reader convenience (for example
1700-1600 BC means in XVIIth century BC) and grouped to illustrate
of events - for example how a collapse of empire or civilization
barbarian invasions. Here is a quick summary:
Period in Mesopotamia, invention of writing, early Sumer Civilization.
Sumer city-states in Mesopotamia, Old Kingdom in Egypt. Bronze age
kingdoms in Mesopotamia, Middle Kingdom in Egypt, populistic Minoan
Civilization, Indus Valley Civilization.
chaos and barbarian migrations after the fall of Hammurabi Empire,
Civilization and Indus Valley Civilization. A kind of ancient “dark ages”. New Kingdom in Egypt.
expansion of populistic Phoenician city-states. Successive feudal
empires in Mesopotamia. Iron Age
expansion of Greek city-states. Etruscans and Rome in Italy. First
reliable historical dates.
Warsaw, April-May-June 2006
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