When Civilization Collapsed
Death of the Bronze Age By William H. Stiebing Jr.

It was a cataclysm of immense proportions: Near the end of the 13th century B.C.E., the great Bronze Age civilizations of the Aegean and Near East suddenly collapsed. In the latter part of the Late Bronze Age (c. 1400–1200 B.C.E.), Mycenaean civilization flourished in Greece and Crete. The Hittites controlled most of Anatolia […]

Earthquake Storms
What triggered the collapse? By Amos Nur, Eric H. Cline

It sounded like the roar of a high-speed train—but it caused far more devastation. The earthquake that hit northwestern Turkey at Izmit, near Istanbul, on August 17, 1999, measured 7.4 on the Richter scale and killed 17,000 people. The tremors destroyed entire buildings, collapsed bridges, burst dams and caused landslides. Three months later, another […]

Eros in Egypt

We moderns tend to believe that ancient Egyptian art contains little that is overtly sexual. Egyptian painting seems to lack the strong sensual qualities of much classical art and its descendant, the richly textured art of the Renaissance. This impression is mistaken, however. In paintings and reliefs in Egyptian temples and tombs, the sexuality […]

The Fihrist
How an Arab book seller saved civilization By J. Harold Ellens

In a fiery speech delivered at Clermont, France, in 1095 C.E., Pope Urban II called on Western Christians to expel the “Infidel” from the Holy Land. Thus the Pope unleashed the Crusades, during which European armies gained control of most of the Levant, including Jerusalem. The Pope also unleashed something else—a kind of […]


Editors’ Page: Defining Ethics
When morality becomes moralism By Hershel Shanks
Origins: First Glass
Invented only once in ancient Mesopotamia, the art of glassmaking has been preserved by Near Eastern peoples ever since. By Samuel Kurinsky
Past Perfect: The Omphalos and the Oracle
British novelist Lawrence Durrell reminisces about the Hellenic center of the world.
The Forum
Preserving the First Amendment, righting wrongs, and taking off on Edward Lear.
Briefly Noted
For junior archaeologists