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Stone Age
Bronze Age
Iron Age

Why did the bronze age become the iron age?

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August 07, 2010 12:17AM

As the name suggests, the Bronze Age was dominated by the metal alloy bronze. People used bronze tools and bronze weapons and armor. When people started using iron weapons and armor, the bronze ones didn't hold a candle to the tougher iron. However, that's just a general definition. The real reason why we divide the ages is because there are a great variety of differences between the archaeological remains of Bronze Age and Iron Age city layers. There was a decline in civilization before there was a renewal. Historians and archaeologists alike have many different theories as to why there was such a huge shift around 1000 BC. in the Mediterranean world. There are 3 main theories. No one is in agreement about this AT ALL.

1. Natural catastrophe (floods, earthquakes, etc. Most likely not the case)

2. Revolt

3. Invasion from outside

The third is the most likely. We know there were groups of people known as the Sea Peoples that invaded both Egypt and Palestine. But how did they defeat civilizations who had been developing warfare for thousands of years? The answer might lie in more effective tactics on the part of the invaders. Not only did they have better armor and weapons, they also had greater fighting skill. The Egyptians, Canaanites, Hittites, Assyrians, and Babylonians all relied on their chariot force to win their battles. They hadn't counted on a superior force of foot soldiers to outmaneuver and neutralize their war machines. But this is what happened. Chariots didn't work well in mountains, either, so this is why the Israelites and the Uraurtu (the thorn in the side of the Assyrians) were so hard to defeat in their home territories.

This change in battle tactics was eventually perfected by the Greeks. They created the phalanx - an unstoppable wall of iron-tipped spears and bronze shields - which was imitated all over the ancient world. This was only superseded by the Romans, who had slightly different tactics but more discipline. It was the Romans who saw the final death of the chariot. The last people to use them were the Gauls, Britons and Celts.