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Weather History and Climate (600 B.C. to 550 B.C.)

600 B.C. to 550 B.C. | 550 B.C. to 500 B.C.

CLIMATE (600-550 B.C.):

The climate of this period was mainly cold and dry. This is the cold-dry phase of the 100-year cycle.

The centers of the cold-dry periods are conspicuous turning points in history. For the purpose of these charts, the long-time cycles are defined as beginning and ending at or near the centers of the cold-dry phases. The last cold phase of the 500-year cycle is always a very important time in history, so it is convenient to define the 500-year cycle as running from the center of one cold-dry phase to the center of the fifth one following. There is another reason which supports this procedure. Every fifth cold phase is usually a more severe one, located in the center of a period of time during which climate has deteriorated--has become increasingly drier and colder. The termination of the 5000year cycle marks a turning point in the favorableness of climate.

NOTE that in this chart, at 575 B.C., we have the simultaneous termination of a 500-year cycle, a 100-year cycle and a 1,000-year cycle.

HISTORY (600-550 B.C.):

Civilizations radically change at the end of each 500-year cycle, but more especially at the end of the 1,000-year cycle.

This period in history marks the end of an epoch in the Ancient World. The powerful and, in a way, brilliant empires of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Crete, and finally Assyria--all of them around the Mediterranean or between it and the Persian Gulf--had run their course. All of them were now in a state of decline and disruption. No strong, healthy states existed anywhere, as far as we know. The world was in one of its H dark ages." There was much wandering of peoples from one region to another. Among these wandering peoples were the Medes and the Persians, who were Indo-Europeans or Caucasians like ourselves. Nineveh, the old capital of the Assyrians, fell to the Medes in 612 B.C. Between them, these wandering hordes broke up the decadent Assyrian civilization. A Semitic people, the Chaldeans, also came upon the scene and made Babylon their capital. For the moment, they were the prominent people of the Western World, and Nebuchadnezzar was their king. But Nebuchadnezzar's rule was an unhappy one. A rebellious mood prevailed everywhere. As the pages of this history open, at 600 B.C., the western provinces of his empire were in revolt, especially the little kingdom of Judea. Jerusalem paid for its unwillingness to submit by being destroyed, and many of its people were carried off to Babylon as slaves. This happened in the second decade of the century.

Greece, fortunately, had not been subjected to the Chaldean yoke, but all during the first half of the century, 600-550 B.C., she was having troubles of her own. This was a period of struggle between the underprivileged classes, especially the farmers and small merchants and the nobility. Coinage had just been substituted for the barter system in the economy of the Greek City States, but only the rich could secure the coins. The poor people had none. At the same time, the Greek people were quarreling among themselves over religious problems, and those who 'went on pilgrimages to the temples were oppressed.

In Athens, during this time, a famous nobleman and poet, Solon, was greatly affected by the misery of the people and attempted to institute reforms. He wanted more democratic laws but, while he was successful in effecting many reforms, they did not go far enough.

A few years later, in an effort to prevent dictators from assuming power again as they had done previously, the Greeks adopted the method of ostracism. An official who attempted to usurp too much power could be banished by the people. This was a democratic move. Democratic principles grew rapidly during this 50-year period. Sparta, one of the most important of the Greek City States, became a champion and protector of democratic principles and promoted reforms among the cities of the Greek peninsula. However, Sparta's government was socialistic compared with Athens.

Simultaneously in Italy, the Romans and Etruscans--then hardly better than competing tribes--were quarreling and a legendary Roman king, Servius Tullius, was assassinated.

Egypt, under a new and democratic ruler, Amasis II (Ahmose), became noted for its cosmopolitan spirit; foreign scholars and men of commerce were invited to go there and live. But Egypt, too, was in internal turmoil. The armies disagreed on a new leader and were having trouble with the Ethiopians to the south of them. In fact, Egypt was virtually in a state of political collapse. The king had little effective power.

Bands of Celts were roaming over Italy at will. Carthage, near the present city of Tunis, was having serious difficulties with native tribes from the south. The Phoenician city of Cadiz on the southern shore of Spain was having similar trouble. The land and the sea were infested with pirates because there were no strong governments to keep them down.

There is evidence that Polynesian races migrated eastward into the East Indies from the Asiatic mainland at about this time, and that wild Mongoloid tribes, the Ainu, moved into southern Japan from the north and northwest, disrupting the higher Japanese civilization. The Greeks were spreading out too, extending their colonies farther and farther afield. Waves of Teutons came out of Scandinavia.

So, all over the known world, a certain pattern of conditions prevailed from 600-550 B.C. Governments were weak and crumbling; people were rebellious against their governments and quarreling among themselves; they were divided into hostile religious factions; strife prevailed between the rich and the poor--the ruling and the underprivileged classes. Restlessness was everywhere. Hordes were on th. march, migrating from one region to another; savages were raiding the centers of civilization, and pirates were raiding the commerce of the seas. There were no strong governments anywhere; there was a lack of unity and an absence of loyalty to states everywhere during this period.

Keep this pattern in mind and what the climatic conditions were during this period. It was mostly cold and dry; that is, the great majority of the countries of the earth, especially in the Temperate Zones. were colder and drier than normal. We are in the cold phase of a world-wide climatic cycle, and in the dry part of that cold phase. The cycle of which this cold-dry phase is a part averages 100 years in length.

There is one very important fact to remember about Greek history during this time. It is not only a fact, but a lesson which mankind has never adequately learned even after the passage of 2500 years of time. The Greek City States became prosperous and went through the most brilliant period of their history because there originated within their society a sufficiently large and powerful middle class which built up a private enterprise system. This event was part of an industrial revolution which was now under way and came to a climax later.

Before 600 B.C., Greek colonists had spread up and down the Mediterranean and around the Black Sea. From the Black Sea they made contact with the grain areas along the lower Danube River, and with the iron mines along the southeastern coast of the sea. On the southern coast they had found a friendly people in the Egyptians and had established trading centers there. To the westward they had founded cities in Sicily. Syracuse became one of the most powerful and one of the richest cities of the Greek world.

All of this led to a great increase of business and manufacturing in the home cities. A large market opened up for Greek wares. New kinds of ships were invented that enabled the Greeks to obtain control of the seas. Rugs were imported from the Orient; grain, fish, and amber from the north; bronzes from Italy. Athens became a great manufacturing center for pottery which was decorated very beautifully. Pottery was for Athens what the textile and woolen mills were for the United States.

The date 600 B.C. was as important to Greek history as was the middle of the nineteenth century to our own history. It centered upon a period of rapid commercial growth. It is well to remember that both of these dates occurred in the middle of long, cold periods. Recall how in the mid-nineteenth century our clipper ships were sailing all over the world.

With the dawn of the 500'5 B.C. it was evident that the character of the ancient World was radically changing. Time does not permit a detailed account of how the Ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, and Assyrian empires differed from the Greek and Roman civilizations. The older civilizations were preoccupied with religion, and everything was explained supernaturally. When religion did not preoccupy them military conquests did. The new 1000-year period was to be based on rational thought and naturalistic explanations. crude though they were. This meant that it would also be based on new inventions, new types economy. new ways of living, new forms of architecture and a new outlook on life.

The old ways of thinking, the old religions. the old techniques of living, and the old political and economic patterns were now outmoded. In other words. the Greek and Roman civilizations came into being as a result of great revolutions and of a tremendous increase in the capacity of mankind to think.

Another natural breaking point in history occurred 500 years later when t here took place another very profound revolution--the birth of the Christian Church. Five hundred years after that in fifth century, came another one of the major breaks or turning points in history that happens only once in a thousand years, namely, the fall of Rome and of all the other ancient civilizations as well. This century marked the end of ancient times and the beginning of Medieval history. The next turning point occurred in the tenth century with the emergence of Feudalism. The next took place in the 15th century at the end of another 1000 year period, when Medieval history ended and the Modern world began. Institutions and ways of thinking once more changed very drastically. Once more an old world died and a new one was born.

At the present moment we stand face to face with one of the 500-year land marks of history, for a 500-year cycle is drawing to a close. Whether we like it or not. or realize it or not, a great social and moral revolution is under way, perhaps not quite but almost as profound as the revolution that ushered in the Greek world in the sixth century B.C.

Suppose we look at a few of the striking parallels. (1) Just before the long cold period had begun. in the latter part of the seventh century B.C., the dominating people of the Near East were the Assyrians. They had passed through the second brilliant period of their history. While their last ruler. Ashurbanipal (668-626 B.C.). was a scholar and had collected a great library. the Assyrians' Empire was in the last stages of decline. During a nation-falling type of war in 612 B.C., the capital of the empire, Nineveh, fell to the Medes and the Chaldeans. The peoples of the entire 1 and rejoiced when they heard the glad tidings, for the Assyrians had been the "Nazis" of their day.

(2) But the Chaldeans correspond to the Russians. They set up their capital in Babylonian and as overlords were hardly an improvement over the -Nazi" Assyrians. Nebuchadnezzar, who reigned from 6044561 B.C., carried off many Hebrews from Palestine to Jerusalem as captives, just as the Russians are doing now with the Czecholsovakians and other peoples of Central Europe.

(3) The flare -up of the Chaldeans, although dramatic, was brief. They in turn gave way to the Persians, who were democratic and benevolent in their treatment of the native tribes. We can expect the present Russian control of her many satellite states to be brief. Before long, democracy will win out in the entire area of Central Europe.

(4) There was a great effort on the part of the underprivileged classes of the 500's B.C. to free themselves and to secure an opportunity to participate in government. The farmer constituted one of the underprivileged groups, but historically of greater importance was the new business class. or middle class, who were now beneficiaries of the budding industrial revolution. These men had became prosperous in business and trade and were now demanding a share in the government of the land, JUST AS LABOR TODAY IS DEMANDING A GREATER SHARE IN THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE WORLD. AND IN THE MANAGEMENT OF BUSINESS IN THIS COUNTRY.

 Information from Weather Science Foundation.