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Bronze Age: Timeline & Explanation

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  • 0:02 What Was the Bronze Age?
  • 1:33 Mesopotamia
  • 2:10 Anatolia & Egypt
  • 2:56 Aegean & Asia
  • 3:34 End of the Bronze Age
  • 3:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Elam Miller

Jessica has taught college History and has a Master of Arts in History

When metallurgists discovered tin could be combined with copper to create a stronger metal, bronze became invaluable in the creation of weapons and tools. The Bronze Age is the time in which bronze was the primary material used in many cultures.

What Was the Bronze Age?

Have you ever wondered where the term 'The Bronze Age' came from? Or who first created bronze? Bronze is made when tin is combined with copper. After its development, bronze became very popular for making weapons and tools.

The Bronze Age refers to a time when bronze was the primary metal used to create tools and weapons. It occurred between the Stone Age and the Iron Age. This time period occurred between 3500 and 1200 B.C.E. It can be divided into three subsequent time periods:

  • Early Bronze Age (3500-2000 B.C.E.)
  • Middle Bronze Age (2000-1600 B.C.E.)
  • Late Bronze Age (1600-1200 B.C.E.)

During this time, civilization was developing in modern areas of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. As varying groups of people discovered metals and metallurgy, the science of forging metal, the Bronze Age occurred at different times. The development of bronze in this region first occurred in Mesopotamia. Sumerians, who inhabited southern Mesopotamia, discovered bronze could be created by adding tin to copper. The resulting metal was more durable than copper. It was also sharper. These two qualities made the alloy very popular and useful in weaponry. The metal was also used to create tools and household items.

The Bronze Age also saw the development of writing systems, pyramids, and ziggurats (large, raised structures used for religious purposes).

Mesopotamia

Huge cities developed rapidly during this time period in Mesopotamia. Among these are the Ur and Babylonia. Culturally, Sumerian was replaced by Akkadian as the spoken language, although Sumerian religious practices remained popular throughout the region.

Cuneiform was also developed here. As the earliest known writing system, cuneiform was originally depicted with pictographs. In order to increase efficiency in writing, the pictographs were replaced by wedge shapes. Cuneiform was used mostly for inventory and administrative purposes, but later was also used to record important events.

Anatolia & Egypt

The Hittites were a group of people who resided in Anatolia during this time period. During the Bronze Age, the Hittites expanded their empire to cover a large area, reaching parts of Syria and Mesopotamia. The Hittites can be credited with the decline of the Bronze Age due to their development in ironwork.

Egypt experienced many changes and development during the Bronze Age. During the early part of the period, religion was unified. The Pharaoh became known as a god and utilized this authority to initiate the building of pyramids and intricate tombs for himself. Egypt experienced periods of development and success followed by an eventual decline. Egypt's success fell due to numerous invasions and eventual losses to groups like the Assyrians, Persians, Romans, and Turks.

Aegean & Asia

Aegean civilizations resided in Greece and its islands during the Bronze Age. The Minoans, a group of people who inhabited the Greek island of Crete, experienced success during this time. They developed and organized a system of importing and exporting goods. The Minoans utilized the trade to import materials and create art and tools as they became more experienced in metallurgy.

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