Four ages of humanity

There is a close relationship between climate change and the ages of humanity.

Often after a storm there is a rainbow. I know that the future is going to be harsh, but I believe good will come from it.

Often after a storm there is a rainbow. I know that the future is going to be harsh, but I believe good will come from it.

Various traditions break human history into four ages, with climate change evident causing each age to end.  Hesiod living in circa 750 BCE in Greece lists five ages, Ovid a Roman in the closing decades from 43 BCE listed four ages.

Hesiod describes a utopia akin to the Australian Aborigine version of the Dreamtime, he calls the Golden Age.  It describes a time when humanity was carefree in an age of plenty, nomadic hunter-gatherers when the earth swarmed with herds of animals that the hunters obtained all they needed from.  The Golden Age was ended by the Younger Dryas, a sudden big freeze that hit inside ten years, lasting 70 years, which coincided with the extinction of scores of animal and plant species, including those that had been around in North America for millions of years, mammoth, dire wolves, sabre toothed cats, and other megafauna.

With food less plentiful the Younger Dryas caused humanity to start farming, starting the Neolithic, the beginnings of civilisation.  Hesiod calls this the Silver Age, which is marked by a continuation of the belief in animism and the rule by matriarchy.  The melting ice of the last ice age caused sea levels to rise by hundreds of metres giving rise to the world-wide flood myths, it caused widespread conflict as people were forced to move.

For defence people banded together into cities, the chaos gave rise to an explosion of technology, writing was invented, so was organised religion.  Gods such as Zeus replaced the honouring of nature spirits.  Patriarchy replaced matriarchy, women rapidly falling to servitude.  Bronze replaced stone, so began the Bronze Age.

Both Hesiod and Ovid comment that the Bronze Age is the age of war.  People live in cloth of bronze and houses of bronze said Hesiod, these people never ate bread, a reference to the mentality of obtaining food through war rather than honest farming.

Relevant only to the Greek world Hesiod adds that the Bronze Age rolls into the Heroic Age.  The age of heroes is the age when Troy fell, which textual and archaeological sources pin down to 1250 BCE.  Herodotus mentions the Greek heroic superman Heracles running around Greece 900 years before he was born, circa 1300 BCE.  Evidently based on a historical figure Heracles seems to rapidly gain cult status. The poison arrows from the slain Hydra of Heracles was used to kill Paris in the Trojan War.  Heracles a few decades before the Trojan War was serving Jason as an Argonaut in his quest for the Golden Fleece.

Greece came down with a bump when climate change in 1200 BCE caused a rapid freeze sending the people in the north of the world southwards.  By land and sea the Mediterranean and the Middle East was flooded by invaders including the Sea Peoples. Empires were destroyed, cities burned, the Bronze Age fell into a dark ages it would not emerge from for hundreds of years.  The trade routes in bronze collapsed, so people turned to iron for their needs, the Bronze Age ended.  For locations such as Britain the Iron Age came later, as a result of another climate change event in around 750 BCE, which forced them into using hill forts, and the collapse of the use of bronze in favour of iron.

The Iron Age continues into this day marked by all our wonderful technology.  This is a worse age than the Bronze Age, since war continues, but it is added with loss of ethics.  Patriarchy rules, and anything female orientated in this world is despised and destroyed. I quote from Hesiod:

“Thereafter, would that I were not among the men of the fifth generation, but either had died before or been born afterwards. For now truly is a race of iron, and men never rest from labour and sorrow by day, and from perishing by night; and the gods shall lay sore trouble upon them. But, notwithstanding, even these shall have some good mingled with their evils. And Zeus will destroy this race of mortal men also when they come to have grey hair on the temples at their birth. The father will not agree with his children, nor the children with their father, nor guest with his host, nor comrade with comrade; nor will brother be dear to brother as aforetime. Men will dishonour their parents as they grow quickly old, and will carp at them, chiding them with bitter words, hard-hearted they, not knowing the fear of the gods. They will not repay their aged parents the cost their nurture, for might shall be their right: and one man will sack another’s city. There will be no favour for the man who keeps his oath or for the just or for the good; but rather men will praise the evil-doer and his violent dealing. Strength will be right and reverence will cease to be; and the wicked will hurt the worthy man, speaking false words against him, and will swear an oath upon them. Envy, foul-mouthed, delighting in evil, with scowling face, will go along with wretched men one and all. And then Aidos and Nemesis, with their sweet forms wrapped in white robes, will go from the wide-pathed earth and forsake mankind to join the company of the deathless gods: and bitter sorrows will be left for mortal men, and there will be no help against evil.”

Humanity is in a bad situation with so many economic, social and political troubles, in a paradigm of greed, waste and inefficiency. Science predicts what happens when any system is abused so that it becomes unsustainable, it collapses into anarchy as per the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Climate change is in motion with extreme floods, storm and drought, a hand that will collapse a house of cards. The ending of the Iron Age is on the horizon, I hope the next age will be better.

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13 responses to “Four ages of humanity

  1. Yet another great essay. But are you really saying this is (just) the end of another era?

    Is this not the first time where man’s own activities have brought on the end of an era?

  2. Raphael's Legacy by Barry Hardy

    This is an extremely compelling and powerful article and I really do hope many more read it, very big thank you for sharing this insight, sincere regards, Barry

  3. I wish for the best and fear for the worst. The climate change plus the greed and wars have changed the behaviors of the people. We now live in a time of such greed, (as I’ve never seen before) and apathy to making any changes that are needed to save the resources we have left. Great post, Alex.

  4. As do I. I say, to hell with Zeus, I still honor the nature spirits. I feel them within me, daily, without me (outside of my own skin) next to me, crying, hurting, shrinking, dying. The cleansing will begin, of that, I’m certain.

  5. A wonderful enlightening post here Alex for all who care to read, We are upon that time of Change yet again.. a much needed change in my opinion.. but it will be a very testing time for many.. But out of the Ashes the Phoenix rises, and it is my hope that humanity will come through these times of changes to be less material and more spiritual in their caring of each other.. Greed and Control has overtaken man’s Spirit to a point of aggressive behaviours based upon Fear. Fear of another taking what is theirs, Fear of loosing what they have. Very rarely do we consider another’s needs, we on the whole only think of Self! and our own needs… Never giving, or being grateful for what we have. always our cup is half empty never half full…We always seem to want more and more… And our actions have become selfish and controlling.. No longer thinking of the community and the whole.. We have separated ourselves into lone islands ….

    This is why when a disaster strikes… you will see that people are drawn together, because they need the help of others to survive.. This is why Mankind will go through such traumas, because he needs to be shown how lost he has become on his individual island of material wealth.. Money in the Bank will not save him… Skills and his whit will be needed..

    I see so much, and hope I am wrong, but the writing is already upon the wall…… I just pray for Peace, but I know survival brings out both the best and the worst in us all……

    Mankind thinks himself to be intelligent! with all his gadgets and technology… I just hope the next phase of our existence We will progress further than in the last few thousand years Spiritually as we need to understand we are ALL ONE.. each here to grow and progress.. And that happens through our being aware that what we do unto another- we do unto our selves… that includes Planet Earth our Earth Mother.. as well as all Life forms……..

    • Thanks for your insightful comment Sue, I believe that humanity has reached the point of a choice, they must decide to evolve upwards to the level expected of a species that is about to reach the stars, or sink into the abyss. The choice comes with a test, it will be a harsh testing as humanity has built up a mountain of karma for their abuses of the earth over thousands of years.

  6. Thanks Alex,First time I have come across the historians you mention,I think i’ll go read them.

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