Sea People (02:44)
Mysterious raiders attacked the Nile Delta in 1200 B.C., threatening the Egyptian Empire. States fell around the Mediterranean in a domino effect. The bronze trade halted.
Iron Age (03:51)
On Cyprus, metal workers discovered rocks containing the fourth most common mineral in the Earth's crust. Charcoal produced higher temperatures needed to smelt the ore and convert it to tools. Forests were felled to feed foundries.
Iron Warfare (03:34)
Pausanias prepared his men to defend Sparta against the Persian Empire. Learn about Spartan military training. Despite superior iron weaponry, they needed support from their Greek rivals against Persia.
Early Democracy (03:34)
A Persian envoy offered Athenians amnesty if they surrendered. Male citizens voted to risk their lives for independence.
Battle of Plataea (02:28)
In 479 B.C., Spartans and Athenians united against Persia. Persian commander Mardonius believed superior numbers would result in victory, but the Greeks had a new weapon.
Plataea Outcome (04:38)
Pausanias and Sophones introduced the phalanx formation against the Persian Army. Mardonius was killed and the Persians retreated; Sparta and Athens retained their independence. The Parthenon was constructed in Athens to commemorate the battle.
Qin Dynasty (02:22)
Emperor Shi Huang Di believed cast iron technology and mass production of weapons would secure his empire.
The Chinese empire's mass produced iron weapons increased the range and power of traditional archery, and required less skill to use. Standardized, interchangeable parts created the first modular weapon system in history.
Great Wall (04:50)
With the crossbow, the Qin Emperor unified China. To defend against nomadic tribes in Central Asia, he engineered the biggest project in history. However, his quest for immortality led to mercury poisoning; terra cotta soldiers guarded his tomb.
Hanno the Navigator (01:53)
The Carthaginian explorer led a Phoenician fleet on a voyage of discovery. Iron tools improved ship building; keels provided stability.
Phoenician Alphabet (03:38)
On his journey of discovery, Hanno used a new writing technology to record Mt. Cameroon's eruption and encounters with guerrillas in Gabon. Phoenician colonies spread trade and ideas throughout the Mediterranean.
Spiritual Revolution (03:15)
During the Iron Age, writing spread Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Two generations after Babylon had conquered Jerusalem, Jewish scribes recorded their history and beliefs, introducing monotheism.
Return to Jerusalem (03:03)
Persian armies threatened Babylon. Zerubbabel convinced 100 Jewish families to journey to the Promised Land. They carried scrolls that would become the Old Testament—the most widely read book worldwide. (Credits)
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