What civilization or nation has experienced the most stereotypically apocalyptic societal collapse in history? Please describe accounts/descriptions from primary sources or historians if possible.
For example, here is a British officer and historian Stanley Casson describing the post-WWI collapse of law and order that he witnessed in Istanbul:
>…the Allied troops…found a city that was dead. The Turkish government had just ceased to function. The electrical supply had failed and was intermittent. Tramways did not work and abandoned trams littered the roads. There was no railway service, no street cleaning and a police force which had largely become bandit, living on blackmail from citizens in lieu of pay. Corpses lay at street corners and in side lanes, dead horses were everywhere, with no organization to remove them. Drains did not work and water was unsafe. All this was the result of only about three weeks’ abandonment by the civil authorities of their duties (1937: 217-18)
Excerpt from Joseph Tainter's "The Collapse of Complex Societies."
>I shudder when I think of the catastrophes of our time. For twenty years and more the blood of Romans has been shed daily between Constantinople and the Julian Alps. Scythia, Thrace, Macedonia, Dardania, Dacia, Thessaly, Achaia, Epirus, Dalmatia, the Pannonias— each and all of these have been sacked and pillaged and plundered by Goths and Sarmatians, Quades and Alans, Huns and Vandals and Marchmen. How many of God's matrons and virgins, virtuous and noble ladies, have been made the sport of these brutes!
>The Roman world is falling...
-Jerome 396 AD
That sounds like a libertarian paradise come true.
But seriously, I think that, if you go for a more long-term kind of apocalyptic end of civilization, I think the late bronze age crisis is the worst: civilizations in the balkans, anatolia and the levant ceased to exist in a period of a hundred years. Among this you have volcanoes, destruction o crops and bands of pirates, mercenaries and raiders roaming the Mediterranean looking for something to loot. The only civilization that barely survived were the egyptians,but only after a brutal war with the sea peoples. it also ended the period of charioteer warfare, because the social class that conformed the charioteers were destroyed.
Well, most people assume it was a mixture of factors, triggered by a natural event of some sort. What that event was is not clear, it goes from drought to volcanic eruptions, but the thing is clear: the societal structure was broken because the ruling warrior aristoracies failed to social changes caused by these natural events, and this caused the formation of bands of migrating warrior cultures surviving out of raiding cultures that already had problems caused by the natural catastrophe.
I think any scenario in which people don't even bother burying civilians anymore is particularly catastrophic.
Chinese and Muslim chronicles often mention this but it's mostly because it hurts Confucian and Islamic sensibilities, but when outsiders are shocked by the amount of corpses rotting in the streets or fields you know shit was really bad.
Collaboration: Japanese Agents and Local Elites in Wartime China by Timothy Brooks is an excellent look at how the Japanese brought order to a society which had been completely overrun and the locals who worked with them. Obviously the atrocities of the Japanese made this much more difficult which only makes the book that much more interesting.
As a mestizo south american, we know even less about the years before the spanish invasion
> Hur dur we wont ever write
> we wuz incas n shieet
The inca empire fall is a nice collapse
>Usavan tambien esta gente de ciertos caracteres o letras con las quales escrivian en sus libros sus cosas antiguas y sus sciencias, y con ellas, y figuras, y algunas señales en las figuras entendian sus cosas, y les davan a entender y enseñavan. Hallamosles grande número de libros de estas sus letras, y porq no tenían cosa, en que no oviesse superstiçion y falsedades del demonio se los quemamos todos, lo qual a maravilla sentían y les dava pena.
Mexico literally had its best pre-colombine text burnt to ashes
>Tfw when no mexican iliad
I think the collapse of the Russian Empire during WWI was even more apocalyptic than that of Turkey.
I mean, just try to make sense of the belligerents of the Russian Civil War.
The Russian Civil War would be an awesome videogame/TV series.
>white vs red conflict, turning from idealism and hope on both sides to violence and depravity
>anarchists and independent villages fucking around
>central Asian, Baltic, and Scandinavian holdings madly scrambling to escape Russian control
>the bloody fucking Baron carving out his Buddhist czardom in preparation for the coming of the Kali-Christ
>every European power getting involved
>fucking Japs in the East trying to get their share
The Mongol Sackof Baghdad
"They swept through the city like hungry falcons attacking a flight of doves, or like raging wolves attacking sheep, with loose reins and shameless faces, murdering and spreading terror...beds and cushions made of gold and encrusted with jewels were cut to pieces with knives and torn to shreds. Those hiding behind the veils of the great Harem were dragged...through the streets and alleys, each of them becoming a plaything...as the population died at the hands of the invaders."
Ukraine two years ago.
It was basically a meme of what the collapse of civilization looks like. Like a set-piece revolution from a movie or something.
It was pretty intense I rember a picture where riot police were squaring of against protesters and the street was a mess an everyone looked ready to fight and there was this dude who looked like he had a makeshift flamethrower
I think there is a russian tv show about Nestor Makhno set in the civil war, and also a shit ton of recent russian movies about the subject told from the perspective of the white army.
Then, you have soviet propaganda...
EVERYWHERE I GO MUST ALSO CLANK
>Italy has already been devastated by many disasters: have the vices of the Italians therefore ended? The city of Rome has been besieged and taken by storm: have the Romans therefore ceased their mad blasphemy? Barbarous nations have overrun the states of Gaul: have the crimes of the Gauls therefore changed in character, as far as their evil habits are concerned? Tribes of Vandals have crossed over into the Spanish countryside: the fortune of the Spaniards has indeed changed, but not their corruption. Lastly, that no part of the world might be immune from fatal destruction, wars have begun to cross the seas, they have devastated and overthrown cities shut off by the waves, in Sardinia and Sicily, the imperial granaries. Having, as it were, cut off the vital channels of the empire, they captured Africa, which may be called its heart. What then? As barbarians entered that land, did its vices cease, even through fear? Or, as even the most worthless slaves are usually reformed for the time being, did terror drive them to modesty and self-restraint? Who can rightly estimate this evil? The barbarians' arms clashed about the walls of Cirta and Carthage while the Christian congregation of the city raved in the circuses and wantoned in the theaters. Some had their throats cut |179 without the walls, while others still committed fornication within; part of the people were captive to the enemy without, while part within the city were captive to their own vices. It is hard to decide which suffered the worse misfortune.
>Salvian's On The Government of God, an over the top depiction of 5th century AD Rome
Even better is Eugippius' Life of St Severinus which depicts the collapse of Roman rule in Noricum (Austria), with legionaries travelling on foot to Italy to try and get their final wages.
As much as a Romeaboo I may be the Romans got what was coming to them, they had assfucked entire civilizations, enslaved, genocided and annihilated hundreds of nations for a millennia. The quote is powerful though, it made me think of the tome found at the grave in Moria describing the last stand against the orcs. "There's no way out... They are coming."
They did have concrete.
Not exactly the roman mixture, but one that worked. Itwas mainly (as in almost completely) used in fortification work, walls and stuff. Not in civilian infrastructure. They had manuals of fortifications from the 13-14th centuries that talk of it.
Nope. Social services did not collapse. If anything it was even less intense than 91/93 coups in (post)USSR or collapse of the Caucasus republics (especially Armenia in early 90s).
> white vs red conflict, turning from idealism and hope on both sides to violence and depravity
Meh. Whites didn't really change, while Red went from poorly organized rabble to the proper army by the end of the war.
So I started reading the OP's pic yesterday, and I'm about 80 pages in.
I feel bad for this guy.
He published this in 1989, right before a massive series of state failures.
He could have watched, first hand, the collapse of Somalia, the abandonment of central Asia, and a hundred-way civil war in the Congo that left 5 million dead.
>Even better is Eugippius' Life of St Severinus which depicts the collapse of Roman rule in Noricum (Austria), with legionaries travelling on foot to Italy to try and get their final wages.
Sounds pretty epic, did they succeed?
>I feel bad for this guy.
>He published this in 1989, right before a massive series of state failures.
>He could have watched, first hand, the collapse of Somalia, the abandonment of central Asia, and a hundred-way civil war in the Congo that left 5 million dead.
Are you implying he died? He's still alive last I checked. Or do you mean he would feel bad because he was totally vindicated?
They did not. They were brutally slaughtered by a bunch of Goths I believe. Their corpses were discovered drifting down a river.
This is a good read if you want a general overview of the situation.
>The main feature of the period after 476 is the complete breakdown of the military organisation and the defence of the border due to the cessation of financial support from the central government in Italy after the seizure of power by Odovacar. That removed the barrier to incursions by barbarian enemies, the most dangerous now being the Alamanni coming from the West. Whereas before 476, apart from the capture of Asturis, the barbarian menace had been limited to raids for the purpose of capturing food and prisoners for ransom, now the Germanic tribes were able to conquer towns and take entire populations captive, eventually leading to the Roman withdrawal from Noricum Ripense
You guys have it much better than us brazilians. Our ancestors didn't even have proper cities, they were all anarchistic hedonist fuckers who were too busy having a good time with all nature provided them with to care about being civilized and unhappy untill the portuguese introduced them to the 'to live is to suffer' shit europeans gifted us with.
But hey, we have internet and 4chan now... Yipeeee
>still perpetuating the myth of the "noble, in-touch-with-nature, peace-loving, merrymaking, carefree savage"
Stop buying into bullshit feel-good propaganda, anon. Your ancestors weren't any happier than you are today. Also, last I checked there's still plenty of untamed rainforest and jungle in your country, so go there if you are sick of modern industrial society.