Reimagining the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

Essay published with The Long Now Foundation.

Image credit: Casey Cripe
Dynamics of social complexity.

In his Histories, Herodotus tells the story of Croesus, a wealthy king who ruled the region of Lydia some 2,500 years ago. One day, Croesus consulted the famous oracle at Delphi about his conflict with the neighboring Persians. The oracle responded that if Croesus went to war, he would destroy a great empire. Sure of victory, Croesus marched for battle. Much to his surprise, however, he lost. The great empire he destroyed was not his enemies’, but his own. A few centuries later, the Persians were in turn bested by Alexander the Great.

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Dries Daems
Dries Daems
Digital Archaeologist

I am an archaeologist with a Ph.D. from University of Leuven. My research interests include social complexity, urbanism, artisanal production, and human-environment interactions through computational modeling and pottery studies.