If my arithmetic is correct then 984 BCE was three thousand years ago. Twice as long ago as the fall of the western Roman Empire. Ten times further back than the start of the Georgian Age in Britain, the death of Louis XIV of France, the Sun-King, the birth of the poet Thomas Grey and the great garden designer Capability Brown.
But because we’re now going so far back in time records are elusive and not to be trusted. So I’m going to cheat a little by casting my net over the half century between 1000 BCE and 950 BCE.
There were an estimated 50 million people living in the world.
This was the period when the middle east was slowly recovering from the Bronze Age Collapse which had led to a two hundred year period during which many of the most ancient states of the world were destroyed. Iron weapons were now becoming the norm.
India contained a number of powerful Iron Age kingdoms.The Shang dynasty in China was replaced by the Zhou.
The powerful Hittite Empire has collapsed. It is possible that three kings ruled Israel in this half century: Saul, David and Solomon. Ancient Iranians entered what would become Persia and the forebears of the Latin people began to migrate into Italy. Egypt was still recovering from the incursions of the Sea Peoples. In 894 BCE Osorkon the Elder becomes the first Pharaoh of Libyan origin.
The Assyrian Kingdom, one of the longest-lasting and most resilient nations of all time, had survived the Bronze Age collapse better than most but was now beginning a century of comparative decline. But never fear, this remarkable people bounced back again and got ready to conquer its third and greatest empire. Or, should I say, always fear. The Assyrians were one of the most ferocious and successful empire builders of any time. Think Genghis Khan with a civilised streak.
On a less blood-thirsty level, rice began to be cultivated in Japan. On a spiritual level, the great prophet Zoroaster may have been born. Or maybe some time over the next four hundred years. (See what I mean about elusive dates.) In Kenya there is evidence of farming. The Phoenicians may have invented the first alphabet at about this time.
The first known trousers or pants seem to have appeared in China, probably introduced by horse-riding peoples from the steppes.
Next time. 1,984 BCE – or very much thereabouts.