In 1200 B.C. Barbarians over ran most of the known world destroying everything in their path. 1200 - 800 B.C. was known as the first dark age.
One of the few cultures that escaped destruction were the Phoenicians. The Phoenicians actually began their rise to power during this time period.
The catastrophe of 1200 BC was traditionally attributed to a large influx of barbarians from Asia into the Mediterranean and Near East. The barbarians were thought to have overrun much of the area, displacing the locals, who in turn invaded more southerly areas. Where the displaced groups invaded by sea, they were referred to as the mysterious Sea Peoples.
An alternative view refutes the Asian influx and attributes the catastrophe to hordes of local barbarians who had always been near at hand, in the mountains and marginal lands that surrounded the more fertile areas. The barbarians included the Libyans to the west of Egypt, the northern Greeks (more likely the sackers of Troy than the Mycenaean's), tribes along the south coast of Anatolia, and the Philistines and Israelites of Palestine. Sea raiders from Sardinia, Sicily, and what is now modern Italy had a long history of piracy and serving as mercenaries, especially for Libya versus Egypt. They may have been the Sea Peoples.
Prior to 1200 BC these barbarians had been defeated consistently by the chariot armies when they ventured down from their hills and mountains, or across the seas. Around 1200 BC, however, evidence indicates that the barbarians made several changes in their weaponry and tactics that quickly ended the dominance of chariots.
Military historians have noted the existence over time of a competitive cycle in the improvements and innovations concerning the three ingredients of warfare: firepower, security, and mobility. Changes in any of the three—such as an improved bow, better armor, or chariots or horses—could temporarily upset a pre-achieved general equilibrium that determined tactics, giving the innovator an advantage until changes in the other ingredients restored the equilibrium through new tactics. Around 1200 BC, the barbarians on the fringes of the civilized world made too many changes to the ingredients of warfare too rapidly. Before a new equilibrium of new tactics could be achieved, most of the civilized world was lost.