Bloodaxe's Realm     The Medieval World  


Historians have divided the story of human development into a number of ages for reference. Age of Empires covers roughly four periods—the end of the old Stone Age (or Paleolithic period), the Tool Age (or Neolithic period), the Bronze Age, and the beginnings of the Iron Age. These periods are named after the predominant tool and weapon material. Stone Age tools were large stone choppers and spear points. Tool Age tools were small stone blades, called microliths, struck from stone core. The small blades were fixed into hafts to make scythes, knives, and others specialized tools. The Bronze Age was dominated by tools and weapons made of bronze metal, an alloy usually of copper and tin. The Iron Age was dominated by tools and weapons of iron. Tools and other technologies were cumulative in nature. Cultures had to master the preceding technology to proceed and advance. Newly rising cultures built on the technologies of their predecessors. Even the Yamato culture, the last in Age of Empires to develop historically, had to build on Tool Age and Bronze Age technologies that developed farther in the West and spread gradually East. The advance from one age to another was usually a slow process that required a gradual but extensive conversion of an entire economy. New raw materials and new fabrication techniques were required. New skills and workshops came into being. The eventual cost in time and resources was enormous, but the new efficiencies recovered those costs quickly. Age of Empires spans 12,000 years of ancient history. This time period has been subdivided into four significant ages:· Stone Age – Characterized by pursuit of the required tools of survival: the construction of shelter and the search for steadfast sources of food through hunting, fishing, and foraging.· Tool Age – Characterized by farming settlements, stable food supplies, defense of territory, accelerated population growth, simple economy, and emerging military.· Bronze Age – Characterized by competition for valuable resources, increasingly sophisticated technologies, metalworking, trade, colonization, centralized government, institutionalized religion, highly organized military systems, and conquest.· Iron Age – Characterized by a dependence upon precious metals to drive economies, empire building, expansion, construction of massive cities supporting huge populations, sophisticated military organizations, siege tactics, armor and weaponry, dominance of seaways with war galleys and triremes and enormous construction projects including the Wonders of the Ancient World.