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According to the archaeological record, the Mycenaean civilization began to decline around 1250 B.C.
This is a rational and beneficial way of beginning the discussion on the cultural factors that ultimately underlay the author's portrayal of a Spartan "grand strategy." He then sets about detailing his conception of nomadic groups of ethnic Dorians, which invaded the Peloponnese in the Greek dark ages after the collapse of Mycenaean civilization. Rahe lingers a bit too long here, attempting to piece together controversial and sparse evidence into a coherent picture that is simply very difficult to establish.
The emerging new story goes like this: In 800 BC, as the Greek world emerged from the Dark Age that followed the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization chronicled by Homer, typical Greeks were indeed impoverished.