You’ve seen “Wonder Woman 1984” and so you know by now that the Dreamstone is a seriously powerful, seriously dangerous magical artifact. If you’re not clear how it works you can check back here to catch up but briefly: created by the “god of lies,” the Dreamstone grants wishes, but at a tremendous personal cost […]
You’ve seen “Wonder Woman 1984” and so you know by now that the Dreamstone is a seriously powerful, seriously dangerous magical artifact.
If you’re not clear how it works you can check back here to catch up but briefly: created by the “god of lies,” the Dreamstone grants wishes, but at a tremendous personal cost to the person making the wish. So for a hypothetical example, someone wishes for $1,000; they get it, but it turns out to be a severance package after their job has been eliminated. Whoops.
This has more far-ranging consequences than just ironic-punishments-for-greed at the individual level, however. One’s wishes can also affect other people — Ask for a new car, and someone else might lose theirs, just for one example. And apparently the effect is cumulative cumulative, meaning the more wishes it grants, the more powerful its negative impacts become. In fact, as our heroes learn, the Dreamstone is directly linked to the destruction of entire civilizations throughout history.
We don’t know how many in total, but the film specifically names 5 civilizations destroyed by the Dreamstone, and even provides specific dates. Now obviously in real life these civilizations weren’t destroyed by magic, but they did all actually exist. So let’s take a look at how they compare to their “Wonder Woman 1984” counterparts.
Civilization: Indus River Valley
Date of destruction, according to “Wonder Woman 1984”: “4,000 Years Ago”
There’s a lot we don’t know about the Indus River Valley civilization, but what is known is very impressive. Formed sometime around 3300 BCE — making them roughly contemporaneous with ancient Egypt and early Mesopotamian cultures — they are the earliest documented civilization in what is now known as South Asia. Their huge territory included parts of northeast Afghanistan, much of Pakistan, and parts of western and northwestern India.
Their cities were marked by advanced urban planning, including grid structure, extensive sanitation systems, public baths, large buildings and flood management systems, just to name a few. There is also evidence of a large number of specialist occupations, an extensive trading as far away as Egypt and the Levant, a developed business economy and greatly accurate units of measurement, and long periods of relative peace and prosperity. They were educated, prosperous and for the time highly urbanized, basically about as good as it got during the bronze age.
The civilization really hit its stride around 2600 BCE and kept going strong for another 900 years. To put that in perspective, America, which is currently somehow producing the worst COVID-19 outcomes despite being the richest country on earth, is only 243 years old.
But according to archaeologists, the civilization began to decline around 1900 BCE. It’s impossible to know for certain why, but it’s now believed that a dramatic change in climate affecting multiple regions around the world began around this time. In the Indus River valley, this appears to have caused a rise in the spread of disease and interruptions to agriculture, limiting the ability of cities to support their residents and disrupting trade networks. This, predictable, would have ruined the economy, likely contributed to a spike in societal violence, and further weakened societal ties.
Whatever the cause, within 200 years the major cities were abandoned and the region began to split up into several independent successor societies.
“Wonder Woman 1984” says that the Indus Valley culture ended 4,000 years ago, or roughly 1980 BCE, so, it was at least in the ballpark. Though in real life it wasn’t a sudden end so much as a long decline — perhaps with a sudden beginning.
Date of destruction, according to “Wonder Woman 1984”: 146 BC
Centered in what is now Tunisia, Carthage was at one time the richest and most powerful seafaring civilization in the Mediterranean. Established as a Phoenician colony in the late 800s BC, it became independent in the 650s BCE and by the 300s dominated maritime trade, essentially treating the Southwest Mediterranean sea like its personal ocean.
Things changed after 270 BCE, when Rome established control over most of the Italian peninsula and started to expand its military presence into areas the Carthaginians considered under their domain. Up to that point Rome and Carthage had been longstanding friends — the two even fought on the same side against the Greek general Pyrrhus. But in 264 the two empires got into a dispute over control of Sicily and ended up in a war that lasted for 23 years.
Rome basically won because it was slightly less bankrupted by the war than Carthage, and it ended with Carthage paying a ton of money to Rome. This permanently poisoned things between the former friends and 23 years later, in 218, Carthaginian general Hannibal
Date of destruction, according to “Wonder Woman 1984”: 4 AD
Civilization: Western Roman Empire
Date of destruction, according to “Wonder Woman 1984”: 476 AD
Date of destruction, according to “Wonder Woman 1984”: Unclear
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