The axial age (800 bc-600 ad)
The name comes from Karl Jaspers, German philosopher. The axial age behind with Zoroaster, and Graeber ends it with the death of Mohammed in 632.
Pythagoras, Buddah, and Confucius all lived at the same time, 570-480 bc. The early iron age was a pause between empires, when the world was a chequerboard of diminutive kingdoms and city states. Externally at war, internally filed with political debate, and the formation of dropout culture.
For the first time, the great questions were investigated with reasoned inquiry. And no new philosophical ideas have been added since.
The trinity of philosophers was matched by the development of coinage. Metal moved out of the great storehouses of temples and kings, was broken into tiny pieces, and into everyday use. Why? War.
Coins to pay mercenaries, gold looted by soldiers… The phoenicians, the great merchants, resisted coinage for centuries.