A Brief Timeline of Ancient Interstellar Civilizations

Douwds and Tholians both probably quite old
I think Kevin Uxbridge said he’d been living in this galaxy for thousands of years…suggesting that he’s from another before that.

Why do you think the Tholians might be older too?
 
While not older, Star Fleet Battles depicted the Tholians as coming from outside the galaxy and that, when they arrived, they had brought their homeworld with them.
 
The line in “Ensign Ro” is from the…

Captain's log, supplemental. I read about the achievements of the ancient Bajoran civilisation in my fifth grade reader. They were architects and artists, builders and philosophers when humans were not yet standing erect. Now I see how history has rewarded them.​

At the time the episode was written it was thought that man first walked upright much later than has subsequently been discovered. Originally around 200,000 years ago…I think it might have been around 500,000 years ago at the time of the episode but don’t quote me on that.

Homo erectus was the first upright man and they existed around 1.9 million years ago.

More recently we’ve learned that our ape ancestor Sahelanthropus tchadensis stood upright as far back as 7 million years ago.

Interpret the “real” history of the Ancient Bajorans as you like. I’m tempted to take them to 7 Million years ago. Either way, I think it suggests a much more storied history than we gotten to explore so far and that’s rather intriguing to me.

I don't think we can really judge dialogue from an old episode by the discoveries since then. So in my opinion that means 200-500 thousand years ago.

But is the discovery of Homo Erection really more recent than that episode? That doesn't sound right.
 
I don't think we can really judge dialogue from an old episode by the discoveries since then. So in my opinion that means 200-500 thousand years ago.

But is the discovery of Homo Erection really more recent than that episode? That doesn't sound right.
:drool:

…but, yeah, no, Homo erectus was 1891. Thought about when it dated back to changed over time—agin, now it’s about at 2 million years. Additionally, since then we’ve learned that earlier apes also walked upright, and as recently as 2022, the newest research I’m aware of suggests 7 million.

Thing is though, the episode never says 200 or 500k, just the upright part. Unless you knew already (or do today) you’d go looking it up and finding those numbers.

All of them are really long, and unless you’re okay with thinking they just hung out for all that time, you need to come up with something or put in a placeholder for what happened during all that time. And much more looking at the Voth and others—the Hirogen built their subspace communications network across 60k(!) light years 100,000 years ago!

So you either start ignoring more and more dialogue and episodes or you make your peace with not knowing what happened.
 
Lagrange points are Not entirely stable either. Look at the James Webb.. it's length of service is dictated by its fuel reserve. It's still has to station keep.
add in micro meteorite impacts etc. I would only give it maybe thousands of years before the sky is clear or shattered to dust.

As for cities.. could be they didn't do metal high rises, more eco friendly. Or even organic technology. The voth after so long have risen and fallen probably countless times.
It's called the Silurian hypothesis. Any direct evidence of a pre-human civilization would have long eroded away, so we'd be left with inferences and indirect evidence, at best.
 
So you either start ignoring more and more dialogue and episodes or you make your peace with not knowing what happened.

It's more that I would not twist the dialogue into something the writer didn't have in mind when they were writing the dialogue due to not having the information we do now. Yes 200/500 thousand years are long, but still a lot less long than 2-7 million years.
I addition to that, if we really get down to it we, as in Homo Sapiens, always walked upright, Homo Erectus is a different species not "we" and the upright walking apes aren't even of the Genus Homo, but just Hominids
 
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It's more that I would not twist the dialogue into something the writer didn't have in mind when they were writing the dialogue due to not having the information we do now. Yes 200/500 thousand years are long, but still a lot less long than 2-7 million years.
I guess for me I thought 200/500k was already incredible so in for a penny in for a pound at this point. The challenge and the intrigue lies in the mystery of what went on all that time. It's so mind-bogglingly long either way that you really have to come up with some amazing stuff.

In my head canon I throw the works at it. They were in their Ancient Greek phase on Bajor alone for thousands of years — not too unlike our own history. Then maybe a nuclear war like the one glimpsed in the Babylon 5 episode "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" that set humanity back thousands of years took place, not one like in "Encounter at Farpoint" that set us back maybe a hundred — which is wildly, maybe fantastically, optimistic. Then a period of millennia as they go out into the stars in cryo and generation ships. Maybe they achieve a vast interstellar civilization and bump heads with the Ancient Orions and the Tkon and others. Unlike with the Promellians and the Menthars from TNG’s “Booby Trap,” they don’t fully destroy each other but the back and forth there too takes up a lot of time.

I am heartened by others' incredulity at these long spans of time. I enjoy Dune well enough but I think of it as fantastical as Star Wars with the idea that that's humanity 10,000+ years in the future. I think that in the real world we'll be genetically engineering ourselves and interfacing with cybernetic enhancements and technology starting maybe this century and next, and the future is going to be a lot wilder than we think. I believe in the aspirational nature of Star Trek future more than the accuracy of it. And I rolled my eyes hard when DSC took us to the 32nd Century and it was basically (as in ENT) still the 24th. The rate of technological advancement increases exponentially, and I expected far more bizarre tech for a people already advanced enough in the 24th to travel FTL, conjure gravity, and convert matter to energy and back again. By the 32nd, I expected ships that looked like the Taelons' from Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict or the Ship of Lights from the original Battlestar Galactica or just giant balls of light. Stuff like that was hinted at in ENT when Archer asked Daniels if Earth still existed in the future and Daniels said that it depended on what he meant by "Earth." In my mind's eye, I imagined a trans-dimensional Coruscant-like world...half Trantor, half the Edo god from TNG's "Justice."

And what if stuff like that happened? What if the Ancient Bajorans were very advanced and in fact branched off into different beings? Some tech-ascended to become the Prophets and others remained to maintain Bajor itself like a national park or something.

Then PIC gives us the AI lifeforms that wiped out all intelligent biological life in the galaxy and set up the Admonition at the Eightfold Stars. It's unlikely that that was a complete extermination or life couldn't have re-evolved in so short a time, but it could have wiped out a lot of history and sent everyone back a long time. The connection between this plane of existence and the next is severed and the Bajorans have to start all over. The art and history remains, the tech and details are lost — all good "Ensign Ro."

The Prophets eventually find their way back to this dimension...25,000 years ago they touch the lost city of B'hala...10,000 years ago they send the first Orbs to Bajor....all to guide their park rangers toward a spiritual blissful life in this dimension. A bump in the road with the Cardassian Occupation but then another Thousand Year Golden Age as promised for them with the fulfillment of the Emissary’s mission.

I think that all really works for me.
 
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I don't remember the details that well, but thought the admonition was misinterpreted as a message that synth life needs to be killed, or they'll kill us, and then reinterpreted as an invitation for other synths to join the robosquids and then they'll wipe out all bio life :shrug:
(It was a mess anyway, that whole part of the story)
 
I don't remember the details that well, but thought the admonition was misinterpreted as a message that synth life needs to be killed, or they'll kill us, and then reinterpreted as an invitation for other synths to join the robosquids and then they'll wipe out all bio life :shrug:
(It was a mess anyway, that whole part of the story)
I think you have it right. In the distant past biological lifeforms treated artificial ones they treated badly, the artificial ones wiped them and everyone else biological out, and set up the unlikely astronomical phenomenon of the 8-star solar system to draw the curiosity of future artificial lifeforms to it, before they left this galaxy for somewhere else (unclear if to another galaxy or another dimension) only to return if so called by fellow artificials.

The Admonition itself (left on a planet at the center of the 8-star solar system) is strange because it’s interpreted as instructions by artificials and misinterpreted as a nightmare by biologics….only it’s not misinterpretation at all as that’s exactly what they did 200,000 years ago and would do again.

But it wasn’t orders to biologics to kill all synth life, just a vision of synth life killing all intelligent biological life in the galaxy left by someone unknown…the Romulans took that as sufficient reason never to allow artificial life to develop. Narek, and presumably others, believed that artificials had also killed everyone in the past—going by ancient myths passed down through the millennia.

For the purposes of this discussion about the Ancient Bajorans it gives us a perfect reason for their much older civilization’s collapse 200,000 years ago. (And it nicely echos the new Battlestar Galactica for those who know.)
 
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Why do you think the Tholians might be older too?

I seem to remember a novel where the (Refit?) Enterprise came across Loskene again--but from The Tholian's point of view--the Enterprise had just left (after rescuing Kirk.)

Being crystal like entities, I imagine they outlive meatware... their young calving off a central mass like Giant's Causeway?
 
Some additions I might add to the timeline on the first page:

300 Million years ago: a ship of insectoid aliens is invaded by a magnetic organism trapping them both in orbit of the dead star Questor M-17. The crew is forced to destroy the ship and themselves to stop the malevolent being's spread. In the 23rd century the danger reappears when the Enterprise discovers the wreckage and —astonishingly— the being, now profoundly lonely, which commands them to take it to the heart of the galaxy. (TAS "Beyond the Farthest Star") Uncharacteristically alien design for the ship. Respect.

87 Million years ago: the D'Arsay civilization launches an archive of their culture into space where it will drift across two sectors to be discovered in the 24th century by another Enterprise. (TNG "Masks")

6 Million years ago: the creators of Vexilon ascend to the fifth dimension. (LD "In the Cradle of Vexilon") Are they bumping elbows with the Prophets or others?

Millions of years ago: the Organians evolve into beings of pure energy. (TOS "Errand of Mercy") How does this happen? Is it tech-aided? Are there bizarre natural mutations (X-Men) long before then that reach critical mass (Changeling—Taelon—Organian) after a time?

Thousands of centuries ago: the remaining population of Talos IV is forced underground after a cataclysmic war that makes the surface unlivable. Finding life there unbearable they begin to develop their mental powers and escape into the narcotic of their dreams, neglecting their technological abilities. (TOS "The Menagerie")

Vina says, "They have a whole collection of specimens, descendants of life brought back long ago from all over this part of the galaxy." Does that mean before the war (is this actually why there *was a war?), or were the specimens lured there once their powers developed and they needed vicarious entertainments? (Could life in this part of the galaxy been similarly amenable to captivity—unlike Pike and the too-violent humans—due to common a ancestry, or to genetic manipulation—by who?)

The Admonition perhaps suggests the war might have been 200,000 years ago.
The book Star Trek: Star Charts has them warp capable 500,000 years ago and the RPG All Our Yesterdays: The Time Travel Sourcebook puts the *wars at 400,000…in which case they could have been collecting their menagerie of amenable specimens before the fall.

150,000 years ago: a sphere-shaped lifeform begins its existence. By its end in the 23rd century it will span 565 kilometers of melded-together organic and non-living matter. It will record its history—including a war between the quaternary star systems and the Roquarri Imperium. (DIS "Project Daedalus," "An Obol for Charon")

100,000 years ago: the Waters (an artificial ocean planet later the adopted home of the Monean civilization) is created by extracting all water from a Class-M planet and containing it inside an immense forcefield. (VOY "Thirty Days") What kind of a people would be capable of such a feat?

50,000 years ago: Bele begins to chase Lokai (both of the planet Cheron) across space after the latter leads a revolution. When they return aboard Kirk's Enterprise they find a planet long destroyed...yet continue the chase. (TOS "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield")

Around 43,000 BC: the "Sky Spirits" first come to Earth. They bestow upon a small group of nomadic hunters —admirable for their respect for the land and all living things on it— a genetic gift to help them thrive and protect their world. On subsequent visits the Spirits return to find that it gave them a sense of great curiosity and adventure, and over tens of thousands of years the nomads venture far across the planet into the Americas. (VOY "Tattoo")

Around 7700 BC: ordinary Q stop having to speak to one another. (VOY “Death Wish”)

Around 4000 BC: aliens take Humans from Earth to be eugenically bred elsewhere so that their descendants may return as agents to stop Humanity from destroying itself. Among the agents are Gary Seven, Agent 201 and Agent 347. (TOS "Assignment Earth") What?? If it were written today I could see a lot of questions raised about the aliens' true motivations, those of the humans who perhaps agreed to the removals, those of the agents who returned, and those of other players as yet unseen.

In 3834 BC: Akharin is born in Mesopotamia on Earth "a soldier, a bully, and a fool." Felled in battle he realizes can't be killed, and in a long life in which he marries over a hundred times and sees a hundred billion fall, his aliases will include Methuselah, King Solomon, Alexander the Great, Lazarus, Merlin, Leonardo da Vinci, Johannes Brahms, Reginald Pollack, Abramson, interstellar financier Mr. Brack, and Flint. (TOS "Requiem for Methuselah") Are there others like him on Earth (Highlander) or in space, and how?

Around 2700 BC: immortal aliens settled near Greece are worshiped as the Olympian Gods before leaving for Pollux IX. (TOS "Who Mourns for Adonais?") They can't die but they're able to reach a point of no turn spreading themselves out so wide on the wind until only the wind remains. What are the possibilities for them and others in this state? Could they in fact coalesce again? Could their energy in such a state be used by a machine (like zero-point modules in Stargate) or consumed by another being?

Around 500-200 BC
: survivors from the Sahndara system nova arrive and live on Earth. "After the death of the Greek civilization they idolized" they then move on to the planet Platonius. In 32 BC Philana is born on Platonius and in 3 BC (then 30) stops aging. (TOS "Plato's Stepchildren")

LLAP
 
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All of them are really long, and unless you’re okay with thinking they just hung out for all that time, you need to come up with something or put in a placeholder for what happened during all that time. And much more looking at the Voth and others—the Hirogen built their subspace communications network across 60k(!) light years 100,000 years ago!

So you either start ignoring more and more dialogue and episodes or you make your peace with not knowing what happened.

Just like there is a 'writers (*) have no sense of (cosmic) scale' trope (making the galaxy generally appear too small in Trek, and causing inconsistencies between episodes, because they throw in a random large distance, such as '10,000 LY'), there is a 'writers have no sense of (cosmic) time' trope too, when one uses a figure of 300,000 years and another 300 million years just as basically the same way of saying 'it happened really, really long ago'.

(*) Most people, for that matter.
 
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Made a thread about the Tkon in the Lit forum:

https://www.trekbbs.com/threads/star-trek-resurgence-and-q-zone.315876/

Thought I leave this here for further discussion:

" That's true. But considering the sizes and technology abilities of these ancient empires, I guess it's possible that either the Arretians and/or the Tkon may have done some uplifting experiments on planets like Earth and Vulcan for example.

According to Resurgence the Tkon Empire encompassed many other species and planets. Perhaps they weren't averse to speed up and influence the evolution of them, not unlike the Changelings did with the ancestors of the Vorta."

"The amount of differences that could have been caused by evolving in another eco system in combination with the fact that there are some species that seem to be identical to Humans and in at least one case to the Eridanians, without having been directly related as far as we know, seems to hint at the possibility of some genetical engineering probably long after the primordial seeding was done.

To come back to the original issue about the Tkon, I think because Resurgence implies at least some of them having used bioforming enough of times throughout their history for Portal to be familiar to the process, I also think it's possible that some of the species we know are descendants of people or species who were bioformed by them."
 
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Arpy, do you plan to expand your list with civilizations from beta canon?
I’m not sure. Do you mean from the games or the books?

I don’t play the games and the stories, though creative, suffer 1) from small-world syndrome and 2) for being fundamentally action-oriented.

Even the books, well, aren’t always the most sophisticated interpretations of what might have been. (…then again neither are the series but…)

No promises —if for no other reason than there is so MUCH Beta Canon— but what’s some stuff that you’d like to see on the list—maybe I could take a closer look at it.
 
Not all games are about action. Final Unity and 25th Anniversary are more about puzzle solving and dialog.
 
Some additions from the canon. Will look at beta canon next.

4 Billion years ago: Q and the Female Q begin their relationship. (VOY "The Q and the Grey")

2 Billion years ago: the Taguans "really knew how to party back in those days." More recently there have been 947 excavations on Tagus III in the past 22,000 years even though the Taguans stopped allowing visitors over a century ago. (TNG "Qpid") Are modern Taguans a different species than ancient ones—and if so are they from the same planet or a different one? If the same one are they like sharks (not very conscious and largely unchanged over astonishingly long periods of time) or did they devolve (say into furry critters like the humans of the distant future in The Time Machine) and then re-evolve into something else? Are the Taguans a major galactic power or a single planet trying not to be overrun by visitors to their ultra ancient sites?

30,000 years ago: the Ancient Bajoran Holy City of B'hala is founded and included a stone tablet with entrapped Prophet and Pah-wraith. (DS9 "The Reckoning") Oh what a lost history there might be from before this time when the Gods still walked upon the Earth.

Many thousands of years ago: the Douwd, an immortal being of disguises and false surroundings, that later would be known as Kevin Uxbridge begins living in this galaxy. (TNG "The Survivors") What are his people like; what is his home galaxy like?

17,000 years ago: parietal wall paintings in Lascaux caves, Earth. (ENT "Storm Front, Part II")

12,000 years ago: an artisan on the planet Kurl during its Third Dynasty known only as the Master of Tarquin Hill creates small ceramic figurines called naiskos that embody that culture's belief that within each person is a community of individuals, each with its own desires, views, and voices. (TNG "The Chase")

10,000 years ago: the civilization on Sigma Draconis VI (at its technological peak well beyond the Federation of the 23rd century) experiences a catastrophic glacial age and de-evolves to a primitive level with a great schism between the males (scattered on the surface) and females (cared for by a computer called the Controller below). (TOS "Spock's Brain")

10,000 years ago: the Fabrini leave their solar system on the asteroid Yonada before their sun goes nova. (TOS "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky")

10,000 years ago: the machine-god Vaal is built on Gamma Trianguli VI. (TOS "The Apple")

Millennia ago: millions of intelligent spacefaring organisms (perhaps from outside the galaxy) which form symbiotic relationships with others living within them like crew become nearly extinct. Gomtuu may be their last survivor. (TNG "Tin Man") Where the Buffalo roam. Were there different symbionts in different herds of Tin Mensome humanoid, some not? What caused their extinction across such distant swaths of spacealiens, infighting, disease, other cosmozoans...something else?

6000 years ago: Landru of Beta III, preaching peace and ending a period of savagery, creates a computer to guide his people after his death. (TOS "The Return of the Archons") Outsourcing civility seems unwise, no? Might allow it to atrophy and savagery to fester. The Betans might have been lucky they didn't off eachother long ago during the red hour Festivals. Maybe many of them did.

3047 BC 2993 BC: the immortal Flint lives as Methuselah.

5000 years ago: Spock and McCoy are stranded in the Sarpeidon Ice Age with the exiled Zarabeth. (TOS "All Our Yesterdays")

4000 years ago: the Xindi-Avians build a concealed fortress on a planet a that will one day become the home of the Xindi Council. (ENT "The Council") How did they accomplish this yet were the only ones to be wiped out by having inadequate technology to leave their homeworld four millennia later?

990 BC – 931 BC: The immortal Flint lives as King Solomon.

3000 years ago: the Vulcan monastery of P'Jem is built on a planet near the Andorian system. (ENT "The Andorian Incident") What if this were built while they were still pre-warp?

3000 years ago: The Bajoran prophet Trakor encounters the Orb of Prophecy and Change and writes prophecies concerning the Emissary of the Prophets. (DS9 "Destiny")

356 BC – 323 BC: the immortal Flint lives as Alexander the Great.

2300 years ago: In contradiction of the Ba'ul enforced orthodoxy that the coming of Vahar'ai signals the Kelpian time to die, the Sphere lifeform records data on Kaminar showing that many have passed it and matured into a further stage of their lifecycle. (DIS "The Sound of Thunder")

1 AD 60 AD: the immortal Flint lives as Lazarus — twice.

2000 years ago: atomic war devastates savage Vulcan, Surak leads his people into the Time of Awakening, and the proud Romulans leave to seek a new world. (TOS "Balance of Terror," "The Enterprise Incident," "Amok Time," "The Savage Curtain," "All Our Yesterdays," TNG "Unification, Part II," "Gambit, Part II," ENT "Awakening") There's a book in just the journey on those possibly sublight ships. The odyssey...or is it in their case The Aeneid to Romulus and Remus. Actually this whole period would make one Hell of an old Hollywood epic of a movie.

2000 years ago: the Jem'Hadar begin serving the Dominion. (DS9 "What You Leave Behind") Who were their soldiers before?

2000 years ago: the Vidiians are ravaged by the Phage. (VOY "Phage")

In the 6th Century: the immortal Flint lives as Merlin.

1400 years ago: after his defeat of the tyrant Molor and the Fek'lhri, Kahless the Unforgettable (King Arthur Christ) unites all the Klingon tribes into the Klingon Empire for the last (and maybe only) time until the Federation-Klingon War of the 23rd Century. (TNG "Rightful Heir," DS9 "The Sword of Kahnless") *All the tribes...as in on the planet? Was he a knight or an oligarch?

LLAP
 
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I updated the full list on the first page as well. It's a lot longer than I thought it would be when I started!
 
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