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jmccr8

Bronze Age Sea People

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Hi,

Last night I was looking about and came across a few articles that I thought were interesting,rather than starting several threads I decided to put them all together in one thread.

http://phys.org/news...ement.html#nRlv

http://phys.org/news...opper.html#nRlv

http://phys.org/news...altic.html#nRlv

http://phys.org/news...63832.html#nRlv

jmccr8

Edited by kmt_sesh
Fixed links
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Hi,

I am not sure why these links don't open here in the forum as they do when I click on them in my files,sorry for the inconvenience and I will try to find out why this is happening.

jmccr8

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That's pretty awesome :D

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Yes, another one of those fascinating periods of history we currently know frustratingly little about.

However, in the late 13th and early 12th century BC there was some sort of upheaval across much of the land around the Eastern Mediterranean.

Among other events, the Greek kingdoms which had taken part in the siege of Troy a generation or two earlier were conquered by the more primitive Dorian Greeks, the Hittite Empire (in what is now Turkey) was overrun and broke up into a series of smaller kingdoms, and Egypt barely survived a couple of major attacks by the Sea Peoples.

Intriguingly, I understand it seems fairly likely that the people we know as the Philistines were Greek in origin, either from Greece itself or Cyprus. But they were only one part of a much larger accumulation of people of all sorts of origins - perhaps a combination of conquerors and victims - migrating around these lands.

http://www.magistermilitum.com/prodtype.asp?PT_ID=92&strPageHistory=cat has illustrations of painted toy soldiers showing what the Sea Peoples looked like.

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Yes, another one of those fascinating periods of history we currently know frustratingly little about.

However, in the late 13th and early 12th century BC there was some sort of upheaval across much of the land around the Eastern Mediterranean.

Among other events, the Greek kingdoms which had taken part in the siege of Troy a generation or two earlier were conquered by the more primitive Dorian Greeks, the Hittite Empire (in what is now Turkey) was overrun and broke up into a series of smaller kingdoms, and Egypt barely survived a couple of major attacks by the Sea Peoples.

Intriguingly, I understand it seems fairly likely that the people we know as the Philistines were Greek in origin, either from Greece itself or Cyprus. But they were only one part of a much larger accumulation of people of all sorts of origins - perhaps a combination of conquerors and victims - migrating around these lands.

http://www.magisterm...PageHistory=cat has illustrations of painted toy soldiers showing what the Sea Peoples looked like.

I agree, Interesting reading...it seems that these warlike Sea Peoples, were also traders and raiders who controlled the trade routes in the Med with their superior ships and scattered colonies...i think it's also safe to assume that they're the ancestors of the Greeks and Phoenicians...but the million dollar question is were did they come from. Regardless of their origins these Sea Peoples, represent a time of upheaval and change...transition from the bronze age to the iron age.

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Moderator's note:

Greetings, jmccr8. I went and and looked at your OP and noticed spaces before each URL. I think this is what threw it off. Be careful about blank leading spaces. When I removed them, your links popped up (at least they're working now at my end).

The_Spartan, it was only subsequent to my minor surgery on the OP that I noticed you had reposted the links. Thanks for taking the time to do that.

An interesting topic, jmccr8.

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Hi Spartan and Kmt_sesh,

Thank you for your assistance,and I will try to do as directed in the future.

jmccr8

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The end of the Bronze Age probably will always be a great mystery to historians. There remains no universal agreement on what was happening—moreover, there's no universal agreement that the same factors were affecting everyone in the Eastern Mediterranean in the same way. It's probably more complex than anyone can know, and more than likely there was a multiplicity of factors at play.

For instance, the old theory that Dorians were sweeping in from the north and displaying Greek peoples already on the peninsula, is no longer popular with many historians. In fact, I've read theories that the Dorians were probably already there, principally in northwest Greece (where they originated) before migrating down into the Peloponnese well before the end of the Bronze Age. The Peloponnese was the center of Mycenaean power on the mainland, and it's now suspected that Dorians had already inhabited the area well before the great collapse.

Similarly, the old theory that environmental or climatic upheavals caused the upset is also not terribly favored anymore. It's easy to understand the skepticism: the same factors were not likely to be in play all over the region, which is of considerable size.

In a similar situation we will probably never achieve a full understanding of the Sea Peoples. They appear not to have left any written accounts themselves, and they left very little physical presence of themselves. Were it not for Egyptian inscriptions, we would in fact know considerably less about them. The memorial inscriptions of Merneptah (Dynasty 19) and Ramesses III (Dynasty 20) constitute about 99.9% of our extant written accounts of the Sea Peoples. The only other thing I can remember off the top of my head is an ominous letter penned at Ugarit, but never dispatched to its intended recipient. It speaks gloomily of pending invasions and enemy ships in the harbor; Ugarit was destroyed and never inhabited again (there is agreement that the ships in the harbor were Sea Peoples).

Over the years Egyptologists have tried to identify exactly who the various tribes of the Sea Peoples were, based on the Egyptian inscriptions. Below is a summary (taken from Robert Drews's excellent book The End of the Bronze Age, Princeton University Press, 1993, pages 49 & 53):

  • Lukka = Lycia
  • Ekwesh = Achaea
  • Tursha = Tyrrhenia
  • Shekelesh = Sicily
  • Shardana = Sardinia
  • Peleset = Philistia

So if this list is even close to accurate, which it most likely is, the Sea Peoples were comprised of disparate, displaced groups all the way from Italy to Asia Minor. I've left out of the list the numerous Libyan tribes which Merneptah in particular had to battle. Note that Achaea (Ekwesh to the Egyptians) was what Greek peoples often called themselves.

Peter B, there is wide agreement nowadays that the Philistines were originally Greeks, although the agreement is not necessarily universal. Known Philistine names and words are definitely not Semitic in origin but hint much more strongly at Indo-European. Perhaps more telling, Philistine material culture and especially pottery is very similar in form and function to contemporary Greek ceramic ware.

On a concluding note, it's refreshing that we're sharing a coherent and level-headed discussion. No one has yet suggested that the Sea Peoples were displaced Atlanteans or migrating Norsemen. I for one hope it stays that way.

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Is it human instinct, to travel and explore? A natural inclination and want to find the grass that's greener?

Edited by Eldorado

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No one has yet suggested that the Sea Peoples were displaced Atlanteans or migrating Norsemen. I for one hope it stays that way.

But note the neat way the Atlantis=Greenland hypothesis would unite those two possibilities! :P

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Peter B, there is wide agreement nowadays that the Philistines were originally Greeks, although the agreement is not necessarily universal. Known Philistine names and words are definitely not Semitic in origin but hint much more strongly at Indo-European. Perhaps more telling, Philistine material culture and especially pottery is very similar in form and function to contemporary Greek ceramic ware.

Fair enough. Most of what I've learned about the Sea Peoples was a result of coming across them in my wargaming (hence the link above), such as the Osprey book "Ancient Armies of the Middle East" (http://www.ospreypublishing.com/store/large_image.aspx?ID=948). And while wargaming is a fun and interesting way to get a handle on a period of history, I certainly accept it's only an introduction.

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Interesting thread... After reading kmt's post I started wondering if the sea peoples weren't rather like I feel the bell-beaker people were... not a single people but several different cultures with

similarity of 'style' and 'purpose'...

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I've always wondered about why would the sea people have left Europe, surely at that time there were less civilizations to contend with there than in Asia Minor?

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I might be inclined to think that they may have started out as merchant groups that solidified their wealth through marriage,they may have been mercenary/merchant in nature that developed into a culture over a long period of time spanning over vast coastal areas.

jmccr8

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Hi Abe,

Yes after you reminded me I did remember it and went back to have a look.Maybe the mods could merge these threads just so that all the information can be kept together in one place,Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

jmccr8

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I've always wondered about why would the sea people have left Europe, surely at that time there were less civilizations to contend with there than in Asia Minor?

More gold over there? And a perception (true or not) that the locals over there were easy pickings?

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More gold over there? And a perception (true or not) that the locals over there were easy pickings?

LOL True for many of the peoples of the ancient Mediterranean, but the Sea Peoples learned their error when trying to invade Egypt.

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More gold over there? And a perception (true or not) that the locals over there were easy pickings?

El Dorado?

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Why something that specific?

I was thinking more along the lines of the Sea Peoples as being relatively poor compared to the dazzling centres of civilisation of the time - the Hittites and Egyptians - and thinking they'd like a little of their gold to line their, er, pockets (if they had pockets). Probably more accurately comparable to the Vikings trying their luck raiding Constantinople in the 9th and 10th centuries after hearing and then seeing how wealthy those decadant Romans were.

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I alway picture the sea people like the bronze age version of the Reapers of mass effect, they come and clean up everything. :-D

Jokes aside, I think the sea people were kinda a confederation of different people (that is what we know) but also IMO mercenaries used by the powers of that time (like Rome did at a certain point) and various outcast, with the support of some spy's and traitors in the various kingdoms.

I know that they were mainly foot soldiers, probably they served as support for the war chariots, primarily used by the major powers back then. So that means they knew how to stop them (maybe a primitive phalanxs?)....

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^ third game took the fun right out of it and made the reapers in too a play thing for a child AI. Dex machina lol

But yeah, I would best discribe the Sea people as the clean up crew from the records that were giving to us of the time they were around. But why say they came from Europe, when they don't even say that in records? They were named the Sea Peoples for a reason

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Jokes aside, I think the sea people were kinda a confederation of different people (that is what we know) but also IMO mercenaries used by the powers of that time (like Rome did at a certain point) and various outcast, with the support of some spy's and traitors in the various kingdoms.

Strange you should say this.

I once read a theory that the Phoenicians were behind them. It was an odd coincidence that the Sea Peoples left them alone. And afterward, Phoenicians had the market cornered on grain (and thus bread.) Can't find that particular article right now, but:

For one, they want to know whether mysterious groups known as the Sea Peoples might have migrated into Lebanon around 1200 b.c. and mixed with the Canaanites to help create Phoenician culture. Although the Sea Peoples, who may have come from the Aegean, marauded and burned most of the major cities along the coast of the Levant, they apparently spared the Canaanite cities. One leading Phoenician scholar, Maria Eugenia Aubet of Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, believes the Canaanites made a deal with the Sea Peoples.

"I think they became friends," she says. "Phoenician material culture shows so many elements from the Sea Peoples. The Phoenicians learned from them how to build harbors, moorings, docks, and piers. The Sea Peoples, like the Phoenicians, were excellent navigators—and they knew the routes west to the rich sources of metals."

NatGeo

Also:

Under the destructive force of the Sea Peoples’ attacks, all of the Phoenicians’ powerful adversaries had been destroyed. The Phoenician cities were untouched by this devastation that happened around them, which left these people in an advantageous position. The historical record shows their active cities quickly began to expand their domain by placing trading posts in Cyprus, the Aegean, Sicily, Sardinia, North Africa, Algeria, Morocco and Spain.

Among the cities they created were these in Morocco: Lixis (modern Larache), Sala (Rabat), Mogador (Essaouira) and Tingis (Tangier); in Spain: Gadir (Cadiz), Malaka (Malaga), Ibisa (Ibiza); in Algeria: Icosia (Algiers); in Tunisia: Utica and Carthage, both now gone; in Sardinia: Karalis (Cagliari); in Sicily: Panormus (Palermo); in Cyprus: Kition (Larnaca). These were in addition to their home cities in Lebanon: Tyre (Sor), Sidon (Saida), Beirut (Beirut), Byblos (Jbail), Tripoli (Trablous), and many others. The Phoenicians gave rise to a powerful and wealthy sea-trading empire which stretched from Morocco to the Levant.

Source

Harte

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