The sea peoples and their world a reassessment of relationship

the sea peoples and their world a reassessment of relationship

The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment (University Museum Monograph, ) Hardcover – August 1, The Sea Peoples: Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean Eliezer D. Oren is Professor of Archaeology at Ben Gurion University. with Crete, possibly based on legends about Teuker's connection with that –79 in The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment, ed. E.D. Oren. The Sea Peoples and Their World A Reassessment. Edited by Eliezer D. Oren. pages | 8 1/2 x 11 | illus. Cloth | ISBN | $s.

They were coming forward toward Egyptwhile the flame was prepared before them. They laid their hands upon the land as far as the circuit of the earth, their hearts confident and trusting: During Year 8 some Hittites were operating with the Sea Peoples.

Only the Peleset and Tjeker are mentioned, but the list is lost in a lacuna. The attack was two-pronged, one by sea and one by land; that is, the Sea Peoples divided their forces. Ramsesses was waiting in the Nile mouths and trapped the enemy fleet there. The land forces were defeated separately. The Sea Peoples did not learn any lessons from this defeat, as they repeated their mistake in Year 8 with a similar result. The campaign is recorded more extensively on the inner northwest panel of the first court.

It is possible, but not generally believed, that the dates are only those of the inscriptions and both refer to the same campaign. In Ramesses' Year 8, the Nine Bows appear again as a "conspiracy in their isles".

This time, they are revealed unquestionably as Sea Peoples: They camped in Amor and sent a fleet to the Nile. The pharaoh was once more waiting for them. He had built a fleet especially for the occasion, hid it in the Nile mouths and posted coast watchers. The enemy fleet was ambushed theretheir ships overturned, and the men dragged up on shore and executed ad hoc.

The land army was also routed within Egyptian controlled territory. Additional information is given in the relief on the outer side of the east wall. This land battle occurred in the vicinity of Djahy against "the northern countries". When it was over, several chiefs were captive: Papyrus Harris I of the period, found behind the temple, suggests a wider campaign against the Sea Peoples but does not mention the date.

He also captured some Sherden and Weshesh "of the sea" and settled them in Egypt. After six place names, four of which were in Philistia, the scribe lists the Sherden Linethe Tjeker Line and the Peleset Linewho might be presumed to occupy those cities. The fact that the Biblical maritime Tribe of Dan was initially located between the Philistines and the Tjekker, has prompted some to suggest that they may originally have been Denyen.

Sherden seem to have been settled around Megiddo and in the Jordan Valleyand Weshwesh Biblical Asher may have been settled further north. EA refers to the Denyen, in a passing reference to the death of their king; EA 38 refers to the Lukka, who are being accused of attacking the Egyptians in conjunction with the Alashiyans Cyprioteswith the latter having stated that the Lukka were seizing their villages.

The letters at one point refer to a Sherden man as an apparent renegade mercenary, [76] and at another point to three Sherden who are slain by an Egyptian overseer.

The letters are therefore dated to the early 12th century. The last king of Ugarit was Ammurapi c.

The Sea Peoples and Their World | Eliezer D. Oren

He says that he ordered the king of Ugarit to send him Ibnadushu for questioning, but the king was too immature to respond. He therefore wants the prefect to send the man, whom he promises to return. What this language implies about the relationship of the Hittite empire to Ugarit is a matter for interpretation. Ibnadushu had been kidnapped by and had resided among a people of Shikala, probably the Shekelesh, "who lived on ships". The letter is generally interpreted as an interest in military intelligence by the king.

Evidently, Ammurapi had informed Eshuwara, that an enemy fleet of 20 ships had been spotted at sea. Eshuwara wrote back and inquired about the location of Ammurapi's own forces. Eshuwara also noted that he would like to know where the enemy fleet of 20 ships are now located. A letter by Amurapi RS In it, Ammurapi describes the desperate plight facing Ugarit.

the sea peoples and their world a reassessment of relationship

Its viceroy could only offer some words of advice for Ammurapi. They are not necessarily alternative or contradictory hypotheses about the sea peoples; any or all might be mainly or partly true.

Regional migration historical context[ edit ] See also: Late Bronze Age collapse The Linear B Tablets of Pylos in the Late Bronze Age in the Aegean demonstrate increased slave raiding and the spread of mercenaries and migratory peoples and their subsequent resettlement. Despite this, the actual identity of the Sea Peoples has remained enigmatic and modern scholars have only the scattered records of ancient civilizations and archaeological analysis to inform them.

Evidence shows that the identities and motives of these peoples were known to the Egyptians. In fact, many had sought employment with the Egyptians or were in a diplomatic relationship for a few centuries before the Late Bronze Age Collapse.

For example, select groups, or members of groups, of the Sea People, such as the Sherden or Shardanawere used as mercenaries by Egyptian Pharaohs such as Ramesses II. Prior to the 3rd Intermediate Period of Egypt from the 15th century BCEnames of semitic-speaking pastoral cattle nomadic peoples of the Levant appear, replacing previous Egyptian concern with the Hurrianised 'prw 'Apiru or Habiru.

Contemporary Assyrian records refer to them as Ahhlamu or Wanderers. Some people, such as the Lukkawere included in both categories of land and sea people.

the sea peoples and their world a reassessment of relationship

Philistines Philistine Bichrome potterytheorized to be of Sea Peoples origin. The archaeological evidence from the southern coastal plain of ancient Palestinetermed Philistia in the Hebrew Bibleindicates a disruption [92] of the Canaanite culture that existed during the Late Bronze Age and its replacement with some integration by a culture with a possibly foreign mainly Aegean origin.

the sea peoples and their world a reassessment of relationship

This includes distinct potterywhich at first belongs to the Mycenaean IIIC tradition albeit of local manufacture and gradually transforms into a uniquely Philistine pottery. The logical conclusion, therefore, is that the Philistines were a group of Mycenaean Greeks who immigrated to the east Sandars, however, does not take this point of view, but says: Tyre was one of the leading Phoenician cities in BC, and we are fortunate to have an excellent archaeological study of this site which went all the way down to bedrock.

Performed by Patricia Bikai inthis work documented clearly the relevant layers of interest to us. The results were highly conclusive. Sarepta modern Sarafand between Tyre and Sidon was similarly the subject of detailed archaeological study. Glenn Markoe described the results as showing no destruction and having great continuity in the strata. Sidon and Byblos were the other significant Phoenician cities at this time, but to date insufficient research has been conducted to support or deny the conclusion of no destruction at these sites.

The most northern Phoenician city was on the island of Arwad, also known as Arvad and Arados. It had been taken from the Phoenicians prior to the coming of the Sea Peoples and was being held by the Hittites.

This city was in fact destroyed by the Sea Peoples [xi] —and after their incursion it was returned to the Phoenicians. Based upon the sum of this evidence, we can only conclude that observations of the Phoenician cites being undamaged during this time, and having been accorded a special status by the invaders, have been verified.

That there was a relationship or partnership of some nature between the Sea Peoples and the Phoenicians is clearly in evidence. The next step in probing the mystery of the Sea Peoples is to examine the economic and environmental factors cited by Philip C. Betancourt [xiii] and others as being the primary cause of the mass migration of the Sea Peoples. In this interesting train of logic, Betancourt et al seem to have begun by observing that after the Sea Peoples were settled in Palestine there was a similarity between their pottery and that of the Mycenaeans.

Therefore the assumption was made that the Sea Peoples were Mycenaeans. This led to a search being made in Greece to find the cause of the Sea Peoples migration. Betancourt noted there was an adequate supply of food at this time in Greece and that the population had grown very large.

An essential link in their food system was the extensive trade in the Aegean which allowed shortages in any locality to be made up by shipments from other areas. He also pointed out that widespread disruption of this system of distribution could have caused a collapse of the society and a descent into warfare and migration.

He postulated further that a simple two-year drought could have caused this whole system to collapse. All of this was offered to support a position that the Mycenaeans might have been the Sea Peoples. But at that point the model failed. He admitted that the similarity between Mycenaean and Philistine pottery did not begin until a later date—the middle of the 12th century BC—and not at the beginning of that century when the Sea Peoples migration took place.

the sea peoples and their world a reassessment of relationship

Further there was no evidence of widespread drought or famine in Greece prior to the Sea Peoples attacks. Similarly there was no evidence of the Mycenaeans destroying the Hittite empire, nor of their forming vast caravans of people moving by land down the Levantine coast. Yet the actual Sea Peoples did all these things. We will soon see how the Mycenaeans fit into the events of this time—however it is already clear they were not the Sea Peoples.

Trevor Bryce [xiv] and others who examined conditions in Anatolia at this time found a completely different picture than the one shown in Mycenaean Greece.

the sea peoples and their world a reassessment of relationship

Food shortages definitely existed in Anatolia, which the Hittites were able to relieve by importing wheat and other goods from Egypt and Canaan. However the peoples of western and northern Anatolia were not members of the Hittite world, and in fact were frequently at war with that empire and with the Mycenaeans.

In this part of Anatolia is where we find unrelieved food shortages and increasing pressure to take some form of necessary action. To illustrate the problem clearly, Itamar Singer [xv] cited texts from the Emar region which state there was a year of hardship in which three qa of grain cost one silver shekel.

Then later a shekel would buy only two qa of grain. Finally that same amount of silver would buy only one qa of grain. The price of grain had already become a hardship—and then it had tripled in cost.

There clearly was a rising food shortage at this time. Having said this, it must be noted that other motivations appear to have existed for the Sea Peoples as well.

As pointed out by Wachsmann, [xvi] some groups among them may have joined simply due to greed. The quick-strike raids in the Aegean and across the southern coast of Anatolia seem particularly of this nature, given that delivering settlers into those areas does not seem to have been the prime motivation. A symbiotic relationship seems to have developed between those who were motivated to find good land for their families and those who simply wanted booty and adventure.

The chaos created by each benefited the other, and the results suggest they came to share mutual enemies and mutual allies. We have seen how pressures were increasing in and around Anatolia.

But why was this particular moment chosen for exploding into action? Before answering that question, let us examine the intense pressures which were mounting upon the Phoenicians. Campaigns Triggered The Phoenician people had been dominant sea traders in the Mediterranean prior to BC [xvii][xviii] and in some cases had partnered with others to maintain that position.

Then the rise of the Mycenaeans [xix] caused sea trade in the Aegean—and even as far as Cyprus—to fall into the hands of that new power. This pushed the Phoenicians backward from the west. The growth of Ugarit as a major sea trader [xx] located just north of the Phoenicians exerted additional pressure from that direction. Immediately beside that powerful city were the Hittites, whose increasing territorial expansion across lands to the north and east of the Phoenicians brought that dangerous land-force closer.

Also after BC the Egyptian pharaohs sent their armies up the Levantine coast and demanded to be recognized as overlords of the Phoenicians [xxi] as well as the rest of the Levant. Although the Phoenician people retained a great deal of independence under this arrangement, they were subjected to heavy demands for tribute which was theoretically buying Egyptian protection. As the Amarna letters showed, however, that protection was somewhere between weak and non-existent, with raiders coming into Phoenician lands unimpeded.

Sea Peoples and the Phoenicians

They engulfed Ugarit and came to the borders of Phoenicia. The powerful Ramses II of Egypt fought the Hittites, but finally signed a treaty with them in BC which ceded to the Hittites all the lands those people had taken. They fought the Assyrians in the east, the fierce Kaska people who controlled the north shore of Anatolia, and they fought the several groups of people who divided western Anatolia among them. It was fairly common in the ancient Mediterranean for the death of a powerful king to lead to attacks by neighboring states, each seeking to determine if the successor king was weak, and if prized lands might be wrested away.

The Phoenicians would have had every reason to fear an imminent campaign southward by the Hittites. However the Hittites were preoccupied by problems at home and put off action in this direction.

Instead it was the Sea Peoples who took action. In BC they sailed to Egypt in small numbers, estimated at warriors, [xxvii] and attacked the successor to Ramses: Merneptah routed those forces, as described on his victory stele at Thebes. Even though the Hittites were the long-time adversaries of virtually all the people who made up the Sea Peoples, the Hittites had no excess of food, so the first strike had gone against Egypt. On this same subject, one might well ask what led to the special treatment the Phoenicians seem to have been given by the Sea People.

What services could the Sea Peoples possibly have received from these maritime traders? As was noted, widespread food shortages in the north had driven up the price of wheat to incredible levels. Widely known as astute merchants, [xxx] the Phoenicians would naturally have included wheat shipments in their sea trade at this time.

Since Ugarit held a virtual monopoly on wheat shipments to the Hittites, [xxxi] that market was not open to the Phoenicians. Instead these sea traders had to push far afield to western Anatolia, the Aegean and the Black Sea—the areas which gave rise to the Sea Peoples. At a time of severe food shortages, when this need was about to erupt into a truly massive migration of people, the Phoenicians were the ones who could bring some quantity of food.

With the Hittites threatening their northern border, the Phoenicians would reasonably have supported whichever groups among Sea Peoples wanted to shift attacks away from the failed effort at Egypt and toward a more promising one against the Hittites. With hindsight we can now see what attraction this course of action would have held for the Sea Peoples.

Sea Peoples

Though the Hittites themselves had no excess food to offer, they stood between the Sea Peoples and an achievable goal: In fact the greatest campaigns the Sea Peoples would mount were by land. This has led recent sources to refer to them as the Land and Sea Peoples [xxxiv] which is a much more accurate appellation.

The Kaska lived to the north of the Hittites, between them and the Black Sea, and attacked at this time. The Assuwa, Arzawa and Lukka lived in the land to the west of the Hittites, between that empire and the Aegean Sea, and also attacked. But a problem had to be overcome. The Mycenaeans continued to hold the Aegean and attacked the Anatolian people from the seaward side.

The Mycenaean citadel-cities may or may not have been taken at this time, but the coastal towns were certainly laid waste by these raiders.

They were able to turn their full attention to the Hittites. The now-open Aegean allowed ships belonging to the Sea Peoples to sail through those waters and begin to raid the Hittites all along their Mediterranean coast.