Who were the "Sea People"

Feb 2011
736
Kitchener. Ont.
#22
Two things.

1] "I think that is Clines point. He writes that "...most of the sites in Anatolia were simply either completely or mostly abandoned at this time, rather than put to the torch by the Sea Peoples." see [1] in previous post. p156. "

IMHO that is just wrong and can no longer be stated so carelessly, unless one is able to prove that James et.al. 1991 is wrong. Their counter argument is simply that the chronology is wrong, and I concur :)
If all those sites were abandoned, where did everyone go?
It has been claimed that Hattushas was abandoned, one city can be accepted, but suggesting the same for a number of cities, and all around the same period, with no identifiable new cities, is a bit of a tall order.


2] Sure there were 'sea peoples'.
Ramesses II, Merneptah and Ramesses III identified a number who were seaborne raiders (Ekwesh, Shardana, Sikkilu, Lukku etc) and others who were local landlocked groups (Peleset & Libbu).
I think it's the connotation the term "Sea Peoples" conjures up that is under question.
Warriors certainly did come against Egypt by sea, but not from the west Aegean.

Sea people - identification certain or fairly certain
d3jnjw: Denyen. Sea peoples ('in their isles'). Most likely Danaoi Greeks. The indication would seem to rule out nearby seaborne raiders from Syria or Anatolia.
jḳ3w3š3: Ekwesh ("of the countries of the sea"): probably Achean Greeks
The Danuna/Danoi/Denyen have somewhat convincingly been associated with the city of Adana in Cilicia. Nearby Cyprus was also known as "Isle of the Denyen" in later centuries. In the period of concern Adana was politically Hittite.
The name Ekwesh seems to be the Egyptian rendition of Ahhiyawa. This also refers to Cilicia (Hilakkhu) later known as Huwe or Que. Politically Hittite.

rkw: Lukka: Lycians, SW Anatolia. From a remote coastline and known seaborne raiders. Great pirates until Pompey enslaved or killed them all and destroyed all their villages along the coast.
Self identifiable.

š3rdn: Sherden ("of the sea", "of the countries of the sea"): Shardana = Sardinians.
Not likely, the island we know as Sardinia did not receive that name until centuries later.

Sea people - identification uncertain
š3krš3: Shekelesh ("of the countries of the sea"): Sea people. perhaps Sicilians
twrš3: Teresh ("of the sea"): Sea people. Tyrrhenians? Or Etruscans? Identification rather doubtful IMHO.
w3š3š3: Weshesh ("of the sea"): Sea people. Location unknown.
There is a tablet from Ugarit which mentions the Shekelesh as if they are a local adversary (local to Ugarit).
Teresh, in my view is Tarsus in Cilicia.
Weshesh must also be Issus, (subject to the same phonetic transition as we see with Wilusa as Illios), also in Cilicia.

Uncertain whether sea people
ṯ3k3r: Tjeker, Tjeuker: Unknown origin. These may not really be 'sea' people, just raiders. They could come from closer to Egypt. They are mentioned in story of Wenamun and seem Canaanites, perhaps seamen and if so perhaps more local seaborne raiders.

Not sea people - identification certain
prst/plst or prwst: Peleset, Palestinians. Not a sea people but people from nearby Palestine (including city dwellers).
Libbu: Libyan tribes from next door.
Shortly after the Sea People period we find the Peleset in north Syria around Alalakh. This is in the Neo-Hittite period, the Peleset were politically Hittite.

The so-called "Sea Peoples" advance was in all probability an alliance of local small scale city states under post-empire Hittite control. At this time the Hittites ruled from Carchemish and were comprised of Carchemish, Qode, Arvad, & Alishaya.
 
May 2017
216
Italy
#23
Everything about the so called sea peoples is pure speculation, we can only note that the invading populations who invaded Egpt in the 12th century and were portrayed in the walls of Medinet Habu look like contemporary depictions of warriors from Cyprus.

Not likely, the island we know as Sardinia did not receive that name until centuries later.
I agree with the rest of the post and of course there is no real proof that the Shardana were Sardinians or any other population. However what you say about Sardinia's name is very questionable, the first attested name of Sardinia is SRDN in the Nora stone an epigraph dated to the 9th century bc from Southern Sardinia, written with phoenician characters. Ichnousa is likely a name of euboean greek origins as the -ousa desinence suggests, while iknos-iknousa is the greek term for imprint/foot print, referring to the sandal like shape of the island, and therefore it comes from a separate and likely later tradition (Levantines reached the island before the Euboean Greeks). Sardinia might've been called SRDN by the Levantines and Ichnousa by Euboean Greeks at the same time, though the first real mention of the name Ichnousa is in Pausanias (2nd century AD), while the Nora Stone dates to 1100 years before.
The stronger tradition was SRDN however as the first Greek writers to mention the island and its people explicitly use names clearly derived from the levantine name of the island. Herodotus calls the island Sardò multiple times and its inhabitants hired by the Carthaginians to fight in Sicily against the Greeks are called Sardoi, both names that will stick.

So:

1)The first term to be attested to name the island in absolute term is SRDN
2)The phoenician term "SRDN", which later became "Sardinia" in Latin, comes from a very old levantine tradition, perhaps a term burrowed by the Phoenicians from the Cypriots, who had intense commercial relations with the island since the 14th century bc which continued almost un-interrupted into the phoenician era, in addition the name of the cypriot god PUMMAY in the in the Nora Stone suggests that who wrote it might've been cypro-phoenicians.
In Greek SRDN became "Sardò" and the Sardinians "Sardoi", this variant is already attested by 6th century bc (Simonides) and 5th century bc (Aristophanes, Herodotus and others) greek writers.
3)Ichnousa belongs to a separate, likely later euboean greek tradition, likely quite old as well but only attested from the 2nd century AD onwards by Pausanias.
 
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Likes: Tulius
Feb 2011
736
Kitchener. Ont.
#25
I agree with the rest of the post and of course there is no real proof that the Shardana were Sardinians or any other population.
Yes, some have preferred to see the Sherden as originating from Sardis.
Yet the conventional paradigm has not settled on whether the Sherden came from Sardinia, or went to Sardinia.

The idea the Sherden came from Sardinia is reliant on the concept of a Mediterranean-wide alliance of otherwise independent peoples of differing politics & religious beliefs all collaborating together. A wholly preposterous idea given the evidence we have to date.

Once the surviving Egyptian "Sea Peoples" texts are read and accepted in full we can see that the troubles Egypt had were with the Hittites, not an Aegean alliance.
Therefore, those city-states everybody spends too much time trying to identify in the Aegean, can be seen as little more than local allies of the post-Empire Hittite political sphere.

One criticism against those "Sea Peoples" being of local origin is a reference by Ram. III destroying the Denyen "in their isles".
Yet, no-one seriously proposes Ramesses leading an Egyptian navy to invade the Aegean islands. Nor attacking the singular island of Crete, and writing "in their isles" does not suggets the Greek mainland. So there is no practical foundation to argue those "isles" were in the Aegean. They must have been elsewhere.

What we do have is textual evidence of foreigners occupying islands in the Egyptian delta. In different periods we have Libyans, we have Asiatics, and we have Aegeans. All inhabiting lands/islands on the perimeter of the delta.
Traditionally we tend to believe the whole delta belonged to Egypt. I'm inclined to see sufficient evidence to indicate this was not true. Egyptian rule did not extend to the outer limits where foreigners took up residence and piracy against Egyptian trade was common.
Here we may find colonies of "Denyen, in their isles", well within reach of an Egyptian onslaught by Ramesses III, in his own words - extending my boundaries.
 
Aug 2014
3,277
Australia
#26
Accepting that weaponry seems to be your forte, I would still be interested in what you have learned that leads you to that interpretation, and also why would Egypt make weapons for Hatti?
It seems that the Egyptians were making arms for all their neighbours. The first two pieces of evidence that come to mind are the Hittite stone shield moulds in an Egyptian workshop at Pi-Ramesses and the bronze armour stamped with the cartouche of Rameses II that was found at Salamina.

The answer to the second part of your question is patently obvious. Why would the Americans or Russians or French or Chinese make weapons for their nominal opponents?
 
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Oct 2013
4,905
Planet Nine, Oregon
#27
I know that's commonly considered a Hittite shield mold, but I'm not convinced. Hittite shields appear to have much larger cutouts on the sides, almost a figure-8. Also, the only conceivable way I think it could be used was a permanent master template in case a hide or leather template was damaged. I think the hides would be worked on a mat or table and then in a different kind of press while the hides dried. Stone would retain moisture, and thefe is no way to secure edges to prevent warping. Also it looks like it was used for tarbet practice at some point.
I think there is some diffusion of arms to be expected from a place like Egypt, and the Egyptians exacted tribute and had foreign craftsmen make things for them.

 
Feb 2011
736
Kitchener. Ont.
#28
It seems that the Egyptians were making arms for all their neighbours. The first two pieces of evidence that come to mind are the Hittite stone shield moulds in an Egyptian workshop at Pi-Ramesses and the bronze armour stamped with the cartouche of Rameses II that was found at Salamina.

The answer to the second part of your question is patently obvious. Why would the Americans or Russians or French or Chinese make weapons for their nominal opponents?
Is it so obvious?, what did Hatti have that Egypt didn't - possibly tin.
Given the easy access to tin in the mountains of Cilicia it could be easily argued Hittite weapons were either superior or cheaper to make.

Ok, you seem to be referring to a piece of a copper tunic found stamped with the cartouche of Ramesses II.
It has been suggested that the owner may have been an Aegean mercenary in the Egyptian army, or taken in battle by an Aegean soldier as a trophy.
But not an indication the Egyptians were providing a foreign military with weapons & armour.


‘Unique find’ refers to Ramses II
Lolos is particularly pleased with a piece of a copper mail shirt stamped with the name of Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled Egypt from 1279-1213 B.C.

"This is a unique find, which may have belonged to a Mycenaean mercenary soldier serving with the Egyptians," he said. "It could have been a souvenir, a mark of honor or even some kind of a medal."
Archaeologist links palace to legendary Ajax
 
Aug 2014
3,277
Australia
#29
Ok, you seem to be referring to a piece of a copper tunic found stamped with the cartouche of Ramesses II.
It has been suggested that the owner may have been an Aegean mercenary in the Egyptian army, or taken in battle by an Aegean soldier as a trophy.
But not an indication the Egyptians were providing a foreign military with weapons & armour.

‘Unique find’ refers to Ramses II
Lolos is particularly pleased with a piece of a copper mail shirt stamped with the name of Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled Egypt from 1279-1213 B.C.

"This is a unique find, which may have belonged to a Mycenaean mercenary soldier serving with the Egyptians," he said. "It could have been a souvenir, a mark of honor or even some kind of a medal."
It isn't unique. Most of the scales found in the Aegean dating to this period are the same style as the ones made in Egypt. The only unique aspect of the Salamis scale is the cartouche. It is pretty clear that a lot of the scale armour worn in the Aegean was made by Egyptian craftsmen. Some may have been war trophies but not all of them. The most reasonable conclusion is that Egypt exported arms to the Aegeans just like they did to the Hittites.

Is it so obvious?, what did Hatti have that Egypt didn't - possibly tin.
Given the easy access to tin in the mountains of Cilicia it could be easily argued Hittite weapons were either superior or cheaper to make.
If Egypt had superior armourers then the Hittites would have bought arms from Egypt even if they had the raw materials to make them locally.
 
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