Who were the "Sea People"

Feb 2011
770
Kitchener. Ont.
#41
Another clue of Alashiya being Cyprus or in Cyprus is that the king of Biblos had to send his evoy to Egypt by way of Alashiya when the Syro-Palestinese route was controlled by enemy ships, this would make no sense if Alashiya was in Northen Syria or Cilicia, since his envoy would never reach Egypt from there, but it would make perfect sense if his envoy first reached Cyprus, avoiding his enemies and then reaching Egypt with the Northwest winds and avoiding the enemy ships in patrolling the coasts of Lebanon.
No, the letter claims the king of Byblos sent the Egyptian envoy from Alashaya, or sent a message via the Egyptian envoy while on his way from Alashaya to Egypt. It could be that his ship had to stop at Byblos en-route to Egypt. Alishaya being further to the north of Byblos somewhere.
 

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,664
#42
I think it's fairly obvious who they were. They were from Northward, and were peoples of the sea; peoples who traded a lot by ship. This will include the Greek mainland, the Trojans, possibly the Cyclades, and coast of Western Anatolia (I'll just call this the Greek World for simplicity).

They appeared as raiders and settlers, which means they were likely traveling from strife. We see much devastation between 1250 and the the 12th century BC in the Greek world.

Wave 1: Karkisha, Lukka, and Sherden. Well, we know exactly where Karkisha and Lukka are: both in South-Western Anatolia: Lukka is Lukka, and Karkisha is Karkiya. We don't know where the Sherden came from, only that they were probably the Greeks who ended up in Sardinia during the Bronze Age collapse. There's also Sardis on the other side of Karkiya; it's possible that Sherden was a designation for Bronze Age Lydia. That would make three adjacent states attacking in the first wave: using their classical era names: Caria, Lydia, and Lycia. All in South-Western Anatolia.

Wave 2: Ekwesh, Lukka, Shekelesh, Sherden, Teresh. The Ekwesh are the Achaean alliance of Mycenaean Greece, and the Shekelesh are the Cyclades. There are two major cities that are similar to Teresh: Taruisa (Troy), and Tarhuntassa was a Hittite client Kingdom/city state to the east of Lukka - and I favour this location as the Teresh because of later waves.

Wave 3: Eqwesh, Shekelesh, Sherden, Teresh - nothing new.

Wave 4: occurred after 1190, which is about the time Troy 7a and the Mycenaean world collapsed: Denyen, Peleset, Shekelesh, Sherden, Teresh, Tjekker, Weshesh - Tjekker could be the Teucrians/Teucer/Trojans, which would be North of Lydia. Then Denyen could be the descendents of the Ekwesh - as it fits the name Danaoi which is another designation of the Achaeans; and the Ekwesh disappear before the Denyen appear. Peleset = Pelasgian, also from the Greek mainland who would be migrating around this time. I have no clue about the Weshesh - someone above said Issus/Cilicia, which would be another Southern-coast Anatolia region fitting with the theme.

Wave 5, 6, and 7 are mixes of the same peoples from wave 4.

So:
Greek mainland:
1. Ekwesh = Achaean
2. Denyen = Danoi
3. Peleset = Pelasgians
Aegean Islands:
4. Shekelesh = Cyclades
Anatolia Beginning at Troy, and working around the coastline:
5. Tjeker = Teucer/Trojans
6. Sherden = Sardis/Lydia
7. Karkisha = Karkiya (Caria)
8. Lukka = Lukka (Lycia)
9. Teresh = Tarhuntassa
10. Weshesh = Issus/Cilicia

Interesting enough, the Trojan War (which had a large naval component) was also against two alliances of these groups.

Problems with the designations above:
1. Ekwesh are said to be circumcised, which suggests they may not have been Achaean.
2. The Sherden (probably) are depicted with horned helmets which (I believe) aren't associated with Sardis/Lydia, but ARE associated with the mainland Greeks, Celts, Sardinians, and Cyprus. It's strongly suspected the Sherden migrated to Sardinia and gave it it's name. The other possibility is they were just seaborn Greeks who eventually made Sardinia their stronghold.
 
Feb 2011
770
Kitchener. Ont.
#43
I think it's fairly obvious who they were. They were from Northward, and were peoples of the sea; peoples who traded a lot by ship. This will include the Greek mainland, the Trojans, possibly the Cyclades, and coast of Western Anatolia (I'll just call this the Greek World for simplicity).
I think these "who were the Sea Peoples" theories all suffer from not taking into account the politics of the time.
Egypt was attacking the Hittites in Syria, that was the point of his Asiatic wars.
Couple this with the likelyhood that the Hittite Empire had just collapsed, and the region we know as Cilicia was politically Hittite and you have a justifiable argument for those so-called Sea Peoples to be allies of Hatti.

If Karkisha is your Karkiya therefore Caria then a problem exists with explaining the second 'k' consonant. Also, we can't say for sure if the 'r' in Karkisha is not an 'l' (R or L?). The name may well be Kelekesh who are listed by Ramesses II, most likely the ancient name for Hilakku/Cilicia, c/w the Greek 'sos' ending read as 'sh' in Egyptian.
Hilakku was the highland, Que was the lowland which in Egyptian I think was rendered as Ekwesh. So both Kelekesh & Ekwesh refer to regions within Cilicia. Then, also in Cilicia we have the city of Tarsus, read as Tursha, and Adana read as Danuna/Denyen, then Issus is Weshesh. The Peleset have already been identified as being the Padasatina to the East of the Taurus mountains around Alalakh, and also politically Hittite.

The conventional paradigm of invading Greeks from the west needs to be reigned in and looked at from a new perspective.
Theorists never consider the entire Egyptian narrative, they all stick to the popular bits which have limited value.
 
Aug 2018
220
Italy
#44
I think it's fairly obvious who they were. They were from Northward, and were peoples of the sea; peoples who traded a lot by ship. This will include the Greek mainland, the Trojans, possibly the Cyclades, and coast of Western Anatolia (I'll just call this the Greek World for simplicity).

They appeared as raiders and settlers, which means they were likely traveling from strife. We see much devastation between 1250 and the the 12th century BC in the Greek world.

Wave 1: Karkisha, Lukka, and Sherden. Well, we know exactly where Karkisha and Lukka are: both in South-Western Anatolia: Lukka is Lukka, and Karkisha is Karkiya. We don't know where the Sherden came from, only that they were probably the Greeks who ended up in Sardinia during the Bronze Age collapse. There's also Sardis on the other side of Karkiya; it's possible that Sherden was a designation for Bronze Age Lydia. That would make three adjacent states attacking in the first wave: using their classical era names: Caria, Lydia, and Lycia. All in South-Western Anatolia.

Wave 2: Ekwesh, Lukka, Shekelesh, Sherden, Teresh. The Ekwesh are the Achaean alliance of Mycenaean Greece, and the Shekelesh are the Cyclades. There are two major cities that are similar to Teresh: Taruisa (Troy), and Tarhuntassa was a Hittite client Kingdom/city state to the east of Lukka - and I favour this location as the Teresh because of later waves.

Wave 3: Eqwesh, Shekelesh, Sherden, Teresh - nothing new.

Wave 4: occurred after 1190, which is about the time Troy 7a and the Mycenaean world collapsed: Denyen, Peleset, Shekelesh, Sherden, Teresh, Tjekker, Weshesh - Tjekker could be the Teucrians/Teucer/Trojans, which would be North of Lydia. Then Denyen could be the descendents of the Ekwesh - as it fits the name Danaoi which is another designation of the Achaeans; and the Ekwesh disappear before the Denyen appear. Peleset = Pelasgian, also from the Greek mainland who would be migrating around this time. I have no clue about the Weshesh - someone above said Issus/Cilicia, which would be another Southern-coast Anatolia region fitting with the theme.

Wave 5, 6, and 7 are mixes of the same peoples from wave 4.

So:
Greek mainland:
1. Ekwesh = Achaean
2. Denyen = Danoi
3. Peleset = Pelasgians
Aegean Islands:
4. Shekelesh = Cyclades
Anatolia Beginning at Troy, and working around the coastline:
5. Tjeker = Teucer/Trojans
6. Sherden = Sardis/Lydia
7. Karkisha = Karkiya (Caria)
8. Lukka = Lukka (Lycia)
9. Teresh = Tarhuntassa
10. Weshesh = Issus/Cilicia

Interesting enough, the Trojan War (which had a large naval component) was also against two alliances of these groups.

Problems with the designations above:
1. Ekwesh are said to be circumcised, which suggests they may not have been Achaean.
2. The Sherden (probably) are depicted with horned helmets which (I believe) aren't associated with Sardis/Lydia, but ARE associated with the mainland Greeks, Celts, Sardinians, and Cyprus. It's strongly suspected the Sherden migrated to Sardinia and gave it it's name. The other possibility is they were just seaborn Greeks who eventually made Sardinia their stronghold.

Karkiya/Karkisha were never mentioned among the peoples invading Egypt, so I don't know how can you classify them as part of the sea peoples. They were only mentioned among the mercenary/allied troops that the Hittites had in their army at Kadesh, but they never invaded Egypt.
As for the Sherden being from Lydia, that would go against all evidence considering that Lydia did not exist during the 14th-13th or 12th century bc when the Sherden were mentioned, the first mention of Lydia in the written record was made by the Assyrians in the 7th century bc. We know that during the late bronze age that area was first knwon and Arzawa, and then as Mira, and the Hittites mentioned that area in dozens of documents and never once referred to the Shardana neither as a people or as a kingdom. It would also make no sense to have the Lukka, Dardanians, Misians and Karkisha (all west Anatolians) as Hittite allies but not the Sherden/Shardana who were on the Egyptian side during Kadesh. The Shardana weren't mentioned in the 22 kingdoms/city states of West Anatolia (Assuwa) who formed a coalition against the Hittites either, while the Lukka and Karkiya were.

As for the theory that the Shardana were Greeks who migrated to Sardinia there are several holes in that theory

1)There is no mention of any Greek tribe or city state that could be even loosely connected to the name Shardana in any greek literature including the homeric poems
2)There is no evidence whatsoever of a greek invasion of Sardinia during the late bronze age, there's only some very small quantities of greek pottery and artifacts found inside local nuragic settlements with no signs of destruction during that period.(and vice versa nuragic pottery found in Crete, Cyprus and perhaps Tyrins) but zero traces of foreign settlements.



Wave 1: Karkisha, Lukka, and Sherden. Well, we know exactly where Karkisha and Lukka are: both in South-Western Anatolia: Lukka is Lukka, and Karkisha is Karkiya. We don't know where the Sherden came from, only that they were probably the Greeks who ended up in Sardinia during the Bronze Age collapse. There's also Sardis on the other side of Karkiya; it's possible that Sherden was a designation for Bronze Age Lydia. That would make three adjacent states attacking in the first wave: using their classical era names: Caria, Lydia, and Lycia. All in South-Western Anatolia.
This wave never happened. We know from the Amarna letters (1345-1325 bc) that the Lukka/Lycians raided Egypt and Cyprus, we know from the Tanis stele that the Shardana raided Egypt in 1279 bc and were captured and later used as mercenaries at Kadesh, we have zero reports of Karkisha raids anywhere.

Both the Lukka and the Shardana raided on their own and during different occasions. The only time the Shardana are mentioned working together with the Lukka is when they were hired as mercenaries by the chieftain of Libya along with Shekelesh, Ekwesh and Teresh during Merneptah's reign, while in the battle of Kadesh they fought on opposite sides.
 
Last edited:
Likes: alexfritz

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,664
#45
You caught me being lazy and going off Wikipedia summaries.

Anyway, to save one thread of dignity in my mistake - I did not intend to suggest that the Sherden WAS Lydia, I only used the name as a reference point for the region.The link to the region (again, from Wikipedia, probably a mistake for me to rely on it) is described in the Sherden article under Eastern hypothesis suggesting that the name of Sardis is from the Sherden. But now I see my error.
 
Likes: Massenzio
#46
Ya know, those credited with attacks on Ancient Egypt and Mycenean Greeks in the 12 - 11 century BC.


Who do you think they most likely were? Considering we dont have an origin.
Greek raiders basically.

Probably Minoan or the like, I also think there was more than one group, even though Sicilian raiders have been cited as a possibility also, the dress and other important artifacts all point to greek origin.

For example for the few artifacts they did find, one of them was greek style pottery, if you look at their bronze armour and dress as well its quite flamboyant similar in style to Mycenaean armament but less coverage as they were sailors.

Yes there is room for argument but when you add up what little proof there is, it all points to Aegean raiders.
 
Feb 2011
770
Kitchener. Ont.
#47
Greek raiders basically.

Probably Minoan or the like, I also think there was more than one group, even though Sicilian raiders have been cited as a possibility also, the dress and other important artifacts all point to greek origin.

For example for the few artifacts they did find, one of them was greek style pottery, if you look at their bronze armour and dress as well its quite flamboyant similar in style to Mycenaean armament but less coverage as they were sailors.

Yes there is room for argument but when you add up what little proof there is, it all points to Aegean raiders.
Where does the "dress" evidence come from, do you mean what we see on the Egyptian reliefs?

Also, you mention the pottery evidence.
Are you aware that the monochrome/bichrome pottery found in the Levant is found nowhere else in the West Aegean world, so it's not like it proves they came from the West.
Are you also aware that the style of pattern on that pottery predate the Mycenaean LHIIIC period (c.1400-1050), those designs are also found on Palestinian Bichrome which dates to c.1500, and is only found in the Levant & on Cyprus.

If you want to talk about the 'evidence', we can do that.
 
Oct 2013
6,158
Planet Nine, Oregon
#48
Could it be possible that a bunch of raiders supported by the Hittites or allied with them in conjunction wtih Greek mercenaries and warriors, descended on Egypt? They wouldn't necessarily have to have an established pottery trail, using what they had on the way, and expecting loot. It just seems odd that Odysseus would mention the raid on Egypt, and even being captured and resettled! By chance? Then there is the arms and armour seen in the reliefs; rapiers, "tiara" helmets, horned helmets, cuirasses..


Tiara helmet with woven straw interior

From Crete:


The Greek Age of Bronze - Shields
 
#49
Where does the "dress" evidence come from, do you mean what we see on the Egyptian reliefs?

Also, you mention the pottery evidence.
Are you aware that the monochrome/bichrome pottery found in the Levant is found nowhere else in the West Aegean world, so it's not like it proves they came from the West.
Are you also aware that the style of pattern on that pottery predate the Mycenaean LHIIIC period (c.1400-1050), those designs are also found on Palestinian Bichrome which dates to c.1500, and is only found in the Levant & on Cyprus.

If you want to talk about the 'evidence', we can do that.
Every picture of their dress and armament that I've ever seen looks like Aegean esque wear.

But the thing is, lets say for argument that they aren't Greek / Aegean, what else could they ever be?

The Sardinia, Sicily theories are even less believable or probable simply due to distance, why them and not Minions, Greeks etc who are a lot closer?

Also I would query intensely the battle prowess of the raiders from Sicily or Sardinia to be that of what was described by the Egyptians and the capability of taking cities in the Levant, Greeks yes, their warfare was more advanced.
No I'm sorry but the numbers needed to settle Gaza etc and export waves of invaders plus the Jewish scribes apparently noting that the pottery they made in the Philistine cities was the same style as Minoan / Crete just points to the obvious.

I'm open to a band of raiders like the Sherden coming from Sicily because the Sea People were not all from one place but the major incursions like the Philistines / Peleset I'd bank on them being of Greek stock.

What evidence do you know of that points elsewhere, I'd be interested to know?
 
Aug 2014
4,261
Australia
#50
Every picture of their dress and armament that I've ever seen looks like Aegean esque wear.
Not to anyone who has studied this subject in any depth.

But the thing is, lets say for argument that they aren't Greek / Aegean, what else could they ever be?
First of all there in no such thing as "Sea People". It is a dodgy interpretation of a sloppy translation. A better translation is "people by the sea". Most likely they were local raiders from the Nile Delta.

There was no so-called "Catastrophe". No mass invasion. No abandonment of sites. No decline of Egypt's dominance during this time. And no subsequent "Dark Age". A decent analysis of the events in question in light of a properly revised chronology reveals an orderly progression into the Archaic Period.
 
Last edited:

Similar History Discussions