Who were the Sea Peoples?

Jan 2011
1,190
Balkans
#1
What's your opinion regarding the ethnic identity of the Sea Peoples? There are plenty of hypotheses like that they were Greeks, Italians, Philistines etc
 

Salah

Forum Staff
Oct 2009
23,284
Maryland
#3
I think the Philistines were a Semitic or Canaanite people. The Sea Peoples I think came from Greece or Greek islands.
 
Feb 2011
10
Richmond Upon Thames, London
#4
A very interesting question. I have this to contribute...

"The foreigners made a conspiracy in their islands. All at once the lands were shattered in the fray. No land could stand before their arms, Hatti, Kode, Carchemish, Arzawa and Alashiya were destroyed one after the other. On they came towards Egypt...Their confederation was the Peleset, Tjeker, Shekelesh, Denyen and Meshwesh."

Inscription from Ramesses III s mortuary temple c 1186 BC.
 
Feb 2011
822
Kitchener. Ont.
#6
What's your opinion regarding the ethnic identity of the Sea Peoples? There are plenty of hypotheses like that they were Greeks, Italians, Philistines etc
The term "Sea Peoples" is modern, it does not exist in ancient texts.

That said, a few of the enemies who attacked Ramesses III were identified in Egyptian inscriptions as, "Sherden of the sea", "Tursha of the sea", and "Weshesh of the sea".
But, there you have it, none of the other 'confederation' carried the appellation "n-p3-iamu" (of the sea). Not the Peleset/Philistines, not the Tjekker, not the Shekelesh, and not the Denyen.

I posted elsewhere concerning excavations at Tell Tayinat, close to Alalakh on the Orontes. This is the first archaeologically attested possible origin for the Philistines.
The Tjekker are still an unknown group in part because there exists scholarly uncertainty as to the etymology of the name & how it was rendered.
The Shekelesh are now thought to have been the Sikalayu of Ugaritic texts, thereofre of Semitic origin.
The Denyen may be connected to Adana in Cilicia, or more likely from the island of Cyprus.
In Cilicia the ancient cities of Tarsus (Tursha) and Issus (Weshesh), along with possibly Adana (Denyen) in the 12th century BCE were part of Kizzuwadna and as such were in alliance with the Hittites.

Therefore, apart from trade connections with the Aegean there is no need to look to Greece for the origin of these so-called Sea Peoples. They were all Asiatics, but then thats precisely what Ramesses III calls them in his texts, "amu" & "stt-yw" = Asiatics.
 
Nov 2010
976
Ηνωμένες &
#7
What's your opinion regarding the ethnic identity of the Sea Peoples? There are plenty of hypotheses like that they were Greeks, Italians, Philistines etc
My opinion is that the "sea people" were actually a loose alliance of peoples, no doubt or various origin and ethnic identity. It's difficult to say, our best sources are the Egyptian records, but they are as mysterious to us as the exotic names the Egyptians gave them.

I think the Philistines were a Semitic or Canaanite people. The Sea Peoples I think came from Greece or Greek islands.
As odd as it sounds, it turns out the Philistines may have come from the mediterranean. Their gods, customs, and language may have all been similar to semitic ones.

Philistine origins are traced to the arrival as conquerors of a group of people on the coast of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canaan"]Canaan[/ame] and [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza"]Gaza[/ame]. They were culturally related to the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycenaean_Greece"]Mycenean[/ame] or proto-Greek world and came from a point of origin in the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegean_Sea"]Aegean[/ame] thought by most scholars to have been [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crete"]Crete[/ame].[2][7] They conquered the local Caananite western-Semitic speaking population of the coast, and together the conquered people and the invaders created a blended, west-Semitic speaking culture that we call Philistine.[7]

This could mean that they were influenced by contact with semites, or semites of western origin who settled in Israel. In any case, no doubt just one of many invasions/migrations that occurred in the period.

It may be a gross oversimplification, however, to just say they all came from "Greece", or "the east". We are ensure if they (Shardana, Shekelesh, etc.) came from either east or west, and might have come from both at the same time. To make matters even more confusing, there were also lots of "land people" who may have contributed to the end of the Hittite empire, or made their natural decline/destruction by natural disaster worse.

One of my favorite theories is that people like the Shardana, a sea faring people, came from an island in the west, bringing with them long double edged mycenean type swords and circular shields, because their native island had a natrual disaster like a volcanic eruption or earthquake.
 
Sep 2010
286
#8
The Sea People's were Greeks from around the Med: [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lukka_lands"]Lukka[/ame] (Lycians), [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherden"]Sherden [/ame](Sardinians), and Danuna/[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denyen"]Denyens[/ame] (Danaans).
 
Feb 2011
822
Kitchener. Ont.
#9
....
One of my favorite theories is that people like the Shardana, a sea faring people, came from an island in the west,......
That island presumably being Sardinia. That, I believe was the theory espoused by Chabas in 1872, then Maspero, in 1873, turned this around by suggesting the Shardana came from Sardis in Anatolia and settled on Sardinia.

The archaeology of Sardinia does not support the idea that this island could have provided the wealth for a seagoing fleet never mind a fully equipped military.
Add to this the fact that the island was known in ancient texts as Ichnussa, and only became known as Sardinia after the 8th century BCE when the Phoenicians landed there.

So whoever the Shardana were in the 12th century BCE Levant, they were unrelated to the island, 1400 miles away across the Med. which would become known as Sardinia in the 8th century.
 
Feb 2011
822
Kitchener. Ont.
#10
The Sea People's were Greeks from around the Med: Lukka (Lycians), Sherden (Sardinians), and Danuna/Denyens (Danaans).
You think those links to provide support your suggestion?

- Lycians were Greeks?
Quote:
"From these texts we can conclude the Lukka, or Lukka lands, referred to a regions extending from the western end of Pamphylia, through Lycaonia, Pisidia and Lycia."

- Shardana were Greeks?
Quote:
Guido suggests that the Sherden may ultimately derive from Ionia, in the central west coast of Anatolia, in the region of Hermos, east of the island of Chios. It is suggested that Sardis, and the Sardinian plain nearby, may preserve a cultural memory of their name.....
However, weapons and armour similar to those of the Sherden are found in Sardinia dating only to several centuries after the period of the Sea Peoples. If the theory that the Sherden moved to Sardinia only after their defeat by Ramesses III is true, then it could be inferred from this that the finds in Sardinia are survivals of earlier types of weapons and armour. On the other hand, if the Sherden only moved into the Western Mediterranean in the ninth century, associated perhaps with the movement of early Etruscans and even Phoenician seafaring peoples into the Western Mediterranean at that time, it would remain unknown where they were located between the period of the Sea Peoples and their eventual appearance as the Nuragic civilization of Sardinia.

- Danuna were Greeks?
Quote:
The Denyen have been identified with the people of Adana, in Cilicia who existed in late Hittite Empire times. They are also believed to have settled in Cyprus.

Do you read your own references?
:)
 

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