Who were the Sea Peoples?

Feb 2011
804
Kitchener. Ont.
I can see a potential analogy with the Vikings. They did not start their raids at the level of nation states, that came later, and in those earlier times did not seem to suffer from a lack of weapons of ships. While we don't know about the Sea Peoples to anything like the extent we know about the Vikings, I don't see a compelling reason to discount a similar situation occuring in the eastern Mediterranean nearly two thousand years earlier.
You'll notice the Vikings only raided towns & villages, they did not take on a city-state with a national army.
The Viking comparison (suggested by Radford) only really bears comparison with the likes of the Lycians, known pirates of the Aegean.
 
Feb 2011
804
Kitchener. Ont.
I'm open to no collapsr, but many places were destroyed or abandoned, or at least there was a lot of change.
And then the end of Linear b and the rise of an oral tradition that became the works of Homer.
Many of these destructions cannot be accurately dated, sometime towards the end of the Late Bronze, or thereabouts. So, there has been a tendency for historians to lump them all together, and as it has been a popular theory to view the Sea Peopels as a marauding migration, they have been saddled with the blame.
 
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Feb 2011
804
Kitchener. Ont.
All Rameses did was to list all the minorities who participated in the rebellion. Rebels, by definition, must have lived under Egyptian rule. If they were outsiders, they would not have been called rebels.
The Egyptians collectively called them "Northerners", they lived beyond the borders of Egypt, among the islands.
This is a term parallel with "Southerners", commonly used for Kush & Nubia. Not part of Egypt proper, but Egypt installed governors in Kush & Nubia, so we should see both Kush & Nubia as annexed by Egypt, and as such Pharaoh may have viewed the inhabitants as his subjects.

Therefore, the same meaning could apply to "Northerners". In the time of Piy (Piankhy), those Northerners were Libyans, not Egyptians, though it should not be dismissed that some Egyptians possibly joined the rebellion against Piy.
But again, we do read of officials bearing titles like Governor of the Foreign Countries, but this does not refer to foreign lands like the Levant, outside Egypt, but somewhere very close by..
I'm inclined to think the common line in the Pharaonic titulary - Ruler of foreign Countries, refers to this very northern region.

So, all things considered, when Ramesses III calls these invaders (of his border) "rebels" it is because he views them as his subjects. Yet, he admits "they know not Egypt", I think meaning they refuse to comply with his demands.
 
Apr 2012
257
Iowa, USA
Wickerman said: "
You'll notice the Vikings only raided towns & villages, they did not take on a city-state with a national army."

The Great Heathen Army and raids/sieges of Paris put the lie to this; and might be considered as models for the 'Sea Peoples" actions: small raid, small raid. let's go for it. Just a thought.
 
Feb 2013
4,299
Coastal Florida
A new paper has been published in the journal Science Advances which presents DNA evidence from the recently discovered Philistine cemetery at Ashkelon. It's unfortunate that its merits can't be discussed here as, in general, it clearly seems to offer strong empirical support for one side of this debate. Although the result set's resolution is limited due to degradation of the sample, the evidence gathered was broadly consistent and raises a number of other interesting questions as well.
 
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Likes: Todd Feinman

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,792
Crows nest
On my reading, this leans more in favour a "Viking type" scenario of movement, though whether this would involve movements of village/tribal size, as was the case in the early Viking Age, or at the level of a small state is another matter.
 
Feb 2013
4,299
Coastal Florida
I don't think the resolution of the recoverable evidence is sufficient to temporally quantify everything when it comes to the minutiae. However, it certainly supports the view that a substantial migration from across the sea occurred, at least in the case of the Philistines...also that they mixed with the local population and were eventually absorbed by it a few centuries later. This broadly sustains the more traditional view and strongly refutes newer interpretations that there was no large migration of European people and this was merely an agitation of the existing regional population who simply imported "culture" (e.g. pottery) from across the sea. Perhaps the total reality was somewhere in the middle but this clearly casts doubt on claims that this was primarily a local phenomena without substantial outside involvement.
 
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Likes: Todd Feinman
Feb 2013
4,299
Coastal Florida
I would also mention something I've noted before. I've long doubted the "no migration" extremity of the debate because the archaeology shows a clear break of the material culture across the coastal region occupied by the Philistines. Generally speaking, either a new population arrived in substantial numbers at around the same time and took control of the area or the existing population suddenly abandoned all they knew and began doing something completely different for some reason. The idea the existing population somehow found sufficient reason to do that has always struck me as rather odd. It's one thing to start importing a few pots and change over time but the sudden and broad cultural change seems extreme, particularly over a large area at around the same time.
 
Oct 2013
6,262
Planet Nine, Oregon
It's all too easy to think you see bronze armor when in reality it may only be a leather curiass...

Thomas Hulit created similar armour as an interpretation, but there is no evidence for it at all in the record. They look much closer to Aegean and central European decorated examples of bronze cuirasses; it's possible the artists had one example of a panoply for a model.
 

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