Basic argument for the Sea Peoples invasion? (was: Mia Culpa)
- Dear David.
With respect to your reference to the text of column 16 on the north wall at Medinet-Habu, would you allow me to broaden the picture a little?
Perhaps this is more due to Leonard Lesko than anyone else, but I find it a little disappointing that all scholarly treatments of the Sea People hypothesis which use the Medinet-Habu texts for support completely omit any reference to the texts & reliefs which show Ramesses III fighting the Hittites.
It is almost as if such a confrontation never occurred. I recall Lesko for one who argued something of the order that any reference to the Hittites at Medinet-Habu cannot be trusted due to the fact Khatti had been destroyed. And, such texts were likely copied from the Ramesseum anyway.
The fact remains the walls which 'may' have carried any parallel historical texts which could have arguably inspired the architect of Medinet-Habu no longer exist. Hence any argument which attempts to belittle the claims of Ramesses III on the assumption that they may have been copied from texts which no longer exist, on walls which also no longer exist is a completely baseless argument.
Whether scholars are prepared to accept Ramesses III fighting Hittites should be immaterial. If we are to use the ancient written record then all the text should be considered and debated in the same light, not just selected portions.
Now with reference to your quote, thankyou, this may be considered the centre/crux of the problem.
This quote (..from Khatti, Kode, Carchemish, etc...) as everyone knows is perhaps unanimously accepted as textual 'proof' of the arrival of the Sea Peoples. This argument hinges on the modern acceptance of the term "their arms" being used with reference to the aforementioned northerners, ..perhaps the original ancient meaning was otherwise!
If we can put that thought aside for a moment.
At Medinet-Habu, plate 120C reads, ...(Amon speaks to Ramesses III).."receive thou the sword. My hand is with thee that thou mayest overthrow the land of Hatti"
In plate 119A we read, "The wretched chief of Hatti, whom his majesty slew".
In plate 118E we read, "The wretched chief of Kode, whom his majesty slew".
There is no surviving reference to a 'chief of Carchemish', or 'chief of Arvad' but if we look in the conquest list we do find that he listed "land of Carchemish"(No.29) and "land of Arvad" (No.88).
The relief in plate 88 shows the Egyptians attacking, "Tunip of Hatti".
The relief in plate 87 shows the Egyptians attacking "dmi Yereth", "town (of) Arvad" (contra to Simons who identifies Yereth as Arzawa there was no known town called Arzawa. Whereas the island town of Arvad had supported Hatti as far back as the Amarna period.).
So we can quite reasonably conclude, from his own words, that Ramesses III advanced into Hatti-land and fought against Hatti, Kode, Carchemish, Arvad, and, unfortunately no surviving reference to Alishaya.
If scholarship believes those Northerners destroyed Hatti, Kode, Carchemish, Arvad & Alishaya, (void of any archaeological support) based soley on the interpretation that the words "their arms" refers to the Northerners, then how to explain the fact that Ramesses himself claims to have fought Hatti, Kode, Carchemish & Arvad?
Something is amiss!
Cast your mind back a hundred years before Ramesses III, at the battle of Kadesh, and the grand Hittite alliance. You must notice that along with Kadesh, Lukka, Kizzuwadna, etc. we find that also allied with Hatti were Kode, Carchemish & Arvad!
Obviously Alishaya was not part of the Hittite sphere of influence at Kadesh because it was only later in the reign of Tudhaliyah IV that Alishaya was first brought into the Hittite fold.
Considering the above, it must be clear enough that there is a distinct possibility that the quote you provided from Medinet-Habu refers, not to a list of destroyed 'nations', but to an alliance of Hittite states of which Ramesses stated, "no-one could stand before their arms (from) Hatti, Kode, Carchemish, Arvad & Alishaya!
No-one else that is except me! = Ramesses III, because he was the one who stopped them in their tracks.
This interpretation, which is perfectly plausible turns on its head the conventional Sea Peoples hypothesis.
Once we accept that Ramesses III faced the Hittites we only need to look to the Hittite sphere of influence to identify those illusive Sea Peoples.
Ramesses III faced an alliance of Hittite states (Hatti, Kode, Carchemish, Arvad & Alishaya) who's confederates were the northerners from Tarsus (Tursha), Adana (Denyen), Issus (Weshesh) in Cilicia, along with the Sherdana, Sheklesh, Sikel & Peleset all residents of the coastal Levant.
Hoffner, Gutterbock & Bryce, to name a few, have demonstrated without question that the Syrian Hittites were alive and well at the time of Ramesses III.
The conventional basis (your quote) for the Sea Peoples invasion has been shown to be questionable and requires a revised interpretation.
All the best, Jon Smyth
--- In ANEemail@example.com, David Hall <dqhall59@...> wrote:
> In my previous email I errantly attributed an analysis of the Sea Peoples to Adolph Erman of the Victorian Era, he recorded the Sea Peoples invasion theory of Sea Peoples laying waste to Syria.
> From a more recent article:
> "The countries -- , the [Northerners] in their isles were disturbed, taken away in the [fray] -- at one time. Not one stood before their hands, from Kheta, Kode, Carchemish, Arvad, Alashia, they were wasted." Medinet Habu, temple of Ramesses III.
> This is part of the basis for the theory of the Sea People's invasion.
> David Q. Hall