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Re: An alliance of Hittites?

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  • bjorn07se
    ... Thanks Jon for your input. Below I have some comments on two factors which might be of interest to the Sea Peoples question but which are hardly ever
    Message 1 of 148 , Nov 10, 2011
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      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Jon Smyth" <driver40386@...> wrote:
      > The interpretation that "Hatti, Kode, Carchemish, Yereth &
      > Alishaya", from Medinet-Habu, refers to conquered 'nations' is
      > entirely unsatisfactory.
      > Ambiguity does exist in that text, specifically, "...r-H3t awy=sn
      > S3a m xt3...". In consequence we could just as easily "interpret"
      > the meaning as, "no land could stand before the arms of Hatti,
      > Kode, Carchemish, etc.
      > In other words columns 16-18 at Medinet-Habu describe an alliance
      > among the northern countries. A broad Hittite coalition from Kode
      > to Carchemish which included Yereth, Alishaya, and the Peleset,
      > Shekelesh, Denyen and Weshesh – lands united.

      > Best Wishes, Jon Smyth
      > Kitchener, On, Can.

      Thanks Jon for your input. Below I have some comments on two factors
      which might be of interest to the 'Sea Peoples' question but which
      are hardly ever mentioned.

      People don't leave their homes permanently without a very good reason.
      In an article by Kaniewski et al., "Middle East coastal ecosystem
      response to middle-to-late Holocene abrupt climate changes" at
      http://www.pnas.org/content/105/37/13941.full we read:

      << Detailed palynological [pollen] data from an 800-cm alluvial
      sequence cored in the Jableh plain in northwest Syria [some 15 kms.
      SE of Tell Ras Shamra/Ugarit] have been used to reconstruct the
      vegetation dynamics in the coastal lowlands and the nearby Jabal an
      Nus,ayriyah mountains for the period 2150 to 550 B.C. Corresponding
      with the 4.2 to 3.9 and 3.5 to 2.5 cal kyr BP abrupt climate changes
      (ACCs), two large-scale shifts to a more arid climate have been
      At the end of the late Bronze Age, archaeological evidence shows a
      massive devastation in western Asia, and most of the cities in Anatolia,
      Syria, and Palestine were destroyed at ca. 1200 B.C. This regional
      decline was potentially caused by a succession of catastrophic
      droughts, followed by economic collapse and social chaos [Ref. 17]. >>

      In Ref. 17, B. Weiss, "The decline of the Late Bronze Age civilization
      as a possible response to climate change"; Climatic Change 4: 173–198
      (1982), we read in the Abstract at
      http://www.springerlink.com/content/n1267153524nn640/ :

      << It is hypothesized here that a drought-induced migration of Luwian
      peoples from Western Anatolia occurred early in the twelfth century B.C.,
      that it was associated in some fashion with the invasion of Egypt by
      the 'Sea Peoples' in the reign of Ramesses III, and that the defeated
      remnants of these peoples settled along the Levantine coast and
      filtered into North Syria and the upper Euphrates valley. >>

      Whether or not these immigrants settled along the Levantine coast/N.
      Syria *before* or *after* their clash with Ramesses III, they very
      likely brought with them some cultural traits from 'home'. IMO,
      quotes from your post #13748:
      "Indications of local origins, in some cases displaying Aegean
      influences, but not Aegean origins" (A. Gilboa) or "the material
      culture is evidently drawn from local regions, with Aegean influence
      certainly, but not immediate and not direct" (Jon S.) are compatible
      with such a scenario.

      In the Merneptah passage which refers to sending grain to Hatti there
      is also reference to the invaders of Egypt being short of food:

      << They spend their time going about the land, fighting, to fill
      their bodies daily. They come to the land of Egypt, to seek the
      necessities of their mouths... >>
      (from Breasted vol 3.580)

      We should not assume that the reason for these shipments was a great
      streak of philanthropy or a desire by the Egyptians to strengthen the
      power of the Hittite Empire. Maybe they instead sought to support the
      S. Anatolians to divide the crumbling Empire further. But this was
      ca. one generation *before* the wars of Ramesses III.

      In a paper by George Bass, "Sailing between the Aegean and the Orient
      in the Second Millennium BC" we read at [watch the wrap!]
      http://www2.ulg.ac.be/archgrec/IMG/aegeum/aegaeum18(pdf)/22%20Bass.pdf :

      << The ship wrecked at Cape Gelidonya, Turkey, around 1200 BC, but
      probably toward the end of the thirteenth century, seems to have
      hailed from the Syro-Palestinian coast or Cyprus, a thirty-year-old
      hypothesis recently strengthened by the discovery of the ship's Near
      Eastern/Cypriot anchor.

      . . Nevertheless, the personal possessions on the ship that sank at
      Cape Gelidonya were overwhelmingly Near Eastern, including the sixty
      pan-balance weights, the ship's lamp, the scarabs, the stone mortars,
      and the only merchant's cylinder seal.
      The cargo of ingots and scrap bronze tools came also from east of the
      Aegean, from Cyprus.

      . . The excavation of the ship wrecked at Uluburun, Turkey, in or
      shortly after 1305 BC, provides additional evidence for such shipments
      with its cargo of ingots of copper and tin and glass, logs of ebony,
      murex opercula, terebinth resin, hippopotamus and elephant ivory,
      ostrich eggshells, and spices. Almost all of this cargo probably
      originated on the Syro-Palestinian coast. Most of these goods, save
      the ebony, are labeled as coming from Retenu, or Syria, when shown in
      Egyptian art, and the Amarna letters describe the shipment of most to
      Egypt from various Near Eastern centers.

      We, the excavators, believe the ship probably had one or more Mycenaeans
      on board, perhaps merchants. There were Mycenaean eating wares, two
      Mycenaean swords, a Mycenaean pin of northern origin, Mycenaean glass
      relief beads, and two Mycenaean merchants' seals. Nevertheless, there
      is much more evidence of the presence of Near Easterners.

      . . Most importantly, however, the ship's twenty-four stone anchors
      are of types known plentifully on land and under water in the Levant,
      but virtually absent in the Aegean, with an exception at the entrepôt
      of Kommos. >>

      This is a valuable read for several reasons. The destruction of
      coastal Levantine (Phoenician) cities, probably including their
      merchant ships, was a severe blow to the whole area and would explain
      why the import of foreign goods to 'fortress Levant' was impaired for
      several decades.

      Björn Lindborg, Stockholm
    • aren
      Raz, Once again, I m rather hesitant to get into this, since the ongoing back and forth is most often done on the basis of party lines and self-perceived
      Message 148 of 148 , Dec 6, 2011
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        Once again, I'm rather hesitant to get into this, since the ongoing back and forth is most often done on the basis of "party lines" and self-perceived "truths" and often without reference to the latest research in various areas.

        I was not, in any way stating who has the truth or not, at this or that university. For that matter, I felt that both sides of what appeared to be a completely aimless argument were not arguing about details of the most updated discussions and recent evidence of the LB destructions and/or the Sea Peoples, but rather going over their "party lines" - of which each side was totally convinced that his/her "truth" had "won" long ago (and nothing scares me more [in research, religion and politics] than those who know for sure that they are absolutely right).

        Simplistic conceptions of the various ideological divisions and scholarly camps are really only useful if you are interested in the debate - and not the content (or the history and sociology of research). Current research, with an overflow of wide ranging data, has shown, in my humble opinion, if anything, that the various ideological "camps" of the historical reconstruction of the beginning of the Iron Age are all wrong (or if you want, they are all partially right)! Things were much more complicated than previously assumed.
        For example, the simplistic explanation of the Philistines as monolithic conquerors does not hold - but neither does the often repeated mantra that there is no evidence of the influx of Aegean (or rather "western") oriented cultural elements. Au contraire - there is plenty of evidence of this, and that it can most probably be connected to the actual arrival of bona fide "bodies" who carried these cultural influences to the Levant.
        And to make things ever more multi-faceted, this is true to varying degrees in different areas, such as if we compare the situation in Philistia, Phoenicia and the Amuq. To try and explain away all these things in simplistic terms may sound good in a debating society - but not for those of us who are intimately involved in the nitty-gritty details of the relevant archaeological finds.
        Knowing Hebrew is not a sine qua non for studying the archaeology of this region, just like you can study the archaeology of Denmark, or Finland, without knowing the local languages. But, it can be very helpful (to say the least, as you well know).
        AND, when dealing with a topic such as the destruction of Hazor (which much of the recent discussion on this list was not demonstrating an awareness of much of the most updated research), if the most recent discussion is in Hebrew, it is worthwhile to relate to it.

        But hey - I've long ago had the feeling that this list is all too often more about the sociology of research and the psychology of the researchers, than research itself.

        But that is my opinion - and what do I know...

        Aren Maeir
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