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Re: [ANE-2] Sea Peoples, a dubious term.

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  • Clark Whelton
    A 2005 book by Felice Vinci called “Homer in the Baltic” -- summaries at
    Message 1 of 148 , Nov 21, 2011
      A 2005 book by Felice Vinci called “Homer in the Baltic” -- summaries at

      and http://celto-germanic.blogspot.com/2008/12/homer-in-baltic.html

      -- identifies the original Mycenaeans – frequent candidates for the Sea Peoples title -- as mid-2nd millennium BCE migrants from the Baltic. They supposedly travelled via the inland river routes to the Black Sea that were used by the Vikings in the 1st millennium CE, bringing with them tales that later became the Homeric epics. I know of nothing to recommend this idea, although amber found at Mycenaean sites (and in Italy) has been shown to have originated in the Baltic region.

      Clark Whelton
      New York

      >>>>>>>>I think there is a general lack of clarity concerning the entire Sea Peoples hypothesis. Not only is there uncertainty about cause & effect, but origins, range, impact, and identity.
      We have reached the stage that any small act of piracy in the east Med., which must be both common & frequent, are interpreted as evidence of Sea Peoples activity. Even to the extent of suggesting the Trojan war was part of the Sea Peoples advance.

      In truth the 'northern' coalition against Ramesses III identifies only three members as "en-p3-iamu", the Sherden, Tursha & Weshesh, of the sea. Or perhaps more properly, "at the sea".
      Neither the Philistines, Shekelesh, Denyen or Tjekker are so identified to the best of my knowledge.

      The damaged text from Deir el-Medina speaks to the Tursha arriving by sea. The 'naval battle' at Medinet-Habu shows the Sherden and other 'plumed' allies, who might be the Weshesh. Therfore conjecturally speaking, the appellation "at the sea" is justified as belonging to only those who Rameses confronted on water.

      The term 'Sea Peoples' though useful in some respects is more of a misnomer from a practical perspective.

      Jon Smyth
      Kitchener, On.

      --- In mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com, Christopher Jones <cwjones1989@...> wrote:
      > After looking back over the course of this discussion it seems to me
      > that there's a lack of clarity as to what is meant by "Sea Peoples." Are
      > we talking about any group of seaborne raiders in the LBA-IAI transition
      > regardless of their origin (be they Philistine, Cretan, Carian, Trojan,
      > Greek or whomever) for which a figure of a population of 8000 is surely
      > too low, or is the term being applied more narrowly to, say, the
      > Philistines, for which 8000 for a migration of elites may be plausible?
      > (In fact, given that even the Egyptian data appears to refer to a
      > temporary alliance of different ethnic groups which may or may not have
      > had any ethnic, geographic or linguistic relationship, I'm not entirely
      > persuaded that "Sea Peoples" is a particularly useful term. At the very
      > least, like "Viking", "Sea People" seems to me to be more a profession
      > than a nationality.)
      > --
      > Christopher Jones
      > cjones89@...
      > http://riversfromeden.wordpress.com/

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • 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
        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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