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Who were the Sea People who attacked Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age Collapse? Show more Show less
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During the 12th Century BC sea-faring invaders contributed to what is known as the Late Bronze Age Collapse. Greece, Egypt, the Levant, and the Hittites were all impacted. Known in the Egyptian sources as a confederation of ethnic groups, the identity and origins of the Sea People is contested.

The Sea People were an emerging Anatolian power Show more Show less

The disturbances in this period started in the Hittite empire and may have emerged from a power struggle in the region. Based on the etymology, there is good reason to believe at least some of the Sea People came from Anatolia.
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Some of the ethnic groups in the sources can be traced to Anatolian lands

The Sherden, Shekelesh, Teresh, and Lukka can all be linked to places in Anatolia. The Anatolian connection is particularly strong for the Lukka, who are mentioned quite frequently in antiquity.
Ancient History

The Argument

The word “Lukka”, appears in multiple Near Eastern texts which appear to describe a region of Anatolia.[1] Although it is uncertain which part, Lycia is one strong candidate, as the Greek word Lykaeonia, could easily be a transliteration of lukkawani (literally the people who live in lukka).[2] Whoever the Lukka were, they appear to have had frequent conflicts, including religious disputes, with the Hittites, whose power was based in Eastern Anatolia. The Hittite capital Hattusa is one of the sites destroyed in this period.[3] It has been proposed that the Shekelesh might have come from the Shekha river region in western Anatolia. The Sherden may be from Sardis in Western Anatolia, based on the origins of others Sea People in Anatolia, the word Sherden may have come from Mount Sardena, or the Sardanion plain.[2]The Teresh are the Tyrrhenians who according to Herodotus came from ancient Lydia (Western Anatolia) to Italy.[4] There are multiple compelling theories that the names of at least some of the Sea People derive from places in Anatolia. The Lukka in particular are identified by name in Near Eastern sources. The Sea People were likely a coalition of peoples from Anatolia.

Counter arguments

Many of the etymological arguments are weak, and there are multiple equally plausible variations on many of the names, especially for the Shekelesh and the Sherden. We do not really know where they were from and many archaeologists have resorted to guessing based on similar soundings names. [5]There is stronger evidence based on written material and archaeology that the Sea People were mostly Greek. The story in Herodotus about the Etruscans is believed by many to be inaccurate, or date to a much later period in history.[6] The Egyptian sources say that the Sea People came from the islands, which makes it unlikely they came from mainland Anatolia. There are better explanations for the origins of many of the ethnic groups which are backed up with source material and archaeology.



[P1] The words Lukka, Shekelesh, teresh and Sherden can all be connected with lands in Anatolian. [C] The Sea People were Anatolian.

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 4 Nov 2020 at 08:47 UTC

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