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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 Mycenaean Greeks Show more Show less

According to Greek history the Mycenaeans carried out pirate raiding trips around the Mediterranean. Some of these seafaring Greeks became the Philistines, one of the groups potentially identified in the Egyptian sources.
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Some of the Sea People were Philistines of Greek extraction

Most scholars agree that the Philistines were Greek people based on considerable archaeological and written evidence. The Philistines are the one group of Sea People who are easy to identify in the sources. The Sea People were partly or mostly Greek.
Ancient History

The Argument

The word ‘Peleset’ mentioned among the ethnicities of the Sea Peoples is thought to be the Egyptian word for Philistine. This is one of the only points of etymology in the Sea People debate which is not really disputed, it is widely agreed upon by most scholars. The Philistine state formed in this troubled period, around the 12th century BC. The timeline from the bible fits perfectly with the Egyptian sources. [1] Many scholars believe the Philistines were Greeks who settled in the Levant at this time. Early Philistine sites typically contain Greek finds, and Philistine buildings are similar to those found at Mycenae. [2] The bible claims that the Philistines were from Crete. There are many depictions of the Sea People in the Egyptian motifs wearing distinctive armor and helmets including a type of feather headdress. This same style of dress is depicted on the Phaistos disk on Late Bronze Age Crete. [3]These headresses are also well attested in Philistine graves in ancient Canaan. Recent DNA evidence seems to confirm that the Philistines were European settlers. [4] The Philistines were probably part of a Greek alliance of Sea People marauding the Mediterranean at this time, before they settled in the Near East. The depictions of Philistine people in the Sea People inscriptions support the hypothesis that these invaders were Greeks. The Philistines were Greeks from Crete who attacked Egypt before forming a state in the Levant.

Counter arguments

The assertion that Philistines were Greek migrants is still contentious. Herodotus says that the Lycians had feathered headdresses, which the Greeks later adopted. The Pelesets could have been Anatolians who influenced the Greeks, not the other way round. The Phaistos disk may not even be Greek. The Pelesets could have been indigenous to Anatolia or the Levant and only used Crete as a port. [5] The Philistines were from the Near East, not Greece.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Egyptian sources seem to make reference to the Philistine people [P2] There is very strong evidence the Philistines were Greeks before they settled in the Late Bronze Age. [C] The Sea People were Greeks.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Philistine culture may have influenced Greek culture.

References

  1. https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/1177_B_C_The_Year_Civilization_Collapsed.html?id=FGFQBwAAQBAJ&redir_esc=y
  2. https://www.baslibrary.org/biblical-archaeology-review/19/5/9
  3. https://biblearchaeology.org/research/patriarchal-era/3640-the-genesis-philistines?highlight=WyJhbmF0b2xpYSJd
  4. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/07/ancient-dna-reveal-philistine-origins
  5. https://www.jstor.org/stable/624741?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=phaistos+disk+philistines+sea+people&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dphaistos%2Bdisk%2Bphilistines%2Bsea%2Bpeople&ab_segments=0%2Fbasic_search_SYC-5462%2Ftest&refreqid=fastly-default%3Ab2d3a901429d419f7287d26a4b3a7eea&seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
This page was last edited on Monday, 30 Nov 2020 at 13:02 UTC

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