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Sea People









The Sea Peoples were conjectured groups of seafaring raiders,  usually thought to originate from either western Anatolia or southern Europe, specifically a region of the Aegean Sea.They are conjectured to have sailed around the eastern Mediterranean and invaded Anatolia, Syria, Canaan, Cyprus, and Egypt toward the end of the Bronze Age





French Egyptologist Emmanuel de Rougé first used the term "peuples de la mer" (literally "peoples of the sea") in 1855 in a translation of reliefs at Medinet Habu documenting year 8 of Ramesses III. The term Sea Peoples, and the accompanying migration theory, were subsequently popularized by Gaston Maspero, de Rougé's successor at the Collège de France, in the late 19th century.

The historical narrative is primarily drawn from seven Ancient Egyptian sources, and although in these inscriptions the designation "of the sea" appears in relation to only three groups of people (the Sherden,Shekelesh, and Eqwesh),the term "Sea Peoples" is commonly used to refer to the following nine peoples, in alphabetical order
the Denyen, identified by some with the Greek Danaoi and by others with the Israelite tribe of Dan;
the Ekwesh, possibly a group of Bronze Age Greeks (Achaeans);
the Lukka, an Anatolian people of the Aegean who may have given their name to the region of Lycia and the Lycian language;
the Peleset, whose name is generally believed to refer to the Philistines;
the Shekelesh, identified possibly with the Italic people called Siculi (from Sicily);
the Sherden, possibly Sardinians or people of Sardis;
the Teresh, i.e. the Tyrrhenians, possibly ancestors of the Etruscans;
the Tjeker, possibly Greek Teucrians;
the Weshesh.




There are seven Egyptian sources which refer to more than one of the nine peoples:

c. 1275 BCE: Kadesh Inscription: 3 peoples named (Karkisha, Lukka, Sherden)
c. 1200 BCE: Great Karnak Inscription: 5 peoples named (Eqwesh, Lukka, Shekelesh, Sherden, Teresh)
c. 1200 BCE: Athribis Stele 4 peoples named (Eqwesh, Shekelesh, Sherden, Teresh)
c. 1150 BCE: Medinet Habu: 7 peoples named (Denyen, Peleset, Shekelesh, Sherden, Teresh, Tjekker, Weshesh)
c. 1150 BCE: Papyrus Harris I: 5 peoples named (Denyen, Peleset, Sherden, Tjekker, Weshesh)
c. 1150 BCE: Rhetorical Stela to Ramesses III, Chapel C, Deir el-Medina: 2 peoples named (Peleset, Teresh)
c. 1000 BCE: Onomasticon of Amenope: 5 peoples named (Denyen, Lukka, Peleset, Sherden, Tjekker)

Other Egyptian sources refer to one of the individual groups without reference to any of the other groups he Amarna letters (EA 151 refers to the Denyen, EA 38 to the Lukka, and EA 81, EA 122 and EA 133 to the Sherden), Padiiset's Statue refers to the Peleset, the Cairo Column refers to the Shekelesh, the Story of Wenamun refers to the Tjekker, and 13 further Egyptian sources refer to the Sherden.

The fact that several civilizations collapsed around 1175 BCE, has led suggestion that the Sea Peoples may have been involved in the end of the Hittite, Mycenaean and Mitanni kingdoms.


Ramesses' comments about the scale of the Sea peoples' onslaught in the eastern Mediterranean are confirmed by the destruction of the states of Hatti, Ugarit, Ashkelon and Hazor around this time. As the Hittitologist Trevor Bryce observes:It should be stressed that the invasions were not merely military operations, but involved the movements of large populations, by land and sea, seeking new lands to settle.


The term 'invasion' is used generally in the literature concerning the period to mean the documented attacks, implying that the aggressors were external to the eastern Mediterranean, though often hypothesized to be from the wider Aegean world. An origin outside the Aegean also has been proposed, as in this example by Michael Grant: "There was a gigantic series of migratory waves, extending all the way from the Danube valley to the plains of China."
Such a comprehensive movement is associated with more than one people or culture; instead, it was a "disturbance," according to Finley



A large-scale movement of people is indicated ... the original centre of disturbance was in the Carpatho-Danubian region of Europe. ... It appears ... to have been ... pushing in different directions at different times.

If different times are allowed on the Danube, they are not in the Aegean: "all this destruction must be dated to the same period about 1200."

The following movements are compressed by Finley into the 1200 BCE window: the hypothetical Dorian Invasion, the attacks of the Sea Peoples, the formation of Philistine kingdoms in the Levant and the fall of the Hittite Empire.

Robert Drews presents a map showing the destruction sites of 47 fortified major settlements, which he terms "Major Sites Destroyed in the Catastrophe". They are concentrated in the Levant, with some in Greece and Anatolia.

The invaders, that is, the replacement cultures at those sites, apparently made no attempt to retain the cities' wealth but instead built new settlements of a materially simpler cultural and less complex economic level atop the ruins. For example, no one appropriated the palace and rich stores at Pylos, but all were burned up, and the successors (whoever they were) moved in over the ruins with plain pottery and simple goods. This demonstrates a cultural discontinuity.



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