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6. The Levant: 1200-720 BCE

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    1. 6. The Levant: 1200-720 BCE BOT612: Old Testament Backgrounds

    2. Crisis & Political Change: 1200-900 "The political pattern of the Near East c. 1200 can be summarized broadly as follows: in the Levant, Cyprus and Mycenaean Greece the basic political unit was the city-state usually controlling a fair stretch of surrounding territory. Between c. 1400 and 1200, the small states of the Levant generally formed part of the Hittite or Egyptian sphere of imperial control Cyprus (or part of it), too, was dominated by the Hittites at the end of the thirteenth century. To the east a contemporary political power was Kassite Babylonia, although it was being eclipsed in the second half of the thirteenth century by the meteoric rise of Assyria to the north (the Middle Assyrian empire), and the establishment of a strong Elamite state to the east."

    3. Crisis & Political Change: 1200-900 "1200 . . . to the east, Assyria, Babylonia and Elam appear to have remained relatively stable until around the mid-eleventh century. Crisis in the West: "First, the great Hittite empire, with the exception of one or two of its subject kingdoms (e.g. Carchemish), disappeared completely around (or probably soon after) 1200." "Second, several cities in the Levant, most strikingly Ugarit and Emar, were destroyed around this time, and their sites not reoccupied." "Finally, soon after the middle of the twelfth century, Egypts control of the southern Levant ended; by the early eleventh century it had withdrawn within its narrowest frontiers, having lost control over Sinai and Nubia."

    4. The Sea Peoples Merneptah (1224/1213-1204): There is a description, "(inscribed at Karnak) of a war fought by Merneptah in his fifth year (1220 (1209)) against a Libyan coalition attempting to move into the western Delta. Included in the Libyan forces were people who are designated, variously, as northerners coming from all lands and of the countries of the sea. Modern scholars have therefore dubbed them simply sea-peoples. They are listed as being S_?>0rdn, 3kws], Trs], S0krws] and Rwkw. A total of the numbers of prisoners taken from the first four groups is preserved: 2200 in all. This needs to be set against the 7000 Libyan prisoners (several different tribes were

    5. The Sea Peoples involved). The impression, then, is that these Libyan allies constituted a proportionally smaller force. The Egyptian account mentions that the sea-people contingents consisted of men only, unlike the Libyans, who were accompanied by their families. This implies that the sea-peoples were mercenary soldiers hired by the Libyan chief."

    6. Merneptah Monument at Karnak

    7. Merneptah Monument at Karnak

    8. The Sea Peoples Ramesses III (1184-1150): "Over forty (or thirty) years later (1176), Ramesses III fought in his eighth year a campaign, which was elaborately commemorated (pictorially and textually) in his great funerary temple at Medinet Habu, against an attack of peoples moving south from Syria by sea and by land. Some of them, such as the Tjkr, Prst, Ws]s] and Dnn, had not been mentioned before, while two (S0rdn, S0krs] [Trs] - extremely doubtful]) were among the Libyan allies in Merneptahs campaign forty-four (or thirty-three) years earlier."

    9. The Sea Peoples ". . . as for the foreign countries, they made a conspiracy in their islands. All at once the lands were on the move, scattered in war. No country could stand before their arms: Hatti, Kode (Cilicia), Carchemish, Arzawa and Alashiya (Cyprus). They were cut off. A camp was set up in one place in Amor (Amurru, i.e. north Syria). They desolated its people, and its land was like that which has never come into being. They were advancing on Egypt while the flame was prepared before them. Their league was Prst, Tjkr, S0krs], Dnn and Ws]s] united lands. They laid their hands upon the lands to the very circuit of the earth, their hearts confident and trusting: Our plans will succeed." (ANET, 262-263)

    10. The Sea Peoples "I extended all the boundaries of Egypt. I overthrew those who invaded them from their lands. I slew the Dnn [who are] in their isles, the Tjkr and the Prst were made ashes. The S0rdn and the Ws]s] of the sea, they were made as those that exist not, taken captive at one time, brought as captives to Egypt, like the sand of the shore I settled them in strongholds bound in my name. Numerous were their classes like hundred-thousands. I assigned portions for them all with clothing and grain from the store-houses and granaries each year. . . . I made the infantry and chariotry to dwell [at home] in my time; the S0rdn and Khk (a Libyan group) were in their towns, lying the length of their backs; they had no fear, for there was

    11. The Sea Peoples no enemy from Kush [nor] foe from Syria. Their bows and their weapons were laid up in their magazines, while they were satisfied and drunk with joy. Their wives were with them, their children at their side [for] I was with them as the defence and protection of their limbs." (Papyrus Harris I: ANET, 262)

    12. Mortuary Temple of Rameses III in Medinet Habu

    13. Mortuary Temple of Rameses III in Medinet Habu

    14. The Sea Peoples "The conclusion to be drawn from the Egyptian evidence alone is that some groups of people, perhaps at home in coastal areas of southern Turkey, were affected adversely by a series of economic difficulties in the thirteenth and twelfth centuries and therefore hired themselves out as mercenary soldiers to states such as Egypt, but also to others (e.g. Libyans). A small number were forced by the growing crisis to take their families and farming stock in the hope of finding new lands where they might settle. Others (e.g. the Lukka in EA 38) used boats to raid the coastline, which was probably little more than an extension of their normal piratical activities. The implication is that they were relatively

    15. The Sea Peoples poor people who, perhaps as a result of the gradual decline of central control by major powers, such as the Hittites, moved around in small bands to find further means of survival by plunder, encroaching on land and mercenary activities. Further, although these movements seem to have been on the increase and to have become, in some cases, more aggressive, they were not a new phenomenon, and the Egyptians seem to have had established means for absorbing at least some of the people involved into their service."

    16. The Sea Peoples: Origins (?) "Clear evidence for the origins of the Sea Peoples is still missing. Disregarding some farfetched theories, the admissible views may be roughly classified according to three main geographical zones. (a) The N Balkans, particularly Illyria on the Adriatic coast; the "Illyrian theory" is related with the identification of the Philistines (*Palaisti may be the original form of the name) with the Pelasgoi (sometimes spelled Pelastoi) of the classical sources, a pre-Hellenic people who inhabited the Balkans and the Aegean regions.

    17. The Sea Peoples: Origins (?) (b) The W Aegean region, i.e., Greece, the Aegean islands, and Crete; this theory relies on archaeological (mainly ceramic) comparisons and on the biblical tradition, which brings the Philistines from the island of Caphtor, i.e., Crete. (c) The E Aegean, i.e., Anatolia and the offshore islands. This view, which is gaining increasing acceptance, is supported by the most solid and diversified evidence."

    18. Philistines: Introduction ""The Philistines (Heb pe6lis]t|=m), whose country of origin is still unknown, must have come to Canaan through the Aegean basin, destroying the Mycenaean and Minoan civilizations. They came partly overland via Anatolia, destroying the Hittite empire, Ugarit, and Amurru, and partly by ship via Crete (Caphtor of the Bible, cf. Amos 9:7 and Jer 47:4; Keftiu of the Egyptians) and Cyprus ("ships come from the quarter of Kittim," i.e. Cyprus [Num 24:24] probably alludes to the first waves of the Sea Peoples). They were allied with other Sea Peoples, and their ultimate goal was to settle in Egypt. In about 1190, Rameses III clashed with them and defeated them. Rameses settled the conquered

    19. Philistines: Introduction Philistines, mostly as Egyptian mercenaries, in the coastal towns, Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ashdod (cf. Deut 2:23, where "Caphtorim" refers to the Philistines). The connection between Egypt and Caphtorim is reflected in Gen 10:13-14. The term "the Negeb of the Cherethites" (1 Sam 30:14) may reflect Philistine occupation of that part of the Negeb (for the identification of Cherethites as Philistines, cf. Ezek 25:16)."

    20. Philistines: History "The signs of destruction in Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Gaza suggest that sometimes after the reign of Rameses VI (ca. 1150 b.c.e.), the Philistines drove out their Egyptian overlords by force." "The Philistine Pentapolis was formed, a confederation of Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ashdod, together with two towns in the Shephelah which had already been settled by Philistines: Ekron and Gath. Each of these towns was a city-state, consisting of a "royal city" ruling a number of "country towns" (1 Sam 27:5, cf. 1 Sam 6:18). The rulers of these city-states were called se6ra4n|=m (singular, *seren), a title whose etymology has not yet been satisfactorily explained; it may be from the Hittite word for

    21. Philistines: History "Judge." For the next 150 years, until about 1000 b.c.e., the Philistine confederation was the most powerful entity in this corner of the world, occupying the land strip from Raphia in the S to Joppa, spreading gradually N (they founded Tell Qasile) and E through the Jezreel Valley to Beth-shan, and even establishing their hegemony over the Israelite tribes in the hill country (cf. 1 Sam 10:5; 13:23-14:16, and also 2 Sam 23:13-17). The source of Philistine power was apparently in the jealously defended monopoly of iron wares and the art of forging iron (1 Sam 13:19-21)."

    22. Philistines: History "Very early the Philistines accepted the local Canaanite deities, dedicating temples to Dagon in Gaza (Judg 16:21-23), Ashdod (1 Sam 5:2-3), and Beth-shan (1 Chr 10:10-12), and to Astarte (1 Sam 31:10)." "The clashes between the Philistines and the Israelites are vividly reflected in the book of Judges. Despite the heroic exploits of Samson (Judges 13-16) and Shamgar son of Anath (Judg 3:31), the pressure of the Philistines was relentless, as seen in the tales of the migration of part of the tribe of Dan, who traveled N in their search for a safe refuge."

    23. Philistines: History "Further evidence of the advance of the Philistines can be found in the defeat of the Israelites at Ebenezer (the Philistines had already reached Aphek), resulting in the loss of the ark of the covenant and the destruction of the holy precinct Shiloh (1 Sam 4; cf. Jer 7:12, 14)." Samuel's victory over the Philistines (1 Sam 7:5-14), even if it is historical, did not appreciably reduce the pressure of the Philistines. The people demanded a king to lead them in war. The king chosen was Saul, whose wars with the Philistines can be traced from the beginning of his reign (1 Sam 13) until its tragic end on Mount Gilboa (1 Samuel 31). The eventual victor, however, was David, whose triumphs over the

    24. Philistines: History Philistines (1 Samuel 17; 18:6-9, 25-27, 30; 19:8) had gained him such renown as to arouse the jealousy and hatred of Saul. David was forced to flee, and eventually to become a vassal to his former foes the Philistines (1 Samuel 27, 29)." After the death of Saul, David was crowned king of Judah in Hebron (2 Sam 2:1-4), apparently with the consent of the Philistines. When David was chosen king over all Israel, however, and moved his capital to Jerusalem, the Philistines realized their danger and attacked. David's victories over the Philistines made Israel the leading power in the land of Canaan. We may assume that Gath became a vassal state to Israel. This change is suggested by David's

    25. Philistines: History mercenaries from Gath, who were under the command of Ittai the Gittite (cf. 2 Sam 15:18-22), and by his bodyguard, the Cherethites and the Pelethites (2 Sam 8:18; 15:18; 20:7, 23; 1 Kgs 1:38, 44; 1 Chr 18:17). The crushing defeat inflicted by David appears to have put an end to the Philistine Pentapolis; henceforward each city-state acted independently in its own selfish interest. It seems likely that the Philistines made a defensive alliance with Pharaoh to protect them against David; otherwise it is difficult to explain how Pharaoh was able to capture Gezer and give it as a dowry to his daughter, the wife of Solomon (1 Kgs 9:16). Forty years later apparently the same geopolitical situation

    26. Philistines: History enabled Shishak to invade Judah and Israel (1 Kgs 14:25), because no Philistine city, except Gaza, his starting point, is mentioned in his list of conquered towns. After the death of Shishak, Egypt was no longer a power in Asia. In the constant struggles between the Philistines and Israel (cf. 1 Kgs 15:27; 16:15) and the Philistines and Judah, in which the Philistines turned to the Edomites and the Arabs as allies (cf. Amos 1:6-8; 2 Chr 21:16-17), Judah sometimes prevailed (2 Chr 17:11; 26:6), and sometimes the Philistines (2 Chr 21:16-17; 28:18, until a new factor appeared on the scene, Assyria."

    27. Philistines: History "Philistia (Akk Pa-la-as8-tu) appears in Assyrian records for the first time in the inscriptions of Adad-nirari III (810-783 BCE; ANET, 281b, 282a), but Assyrian domination of Philistia started only after the conquest of Syria by Tiglath-pileser III, when the Assyrian empire reached the Mediterranean, and the Assyrians began to try to dominate the maritime trade of the coastal towns of Phoenicia and Philistia. In 734 b.c.e., the first Assyrian campaign against Philistia began; its main object was the conquest of Gaza (the sequence of events is very fully expressed in Zech 9:5-6). The king of Gaza, Hanno, fled to Egypt, but later returned and was reinstated as a vassal of Assyria."

    28. Philistines: History ". . . when Sargon ascended the throne of Assyria, Hanno joined the Syro-Palestinian rebellion headed by the king of Hamath, which was also supported by Egypt. In 720, Sargon, having crushed the rebels near Qarqar, attacked Philistia. Hanno called on the Egyptian army for help. The Assyrians met the Egyptians near Raphiah, defeated them, captured Hanno and took him captive to Assyria. Gaza subsequently remained a loyal vassal until the end of the Assyrian empire."

    29. Philistines: Material Culture

    30. Ashdod: Map

    31. Ashdod: Material Culture

    32. Ashkelon

    34. Ashkelon: Material Culture

    35. Ashkelon: Mycenaean IIIC:1b Pottery

    36. Ashkelon: Mycenaean IIIC:1b Pottery

    37. Ashkelon: Mycenaean IIIC:1b Pottery

    38. Ashkelon: Mycenaean IIIC:1b Pottery

    39. Ashkelon: Material Culture

    40. Ashkelon: Material Culture

    41. Ekron: Map

    42. Ekron: Inscription

    43. Ekron: Inscription

    44. Ekron: Temple

    45. Ekron: Mycenaean IIIC:1b Pottery

    46. Aramaeans Deut 26.5 "A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation mighty and populous." "Assyrian and biblical texts reveal the presence of people called Arameans living in most parts of Syria from the end of the 2d millennium BC." ". . . the general designation Aramaeans masks the fact that they are not a unified group, except in terms of their language."

    47. Aramaeans: Assyrian Sources "From the fourteenth century onwards there are occasional references to a people called Ahlamu= who, most scholars now agree, were associated with the later Aramaeans. They appear variously as agricultural labourers and marauders from as far afield as Bahrain to Syria. But the earliest indisputable evidence for the Aramaeans dates from the reign of Tiglath-pileser I (1114-1076). From his fourth regnal year onwards he undertook at least fourteen annual policing actions against a people called Ahlume=-Armuya in the area of the middle and upper Euphrates:

    48. Aramaeans: Assyrian Sources "I have crossed the Euphrates twenty-eight times, twice in one year, in pursuit of the ahlumu= Aramaeans. I brought about their defeat from the city Tadmar of the land Amurru, Anat of the land Suhu, as far as Rapiqu of Karduniash (Babylonia). I brought their booty (and) possessions to my city Ashur."

    49. Aramaeans: Assyrian Sources "It is even possible that, perhaps towards the end of Tiglath-pileser Is reign, Aramaean raiders penetrated right into the heartland of Assyria . . . ." ". . . subsequently, Ashur-bel-kala (1074-1057) was definitely in control of the main Assyrian cities, and fighting vigorously against Aramaeans in his turn. Admittedly, Ashur-bel-kalas account makes it quite plain that he was being pressed hard by the Aramaeans in Upper Mesopotamia-around the headwaters of the Khabur, along the upper Balikh, in the mountains and along the Euphrates -and, after his reign, the sources in Assyria are extremely scanty. When they become relatively plentiful again, at the end of the tenth century, the Assyrian evidence

    50. Aramaeans: Assyrian Sources shows Aramaean states established just to the west of the Assyrian heartland and stretching right across Upper Mesopotamia." Ashur-dan II (934-912): " With the renewed expansion of Assyria from Ashur-dan II onwards, the Assyrian kings reasserted their claims to Upper Mesopotamia, and the Aramaean states were gradually incorporated into the revitalised Assyrian empire, and some inhabitants were deported to the Assyrian cities. Right from the start of its renaissance, then, the new Assyrian state included Aramaeans within its territorial span."

    51. Aramaeans: Assyrian Sources "In summary, the Assyrian evidence presents a picture of Aramaeans pressing into Assyrian-held territory in the eleventh century. Their success in seizing and holding stretches of land is reflected in the emergence of a number of Aramaean states in Upper Mesopotamia by the tenth century. As the Assyrian mobilized to reconquer the area from the end of the tenth century on, they gradually absorbed these territories, turning them into Assyrian provinces but, at least in come cases, using members of the local Aramaean population to enforce Assyrian control. Such individuals owed their position to the Assyrian king, and came to form an integral part of the Assyrian imperial machinery at

    52. Aramaeans: Assyrian Sources the highest levels. An indication of the fact that this interweaving of Aramaeans and Assyrians happened not only exceptionally at the very highest echelons is the early appearance (eighth century) of 'Aramaisms' in Assyrian, and the use of Aramaic written on parchment in certain contexts and for particular purposes. The conclusion must, therefore, be that despite the aggressive military tone against Aramaeans taken by the royal annals they came to constitute a significant proportion of the Assyrian population at all levels of the socio-political structure."

    53. Aramaeans: Biblical Evidence "Zobah was the earliest prominent Aramaean state, according to the account of David's Syrian wars contained in 2 Samuel 8, and its formation has been most interestingly analysed, by analogy with David's creation of the strong state of Israel in the tenth century, by Malamat (1963). What Malamat has stressed in his comparison are the similarities in the development of the two regions: both David and Hadadezer (king of Zobah) constructed their initial power-base around a small kernel Judah in the case of David, Beth Rehob in the case of Hadadezer; both added a larger, more important adjoining region to this small core to create a new, unified state Israel was added to Judah, Zobah to Beth Rehob;

    54. Aramaeans: Biblical Evidence in both cases, the ruler of the new political formation bore the title of the larger group David was called the 'king of Israel' (not 'of Judah'), Hadadezer 'king of Zobah' (not 'of Rehob'). Finally, Hadadezer of Zobah may have annexed the important and rich oasis of Damascus and added some smaller states that owed him allegiance, but were left under their own rulers. Eventually, Damascus established its independence from both Solomon's Israel and the kingdom of Zobah, under its king Rezin."

    55. Phoenicians: Introduction Ezekiel 27: "Phoenicia was the Greek name for the Syrian littoral north of Palestine. The name meant "dark red" and was applied first to the people and region renowned for dyes of this color, and then to some of the natural products that became associated with them in international trade. Phoenicia was neither a country nor a nation but a conglomerate of city-states that was distinguished from adjacent areas by its habitual outreach into the Mediterranean world and by its preferred dealings with Indo-Europeans and Greeks. Its history consists in the contribution of these individual cities and their dominions to the civilization and gradual maturation of the Mediterranean world."

    56. Phoenicians: Introduction "The notion that 'Phoenicia' means 'Canaanites' underlines the fact that the Phoenician city-states of Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, Beirut, Arvad and Sarepta represent a direct development of the Late Bronze Age Canaanite coastal cities. That the idea is basically correct is shown by the fact that the Phoenicians called themselves Canaanites; the designation 'Phoenician' is Graeco-Roman. The Phoenician cities were those that appear to have been relatively slightly affected or disrupted by either the Aramaean penetration or the Israelite expansion, and so they were able to maintain what appear to be essentially the earlier Canaanite traditions. A plausible explanation for this continuity is their

    57. Phoenicians: Introduction geographical position: they lay right on the coast, sometimes with offshore island settlements, and were backed by a very narrow plain protected by a steep mountain range crossed by few passes." "One of the reasons for a fairly widespread knowledge of the Phoenicians is their extensive commercial activities, especially in the western Mediterranean, where they founded a number of colonies some of which developed into substantial cities. The foundations date to the early first millennium, although the precise chronology is disputed."

    58. Phoenicians: Sources "There are references to Phoenicians in the Iliad and Odyssey, where they appear as highly skilled craftsmen, especially in metalwork, and weavers of elaborate garments. They may also appear as kidnappers and producers of cheap trinkets. The curiously mixed image reflects admiration and fear, the sort of antagonism that is now often felt towards gypsies and tinkers, and the kind of aristocratic contempt for 'trade' which is a hallmark of these heroic poems. Herodotus provides some information on their colonization, especially in Greece, to which he attributes the origin of the Greek alphabet, and their discovery of the goldmines on Thasos. Thucydides mentions that they formed the earliest

    59. Phoenicians: Sources foreign settlers in Sicily, predating the Greek presence there. Such depictions remain at the level of stereotypes and generalities, and provide no very coherent picture, especially not of the Phoenician homeland. In the first century AD, Josephus included in his history of the Jewish people some material supposedly drawn from a lost history of Tyre; basically it is little more than a list of kings. A little later, in the early second century A.D. Philo of Byblos wrote an account of Phoenician religion, which he claimed was a translation into Greek of a work of Sanchuniathon, a priest of Byblos. Philo's work is only preserved in fragments, and there has been considerable doubt as to whether

    60. Phoenicians: Sources Sanchuniathon's work was ever anything more than a figment of Philo's imagination. But a more positive tendency has been to accept the reality of the Phoenician original underlying Philo's account, because some of it seems to correspond to the material now known from Ugarit, which has provided important insights into Canaanite mythology and religion. But even it we accept the more positive approach, Philo seems to have 'hellenised' Sanchuniathon substantially, so the question of how we might use his material for reconstructing the Phoenician reality of the early first millennium remains vexed."

    61. Phoenicians "It is evident, from the extensive material from Ugarit, in particular, and, to a lesser degree, Byblos, that the Canaanite city-states played a central role in the trading and production system of the Near East, and that their commercial activities were stimulated by, and supported, the large centralized states such as Egypt, the Hittite realm, and Babylonia. Because of the demands made on them by these large and complex states, the coastal cities appear to have concentrated their energy and resources on the production of luxury commodities such as ivory inlaid furniture for royal consumption an industry that certainly continued in the Neo-Assyrian period. At the same time the manufacture of textiles was

    62. Phoenicians developed on a large scale to meet demands for tribute payments, as exemplified in the agreements between Ugarit and the Hittite kings. Textiles could also be used in exchange for raw materials, that either were used to produce luxury commodities (such as elaborate furniture and metalwork) or could be re-exported. An accompanying and necessary development was the perfection of ships capable of carrying bulky items, and the refinement of navigational skills a specialization that could, and was, exploited by some of the larger states. . . ."

    63. Phoenicians "An obvious concomitant of this development was that the cities and their politically powerful neighbours were mutually dependent, as the larger states provided the consumer markets on which the economy of the coastal cities had come to depend."

    64. Neo-Hittite States "'Neo-Hittite' (alternatively 'Late Hittite' or 'Syro-Hittite') is the term applied, after 1200, to a number of small principalities in north Syria, Cilicia and south-central Anatolia. . . . having formed part of the earlier Hittite empire, they retained a number of definable Hittite features."