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Sea Peoples (wikipedia.org)
69 points by bane on July 10, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 23 comments

Wow thanks, these were great. Can't wait for the next video in that series about the theory of systems collapse. Watching and reading about this stuff, I can't help but think about how prophetic these lessons may turn out to be for the world as we come to grips with the global effects of climate change.

If your interested then here is a good talk on the various contributing factors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRcu-ysocX4 . Looks like youtube has quite a few more as well.

All of extra history is great and so is crash course world history if you aren't familiar with all of world history.

I don't think those civilizations have much in common with today's simply due to technological and scientific progress that has taken place--they were barely literate and subject to mythological reasoning and magical thinking.

I kind of disagree with that. Yes we have more technology and science, but there are also lots of human processes and social orders (like nations and governments) that don't really change. I'm not sure superior technology guarantees the survival of civilization as we know it in the event of some cataclysm, or wide-scale famine... imagine how many things in the world would be messed up if the US and China were to lose all their value/power in a short amount of time.

Also, I think it's a mistake to assume people were dummies back then. If you think about it, humans have accomplished amazing things over the millenia, and some of those discoveries are still important today (every cryptography book still covers Euclid's GCD in its early chapters). Dismissing them as barely literate IMO is ignoring the important lessons that history has for us.

My favorite podcast, "Ancient Greece Declassified" has a wonderful episode that discusses the Sea Peoples: http://greecepodcast.com/episode2.html.

I recently stumbled upon this lecture, definitely recommended it (Sea Peoples introduced @ 08:20):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRcu-ysocX4 -1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Eric Cline, PhD)

Also recommend this which is an hour long presentation of his book which is also exceptional.

I feel like we're seeing a bunch of Bronze Age Collapse stories popping up on the HN homepage lately. Why the pop in interest in the subject? Did it come up on a popular TV show or podcast or something?

(Note: I'm a history nerd, so I'm not complaining. Just legitimately curious.)

Extra History episode about it every week. Yesterday they released the 3rd one of the series about Bronze Age Collapse. This one was specifically about the Sea People - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-8uv4D7cOE

I've noticed that history topics getting more popularity on HN usually correlate with recent Extra History episodes.

Because someone is trying to extrapolate the collapse of those societies with the collapse of our global one due to climate change (and other factors) but that dog won't hunt for a variety of reasons. It's interesting history, though.

When I took world history at university, one of the biggest points taken from the bronze age section was that there hadn't been any hard evidence discovered to support an exodus of Israelites from Egypt to Palestine (Canaan), and that instead the evidence leaned more toward the "Sea Peoples" being the original progenitors of Israel.

Can anyone comment on whether this is still the most common accepted theory?

> here hadn't been any hard evidence discovered to support an exodus of Israelites from Egypt to Palestine (Canaan),

Indeed not. This is a subject that I am beginning to investigate myself, but a couple of things to note:

1. The region the Israelites stayed, Goshen, was in the Nile delta and hence a much wetter climate than the southern parts of Egypt where, as I understand it, we tend to get better preserved artifacts. The wet climate facilitates decomposition and so we have to calibrate our expectations as to what we can find.

2. The Exodus story was written several hundred years after the event. Something notable is that the story refers to the construction of the city of Pi-Ramesses, a city which did exist but had long been dismantled before the Exodus story had been written (the stones were used to build the city of Tanis). It seems strange that the writers would have gotten the detail right if the Israelites had not been there (though not impossible).

I think you may be confounding two related theories, from what I learned. There is little to no evidence for the Israelites ever being in Egypt, though there was a brief dynastic period (known to ancient historians as Hyksos, IIRC) of Canaanite rulers in Egypt, ostensibly as a brief post-war outcome, and it is possible but without evudence that some Israelites migrated during that time.

The "Sea Peoples", a term itself controversial because they don't seem to have any strict delineation in language, art, or leadership, subsumed a much larger presence in the Mediterranean, and it is during their height that we have the earliest solid evidence of Israelites, but also of other Bronze age tribes elsewhere in Greece, Anatolia, etc.

This is fascinating to me. From the Wikipedia page, the story of the Hyksos and how they were driven out of Egypt sounds very similar to the book of Exodus. Even the words Hyksos and Exodus sound similar.

Even the words Hyksos and Exodus sound similar.

That comes under the heading "Wacky Coincidences in Liguistics". One means "rulers of foreign lands" in a an older Afro-Asiatic language (a precursor to Coptic); the other is an English retention of a Latin adaptation of a Greek word meaning "the road/path out" (exodos) from the book titles in the Septuagint, all Indo-European. It's related to exit (literally, "he goes out").

It seems modern evidence might be leaning towards the Philistines being a subset of the Sea Peoples and having an Aegean origin (making them Greek?).

One of these findings is really recent:

These findings may represent the most conclusive evidence that Philistines were not indigenous to Canaan which is indicated by ceramics, architecture, burial customs, and pottery remains with writing – in non-Semitic languages. Lawrence Stager of Harvard University believes that Philistines came to Canaan by ships before the Battle of the Delta circa 1175 BCE. DNA was extracted from the skeletons for archaeogenetic population analysis.[14]



That doesn't answer your question, but the Hebrew origin stories always place them further east from Canaan in Mesopotamia. If the Philistines were the Sea People, it makes the clash of those two different cultures (Aegean vs Near East) make sense.

> here hadn't been any hard evidence discovered to support an exodus of Israelites from Egypt to Palestine (Canaan)..

Why do you equate Canaan with Palestine?

The Exodus is said to have occurred around 1446 BCE. The first clear usage of "Palestine" to refer to that area was much later (5BC) when Herodotus wrote of a "district of Syria, called Palaistinê".

Clear usage, yes, but similar names were known since much earlier. Egyptians in the 12th century BCE refered to a neighboring people (and/or their territory) as "Peleset". The Assyrians called the region "Palashtu" in the 8th century BCE. The Old Testament talks a lot about a close neighbor called "Philistines", with whom the Israelites are said to have fought many wars. So it seems safe to assume that Palestine has been a thing since a long time ago, and that its boundaries fluctuated depending on the political and economic fortunes of various ethnic groups.


Those dates are still well after the Exodus. And Philistines, Palashtu, Peleset are not the same as Palestine which was the name used in R_haterade's comment.

The Israelite exodus was from from Egypt to Canaan, not to "Palestine".

Sure, and no Indians ever lived in America before white people arrived because the land wasn't called "America" and its inhabitants weren't called "Indians" back then.

Does it really matter whether the Israelites migrated to Canaan or Palestine or Judea or 31°47′N 35°13′E or whatever as long as we all know roughly which part of the world we're talking about?

Yes. Yes historical accuracy matters! (Wars have literally been fought over the correct name and owner of this land, and launched with the false belief that what we call, "Palestine" today existed before Israel existed. This simply is not true.)

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