Deluge of Atlantis

Deluge of Atlantis
Deluge of Atlantis

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Phaethon's Bolide

Phaethon's Wild Ride by J.S. Sargent. Phaethon is shown falling from the midst of the signs of the zodiac, his streaming hair blazing like a meteor.

Jurgen Spanuth was the main proponent of the Northern Atlantis interpretation, and into this he brought not only the People of the Sea but also the Myth of Phaethon's Wild Ride as representing the fall of a heavenly body into the North Sea, Dislodging the Peoples of the Sea who then went raiding. Plato does mention Phaethon during the Atlantis discourses, but he makes out that the Deluge which destroyed Atlantis was one type of catastrophe while Phaethon's ride was another, the two types cyclical and alternating but separated by some several thousand years in between (They are intended to be Winter and Summer of the Platonic year of approximately 25000 years long, The Precession of the Equinoxes.)

However the Myth of Phaethon and the likelihood that it refers to some heavenly body other than the sun "Come too near to the Earth" is interesting and deserves some examination. It should be noted that while the standard explanation is that Phaethon crashed into a mythical river in Europe (Originally intended to be the Danube but regularly interpreted as the Po), from whence amber was to be sought, another version had Phaethon going down West of Iberia, in the "River Oceanus". See note on the lost play of Aeschylus, below.

Comet Phaethon's Ride
by Bob Kobres ~ 1993
A condensed version of this article titled, The Path of a Comet and Phaethon's Ride, was published by The World & I (ISSN 0887-9346) Vol. 10, No. 2 (Feb. 95) pp. 394-405.

In 1927 Franz Xaver Kugler, a Jesuit scholar who had devoted over thirty years to the study of cuneiform astronomical texts, published an essay entitled "The Sibylline Starwar and Phaethon In the Light of Natural History." His tri-decade-plus familiarity with ancient documents of celestial events plus a growing consensus that the crater at Coon Mountain Arizona (Meteor Crater) was in fact produced by a large meteoroid provided the scientific footing for Kugler's assertion that a similarly large impact event in the Mediterranean Sea inspired fire-from-above legends such as Phaethon's ride.

Figure One illustrates the final six hours during a close approach of a comet in an Encke type orbit. In this scenario a Mediterranean view at minus six hours is sunrise and already the comet nucleus appears eleven degrees above the horizon, with a tail, shortened by perspective, pointing upward. For the next several hours the Sun seems to chase the comet as the latter increases its apparent size at an increasing rate. By minus one hour the comet has reached a maximum apparent motion to the west, eighty degrees above the eastern horizon. Here it will appear to stay for the next half hour as, in line with the Sun, the translucent coma seems to double in size. At this point Earth is within the tail of the comet perhaps producing an erie glowing sky with intense aurora and meteor shower phenomena. In the next quarter hour the coma again seems to increase by over one hundred percent as the center of this horrifying spectacle appears to move back to the east by over sixteen degrees. It is during the last fifteen minutes, as the comet reaches it's closest distance to Earth, that damaging impacts with larger fragments from the nucleus are most likely to occur.

Similarities to the Phaethon myth are obvious. The young driver with rays about his head rises early, his father, Helios, according to Lucretius (5: 397-405) and Euripides (see J. Diggle 1970), follows behind ultimately taking control of the reins after Phaethon falls from the chariot. The inexperienced charioteer balks nearly halfway across the sky and is not destined to make it to the west. He travels against the stars (incursent stellis--Ovid, Met. II: 205) before being struck by a thunderous bolt as the Earth catches fire. Helios, in grief, refuses to bring light to the world. A likely allusion to a now recognized secondary phenomenon of large impact events: aerosols blocking or attenuating solar radiation.

It is unfortunate, in terms of expediting a definitive solution, that it is not possible to simply back track the orbit of a suspect comet and thereby show that the object was close enough to Earth to produce such effects on a specific date. The small mass of comets relative to the planets plus the natural 'retro-rocket' phenomenon produced by gases jetting from the solar heated surface of these bodies renders precise calculation of past positions impossible. A credible answer to what actually inspired the Phaethon legend can only come from examining all available evidence.

Figure One also shows that different cultures around the world would witness this hypothetical yet plausible approach of the comet; however, the perspective of disparate observers would not be the same. For instance, at minus one hour for an observer on the Nile delta, the phenomena is hovering overhead, while at the mouth of the Amazon (80 degrees to the west) a disconcerting dawn is breaking. It is therefore encouraging to find stories which seem to support the witnessing of such an event embedded within the native lore of this part of the world:

The sun had risen indeed, and with a glory of the cruel fire about him that not even the eyes of the gods could endure; but he moved not. There he lay on the horizon; and when the deities sent Tlotli, their messenger, to him, with orders that he should go on upon his way, his ominous answer was, that he would never leave that place till he had destroyed and put an end to them all. Then a great fear fell upon some, while others were moved only to anger; and among the latter was one Citli, who immediately strung his bow and advanced against the glittering enemy. By quickly lowering his head the Sun avoided the first arrow shot at him; but the second and third had attained his body in quick succession, when, filled with fury, he seized the last and launched it back upon his assailant. And the brave Citli laid shaft to string nevermore, for the arrow of the sun pierced his forehead.

Then all was dismay in the assembly of the gods, and despair filled their heart, for they saw that they could not prevail against the shining one; . . . (emphasis added) (H.H. Bancroft 1886 Vol. 3 p. 61)

and along the same theme:

. . . According to the Annals of Quauhtitlan, Quetzalcoatl, when driven from Tollan, immolated himself on the shores of the eastern sea, and from his ashes rose birds with shining feathers (symbols of warrior souls mounting to the sun), while his heart became the Morning Star, wandering for eight days in the underworld before it ascended in splendour. In numerous legends Quetzalcoatl is associated with Tezcatlipoca, commonly as an antagonist; and if we may believe one tale, recounted by Mendieta, Tezcatlipoca, defeating Quetzalcoatl in ball- play (a game directly symbolic of the movements of the heavenly orbs), cast him out of the land into the east, where he encountered the sun and was burned. (emphasis added) (H.B. Alexander 1919, 1964 ed., Vol. 11 p. 68)

A strong tradition of "Sun Ages" existed among the people who passed these potentially quite valuable stories to our time; memories that relate the transitions of those eras also seem pregnant with information:

. . . "The Sun of Air," Ehcatonatiuh, closed with a furious wind, which destroyed edifices, uprooted trees, and even moved the rocks. . . . Quetzalcoatl appeared in this third Sun, teaching the way of virtue and the arts of life; but his doctrines failed to take root, so he departed toward the east, promising to return another day. With his departure "the Sun of Air" came to its end, and Tlatonatiuh, "the Sun of Fire," began, so called because it was expected that the next destruction would be by fire. (emphasis added) (ibid, p. 91)

This tradition seems to imply that Quetzalcoatl (the feathered serpent) departed to the east in the last great period of cosmic destruction. A recent palaeoecological study of lakes in the Caribbean region (D.A. Hodell, 1991) reveals a sudden onset of dry conditions about thirty-two hundred years ago, this finding adds to an already robust collection of data which suggest a global perturbation of climate around that time period (1200 - 1000 B.C.E.). It is an intriguing possibility that cultures throughout the world experienced hardships during this era due to a large input of extraterrestrial material.

As Figure Two illustrates, there would, assuming one near approach, have been several close encounters over a two hundred-year period; not all, or even another, of these rendezvous would need to be as near and hence destructive as the one hypothesized above to adversely affect Earth's climate. The reason for this is that the gravity of Earth makes our planet an efficient dust collector and in close proximity to an active comet there is plenty available to form a solar shade in the upper atmosphere which would be disruptive to the climate.

Though definitive dating of protohistoric impact events can only come from careful stratigraphic work, there are some rather strong indicators that a nasty encounter such as suggested here occurred about 1159 B.C.E. This is not an arbitrary date for it marks the beginning of a sharp decline in the annual growth of Irish bog oak which lasted almost two decades and for that reason stands out in the over seven thousand year long dendrochronological record based on this species of tree (see M.G.L. Baillie and M.A.R. Munro 1988). The middle of the twelfth century also, according to widely accepted chronologies based on eclectic sources (such as Egyptian), marks a time period of general discord. [Including the "People of the Sea" Disturbances and so on-DD]

[Obviously a great deal of information pertaining to worldwide observations in the original article has to be left out in this blog version: interested readers are urged to use the links and examine the original. One key paragraph is also worth repeating-DD]:

As mentioned above, without detailed groundwork, no definitive conclusion regarding the magnitude or timing of a past impact event can be put forth. It is, however, possible to be relatively secure in asserting that encounters disruptive to the environment have occurred since the end of the Pleistocene some twelve-thousand years ago. Indeed the Younger Dryas cold oscillation, which is contemporary with the Pleistocene/Holocene transition as well as the American and perhaps Euro/Asian megafauna extinction episode, may have been caused by external input. The newly recognized large population of near-Earth-objects provides a sound astronomically based argument for a much higher frequency of impact events than was estimated two decades ago.


-While the newest variation on the theory links the Fall of Phaethon to a set of purported meteorie craters found in Bavaria, Germany and dated to between 500 and 2000 BC, most likely around 1300 BC:

(Click on photo for larger version)

Antiquity / June, 2010
The fall of Phaethon: a Greco-Roman geomyth preserves the memory of a meteorite impact in Bavaria
by Barbara Rappengluck, Michael A. Rappengluck, Kord Ernstson, Werner Mayer, Andreas Neumair, Dirk Sudhaus, Ioannis Liritzis;content

[Brief Review]

The fall of Phaethon: Does this myth reflect an impact ("Chiemgau Impact") in Bavaria during the Celtic period?

Barbara and Michael Rappenglueck, Chiemgau Impact Research Team (Germany)

In Greek mythology there exists one story that had been interpreted by modern scholars as well as by authors of classical antiquity to describe the fall of a heavenly body: the story of Phaethon. Its main features are the following ones: Phaethon, the son of Helios, borrows the sun-chariot of his father for just one day. But he is not able to keep course along the sun's accustomed path and the un-oriented, burning chariot sets parts of heaven and earth on fire. To prevent an even bigger catastrophe, Zeus strikes Phaethon by his thunderbolt and the youth falls to earth into the river Eridanos.

In an article published in 2007 (Barbara and Michael Rappenglck: Does the myth of Phaethon reflect an impact? - Revising the fall of Phaethon and considering a possible relation to the Chiemgau Impact, in: Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, special issue vol. 6 no. 3 [2007], 101-109) we analysed the arguments given by the ancient classical authors for interpreting this story as the reflection of a natural phenomenon. Then we compared the old descriptions of Phaethon's fall with nowadays knowledge of impact phenomena. Furthermore we examined the texts for clues to the time and the location of the hypothesised impact. These considerations resulted in the hypothesis that the myth of Phaethon reflects a concrete strike of an extraterrestrial body, the so-called Chiemgau Impact. This impactor hit the south-east of Bavaria/Germany at some time during the Celtic period. It left a crater-strewnfield of about 100 craters with a size ranging from 3 m to 400 m in diameter.

As our published article represents the state of research given in the year 2005, we will now present the actual state of research. We interlock details of the ancient texts with the results of our interdisciplinary geological, geophysical, mineralogical, pedological and archaeological research in the affected area. Additional support is given by astronomical considerations concerning the modelling of the Chiemgau Impact. Based on these arguments there is some good evidence for our hypothesis, that the Phaethon-myth indeed reflects the Chiemgau Impact.

Illustrations of maps and samples from the Chiemgau site.

The largest of these Bavarian craters is now filled and forms a lake. Government officials consider this to be a remnant ice-age feature.

Map of smaller craters in the swarm and also ejecta noted where it has been found. Below, another one of the sammer craters.

Chart analizing material of possible meteorite origin and comparing comparable samples from other areas. Below, electron microscope view of the purported meteorite material.

Tektites and carbon spherules from the site. Microdiamonds are also present there. That pretty much tells me all I need to know.

Accretionary spherule and shocked quartz from the Chiemgau site.

Evidence for a soil discontinuity at the site where there are evidences of an impact, including the shocked minerals, microdiamonds and glass spherules (tektites) shown in adjoining illustrations. This flatly contradicts Bavarian authorities (and consequently the Wikipedia) where it says that the soil has remained uninterrupted since the ice age and that the main crater is an Ice-age feature.

Magnetic anomaly at dayable stratum on the site. Below, a map of Gravitational anomalies.

The ridge to the South indicates a body traveling from the North, and the South rim also seems as if it could be counted a masco

Smaller surface crater associated in local swarm.

Another similar article from another journal

Barbara and Michael Rappenglück (2006):

Does the myth of Phaethon reflect an impact? – Revising the fall of Phaethon and considering a possible relation to the Chiemgau Impact. - Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Proceedings of the International Conference on Archaeoastronomy, SEAC 14th 2006, "Ancient watching of cosmic space and observation of astronomical phenomena", Vol. 6, No. 3 (2006), 101-109.

Abstract. - In Greek mythology there exists one story that has repeatedly been interpreted to describe the fall of a celestial body: the story of Phaethon, who undertakes a disastrous drive with the sun-chariot of his father Helios. First, the article presents the arguments given by ancient authors for interpreting this story as the reflection of a natural phenomenon. Then details given in the old descriptions of Phaethon’s fall are compared with nowadays knowledge of impact phenomena. Furthermore the texts are examined for clues to the time and the location of the hypothesised impact. These considerations substantiate the suggestion that the myth of Phaethon reflects a concrete strike of a meteorite, the so-called Chiemgau Impact. That impact struck the south-east of Bavaria/Germany at some time during the Celtic period and left an extended crater-strewnfield of about 100 craters. A conspicuous intersection between the tradition of the Phaethon-story and the up to now known time-frame for the Chiemgau Impact gives new clues for dating the Chiemgau Impact to the time between 600 and 428 BC.[Later revised to twice that]
This is the Homepage for the site:

But there is the alternative theory that has it a large meteorite or Asteroid was responsible for the stories of Phaethon's Wild Ride but that it landed in the North Atlantic Ocean instead. There are other separate pieces of evidence which fit this version.

"Snapped-Off Forest" from Flickr (Actually a simulation using old pilings from a ruined pier)

Ivan T. Sanderson had a chapter in his book Investigating The Unexplained about a snapped-off forest reported in New Jersey (where he was living at the time) He connected this example to the Pine Barrens and said that the trees could not all be snaped off at the same level by a hurricane, it was more likely a tsunami generated by a large meteorite or asteroid falling into the ocean a few thousand years ago (I assume one to three thousand years ago from what Sanderson says.)
At a later date similar snapped-off submerged forests were uncovered further North up the coast and radiocarbon dated to just before 1000 BC. There is an indication for disturbances in climate in the Greenland ice cores at the corresponding date.

Locations of Pine Barrens and Ivan Sanderson's Snapped-off Forests. There are simultaneous signs of a tsunami in New York at this time, resulting in Long Island clay beds, and similar snapped-off submerged forests off the British coast.

Putting all of these lines of evidence together it seems that the Phaethon event did include both a main comet ary aspect, a large body coming from the region of the sun, as big and bright as the sun (apparently) as stated in the 1993 article: the charts and crosscultural sightings of the comet are quiteconvincing. However, it is already stated in the 1993 article that falls of large fragments should be expected from such a close brush. Two such large fragments could have fallen in Bavaria and the Atlantic Ocean respectively: the Atlantic fragment seems to have been large ebough to snap off Ivan Sanderson's forests mentioned in Investigating the Unexplained as well as other forests from around the Atlantic. Most importantly, Tartessos was inundated and ruined as a result of this event. And Jurgen Spanuth had seen evidences of a meteorite strike on the North Sea: perhaps that is another fragment associated with the fall in Bavaria.
There was local confusion between these fallen bodies and the comet seen at close flyby (the comet would not have fallen but kept going on, but confused reports would assume the meteorite fall was of the same body as the "Errant Sun" Comet. And this fall in the territory at the ancestry of the Celts could have had something to do with the reputation of the Gauls as given by the Romans: They are uncommonly brave and they fear but one thing, that the sky might fall in on their heads.

For interested readers, here is some information on the source materials. I prefer Ovid myself.

Aeschylus, Heliades (lost play) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
Aeschylus' lost play The Heliades or Daughters of Helius described the story of Phaethon. His sisters formed the titular chorus. Weir Smyth (L.C.L.) summarises evidence of the plot : "The Daughters of Helios dealt with the legend of Phaëthon, whose rashness in diving the chariot of the Sun, his father, caused the parching of the earth, and thereby his punishment at the hands of Zeus, whose thunderbolt hurled him into the river Eridanus. In pity for the unceasing grief of Phaëthon’s sisters, Zeus turned them into poplars, from which, it was believed, their tears oozed forth and became amber, the stone of light; a poetic fancy due to the association of êlectron 'amber' with êlectôr 'the beaming sun.' The form assumed by the myth in Aeschylus is unknown; but it is certain that Euripides in his Phaëthon differed widely from the older poet. Aeschylus was in part dependent on Hesiod for the story; but whereas Hesiod knew of seven daughters of Helios, Aeschylus recognized only three--Lampetië, Aegle, and Phaëthousa--children of the sun-god and Rhode. Furthermore he transferred to Iberia the scene of the fall of Phaëthon."

Euripides, Phaethon (lost play) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
Euripides' version of the Phaethon story diverged in certain respects from the earlier play by Aeschylus. Later accounts of the story--e.g. those of Hyginus and Ovid--are probably largely based on the content of this play.

Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 750 ff :
[N.B. In Ovid, Epaphos is the prince of Egypt, and Phaethon the prince of Merope, the Aithiopian kingdom of the upper Nile.]
"His [Epaphos, prince of Egypt's] peer in pride and years was Phaethon, child of Phoebus [i.e. Helios the sun], whose arrogance one day and boasts of his high parentage were more than Inachides [Epaphos] could bear. `You fool, he said, `To credit all your mother says; that birth you boast about is false.' Then Phaethon flushed, though shame checked his rage, and took those taunts to Clymene, his mother. `And to grieve you more, dear mother, I so frank', he said, `So fiery, stood there silent. I'm ashamed that he could so insult me and that I could not repulse him. But, if I indeed am sprung from heavenly stock, give me sure proof of my high birth, confirm my claim to heaven.'
He threw his arms around his mother's neck, and begged her by his own and Merops' [Clymene's mortal husband] life, his sisters' hopes of marriage, to provide some token that that parentage was true. And Clymene, moved whether by his words or anger at the insult to herself, held out her arms to heaven and faced Sol [Helios the Sun] and cried, `By this great glorious radiance, this beaming blaze, that hears and sees us now, I swear, dear child, that he, Sol [Helios the Sun], on whom you gaze, Sol who governs all the globe, he is your father. If I lie, let him deny his beams, let this light be the last my eyes shall ever see! And you may find your father's home with no long toil. The place from which he rises borders our own land [of Egypt]. Go, make the journey if your heart is set, and put your question to Sol [Helios] himself.'
Then up flashed Phaethon at his mother's words; through his own Aethiopes and the lands of India beneath their burning skies, he quickly reached his father's rising place. The palace of Sol (the Sun) rose high aloft on soaring columns, bright with flashing gold and flaming bronze; the pediments were clothed with sheen of ivory; the double doors dazzled with silver--and the artistry was nobler still. For Mulciber [Hephaistos] had engraved the world’s great orb, the seas that ring the world, the sky that hangs above; and in the waves the Di Caerulei (Sea-gods) dwelt, Aegeon, his huge arms entwined around the backs of giant whales, ambiguous Proteus, Triton with his horn; and Doris and her daughters [the Nereides] might be seen, and some were swimming, some on fishes rode, or sat on rocks to dry their sea-green hair. Nor were their looks the same, nor yet diverse, but like as sisters should be. On the land people and cities, woods and beasts were graven, Flumina (Rivers) and Nymphae and Numina Ruris (Rural deities), and, set above them, the bright signs of heaven [the Zodiac], in glory shining, six upon each door. Then the son of Clymene [Phaethon], climbing the steep ascent, entered his father’s palace, fatherhood uncertain still, and made his way direct into the presence and there stood afar, unable to approached the dazzling light. Enrobed in purple vestments Phoebus [Helios] sat, high on a throne of gleaming emeralds. Attending him on either side stood Dies (Day) [Hemera] and Mensis (Month) and Annus (Year) and Saecula (Century), and Horae (Hours) disposed at equal intervals between. Young Ver (Spring) was there, with coronet of flowers, and naked Aestas (Summer), garlanded with grain; Autumnus (Autumn) was there with trampled vintage stained, and icy Hiems (Winter), rime upon his locks.
Enthroned amidst, Sol [Helios] who sees all things beheld the boy dismayed by sights so strange, and said `What purpose brings, faring so far, my son, a son no father would deny, to this high citadel?’ The boy replied `O thou, Creation’s universal light, Phoebus, my father, if to use that name thou givest me leave, and Clymene spoke truth and hides no guilt, give proof that all may know I am thy son indeed, and for ever end the doubt that grieves me.’ Then his father laid aside the dazzling beams that crowned his head and bade him come and held him to his heart : `Well you deserve to be my son’, he said, ‘Truly your mother named your lineage; and to dispel all doubt, ask what you will that I may satisfy your heart’s desire; and that dark marsh [the river Styx] by which the gods make oath, though to my eyes unknown, shall seal my troth.’
He scarce had ended when the boy declared his wish--his father’s chariot for one day with licence to control the soaring steeds. Grief and remorse flooded his father’s soul, and bitterly he shook his glorious head : `Rash have your words proved mine! Would that I might retract my promise, Phaethon! This alone I would indeed deny you. Yet at least I may dissuade you. Dangerous is your choice; you seek a privilege that ill befits your growing years and strength so boyish still. Mortal your lot--not mortal your desire; this, to which even the gods may not aspire, in ignorance you claim. Though their own powers may please the gods, not one can take his stand above my chariot’s flaming axle-tree save I. Even he whose hand hurls thunderbolts, the mighty Rector Olympi (Lord of Olympus), may never drive my team--and who is mightier than Jove [Zeus]? Steep is the way at first, which my steeds scarce can climb in the morning freshness; in mid sky the altitude is greatest and the sight of land and sea below has often struck in my own heart an agony of fear. The final part drops sheer; then above all control must be assured, and even she whose waters lie below to welcome me, Tethys, waits fearful lest I headlong fall. Besides, in constant flux the sky [with its moving constellations] streams by, sweeping in dizzy whirl the stars on high. I drive against this force, which overcomes all things but me, and on opposing course against its rushing circuit makes my way. Suppose my chariot yours : what then? Could you confront the spinning poles [of the sky] and not be swept away by the swift axis of the world? Perhaps you fancy cities of gods are there and groves and temples rich with offerings. No! Wild beasts lie in wait and shapes of fear! And though you shall meet Taurus (the Bull), must brave his horns, and face Arcus Haemonius (the Thessalian Archer) [Saggitarius] and the ravening Leo (the Lion), the long curved circuit of the Scorpio’s claws, Cancer (the Crab) whose claws in counter-menace wave. My horses too, when fire within their breast rages, from mouth and nostrils breathing flames, are hard to hold; even I can scarce restrain their ardent hearts, their necks that fight the rein. But, O my son, amend, while time remains, your choice, so may my gift not be your doom. Sure proof you seek of fatherhood; indeed my dread sure proof affords: a father’s fear proves me your father. Look into my eyes! Would you could look into my heart and see and understand your father’s agony! The bounty of the lands, the seas, the skies; choose what you will of these--it shall be yours. But this alone, not this! Bane truly named not glory, Phaethon--bane this gift not boon! Why fold me in your arms, fond foolish boy? By Stygia I swore and I shall not refuse, whate’er your choice: but oh! more wisely choose!’
So Sol [Helios] warned; but Phaethon would not yield and held his purpose, burning with desire to drive the chariot. Then his father, slow and pausing as he might, lead out the boy to that high chariot, Vulcanus’ [Hephaistos’] masterwork. Gold was the axle, gold the shaft, and gold the rolling circles of the tyres; the spokes in silver order stood, and on the harness patterns of gorgeous gems and chrysolites shone gleaming in the glory of Sol [Helios]. And while the daring boy in wonder gazed, Aurora [Eos the Dawn], watchful in the reddening dawn, threw wide her crimson doors and rose-filled halls; the Stellae (Stars) took flight, in marshalled order set by Lucifer [Eosphoros] who left his station last. Then, when Titan [Helios] perceived the Morning Star [Eosphoros] setting and saw the world in crimson sheen and the last lingering crescent of Luna the Moon [Selene] fade in the dawn, he bade the nimble Horae (Hours) go yoke his steeds, and they, swift goddesses, fastened the jingling harness and the reins, as from the lofty stalls the horses came, filled with ambrosial food and breathing flame. Then on his son’s young face the father smeared a magic salve to shield him from the heat and set the flashing sunbeams [the Sun’s aureole] on his head, and with a heavy heart and many a sigh, that told of grief to come, addressed the boy : `If this advice at least you will obey, spare, child, the whip and rein them hard; they race unurged; the task’s to hold them in their zeal. Avoid the road direct through all five zones; on a wide slanting curve the true course lies within the confines of three zones; beware alike the southern pole and northern Arctus (the Bear). Keep to this route; my wheeltracks there show plain. Press not too low nor strain your course to high; too high, you’ll burn heaven’s palaces; too low, the earth; the safest course lies in between. And neither rightwards towards the twisting Anguis (the Snake) nor leftwards swerve to where the Ara (Altar) lies. Hold in the midst! To fortune I resign the rest to guide with wiser wit than yours. See, dewy Nox (Night) upon the Hesperian shore even while I speak has reached her goal. No more may we delay; our duty calls; the day dawns bright, all shadows fled. Come take the reins! Or take, if yet your stubborn heart will change, my counsel, not my chariot, while you may, while still on firm foundations here you stand before you mount between my chariot wheels, so ignorant, so foolish!--and let me give the world light that you may safely see.’
But Phaethon mounted, light and young and proud, and took the reins with joy, and looking down, thanked his reluctant father for the gift. Meanwhile the four swift horses of Sol [Helios], Aethon (Blaze), Eous (Dawn), Pyrois (Fire) and Phlegon (Flame), kick at the gates, neighing and snorting fire, and Tethys [the mother of Clymene, mother of Phaethon] then, her grandson’s fate undreamt, draws back the bars and makes the horses free of all the boundless heavens. Forth they go, tearing away, and cleave with beating hooves the clouds before them, and on wings outride the winds that westwards from the morning blow. But lightly weighs the yoke; the chariot moves with ease unwonted, suspect buoyancy; and like a ship at sea unballasted that pitches in the waves for lack of weight, the chariot, lacking now its usual load, bounced driverless, it seemed, in empty leaps. The horses in alarm ran wild and left the well-worn highway. Phaethon, dazed with fear, could neither use the reins nor find the road, nor were it found could make the team obey. Then first the sunbeams warmed freezing Troiones (the Bear), who sought vain refuge in forbidden seas [the Constellation was forbidden to set in the river Okeanos]; Serpens (the Snake) that numb and harmless hitherto lay next the icy pole, roused by the heat, in newly kindled rage began to burn; Bootes (the Wagoner) too, it’s said , fled in dismay, though slow and hampered by his lumbering wain.
And when poor hapless Phaethon from the height of highest heaven looked down and saw below, far, far below the continents outspread, his face grew pale, his knees in sudden fear shook, and his eyes were blind with light so bright. Would he had never touched his father’s steeds, nor learnt his birth, nor won his heart’s desire! Oh, to be known as Merops’ son! Too late! He’s swept a way as when a barque is driven before the northern gales and in despair the master leaves the helm, resigns his charge to heaven. What shall he do? The sky behind him stretches away so far; yet more in front. He measures each in turn; ahead he sees the west that fate ordains he shall not reach, then looks back to the east. Dazes and in doubt he cannot hold the reins or let them fall or even recall the horses’ names. And then he sees in panic strewn across the sky monstrous gigantic shapes of beasts of prey.
There is a place in which the Scorpio’s claws curve in a double arc, with tail and legs on either side crossing two signs of heaven; sweating black venom, there before his eyes, circling its tail to strike, the creature lies. His senses reel; he drops the reins aghast. And when the reins fall loose upon their backs, the horses swerve away and, unrestrained, gallop through tracts of air unknown and race headlong, out of control, running amok amid the stars fixed in the vault of heaven, hurtling the chariot where no road had run. And now they climb to highest heaven, now plunge sheer in breakneck descent down to the earth. Luna [Selene the Moon] with wonder sees her brother’s team running below her own; the scalding clouds steam; the parched fields crack deep, all moisture dried, and every summit flames; the calcined meads lie white; the leaf dies burning with the bough and the dry corn its own destruction feeds. These are but trifles. Mighty cities burn with all their ramparts; realms and nations turn to ashes; mountains with their forests blaze. Athos is burning, Oete is on fire, and Tmolus and proud Taurus Cilix and the crest of Ide, dry whose springs were once so famed, and virgin Helicon and Haemus, still unknown, unhonoured. Aetne burns immense in twofold conflagration; Eryx flames and Othrys and Parnasos’ double peaks; Cynthus and Dindyma and Mycale and Rhodope, losing at last her snows, and Mimas and Cithaeron’s holy hill. Caucasus burns; the frosts of Scythia fail in her need; Pindus and Ossa blaze and, lordlier than both, Olympus flames and the airy Alpes and cloud-capped Appeninus. Then Phaethon saw the world on every side ablaze--heat more that he could bear. He breathed vapours that burned like furnace-blasts, and felt the chariot glow white-hot beneath his feet. Cinders and sparks past bearing shoot and swirl and scorching smoke surrounds him; in the murk, the midnight murk, he knows not where he is or goes; the horses whirl him where they will. The Aethiopes then turned black, so men believe, as heat summoned their blood too near the skin. Then was Libya’s dusty desert [the Sahara] formed, all water scorched away. Then the sad Nymphae bewailed their pools and springs; Boeotia mourned her Dirce lost, Argos Amymone, Ephyre Pirene; nor were Flumina (Rivers) safe though fortune’s favour made them broad and deep and their banks far apart; in middle stream from old Peneus rose the drifting steam, from Erymanthus Phegaicus too and swift Ismenos, and Caicus Teuthranius and the Tanais; Maeander playing on his winding way; tawny Lycormas, Xanthus doomed to burn at Troy a second time; Melas Mygdonius, that sable stream; the pride of Eurotas Taenarius. Eurphrates Babylonius burned, Phasis, Hister [Danube] and Ganges were on fire, Orontes burned and racing Thermodon; Alpheus boiled, fire scorched Spercheus’ banks. The gold that Tagus carried in his sands ran molten in the flames, and all the swans that used to charm the Maeonian banks with song huddled in mid Cayster sweltering. The Nilus in terror to the world’s end fled and his head, still hidden; this seven mouths gaped dusty, seven vales without a stream. The same disaster dried the Ismarian rivers, Hebrus and Strymon, dried the lordly flow of the Hesperian waters, Rhodanus [Rhode] and Rhenus [Rhine] and Padus [Po], and Thybris [Tiber], promised empire of the world. Earth everywhere splits deep and light strikes down into Tartara (the Underworld) and fills with fear Rex Infernus (Hell’s monarch) [Haides] and his consort [Persephone]; the wide seas shrink and where ocean lay a wilderness of dry sand spread; new peaks and ranges rise, long covered by the deep, and multiply the scattered islands of the Cyclades. The fishes dive, the dolphins dare no leap their curving course through the familiar air, and lifeless seals float supine on the waves; even Nereus, fathoms down, in his dark caves, with Doris and her daughters, felt the fire. Thrice from the waters Neptunus [Poseidon] raised his arm and frowning face; thrice fled the fiery air.
But Mother Tellus (Earth) [Gaia], encompassed by the seas, between the ocean and her shrinking streams, that cowered for refuge in her lightless womb, lifted her smothered head and raised her hand to shield her tortured face; then with a quake, a mighty tremor that convulsed the world, sinking in shallow subsidence below her wonted place, in solemn tones appealed : `If this thy pleasure and my due, why now, Summus Deum (Supreme God) [Zeus], lie thy dread lightnings still? If fire destroy me, let the fire be thine: my doom were lighter dealt by thy design! Scarce can my throat find voice to speak’ the smoke and heat were choking her. `See my singed hair! Ash in my eyes, ash on my lips so deep! Are these the fruits of my fertility? Is this for duty done the due return? That I endure the wounds of pick and plough, year-long unceasing pain, that I supply grass for the flocks and crops, sweet sustenance, for humankind and incense for you gods? But, grant my doom deserved, what have the seas deserved and shat they brother? Why shrinks that main, his charge, and form the sky so far recoils? And if no grace can save they brother now, nor me, pity thine own fair sky! Look round! See, each pole smokes; if there the fire should gain, your royal roofs will fall. Even Atlas fails, his shoulders scarce sustain the flaming sky. If land and sea, if heaven’s high palaces perish, prime chaos will us all confound! Save from the flames whatever’s still alive, and prove you mean Creation to survive!’
Tellus (Earth) could speak no more, nor more endure the fiery heat and vapour, and sank back to her deep caverns next the Manes (Ghosts of the Underworld). But Pater Omnipotens (the Almighty Father) [Zeus], calling the gods and him who gave the chariot to attest creation doomed were now his aid not given, mounted the highest citadel of heaven, whence he was wont to veil the lands with clouds and roll his thunders and his lightnings hurl. But then no clouds had he the lands to veil, nor rain to send from heaven to soothe their pain. He thundered; and poising high his bolt to blast, struck Phaethon from the chariot and from life, and fire extinguished fire and flame quenched flame. The horses in wild panic leapt apart, burst from the traces and flung off the yoke, there lies the reins, the sundered axle there, here the spokes dangle from a shattered wheel, and far and wide the signs of wreckage fly. And Phaethon, flames ravaging his auburn hair, falls headlong down, a streaming trail of light, as sometimes through the cloudless vault of night a star, though never falling, seems to fall. Eridanus receives him, far from home, in his wide waters half a world away. And bathes his burning face.
The Naides Hesperiae bury his smouldering body in a tomb and on a stone engrave this epitaph : `Here Phaethon lies, his father’s charioteer; great was his fall, yet did he greatly dare.’ His father, sick with grief, had hidden his face, shrouded in misery, an, if the tale is true, one day went by without the Sun. The flaming fires gave light--some gain at least in that disaster. Clymene, distraught with sorrow, said whatever could be said in woes so terrible and beat her breast, and roamed the world to find his lifeless limbs and then his bones, and found his bones at last buried beside a foreign river-bank. And, prostrate there, she drenched in tears his name carved in the marble and hugged it to her breast. His sister’s too, the three Heliades, wept sad tears, their futile tribute to the dead, and long lay prostrate on their brother’s tomb, bruising their breasts and calling day and night Phaethon who never more would hear their moans. Four times the waxing crescent of the moon had filled her orb, in their wonted way, wailing was now their wont, they made lament [and were transformed into amber-crying poplar-trees; and his friend Kyknos was transformed into a swan] . . .
Sol [Helios] meanwhile, dishevelled, his bright sheen subdued as in the gloom of an eclipse, loathing himself, loathing the light, the day, gives way to grief, and, grief rising to rage, denies his duty to the world. `Enough’, he cries, `Since time began my lot has brought no rest, no respite. I resent this toil, unending toil, unhonoured drudgery. Let someone else take out my chariot that bears my sunbeams, or, if no one will, and all the gods confess they can’t, let Jove [Zeus] drive it, and, as he wrestles with the reins, there’ll be a while at least when he won’t wield his bolt to rob a father of his son; and, when he’s tried the fiery-footed team and learnt their strength, he’ll know no one should die for failing to control them expertly.’
Then all the deities surround Sol [Helios] and beg him and beseech him not to shroud the world in darkness. Juppiter [Zeus], indeed, defends his fiery bolt and adds his royal threats. So Sol [Helios] took in hand his maddened team, still terrified, and whipped them savagely, whipped them and cursed them for their guilt that they destroyed his son, their master, that dire day."

[One of the basic confusions of the several retellings of the myth is that poplars do not yield amber. It comes from other more resinous trees and is usually found in the fossil state.-DD]

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Atlantis-Like" submerged Landscape Nr Scotland Discovered (Internet News Item)

....A Lost World? Atlantis-Like Landscape Discovered

[Map, Geology of Scotland-DD]

By Wynne Parry – Sun, Jul 10, 2011

Buried deep beneath the sediment of the North Atlantic Ocean lies an ancient, lost landscape with furrows cut by rivers and peaks that once belonged to mountains. Geologists recently discovered this roughly 56-million-year-old landscape using data gathered for oil companies.

"It looks for all the world like a map of a bit of a country onshore," said Nicky White, the senior researcher. "It is like an ancient fossil landscape preserved 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) beneath the seabed."

So far, the data have revealed a landscape about 3,861 square miles (10,000 square km) west of the Orkney-Shetland Islands that stretched above sea level by almost as much as 0.6 miles (1 km). White and colleagues suspect it is part of a larger region that merged with what is now Scotland and may have extended toward Norway in a hot, prehuman world.

History beneath the seafloor

The discovery emerged from data collected by a seismic contracting company using an advanced echo-sounding technique. High pressured air is released from metal cylinders, producing sound waves that travel to the ocean floor and beneath it, through layers of sediment. Every time these sound waves encounter a change in the material through which they are traveling, say, from mudstone to sandstone, an echo bounces back. Microphones trailing behind the ship on cables record these echoes, and the information they contain can be used to construct three-dimensional images of the sedimentary rock below, explained White, a geologist at the University of Cambridge in Britain.

The team, led by Ross Hartley, a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, found a wrinkly layer 1.2 miles (2 km) beneath the seafloor — evidence of the buried landscape, reminiscent of the mythical lost Atlantis.

The researchers traced eight major rivers, and core samples, taken from the rock beneath the ocean floor, revealed pollen and coal, evidence of land-dwelling life. But above and below these deposits, they found evidence of a marine environment, including tiny fossils, indicating the land rose above the sea and then subsided — "like a terrestrial sandwich with marine bread," White said.

The burning scientific question, according to White, is what made this landscape rise up, then subside within 2.5 million years? "From a geological perspective, that is a very short period of time," he said.

The giant hot ripple

He and colleagues have a theory pointing to an upwelling of material through the Earth's mantle beneath the North Atlantic Ocean called the Icelandic Plume. (The plume is centered under Iceland.)

The plume works like a pipe carrying hot magma from deep within the Earth to right below the surface, where it spreads out like a giant mushroom, according to White. Sometimes the material is unusually hot, and it spreads out in a giant hot ripple.

The researchers believe that such a giant hot ripple pushed the lost landscape above the North Atlantic, then as the ripple passed, the land fell back beneath the ocean.

This theory is supported by other new research showing that the chemical composition of rocks in the V-shaped ridges on the ocean floor around Iceland contains a record of hot magma surges like this one. Although this study, led by Heather Poore, also one of White's students, looked back only about 30 million years, White said he is hopeful ongoing research will pinpoint an older ridge that recorded this particular hot ripple.

Because similar processes have occurred elsewhere on the planet, there are likely many other lost landscapes like this one. Since this study was completed, the researchers have found two more recent, but less spectacular, submerged landscapes above the first one, White said.

Both studies appear today (July 10) in the journal Nature Geoscience.

[-It is often stated that the Mid-Ocean ridges are expanding because of upwelling plumes of magma such as the one described here. What is NOT often noted is that the magma chamber that should be in the middle of the North Atlantic is not there. The Chamber has blown out, and quite recently and signs are from the surrounding lanscape that the ridge has subsided to a depth of 6000 to 9000 feet, at least. Several recent articles mention this, but N. Zhirov already had much evidence of the collapsed Mid-Atlantic ridge back when he wrote his book on Atlantis. A review of this book follows]

Crustal Magma Chambers
Melted material migrates upward from the mantle to form the oceanic crust. When cooled sufficiently from above, this melt will pond and form a liquid pool or magma chamber. Cracking of overlying rock will open conduits (usually axis-parallel planar dikes) to feed extrusive basalt flows at the seafloor. Whether a magma chamber is usually present beneath the seafloor is thought to be strongly dependent on spreading rate. On the fast spreading East Pacific Rise there is extensive evidence from multichannel seismic studies for an axial magma chamber. This is thought to be a steady state feature, found on 60% of the ridge between the Siqueiros Fracture Zone at 8°30'N and 13°30'N. Its width across axis is 1-1.5 km and height 100-500 m. The low velocity zone surrounding this body is thought to be material with at least 3% melt. In contrast there is no evidence of the existence of persistent magma chambers on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge,[Emph added-DD] although such bodies are [thought to be] likely present episodically.

[On this cross-section of the Mid-Pacific rise there is a mantle plume arising to approx 4 km depth and a ridge with a domed profile. The Atlantic ridge does not have the same profile when the plume is taken away and there may well be a slump down to 4km depth in its place-DD]

Atlantis: Atlantology - Basic Problems
By N. Zhirov, Review on
Product Details
Paperback: 444 pages
Publisher: Univ Pr of the Pacific (September 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0898755913
ISBN-13: 978-0898755916
Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 1.3 inches

Product Description
A Soviet scientist examines geology, climate, oceanography and attempts reconstruction of Atlantis. Illustrated with maps, charts, tables, illustrations, seismic data, sonar images, etc.
The fascinating age-old riddle of the legendary continent of Atlantis is a challenge to any investigator for it would be hard to name a problem of longer standing or one that has given rise to sharper controversies and differences of views and opinions. Some investigators have rejected it as a key to an ancient riddle throwing light on many aspects of human history and civilization. Thousands of books and papers have been devoted to the thrilling problem of Atlantis, and a new scientific trend, atlantology, studying Atlantis has emerged.

Atlantology cannot advance without the aid of geomorphology and marine geology, which are relatively new spheres of human knowledge. Indeed, the problems linked up with Atlantis can be approached successfully only by drawing upon the latest achievements of world science in the study of the geological structure and relief of the ocean bed, only in the light of the new ideas about the youth and active development of oceans.

The author believes that Atlantis existed [As an island in the Nortth Atlantic which sank at the end of the Ice Age-DD] and uses a great number of facts to back up his arguments. His work sums up much on what we know about atlantology. This book will unquestionably serve as the basis for elaborating on many aspects of one of the world’s most dramatic problems. Zhirov was a chemist by trade and a leading Soviet Atlantologist. The book was written between 1959-63. New data was added for this English edition. Seismics, gravimetrics, climatology, paleobotanical data, geomorphology, plate tectonics, turbidity data, bottom current patterns, submarine erosion and geological data separate this book from most of the rest of the Atlantology field. Cites 825 separate sources in 34 pages of references - Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, German, English, Latin....

Zhirov's book is far and away the best single source on Atlantis from the standpoint of truly Scientific evidence. It is a must-read for any serious researcher-Dale D.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Last Atlanteans Show Themselves

This is a matter which is frequently brought up in discussions about Atlantis. In order to get off on the right foot, it is best to establish some basic facts with the Wikipedia:

Sea Peoples
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Sea Peoples were a confederacy of seafaring raiders of the second millennium BC who sailed into the eastern Mediterranean, caused political unrest, and attempted to enter or control Egyptian territory during the late 19th dynasty and especially during Year 8 of Ramesses III of the 20th Dynasty.[1] The Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah explicitly refers to them by the term "the foreign-countries (or 'peoples'[2]) of the sea" (Egyptian n3 ḫ3s.wt n<.t> p3 ym[3][4]) in his Great Karnak Inscription.[5] Although some scholars believe that they invaded Cyprus, Hatti and the Levant, this hypothesis is disputed.[6]

[At this juncture I might inject the comment that few things in science are NOT disputed and the mere fact that a hypothesis is disputed can be of no especial significance as far as the evidence for the theory actually goes-DD]

Historical contextSee also: Bronze Age collapse
The Late Bronze Age in the Aegean was characterized by the raiding of migratory peoples and their subsequent resettlement. The identity of the Sea Peoples has remained enigmatic to modern scholars, who have only the scattered records of ancient civilizations and archaeological analysis to inform them. Evidence shows that the identities and motives of these peoples were not unknown to the Egyptians. In fact, many had been subordinate to the Egyptians or in a diplomatic relationship with them for at least as long as the few centuries covered by the records.

Some groups were not included in the Egyptian list of Sea Peoples, as they operated primarily on land. Among them were the 'prw (Habiru) of Egyptian inscriptions, or 'apiru of cuneiform ("bandits"). Sandars uses the analogous name "land peoples."[7] Some people, such as the Lukka, were included in both categories. It has been suggested that one of the groups of Habiru were the Hebrews.[citation needed], but the modern scholarly conclusion is that "the plethora of attempts to relate apiru (Habiru) to the gentilic (i.e. biblical word) ibri are all nothing but wishful thinking."[8] Select groups, or members of groups, were used as mercenaries by the Egyptians.

Documentary records[edit] Byblos obelisk
Obelisk temple, ByblosThe earliest ethnic group[9] later considered among the Sea Peoples is believed to be attested in Egyptian hieroglyphics on the Byblos obelisk found in the Obelisk Temple at Byblos in modern day Lebanon. The inscription mentions kwkwn son of rwqq-( or kukun son of luqq), transliterated as Kukunnis, son of Lukka, "the Lycian".[10] The date is given variously as 2000 or 1700 BC.

Early Amarna age
The Lukka appear much later and also the Sherden in the Amarna Letters, perhaps of Amenhotep III or his son Akhenaten, around the mid-14th century BC. A Sherden man is an apparent renegade mercenary,[11] and three more are slain by an Egyptian overseer.[12] The Danuna are mentioned in another letter[13] but only in a passing reference to the death of their king. The Lukka are being accused[14] of attacking the Egyptians in conjunction with the Alashiyans, or Cypriotes, with the latter having stated that the Lukka were seizing their villages.

Reign of Ramesses II
Ramesses II, painted reliefRecords or possible records of sea peoples generally or in particular date to two campaigns of Ramesses II, a pharaoh of the militant 19th Dynasty: operations in or near the delta in Year 2 of his reign and the major confrontation with the Hittite Empire and allies at the Battle of Kadesh in his Year 5. The dates of this long-lived pharaoh's reign are not known for certain, but they must have comprised nearly all of the first half of the 13th century BC.[15]

In his Second Year, an attack of the Sherden, or Shardana, on the Nile Delta was repulsed and defeated by Ramesses, who captured some of the pirates. The event is recorded on Tanis Stele II.[16] An inscription by Ramesses II on the stela from Tanis which recorded the Sherden raider's raid and subsequent capture speaks of the continuous threat they posed to Egypt's Mediterranean coasts:

"the unruly Sherden whom no one had ever known how to combat, they came boldly sailing in their warships from the midst of the sea, none being able to withstand them."[17]
The Sherden prisoners were subsequently incorporated into the Egyptian army for service on the Hittite frontier by Ramesses. Another stele usually cited in conjunction with this one is the "Aswan Stele" (there were other stelae at Aswan), which mentions the king's operations to defeat a number of peoples including those of the "Great Green". It is plausible to assume that the Tanis and Aswan Stelae refer to the same event, in which case they reinforce each other.

The Battle of Kadesh was the outcome of a campaign against the Syrians and allies in the Levant in the pharaoh's Year 5. The imminent collision of the Egyptian and Hittite empires became obvious to both, and they both prepared campaigns against the strategic mid-point of Kadesh for the next year. Ramesses divided his Egyptian forces, which were then ambushed piecemeal by the Hittite army and nearly defeated. However, some Egyptian forces made it through to Kadesh, and the arrival of the last of the Egyptians provided enough military cover to allow the pharaoh to escape and his army to withdraw in defeat; leaving Kadesh in Hittite hands.[18]

At home, Ramesses had his scribes formulate an official description, which has been called "the Bulletin" because it was widely published by inscription. Ten copies survive today on the temples at Abydos, Karnak, Luxor and Abu Simbel, with reliefs depicting the battle. A poem, the "Poem of Pentaur", describing the battle survives also.[19]

The poem relates that the previously captured Sherden were not only working for his majesty, but were also formulating a plan of battle for him; i.e., it was their idea to divide Egyptian forces into four columns. There is no evidence of any collaboration with the Hittites or malicious intent on their part, and if Ramesses considered it, he never left any record of that consideration.

The poem lists the peoples which went to Kadesh as allies of the Hittites. Amongst them are some of the sea peoples spoken of in the Egyptian inscriptions previously mentioned, and many of the peoples who would later take part in the great migrations of the 12th century BC.

Reign of MerneptahI am the ruler who shepherds you ... as a father, who preserves his children, while ye fear like birds ... [Shall the land be wasted and forsaken at the invasion of every country, while the Nine Bows plunder its borders and rebels invade it every day? ... They spend their time going about the land, fighting, to fill their bodies daily. They come to the land of Egypt to seek the necessities of their mouths ... Their chief is like a dog, a man of boasting without courage ...Speech of Merneptah before the Battle of Perire, from the Great Karnak Inscription.

The major event of the reign of the Pharaoh Merneptah (1213 BC–1203 BC),[20] 4th king of the 19th Dynasty, was his battle against a confederacy termed "the Nine Bows" at Perire in the western delta in the 5th and 6th years of his reign. Depredations of this confederacy had been so severe that the region was "forsaken as pasturage for cattle, it was left waste from the time of the ancestors."[21]

The pharaoh's action against them is attested in four inscriptions: the Great Karnak Inscription, describing the battle, the Cairo Column, the Athribis Stele (the last two of which are shorter versions of the Great Karnak), and a stele found at Thebes, called variously the Hymn of Victory, the Merneptah Stele or the Israel Stele. It describes the reign of peace resulting from the victory.[22]

The Nine Bows were acting under the leadership of the king of Libya and an associated near-concurrent revolt in Canaan involving Gaza, Ashkelon, Yenoam and Israel. Exactly which peoples were consistently in the Nine Bows is not clear, but present at the battle were the Libyans, some neighboring Meshwesh, and possibly a separate revolt in the following year involving peoples from the eastern Mediterranean, including the Kheta (or Hittites), or Syrians, and (in the Israel Stele) for the first time in history, the Israelites. In addition to them, the first lines of the Karnak inscription include some sea peoples,[23] which must have arrived in the Western Delta or from Cyrene by ship:

[Beginning of the victory that his majesty achieved in the land of Libya] -i, Ekwesh, Teresh, Lukka, Sherden, Shekelesh, Northerners coming from all lands.

Later in the inscription Merneptah receives news of the attack:

... the third season, saying: 'The wretched, fallen chief of Libya, Meryey, son of Ded, has fallen upon the country of Tehenu with his bowmen---- Sherden, Shekelesh, Ekwesh, Lukka, Teresh, Taking the best of every warrior and every man of war of his country. He has brought his wife and his children ----- leaders of the camp, and he has reached the western boundary in the fields of Perire'

Athribis Stele, garden of Cairo Museum"His majesty was enraged at their report, like a lion," assembled his court and gave a rousing speech. Later, he dreamed he saw Ptah handing him a sword and saying, "Take thou (it) and banish thou the fearful heart from thee." When the bowmen went forth, says the inscription, "Amun was with them as a shield." After six hours, the surviving Nine Bows threw down their weapons, abandoned their baggage and dependents, and ran for their lives. Merneptah states that he defeated the invasion, killing 6,000 soldiers and taking 9,000 prisoners. To be sure of the numbers, among other things, he took the penises of all uncircumcised enemy dead and the hands of all the circumcised, from which history learns that the Ekwesh were circumcised, a fact causing some to doubt they were Greek.

Letters at Ugarit
The ruins of Ugarit.Some Sea Peoples appear in four letters found at Ugarit, the last three of which seem to foreshadow the destruction of the city around 1180 BC. The letters are therefore dated to the early twelfth century. The last king of Ugarit was Ammurapi, or Hammurabi (c. 1191–1182 BC), who, throughout this correspondence, is quite a young man.

The earliest is letter RS 34.129, found on the south side of the city, from "the Great King", presumably Suppiluliuma II of the Hittites, to the prefect of the city. He says that he ordered the king of Ugarit to send him Ibnadushu for questioning, but the king was too immature to respond. He therefore wants the prefect to send the man, whom he promises to return.

What this language implies about the relationship of the Hittite empire to Ugarit is a matter for interpretation. Ibnadushu had been kidnapped by and had resided among a people of Shikala, probably the Shekelesh, "who lived on ships." The letter is generally interpreted as an interest in military intelligence by the king.[24]

The last three letters, RS L 1, RS 20.238 and RS 20.18, are a set from the Rap'anu Archive between a slightly older Ammurapi, now handling his own affairs, and Eshuwara, the grand supervisor of Alasiya. Evidently, Ammurapi had informed Eshuwara, that an enemy fleet of 20 ships had been spotted at sea.

Eshuwara wrote back and inquired about the location of Ammurapi's own forces. Eshuwara also noted that he would like to know where the enemy fleet of 20 ships are now located.[25] Unfortunately for both Ugarit and Alasiya, neither kingdom was able to fend off the Sea People's onslaught, and both were ultimately destroyed. A letter by Amurapi (RS 18.147) to the king of Alasiya—which was in fact a response to an appeal for assistance by the latter—has been found by archaeologists. In it, Ammurapi describes the desperate plight facing Ugarit:

My father, behold, the enemy's ships came (here); my cities(?) were burned, and they did evil things in my country. Does not my father know that all my troops and chariots(?) are in the Land of Hatti, and all my ships are in the Land of Lukka?...Thus, the country is abandoned to itself. May my father know it: the seven ships of the enemy that came here inflicted much damage upon us.[26]

Ammurapi, in turn, appealed for aid from the viceroy of Carchemish—a state which actually survived the Sea People's onslaught—but its viceroy could only offer some words of advice for Ammurapi:

As for what you [Ammurapi] have written to me: 'Ships of the enemy have been seen at sea!' Well, you must remain firm. Indeed for your part, where are your troops, your chariots stationed? Are they not stationed near you? No? Behind the enemy, who press upon you? Surround your towns with ramparts. Have your troops and chariots enter there, and await the enemy with great resolution!"[27]

Reign of Ramesses III
Temple of Ramses III at Medinet HabuPharaoh Ramesses III, the second king of the 20th Dynasty, who reigned for most of the first half of the 12th century BC, was forced to deal with a later wave of invasions of the Sea Peoples—the best recorded in his eighth year. The pharaoh records the Sea People's activities in several long inscriptions from his Medinet Habu mortuary temple:

The foreign countries (ie. Sea Peoples) made a conspiracy in their islands, All at once the lands were removed and scattered in the fray. No land could stand before their arms: from Hatti, Qode, Carchemish, Arzawa and Alashiya on, being cut off [ie. destroyed] at one time. A camp was set up in Amurru. They desolated its people, and its land was like that which has never come into being. They were coming forward toward Egypt, while the flame was prepared before them. Their confederation was the Peleset, Tjeker, Shekelesh, Denyen and Weshesh, lands united. They laid their hands upon the land as far as the circuit of the earth, their hearts confident and trusting: "Our plans will succeed!"[28]

No land could stand before their armsSee also: Bronze Age collapse
The ends of several civilizations around 1175 BC have instigated a theory that the Sea Peoples may have caused the collapse of the Hittite, Mycenaean and Mitanni kingdoms. The American Hittitologist, Gary Beckman, writes on page 23 of Akkadica 120 (2000):[29]

A terminus ante quem for the destruction of the Hittite empire has been recognised in an inscription carved at Medinet Habu in Egypt in the eighth year of Ramesses III (1175 BC). This text narrates a contemporary great movement of peoples in the eastern Mediterranean, as a result of which "the lands were removed and scattered to the fray. No land could stand before their arms, from Hatti, Kode, Carchemish, Arzawa, Alashiya on being cut off. [ie: cut down]"

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:[30]

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.

This situation is confirmed by the Medinet Habu temple reliefs of Ramesses III which show that:[30]

the Peleset and Tjekker warriors who fought in the land battle [against Ramesses III] are accompanied in the reliefs by women and children loaded in ox-carts.

Checking the onslaught
Further information: Battle of the Delta and Battle of Djahy (12th century BC)

The Nile Delta todayThe inscriptions of Ramesses III at his Medinet Habu mortuary temple in Thebes record three victorious campaigns against the Sea Peoples considered bona fide, in Years 5, 8 and 12, as well as three considered spurious, against the Nubians and Libyans in Year 5 and the Libyans with Asiatics in Year 11. During Year 8 some Hittites were operating with the Sea Peoples.[31]

The inner west wall of the second court describes the invasion of Year 5. Only the Peleset and Tjeker are mentioned, but the list is lost in a lacuna. The attack was two-pronged, one by sea and one by land; that is, the Sea Peoples divided their forces. His majesty was waiting in the Nile mouths and trapped the enemy fleet there. The land forces were defeated separately.

The Sea Peoples did not learn any lessons from this defeat, as they repeated their mistake in Year 8 with a similar result. The campaign is recorded more extensively on the inner northwest panel of the first court. It is possible, but not generally believed, that the dates are only those of the inscriptions and both refer to the same campaign.

In Ramesses' Year 8, the Nine Bows appear again as a "conspiracy in their isles". This time, they are revealed unquestionably as Sea Peoples: the Peleset, Tjeker, Shekelesh, Denyen and Weshesh, which are classified as "foreign countries" in the inscription. They camped in Amor and sent a fleet to the Nile.

The pharaoh was once more waiting for them. He had built a fleet especially for the occasion, hid it in the Nile mouths and posted coast watchers. The enemy fleet was ambushed there, their ships overturned, and the men dragged up on shore and executed ad hoc.

The land army was attacked and routed as it crossed the Egyptian border. Additional information is given in the relief on the outer side of the east wall. The land battle occurred in the vicinity of Zahi against "the northern countries". When it was over, several chiefs were captive: of Hatti, Amor and Shasu among the "land peoples" and the Tjeker, "Sherden of the sea", "Teresh of the sea" and Peleset.

The campaign of Year 12 is attested by the Südstele found on the south side of the temple. It mentions the Tjeker, Peleset, Denyen, Weshesh and Shekelesh.

Papyrus Harris I of the period, found behind the temple, suggests a wider campaign against the Sea Peoples but does not mention the date. In it, the persona of Ramses III says, "I slew the Denyen (D'-yn-yw-n) in their isles" and "burned" the Tjeker and Peleset, implying a maritime raid of his own. He also captured some Sherden and Weshesh "of the sea" and settled them in Egypt.[32] As he is called the "Ruler of Nine Bows" in the relief of the east side, these events probably happened in Year 8; i.e., his majesty would have used the victorious fleet for some punitive expeditions elsewhere in the Mediterranean.

The Onomasticon of Amenope, or Amenemipit (amen-em-apt), gives a slight credence to the idea that the Ramesside kings settled the Sea Peoples in Canaan. Dated to about 1100 BC, at the end of the 21st dynasty (which had numerous short-reigned pharaohs), this document simply lists names. After six place names, four of which were in Philistia, the scribe lists the Sherden (Line 268), the Tjeker (Line 269) and the Peleset (Line 270), who might be presumed to occupy those cities.[33] The Story of Wenamun on a papyrus of the same cache also places the Tjeker in Dor at that time.

A few states, such as Byblos and Sidon, managed to survive the Sea Peoples' invasions unscathed. Despite Ramesses III's pessimism, Carchemish also survived the Sea Peoples' onslaught. King Kuzi-Teshub I, who was the son of Talmi-Teshub—a direct contemporary of the last ruling Hittite king, Suppiluliuma II—is attested in power there.[34] Kuzi-Tesup and his successors ruled a mini-empire from Carchemish which stretched from "Southeast Asia Minor, North Syria...[to] the west bend of the Euphrates"[35] from c. 1175 BC to 990 BC.

Hypotheses about the Sea Peoples
A number of hypotheses concerning the identities and motives of the Sea Peoples described in the records have been formulated. They are not necessarily alternative or contradictory hypotheses; any or all might be mainly or partly true.

Philistine hypothesis
Main article: Philistines

The archaeological evidence from the southern coastal plain of ancient Palestine, termed Philistia in the Hebrew Bible, indicates a disruption[36] of the Canaanite culture that existed during the Late Bronze Age and its replacement (with some integration) by a culture with a possibly foreign (mainly Aegean) origin. This includes distinct pottery, which at first belongs to the Mycenaean IIIC tradition (albeit of local manufacture) and gradually transforms into a uniquely Philistine pottery. Mazar says:[37]

... in Philistia, the producers of Mycenaean IIIC pottery must be identified as the Philistines. The logical conclusion, therefore, is that the Philistines were a group of Mycenaean Greeks who immigrated to the east ... Within several decades ... a new bichrome style, known as the "Philistine", appeared in Philistia ...

Sandars, however, does not take this point of view, but says:[38]

... it would be less misleading to call this 'Philistine pottery' 'Sea Peoples' pottery or 'foreign' pottery, without commitment to any particular group.

Artifacts of the Philistine culture are found at numerous sites, in particular in the excavations of the five main cities of the Philistines: the Pentapolis of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza. Some scholars (e.g. S. Sherratt, Drews, etc.) have challenged the theory that the Philistine culture is an immigrant culture, claiming instead that they are an in situ development of the Canaanite culture, but others argue for the immigrant hypothesis; for example, T. Dothan and Barako.[Several authors have emphasized that the Sea Peoples that settled in Canaan gave impetus to the great age of Phoenician sea power which followed. Indeed, experts have emphasized that there is no Western Mediterranean presence of the Phoenicians until after 800 BC. Having the advance information of Sea People allies would give the Phenicians a clear advantage in going back the other direction and making new settlements in Tunisia, Sicily and at Tartessos-DD]

Minoan hypothesis
Two of the peoples who settled in the Levant have traditions that may connect them to Crete: the Tjeker and the Peleset (Philistines). The Tjeker may have left Crete to settle in Anatolia and left there to settle Dor.[39] According to the Old Testament,[40] the Israelite God brought the Philistines out of Caphtor. This view is accepted by the mainstream of Biblical and classical scholarship as Crete, but there are alternative minority theories.[41] Crete at the time was populated by peoples speaking many languages, among which were Mycenaean Greek and Eteocretan, the descendant of the language of the Minoans. It is possible, but by no means certain, that these two peoples spoke Eteocretan.

It is also worth noting that recent examinations of the eruption of the Santorini Volcano occurred very close (estimated between 1660-1613 BC) to the first appearances of the Sea People in Egypt.[42] The Volcano and its aftermath (fires, Tsunami, weather changes and famines) would have had wide ranging effects across the Mediterranean, Levant and particularly Greece and could have been the impetus for invasions of other regions of the Mediterranean.

For more details on this topic, see Caphtor.
Greek migrational hypothesis
Main article: Mycenaean Greece
The identifications of Denyen with the Greek Danaans and Ekwesh with the Greek Achaeans are long-standing issues in Bronze Age scholarship, whether Greek, Hittite or Biblical, especially as they lived "in the isles". If the Greeks do appear as Sea Peoples, what were they doing? Michael Wood gives a good summary of the question and the hypothetical role of the Greeks (who have already been proposed as the identity of the Philistines above):[43]

... were the sea peoples ... in part actually composed of Mycenaean Greeks - rootless migrants, warrior bands and condottieri on the move ...? Certainly there seem to be suggestive parallels between the war gear and helmets of the Greeks ... and those of the Sea Peoples ...

Wood would also include the Sherden and Shekelesh, pointing out that "there were migrations of Greek-speaking peoples to the same place [Sardinia and Sicily] at this time." He is careful to point out that the Greeks must only have been an element among the peoples, and that their numbers must have been relatively small. His major hypothesis,[43] however, is that the Trojan War was fought against Troy VI and that Troy VIIa, the candidate of Carl Blegen, was sacked by essentially Greek Sea Peoples. He suggests that Odysseus' assumed identity of a wandering Cretan coming home from the Trojan War who fights in Egypt and serves there after being captured[44] "remembers" the campaign of Year 8 of Ramses III, described above. He points out also that places destroyed on Cyprus at the time (such as Kition) were rebuilt by a new Greek-speaking population.

Aeneas flees burning Troy carrying his father Anchises and leading his son Ascanius by the hand. Woodcut by Ludolph Büsinck.[edit] Trojan hypothesisMain article: Troy
The possibility that the Teresh were connected on the one hand with the Tyrrhenians,[45] believed to be an Etruscan-related culture, and on the other with Taruissa, a Hittite name possibly referring to Troy,[46] had been considered by the ancient Romans. The Roman poet Virgil refers to this belief when he depicts Aeneas as escaping the fall of Troy by coming to Latium to found a line descending to Romulus, first king of Rome. Considering that Anatolian connections have been identified for other Sea Peoples, such as the Tjeker and the Lukka, Eberhard Zangger puts together an Anatolian hypothesis:[47]

The Sea People may well have been Troy and its confederated allies, and the literary tradition of the Trojan War may well reflect the Greek effort to counter those raids.

Mycenaean warfare hypothesis
This theory suggests that the Sea Peoples were populations from the city states of the Greek Mycenaean civilization, who destroyed each other in a disastrous series of conflicts lasting several decades. There would have been few or no external invaders and just a few excursions outside the Greek-speaking part of the Aegean civilization.

Eteocles and Polyneices in combat in the war of the Seven against Thebes, an example of Mycenaean fratricidal conflict. Painting by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.Archaeological evidence indicates that many fortified sites of the Greek domain were destroyed in the late 13th and early 12th century BC, which was understood in the mid 20th century to have been simultaneous or nearly so and was attributed to the Dorian Invasion championed by Carl Blegen of the University of Cincinnati. He believed Mycenaean Pylos was burned during an amphibious raid by warriors from the north (Dorians).

Subsequent critical analysis focused on the facts that the destructions were not simultaneous and all the evidence of Dorians came from later times. John Chadwick championed a Sea Peoples hypothesis,[48] which asserted that as the Pylians had retreated to the northeast, the attack must have come from the southwest, the Sea Peoples being, in his view, the most likely candidates. He states that they were based in Anatolia and, although doubting that Mycenaeans called themselves "Achaeans", speculates that "... it is very tempting to bring them into connexion." He does not assign the Greek identity to all of the Sea Peoples.

Considering the turbulence between and within the great families of the Mycenaean city-states in Greek mythology, the hypothesis that the Mycenaeans destroyed themselves is long-standing[49] and finds support by the reputable Greek historian Thucydides, who theorized:[50]

For in early times the Hellenes and the barbarians of the coast and islands ... were tempted to turn to piracy, under the conduct of their most powerful men ...
they would fall upon a town unprotected by walls ... and would plunder it ... no disgrace being yet attached to such an achievement, but even some glory.

The connection of these predations to the fall of Mycenaean Greece and, more widely, to the Sea Peoples is a logical outcome. Although some advocates of the Philistine or Greek migration hypotheses (above) identify all the Mycenaeans or Sea Peoples as ethnically Greek, the cautious Chadwick (founder, with Michael Ventris, of Linear B studies) rather adopts the multiple ethnicity view.

See also: Achaeans and Mycenaean Greece
Italian peoples hypothesesSee also: Nuragic civilization, History of Sicily, History of Malta, and Tyrrhenians
Theories of the possible connections between the Sherden to Sardinia, Shekelesh to Sicily, and Teresh to Tyrrhenians, even though long-standing, are based mainly on onomastic similarities.

The Sardinian architecture produced by the Nuragic civilization was the most advanced of any civilization in the western Mediterranean during the Sea Peoples epoch, including those in the regions of Magna Graecia. More importantly the depictions of the arms and armour of the Shardana Sea Peoples in Egypt do seem to correspond to thiose of the Sardinians (see below)

The pre-Roman Sicels are known from a number of locations, including Sicily, presumed named after them. The Tyrrhenian Sea gives some credence to the story of Tyrrhenus mentioned above.

No evidence has been uncovered yet to settle the enigmatic Italian connections of these Sea Peoples. The self-name of the Etruscans, Rasna, does not lend itself to the Tyrrhenian derivation, although linguist Glen Glordon has suggested an earlier form T'Rasena or even T'Lasena which would explain Greek and later Roman names. He has further suggested that T'Lasena contains the pre-Greek Thalassa (Sea) etymology. Assertions in various articles and books that the Sherdens definitely were or were not from Sardis or some ancestor state have no foundation in the evidence. The Etruscan civilization has been studied, and the language partly deciphered. It has variants and representatives in Aegean inscriptions, but these may well be from travellers or colonists of Etruscans during their seafaring period before Rome destroyed their power. The entire Etruscan civilization can scarcely be explained by a few ships of Teresh or even a whole fleet. [The Etruscan area is however one area that had clear prior ties to the Sardinians with similar art and architecture, and the Etruscans could easily contain a Sea peoples component combined with other collections of native peoples and refugees-DD]

Archaeology is equally enigmatic. About all that can be said for certain is that Mycenaean pottery was widespread around the Mediterranean and its introduction at various places, including Sardinia, is often associated with cultural change, violent or gradual. These circumstances appear to be enough for archaeological theorizers. The prevalent speculation is that the Sherden and Shekelesh brought those names with them to Sardinia and Sicily, "perhaps not operating from those great islands but moving toward them."[51] More recent genetic evidence indicates that the populations in those regions are more related to the people of Anatolia than to anywhere else, but this evidence is not event- or period-specific.

Anatolian famine hypothesis
A famous passage from Herodotus[52] portrays the wandering and migration of Lydians from Anatolia because of famine:

In the days of Atys, the son of Manes, there was a great scarcity through the whole land of Lydia ... So the king determined to divide the nation in half ... the one to stay, the other to leave the land. ... the emigrants should have his son Tyrrhenus for their leader ... they went down to Smyrna, and built themselves ships ... after sailing past many countries they came to Umbria ... and called themselves ... Tyrrhenians.

Connections to the Teresh of the Merneptah Stele, which also mentions shipments of grain to the Hittite Empire to relieve famine, are logically unavoidable. Many have made them, generally proposing a coalition of seagoing migrants from Anatolia and the islands seeking relief from scarcity. Tablet RS 18.38 from Ugarit also mentions grain to the Hittites, suggesting a long period of famine, connected further, in the full theory, to drought.[53] Barry Weiss,[54] using the Palmer Drought Index for 35 Greek, Turkish, and Middle Eastern weather stations, showed that a drought of the kinds that persisted from January 1972 would have affected all of the sites associated with the Late Bronze Age collapse. Drought could have easily precipitated or hastened socio-economic problems and led to wars. More recently, Brian Fagan has shown how mid-winter storms from the Atlantic were diverted to travel north of the Pyrenees and the Alps, bringing wetter conditions to Central Europe, but drought to the Eastern Mediterranean.[55]
[The theories of Jurgen Spanuth involving catastrophic changes in climate at this time are also interesting. Famines are also likely to be associated with warfare and invasions from outside territories.-DD]

See also: Tyrrhenians and Phoenicians
Invader hypothesis
The term invasion is used generally in the literature concerning the period to mean the documented attacks implying a local or unspecified origin. 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."[56]

Such a comprehensive movement is associated with more than one people or culture; instead, a "disturbance" happens, according to Finley:[57]

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."[57]

The following movements are compressed by Finley into the 1200 BC window: the Dorian Invasion, the attacks of the Sea Peoples, the formation of Philistine kingdoms in the Levant and the fall of the Hittite Empire, when in fact, those events required at least a few hundred years. [The Sea peoples could also easily have been active for a few hundred years in all. Gypsies have remained intact as an ethnic group on the move for far longer-DD]

The archaeological evidence is treated in the same way. Robert Drews[58] 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 questions of dates and agents of destruction remain for the most part unanswered in detail, without which no single catastrophe or related catastrophes can be postulated beyond the level of pure speculation.

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 (whomever they were) moved in over the ruins with plain pottery and simple goods. This demonstrates a cultural discontinuity.

Whether all the discontinuities were sufficiently contemporaneous to warrant a theory of great waves of invasion another question. Ethnic identities from the Danube and beyond are in short supply in the records.

Serbonian Bog
The name of the Serbonian Bog (Arabic: مستنقع سربون‎) applied to the lake of Serbonis (Sirbonis or Serbon) in Egypt relates to the Sea Peoples. When sand blew onto it, the Serbonian Bog appeared to be solid land, but was in fact a bog[quicksand]. The term is now applied metaphorically to any situation in which one is entangled from which extrication is difficult.

The Serbonian Bog has been identified as Sabkhat al Bardawil, one of the string of "Bitter Lakes" to the east of the Nile's right branch. It was described in ancient times as a quagmire, in which armies were fabled to be swallowed up and lost.

The term Serbonian came from the name of the Sherden (also known as Serden or Shardana) sea pirates, one of several groups of Sea Peoples who appear in fragmentary Egyptian records in the 2nd millennium BC.[citation needed]

Notes1.^ A convenient table of sea peoples in hieroglyphics, transliteration and English is given in the dissertation of Woodhuizen, 2006, who developed it from works of Kitchen cited there
2.^ As noted by Gardiner V.1 p.196, other texts have

ḫ3sty.w "foreign-peoples"; both terms can refer to the concept of "foreigners" as well. Zangger in the external link below expresses a commonly held view that "sea peoples" does not translate this and other expressions but is an academic innovation. The Woudhuizen dissertation and the Morris paper identify Gaston Maspero as the first to use the term "peuples de la mer" in 1881.
3.^ Gardiner V.1 p.196.
4.^ Manassa p.55.
5.^ Line 52. The inscription is shown in Manassa p.55 plate 12.
6.^ Several articles in Oren.
7.^ Page 53
8.^ Anson F. Rainey, Unruly Elements in Late Bronze Canaanite Society, in "Pomegranates and golden bells" ed. David Pearson Wright, David Noel Freedman, Avi Hurvitz, (Eisenbrauns, 1995) p.483
9.^ See also the Woudhuizen dissertation of 2006 for a fuller consideration of the meaning of ethnicity.
10.^ T.R. Bryce, The Lukka Problem - And a Possible Solution, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 33 No. 4, October 1974, pages 395-404. The first page is displayable at The inscription is mentioned as well in the Woudhuizen dissertation, page 31.
11.^ Letter EA 81
12.^ Letters EA 122, 123, which are duplicates. See the paper on this topic published by Megaera Lorenz, The Amarna Letters at the Penn State site.
13.^ EA 151
14.^ EA 38
15.^ Uncertainty of the dates is not a case of no evidence but of selecting among several possible dates. The articles in Wikipedia on related topics use one set of dates by convention but these and all dates based on them are not the only possible. A summary of the date question is given in Hasel, Ch. 2, p. 151, which is available as a summary on Google Books.
16.^ Find this and other documents quoted in the Shardana article by Megaera Lorenz at the Penn State site. This is an earlier version of her article, which gives a quote from Kitchen not found in the External Links site below. Breasted Volume III, Article 491, p.210, which can be found on Google books, gives quite a different translation of the passage. Unfortunately, large parts of the text are missing and must be restored, but both versions agree on the Sherden and the warships.
17.^ Kenneth Kitchen, Pharaoh Triumphant: The Life and Times of Ramesses II, King of Egypt, Aris & Phillips, 1982. pp.40-41
18.^ Grimal, pp.250-253
19.^ The poem appears in inscriptional form but the scribe, pntAwr.t, was not the author, who remains unknown. The scribe copied the poem onto Papyrus in the time of Merneptah and copies of that found their way into Papyrus Sallier III currently located in the British Museum. The details are stated in THE BATTLE OF KADESH on the site of the American Research Center in Egypt of Northern California. Both the inscription and the poem are published in "Egyptian Accounts of the Battle of Kadesh" on the Pharaonic Egypt site.
20.^ J. von Beckerath, p.190. Like those of Ramses II, these dates are not certain. Von Beckerath's dates, adopted by Wikipedia, are relatively late; for example, Sanders, Ch. 5, p. 105, sets the Battle of Perire at April 15, 1220.
21.^ The Great Karnak Inscription.
22.^ All four inscriptions are stated in Breasted, V. 3, "Reign of Meneptah", pp. 238 ff., Articles 569 ff., downloadable from Google Books. For the Great Karnak Inscription see also Manassa.
23.^ J.H. Breasted, p. 243, citing Lines 13-15 of the inscription
24.^ The texts of the letters are transliterated and translated in the Woudhuizen dissertation and also are mentioned and hypotheses are given about them in Sandars, p. 142 following.
25.^ The sequence, only recently completed, appears in the Woudhuizen dissertation along with the news that the famous oven, still reported at many sites and in many books, in which the second letter was hypothetically being baked at the destruction of the city, was not an oven, the city was not destroyed at that time, and a third letter existed.
26.^ Jean Nougaryol et al. (1968) Ugaritica V: 87-90 no.24
27.^ RSL I = Nougayril et al., (1968) 86-86, no.23
28.^ Medinet Habu inscription of Ramesses III's 8th year, lines 16-17, trans. by John A. Wilson in Pritchard, J.B. (ed.) Ancient Near Eastern Texts relating to the Old Testament, 3rd edition, Princeton 1969., p.262
29.^ Beckman cites the first few lines of the inscription located on the NW panel of the 1st court of the temple. This extensive inscription is stated in full in English in the Woudhuizen thesis, which also contains a diagram of the locations of the many inscriptions pertaining to the reign of Ramses III on the walls of temple at Medinet Habu.
30.^ a b Bryce, p.371
31.^ The Woudhuizen dissertation quotes the inscriptions in English.
32.^ This passage in the papyrus is often cited as evidence that the Egyptians settled the Philistines in Philistia. The passage however only mentions the Sherden and Weshesh; i.e., does not mention the Peleset and Tjeker, and nowhere implies that the scribe meant Egyptian possessions in the Levant.
33.^ Redford, P. 292. A number of copies or partial copies exist, the best being the Golenischeff Papyrus, or Papyrus Moscow 169, located in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow (refer to Onomasticon of Amenemipet at the Archaeowiki site). In it the author is stated to be Amenemope, son of Amenemope.
34.^ Kitchen, pp. 99 & 140
35.^ Kitchen, pp.99-100
36.^ Reford p. 292
37.^ Ch. 8, subsection entitled "The Initial Settlement of the Sea Peoples."
38.^ Ch. 7
39.^ See under Tjeker.
40.^ Amos 9,7; argument reviewed by Sandars in Ch. 7.
41.^ One is cited under Caphtor.
43.^ a b Ch. 7, "The Peoples of the Sea."
44.^ Odyssey XIV 191-298.
45.^ Sandars Ch. 5.
46.^ Wood Ch. 6.
47.^ Eberhard Zangger in the Aramco article available on-line and referenced under External links below.
48.^ Chadwick, p. 178.
49.^ See "Mycenaean Society and Its Collapse", a module of Exploring the European Past by Jack Martin Balcer and John Matthew Stockhausen at They quote passages from the books of several experts to give a spectrum of views.
50.^ The History of the Peloponnesian War, Chapter I, Section 5.
51.^ Vermeule p. 271.
52.^ I.94
53.^ Wood p. 221 summarizes that a general climatological crisis in the Black Sea and Danubian regions as known through pollen analysis and dendrochronology existed about the year 1200 BC and could have caused migration from the north.
54.^ Weiss, Barry: (1982) "The decline of Late Bronze Age civilization as a possible response to climatic change" in Climatic Change ISSN 0165-0009 (Paper) 1573-1480 (Online), Volume 4, Number 2, June 1982, pps 173 - 198
55.^ Fagan, Brian M. (2003), "The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization (Basic Books)
56.^ Grant, The Ancient Mediterranean, page 79.
57.^ a b Finley, page 58.
58.^ Pages 8-9.
[edit] SourcesBeckerath, Jürgen von (1997). Chronologie des Pharaonischen Ägypten. Mainz. Mainz.
Beckman, Gary, "Hittite Chronology", Akkadica, 119/120 (2000).
Breasted, J.H. (1906). Ancient Records of Egypt: historical documents from the earliest times to the Persian conquest. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Volume II on the 19th Dynasty is available for download from Google Books.
Bryce, Trevor (1998). The Kingdom of the Hittites. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199240104.
Chadwick, John (1976). The Mycenaean World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0 521 21077 1.
Dothan, Trude & Moshe (1992). People of the Sea: The search for the Philistines. New York: Scribner.
Dothan, Trude K. (1982). The Philistines and Their Material Culture. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society.
Robert Drews (1995). The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe of ca. 1200 B.C.. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691048118. Parts of this book are displayed as a Google Books review.
Finley, M.I. (1981). Early Greece:The Bronze and Archaic Ages:New and Revised Edition. New York, London: W.W. Norton & Co.. ISBN 0-393-01569-6.
Gardiner, Alan H. (1947). Ancient Egyptian Onomastica. London: Oxford University Press. 3 vols.
Grant, Michael (1969). The Ancient Mediterranean. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
Grimal, Nicolas (1992). A History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Blackwell.
Hasel, Michael G. (1998). Domination and Resistance: Egyptian Military Activity in the Southern Levant, ca. 1300-1185 B.C.. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 9004100415.
Kitchen, K.A. (2003). On the Reliability of the Old Testament. William B. Eerdsman Publishing Co.
Manassa, Colleen (2003). The Great Karnak Inscription of Merneptah: Grand Strategy in the Thirteenth Century BC. New Haven: Yale Egyptological Seminar, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Yale University. ISBN 0-9740025-0-X.
Mazar, Amihai (1992). Archaeology of the Land of the Bible: 10,000-586 B.C.E.. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-42590-2.
Oren, Eliezer D. (ed.) (2000). The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment. Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Redford, Donald B. (1992). Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-03606-3.
Sandars, N.K. (1987). The Sea Peoples: Warriors of the ancient Mediterranean, Revised Edition. London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27387-1.
Vermeule, Emily (1964). Greece in the Bronze Age. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
Wood, Michael (1987). In Search of the Trojan War. New American Library. ISBN 0-452-25960-6.
Woudhuizen, Frederik Christiaan (1992). The Language of the Sea Peoples. Amsterdam: Najade Press. ISBN 90-73835-02-X.
Woudhuizen, Frederik Christiaan. April 2006. The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples. Doctoral dissertation; Rotterdam: Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Faculteit der Wijsbegeerte.
Zangger, Eberhard (2001). The Future of the Past: Archaeology in the 21st Century. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-64389-4.

External links
Philistine Kin Found in Early Israel, Adam Zertal, BAR 28:03, May/Jun 2002.
The Sea Peoples and the Philistines: a course at Penn State
Egyptians, Canaanites, and Philistines in the Period of the Emergence of Early Israel, paper by Itamar Singer at the UCLA Near Eastern Languages & Culture site
"Who Were the Sea People?", article by Eberhard Zangger in Saudi Aramco World, Volume 46, Number 3, May/June 1995
PlosOne dating the Sea People destruction of the Levant to 1192-90 BC
The Origins of the Sea Peoples, undergraduate paper by Joseph Morris published by Florida State University Classic Department
The Sea Peoples and Annales: A Contextual Study of the Late Bronze Age, Master's Thesis of Daniel Jacobus Krüger, published at the University of South Africa site
"The Battle of the Nile - Circa 1190 B.C.", article by I Cornelius in Military History Journal, Vol. 7., No. 4 of the South African Military History Society

Invasion routes by The Sea Peoples in late Mykenian Times. Note that the Sea Peoples overran the Mykenians before moving on, and that settlements were made as land conquests in both Greece and Asia Minor as part of the progression.

Some depictions of the Sea Peoples and their ships and gear, from Egyptian records. Below, Some portraits of the Sea Peoples.

There is a tradition of making bronze statuettes of what I call Skinny soldiers" in Prehistoric Sardinia, and many experts call them Nuraghic figures. But they derive from even older sources in Iberia (Rock art of marching soldiers from between 7000 and 4000 BC, and a "Handsome young man" Skinny-soldier from Iberia follow):

The same types of equipment as shown on the small stauettes are also carved onto larger Megaliths turned into statues on Sardinia. More importantly, they are exactly like the Sea Peoples known as Sherdana as depicted in Ancient Egypt


Horned Helmets did NOT go with Vikings, by the way: it was the Sea People-Pirates that wore them instead. Incidentally the same sorts of bronze figurines were also made in Scandinavia, where their trade partners seeking amber had introduced the style.

The Nuraghic culture itself is named after compact drystone structures known as Nuragha, which range from circular enclosures to cylindrical towers like Scotland's brochs to elaborate castle-like fortifications with multiple walls around a central keep or area of final redoubt. These are very similar to the corresponding structures in Iberia known as Castros and which go back to the Los Millares culture at the beginning of the metal age and the beginning of the Megalithic. Moreover, the same sort of "Skinny Soldier" bronze figures also occur in Iberia where they have said to go back to the local Rock-art tradition, to which the figurines are generally comparable.

While several experts have recognised the Dark Age which came after the fall of Mycenae, few have remarked on the Geometric art tradition which spread and became dominant during that Dark Age. It is found primarily in Greece but also in Italy including the Etruscan lands, and Asia Minor and Palestine; and later it became general throughout the Mediterranean. But it is derived from Iberian Megalithic and North-African traditions, where the abstract and geometric mode was always more important than strict Naturalism. And there is a widespread diffusion of bronze figurines much like the Nuraghic ones, including into Phillistia/Palestine/Phoenician lands. The tradition still goes back to the Iberian rock art, and this can be told from the animals like horses and deer as well as the human figures. The Geometric is what you would call a syncretic culture taking from different sources and melding together into something new that works for both of the older traditions.

Similar bronze statuetts and geometric decorations-and the same stule for depicting horses, deer, birds and longboats-appeared in Italy and Central Europe at this time. The style also made its new appearanc in Greece under the term of Geometric art, and it included such traits as running waves and swastikas that were popular in bronze age Megalithic Europe long before they became popular in Greece.

Etruscan horse, and early Greek depiction of a man with a Centaur. The "Heavy-Leg" effect is also a trait featured in some other Iberian rock-art and it is thought to have some similarity to rock art found in the Sahara and other parts of Africa.

The geometric forms associated with such decoration on European Megalithic and African pottery goes back to earlier geometric incisions made on ostrich eggshells in Africa. Since they have the same pattern as flash inside the eyes when going innto or out of unconsciousness, they are thought to describe what is happening in a trance state and quite possibly during the ritual taking of certain drugs. When such patterns appear on Mayan monuments they are called "Graecas" because the patterns reminded somebody of Greek Geometric pottery. In the case of the Mayan decorations as well, it is likely that they are again trying to make reference to the trance state, possibly even inducing it by using it as a hypnotic pattern.

Oceanus and Phorcys with Ceto below.

There was a book in the library that I was very fond of as a teen-ager and I have not seen a copy of it in ages. Its name was Gods With Bronze Swords by Cosa deLoverdo and it was basically a straightforeward retelling of Greek hero stories as virtual history of the Mykenian period. The author basically maintained that the mythical language was a sort of a code: when Hercules wrestled the Nemean Lion, he was actually fighting a brigand whose emblem was a lion and when Hercules defeated him, he had the right to bear his armour and become the "New Lion". Among other facets of the theory was the continuing reference to the Monsters of mythology as the Phorcyds, the children of Phorcys and Ceto (or porpoise and whale, or seal and whale-it is not sure what was originally meant at this point) They could also be called the Oceanids because they were the children of Oceanus. De Loverdo said that this family of monsters represented a powerful rival culture to the Greeks in ancient times, remnants of a wide-flung former Atlantean Empire that still shared common symbols and probably a common language. The Monstrous children of Phorcys and Ceto were Pirates but where they had their home establishments they were not thought of as so monstrous-ordinarily they were pretty Nymphs like the Hesperidaes or even the Gorgons (Medusa was supposed to have been beautiful and later transformed to be ugly) So the various myths of Perseus and Hercules and Bellerophon were all accounts of raids these heroes had made against the Phorcyds, carrying off trasure and Insignis. De Loverdo also suspected that Pegasus was an especially fine Phorcyd ship owned by the Gorgon faction, and so on down the line.

The common symbols of the Phorcyds do seem fairly obvious, a round sunface mask and probably masks made by winding snakelike vines into frames around the face (a "Green Man" siort of effect), Volcano-symbols, prominent symbolism odf such creatures as snakes and octopi or giant squids; and belief in the Evil Eyes and the use of a variety of specific charms to avert its evil influence. Most of these traits can be identified as belonging to Megalithic Europe. The "Harpies" were evidently originally birds that carried the souls of the dead to the otherworld but also their physical manifestation-vultures who had the more practical task of eating away the perishable remainsso that the bones might be more satisfactoily dealt with. And if they did not have regular totems, their warrirs had distinctive animal emblems that they were very much attached to and identified with on a personal level-lion and bull, goat and crab, scorpion and even gadfly. and all of these characters appear in mythology.

And my contention is that the Phorcyds clearly refer to the Peoples of the Sea-more especially certain individuals and/or settlements of them. The time scale would be just about right. Their "Nymphs" might well mean that their main religious functionaries and oracles were ordinarily female.

This illustration shows Echidna, daughter of Ceto and a "Sea-Serpent" herself, mother of the Hydra, Cerberus, the Chimera (shown below) and the two-headed giant Cacus. All of these are creatures which Herculrs fought and all of these would be references to individual Phorcyd warriors according to the book Gods With Bronze Swords. And individual warriors of the Sea People by my interpretation.

Painting shows the Hesperidea nymphs,, Phorcyd women associated with the "Islands in the West" and hence traditions about Atlantis.

Atlantipedia Entry for The Sea Peoples

Sea Peoples
The Sea Peoples is the name given to an unidentified group of allies who invaded Egypt in the 2nd millennium BC. Their exact origin has been a matter of intense speculation. The debate regarding their true identity has been ongoing for a long time and will probably continue as long as the chronologies of the Middle East are not fully harmonised to the satisfaction of all.

The Oxford Companion to the Bible[605] is certain that the Sea Peoples were originally Mycenaean, who, following the collapse of their civilisation at the end of the Late Bronze Age moved south. They were repelled by the Egyptians and then moved on to the Levant where they later became known as the Philistines.
[This is somewhat of the conventional idea. Unfortunately we also find that the Sea Peoples fought with the Mykenians prior to their collapse and that while SOME Sea Peoples evidently settled in Palestine, that information is not enough to specifically equate them as Philistines.Phillistines are important in Biblical records owing to their monopoly in iron use and that can only have come from the Hittites in this early age.--DD]

Jürgen Spanuth, not surprisingly, referred to them as the North Sea Peoples[015] and offered a range of evidence from Egyptian inscriptions at Medinet Habu to support this idea. This evidence includes a variety of features that Egyptians used to portray the Sea Peoples such as types of swords, shape of ships, shields and helmets as well as hair, clothing and shaving fashions. He then identified these Scandinavians as Atlanteans who later attacked Egypt. Quite recently Spanuth’s ideas have been echoed by Walter Baucum in his Bronze Age Atlantis[183].

Quite a number of writers have identified the Atlanteans as the Sea Peoples whose invasion of the Eastern Mediterranean has been recorded in some detail by the Egyptians. One such early identification was by Spyridon Marinatos.
One of the latest to join this school is Dr. Rainer W. Kühne, who not only makes the same identification, but using satellite images, he believes that he has pinpointed the capital of Atlantis in Southern Spain. His website has a list of comparisons of Atlanteans and Sea Peoples(a).

[IMHO these statements are all basically correct and they are additive. The Sea Peoples did include a contingent from Tartessos which in turn had control of Atlantic Bronze Age Trade to the North, the importance of which cannot be underestimated. Spanuth's North Sea inhabitants, The Tartessians and the Sardinians would all be united by politicalalliances, economical ties and probably genetics since all of them were Megalithic cultures. It is fair to call the Megalith-buildres the descendants and Heirs to the Atlanteans.--DD]
Erick Wright, a regular contributor to Atlantis Rising forums, has now concluded(b) that Atlantis was located in modern southern Turkey and that Atlanteans were among the Sea Peoples who attacked Egypt in 1200 BC. [Modern Southern Turkey undoubtedly included a colony of Atlanteans in the past, as well as Cyprus. That does not necessarily equate Turkey to Atlantis when Atlantis is specifically separate from Asia Minor, Greece OR Libya according to Plato since they are both compared and contrasted in the dialogues.-DD]

The Tuatha de Danaan invaded Ireland in prehistoric times. Having noted that Dan/Don/Danu were ancient words for water, it is not such a wild supposition that the Tuatha de Danaan were at least a constituent part of the Sea Peoples, an idea promoted by Leonardo Melis. [Some of the Sea Peoples are specifically CALLED Danaans. This links them to the older Pelasgians BTW]

David Rohl, a high profile archaeologist, has proposed[232] an Anatolian homeland for most of the Sea Peoples listed by the Egyptians. [This goes against many traditional identifications which seem to specify Etruscans and Tartessians as well as the Sardinians mentioned below-DD]

Frank Joseph contends that conflict between the Egyptians and the Sea Peoples was part of the Trojan War[108 p11]. [This theory and the preceeding one are both almost certainly wrong on account of the deliberate distinction Plato made between Atlantis and Asia Minor-DD]

Another unexpected twist is the claim, by the discoverer of the Phaistos Disk, Luigi Pernier, that the characters used on the Disk are similar to the representations of the Sea Peoples at Medinet Habu. [the feathered headdress is illustrated-DD]

The most radical suggestion regarding the Sea Peoples has come from Jim Allen who has drawn attention to the similarity of their headgear with that of Amazonian ‘Indians’(c). [This is not really so radical. The similarity of the feathered headdress to a "Red Indian's war bonnet" has been noted in many of the commonly-available books since the late 1800s. see photos at top of this blog page--DD]




Also see: Shardana

Atlantipedia entry for Shardana
The Shardana is usually accepted as another name for one of the groups that comprised the maritime alliance of Sea Peoples. Since a number of writers have linked the Sea Peoples with the Atlanteans, the Shardana may be legitimately included in any comprehensive search for the truth of the Atlantis story.

The Shardana do appear to have a more complicated history than we are initially led to believe. They are first mentioned in the Amarna Letters (14th century BC.) where they are depicted as part of an Egyptian garrison, after that, some of them were part of the personal guard of Rameses II, later still they are listed as part of the Sea Peoples. A subsequent reference describes them occupying part of Phoenicia.

They are generally identified with the ancient Sardinians, who were the builders of the Nuraghi. Leonardo Melis, a Sardinian, has written extensively[478] on the subject. Links have also been proposed between the Shardana and the lost tribe of Dan and even the Tuatha De Danann who invaded Ireland.

Obviously further research is required to try to establish with greater certainty the exact origins of the Shardana and their links, if any, with Sardinia and/or Atlantis.
[Actualluy the comparison of the Sherdana with the Nuraghic figures looks pretty conclusive to me. Best Wishes, Dale D.]