A far flung people

James Thomas
Aug 5, 2011 · 6 min read

In figure.17. A collection of casts taken from Sea Peoples clearly shows the marked difference in appearance from all other races depicted at Medinet-Habu. What is telling is that throughout all depictions in Egyptian art not one Sea Peoples warrior as depicted in the Land and sea Battles is shown bearded.

Figure.17.Heads of Sea Peoples Warriors from Medinet Habu.

What is most intriguing in figure.18. is this representation of a man’s head carved from a stag’s horn and using the natural exfoliation of the horn to represent the ‘feathered’ headdress, what is more intruding and bound to raise some serious questions is that this carved figure head, In the British Museum of all places, has to my knowledge never been mentioned in any recent text or research regarding the Sea Peoples, The place in where it was found should have alarm bells ringing because it was discovered in — Crete!

Although Bearded it clearly shows a striking resemblance to the Enkomi warrior (figure.21.,22 and figure.23.) and may once again show the true face of a Sea Peoples warrior, I hasten to add though that this dose not rule out the possibility of regional variations on a theme just because a single piece was discovered in Crete it does not mean that it solely represents an entire collective peoples.

Figure.18. Stag’s-Horn Head of a bearded man in feather headdress.

The curious caricature doll shown in figure.19. And found in Malta could, if accurately tested could give a definitive answer to the material origin, although I am not aware as to the material composition, whether it is of Ivory, bone or some hard wood, as strange as the artefact is it may show Sea Peoples penetration as far as Malta & Gozo and even further, that the artefact is stated as being Philistine thus representing a Minoan warrior would make a strong argument for the Minoan Thalassocracy’s penetration into the Western Mediterranean and beyond as serious and plausible possibility.

It is the Minoan trade network with Egypt that has been established archaeologically as strong between the two civilizations, with the discovery of a strong Minoan Trade activity at Tell El-Dab’a in the Eastern Nile Delta where during the 1990s excavation by an Austrian Archaeological team concentrated on an area on the western edge of the site known as Ezbet Helmi where a large Palace-like structure dating to the Hyksos period was found.

The ancient gardens revealed many fragments of Minoan wall-paintings similar in style to those found at Knossos in Crete. It has even been suggested that these paintings with a distinctive red-painted background may even pre-date those of Crete and Thera and possibly have influenced some of the Egyptian 18th Dynasty tomb-paintings which appear to include Minoan themes such as the ‘flying gallop’ motif of horses and bulls.

This discovery of Minoan wall Paintings on Egyptian Architecture suggests that even if it is described as an Egyptian artefact it may very well be Minoan craftsmen living on Egyptian soil hands that crafted it.

Interestingly large quantities of pumice-stone were discovered laid down in18thDynasty soil strata with the possible suggestion that they may have come from the Volcanic explosion on the Island of Thera.

Figure.19. Egyptian caricature doll Representing a Philistine, found in Malta.

Figure.20.Sea Peoples Warrior Head gear for comparison with figure.19 and figure.21.

It is interesting to note that the stag-horn figure head may very well have originally belonged to a doll like caricature like the one in Malta showing the figure in full adornment like the Enkomi warrior.

The warrior in figure.21. clearly shows the style of kilt worn by a typical Sea Peoples warrior with ‘feather’ headdress and what appears to be a sheathed short sword and axe in hand. Although found in Cyprus the analysis of the style of axe held by this warrior might suggest otherwise as it shows, although not obviously at first but on closer inspection a striking similarities with Hittite axes of the period. There seems to be another Enkomi warrior, though less well preserved and fainter that appears in figure.30. To the far bottom left of the Ivory Draught Box brandishing a spear and about to lance what looks like a lion or possibly a leopard.

The question that arises is that does this show a scene typical of a hunting scene in Cyprus as with the Ivory Mirror Handle from Kouklia (figures.24b. & .29.) depicting a warrior killing a lion, since to my recollection Lions and Leopards were not wildlife indigenous to Cyprus unless they were exported from Asia Minor or the Levant to serve as sport fort the Royal Elite much the same way a thousand years later we find with the Romans and their brutal behaviour towards animals in the Arena.

Though I stipulate here, quite strongly, that I consider the cultures of the Bronze Age to have hunted such animals much as a coming-of- age event and a privilege of high social standing which completely contrasts from that of the brutal and inhuman treatment meted out to animals who were slaughtered in Roman Arenas for the amusement of the vulgar crowd more than a thousand years later.

One has to remember that the Bronze Age world was a vast and untamed wilderness of yet untouched forests and sprawling woods teeming with a much richer diversity of wildlife than in later classical times. Animals such as Lions, Leopards, wolves, bears, Orox bulls, mountain Agrimi, wild boar but to name a few were far more abundant throughout the Greek peninsula and Asia minor than In later antiquity.

This vast natural beauty and resource with much smaller human settlements sparsely scattered in geographically specific and quite isolated locations was the reality of living in the Bronze Age, where the sea not the land was the unifier.

This was a time when places like Greece and the Aegean and to a greater extent Western Asia Minor and the Aegean coasts presented an almost boundless expanse of wilderness still to be colonised and settled, one factor that attracted Bronze Age Greeks to colonize western Asia Minor was its similarity to the Greek mainland but on a much larger scale.

People are still living in an age where the forces of nature and the landscape combine to present a sense of overpowering awe and dread, where lions, bears and giant wild bulls roamed the plains and mountains at will, creatures which are presented with recurring dominance in Mycenaean mythology.

Figure.21.A detailed Illustration of the Enkomi Warrior Head Gear — close-up, Cyprus.

Figure.22.The Enkomi Warrior shown in context from a hunting scene.

Figure.23.Close-up of Enkomi warrior Armoured Archer and Charioteer.


A study of the Bronze Age by James Thomas

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