The People Of The Sea were running around the Mediterranean and Europe (and almost into Egypt) during one of the periodic Dark Ages when it gets ‘a bit of cold’ in Europe and droughty in the Levant. We don’t know very much about them at all. Mostly that they overwhelmed various (weakened?) civilizations and were a motley crew with mixed equipment.
The mixed equipment types has been argued to mean they were a confederation of states, or that they were just piking up stragglers / recruits from nations they overwhelmed, or that they were simply picking up the swords, shields, and armor of defeated enemies (since in many cases those folks had good gear, just not enough people).
I’m going to ‘leap to a few conclusions’ and based on not nearly enough evidence. There will be loads of speculation, and not much in the way of facts. This is pretty much how it must be since there are few facts to use in the first place.
What Is Known
The Wiki isn’t too bad:
I note in passing that since a book / movie series about Native Americans has come out named “People Of The Sea”, the wiki now names the historical ones “Sea Peoples”, though notes the (correct IMHO) prior name in the text:
The Sea Peoples, or Peoples of the Sea were a wave of seafaring raiders and settlers thought to have originated from either western Anatolia or southern Europe, specifically a region of the Aegean Sea, who sailed around the eastern Mediterranean and invaded Anatolia, Syria, Canaan, Cyprus, and Egypt toward the end of the Bronze Age
And further down in the history of the term:
he term “Sea Peoples” was first used by Emmanuel de Rougé in 1855, then curator of the Louvre, who noted that “in the crests of the conquered peoples, the Sherden and the Teresh bear the designation of the “peuples de la mer”.
“of the sea” in the Great Karnak Inscription, referring to the Eqwesh, Shekelesh, and Sherden (n3 ḫ3s.wt n p3 ym) in hieroglyphs
The original looks to be “people of the sea” in both the French and the Coptic. It is my opinion that the use of the phrase “of the sea” is important. We will come back to that later.
Has a shorter and easier to follow write up, but less information in it. Also using “Sea Peoples”, which I think hides something important…
Question: Who Were the Sea People?
Answer: The situation regarding the identification of the Sea Peoples is more complicated than you might realize. The major problem is that we only have sketchy written records of their attacks on the established cultures of Egypt and the Near East, and these give only a vague idea of where they came from. Also, as the name suggests, they were a group of distinct peoples of diverse origins, not a single culture. Archaeologists have put some pieces of the puzzle together, but there are still some big gaps in our knowledge of them which will never be filled.
They are more willing to admit that it is entirely unclear who these folks were. There are a few Egyptian carvings with various names of peoples on them, but the Egyptians were rather fond of overstating things, and a ‘great victory’ against the Hittites was actually more of a stalemate and truce in other records… so listing all sorts of folks the Pharaoh didn’t like does not mean those countries really were involved. It might only have been a few folks from that tribe.
So what is generally believed is that they came from Southern Europe and Anatolia, and it was during the late Bronze Age. Beyond that we mostly only know a few names that the Egyptians put on some steleae. Not exactly a good accounting. But it can get worse. Some of the folks listed are also rather opaque as to who they were and where they came from.
The Sea Peoples, or Peoples of the Sea were a wave of seafaring raiders and settlers thought to have originated from either western Anatolia or southern Europe, specifically a region of the Aegean Sea, who sailed around the eastern Mediterranean and invaded Anatolia, Syria, Canaan, Cyprus, and Egypt toward the end of the Bronze Age. The term is used by modern scholars to refer to nine groups of people, although in the historical inscriptions the designation “of the sea” (Egyptian: n3 ḫ3s.wt n p3 ym) appears only in relation to three (the Sherden, Shekelesh, and Eqwesh). The identity of the Sea Peoples has remained enigmatic and modern scholars have only the scattered records of ancient civilizations and archaeological analysis to inform them.
The term “peuples de la mer” was first used in 1855 by French Egyptologist Emmanuel de Rougé, in a translation of reliefs at Medinet Habu documenting year 8 of Ramesses III.
The nine groups identified as Sea Peoples by modern scholars are, in alphabetical order: the Denyen, identified by some with the Greek Danaoi and by others with the Israelite tribe of Dan; the Ekwesh, possibly a group of Bronze Age Greeks (Achaeans); Lukka, an Anatolian people of the Aegean who may have given their name to the region of Lycia and the Lycian language; the Peleset, whose name is generally believed to refer to the Philistines; the Shekelesh, identified possibly with the Italic people called Siculi (from Sicily); the Sherden, possibly Sardinians or people of Sardis; the Teresh, i.e. the Tyrrhenians, possibly ancestors of the Etruscans; the Tjeker, also known as the Sikil and possibly Greek Teucrians; and the Weshesh.
Evidence for migrations of whole peoples are not found on any of the contemporary inscriptions, but versions of a “migration hypothesis” represent the widely held interpretation among scholars of the ancient Near East. Most scholars believe that they invaded Cyprus, Hatti and the Levant.
In other words, they don’t know and they are speculating about sources and destinations from darned near all of the Mediterranean and Anatolia (as far as the Hittites up north and the Levant south of it). Think about that for a minute. Southern Europe ( Spain, France, islands like Sardinia, Sicily, and Malta, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Romania / Bulgaria region, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Arabia & neighbors, and perhaps even into Iran/Persia ). That would be a hard turf to cover even today.
So I could wander through all those “peoples” and try to work out who they really were, and what the really did, but I think that isn’t so useful. Take the Danoi / Denyen… First off, we don’t know if that is one people, or two. For the Denyen, their wiki is very unhelpful:
The Denyen are one of the groups constituting the Sea Peoples.
[table of contents skipped…]
They are mentioned in the Amarna letters from the 14th century BC as possibly being related to the “Land of the Danuna” near Ugarit.
The Egyptians described them as Sea Peoples.
That’s all it has for introduction and origin. The rest of the wiki shows quasi speculative links to other cultures and other peoples talking about someone who might, or might not, be the same people or a related group. Here’s the entirety of the rest of the wiki:
The Denyen have been identified with the people of Adana, in Cilicia who existed in late Hittite Empire times. They are also believed to have settled in Cyprus. A Hittite report speaks of a Muksus, who also appears in an eighth-century bilingual inscription from Karatepe in Cilicia. The kings of Adana are traced from the “house of Mopsos,” given in hieroglyphic Luwian as Moxos and in Phoenician as Mopsos, in the form mps. They were called the Dananiyim. The area also reports a Mopsukrene (Mopsus’ fountain in Greek) and a Mopsuhestia (Mopsus’ hearth in Greek), also in Cilicia.
Egyptian raids and settlement
They were raiders associated with the Eastern Mediterranean Dark Ages who attacked Egypt in 1207 BC in alliance with the Libyans and other Sea Peoples, as well as during the reign of Rameses III. The 20th Egyptian Dynasty allowed them to settle in Canaan, which was largely controlled by the Sea Peoples into the 11th century BC. Mercenaries from the Peleset manned the Egyptian garrison at Beth-shan, and the Denyen shared the same fashion as them which some archeology suggests signifies a shared cemetery there.
These areas also show evidence of close ties with the Aegean as a result of the Late Helladic IIIC 1b pottery found in these areas. Some scholars argue for a connection with the Greek Danaoi (Δαναοί)—alternate names for the Achaeans familiar from Homer. Greek myth refers to Danaos who with his daughters came from Egypt and settled in Argos. Through Danaë’s son, Perseus, the Danaans are said to have built Mycenae.
Tribe of Dan
Main article: Tribe of Dan
There are suggestions that the Denyen joined with Hebrews to form one of the original 12 tribes of Israel. No strong evidence support this view, however.
A minority view first suggested by Yigael Yadin attempted to connect the Denyen with the Tribe of Dan, described as remaining on their ships in the early Song of Deborah, contrary to the mainstream view of Israelite history. It was speculated that the Denyen had been taken to Egypt, and subsequently settled between the Caphtorite Philistines and the Tjekker, along the Mediterranean coast with the Tribe of Dan subsequently deriving from them.
The most famous Danite was Samson, whom some suggest is derived from Denyen tribal legends.
Essentially just saying some folks named “Dan—” wandered around near the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean about then and liked ships. And might maybe could be related to some other “Dan—” or be the same as them, and they are biblical stories and legends… OK…
Sidebar: There are some folks who assert that the Tribe of Dan eventually ended up in Ireland as the Irish. There’s a large bit of speculation about Welsh and Irish origins in lost tribes of Israel, along with parallels of ancient Gods being like Baal and a story of a flood and Noahe or some such. I could spend a week just on that… but won’t. Just realize there is a speculated connection of Dan— with folks moving from The Levant to West Europe. Here, just realize they are speculated as part of the Sea People too.
The other peoples in the group are not particular well attested either. Some are well know historically, but poorly characterized. Others modestly well characterized, but poorly known in actual history. In short, it’s a mess.
But some of them have details that hint at a direction.
The Sherden (Egyptian šrdn, š3rd3n3 or š3rdyn3, Ugaritic šrdnn(m) and trtn(m), possibly Akkadian še–er–ta–an–nu; also glossed “Shardana” or “Sherdanu”) are one of several groups of “Sea Peoples” who appear in fragmentary historical and iconographic records (Egyptian and Ugaritic) from the Eastern Mediterranean in the late second millennium BCE. On reliefs they are shown carrying a round shield and spear, dirk, or sword, perhaps of Naue II type. In some cases they are shown wearing corselets and kilts, but their key distinguishing feature is a horned helmet which, in all cases but three, features a circular accouterment at the crest. At Medinet Habu the corselet appears similar to that worn by the Philistines. The Sherden sword, it has been suggested by archaeologists since James Henry Breasted, may have developed from an enlargement of European daggers, and been associated with the exploitation of Bohemian tin.
Round shields, short swords, associated with Bohemia (Czech area today), and tin mines. Who were the big metal working folks from that region? Who was there in ancient times making beer? A mixed group of Germanic and Celts. The Vikings used a round shield (as did the Greeks) while in later years the Celts had an oval shield (as did the Romans – but since north Italy was Celts, the Boi, for whom Bohemia is named…) Also note the reference to wearing kilts.
In my opinion, we are getting our first decent clues out of the ‘kit’. Now Celtics, as such, were over most of middle Europe back then; but they were closely associated with Germanic tribes a bit further north for thousands of years. “They’ve met”… and seem to get along pretty well. Especially in “Bohemia” were we find evidence for beer making from ancient times (some of the earliest European history). The Franks were a Germanic tribe while the Gauls were a Celtic tribe. Today they are The French. And in Britain the native Celts and invading Germanics blended to make the present British. Similar history exists in Belgium Spain, and elsewhere. Germanic and Celtic tribes splitting Europe into north and south, and mixing frequently. (Something similar happens in the Eastern European / Asia areas. Celts were in Czech areas before the Slavs showed up, and some are still there playing the pipes. Celts were in Anatolia too. Celt mercenaries were used by some of the Pharaohs of Egypt, so they made it there, too.
In short, when looking at the ancient history of Europe and the Mediterranean, you simply must account for the Celts who were all over the place back then.
But 275 BC is not 1200 BC… During the time of Ramesses II, Egypt had not been overrun by Arabs and turned into a Moslem state. People tend to forget that Egypt has been overrun many times, and the people living there now were not the same as those before. Before the Arabs were the Romans, and before them the Greeks. (Cleopatra was a Greek… the Ptolemaic Pharaohs originated from Greeks.) We also know that the ancient Egyptians were more “colorful”. From the wiki on Ramesses II:
“Microscopic inspection of the roots of Ramesses II’s hair proved that the king’s hair was originally red, which suggests that he came from a family of redheads.”
The early Thracians were also redheads. As were the Edomites from what is today southern Israel / northern Arabia.
Now we know those folks spoke different languages, came from divergent cultures, and had different histories. But we also know that the redhead gene is a specific marker that is mostly found and originating from a particular group of folks originating in Europe (though some, the Tocharians, made it all the way to China, so there’s some redhead Chinese / Mongols out there).
The point here is simply to say that today the redhead gene is seen most strongly in the surviving speakers of Celtic languages. The Irish and British, and to some extent the French (where Breton can still be found spoken, in a dying out kind of way…) We can see, though, that the genetic marker was around much more in ancient Egypt than in the Egypt of today.
So what does this have to do with the People Of The Sea?
It sets a context.
The Celts, as speakers of Celtic languages, have a long history. But at some point in deeper history, they blend with the Italic speakers. Even further back, Italo-Celtic blends in with German. That time line matters a little, as it lets us know when Celts, as Celts, form. But as a genetic group, we see their red hair roots reaching back further in time. (No, you don’t need to be a redhead to be a true Celt. Scots, for example, often have very dark hair. It is just a marker gene that tends to have association with Celts, at least once they start speaking early Celtic languages). This mention of the redhead gene is simply to point out that redheads were more common in 1200 BC in Egypt and related areas. Celtic mercenaries were working the area, and the Pharaoh was a redhead. The odds are that the various other folks of the area, then, were a bit lighter too. (Greece had a several hundred year domination by Muslim Arabs and their friends that darkened their hair a bit too. The Thracians may have run off to the north to make the root from which the Goths – and Germanics, derived; but that’s a different thread. Just remember that Sweden was under ice 12,000 years ago and those blond Germanics came from further south too…)
To reach back to ‘who were The Sea People’, you must also reach back to ‘who were the Greeks, then’ and ‘who were the Italians, then’ and… They were not the same people we think of today, since the mixing of the Roman Empire, Arab invasions, et. al. had not happened. Spain, for example, had a load of Celts in it, along with some Phoenicians, prior to the arrival of the invading Muslim Arabs and Berbers. (Even there, the Goths had eventually ended up as Visigoths in north Africa, so many modern Berbers have red hair or beards… which may matter when thinking of the Barbary Pirates…)
So picture a world with a lighter haired set of folks in Southern Europe, and with redheads from Phoenicia to Thrace, to Greece, to Egypt and Spain. But while we can call them Celts, in many cases, it’s hard to call them Gaelic. That language family was still forming:
Primitive Irish or Archaic Irish (Irish: Gaeilge Ársa) is the oldest known form of the Goidelic languages. It is known only from fragments, mostly personal names, inscribed on stone in the ogham alphabet in Ireland and western Great Britain from around the 4th to the 7th or 8th century.
We’ve got to get about 2000 years further back in history to get to 1200 BC and Ramesses II. We can get back to 800 BC with Iron Age Celts (getting away from Goidelic and into more continental Celtic languages).
The tribes populating the island belonged to a broadly Celtic culture, termed Insular (as opposed to the non-insular Celtic cultures of continental Gaul and Iberia). The Brythonic and Goidelic languages are recognised as forming the Insular Celtic subgroup of the Celtic languages, “Celtic” being a linguistic term without an implication of a lasting cultural unity connecting Gaul with the British Isles throughout the Iron Age
But if we move even further back, unifying the Celtic languages, what’s that time horizon?
The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the reconstructed ancestor language of all the known Celtic languages. Its lexis can be confidently reconstructed on the basis of the comparative method of historical linguistics. Proto-Celtic is a branch of the Western Indo-European languages, with the other branches Italic languages, Germanic languages, Albanian language and the Balto-Slavic group. The exact relationships between these branches are under discussion. The earliest archaeological culture that may justifiably be considered as Proto-Celtic is the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of central Europe from the last quarter of the second millennium BC.
Which puts us right about 1300 BC to 1200 BC…
Now what happens when you go back just one more step?
Other similarities include the fact that certain common words, such as the words for common metals (gold, silver, tin, etc.) are similar in Italic and Celtic yet divergent from other Indo-European languages. A number of other similarities continue to be pointed out and debated.
The r-passive (mediopassive) was initially thought to be an innovation restricted to Italo-Celtic until it was found to be a retained archaism shared with Hittite, Tocharian, and possibly Phrygian.
We find that the Italics (later to merge with the Etruscans and others for make Italy and then a bunch of other folks under the Roman Empire and become Italians of today) along with those Tocharians of Asia and even the Phrygians have a bit of common ancestry with the Celts. Remember that reference up above to The Sea People including some from Anatolia? Well per the wiki on Phrygians:
“In antiquity, Phrygia (/ˈfrɪdʒiə/; Greek: Φρυγία, Ancient Greek: [pʰryɡía], Turkish: Frigya) was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now Turkey, centered on the Sakarya River.”
The point here being that when someone says folks from Anatolia attacked Egypt is is easy to picture a set of Turkish dark hair swarthy folks attacking another set of dark hair Arab folks. The reality is that the Turks had not invaded Anatolia then, and the Arabs had not invaded Egypt then. It was more like “relatives of ancient Celts” attacking “a Redhead Pharaoh and his Celtic mercenaries” in a land mostly speaking Coptic.
The Sea People were commonly called raiders, or pirates, or invaders. Not a given nation or a given country. THE only name they give is “the People of the Sea”. Latch on to that…
Now, that’s all pretty non-speculative. Here comes the leap of speculation.
I’d gotten to wondering just WHY Celtic languages are called Gaelic and not Celtic. What’s the history of that name shift?
The names used in the languages themselves (Gaeilge/Gaolainn/Gaelic in Irish, Gaelg/Gailck in Manx, and Gàidhlig in Scottish Gaelic) are derived from Old Irish Goídelc, which comes from Old Welsh Guoidel meaning “pirate, raider”.
So here we have this group of folks, who call their language the language of pirates. There have a long and rich history of being pirates, with that persisting even into today where Pirate movies are particularly fixating for my little Celts at home…
The West Country accent is probably most identified in American English as “pirate speech” — cartoon-like “Ooh arr, me ‘earties! Sploice the mainbrace!” talk is very similar. This may be a result of the strong seafaring tradition of the West Country, both legal and outlaw. Edward Teach (Blackbeard) was a native of Bristol, and privateer and English hero Francis Drake hailed from Tavistock in Devon.
It’s definitely West Country UK that you’re hearing in the “pirate accent”.
I would say the origins would be more specifically Cornwall, one of the counties of the West Country. Cornwall is a peninsula with a long seafaring and fishing tradition, and some wild weather and rugged coastlines, and it was famous for wreckers, pirates and smugglers.
so even the “pirate accent” of today originates in an area of historic pirate activity and with historical Celtic ancestry… Things cultural can persist for thousands of years, and often through a couple of changes of language. Place names, for example in The U.K., often reflect Celtic or Viking languages. We have Christmas traditions that are reflections of thousands of year old Pagan and Druid beliefs.
Now, when confronted by a Pirate, what do they say is their origin?
They came indeed, as the traditional pirate greeting indicates, “from the sea.”
Here’s the full text:
What do you think about contemporary piracy, especially off the coast of Somalia?
I know very little about it. I don’t think it has much to do with what I’m studying in this book, because for me the central feature of the golden age pirates is their lack of home, their “nomadism,” if you will. All that the golden age pirates really had were their ships. They came indeed, as the traditional pirate greeting indicates, “from the sea.” This distinguishes them from all other famous pirate communities, including the North African corsairs in the 16th century, the pirate syndicates of the South China Sea in the 19th, or contemporary pirates along the Horn of Africa.
So the traditional Celtic derived pirate greeting was not to say “We are from Ireland” or wherever, but to say “We are from the sea”. Rather close to “We are people of the sea”, don’t you think?
And this is not just a recent faux Pirate infatuation. Nor only Celtic.
Explores the ancient Greek attitudes about Pirates and Piracy:
Apart from the Taphians other ancient peoples were also noted for their piracy. Strabo mentions the Achaei, Zygi and Heniochi, people said to be descended from both Jason’s argonauts and the Lochrians. Their home was in the Caucasus region bordering the Black Sea and they lived by piracy. Their boats were slender,narrow and lightweight and held about 25 men. Strabo says that they used these when they attacked merchant shipping or cities and were ‘masters of the sea’.
Masters of the sea. As a descriptive, but still, not Masters of ships or Masters from Taphia…
Pulling it together
So running the time back to 1250 BC or so, we have some proto-Celts and Italo-Celts hanging around with some Thracian proto-Germanics and a few Greek Pirates. Times get tough, and they get to their boats. When challenged as to who they are or from where the come, the traditional answer was “We are of the sea!” or perhaps even “We are masters of the sea” or “We are people from the sea”… Thus, the sea peoples.
As history rolls on, a few empires stomp out much of that culture and people, but a part of them from the far west, out on some islands, has kept on being Pirates and announcing themselves as “From the Sea”… yet their neighbors know and say they speak “Gaelic” – the language of the Pirates. The language of the People Of The Sea”… Much changed by a couple of thousand years. No longer an Italo-Celt root language; but the tradition lives on.
Over time, the Greeks got invaded and darkened by the Arabs. The Iberian Celts too in their Moorish years. Thrace is gone, though they and the Trojans (and the Hittites?) ran up north to wetter lands during the droughts. Germanic history reaches back through the Goths to the Swedes; then has myths of moving from somewhere further south – perhaps Thrace or Troy. (Yes, there is a thread that says “Helen of Troy” has much in common with a Swedish Blond Bombshell…) But that is for another day. Still, turning that clock backwards…
We have a long history of a People From The Sea being pirates and of Celtic / Gaelic core, with additions of Germanic types and some Italian and Greek members too. Perhaps it’s a 2000 year old history, reaching back to another People Of The Sea, pirating and raiding and not too impressed with Empire… or emperors… or even a redheaded Pharaoh… though that last one was an empire too far (or maybe it’s just a bad idea to mess with a redhead and his Celtic mercenaries… even if you are a pirate ;-)
No, not the Irish or Gaelic of today. Some the Anatolian cousins. Some the great great … grand dads. Some the Italian 8th cousins. But with a cultural echo that carries far. For my money, I think it fair to say that the “People Of The Sea” were Pirates. Had a pirate tradition. Called themselves “Of The Sea”. Had an Italo-Celtic core, that persisted on the fringes as Gaelic speaking pirates. Added in some distant relatives from Anatolia, Italy, and even a few proto-Germanics and Greeks. The Hittites suddenly disappear after a change of weather conditions. Their language is similar to other old Indo-European languages, so perhaps they make some of the core of later German or Celt groups. At their largest, they covered most of Anatolia, then fell in about 1200 BC (at about the time The Sea People were a problem).
The Late Bronze Age Collapse was wide spread, and a sudden shift of climate with drought was an important factor. With empires on land having problems and agriculture failing, having the folks who knew how to make a living from the sea rise in power is not at all a surprise. As a Hittite, with the empire falling, throwing in with some Celts on ships is an attractive option. Ramesses had fought the Hittites to a treaty stage, but they could not stand the drought. IMHO that’s why we see some Hittite battle dress in the drawings of The Sea People. As with most Pirate Crew, they were a mixed crew of nationalities and gear. In keeping with the best Celtic traditions, a bit of a “Y’all come” meritocracy. But with the “traditions” and language roots only hanging on in the Gaeltacht…
It is worth noting from that period (the Late Bronze Age Collapse) that the onset was followed by the Iron Age Cold Period. It is still a bit unclear just how much time separates them (if any).
The Late Bronze Age collapse was a transition in the Aegean Region, Southwestern Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age that historians, such as Amos Nur and Leonard R. Palmer, believe was violent, sudden and culturally disruptive. The palace economy of the Aegean Region and Anatolia which characterised the Late Bronze Age was replaced, after a hiatus, by the isolated village cultures of the Greek Dark Ages.
Between 1206 and 1150 BC, the cultural collapse of the Mycenaean kingdoms, the Hittite Empire in Anatolia and Syria, and the New Kingdom of Egypt in Syria and Canaan interrupted trade routes and severely reduced literacy. In the first phase of this period, almost every city between Pylos and Gaza was violently destroyed, and often left unoccupied thereafter: examples include Hattusa, Mycenae, and Ugarit. Drews writes “Within a period of forty to fifty years at the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of the twelfth century almost every sigificant city in the eastern Mediterranean world was destroyed, many of them never to be occupied again”
That would be too much for even a large number of Pirates to pull off. So my thesis would be that the Pirates were more a response to a climate driven collapse of agriculture, and through that Empire, rather than the proximal cause. Now once the fall has started, a little push can be profitable to a Pirate…
From around 1200 BC, the palace centres and outlying settlements of the Mycenaeans’ highly organized culture began to be abandoned or destroyed, and by 1050 BC, the recognizable features of Mycenaean culture had disappeared. Many explanations attribute the fall of the Mycenaean civilization and the Bronze Age collapse to climatic or environmental catastrophe combined with an invasion by Dorians or by the Sea Peoples or the widespread availability of edged weapons of iron, but no single explanation fits the available archaeological evidence.
That leads me to think that the major part of The Sea People were not Greeks (why would they attack their homeland?…)
The Greek Dark Age or Ages and Geometric or Homeric Age (ca. 1100–800 BC) are terms which have regularly been used to refer to the period of Greek history from the presumed Dorian invasion and end of the Mycenaean palatial civilization around 1100 BC, to the first signs of the Greek poleis in the 9th century BC.
The archaeological evidence shows a widespread collapse of Bronze Age civilization in the eastern Mediterranean world at the outset of the period, as the great palaces and cities of the Mycenaeans were destroyed or abandoned. Around this time, the Hittite civilization suffered serious disruption and cities from Troy to Gaza were destroyed. Following the collapse, fewer and smaller settlements suggest famine and depopulation. In Greece the Linear B writing of the Greek language used by Mycenaean bureaucrats ceased. The decoration on Greek pottery after ca 1100 BC lacks the figurative decoration of Mycenaean ware and is restricted to simpler, generally geometric styles (1000–700 BC).
The Iron Age Cold Epoch (also referred to as Iron Age climate pessimum or Iron Age neoglaciation) was a period of unusually cold climate in the North Atlantic region, lasting from about 900 BC to about 300 BC, with an especially cold wave in 450 BC during the expansion of ancient Greece. It was followed by the Roman Warm Period (250 BC – 400 AD).
So, IMHO, there was a warm and wet golden age of Egypt. The periodic drought that topples civilizations there, as in the Old Kingdom, returned; but it was worse ‘up north’ in Anatolia. The Hittites, the Anatolian relatives of the Celts, some Boi / Northern Italy Celts and some Italic relatives banded together with the odd Trojans / proto-Germanics and some more western Celts with ships. These made up The Sea People, as a group of Pirates. They continued this association as things got very cold (Bronze Age Collapse into Iron Age Pessimum). Eventually the Roman Warm Period arrives, and with it renewed Empire. That Empire erases many of the linguistic, cultural, and historical connections; even mixing the genetics enough to make it hard to follow.
Where does the ‘tradition’ hold on? Among the Pirates, speaking the Gaelic language of the pirates, and avoiding Roman rule. Still announcing themselves as The People From The Sea…
So as we turn from THIS warm period, into cold: Watch out for drought in the Levant and Iran. Be wary of disruptions and government collapse in Egypt. Don’t expect the European Union Empire of today to hold together for long.
And, I’d suggest, it might be good to see how you look in a three corner hat, practice saying “Arrgh!” and get some practice with Gaelic ;-) This might just be a good time for The People Of The Sea again…