The Ramesses III Sea Peoples Reliefs

Whenever you search Ramesses III Sea Peoples you ALWAYS get a depiction of the relief showing the Battle of the Delta. You never see a depiction of the relief showing the Battle of Djahay. I have sought here to remedy this.
The depiction of the Battle of Djahy:

The depiction of the Battle of the Delta:

From here.
Translations here.

A Short Non-Biblical History of Palestine from the 13th C BC to the 11th C BC

Or, the Chronology page of this blog in narrative form, Part 1.

As I have recently stumbled upon the idea (which I think false, for archaeological reasons), that the Pentateuch was composed almost entirely around 270 BC and the pre-Exilic material found in it was preserved at Mizpah (partially due to the seamless blending of Babylonian and Late Iron Age Judahite tradition in the Primary History), I have discovered the need to write a truly extrabiblical history of Iron Age Cisjordan (Israel, Judah, and Philistia). While I do think that it is impossible to write a good and comprehensive history of Iron Age Cisjordan without use of the Bible, a wholly extrabiblical history would certainly be useful to compare with the Biblical one.

Part 1: The Collapse of the Imperial Order and the Return of the Sovereign City-State

I shall start a little earlier, in the Bronze Age, specifically the LB IIB. The context was one of what seemed to be next-to guaranteed perpetual peace. The treaty ending further military conflict between the Egyptian and Hittite empires had been accepted by both parties only a few decades before. Needs for defense were next-to nonexistent. A few hundred Egyptian troops could crush any existent foe of the Empire. Maritime trade in what would later be the Eastern Roman Empire was experiencing its greatest period of prosperity ever seen in the Bronze Age. Ivory carving in Cisjordan was witnessing its greatest use in the whole Late Bronze Age. Canaanite scribes were beginning to use the Alphabet, an invention whose advantages had been unnoticed by Eastern Semitic and Egyptian scribes alike.

Yet, all was not well with this imperial order. The Late Bronze IIB was a golden age, indeed, but only for two major classes: those dependent on taxes and those transporting goods between those dependent on taxes. The Forgotten Man was benefited only by the security of this state of affairs, which, more often than not, was only security for his expropriators and those dependent on them. The Forgotten Man could accept this state of affairs, as he did in Egypt, or, as he did in Palestine, Syria, and the Balkans, become to the established authorities a nameless, faceless enemy of civilization and imperial progress. Thus, the Amarna letters reveal the hills of the West Bank (as well as any hilly area in the Egyptian empire as far as northwest Lebanon) were endemically plagued by wandering bands of ‘apiru. Indeed, these bands might have been responsible for the destruction of some Late Bronze Canaanite cities (such as Megiddo VIII) known to not have been destroyed by Egyptians or by Sea Peoples.** Though some (such as Anson Rainey) have taken pains to distinguish the ‘apiru and the shasu, the former subsisting on stolen property, the latter on herded sheep, it seems to me that both are two faces of the same coin. Much like in the modern West Bank, where unemployment is over 20% and looting is endemic, the ancient West Bank was a place where much surplus labor remained untranslated into surplus productivity.

Thus, when the name ‘Isrr’, very likely to be connected with the later-mentioned land of “Sir. ‘i. la. aa“/”Israel” by historians, Continue reading “A Short Non-Biblical History of Palestine from the 13th C BC to the 11th C BC”

The “Hemming In” Theory of Late Ramesside Policy

The “hemming in” theory of Late Ramesside policy is the name I have given to the hypothesis which states that, after a supposed Philistine invasion in the late 1180s or 70s BC, Ramesses III attempted to “hem in” the already-settled Philistines by constructing a series of forts/governor’s residencies around their territory. This hypothesis is supported by the fortification of such sites as Tell el-Hesi City IV, Tel Sera IX, Tell el-Farah S., Gezer XIV, and Tel Mor VI and V. However, if Ramesses III was strong enough to fortify the border with Philistia, he was certainly powerful enough to attack it. However, no Philistine site shows signs of destruction in the period immediately after the Philistine conquest of Philistia. Also, the “hemming in” model presumes that there was little to no trade between such cities as Lachish VI and Ashkelon. However, the archaeological data argues otherwise, as many marine fish bones were discovered at Lachish VI, while not a single sherd of Philistine Monochrome has been discovered there. This strongly argues that Lachish VI and Ashkelon Phase 20 were not contemporary, and that Lachish VI and Ashkelon Phase 21 were. Thus, it is probable that the line of Egyptian governor’s residencies built on the Via Maris was simply an extension of the earlier Egyptian “Way of Horus” fortification line, and that the decline of Egypt’s Levantine presence at the end of the 12th century was due to a second Philistine invasion. It is also probable Gath was an integral part of Egypt’s 12th century Via Maris fortification line, as made probable by the excavation results from there.


I continue my critique of the Velikovskyans.

The record of Ramesses III (1184-1153 BC)’s messengers’ voyage to the mining country of Atika can be found here. According to Ramesses III, translated by Breasted,

“I sent forth my messengers to the country of Atika, to the great copper mines which are in this place. Their galleys carried them (Lit. “were laden with them;” meaning, of course, the messengers); others on the land journey were upon their asses. It had not been heard before, since kings reign. (Lit. “since the reign;” viz., “since the reign of kings began.”) Their mines were found abounding in copper; it was loaded by ten thousands into their galleys. They (or “it”, the copper) were sent forward to Egypt and arrived safely. It was carried and made into a heap under the balcony, in many bars (Lit. “bricks”) of copper, like hundred-thousands, being of the colour of gold of three times. I allowed all the people to see them, like wonders”

This country was thought by Breasted to have been in the Sinai. It has been identified by scholarship ever since Rothenberg’s findings with the copper mine of Timna. The place the galleys landed has been identified with the anchorage island of Jezirat Faraun (29°27’47″N, 34°51’36″E). A cartouche of Ramesses III, found in the Nahal Roded, the wadi at 29°36’13″N, 34°54’25″E, in February 1972, seems to confirm the scholarly identification.

However, as usual, the Velikovskyans deny the conventional scholarly identification and suppose that “Atika” is actually “Attica”, since the mines of the Sinai were exploited long before Ramesses III, but Ramesses III claimed he was the first to do so. Firstly, the mines of Timna, unlike the mines of Maghara, were only exploited between the reigns of Seti I and Ramesses IV, not exactly very long ago by Ramesses II’s standards (just over a hundred years before). Secondly, Ramesses III could easily get away with his propaganda, since the mines of Timna had not been visited for quite some time. The metal Ramesses III mined was copper “of the colour of gold of three times”. It was certainly not iron! Also, Attica could not have possibly been reached by donkeys. All of the “they”s refer to the messengers and no one else. The identification of Atika with Timna seems secure.

Why Emmet Sweeney is Wrong About Punt and Sheba

Even though I showed in my previous rebuttal Sweeney’s “Punt in Phoenicia” is impossible, since Ramesses III confirms that the Egyptians set sail for Punt from Mersa Gawasis, Sweeney still continues to amaze me in his capacity to make s**t up.

The simple fact that Retenu gave Thutmose III tribute of myrrh does not mean that Retenu actually grew its own myrrh! Myrrh was a precious commodity, and could be used to pay tribute with far less expense than sending out tons of wheat. Also, Sweeney forgets to check his own Bible when he claims that:

But, as Velikovsky stated, there is very good reason to suppose that in antiquity the shrub was also cultivated in Syria/Palestine. This is hinted very strongly in a number of biblical passages. Thus in the Song of Songs, reputedly composed by Solomon, we read:

“My hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh; Sweeter your love than wine, the scent of your perfume than any spice; Your lips drip honey, and the scent of your robes is like the scent of Lebanon.” [Song of Songs 4:10-11]

Note how Lebanon is apparently here linked with myrrh.

(Psst… I don’t think Emmet realizes Song of Solomon 5:5 does NOT come directly before Song of Solomon 4:10-11.) I have no idea where in the world Sweeney got his composite quote from, but it shows how Sweeney fact-checks his sources. As for what “the scent of Lebanon” is, I have no clue, although I’m guessing it’s the scent of some sort of wood (cedar?)-the scent is certainly not myrrh, that has never been documented as growing anywhere in Lebanon, in either the Sumerian, Mari, Egyptian, Assyrian, Biblical, Graeco-Roman, Medieval, or Modern records.

As for Sweeney’s imaginary Lake Huleh-it never existed. There most certainly was a “Lake Huleh” around 33° 4’N, 35°37’E, which was drained under Zionist auspices between 1951 and 1958, but that is not the “Huleh Valley” imagined by Sweeney! That is a figment of his imagination, and certainly not “the marshes of the earth” of Thutmose III-Egyptian control extended as far as Carchemish, and those legendary “marshes” were paired by Thutmose III with the Kingdom of Mitanni in his Poetic Stela.

Sweeney’s statement that the conventional Punt was “a primitive land” during the days of Hatshepsut is quite true- and supported by Hatshepsut’s reliefs, which show no clearly developed state in Punt. In the 2nd and 3rd millennium BC, conventional Punt was far from an empty land-the 1st Intermediate-Middle Kingdom site of Mahal Teglinos (SE Kassala) at the northern foot of Jebel Taka, containing Arabian, Kerman, and Egyptian pottery, attests to this. “At Agordat in the middle Barka valley (Eritrea), an Egyptian-style ceramic ear-plug and some stone celts which imitate bronze prototypes of the 17th-18th Dynasties have been excavated in sites dating to the mid-second millennium BC. On the Eritrean coast at Adulis (15°15’43″N, 39°39’35″E), two fragments of glass vessels typical of the New Kingdom have been found in a level dating to the late second millennium BC.” (Bard, Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, p.637). Indeed, Hatshepsut describes Punt as a land rich in wildlife and spices, but never describes Punt itself as urbanized-her reliefs show no artificial harbors or port cities, just chiefs in kilts and queens in fine dresses and necklaces. See my previous rebuttal for more about Punt itself. Indeed, the Queen of Parehu’s chiefdom was said by the relief to have been carried by a mere donkey, showing Punt was hardly considered by the Egyptians to be as developed as Egypt. Punt’s triangle-sailed boats are most assuredly not ships of Tarshish, Keftiu, or Byblos. The fact the existence of Punt was well known to the Egyptians does not mean Punt was well-charted and explored. I doubt a typical Christian would be able to point out even the most general area of where Jesus was crucified on a world map. Hatshepsut herself made it clear that her voyage was one of discovery.

Sweeney’s new idea of Waset=Sewa=Sheba=Thebais is interesting, but probably wrong, since Genesis 10 mentions Sheba as a descendant of Raamah(=Ragmatum, modern Najran, Saudi Arabia) along with Dedan (modern Al-Ula). Neither Sheba nor Seba is mentioned as a descendant of Mizraim(=Egypt). This shows Sheba is probably that famous kingdom of Saba centered in Marib, 15°25’38″N, 45°20’10″E. The connection of Waset=Sewa=Sheba=Thebais has not, as I know, been accepted in the scholarly community at large. I also find it linguistically doubtful, since Egyptian s is not likely to have been transliterated as a Hebrew shin, since in all other cases it is transliterated as a samek (e.g. Rameses). It is also not likely to transition to a Greek Theta. Tarshish, meanwhile, might have an original “ch” behind the Greek tau and Hebrew shin. I’m still sticking with the old etymology “Egyptian Ta-opet/ape (“the head”)= Coptic Tape, spoken as Thaba=Greek Thebais”.

Also, the Queen of Sheba is described in the Bible as being amazed at “all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of YHWH”-yet the Deir el Bahari reliefs mention none of these, but do mention a Puntite chief named Parehu, ruling with his wife, Ati, and having two sons and a daughter. The Queen is also mentioned as “arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones”-yet, Hatshepsut arrived in a fleet of ships, no camels were described as boarding them, and neither do her reliefs make mention of any visit to any kingdom-only of a visit to the Puntite coast. Neither does she mention arriving with even a single camel. Indeed, Hatshepsut received green (i.e. good) gold of ‘Amau from Punt and also received very much myrrh-but the Bible mentions the Queen’s great giving of spices-that “never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon”-perfectly fitting a queen of the kingdom of Marib, which had many myrrh and some frankincense fields under its disposal, consistent with Jeremiah 6:20 and Isaiah 60:6, where Sheba was described as a source of frankincense (Heb. lebonah, from laben, “to be white”).

As for Sweeney’s desperate attempt to counteract Hatshepsut’s clear statement that

“He [Amon] hath made my kingdom, the Black Land, and the Red Lands are united under my feet. My southern boundary is as far as Punt …; my eastern boundary is as far as the marshes of Asia, and the Asiatics are in my grasp; my western boundary is as far as the mountain of Manu … my fame is among the Sand-dwellers altogether. The myrrh of Punt has been brought to me … all the luxurious marvels of this country were brought to my palace in one collection, which the Asiatics presented … turquoise/chrysocolla of the country of Reshet. They have brought me the choicest products of … consisting of cedar, of juniper and of meru-wood; … all the goodly sweet woods of God’s Land. I brought the tribute of Tehenu(Libya)…” (Emphasis Mine)

by saying “All the queen seems to be saying is that her southern border, in Nubia, is as far distant from Thebes as her northern border, in Punt.”, he seems to forget that, taking his statement literally, one would wind up in an Egyptian northern border on the northern border of the Kingdom of Judah, and the fact that Egypt’s actual northern border was at Carchemish, well north of his “Hula Valley”. Hatshepsut does not here include a northern border because the only thing directly north of Egypt is salt water, and her Levantine border was already covered in her eastern border, which was as far as the marshes of Asia, that is, the marshes of the Upper Euphrates. As to whether her southern border really was as far south as Punt, if she knew about latitude, her statement would be correct, if not, she would be simply exaggerating in the manner of Esarhaddon, who stated that all the kings who lived in the sea, as far as Tarshish, submitted to him.

It is therefore concluded that Emmet Sweeney is full of s**t regarding both Punt, Sheba, the Bible, and Lebanese geography, and that the conventional locations of both Punt and Sheba are correct. It is a pity rebels do not always think out the consequences of their statements before making them.