Friday, January 29, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah -- they're all Greeks to me

Now let me go back and clear something up that looks like a puzzle in the archaeology.
The Medinat Habu inscription of Ramses III (1100s BCE, discovered 1859, definitive translation 1906) names the Ekwesh and the Pelishtim and some others as allies in the attack.  People looked at this inscription, saw the names of some of the Sea Peoples, and Libya, and they said, OH, the Ekwesh have to be the Ahiyyawa.
But in the fight with Ramses III, a strange thing happened when his troops were trying to count coup to collect rewards.  They usually cut off the foreskins of those they killed.
They couldn’t count coup on the Ekwesh this way.  The Ekwesh were already circumcised.  So they cut off the corpses’ hands.
Now, as everybody knows, the Achaeans did not practice circumcision.  So there’s something wrong with this identification.
Flip it upside down.  The Achaeans were a proto-Greek component of the Sea Peoples from Crete, and the Cretans were allied for centuries with the Pelishtim, to the point where “Creti and Pleti” was a common phrase for King David’s bodyguard.  The Pelishtim are commonly referred to as “uncircumcised” in the Bible.  At least one archaeologist has no problem with calling the Pelishtim “Greeks.”
In inscriptions put up by the Hittites (before the Sea Peoples steam-rollered them) there was also a list and on it was the name Ahiyyawa – but not Pelishtim.  And, as Singer says, the Hittites used Ahiyyawa for people in the region of Mykenae.
From Mykenae in the 1400s BCE we get Linear B, known to be a script the Pelishtim used, on tablets with words that look suspiciously like Greek.  One of these tablets refers to trader/mercenaries, the Iawones (is it coming together?). 
If these are the Ionians, we know that they lived for a while in a Peloponnesian region called Achaia, some time about the 1100s BCE, about the time the Pelishtim entered the Holy Land in force and founded their seaside Pentapolis; they also left remains at Deir ’Alla in Jordan.
Like the Hittites, the Egyptians didn’t distinguish the two, they called them all Pelishtim.  
I think that Ekwesh refers to Ethiopia, known by that time as Kush, who practiced circumcision.  This goes with Herodotus’ statement that the Ethiopians, like the Egyptians, practiced circumcision.  Now, he’s not reliable, because he says these are the only peoples who do it, except for the people of Kolkhis.  He also thought that the Kolkhians were descended from Egyptians.  In fact, the Tibareni (Tuval) lived in that region.  There’s no independent confirmation of Herodotus’ claims about the Kolkhians. 
Ancient writings have to be taken with large grains of salt when they refer to third parties (or even fourth or fifth) as with Herodotus, who did all his work from his armchair, so to speak.  It takes other data, such as modern studies, to firm up a claim – or disprove it.  I haven’t found anybody else saying that the Ekwesh must be Kush instead of Ahiyyawa, but I think I’m right.

And  next.... The Big One.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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