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Bronze Age Mediterranean


how a group of people lived. how and why things happened in the past. what was important to ... Imagery and symbolism of Baal myths borrowed by early Israel ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Bronze Age Mediterranean

Bronze Age Mediterranean The Israelites
  • Archaeologists search for evidence to
  • how a group of people lived
  • how and why things happened in the past
  • what was important to them
  • what sort of religious beliefs they had
  • how they interacted with their environment and
    with other groups of people
  • an understanding of why human culture has changed
    through time

  • Material Culture
  • Physical remains of human activity
  • Means by which humans adapt to the world
  • Artifacts
  • Objects manufactured or modified by humans.
  • Classified into types which reflect function or
    use, styles from a
    particular time period, or specific groups of
  • Features
  • Objects that are either made or used by humans
    that are nonportable.
  • Buildings, pits, hearths, or irrigation canals
    are examples of features.
  • Attributes
  • Archaeologists classify or type artifacts and

  • Archaeological Sites
  • Reflect places where people did something
  • Excavation
  • Systematic digging up of an area used by people
    in the past (a site)
  • Scientific manner
  • Reveals artifacts and features from various

  • Cultural Identification Methods
  • 1. Seriation
  • Styles of things tend to change
  • Pottery, coins, clothing
  • 2. Dating Methods 
  • Radiocarbon
  • Organic material
  • Archaeomagnetic
  • 3. Epigraphy
  • Analysis of ancient inscriptions
  • Ostraca - Broken pieces of clay pots used to
    write short documents

  • Context of Artifact
  • Location of an artifact or feature in
    relationship with all other artifacts and
    features in three-dimensional space.
  • horizontal space, depth (vertical space) and time
  • Relationship of artifacts and features across
    space and over time.
  • Relationships between artifacts and features that
    help an archaeologist reconstruct human behavior.
  • Preserving the Context
  • recording where it was found
  • what it was found with
  • at what level of excavation it was found
  • Provenience
  • Refers to the location of artifacts and features

  • Stratigraphy
  • Historical layering of archaeological material
    buried over time
  • Sites built up by thousands of years worth of
    habitation in the same place
  • Over generations sites were built up consisting
    of many stratigraphic layers, which represent
    different phases of habitation
  • People would often knock down structures and
    build new ones on top
  • Older material being deeper than the newer
  • Reconstruct a time-line, or chronology, for the
    occupation of the site by layers
  • Mounds or Tels created by the accumulation of
    debris over time

Interpreting Archaeological Data
  • Report of Findings
  • Scholarly or popular
  • Make Inferences
  • Educated guesses based on scientific archaeology
  • Subjective analysis and bias
  • Personal, political and religious agendas
  • Pseudoarchaeology
  • Search for Atlantis
  • Popular TV
  • Controversies
  • Sir Arthur Evans
  • Megiddo

Bronze Iron Age Mediterranean
Chronology of Bronze Iron Ages
  • The Bronze Age is divided into three parts
  • Early Bronze Age (3300 - 1950 BCE)Middle Bronze
    Age (1950 - 1539 BCE)Late Bronze Age (1539 -
    1200 BCE)
  • The Iron Age is divided into two parts
  • Iron Age I (1200 - 950 BCE)Iron Age II (950 -
    586 BCE)
  • The division between the Bronze and Iron Age
    marks a significant technological innovation,
    namely the adoption of ironworking, which over
    time replaced bronze as the most popular metal
    for tools, weapons and armor.

Minoan Civilization
  • Semitic people from the Asia Minor, eastern or
    southern Mediterranean
  • Based on island of Crete, and expanded to other
    islands in the Mediterranean.
  • Settled around 2600 BCE
  • Great trading power by 1900 BC
  • Principalities each dominated by a palace
  • Knossos most dominant city
  • Not a warrior culture
  • Best ships in the Mediterranean
  • Named for King Minos by Arthur Evans

Minoan Civilization
  • Society Culture
  • Matriarchal
  • Peaceful no city walls
  • No displays of power or glorification of weapons
  • Prosperous
  • elaborate facilities
  • beautiful creations
  • Religion
  • Mother goddess worship
  • Images of women, no men
  • Snake goddess
  • Fertility rituals
  • Bull images prominent
  • Writing
  • Linear A - Script derived from cuneiform
  • Not yet deciphered
  • No surviving Minoan literature

Minoan Civilization
  • Minoan Art
  • Frescos show pleasure-loving lifestyle
  • Luxury and sophistication
  • Naturalistic, not stiff
  • Smooth lines, vibrant colors, sense of nature
  • Three-dimensional figures
  • Palaces
  • Vast spaces
  • Maze of storerooms, workrooms and living quarters

Minoan Civilization
  • Thera
  • Minoan city in Aegean Sea
  • Destroyed by Santorini volcano
  • Opulent lifestyle
  • End of Minoan Civilization
  • Palaces destroyed by some force around 1450 BC
  • Invasion or natural disaster
  • invaders from the Greek mainland
  • Greek memory
  • King Minos
  • Theseus Minotaur

  • Late Bronze Age culture of Palestine
  • Never ethnically or politically unified as a
    single nation
  • Share sufficient similarities in language,
    religion and culture
  • Common Semitic heritage
  • Many affinities in mythology and ideology of
    kinship with Mesopotamia
  • Major influences on the development of early
    Israeli culture and religion
  • Protagonists and neighbors

  • Southern Levant
  • Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, and
    southern portions of Syria and Lebanon
  • Metropolises stood on well-watered terrain on
    vital trade routes
  • Major inland cites Jericho, Beth-shan, Megiddo,
    and Hazor
  • Coastal cities most sophisticated and
    influential Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, Arad and Ugarit
  • Individual city-states ruled by a monarch and
    warrior class, with a large free serf class
  • Patriarchal society
  • Lower classes were the artisans and farmers
  • Merchants traded throughout Mediterranean world
    Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Asia Minor
  • Nomadic pastoral population - Shasa
  • Groups of bandits and refugees - 'Apiru

Warfare in Canaan
  • Internal warfare external invasions a constant
  • Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Sea Peoples
  • Maintenance of armies and the defense of cities
    of the highest concern
  • Fortified cities were built for defense against
    marauding bands and enemy armies as early as 3000
  • Styles of warfare and weaponry evolved in the
    southern Levant
  • Chariots and infantry

Egypt in Canaan
  • Egypt ruled Canaan for more than 300 years during
    the Late Bronze Age and early Iron Age
  • Deities, arts and technology were exchanged
    between the two cultures
  • In 1456 BCE, Pharaoh Thutmoses III won a decisive
    battle against a coalition of Canaanite rulers at
  • Egypt used Canaan as a buffer against rival
    empires further north
  • Canaan was a source of revenue through taxes,
    tribute and trade
  • Egypt stationed small garrisons in major towns
    like Jerusalem

Canaanite Religion
  • Association between place, deity and royalty
  • Deities associated with places, such as cities
    and eventually nations
  • King or city-ruler is chief official of deitys
  • Temples functioned quite literally as the god's
  • High Places Open air sanctuaries
  • Built on hill with altar for sacrifices
  • Local gods and goddesses were special
    manifestations of the great deities
  • Extensive assimilation of characteristics
  • Pantheon
  • El, the creator and supreme god
  • Asherah, his consort and fertility goddess
  • Ba'al, storm and fertility god
  • Anat, goddess of hunting warfare.

  • Powerful Canaanite City-State
  • Northeastern Mediterranean coast in the 14th and
    13th centuries BC
  • Discovered in 1929 at Ras Shama
  • Huge archive of texts discovered
  • Canaanite religion and culture
  • Many texts are poetic in a language similar to
    the biblical psalms
  • Proto-Canaanite Alphabet
  • Many contacts by sea which introduced foreign
    influences on culture and religion

  • Major Canaanite and Israelite city
  • Located at juncture of three major trade routes
    main pass
  • Site of many important battles
  • Armageddon derived from harmegiddo or mountain
    of Megiddo
  • Most impressive collection of ivories dating to
    1200 BC

Ancient Israel
  • Important Questions
  • When did the Israelites establish themselves in
  • Where did they come from?
  • What parts of the Old Testament story are
  • How were they influenced by their Canaanite
  • What role did the Exodus play in establishing
    Israel as a people?
  • How did their religion develop?

Interpreting History of Ancient Israel
  • How do we know information about Ancient
  • Analyze traditional literature in Bible
  • Samuel primary source for history of Israel
    during 11th 10th centuries
  • Find information that was earlier than the time
    it was compiled and see how historically accurate
    it is
  • Compare to other cultures at the time
  • Trace origin of people of Israel through
    archaeological record
  • Aramaic - Lingua Franca of Palestine
  • Hebrew - Most of Old Testament

History of Early Israel
  • Israelites established themselves as a people in
    Canaan through process of ethnic
  • Drew boundary lines between themselves and their
  • Devotion to a national god, Yahweh
  • Israel first emerged in the central hill during
    13th cen.
  • Lowland cities along the coast were destabilized
    at the time, which led to a movement out of the
    cities and into the central hills
  • Associated with a shift from an urban to a
    village lifestyle

History of Early Israel
  • Hill country isolated during late Bronze Age from
    the controlling influence of the Egpto-Canaanite
    culture of the lowlands
  • Customs and ideas that developed there were
    different from those of the dominant Canaanite
  • Archaeological record shows
  • Hill country relatively empty prior to the 12th
  • no farming of land
  • no pottery for village prior to 12th cen.
  • Hill county fills up with villages from 12th cen.
    On Israelite people

History of Early Israel
  • Conquest traditions Once the highland
    populations become substantial enough, armed
    conflict originated and was the historical memory
    for the conquest of the lowland cities
  • Merneptah Stele - reveals that there was a people
    known as Israel in Canaan by about 1207 BC
  • Israelites established themselves enough to be
    noted by a campaigning pharaoh
  • Judges Tells of Israelites living side-by-side
    with Canaanites
  • Contradicts Joshua conquest story
  • Arrival of Philistines in the 12th cen.
  • motivated Israelites to create a confederacy to
    be militarily stronger

  • Jebusite city conquered by David
  • built city on top of a spring within city walls
  • Small, only about 15 acres
  • Isolation helped it remain relatively secure from
    conquering foreign armies
  • Not located on either of the major north-south
    trade or military routes.
  • David named city City of Peace
  • Shalom
  • David built his city on Mount Zion

  • Built by Solomon about 960 BC
  • A dazzling attraction
  • Holy of Holies held Ark of the Covenant
  • Completely destroyed by Babylonians in 586 BC
  • Rebuilt by Jews after exile in 516 BC
  • Site of Temple Mount in Jerusalem today

The Exodus
  • National myth of escape from Egypt
  • Focal point for national unity
  • Purpose of establishing nation in Canaan
  • Justified land claims in Canaan
  • Created a xenophobia against Canaanites, who were
    seen as the oppressor
  • Functioned to exclude others who had not
  • Coded certain values into the culture - all
    Israelites shared background of their ancestors
    as slaves in Egypt
  • Covenant with Yahweh
  • In return for emancipation and the gift of the
    land of Canaan they must worship him and obey his

The Exodus
  • Questions
  • Was earliest Israel in Canaan a product of the
    Exodus? or
  • Was the national myth formed from a subsequent
  • Details of the Exodus conform to the Canaanite
    experience of Late Bronze Age
  • There were Semites in Egypt
  • There was intense building under Ramesses II
  • There was forced labor
  • Moses name is clearly Egyptian
  • Hyksos invasion connection
  • Joseph story may be the Israelite cultural memory
    of the Hyksos period
  • Semitic Hyksos invasion may have taken the form
    of a longstanding immigration into the Delta and
    then expanded to control Egypt as a whole for
    about a century

The Exodus
  • Peaceful Migration Theory
  • Repeated incidents of small groups of
    pastoralists leaving Egypt for Canaan during 13th
    cen. BC
  • Have historical memories of state labor and
    taxation in Egypt
  • Associating themselves with other Semites such as
    the Hyksos
  • Such migrations would leave no historical evidence

  • Yahweh was the god of the Israelite league of
  • Israeli monotheism developed not from polytheism
    but out of a national god religion
  • Other nations in region had their own national
  • Yahwism evolves in early Iron Age Canaan
  • Separates Israelites from neighbors
  • Israelites first meet Yahweh at Mt. Sinai
  • Sinai in Midian to east?
  • Moabite Stone, c. 840 BC
  • Earliest listing of Yahweh name
  • Documentary Hypothesis 3 gods formed into one
    by later biblical writers
  • Yahweh combined with El Shaddai, Elohim of

Israelite Religion- Canaanite Influenence
  • Monolatry - worship of a single god without
    denying the existence of other deities
  • Different gods are worshiped as Yahweh under
    separate aspects
  • Evidence that the Israelite peoples were
    influenced by Canaanite religion
  • Baal worshipped at many different sanctuaries
    from Syria to Gaza
  • Aspects of Baal assimilated into Yahweh
  • Imagery and symbolism of Baal myths borrowed by
    early Israel
  • Use of personal and place names with Baal
  • Bitterly condemned throughout Bible shows
  • Asherah Cult symbol or Female deity
  • Consort of Yahweh?
  • Standing Stones
  • High Places open air sanctuaries

Biblical Prophets
  • Fervent religious leaders of mid-8th cen. to 6th
  • Called for religious reforms
  • Admonished people of Israel and Judah to abandon
    the worship of other gods beside Yahweh
  • Reacting to threat of Assyria and Babylonia
  • Explained the destruction of Israel in 722 BC as
    a punishment sent by Yahweh for their failure to
    observe the Covenant
  • Concerned about social inequality - wealthy
    exploiting poor
  • Elijah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah
  • Ezekial led exiles home, called for rebuilding
    of Temple

Writing of the Old Testament
  • Documents and writing went through numerous
    revisions and adaptations
  • Choice of documents and modifications were
    determined by contemporary religious criteria
  • Basic shape of Bible formed by Post-Exile period
    Jerusalem Temple writers
  • Redactors- 7th and 6th centuries BC
  • Took ancient traditions and made them make sense
    for current religion
  • Judaism came together in 6th cen. BC

  • Greatest sea-farers of the ancient world
  • From 1,200 BC onward Phoenician cities emerged as
    independent city-states on coast of eastern
  • Continued the religious and artistic traditions
    of the Late Bronze Age Canaanites
  • Established colonies throughout Mediterranean

  • Greek name for culture
  • related to purple dye
  • Never a unified nation, a coalition of
    independent city-states
  • Shared culture and language
  • Each had its own god and its own ruler
  • Aradus, Byblos, Berytus, Sidon, Sarepta Tyre
  • Few records - history pieced together from
    records of other nations
  • Everything written on papyrus
  • Trade and war with others
  • Look to the sea
  • Overpopulation and pressure Near East empires
  • Set up colonies from North Africa to Sicily and
    Spain to promote trade

  • Trade and Manufacturing
  • Superior ships
  • Traded goods with cultures from Assyria to Spain
  • Cedar trees from mountains of Lebanon
  • Purple die from snail
  • Precious metals
  • Made glass from coastal sand
  • Controlled trade in silver, gold
    and tin
  • Brought great wealth
  • Papyrus Byblos
  • Ventured outside of Mediterranean
  • Spread culture and learning

  • First true alphabet
  • By about 1200 BC
  • Major contribution
  • Evolved from Proto-Canaanite
  • Phonetic
  • Based on distinct sounds
  • Consists of 22 letters
  • All consonants
  • Spread to other cultures
  • Aramaic, Hebrew
  • Greeks using letters by 10th cen.
  • No papyrus documents remain