An Introduction to The Enigmas of the Bronze Age
Welcome to all those who wonder in awe and find this period of remote ancient history as fascinating and enthralling as I do. I intend , at least I hope, with the use of sound logical reasoning and basic common sense to dissolve some of the recent lay opinions and assumptions that have been appearing over the past few years concerning information being put forward about the bronze age, specifically and including such topics as that most intriguing of the Bronze age enigmas – The Sea Peoples. The aim will be to show the kind of mine-field, that has been and can be, unintentionally or otherwise, through incorrect interpretation or a lack of understanding ,that has been laid down before the reader and intended to represent fact. I will centre directly on the Mycenaean-Minoan Cultures, and detail, specific topic by specific topic, issues arising from the Aegean Bronze Age, that most elusive period of human history. In my following entry,and there after, I will start to slowly introduce a detailed analysis using similar material as shown below, along with other evidence new and old, and based on an understanding of the wonderful reliefs of Ramesses’ mortuary temple complex at Medinet Habu. I’ll be striving to show the reader how easy it can be to loose sight of the obvious even when it’s been staring at us in the face for the last 3000 years or so, and not just solely from a visually analytical perspective but within the known historical context. Each time I will include a reasoned and logical common sense approach to show what I believe to be the correct interpretation and understanding of the scenes, along with the known written text, describing this series of upheavals and confrontation that culminated near the end of what we commonly refer to as the bronze age period. Describing the events which brought about these clash of civilizations has be fraught with difficulty in the past because so little has been and still is unknown about the causal effects, but I will depict a period within the context of the cultures depicted. Some academic circles have postulated far off foreign invasions emanating from the Danube region that led to mass migrations from the homelands of these displaced peoples, whilst others theorize an over-specialization in agriculture coupled with climate change and famine to be another causal effect. Another interesting hypothesis stipulates that these confrontations where the result of the aggressive policies of settlement and the ever increasing search to secure an growing demand in material resources by the displaced aristocracies of the Mycenaean and Minoan world who they themselves sought to carve out new kingdoms and wealth by following up trade with aggression. Whatever the real reasons may have been we may never really know, whether as a single casual effect or a series of factors all conspiring to cause a serious weakening in the cohesion of these societies and of the upheavals that brought about the so called invasions of the Sea Peoples at the end of the bronze age. We are given such an incredibly detailed, accurate and visual record at Medinet Habu that it would be a serious historical mistake to simply rule them out as some have put it as the over blown propaganda of a megalomaniac bent on disguising a series of phyrric victories as a means of securing his divine legacy for all time. Here are but a few of the images and photos from that most conspicuous of victorious campaigns by Ramesses III over the Sea Peoples that appear on the walls of the mortuary temple at Medinet Habu. Fig.1. A close-up of captive Sea People Warriors from Medinet Habu.
Fig.3. The Land Battle scene Between Ramesses III and the Sea People from the Medinet Habu Mortuary Temple near Thebes.
Fig.4. Detail from Medinet Habu of captive Sea People warriors.