The Bronze Age Collapse and the Onomasticon of Amenope

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1y Apr 17, 2020

The Onomastica of Amenope contains a word list for groups of things varying from the list of what is contained in the heavens, to the towns of Egypt, to the parts of an oxen and its kind of meat. It is generally accepted that the Onomastica of Amenope dates to the late Twentieth Dynasty and is known from at least ten copies or fragment versions on papyrus, a writing board, a strip of leather, and several potsherds. The Onomastica was used for administrative purposes but was also used for teaching scribes. Gardiner’s translation of the Onomastica is widely consulted, and its excellence has in some ways discouraged other scholars from studying the Onomastica. The most important section for our purposes is chapter 4, which lists the class, tribes, and types of human beings in the region. In this listing there are many references to the tribes of the Sea Peoples (Simpson 2001: 605).

The Onomasticon of Amenope, or Amenemipit (amen-em-apt), gives a slight credence to the idea that the Ramesside kings settled the Sea Peoples in Canaan. Dated to about 1100 BCE, at the end of the 21st dynasty (which had numerous short-reigned pharaohs), this document simply lists names. After six place names, four of which were in Philistia, the scribe lists the Sherden (Line 268), the Tjeker (Line 269) and the Peleset (Line 270), who might be presumed to occupy those cities. The Story of Wenamun on a papyrus of the same cache also places the Tjeker in Dor at that time. The fact that the Biblical maritime Tribe of Dan was initially located between the Philistines and the Tjekker, has prompted some to suggest that they may originally have been Denyen. Sherden seem to have been settled around Megiddo and in the Jordan Valley, and Weshwesh (connected by some with the Biblical tribe of Asher) may have been settled further north.

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