What Does the Aegean World Have to Do with the Biblical World?

Louise Hitchcock explores the importance of the Aegean world in Biblical archaeology

louise-hitchcock

Louise Hitchcock

What does the ancient Aegean world in the west have to do with the Biblical world in the east? Quite a lot, according to Aegean archaeology specialist Louise Hitchcock.

The term “Aegean” refers to Greece in the Bronze Age and includes the Minoan civilization, which inhabited Crete (c. 1900–1450 B.C.E.), as well as the Mycenaean civilization, which inhabited Mainland Greece (c. 1500–1200 B.C.E.) and Crete (c. 1450–1200 B.C.E.).

In her Archaeological Views column “View from the West: Why Aegean Archaeology Matters” in the May/June 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, University of Melbourne professor Louise Hitchcock explains that one needs to explore the connections between these Aegean cultures and their Eastern Mediterranean neighbors in order to fully comprehend the pervasive influence each had on the other.
 


 
Tracing the enigmatic, mystical genesis of the Greek Olympiad, The Olympic Games: How They All Began takes you on a journey to ancient Greece with some of the finest scholars of the ancient world. Ranging from the original religious significance of the games to the brutal athletic competitions, this free eBook paints a picture of the ancient sports world and its devoted fans.
 


 
taweret-met-museum

Aegean archaeology specialist Louise Hitchcock explains that the appearance of the Egyptian goddess of childbirth Tawaret in the art of the Aegean world is one example of the influence the east and west had on one another. Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“[The Aegean world] culturally represents the western-most sphere of ancient Near Eastern influence, which in turn influenced developing European nations,” Hitchcock explains. “Aegean seafarers, traders and crafters were engaged in cultural exchange with the east, and ultimately the Aegeans were a major artistic and cultural influence on the Philistines, who were perhaps ethnically related to them. The Philistines, in turn, had a large impact on the Israelites, especially during the period of the Judges and the United Monarchy. Thus Aegean culture is important for understanding Biblical archaeology.”

In the Aegean world, the Minoans and Mycenaeans enjoyed extensive trade with their eastern neighbors. Through archaeology, we have been able to observe that the Minoans, for instance, imported copper, tin, gold and ivory from the Near East, while Near Eastern civilizations seem to have imported artistic styles from the Aegean world. The east and west even exchanged cultural icons and religious traditions. The Egyptian goddess Tawaret, the goddess of childbirth, became a frequent image in Aegean art, while the Aegean flying gallop motif made its way into Near Eastern imagery.

Louise Hitchcock demonstrates that the extensive exchange between the Aegean world and the Near East makes Aegean archaeology critical to understanding the Biblical world.

For more on the importance of Aegean archaeology, read the full Archaeological Views column “View from the West: Why Aegean Archaeology Matters” by Louise Hitchcock in the May/June 2015 issue of BAR.

——————

BAS Library Members: Read the full Archaeological Views column “View from the West: Why Aegean Archaeology Matters” by Louise Hitchcock in the May/June 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.
 


 

Related reading in the BAS Library:

Tristan Barako, “One if by Sea…Two if by Land: How Did the Philistines Get to Canaan? One: by Sea,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2003.

Assaf Yasur-Landau, “One if by Sea…Two if by Land: How Did the Philistines Get to Canaan? Two: by Land,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2003.

James D. Muhly, “Mycenaeans Were There Before the Israelites,” Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 2005.

Eric H. Cline and Assaf Yasur-Landau, “Aegeans in Israel: Minoan Frescoes at Tel Kabri,” Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2013.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.
 


 

Posted in The Ancient Near Eastern World.

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Add Your Comments

2 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  • Bernard says

    I do not see much evidence to support the view that Aegeans were a major artistic and cultural influence on the Philistines, from what we have seen from digs they appear to be no more influenced by the Aegeans than others in the region.

  • Kurt says

    “The cross in the form of the ‘Crux Ansata’ . . . was carried in the hands of the Egyptian priests and Pontiff kings as the symbol of their authority as priests of the Sun god and was called ‘the Sign of Life.’”—The Worship of the Dead (London, 1904), Colonel J. Garnier, p. 226.

    “Various figures of crosses are found everywhere on Egyptian monuments and tombs, and are considered by many authorities as symbolical either of the phallus [a representation of the male sex organ] or of coition. . . . In Egyptian tombs the crux ansata [cross with a circle or handle on top] is found side by side with the phallus.”—A Short History of Sex-Worship (London, 1940), H. Cutner, pp. 16, 17; see also The Non-Christian Cross, p. 183.
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200271473


  • Some HTML is OK

    or, reply to this post via trackback.


Send this to a friend

Hello! You friend thought you might be interested in reading this post from https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org:
What Does the Aegean World Have to Do with the Biblical World?!
Here is the link: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-near-eastern-world/what-does-the-aegean-world-have-to-do-with-the-biblical-world/
Enter Your Log In Credentials...

Change Password

×