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The Philistines: Their History and Civilization

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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #435 on: October 29, 2009, 02:25:33 am »

sword nor spear in the hand of any of the people, except with Saul and Jonathan themselves.'

This is sometimes referred to as a 'disarmament', but there is no hint of anything of the kind. It simply says that the Philistines kept the monopoly of the iron trade in their own hands, and naturally restricted the sale of weapons of offence to the Hebrews, just as modern civilized nations have regulations against importing firearms among subject or backward communities. The Hebrews were just emerging from the bronze age culture. Iron agricultural implements, which seem slightly to precede iron war-weapons, had been introduced among them 1; but the novelty of iron had not worn off by the time of Solomon when he built his temple without the profaning touch of this metal (1 Kings vi. 7)—just as when Joshua made flint knives to perform the sacred rite of circumcision (Joshua v. 2); the old traditions must be maintained in religious functions. The champions of the Philistines, of course, were able to use iron freely, although for defensive purposes they still use bronze. 2
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #436 on: October 29, 2009, 02:25:48 am »

Goliath had a bronze helmet, a bronze cuirass of scale-armour (not a mail-coat, as in the English translation), bronze greaves, and a bronze 'javelin', but a spear with a great shaft and a heavy head of iron. The armour of 'Ishbi-benob' was probably similar, but the text is corrupt and defective. The armour of Goliath is indeed quite Homeric, and very un-Semitic. The κυνέν πάγχαλκος, the χαλκοκνήμιδες, 3 and the enormous spear—

… 4—
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #437 on: October 29, 2009, 02:25:57 am »

are noteworthy in this connexion, especially the greaves, the Hebrew word for which (‏מצחת‎) occurs nowhere else. The θώραξ λεπιδωτός alone would seem post-Homeric, but this is an argumentum e silentio. Fragments of a scale-cuirass, in iron, and of a rather later date, were found in the excavation of Tell Zakariya, overlooking the scene where the battle is laid (Excavations in Palestine, p. 150). But the culture that Goliath's equipment illustrates, like his ordeal by single combat, is much more European or Aegean than Palestinian.

p. 127
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #438 on: October 29, 2009, 02:26:07 am »

In the report of Wen-Amon we found that the Zakkala were busy in the Phoenician ports, and had large influence in Phoenicia. The representations of Phoenician ships, such as the sadly damaged fresco which W. Max Müller has published, 1 shows them to have been identical in type with the ships of the Pulasati. It is highly probable that further research will show that it was due to the influence of the 'Peoples of the Sea' that the Phoenicians were induced to take to their very un-Semitic seafaring life. And it is also probable that it was due to Zakkala influence that the same people abandoned the practice of circumcision, as Herodotus says they did when they had commerce with 'Greeks'. 2
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #439 on: October 29, 2009, 02:26:15 am »

An interesting question now arises. Was it to the Philistines and their kinsmen that the civilized world owes the alphabet? The facts that suggest this query may be briefly stated. For countless generations the Egyptians, the Babylonians, and probably the Hittites, had been lumbering away with their complex syllabaries; scripts as difficult to learn and to use as is the Chinese of to-day. As in China, the complexity of the scripts was a bar to the diffusion of learning: the arts of reading and writing were perforce in the hand of specially trained guilds of scribes. No one thought of the possibility of simplifying the complexities; while current 'hieratic' forms of the letters might come into being with hasty writing, all the elaborate machinery of syllables and ideograms and determinatives was retained without essential modification.
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #440 on: October 29, 2009, 02:26:25 am »

Suddenly we find that a little nation in Syria appears to have hit upon a series of twenty-two easily-written signs by which the whole complex system of the sounds of their language can be expressed with sufficient clearness. If it was really the Phoenicians, of all people, who performed this feat of analysis, it was one of the most stupendous miracles in the history of the world. That the Phoenicians ever originated the alphabet, or anything else, becomes more and more impossible to believe with every advance of knowledge.
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #441 on: October 29, 2009, 02:26:36 am »

The alphabet makes its appearance soon after the movements of the 'sea-peoples'. Zakar-Baal is found keeping his accounts, not on clay tablets (and therefore not in cuneiform) but on papyrus, which he imports from Egypt in large quantities. And we are tempted to ask if the characters he used were some early form of the signs of the so-called 'Phoenician' alphabet.

The oldest specimen of this alphabet yet found has come to light in Cyprus: the next oldest is the far-famed Moabite Stone.

p. 128
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #442 on: October 29, 2009, 02:26:46 am »

W. Max Müller 1 cleverly infers from some peculiarities in the rendering of names in the list of Sheshonk's captured towns, that the scribe of that document was working from a catalogue in which the names were written in the Phoenician alphabet. This would bring the use of this alphabet in Palestine back to about 930 B.C., or about a century earlier than the Moabite Stone. A letter in neo-Babylonian cuneiform, probably not much earlier than this, and certainly of local origin, was found at Gezer: the date of the introduction of the Phoenician alphabet is thus narrowed down very closely.
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #443 on: October 29, 2009, 02:26:55 am »

Whence came the signs of this alphabet? De Rougé's theory, which derived them from Egyptian hieratic, was the most reasonable of any, but no longer commands favour. There was for long a script of linear signs, strangely resembling the Phoenician alphabet, in use in Crete. It must be admitted, however, that so far no very satisfactory analogies have been drawn between them, though their comparison is not without promise of future fruit.
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« Reply #444 on: October 29, 2009, 02:27:14 am »

But in this connexion the Phaestos Disk once more seems to assume importance. We are inclined to ask if it is possible that in the script of which this document is so far the sole representative, we are to see the long-sought origin? It is not unreasonable to suppose that in process of time the script of the Disk would become simplified into just such a linear script as that alphabet: and the principle of elision of the terminal vowel of syllables, already noticed in analysing the inscription on the Disk, is just what is wanted to help the process of evolution over that last most difficult fence, which divides a syllabary from a pure alphabet. Suppose that three syllables, ka, ko, ku, represented each by a special symbol, lost their vowel under certain grammatical or euphonic conditions; then all three being simply pronounced k might in writing become confused, leading ultimately to the choice of one of the syllabic signs to denote the letter k. Thus an alphabet of consonants would develop, which is just what we have in the Phoenician alphabet. The 45 +x characters of the original script—for we have no guarantee that we have all the characters of the script represented on the disk—could very easily wear down by some such process as this to the twenty-two signs of the Phoenician alphabet.
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« Reply #445 on: October 29, 2009, 02:27:21 am »

As to the forms of the letters, in the total absence of intermediate links, and our total ignorance of the phonetic value of the Phaestos signs, it would be premature to institute any elaborate comparisons between the two scripts. The Phaestos Disk is dated not later than

p. 129
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« Reply #446 on: October 29, 2009, 02:27:33 am »

1600 B.C., the Phoenician alphabet cannot be traced even so far back as about 1000 B.C., and what may have happened in the intervening six hundred years we do not know. But some arresting comparisons are already possible. The symbol which I have called (h) might well in rapid writing develop into the Phoenician sign aleph. The little man running (a) is not unlike some forms of tzade. The head (e) both in name and shape reminds us of rēsh. The dotted triangle (i) recalls daleth or teth, the fish (l) in name and to some extent in shape suggests nun—it is notable that the fish on the Disk always stands upright on its tail—the five-leaved sprig (w) is something like samekh, the water-sign (ß) might be mem (the three teeth of the Phoenician letter preserving the three lines of the original sign). The manacles (z) resembles beth, the nail-pillar or prop (ζ) resembles nay in both shape and meaning, the remarkable key (θ) simplifies into zayin, the square (σ) into gimel, and the object (π) whatever it may be, into pe. These tentative equivalents have been added for comparison to the table of characters on p. 116. The direction of writing is from right to left in each case.
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« Reply #447 on: October 29, 2009, 02:27:43 am »

The plumed head-dress, so conspicuous as a sign on the Disk, connects it with the Philistines: and the evidence of forded us by the Golénischeff papyrus of the Syrian colonies of Philistines, or of their near kinsmen the Zakkala, links it with the Phoenicians. How far it may be possible to make further comparisons, with the various scripts of Crete, Cyprus, and Asia Minor, are questions which must be left for future discoveries and for special research.
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« Reply #448 on: October 29, 2009, 02:27:54 am »

We are not here writing a history of the alphabet: but one or two points may be noticed which have a bearing on the subject. It is commonly assumed that because the names of the letters have a meaning in Semitic, and no meaning in Greek, therefore they are Semitic words adapted into Greek. This is, however, a non sequitur. 1 It would be more probable that the borrowing nation should cast about for words similar in sound, and possessing a meaning which would make the names of the letters easily remembered. Such an attempt would be sure to be unsuccessful in some cases: and in point of fact there are several letter-names in the Semitic alphabet to which the tortures of the Inquisition have to be applied before a meaning can be extracted from them through Semitic. It may thus be that all the letter-names are a heritage from some pre-Hellenic, non-Semitic language: and instead of the old idea of a Phoenician Ur-Alphabet from which all the South Semitic, North African, West

p. 130
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« Reply #449 on: October 29, 2009, 02:28:12 am »

Asian, Hellenic, and Italic alphabetic scripts are derived, we are to picture a number of parallel and nearly related alphabets developing out of one of the hieroglyphic syllabaries of the Aegean basin—one of which scripts was taught to the Phoenicians by the despised Philistines. Whoever invented the alphabet laid the foundation-stone of civilization. Can it be that we owe this gift to the Philistines, of all people?
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