|1200 B.C.: The Etruscans (Philistines?) Find Italy|
|Written by Dan Curry|
|Wednesday, 14 April 2010|
The Etruscans Find Italy and Settle In
I have sometimes wondered at the travelings of the nations from ancient times, and have found it fun to explore where we peoples of today might have originated from. I do it from the perspective of a Bible believer, believing that we all stem from Noah and his wife and their family, maybe starting about 2350 B.C. if that is when the Great Flood occurred. And from Adam and Eve about 1654 years before that. And from dirt and the Spirit of the Living God Yahweh before that. That's the general Christian understanding from the Genesis scriptures, right?
What I have also found is that few if any people groups seem to have kept their 'blood-line' very pure. Wars cause people to move, sometimes sending them barging their way into the territories of other cultures in order to save their lives. Sometimes a famine will uproot a culture. Other peoples just journeyed off and formed colonies in new lands. But eventually, some other culture happened upon them, and often they mixed then. Blending and melding has gone on and probably always will.
Yet there are generalities of descent that you can still speak of, concerning certain peoples. United States immigrants from Europe seem to have come from Germany more than any other country. Yet Germany has absorbed a lot of nations in it's time also. I have read that the bulk of German immigrants to the USA come from a people with a narrow skull, for instance, while most of the Germans that stayed in Germany had a rounder skull and a more robust build. The premise of that article was that a people had moved in among the Germans for a time - for some centuries - and then had mostly passed on through to other countries. So Germans aren't necessarily all that German, for instance. No modern nation seems to be of too rarified of a strain.
Israelites were kind of an exception, as God encouraged them to marry from among their own people. After all, they were the chosen people of God. Though not necessarily special or above average by human standards, the Father of all chose them as His people in order to display His might and His attributes to the rest of the world. What God chooses He chooses, and it just isn't a subject for debate. He's God! But King David's grand mother was a Moabite, and his great grandmother was Rahab from Jericho, so she was most likely a Caananite. Both were non-Israelite peoples. And we will never know how many other peoples have joined into the Israelite gene pool.
As for Jews in particular, they are essentially from the tribe of Judah. At one time that was a fair generalization, at least. Judah was one of the 12 Israelite tribes, and one with a special destiny. They were leaders of the Israelites, by prophecy. They too are often of mixed heritage, though less often than many of the other Israelite tribes' descendents. In fact, most descendents of the 12 tribes have lost knowledge of their descent altogethr at this point.
But though we are largely a mixed bunch of sinners, all subject to Jesus for our salvation, I find it especially intriguing to try to discover where some of the peoples spoken of in the Old Testament and the New have travelled to since those days. How many of them still exist as peoples today, but under some other name? Were some just eradicated? Where are they now??
One that particularly interests me is the Philistines. Though they are made by God and can seek salvation like any other people, they were sort of the perennial enemies of the Israelites once they showed up in scripture. And until the time of King David they were a powerful and troublesome presence in Israel. So what about them? Where did they come from and where have they gone. Is there a way to tell?
Let's look at their origins. It seems that they were at the ancient battle of Kadesh. That's one of the first places they show up, as a people. They fought as auxilliaries when the Hittites and the Egyptians clashed in that ancient battle. They seem to have become a nation in the area of the DAnube River befor that. That was around 1280 B.C.
They must have liked the countryside that they saw during that battle , because they attacked Egypt about 90 years later in 1190 B.C. and tried to take Egypt. But Pharoah Ramses II, strong and in his prime, drove away their powerful sea invasion. Or at least he said he did. He sometimes enhanced his accomplishments just a little!
Unable to obtain Egypt, the Philistines soon after settled down in Palestine, Italy and Crete. At least the authors that I read believed they had confirmed this. Those that settled in Palestine are probably the group that Samson battled against in the Bible. The scriptures speak of the 5 great cities of the Philistines. Samson brougth down a temple in one of those 5 cities, killing about 3000 people. It was his dying act, a gift of great strength from God allowed him to die in the midst of hundreds and hundreds of the enemies of his people. To the Philistines, Samson was a terrorist.
Crete is an Island further West than the Island of Cyprus, in the Mediterranean. It was a very good choice for a sea people to locate. They could be traders from there, and even pirates if they chose. The Philistines have been known as both, at various times and places. And then there was Italy.
Concerning Italy, the history books that I have read seem convinced that Italy received a people calling themselves the Resenna, that were since known by others as the Etruscans, the Protovillanovans, or the Tyrrhenians, and who were of the same people stock as the Palestinians, beginning in the 1200 B.C.s People say that these people, including the ancient Philistines, seem to have originated near the Danube River. Then they moved to near the city of Troy on the Chalicidices Peninsula of today's Greece until Troy was destroyed. The loss of this war caused the Philistines to fan out to 3 major known places: Asia Minor (mostly Turkey today), Israel (from whence came the name 'Palestine'), and Italy. This may have been the cause of them taking up residence in Palestine (today's Israel) permanently.
But a second wave of Philistine settlement in Italy occurred about 1000 B.C. This group, called the Villanovans, seem to have taken over the cities that their earlier arriving cousins had built. Perhaps they were a stronger or more numerous people.
Then a third wave came in about 750 B.C. when a culture with many Hittite attributes and customs moved in among the already existing Etruscan/Philistine, Villanovan peoples. They may have been Hittite related peoples conquered by the Assyrians at that time. The Assyrians were wreaking havoc in the Middle East just then.
Then in about 600 B.C. to 450 B.C. a final group came from Asia Minor and Ionian Greece.
So, in at least those 4 waves, the people stock of the Philistines/Etruscans seem to have entered Italy. They were a strong people much given to self indulgence and the arts and architecture and advanced civilization. But even the Romans forefathers, who first landed about 750 B.C., acknowledged that the Etruscans were brave fighters. That's one of the reasons that the earliest Romans - a coalition of a native tribe called the Latins and some old royalty fled from Troy - teamed up together. They needed to be able to stand against the Etruscans. And together, they became too much for the Etruscan culture to oppose. The 'Romans' were hard and basic men and women in the early days, a people that believed it was their destiny to rule. Meanwhile the Etruscans had obtained the softness of good living in a peaceful environment. The writing was on the wall.
But later, three Kings of the Romans actually were Etruscans, accepted by the Roman people as their leaders. And they weren't all terrible kings, though the final one left on a bad note when Roman Etruscans were involved with the rape of Lucretia, a virtuous Roman maiden.
And much later again, in 70 A.D., a Roman Empire rife with Etruscans who seem to have actually been of Philistine descent in part, travelled to Judea and destroyed Israel under Vespasian and then Vespasian's son Titus, who both later became Emperors of Rome. History repeats itself in a way. In certain cases the same people seem inclined to not get along no matter where and when they encounter each other.
Then, in the 1940's A.D., Axis powers led by Germany and Italy in the West try to destroy the Jews as a people. Germany (which may largely contain Assyrian descendents according to some scholars) and Italy (which seems to contain a good number of these same old Philistine descendents). Again, history finds a way to repeat itself.
But, Etruscans seemed to have other interesting things in common with Israelites.
In 1878, a man named George Dennis was assigned to the British Consult in Italy. He became interested in the Etruscans, and found that they seemed, anciently, to have shared some beliefs with the Hebrews. He wrote "The Cities and Centuries of Etruria". Etruria is a name for the ancient Etruscan Empire.
1st 2000 years: Created heaven and Earth
2nd 2000 years: Created the firmament
3rd 2000 years: Created the sea and it's waters.
4th 2000 years: Created the great lights. The stars, the moon, the sun.
5th 2000 years: Created the birds, the reptiles, the 4 footed animals.
6th 2000 years: Created mankind.
Now, consider the Bible's scriptures as it relates these same first days of creation:
1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
King James Version
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