lunes, 28 de septiembre de 2009


The “Crisis of the Sea Peoples” took place in the Eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Bronze Age (ca. 1200 BC). I have studied the historical events of this crisis and I am the author of the following books and articles:
-“La Guerra de Troya: Más allá de la leyenda” by Carlos Moreu. Madrid: Ed. Oberon, 2005. ISBN 84-96052-91-5
-“La Guerre de Troie: Au-delà de la légende” by Carlos Moreu (translation to French). Cugnaux: Éditions Ithaque, 2008. ISBN 2-9524280-1-8
-“The Sea Peoples and the Historical Background of the Trojan War” by Carlos J. Moreu. In Mediterranean Archaeology, 16 (2003), p. 107-124. ISSN 1030-8482
-“The Eastern Mediterranean Crisis and the Origins of the Phrygians” by Carlos J. Moreu (unpublished article)
-“La Guerra de Troya: Fundamento histórico de una leyenda” by Carlos J. Moreu. In Historia-16, 299 (March 2001), p. 88-106. ISSN 0210-6353
-“Latinos y troyanos: La leyenda de Eneas” by Carlos J. Moreu. In Historia-16, 365 (September 2006), p. 8-21. ISSN 0210-6353

The article titled “The Eastern Mediterranean Crisis and the Origins of the Phrygians” can be read here:


by Carlos J. Moreu


The Balkanic ancestors of the Phrygians –named Bryges by Herodotus– moved to Asia Minor during a period of crisis that occurred at the end of the Bronze Age. The archaeological findings indicate that the proto-Phrygians had maintained contacts with the Mycenaean Greeks in the area of the Thermaic Gulf and that they played an important role in the Mediterranean crisis. Small groups of this people settled in central and southern Greece, and a more numerous contingent must have allied with the Mycenaeans around 1200 BC, in order to invade various regions of Anatolia and Syria. The proto-Phrygians used a characteristic style of handmade pottery, which has been found not only in Asia Minor but also in Greece, Cyprus and the Syrian coast.


It is well known that the Phrygians occupied a large part of the Anatolian plateau during the Early Iron Age and that their powerful kingdom was based in Gordion.1 This region, however, was dominated by the Lydians in the 7th century BC, and then it was successively absorbed by the expansion of the Persian empire and by the conquests of Alexander the Great.
Yet, the history of that flourishing period of the Phrygian kingdom is practically unknown, because the only contemporary sources are a few references to this people in the Assyrian annals and a group of Phrygian inscriptions that are dated between the 8th and the 7th centuries BC. Apart from this documentation, the classical Greek texts on the Phrygians were written in later times, and they were generally based on oral tradition. Notwithstanding, the archaeological excavations of the last decades have shown the material culture of the Phrygians. The vestiges of their presence have been found not only in the land of Phrygia but also in other regions of Asia Minor.
The archaeological findings provide, in addition, some evidence of the initial settlement of the Phrygians and confirm the Balkanic origin of their migration. Therefore, the comparison of these data with the literary sources indicates that the invasion of the proto-Phrygian people was closely related to the great crisis that affected the eastern Mediterranean around 1200 BC, when many prosperous centres of the Late Bronze Age were devastated. This interdisciplinary study also reveals an important association between the Mycenaean Greeks and the European ancestors of the Phrygians, produced during that convulsive period.


The earliest reference to the Phrygians is quoted in the Iliad, as Homer included this people among the allies of King Priam in the legendary Trojan War. This author also accounted that the Phrygians occupied the valley of the River Sangarius several decades before the conflict. However, the Lydian historian Xanthus believed that the Phrygians had moved from Europe to Asia Minor after the fall of Troy, when the north-west of Anatolia was ruled by Scamandrius, a son of Hector and successor of Priam who –according to some versions of the myth– was one of the Trojan survivors. Xanthus stated that the Phrygians came from the western coast of the Black Sea, thus they could have occupied the regions of Bithynia and the Lake Ascania, where they became the eastern neighbours of the Trojans.2
Herodotus recorded the Macedonian tradition on the European ancestors of the Phrygians, whose original name was Bryges, explaining in another part of his work that, in the 5th century BC, the Bryges were a Thracian tribe which confronted the Persian army in Macedonia. This author located the homeland of the legendary King Midas in the area of the Mount Bermion, not far from the Balkanic region called Mygdonia, and this is also the name of an Asiatic territory inhabited by the Phrygians. Some centuries later, Strabo reported that the Phryges (or Phrygians) who arrived in Anatolia were the same people as the Bryges, who lived in Thrace. He also pointed out the Thracian origin of the Mygdones, Bebryces, Bithynians and Mariandynes, as well as the settlement of Phrygian immigrants in some areas of the Troad, after the Trojan War.3
With regard to the Bryges, Apollonius of Rhodes located a group of this Balkanic people in the northern coast of Illyria, close to the islands called Brygeides, and Eugammon of Cyrene narrated a legendary battle between the Bryges and the Thesprotians, a Hellenic tribe from Epirus that was commanded by the famous hero Odysseus.4 Therefore, the ancestors of the Phrygians could have occupied a large area that extended from the Aegean lands to the valley of the Danube. It is even possible that their Indo-European ethnonym –which may mean “high-men” or “prominents”– was used as a common denomination by the Thracian, Macedonian and Illyrian tribes of the Late Bronze Age, including the Mygdones settled in the north of Chalcidia.
There is another Hellenic myth, narrated by Diodorus Siculus, which recalled a Balkanic migration into Asia Minor. This was headed by a Thracian called Mopsus who had been expelled from his territory by King Licurgus. Mopsus and his followers defeated the legendary Myrine, queen of the Amazons, and seized her lands in western Anatolia. It is noteworthy that Mopsus was also the name of two mythical seers; one of them was a Thessalian who took part in the expedition of the Argonauts, and the other was born in the Anatolian city of Colophon. According to Greek tradition, the latter hero also migrated to the east at the age of the Trojan War and then he founded some cities in Cilicia.5
The last legend which may be useful for this study is that of Tereus, another Thracian chieftain who had left his homeland. Tereus did not move to Anatolia, but he settled in the Greek region of Phocis and married the daughter of Pandion, king of Athens. The wife of Demophon, a descendant of the Athenian king, was also related to the Thracian people, as she was a Bisaltian princess named Phyllis.6


The archaeological evidence from Yassihöyük, the ancient site of Gordion, indicates that this Anatolian city was abandoned around 1200 BC, at the time of the eastern Mediterranean crisis, and that its new inhabitants arrived some 100 years later. This population has been identified as the proto-Phrygian immigrants who occupied the stratum 7B. Their handmade and burnished ware is called EIAH (Early Iron Age Handmade) by the excavators, and it is generally considered of Balkanic origin.7
This pottery has been also related to other “barbarian wares” found in Troy and in various sites of central and southern Greece.8 The Handmade Burnished Ware of Troy, also called Coarse Ware, appeared in the phase VIIb1 (dated to the 12th century BC), and the Handmade Burnished Ware of Greece was used in the same period, although there are some examples from Tiryns which are dated a few earlier (13th century BC). Apart from Tiryns, the use of this pottery is attested in Mycenae, Korakou, Asine, Pellana, Aigeira, Teichos Dymaion, the island of Crete, Lefkandi, Athens, Perati, Eleusis, Delphi, Kalapodhi and the Menelaion of Sparta. In all those centres, however, the findings of HBW (Handmade Burnished Ware) are not numerous and the Mycenaean wheelmade pottery continued to be the most usual style.9
In the Hellenic region of Epirus, which was not included in the Mycenaean world, the pottery was rather similar to the handmade ware found in central and southern Greece, although it was not burnished. Other examples of handmade burnished pottery were used in southern Italy, but this fact can be due to the possible arrival in this region of some Balkanic people from the neighbouring coast of Illyria.10

Yet, the small quantities of HBW found on Cyprus are more interesting for this study, since they are clearly associated with the Mycenaean pottery used by the sea raiders who settled in Enkomi and other Cypriot sites around 1200 BC. Therefore, it seems that the handmade ware that appeared in Mycenaean Greece was also introduced in the island during this period.11 Finally, the most recent findings of HBW are those of Tell Kazel in the Syrian coast.12
Most scholars believe that the HBW was locally made in Greece by small groups of Balkanic immigrants, who were assimilated during the 12th century BC.13 However, some authors have rejected the idea of a foreign origin for this pottery, as well as the existence of northern intruders in the Mycenaean lands. G. Walberg argued that the handmade vessels were used in Greece during the Middle Helladic period and that a few samples of Mycenaean pottery are also burnished, but she has not explained the long hiatus of some 400 years in which that coarse pottery was not made by the Mycenaeans. D. B. Small follows some ideas suggested by G. Walberg and N. K. Sandars, and he explains the appearance of the HBW as a consequence of the socio-economic crisis produced in Mycenaean Greece from the middle 13th century BC. Small believes that the decline of the palatial system favoured the fabrication of this pottery by the autochthonous population.14
The latter hypothesis, however, would be more plausible if the handmade style developed in Greece imitated the Mycenaean pottery, instead of a northern Balkanic ware. In fact, the best parallels have been found in the handmade vessels that were used in eastern Macedonia and western Thrace during the Late Bronze Age, although there are some traits which probably derived from the ceramic style of Noua-Coslogeni, an European culture located at the mouth of the Danube.15 It is also significant that the petrographic analysis undertaken on 21 sherds of HBW from the Spartan Menelaion indicates the presence of grog-tempering, a non-Mycenaean manufacturing technique, in those vessels.16 Furthermore, the foreign origin of the HBW is confirmed by the appearance of other cultural innovations in Greece during the same period. The flange-hilted sword (type IIa), which had been created in the Danubian area, was used in Mycenae as well as in Enkomi, a Cypriot city that was occupied by the Mycenaeans, and a new type of spear was also introduced in the Aegean world from other regions of Europe.17
It has been pointed out that some of the archaeological findings related to the Balkanic immigrants appeared in Mycenaean cities that did not suffer destruction during that turbulent period, such as Korakou and Asine.18 As the northern intruders were not numerous, they cannot be considered invaders or conquerors. Therefore, the presence of these foreigners in Greece is different to that of the proto-Phrygians in Gordion, who clearly seized the Anatolian city.
In the light of these data, the newcomers in Greece can be identified as mercenaries and workers employed by the Mycenaeans, who finally settled in the Hellenic lands. This is a very likely solution that was proposed by H. W. Catling and S. Deger-Jalkotzy.19 Small groups of Balkanic immigrants must have carried their own bronze weapons to Mycenaean Greece, where they continued to make and use their characteristic pottery. The northern warriors probably took part in the internal conflicts produced in the Mycenaean world during the second half of the 13th century BC, supporting the involved armies. In fact, the first appearance of the HBW occurred in Tiryns when the citadel was massively fortified.20 It is possible that the Mycenaean Greeks also recruited some mercenaries from northern Greece, together with those who came from Thrace and Macedonia, but this event cannot be equated to the rise of the Dorians, the Hellenic people that gained control of the Peloponnese 100 years later.21
Therefore, the arrival of these small groups from the north, dated between the 13th century and the 12th century BC, is not linked with the legendary Dorian invasion; but it may be identified as the historical background of the Greek myth of Tereus, the Thracian hero who settled in Phocis, seeing that this is one of the Hellenic regions where the handmade pottery has been found.


In the Late Bronze Age, the European Urnfield culture expanded through the Danube Valley and reached the Thracian region of the Rhodope Mountains. The incineration in urns became there very usual, either in flat graves or under stone barrows, but sometimes the Thracians did not use urns and then they practiced the incineration in situ. The pottery made in the Rhodopes was similar to that of north-western Thrace, where both inhumation and incineration burials have been found. The eastern culture of Noua-Coslogeni also extended to the Balkans around 1250 BC, and this is why the ceramic style of some handmade burnished vessels was related to that culture. However, the handmade pottery used in Macedonia during the Late Bronze Age had its immediate origin in the valleys of the rivers Morava, Struma and Vardar; and the mouth of the Vardar (the ancient Axius) is located in the Thermaic Gulf, between Chalcidia and the area of Mount Bermion.22 This was precisely the homeland of the proto-Phrygian people, according to Greek tradition.
It is well known that the highlands of south-eastern Europe were rich in tin and copper, and this fact allowed the development of an advanced bronze metallurgy in the Balkans. From the 14th century BC, the Mycenaean Greeks visited the Thermaic Gulf, where they must have exchanged goods with the indigenous people. The sherds of imported Mycenaean IIIA and IIIB pottery found in Assiros, a site located to the north-west of Chalcidia, have attested those initial contacts. Thereafter the Mycenaean pottery was locally made in that area, side by side with the Balkanic handmade ware. Among the Macedonian sites that produced Mycenaean objects in the 13th century BC there are three (Thermi Toumba, Gona and Perivolati) which have been considered permanent Mycenaean settlements or, at least, Mycenaean trading posts. Yet, the site of Kastanas is also significant for this study. It was situated on a small island in the River Axius, during the Bronze Age, and the archaeological findings include a Mycenaean type of house and many examples of wheelmade Mycenaean pottery, which are dated to the 13th and 12th centuries BC. This pottery coexisted with a more abundant local ware, but only 1% was imported from Greece.23
On this archaeological evidence, it is deduced that the Mycenaean Greeks had established amicable relations with the inhabitants of ancient Mygdonia and the mouth of the River Axius. The presence of Mycenaean merchants and colonists in the northern coast of the Aegean must have produced a great influence in the Balkanic culture. Therefore, it is very plausible that some proto-Phrygian warriors and workers were recruited by the Mycenaeans in the Thermaic Gulf and were translated to southern Greece. The demand for foreign warriors, armed with their own bronze weapons, was surely originated in the second half of the 13th century, when the eastern trading routes became insecure and the Mycenaean kingdoms were probably involved in a war. This conflict, which caused some destruction in the main Hellenic centres, may be related to the legendary enmity between the Thebans and the Argives, seeing that Thebes was one of the cities attacked during that period.24 According to Greek mythology, the siege of Thebes took place a few decades before the Trojan War, as well as the death of Hyllus, a son of Heracles who had led his army from the Theban country to the Peloponnese but was finally defeated.25
The cultural influence that the proto-Phrygians received from the Mycenaean Greeks may be expressed in a Phrygian inscription dated to the 6th century BC. This epigraphic document was found near the Turkish village of Yazilikaya, in the same area occupied by the so-called “City of Midas”. The inscription dedicates a monument, which had been cut out in the rock, to “Midai lavagetaei vanaktei”. According to the analysis by F. De Graaf, the Phrygian royal name Midas (or “Midai”) is followed in this text by two words (“lavagetaei” and “vanaktei”) which derived from the Mycenaean terms ra-wa-ke-ta (lawagetas) and wa-na-ka (wanax). Basing on this evidence, M. Lejeune suggested that the Phrygians could have imitated the political organization of the “pre-Homeric” Greeks, and thus they had adopted those ancient terms which designated the two main authority functions in the Mycenaean society.26
Therefore, the contacts between the proto-Phrygian people and the Mycenaean Greeks are revealed by several archaeological data. The final confirmation, however, can be found in the eastern lands that suffered the major consequences of this association.


The historical events which took place in the Near East around 1200 BC caused the collapse of the Hittite empire. The royal palace of Hattusa was destroyed at the same time as other significant sites of Anatolia and Syria. It is also known that some Hittite tablets of the 13th century BC referred to the people of Ahhiyawa –generally identified with the Achaeans or Mycenaeans– as a powerful enemy who came from the west. According to another tablet from that period, the Hittites had gained control of the island of Cyprus, an important trading centre which was very rich in copper.27 Therefore, the Hittite subjection of Cyprus must have blocked the Mycenaean trade, seeing that there was an unusual lack of Mycenaean pottery in this island during the last decades of the 13th century BC. The reduction of Mycenaean imports was also produced in the neighbouring Asiatic lands, and it caused there the appearance of a new kind of pottery, the so-called “Rude Style”, which was a local imitation of the Mycenaean IIIB style.28
In Greece, the palatial system was probably affected by this situation. As the main Mycenaean kingdoms were involved in some armed conflicts at that time, their demand for metals and warriors may have increased the Mycenaean contacts in the coast of Macedonia. It is even possible that the northern mercenaries travelled to Greece in the same Mycenaean ships which visited their land.
Notwithstanding, the Mycenaean trading route to the east was restored at the beginning of the 12th century BC, after the occupation of Cyprus by the Mycenaean Greeks. They were, in fact, the attackers who destroyed Enkomi and other cities around 1200 BC. The cultural innovations that appeared in the rebuilt cities of Cyprus came mostly from the Aegean, and the sherds of Mycenaean IIIC:1 pottery found in those sites are very numerous. These innovations include some architectural features –such as cyclopean walls, hearths and bathrooms– as well as new bronze objects from Europe, loom weights and anthropomorphic statuettes made of clay. The type IIa sword of Danubian origin was undoubtedly used by the invaders, since a warrior armed with one of those flange-hilted swords was buried in the conquered city of Enkomi. He also used a Mycenaean type of bronze greaves.29
A certain number of Balkanic immigrants may have settled on Cyprus together with the Mycenaean Greeks. Small quantities of handmade burnished vessels have been found in Enkomi and other Mycenaean colonies of Cyprus, thus this pottery was probably introduced by the barbarian allies of the Mycenaeans. The HBW appears in Maa-Palaeokastro, for example, a fortress of Aegean style that was built in the western coast. It is unlikely that the presence of this pottery on the island was due to maritime trade, because a coarse handmade vessel would not be appreciated in the eastern markets.30
The end of the Hittite domination in Cyprus, which was substituted by the Mycenaean occupation of the island, is an important episode of the great crisis of 1200 BC, also known as the crisis of the “Sea Peoples”. The latter expression is based on the inscriptions from the Egyptian temple of Medinet Habu, which recorded the main historical events of the crisis, including the attack on Cyprus (named Alasa by the Egyptians). After the epigraphic study of these inscriptions, H. H. Nelson concluded in 1929 that the eastern Mediterranean crisis was basically a chain of conflicts and migrations, which had their origin in south-eastern Europe and the Aegean lands. He expounded this idea in the following text: “about 1200 BC the tide of invasion from Europe had swept across Asia Minor, broken up the Hittite empire, and spread out over the peninsula. In all this turmoil, elements of the older populations were dislodged from their places; and if they were not caught up by the advancing wave of invasion, they fled before it in search of new homes. Many of these northerners, both newcomers and vanquished, were well acquainted with the sea.”31 Therefore, Nelson deduced that the five Sea Peoples which moved to the Egyptian frontier during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses III were the defeated peoples from Anatolia, expressing clearly his conclusion in this text: “The troubles in Syria recorded under the year 8 and probably under the year 5 had apparently been caused by a mass movement from Asia Minor in which the peoples from the southern part of the peninsula, dislodged from their homes by the newcomers from Europe, had moved southward not only in a military invasion but in a comprehensive migration, with their families and possessions, to seek new homes in the Asiatic provinces of Egypt.”32 As is well known, the Philistines who settled in the southern coast of Canaan, called Peleset by the Egyptians, were included in the coalition of five Sea Peoples.33
N. K. Sandars also explained the arrival of the Sea Peoples in Palestine as the end of a chain reaction. She suggested that these groups moved from Anatolia, Cyprus and northern Syria because they had been harassed by other bands that came mostly from the west. In fact, the Philistines and their allies are represented in the wall reliefs of Medinet Habu as refugees who travelled with their women and children. The inscription on the second pylon states that Kheta (the Hittite land), Kode (Cilicia), Karkemis (a Syrian region), Arzawa (western Anatolia) and Alasa (Cyprus) were attacked and devastated by “foreigners” who had their homeland in “isles” or coastal regions.34
The archaeological evidence from Syria actually shows that this territory was invaded by the European aggressors, like the island of Cyprus. The coastal city of Ugarit was destroyed during the crisis and it was never rebuilt, but the Ugaritic site of Ras Ibn Hani was occupied by a group of newcomers who used Mycenaean IIIC:1 pottery.35 Another example is Tell Kazel, a site located 3.5 km from the shore that has been identified with the ancient Simyra or Sumur, the main centre of the Syrian kingdom of Amurru; Handmade Burnished Ware appeared there at the beginning of the 12th century BC.36 The most significant findings, however, have been excavated in Hamath, not far from the Syrian coast. The cremation cemeteries of Hamath have revealed the arrival of an intrusive group which is clearly related to the European Urnfield culture. The excavators of this site attributed the crematory burials to the migrations that took place at the end of the Bronze Age, since they found there over 1,000 urns of European style. The material culture of the foreigners also includes flange-hilted swords and arched fibulae, the same innovations that were introduced in Cyprus at the date of the crisis.37 Therefore, the origin of these immigrants can be situated in the Balkans, where the cremation in urns was also practiced during the Late Bronze Age. Another exceptional finding is the Mycenaean ship depicted on one of the urns from Hamath,38 which confirms that the proto-Phrygians allied with the Mycenaeans in order to invade the eastern lands, usually controlled by the Hittites. However, it seems that the presence of these Balkanic intruders had not the same permanent consequences in Hamath as in Gordion.
With regard to the Anatolian peninsula, the city of Hattusa was abandoned by its inhabitants around 1200 BC, but the quarter of Büyükkaya, situated in the north-east of the city, was immediately occupied by a less civilized group that came from a northern region of Anatolia. These settlers probably belonged to the tribe of Kaska, whose homeland was located between the Hittite territory and the Black Sea. It is also possible that the Kaska, traditional enemies of Hatti, invaded this country from the north since the Hittite army was weakened by the attacks of the Mycenaeans and the proto-Phrygians. Nevertheless, the Balkanic aggressors must have seized some areas of the Hittite land. In fact, the new population of Hattusa increased during the Early Iron Age, and their material culture became more similar to that of the Phrygians.39
In the coast of Asia Minor, the Cilician city of Tarsus was also attacked during the crisis, and the Mycenaean IIIC:1 pottery was used in the next phase of this site.40 However, the only coastal region of Anatolia in which the archaeological record has attested an early presence of Balkanic immigrants is the Troad.


The city named Troy VIIa was destroyed by fire at the beginning of the Mycenaean IIIC period –which is usually dated to 1200 BC– and its aggressors must have been the Achaeans or Mycenaeans, the same maritime raiders that, according to the main inscription of Medinet Habu, could not be vanquished by the inhabitants of Arzawa (western Anatolia) and other Asiatic lands.41
The end of Troy VIIa, which is comparable to the violent destruction of Enkomi by the Mycenaean Greeks, surely gave rise to the classic myth of the Trojan War. As this ancient tradition recorded, the Achaeans did not occupy the Troad after their victory. On the other hand, some legendary heroes of the Trojan War, like the Arcadian Agapenor and Teucer of Salamis, later settled on Cyprus, the island that was seized by the Mycenaeans.42
The city of Troy was rebuilt and inhabited by the autochthonous population, who continued to make their typical pottery (the Anatolian Grey Ware and the Tan Ware). In this new phase of the city, Troy VIIb, some examples of the ceramic Mycenaean IIIC style have been also excavated, but the most important innovation is the use of handmade burnished pottery. In the first subphase VIIb1, dated to the 12th century BC, the so-called Coarse Ware appeared in Troy, and a second style of barbarian pottery, the Knobbed Ware, was used in the next subphase VIIb2 together with the Coarse Ware and the Trojan wares.43 Most scholars have assumed that these handmade vessels were introduced in the Troad by a foreign people of Balkanic origin, and that the barbarian wares of Troy were also related to the HBW found in Mycenaean Greece and the EIAH pottery used in Gordion during the 11th century BC. For instance, J. B. Rutter pointed out the stylistic affinities of the Coarse Ware with the HBW excavated at the Argolic site of Korakou, both inspired in Thracian prototypes.44 However, E. F. Bloedow has rejected the conclusions of Rutter arguing that the Coarse Ware found in Troy could have a local origin, although he accepts the foreign provenance of the Knobbed Ware.45 Bloedow has followed the initial study by the archaeologist C. W. Blegen, which is probably outdated. Be that as it may, the presence in the Troad of some Balkanic population, during the Early Iron Age, cannot be denied.46
This archaeological evidence confirms the historical basis of the ancient traditions that were compiled by Strabo, relating the settlement of the Phrygians in the north-west of Anatolia after the Trojan War. According to the Greek geographer, the European newcomers had occupied the northern coast of the Troad, from the region of Cyzicus to Practius. This author also reported the ancient presence of Thracians in the Trojan area of Abydus and the settlement of other Thracian tribesmen, named Treres, in a nearby territory. Even the Lydian historian Xanthus related that Scamandrius of Troy, the grandson of Priam, had received the Phrygians in his country.47 Therefore, the Balkanic immigrants may have controlled the Dardanelles Strait after the conflict. On the other hand, the Homeric Iliad recounts that the Phrygians and the Thracians joined the Trojan army during the legendary siege, but this was probably an anachronism that could have been introduced in Greek tradition from the 10th century BC, when the Phrygians must have been regarded as a significant component of the western Anatolian population. However, the role played by the proto-Phrygian people in the destruction of Troy VIIa is not clear. If they did not participated directly in the attack, as mercenaries or allies of the Mycenaeans, they probably took advantage of the Hellenic victory by seizing some Trojan and Mysian territories.
With regard to the Trojans, also called Teucrians (or Teukroi) by the classic authors, Herodotus mentioned the descendants of this people, who continued to live in the Troad during the 5th century BC and were known as Teucrian Gergites. Strabo described the sites occupied by the Gergites, and Xenophon referred to a fortified city in the Troad that was named Gergis.48 However, the Greek legends relative to the migration of Trojan refugees appear to have some historical background, seeing that the name of the Tjeker, one of the Sea Peoples recorded in the inscriptions of Medinet Habu, have been usually read as Teucrians. The main Egyptian inscription reported that a group of Tjeker accompanied those wandering Sea-Peoples who moved southward from the Syrian land of Amurru, where they had previously camped.49 This event can be related to the recent finding of some Anatolian Grey Ware at the Amorite site of Tell Kazel-Symira, a wheelmade pottery that was introduced there during the crisis. The chemical analysis indicates that a few vessels of this style had been made in the Troad but, according to the archaeologist L. Badre, it is possible that other samples were locally produced in Amurru.50


The annals of the Assyrian King Sargon II are dated to the late 8th century BC and, according to this source, the land of Que (Cilicia) had been subdued in that time by the people of Muski, whose king was named Mita. Thereafter, Sargon II defeated Mita and restored the cities of Que to their former status.51 It is generally assumed that the Muski were the same people as the Phrygians, since the name Mita has been equated to Midas. The Assyrians must have confronted the Muski in the Anatolian regions of Cilicia and Cappadocia. In fact, the Phrygian royal name Midas is also recorded in the inscription of Kilisehisar-Tyana,52 which is located between those two lands, and the Cappadocian city of Caesarea (the modern Kayseri) was called Mazaca in earlier times, a name that surely derived from that of the Muski. The people of Mosoch, mentioned in the Bible, can be equally related to the Muski and to the ancient inhabitants of Mazaca.53
However, the first reference to the Muski by the Assyrian annals appeared in the late 12th century BC, when the King Tiglath-Pileser I battled with “20,000 Musku with their five kings, who had held for 50 years the lands Alzu and Purulumzu”.54 These regions were situated to the north of the Assyrian frontier. The annals of Tiglath-Pileser also indicate that the powerful Muski (or Musku) had invaded the land of Katmuhu in that time, but the Assyrian king was able to defeat them. His final victory is expressed in the following text: “I conquered the rebellious and insubmissive Subaru. I imposed the heavy yoke of my dominion upon the lands Alzu and Purulumzu which had abandoned (the practice of paying) tribute and tax […]”.55 The Subaru were the indigenous people of Subartu, a region that extended between Nisibis and the upper Tigris. However, Tiglath-Pileser not only confronted the Muski and the Subaru, during the first year of his reign, but also a force of “4,000 Kasku and Urumu, insubmissive troops of Hatti”, who “had seized by force the cities of the land Subartu”.56 In the light of these texts, it seems that the Kaska (or Kasku) were settled in the area which had been formerly the main Hittite land, and the Muski had occupied other regions that also neighboured the Assyrian territories. The numerous people of Muski may have been a mixture of various Balkanic tribes, seeing that they were ruled by five kings, and the so-called Urumu were possibly a band of Arameans who joined the Kaska.
K. Bartl has studied a material culture of the Early Iron Age that was developed in the upper catchment area of the Euphrates Valley and was characterized by a coarse pottery, usually decorated with simple horizontal incisions. This ware has been also found in other sites that are located near the Lake Van, the Lake Urmia and the River Araxes. Bartl has attributed the use of this incised pottery, which is rather different from the EIAH discovered in Gordion, to the Muski cited in the Assyrian annals, and she has consequently rejected the identification of the Muski with the proto-Phrygians.57 It is very probable, however, that the lands occupied by the Muski from 1165 BC, named Alzu and Purulumzu, were not situated in the area of the upper Euphrates. According to V. Haas, Alzu (or Alshe) was located in the vicinity of the upper Tigris.58 In fact, the area studied by Bartl is the eastern frontier of the ancient Commagene. This region is also cited in the Assyrian annals as Katmuhu and thus it was different to Alzu and Purulumzu. According to the narration by Tiglath-Pileser, the invasion of Katmuhu by the Muski was failed, since they were defeated by the Assyrian army. As the unknown people that used the incised pottery in the upper Euphrates also occupied other sites in the geographic area of Armenia, it is possible that they were related to the pre-Urartian population, or perhaps they are identifiable with the Kaska. On the other hand, the presence of a material culture of Balkanic origin is actually attested at the Syrian sites of Hamath and Tell Kazel, which proves that the proto-Phrygian people had arrived in those distant lands from the west.
In the 5th century BC, Herodotus recorded another people named Moschoi, who were settled to the south-east of the Black Sea. The Moschoi were probably descendants of a group of Muski which moved to the north during the Iron Age. The neighbours of the Moschoi, called Mossynoikoi by Herodotus, must have been a close related tribe, seeing that Xenophon and Apollonius of Rhodes used the only name of Mossynoikoi to designate the inhabitants of the same Pontic area, but they did not mention the Moschoi.59 The buildings made of timber that were inhabited by the Mossynoikoi are called “mossynes” by Apollonius, and Mossynoi was also an alternative name for this people, which can be found in the Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax. The geographer Strabo referred to a mountainous land named Moschike that was situated between Colchis and Armenia, and this territory is related to the modern region of Meskheti in south-western Georgia. Among the Roman authors, Pliny the Elder cited the Moschi and the Moscheni, two peoples settled near the River Cyrus in Armenia, as well as the Mossyni, which are directly identifiable with the Mossynoi or Mossynoikoi.60 All these descendants of the Muski must have evolved in a different way to that of the Phrygians, their ethnic relatives, since they probably received a cultural influence from the eastern tribes of Anatolia.
R. D. Barnett linked the migration of the Muski to the east with the ancient legend of Mopsus.61 According to Greek tradition, Mopsus was a seer who lived in the Lydian region of Colophon. His mother was the Theban prophetess Manto and his father was the King Rhacius of Caria. In other versions of the myth, he was the son of Apollon and Manto. Mopsus joined another seer called Amphilochus, who had taken part in the legendary siege of Troy, and they moved with their numerous followers to the eastern regions of Pamphylia, Cilicia, Syria and the boundary of Phoenicia. Mopsus and Amphilochus founded the cities of Mallus and Mopsouhestia in Cilicia.62 However, the name of this mythical hero is also recorded as Moxus, the founder of Moxoupolis, a city situated between Lycia and southern Phrygia that can be linked with the Phrygian people called Moxianoi, whose name is rather similar to the term Mossynoi.63 Although the homeland of Mopsus was located in Lydia, his story may be related to that of the Thracian Mopsus, who had migrated to western Anatolia from the Balkans.64 It is also possible that Mopsus was an eponymous hero of the people who invaded Asia Minor and northern Syria during the crisis of 1200 BC, which probably were a coalition of Mycenaean Greeks and the proto-Phrygian Muski. In fact, several Mycenaean tombs have been found in south-western Anatolia, including the site of Colophon, and the Hittite tablets relative to the Ahhiyawa corroborate the presence of Mycenaeans in this area during the 13th century BC.65
According to the Greek geographer Pausanias, the father of Mopsus was Rhacius the Cretan, who had colonized the region of Colophon after defeating its Carian inhabitants. As the Hellenic followers of the legendary Manto arrived in the same territory, Rhacius married the Theban heroine, and their son Mopsus finally dislodged the Carians.66 It seems that this epic tale was created to explain the foreign components of the western Anatolian population. The king named Rhacius represents a first presence of Minoan colonists which is attested, for example, in the Carian city of Miletus,67 and the arrival of Manto shows the later Mycenaean settlements. Therefore, the subsequent birth of Mopsus can be interpreted as the appearance of a third ethnic component at the end of the Bronze Age, and the expulsion of the indigenous inhabitants may be linked with the migration of the Anatolic Sea-Peoples to Palestine. With regard to Mopsus the Argonaut, this Hellenic hero was also a seer but his origin was situated in the Thessalian region of the River Titaresius, not far from the homeland of the proto-Phrygian people in Macedonia.68 This Mopsus was the son of Ampycus and Chloris and he appears to be an alter ego of both Mopsus the Thracian and Mopsus the Colophonian, thus his mythical biography may also express the association of the northerners with the Mycenaean Greeks.
M. Astour suggested that Mopsus could have been an ancient god of prophecy.69 However, it cannot be discarded that the existence of a real leader called Mopsus or Moxus gave rise to those ancient legends, seeing that his name was usual in the Late Bronze Age. The Hittite version of Mopsus was Muksus, which appears in a letter written by one of the Hittite kings named Arnuwanda, and some other person was recorded as Mo-qo-so in a Mycenaean tablet.70 In the 8th century BC, the kings who ruled the Cilician land of Adana were proud of being the successors of Mopsus. Two bilingual inscriptions from that period refer to the cited kingdom as the “house of Mopsus” or the “descendance of Mopsus” (Muksas in the Luwian hieroglyphic script, and Mps in Phoenician).71 These denominations can be also linked with the name of Mopsouhestia, the city founded by the mythical Mopsus that was located to the east of Adana, seeing that Mopsouhestia means “Home of Mopsus” in Greek. A. M. Jasink has identified this city with the ancient Pahri (which was attacked by the King Salmanasar III in 837 BC) basing on the identification of the toponym Pahri with Pagrika, a classic Hellenic name for a mound located in the area of Mopsouhestia. This scholar has pointed out that the inscription of Karatepe, one of the bilingual texts found in Cilicia, mentions “the granaries of Pahar”.72 In this inscription, the territory ruled by the descendants of Mopsus is also named the Plain of Adana, a site that was cited in some earlier Hittite sources as Adaniya.73
On this epigraphic evidence, it is deduced that the European invaders who had settled in the Cilician region of Adana and the River Pyramus were finally assimilated by the indigenous population, which continued to speak the Luwian language. However, the foreigners probably established there a new dynasty whose traditional denomination, the House of Mopsus (or Muksas), could have derived from the name of either a historical figure or an ancient deity.74 It is even possible that the terms Muski and Moschoi were based on the name Muksas, due to a linguistic metathesis, as well as Mossynoi and Moxianoi were related to Moxus. Then the Hellenic component of that invasion was properly represented in the traditional legends by the followers of the Argive hero Amphilochus, who accompanied Mopsus.
With regard to the archaeological data, over 800 sherds of Mycenaean IIIC pottery were found in the Cilician site of Tarsus, near Adana. This pottery is very similar to the Mycenaean ware produced in Cyprus during the 12th century BC.75 Although the presence of Balkanic immigrants has been only attested in Syria and Cyprus, to date, this people could have invaded southern Anatolia together with the Mycenaeans and later spread over Syria, southern Cappadocia and the upper Tigris. The participation of the proto-Phrygians in the conquest of Cilicia would explain that, in the late 8th century BC, the King Mita or Midas tried to regain control of this territory.
Turning back to the inscription of Karatepe, the inhabitants of Adana are named Adanawani in Luwian language and Dnnym in the corresponding Phoenician text. Other sources from the 14th and 13th centuries BC refer to the same area as the land of Danuna.76 This denomination appears to be Semitic and it was probably originated in the neighbouring land of Syria. The so-called Denyen were one of the five Sea Peoples defeated by the army of Ramesses III, according to the Egyptian sources, and they are also identifiable with the people of Adana or Danuna.77 The panoply of the Denyen warriors, represented in the wall reliefs of Medinet Habu, is similar to that of the Tjeker and the Peleset, which indicates that these three peoples had their homeland in the coasts of Anatolia. Therefore, a part of the ancient inhabitants of Cilicia also migrated to Canaan, together with the Philistine and Teucrian refugees.
However, the Achaeans or Mycenaeans were usually called Danaoi in the Homeric poems, and this denomination is recorded in an Egyptian inscription from the 14th century BC that referred to Mycenaean Greece as Danaya or Tanaya.78 It is evident that the ethnic name of the Denyen from Cilicia and the name of Danaya are practically identical, but this fact can be due to a cultural influence that extended through the eastern Mediterranean. The Semitic term dan means judge and the Canaanite adon means lord,79 thus a derived name could had been adopted by the Mycenaean elites that dominated the Aegean from the 15th century BC. Furthermore, the Greek tradition recalls the eponymous hero Danaus, a legendary predecessor of the Danaoi who was related in some way to the ancient Hyksos, Asiatic rulers of Egypt. According to this myth, Danaus was the son of Belus –whose name derives from the Semitic Bel or Baal– and he founded a royal dynasty in Argos, the country where he took refuge.80
Therefore, the people called Denyen by the Egyptians were not the Hellenic inhabitants of Danaya, seeing that their homeland was actually located in Cilicia, and the origin of the linguistic connection between those names must be older than the Mycenaean presence in Tarsus, which is dated to the 12th century BC.


The Balkanic ancestors of the Phrygians (called Bryges by the Greek authors) played an important role in the crisis of the near-eastern civilizations, which was produced at the end of the Bronze Age. This people had established trading contacts with the Mycenaean Greeks in the area of the Thermaic Gulf but their participation in the main historical events was initiated in the second half of the 13th century BC, when the Mycenaeans were involved in some internal conflicts. The troubles in Greece probably caused the recruitment of mercenaries and workers in the northern Aegean.
A few decades later, however, this association had a more important consequence, seeing that the proto-Phrygians must have allied with the Mycenaeans in order to invade the Anatolian peninsula, Cyprus and Syria, three regions that were integrated in the Hittite empire. The victory of the European peoples in this campaign produced the restoration of the Mycenaean trading routes in the first half of the 12th century BC, and the massive movement of Balkanic tribesmen to the east was the origin of the Phrygian domination in Asia Minor. The archaeological findings in Hamath, Tell Kazel, Cyprus, Cilicia and Troy show the arrival of the European invaders, although the proto-Phrygians who settled in the area of the River Sangarius did not inhabit the city of Gordion until 1100 BC. This great invasion was the reason why a wave of Anatolic refugees, including the so-called Denyen from Cilicia, sought new homes in Canaan and had to battle against the Egyptians during the last period of the crisis.
The Balkanic immigrants that arrived in eastern Anatolia were known as Muski, the same name that the Assyrians used later to designate the Phrygians. Other descendants of the Muski were called Moschoi, Moschi, Moscheni and Mossyni by the classic authors, but these tribes must have lived apart from their Phrygian relatives during the Early Iron Age. On the other hand, those invaders who had occupied the southern coast of Anatolia were probably assimilated by the indigenous people.
However, the association between the Mycenaeans and the proto-Phrygians produced an additional consequence in Greece, where the settlement of some Balkanic groups is also attested in the archaeological contexts of the 12th century BC. In this case, the foreign intruders were not numerous and they did not arrive as invaders, since their presence must have been accepted by the Mycenaean Greeks.


1 Voigt 2005, 27-31; Sams 2005, 18-21.
2 Homer: Iliad II-III; Xanthus, quoted by Strabo XIV, 5, 29.
3 Herodotus VI, 45; VII, 73; VIII, 138; Strabo VII, 3, 2; XII, 3, 20; XIII, 1, 8.
4 Apollonius of Rhodes IV, 329-330, 468-471; Eugammon of Cyrene, quoted by Proclus: Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta 57 ff.
5 Diodorus Siculus III, 55, 10-11; Apollonius of Rhodes I, 66-67; Strabo XIV, 1, 27; XIV, 4, 3; XIV, 5, 16.
6 Pausanias I, 41, 8; Strabo IX, 3, 13; Apollodorus: Epitome VI, 16.
7 Voigt and Henrickson 2000, 332-333, 341-342; Voigt 2005, 29.
8 De Vries 1990, 371-373.
9 Rutter 1975, 23-24; Harding 1984, 216-217; Bloedow 1985, 161-162, note 1.
10 Wardle 1977, 176 ff.; Deger-Jalkotzy 1977, 50; Kilian 1978, 312-320. It is believed that the Messapians, a tribe that lived in southern Italy during the Iron Age, spoke an Illyrian language.
11 Pilides 1992, 182-183; Pilides 1994, 10 ff.
12 Badre 2006, 82-87, figs. 14, 16, 19.
13 Rutter 1975, 31; Deger-Jalkotzy 1983, 161 ff.; Bankoff and Winter 1984, 6-10; Katintcharov 1989, 85; De Vries 1990, 371-373; Bankoff, Meyer and Stefanovich 1996, 201.
14 Walberg 1976, 186-187; Sandars 1978, 191-193; Small 1990, 9-20; Small 1997, 223-227.
15 Bankoff and Winter 1984, 10-21. These authors explain that the ceramic style of the Morava Valley was locally developed from the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. See also Bankoff, Meyer and Stefanovich 1996, 193-194, and Rutter 1975, 31-32.
16 Whitbread 1992, 297-306.
17 Cowen 1966, 262 ff.; Sandars 1978, 90-95, 98-99; Harding 1984, 138-140; Karageorghis 2000, 260.
18 Rutter 1975, 20-31; Sandars 1978, 191-192.
19 Catling 1968, 103; Deger-Jalkotzy 1977, 75. See also Bankoff, Meyer and Stefanovich 1996, 201-203; these authors have suggested that the foreigners could have been slaves.
20 Kilian and Podzuweit 1981, 170, 180-181; Small 1990, 5, 18.
21 Drews 1988, 207 ff.
22 Gergova 1989, 231-235; Sandars 1978, 84-88, 191-193; Bankoff and Winter 1984, 6, 19-21; Bankoff, Meyer and Stefanovich 1996, 194, 200.
23 Hoddinott 1989, 64; Smit 1989, 176-179; Harding 1984, 237-238, fig. 54.
24 Stubbings 1975, 166-169, 352.
25 See a compilation of these Hellenic myths in Graves 1990, 2: 15-24, 208.
26 De Graaf 1989, 153, 155; Lejeune 1969.
27 Güterbock 1967, 73-81; Güterbock 1983, 133-138.
28 Åström 1973, 122-127; Mellink 1983, 141; Badre 2006, 82; Karageorghis 1965, 231-233.
29 Karageorghis 2000, 256-274; Catling 1955, 21 ff. The tomb of the foreign warrior was found in the building 18 of Enkomi.
30 Pilides 1992, 179-189. This author has deduced that a special group of people among the Mycenaean settlers used the handmade pottery on Cyprus. See also Karageorghis 2000, 256-257.
31 Nelson and Hoelscher 1929, 3.
32 Nelson and Hoelscher 1929, 4. Certainly the main inscription of Medinet Habu can be interpreted in this way, but some of the defeated Sea-Peoples probably had their homeland in western Anatolia and others in southern Anatolia. See Moreu 2003, 112-113.
33 Wainwright 1961, 77-80. This author situated the origin of the Philistines in a southern region of Asia Minor.
34 Sandars 1978, 201; Wilson 1969, 262-263; Breasted 1988, 4: 37-38.
35 Yon 1992, 117-119; Lagarce and Lagarce 1988, 143.
36 Badre 2006, 82-87.
37 Riis 1948, 37 ff.; Wachsmann 2000, 123.
38 Wachsmann 2000, 123, 133. This author argues that the style of the depicted ship from Hamath is Mycenaean, basing on its open rowers’ gallery with vertical stanchions.
39 Glatz and Matthews 2005, 57-58. See also the web-site
40 French 1975, 55-56, 74, note 5; Sandars 1978, 155. See also Stubbings 1975, 355-356.
41 Wilson 1969, 262-263; Moreu 2003, 113, 122. On the date of this destruction, see Mountjoy 1998, 46, 53.
42 These Hellenic myths are compiled in Graves 1990, 2: 324, 330-346, 351.
43 Blegen 1963, 165-170; Hertel 2001, 65-80; Mountjoy 1999, 297-321.
44 De Vries 1990, 371-373; Rutter 1975, 23-24, 32; Mountjoy 1998, 53. The latter author considers that the Coarse Ware of Troy and the Handmade Burnished Ware found in Greece are the same ceramic style.
45 Bloedow 1985, 180, 186-187.
46 Blegen 1963, 167-170; Sandars 1978, 192-193; Koppenhoefer 1997, 295 ff.; Hertel 2001, 65-75.
47 Strabo XIII, 1, 8; Xanthus, quoted by Strabo XIV, 5, 29. Scamandrius was also called Astyanax, a name that means “lord of the city”.
48 Herodotus V, 122; VII, 43; Strabo XIII, 1, 19; Xenophon: Hellenica III, 1, 15-21.
49 Wilson 1969, 262-263.
50 Badre 2006, 87, fig. 17. Small quantities of Anatolian Grey Ware, dated to the Late Bronze Age, have been also found in other Levantine sites and in Cyprus; see Allen 1994, 40-42.
51 Luckenbill 1968, 2: 7-8; Vassileva 2008, 165-168.
52 Barnett 1975b, 420, 425, 434; Bittel 1970, 135-136; Vassileva 2008, 167.
53 Genesis 10, 2; Eusebius: Historia Ecclesiastica IX, 12. See also Barnett 1975b, 421.
54 Grayson 1991, 14. See also Luckenbill 1968, 1: 74.
55 Grayson 1991, 17. See also Luckenbill 1968, 1: 77.
56 Grayson 1991, 17. See also Luckenbill 1968, 1: 77.
57 Bartl 1995, 205-208.
58 Haas 1986, 22. See also Bartl 1995, note 4.
59 Herodotus VII, 78; Xenophon: Anabasis V, 4; V, 5, 1-2; Apollonius of Rhodes II, 378-382, 1000-1030.
60 Pseudo-Scylax, 86-87; Strabo XI, 2, 18; Pliny the Elder VI, 11, 28-29.
61 Barnett 1975b, 441-442.
62 Strabo XIV, 1, 27; XIV, 5, 16; Callinus of Ephesus, quoted by Strabo XIV, 4, 3; Pausanias VII, 3, 1-2.
63 Barnett 1975a, 366; Astour 1965, 56-57. The names Moxeanon and Moxea, related to the Moxianoi, are written on coins from Diocleia and Siocharax in western Phrygia (see Head 1906, plates XXII.7 and XLIV.9) and the so-called Mossyna mountains were located in south-western Phrygia, according to Ramsay 2004, 3.
64 Diodorus Siculus III, 55, 10-11.
65 Bridges 1974, 264-266; Güterbock 1983, 133-138.
66 Pausanias VII, 3, 1-2.
67 Niemeier 1984, 205-215.
68 Apollonius of Rhodes I, 66-67.
69 Astour 1965, 64-65.
70 The Hittite letter is the document KUB XIV 1 + KBo XIX 38, also identified as CTH 147. The Mycenaean tablet is KN X 1497. 71 See the text of the Karatepe inscription (translated by F. Rosenthal) in Pritchard (ed.) 1969, 653-654, and the text of the Çineköy inscription in Tekoglu and Lemaire, 2000. The Phoenician terms used in these inscriptions are BT MPS (house of Mopsus) in the Karatepe bilingual and SPH MPS (descendance of Mopsus) in the Çineköy bilingual.
72 Jasink and Marino 2007, 414; Astour 1965, 38.
73 Jasink and Marino 2007, 412, note 31. The earliest Hittite attestation of Adaniya occurs in the Edict of Telepinu (KUB XI 5 Ro 143), dated to the late 16th century BC. According to Greek tradition, the Cilicians had been called Ypachaioi in the Early Iron Age, a name related to that of the Achaeans; see Herodotus VII, 91.
74 Barnett 1975b, 441-442. This author suggested that the new rulers of Adana were Hellenic but they had made terms with the Phrygian immigrants called Muski.
75 French 1975, 55-56, 74, note 5.
76 Pritchard (ed.) 1969, 653-654; Jasink and Marino 2007, 411, note 29. The Asiatic land of Danuna is mentioned in a letter from El-Amarna (EA 151) that was written by the King Abi-Milku of Tyre in the 14th century BC; see Moran 1992, 238-239.
77 Wilson 1969, 262-263.
78 Haider 1988, 9-15. This inscription is located in the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III, in Kom El-Hetan, and it mentions Mycenae and other Hellenic cities together with Danaya. The personal name Da-na-jo is recorded in the Mycenaean tablet KN Db1324.
79 Astour 1965, 38, 45-46.
80 See a compilation of this myth in Graves 1990, 1: 200-203. According to Greek tradition, Danaus was a descendant of Epaphus, who can be identified with the Pharaoh Apophis of the Hyksos. The legendary brother

of Danaus was Aigyptus. See also Astour 1965, 83, 93.


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