Archaeologists have long hypothesized at what exactly caused the end of the Bronze Age. However, key pieces of evidence seem to be missing, making it impossible to fully paint a picture of what went on leading up to the Battle of Troy and the subsequent civil war. One of these missing pieces is the identity of the mysterious “Sea Peoples” referenced in Egyptian text.
The “Sea Peoples” were described as a powerful society performing raids on Cyprus and Syria. Despite their apparent strength, the “Sea Peoples” have not been identified by archaeologists. However, some scientists believe they have uncovered the identity of the mysterious “Sea Peoples” and ultimately solved the puzzle regarding the Bronze Age’s abrupt end in “World War Zero.”
Luwain Studies reveals that a group of archaeologists allege that entire civilizations of Luwian-speaking kingdoms were wiped out in what is described as “World War Zero.” The “world war” was believed to have included a series of three wars, including the infamous Trojan War. This final battle could have effectively wiped the Luwian kingdoms off the map, as the Mycenaean kings joined together to defeat Troy and sparked a civil war.
The Luwain-speaking kingdoms have long remained a mystery, as very few excavations have taken place in areas that were formerly Luwian territories. Despite little in the way of archaeology, linguists have long been interested in the society as Assyrian written documents contained references to civilization that lived during the Bronze and Early Iron Age in Asia Minor and northern Syria. With little in the way of excavations, the Luwians were all but overlooked when people attempted to piece together what took place at the end of the Bronze Age.
“Yet the Luwians have remained completely unknown archaeologically. They do not appear on any political map of the Aegean Bronze Age, and there are still virtually no prehistorians who would say publicly that the Luwians ever wielded economic and political power.”
It was previously believed that the Luwians had no “economic or political power” and that they were too far dispersed among minor kingdoms to pose a threat. In fact, it was believed previously that Luwian territory was inhabited only by nomadic “horse people” who had no political power.
“It is the assumption that the area was mainly inhabited by semi-nomadic horse peoples. As civilization presupposes an organized society, urban agglomerations and a knowledge of writing, the western neighbors of the Hittites would therefore have been deemed uncivilized. Thus, there was no real need to explore the region. The many extensive and artifact-rich settlement sites, however, show that people have most certainly lived in these places for millennia. The absence of evidence for the existence of a remarkable civilization by no means invalidates the existence of such a thing. We simply do not know enough about the Luwians because there have not been enough large-scale, deep excavations to date.”
However, new evidence suggests that the Luwian kingdoms may have joined together to create a powerful army that could have overpowered the ruling Hittite and Mycenaean kingdoms of the time. In fact, the researchers believe that it was the overlooked Luwians that were the “Sea Peoples” described in Egyptian texts. The group of Luwian researchers have created a hypothesis as to what occurred at the end of the Bronze Age, noting that the Luwian civilization could have not only been a major part in the “World War Zero,” but ultimately the group that sparked the initial war by invading from the sea.
“First, the so-called Sea Peoples’ invasions took place, during which the navy of allied Luwian petty states from the Aegean region advanced to the southeast. The Luwians who had emanated from the eastern shore of the Aegean Sea were then attacked a few years later by allied Greek forces – and this is memorialized in the tradition of the so-called Trojan War. And finally, a civil war – without any external influences – broke out in Greece. This model explains the information transmitted in excavation results, contemporary documents and later traditions.”
The archaeologists studying the Luwian people note that the inclusion of the Luwians into the Bronze Age battles is the only model that aligns fully with excavation results, written documentation and traditions. While not all archaeologists are in agreement that the Luwians are the mysterious “Sea Peoples,” many are supporting the idea that more research needs to be done in the long-neglected western Anatolia. Christoph Bachhuber, a professor at Oxford, says that he is excited to see the research as it will bring more attention to the western Anatolia and potentially provide the ability for an overall better understanding of the area and ancient civilizations that lived there.
What do you think about the idea of a series of battles creating “World War Zero,” which may have been sparked by the Luwian kingdoms’ invasion of the Hittites?
[Image via Shutterstock]