Tjeker

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Ramses III defeating the Sea Peoples (sunken relief at Medinet Habu)

The Tjeker or Tjekker were one of the Sea Peoples. They are known mainly from the Story of Wenamun, and are thought to be the people who developed the port of Dor in Canaan during the 12th century BCE from a small Bronze Age town to a large city. They are also documented earlier, at Medinet Habu, as raiders defeated by Pharaoh Ramesses III of Egypt in years 5, 8, and 12 of his reign.[1]

Origin[edit]

The origins of the Tjeker are uncertain. A possible identity has been suggested with the Teucri, a tribe described by ancient sources as inhabiting northwest Anatolia to the south of Troy.[2][3] However, this has been dismissed as "pure speculation" by Trevor Bryce.[4]

Their name comes from Egyptian tkr or skl, which has been transcribed in other ways, such as Tjekru, Sikil, Djekker,[5] Sical,[6] etc., and has proved difficult to etymologize. As a last resort the early scholars in the field turned to modern names; specifically, Flinders Petrie related the ethnonym to Zakro, the name of a place in eastern Crete.[7] Some modern scholars accept the association.[8]

Settlement at Dor[edit]

The Tjeker may have conquered the city Dor, on the coast of Canaan near modern Haifa, and turned it into a large, well-fortified city (classified as "Dor XII", fl. c. 1150-1050), the center of a Tjeker kingdom that is confirmed archaeologically in the northern Sharon plain. The city was violently destroyed in the mid-11th century BCE, with the conflagration firing the mud bricks red and depositing a huge layer of ash and debris. Ephraim Stern[9] connects the destruction with the contemporary expansion of the Phoenicians, which was checked by the Philistines further south and the Israelites.

The Tjeker are one of the few Sea Peoples for whom a ruler's name is recorded — in the 11th-century papyrus account of Wenamun, an Egyptian priest, the ruler of Dor is given as "Beder".

According to Edward Lipinski,[10] the Sicals (Tjekker) of Dor were seamen or mercenaries, and b3-dỉ-r (Beder) was the title of the local governor, a deputy of the king of Tyre.

No mention of the Tjeker is made after the story of Wenamun.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The campaigns are covered under Sea Peoples and are not repeated here.
  2. ^ The identification of Tjeker and Greek Teukroi, Latinized to Teucri, was first made by Lauth in 1867, and was repeated by François Chabas in his Études sur l’Antiquité Historique d’après les sources égyptiennes et les monuments réputés préhistoriques of 1872, according to the Woudhuizen dissertation.
  3. ^ Sandars Page 170, "The Tjeker."
  4. ^ Bryce, Trevor R.The Kingdom of the Hittites. Oxford University Press, 1998 & 2005. ISBN 978-0-19-924010-4 p.339 [1]
  5. ^ Grabbe, Lester L. Israel in Transition T.& T.Clark Ltd (1 Aug 2008) ISBN 978-0-567-02726-9 p97 [2]
  6. ^ Lipinski, p. 96
  7. ^ James Baikie mentioned it on pp. 166, 187 of his book The Sea-Kings of Crete, 2nd edition (Adam and Charles Black, London, 1913).
  8. ^ Redford, p. 252.
  9. ^ Page 31
  10. ^ Page 96

References[edit]