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The Political Approach to the Classical World 41
overrun the Delta. Among these were the Lycians and the
Tyrsenoi, Tyrrhenians who may later have sailed to Italy
and, settling on the coast of Tuscany, have become the great
Etruscan nation.
These movements, however, were but a foreshadowing of
disaster to come. In about 1200 B.C. a fresh wave of Sea-peoples
rolled down upon Asia Minor. On the Ilian peninsula some of
them met with opposition from the wealthy citizens of Troy,
whose vain resistance gave us the great epic of the Iliad. The
peoples of Asia Minor were swept eastward. The Hittite Empire
crumbled before the flood; Hattusas was destroyed, the Hittites
as a political entity cease to exist. Onward pushed the immi-
grants, some with their families and possessions in bullock-carts,
others skirting the coast in ships. Down into Syria and through
to Palestine they came; Ugarit and Byblos fell, and Egypt
trembled at the news. Who could stay their advance ? Useless
to appeal to the Babylonians for aid, for they were weakened
by internal strife. The last of the Cassite rulers was maintaining
a feeble hold on a part of Babylonia, and Assyria itself was
threatened by the eastward thrust of populations. Harnesses III
saw that the Egyptians alone, with such small allies as they could
muster, must stop the on-coming host. Preparations were
rapidly made; a great force advanced into South Palestine,
and there, in a double battle by sea and land, the invaders were
turned from the gates of Egypt.
Some were dispersed and returned whence they had come.
Some remained in Asia Minor, others in Syria. The Shekelesh.
and the Sherden may have sailed westwards, giving their names
to the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. The Philistines, who appear
among the combatants in the Egyptian battle-scenes wearing
plumed crests on their helmets and sailing in beak-prowed
ships, settled in the coastal plain of Southern Palestine and
formed there a pentarchical State around their five main cities,
Gaza, Askelon, Gath, Ashdod, and Ekron. The displacement of