Southern Gateways of the Levant, Part 2 — Historical Philistia

Trent and Rebekah

Philistia is a rich land, but, in its early history, its population was sporadic at best.  Beginning around the Neolithic period (~8000-4500 BC), very few documented occupations are known, a trend which continued through the Chalcolithic period (~4500-3500 BC).  Most known populations were living on the “fringes” of what is now considered prime land, including the Negev and Judaean Wilderness; though, by the Late Bronze age, the Levant was thoroughly peopled. Egypt often passed through the Philistine gateway to penetrate the Southern Levant, using what is known as the international trunk route, or International Coastal Highway (in time, this would also be called the Way of the Land of the Philistines).  Then, around 1200 BC, Aegean tribes invaded the Nile Delta.  Ramses III repelled them on some level, and the interlopers settled instead in Egypt’s most valuable coastal towns south of Byblos: Gaza and Ashkelon.  These people were known as the…

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