Friday, October 07, 2011


image from the Terra satellite
shows the Mediterranean Sea (left)
and portions of the Middle East.
(Hebrew: פלשת Pĕlesheth "land of sojouners") is one of several names for the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the banks of the Jordan River with various adjoining lands. Many different definitions of the region have been used in the past three millennia.

The region in the 9th century BCE. Notice the coastal land of Philistia, from which the name "Palestine" derives. Ancient Egyptian texts call the entire levantine coastal area R-t-n-u (conventionally Retenu), which stretched along the Mediterranean coast in between modern Egypt and Turkey.

It subdivided into three regions. Retenu's southern region (called Djahy) approximates modern Israel with the Palestinian Territories, the central region Lebanon, and the northern region (called Amurru) the Syrian coast as far north as the Orontes River near Turkey.

The term "Palestine" derives from the word Philistine, the name of a non-Semitic ethnic group, who inhabited a smaller area on the southern coast, called Philistia, whose borders approximate the modern Gaza Strip. Philistia encompassed the five cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath. The Egyptian texts of the temple at Medinet Habu, record a people called the P-r-s-t (conventionally Peleset), one of the Sea Peoples who invaded Egypt in Ramesses III's reign. This is considered very likely to be a reference to the Philistines (Hebrew: פלשתי Pĕlishtiy "immigrants"), usually translated as Philistia in English, is used in the Bible to denote they were descendants of Mizraim, one of the sons of Ham who immigrated from Caphtor (Hebrew: כַּפְתּוֹר Kaphtor)  to the the original home of the Philistines, perhaps on the southwest coast of Asia Minor, maybe in Egypt or close by, or more probably on the island of Crete.


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