Danaans



According to mythology, the Dananese (also called Denyen) leave Atlantis to settle on the island of Rhodes: the name of the island comes from a Syrian word meaning “snake”. This people worship a goddess named Dana, whose graphic representation is a moon and a snake. But as Cyprus was called Danan by the ancient Egyptians, they could also have settled on this island. The Danean wizards are called Telchines. According to the Greek historian Diodorus, these magicians have the power to heal, change the weather and can also metamorphose as they see fit. Although at present their origin is still unknown, the Dananeans seem to come from the north of the Orontes (Hattay).

Various ancient sources mention the Dananese. In addition to Greece, there are also traces of Egyptian inscriptions dating from Ramses III. The Denyen are in fact, perhaps, the Homeric Danaoi (Daneans), the Irish Tuatha Dé Danann, and the Vedic Danavas. Similarly, it seems possible that the Denyen are Dan’s tribe of the Hebrew tradition. The history of the Dananeans is therefore intimately linked to the invasions of the Sea Peoples of at. It is mainly by the Egyptians that we can find them.

According to the texts of the New Egyptian Empire, the Danuna are considered as the main group of the people of the sea. They are notably known to the Egyptians and the Hittites. In historical sources, they are known by other names, such as Denyen, Danunites, Danaoi, Danaus, Danaids, Dene, etc. The oldest text mentioning them is the letter found in El-Amarna (middle of, letter) , a vassal of the pharaoh Amenhotep IV: the king of the Phoenician city of Tire, Abimilki. It signals the death of the Danuna king and the coronation of his brother, the country remaining in peace. They reappear then during the reign of Ramses III in 1188 (temple of Medinet Habou). A bas-relief depicts the Danuna as a confederation created between the Philistines, Tjeker, Shelelesh, Denyen and Weshesh in order to attack Egypt. The last Egyptian text containing their trace is the “Onomasticon of Amenemope” (, but the text dates from). He mentions the Dene, and Gardiner suggests identifying them with the Danuna, or Danaoi (tribe living in the plains of Argos). As can be seen, the origin of Dananeans is still very uncertain.

After his war against the peoples of the sea, Ramses III emphasizes his victory by texts at the funerary temple of Medinet-Habou. This temple also contains a large relief (ornament of one of the outer walls) detailing a naval battle. Descriptions clearly identify the different tribes of the peoples of the sea, and the attention to detail of Egyptian artists helping, it is easy to recognize each group. The Dananese are the most represented of all peoples. Their faces are shaved, with the characteristic profile of the ancient inhabitants of Greece. Their headdress is a crest: a cap adapted to the skull, held in the head by a headband, and enhanced with erect feathers. The reliefs still represent them as traveling on boats with bow and stern in the shape of a bird’s head, or on carts with full wheels dragged by oxen.

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