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Canaan (; Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he, כְּנַעַן – , in
pausa In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and ...
– ; grc-bib, Χανααν – ;The current scholarly edition of the
Greek Old Testament The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Greek language, Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible. It includes several ...
spells the word without any accents, cf. Septuaginta : id est Vetus Testamentum graece iuxta LXX interpretes. 2. ed. / recogn. et emendavit Robert Hanhart. Stuttgart : Dt. Bibelges., 2006 . However, in modern Greek the accentuation is , while the current (28th) scholarly edition of the New Testament has .
ar, كَنْعَانُ – ) was a Semitic-speaking civilization and region in the
Ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗ ...
during the late
2nd millennium BC The 2nd millennium BC spanned the years 2000 BC to 1001 BC. In the Ancient Near East, it marks the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age. The Ancient Near Eastern cultures are well within the historical era: The first half of the m ...
. Canaan had significant geopolitical importance in the
Late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze, the presence of writing in some areas, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second prin ...
Amarna Period The Amarna Period was an era of History of Ancient Egypt, Egyptian history during the later half of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, Eighteenth Dynasty when the royal residence of the pharaoh and his queen was shifted to Akhetaten ('Horizon of the ...
(14th century BC) as the area where the
spheres of interest In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence (SOI) is a spatial region or concept division over which a state or organization has a level of cultural, economic, military or political exclusivity. While there may be a formal al ...
of the Egyptian, Hittite,
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), c. 1550–1260 BC, earlier called Ḫabigalbat in old Babylonian texts, c. 1600 BC; Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyri ...
and
Assyrian Empire Assyrian may refer to: * Assyrian people, the indigenous ethnic group of Mesopotamia. * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire. ** Early Assyrian period, Early Assyrian Period ** Old Assyrian period, Old Assyrian Period ** Middle Assyria ...
s converged or overlapped. Much of present-day knowledge about Canaan stems from
archaeological excavation In archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the scientific study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts, sites, an ...
in this area at sites such as
Tel Hazor Tel Hazor ( he, תל חצור), also Chatsôr ( he, חָצוֹר), translated in LXX as Hasōr ( grc, Άσώρ), identified at Tell Waqqas / Tell Qedah el-Gul ( ar, تل القدح, Tell el-Qedah), is an archaeological Tell (archaeology), tell a ...
,
Tel Megiddo Tel Megiddo ( he, תל מגידו; ar, مجیدو, Tell el-Mutesellim, ''lit.'' "Mound of the Governor"; gr, Μεγιδδώ, Megiddo) is the site of the ancient city of Megiddo, the remains of which form a Tell (archaeology), tell (archaeologi ...
,
En Esur En Esur, also En Esur (; ) or Ein Asawir ( ar, عين الأساور, lit=Spring of the Braceletes) is an ancient site located on the northern Sharon Plain, at the entrance of the Wadi Ara pass leading from the Israeli Coastal Plain, Coastal Plai ...
, and
Gezer Gezer, or Tel Gezer ( he, גֶּזֶר), in ar, تل الجزر – Tell Jezar or Tell el-Jezari is an archaeological site in the foothills of the Judaean Mountains at the border of the Shfela region roughly midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv ...
. The name "Canaan" appears throughout the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek , , 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacredness, sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthologya compilation of ...
, where it corresponds to "the
Levant The Levant () is an approximation, approximate historical geography, historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, which is in use today in archaeology an ...
", in particular to the areas of the Southern Levant that provide the main settings of the narratives of the Bible: the
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of the Southern Levant. Related biblical, religious and historical English terms include the Land of Canaan, the Promised Land, the Holy Land, and Palestine (region), Palesti ...
,
Philistia Philistia (; Koine Greek (Septuagint, LXX): Γῆ τῶν Φυλιστιείμ, romanized: ''gê tôn Phulistieìm''), also known as the Philistine Pentapolis, was a confederation of cities in the Southwest Levant, which included the cities of ...
, and
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, ancient thalassocracy, thalassocratic civilization originating in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily located in modern Lebanon. The territory of the Phoenician city-st ...
, among others. The word ''Canaanites'' serves as an ethnic catch-all term covering various indigenous populations—both settled and nomadic-pastoral groups—throughout the regions of the southern Levant or Canaan. It is by far the most frequently used ethnic term in the Bible. The
Book of Joshua The Book of Joshua ( he, סֵפֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ‎ ', Tiberian: ''Sēp̄er Yŏhōšūaʿ'') is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;
includes Canaanites in a list of nations to exterminate, and scripture elsewhere portrays them as a group which the
Israelites The Israelites (; , , ) were a group of ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes in the ancient Near East who, during the Iron Age, inhabited a part of Canaan. The earliest recorded evidence of a people by the name of Israel ...
had annihilated. Biblical scholar Mark Smith notes that archaeological data suggests "that the Israelite culture largely overlapped with and derived from Canaanite culture... In short, Israelite culture was largely Canaanite in nature." The name "Canaanites" is attested, many centuries later, as the
endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, ''native'' name for a geographical place, group of people, individual person, language or dialect, meaning that it is used inside that particular place, grou ...
of the people later known to the
Ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
from BC as Phoenicians, : "The name 'Canaan' did not entirely drop out of usage in the Iron Age. Throughout the area that we—with the Greek speakers—prefer to call 'Phoenicia', the inhabitants in the first millennium BC called themselves 'Canaanites'. For the area south of Mt. Carmel, however, after the Bronze Age ended references to 'Canaan' as a present phenomenon dwindle almost to nothing (the Hebrew Bible of course makes frequent mention of 'Canaan' and 'Canaanites', but regularly as a land that had become something else, and as a people who had been annihilated)." and after the emigration of some Canaanite-speakers to
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of Ancient Carthage, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in ...
(founded in the 9th century BC), was also used as a self-designation by the
Punics The Punic people, or western Phoenicians, were a Semitic people, Semitic people in the Western Mediterranean who migrated from Tyre, Lebanon, Tyre, Phoenicia to North Africa during the Iron Age, Early Iron Age. In modern scholarship, the term '' ...
(as ) of North Africa during Late Antiquity.


Etymology

The English term "Canaan" (pronounced since , due to the
Great Vowel Shift The Great Vowel Shift was a series of changes in the English phonology, pronunciation of the English language that took place primarily between 1400 and 1700, beginning in southern England and today having influenced effectively all dialects of ...
) comes from the Hebrew (), via the
Koine Greek Koine Greek (; Koine el, ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτος, hē koinè diálektos, the common dialect; ), also known as Hellenistic Greek, common Attic, the Alexandrian dialect, Biblical Greek or New Testament Greek, was the common supra-reg ...
and the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
. It appears as ''Kinâḫna'' ( akk, 𒆳𒆠𒈾𒄴𒈾, ''KURki-na-aḫ-na'') in the
Amarna letters The Amarna letters (; sometimes referred to as the Amarna correspondence or Amarna tablets, and cited with the abbreviation EA, for "El Amarna") are an archive, written on clay tablets, primarily consisting of diplomatic correspondence between t ...
(14th century BC) and several other ancient Egyptian texts. In Greek, it first occurs in the writings of Hecataeus as "" (). It is attested in Phoenician on coins from
Berytus ) or Laodicea in Canaan (2nd century to 64 BCE) , image = St. George's Cathedral, Beirut.jpg , image_size = , alt = , caption = Roman ruins of Berytus, in front of Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in mode ...
dated to the 2nd century BCE. The etymology is uncertain. An early explanation derives the term from the
Semitic root The root (linguistics), roots of verbs and most nouns in the Semitic languages are characterized as a sequence of consonants or "wikt:radical, radicals" (hence the term consonantal root). Such abstract consonantal roots are used in the formation of ...
, "to be low, humble, subjugated". Some scholars have suggested that this implies an original meaning of "lowlands", in contrast with Aram, which would then mean "highlands", whereas others have suggested it meant "the subjugated" as the name of Egypt's province in the Levant, and evolved into the proper name in a similar fashion to Provincia Nostra (the first Roman colony north of the Alps, which became
Provence Provence (, , , , ; oc, Provença or ''Prouvènço'' , ) is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône to the west to the France–Italy border, Italian border ...
). An alternative suggestion, put forward by Ephraim Avigdor Speiser in 1936, derives the term from
Hurrian The Hurrians (; Cuneiform script, cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Ancient Near East, Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language, H ...
, purportedly referring to the colour purple, so that "Canaan" and "
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, ancient thalassocracy, thalassocratic civilization originating in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily located in modern Lebanon. The territory of the Phoenician city-st ...
" would be synonyms ("Land of Purple"). Tablets found in the Hurrian city of
Nuzi Nuzi (or Nuzu; Akkadian language, Akkadian Gasur; modern Yorghan Tepe, Iraq) was an ancient Mesopotamian city southwest of the city of Arrapha (modern Kirkuk), located near the Tigris river. The site consists of one medium-sized multiperiod Tell ...
in the early 20th century appear to use the term as a synonym for red or purple dye, laboriously produced by the
Kassite The Kassites () were people of the ancient Near East, who controlled Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire c. 1531 BC and until c. 1155 BC (Chronology_of_the_ancient_Near_East#Variant_Middle_Bronze_Age_chronologies, short chron ...
rulers of
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Bāḇel'' * syc, ܒܒܠ ''Bāḇel'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bāvel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babi ...
from
murex ''Murex'' is a genus of medium to large sized predatory tropical sea snails. These are carnivore, carnivorous marine (ocean), marine gastropod molluscs in the family Muricidae, commonly called "murexes" or "rock snails".Houart, R.; Gofas, S. (2 ...
molluscs as early as 1600 BC, and on the Mediterranean coast by the Phoenicians from a byproduct of glassmaking. Purple cloth became a renowned Canaanite export commodity which is mentioned in Exodus. The dyes may have been named after their place of origin. The name 'Phoenicia' is connected with the Greek word for "purple", apparently referring to the same product, but it is difficult to state with certainty whether the Greek word came from the name, or vice versa. The purple cloth of Tyre in Phoenicia was well known far and wide and was associated by the Romans with nobility and royalty. However, according to
Robert Drews Robert Drews (born March 26, 1936) is an American historian who is Professor of Classical Studies Emeritus at Vanderbilt University Vanderbilt University (informally Vandy or VU) is a private university, private research university in Nashvill ...
, Speiser's proposal has generally been abandoned.


Archaeology and history


Overview

There are several periodization systems for Canaan. One of them is the following. * Prior to 4500 BC (prehistory –
Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistory, prehistoric period during which Rock (geology), stone was widely used to make tools with an edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted for roughly 3.4 million years, and ended between 4,0 ...
): hunter-gatherer societies slowly giving way to farming and herding societies * 4500–3500 BC (
Chalcolithic The Copper Age, also called the Chalcolithic (; from grc-gre, χαλκός ''khalkós'', "copper" and  ''líthos'', "Rock (geology), stone") or (A)eneolithic (from Latin ''wikt:aeneus, aeneus'' "of copper"), is an list of archaeologi ...
): early metal-working and farming * 3500–2000 BC (Early Bronze): prior to written records in the area * 2000–1550 BC (Middle Bronze):
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign city which serves as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory. They have existed in many parts of the world since the dawn of history, including cities such as ...
s * 1550–1200 BC (Late Bronze): Egyptian hegemony After the Iron Age the periods are named after the various empires that ruled the region:
Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: ''māt Aššur''; syc, ܐܬܘܪ, ʾāthor) was a major ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a terr ...
n, Babylonian,
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Arm ...
,
Hellenistic In Classical antiquity, the Hellenistic period covers the time in History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history after Classical Greece, between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as sig ...
(related to
Greece Greece,, or , romanized: ', officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans, and is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Greece shares land borders with ...
) and
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter ...
. Canaanite culture developed ''in situ'' from multiple waves of migration merging with the earlier Circum-Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex, which in turn developed from a fusion of their ancestral
Natufian The Natufian culture () is a Late Epipaleolithic (Levant), Epipaleolithic archaeological culture of the Levant, dating to around 15,000 to 11,500 years ago. The culture was unusual in that it supported a Sedentism, sedentary or semi-sedentary pop ...
and Harifian cultures with
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is part of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, a Neolithic culture centered in upper Mesopotamia and the Levant, dating to years ago, that is, 8800–6500 BC. It was Type site, typed by British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyo ...
(PPNB) farming cultures, practicing animal domestication, during the 6200 BC climatic crisis which led to the Neolithic Revolution/First Agricultural Revolution in the
Levant The Levant () is an approximation, approximate historical geography, historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, which is in use today in archaeology an ...
. The majority of Canaan is covered by the Eastern Mediterranean conifer–sclerophyllous–broadleaf forests ecoregion.


Chalcolithic (4500–3500)

The first wave of migration, called Ghassulian culture, entered Canaan circa 4500 BC. Genetic analysis has shown the Ghassulians belonged to Y-Halplogroup T1a1a. The end of the Chalcolithic period saw the rise of the urban settlement of 'En Esur on the southern Mediterranean coast.


Early Bronze Age (3500–2000)

By the
Early Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze, the presence of writing in some areas, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second prin ...
other sites had developed, such as
Ebla Ebla (Sumerian language, Sumerian: ''eb₂-la'', ar, إبلا, modern: , Tell Mardikh) was one of the earliest kingdoms in Syria. Its remains constitute a Tell (archaeology), tell located about southwest of Aleppo near the village of Mard ...
(where an East Semitic language, Eblaite, was spoken), which by BC was incorporated into the
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
-based
Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. It was centered in the city of Akkad () and its surrounding region. The empire united Akkadian and Sumerian speakers under one rule ...
of
Sargon the Great Sargon of Akkad (; akk, ''Šarrugi''), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire, known for his conquests of the Sumerian Sumerian city-states, city-states in the 24th to 23rd centuries BC.The date of the re ...
and
Naram-Sin of Akkad Naram-Sin, also transcribed Narām-Sîn or Naram-Suen ( akk, : ''dingir, DNa-ra-am dingir, DSin (mythology), Sîn'', meaning "Beloved of the Moon God Suen, Sîn", the ":Wikt:𒀭, 𒀭" being a silent honorific for "Divine"), was a ruler of the ...
(biblical Accad). Sumerian references to the ''Mar.tu'' ("tent dwellers", later ''Amurru'', i.e.
Amorite The Amorites (; sux, 𒈥𒌅, MAR.TU; Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒀀𒈬𒊒𒌝 or 𒋾𒀉𒉡𒌝/𒊎 ; he, אֱמוֹרִי, 'Ĕmōrī; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic-speaking people ...
) country west of the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia ( ''the land between the rivers'') ...
River date from even earlier than Sargon, at least to the reign of the
Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of ...
ian king,
Enshakushanna Enshakushanna ( sux, , ), or Enshagsagana, En-shag-kush-ana, Enukduanna, En-Shakansha-Ana, En-šakušuana was a king of Uruk around the mid-3rd millennium BC who is named on the '' Sumerian King List'', which states his reign to have been 60 yea ...
of
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka or Warkah, was an ancient city of Sumer (and later of Babylonia) situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern Samawah, Muthanna Governorate, Al ...
, and one tablet credits the early Sumerian king
Lugal-Anne-Mundu Lugal-Anne-Mundu ( sux, , , ca. 24th century BC) was the most important king of the city-state of Adab (city), Adab in Sumer. The ''Sumerian king list'' claims he reigned for 90 years, following the defeat of Mesh-ki-ang-Nanna II, son of Nanni, ...
with holding sway in the region, although this tablet is considered less credible because it was produced centuries later. Amorites at Hazor, Kadesh (Qadesh-on-the-Orontes), and elsewhere in Amurru (Syria) bordered Canaan in the north and northeast. (Ugarit may be included among these Amoritic entities.) The collapse of the Akkadian Empire in 2154 BC saw the arrival of peoples using
Khirbet Kerak Khirbet Kerak ( ar, خربة الكرك , "the ruin of the fortress") or Beth Yerah ( he, בית ירח , "House of the Moon (god)") is a Tell (archaeology), tell (archaeological mound) located on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee in modern ...
ware (pottery), coming originally from the
Zagros Mountains The Zagros Mountains ( ar, جبال زاغروس, translit=Jibal Zaghrus; fa, کوه‌های زاگرس, Kuh hā-ye Zāgros; ku, چیاکانی زاگرۆس, translit=Çiyakani Zagros; Turkish language, Turkish: ''Zagros Dağları''; Luri Lan ...
(in modern
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
) east of the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western A ...
. In addition, DNA analysis revealed that between 2500–1000 BC, populations from the Chalcolithic Zagros and Bronze Age
Caucasus The Caucasus () or Caucasia (), is a region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, mainly comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. The Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus range ...
migrated to the Southern Levant. The first cities in the southern Levant arose during this period. The major sites were 'En Esur and Meggido. These "proto-Canaanites" were in regular contact with the other peoples to their south such as
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia via a land bridg ...
, and to the north
Asia Minor Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
(
Hurrians The Hurrians (; Cuneiform script, cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Ancient Near East, Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language, H ...
,
Hattians The Hattians () were an ancient Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with abou ...
,
Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian peoples, Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara (before 1750 BC), then the Kültepe , Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centere ...
,
Luwians The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of An ...
) and
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
(
Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of ...
, Akkad,
Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: ''māt Aššur''; syc, ܐܬܘܪ, ʾāthor) was a major ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a terr ...
), a trend that continued through the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic) and the Bronze Age (Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostly appl ...
. The end of the period is marked by the abandonment of the cities and a return to lifestyles based on farming villages and semi-nomadic herding, although specialised craft production continued and trade routes remained open. Archaeologically, the Late Bronze Age state of
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
(at Ras Shamra in
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, translit=Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, الجمهورية العربية السورية, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a Western Asian country loc ...
) is considered quintessentially Canaanite, even though its
Ugaritic language Ugaritic () is an extinct Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language, classified by some as a dialect of the Amorite language and so the only known Amorite dialect preserved in writing. It is known through the Ugaritic texts discov ...
does not belong to the Canaanite language group proper. A disputed reference to ''Lord of ga-na-na'' in the Semitic
Ebla tablets The Ebla tablets are a collection of as many as 1,800 complete clay tablet In the Ancient Near East, clay tablets (Akkadian language, Akkadian ) were used as a writing medium, especially for writing in cuneiform, throughout the Bronze Age and ...
(dated 2350 BC) from the archive of Tell Mardikh has been interpreted by some scholars to mention the deity
Dagon Dagon ( he, דָּגוֹן, ''Dāgōn'') or Dagan ( sux, 2= dda-gan, ; phn, 𐤃𐤂𐤍, Dāgān) was a god worshipped in ancient Syria across the middle of the Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historicall ...
by the title "Lord of Canaan" If correct, this would suggest that Eblaites were conscious of Canaan as an entity by 2500 BC. Jonathan Tubb states that the term ''ga-na-na'' "may provide a third-millennium reference to ''Canaanite''", while at the same time stating that the first certain reference is in the 18th century BC. See Ebla-Biblical controversy for further details.


Middle Bronze Age (2000–1550)

Urbanism returned and the region was divided among small city-states, the most important of which seems to have been Hazor. Many aspects of Canaanite material culture now reflected a Mesopotamian influence, and the entire region became more tightly integrated into a vast international trading network. As early as
Naram-Sin of Akkad Naram-Sin, also transcribed Narām-Sîn or Naram-Suen ( akk, : ''dingir, DNa-ra-am dingir, DSin (mythology), Sîn'', meaning "Beloved of the Moon God Suen, Sîn", the ":Wikt:𒀭, 𒀭" being a silent honorific for "Divine"), was a ruler of the ...
's reign ( BC), ''Amurru'' was called one of the "four quarters" surrounding Akkad, along with
Subartu The land of Subartu (Akkadian ''Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri'', Assyrian ''Kur, mât Šubarri'') or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur, Ugaritic 𐎘𐎁𐎗 ṯbr) is mentioned in Bronze Age literature. The name also appears as ''Subari'' ...
/
Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: ''māt Aššur''; syc, ܐܬܘܪ, ʾāthor) was a major ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a terr ...
,
Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of ...
, and
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Elamite cuneiform, Cuneiform Elamite: ; Sumerian language, Sumerian: ; Akkadian language, Akkadian: ; he, עֵילָם ''ʿēlām''; peo, 𐎢𐎺𐎩 ''hūja'') was an ancient civilization centered i ...
. Amorite dynasties also came to dominate in much of Mesopotamia, including in
Larsa Larsa (Sumerian language, Sumerian logogram: UD.UNUGKI, read ''Larsamki''), also referred to as Larancha/Laranchon (Gk. Λαραγχων) by Berossus, Berossos and connected with the biblical Arioch, Ellasar, was an important city-state of anci ...
,
Isin Isin (, modern Arabic language, Arabic: Ishan al-Bahriyat) is an archaeological site in Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate, Iraq. Excavations have shown that it was an important city-state in the past. History of archaeological research Ishan al-Bahri ...
and founding the state of Babylon in 1894 BC. Later on, ''Amurru'' became the Assyrian/Akkadian term for the interior of south as well as for northerly Canaan. At this time the Canaanite area seemed divided between two confederacies, one centred upon Megiddo in the
Jezreel Valley The Jezreel Valley (from the he, עמק יזרעאל, Romanization of Hebrew, translit. ''ʿĒmeq Yīzrəʿēʿl''), or Marj Ibn Amir ( ar, مرج ابن عامر), also known as the Valley of Megiddo, is a large fertile plain and inland valley ...
, the second on the more northerly city of Kadesh on the Orontes River. An Amorite chieftain named
Sumu-abum Sumu-Abum (also Su-abu) was an Amorite The Amorites (; sux, 𒈥𒌅, MAR.TU; Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒀀𒈬𒊒𒌝 or 𒋾𒀉𒉡𒌝/𒊎 ; he, אֱמוֹרִי, 'Ĕmōrī; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic langu ...
founded Babylon as an independent city-state in 1894 BC. One Amorite king of Babylonia,
Hammurabi Hammurabi (Akkadian language, Akkadian: ; ) was the sixth Amorites, Amorite king of the Old Babylonian Empire, reigning from to BC. He was preceded by his father, Sin-Muballit, who abdicated due to failing health. During his reign, he conque ...
(1792–1750 BC), founded the
First Babylonian Empire The Old Babylonian Empire, or First Babylonian Empire, is dated to BC – BC, and comes after the end of Sumerian power with the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a ...
, which lasted only as long as his lifetime. Upon his death the Amorites were driven from Assyria but remained masters of Babylonia until 1595 BC, when they were ejected by the Hittites. The semi-fictional ''
Story of Sinuhe ''The Story of Sinuhe'' (also known as Sanehat) Retrieved November 6, 2018. is considered one of the finest works of ancient Egyptian literature. It is a narrative set in the aftermath of the death of Pharaoh Amenemhat I, founder of the Twelfth ...
'' describes an Egyptian officer, Sinuhe, conducting military activities in the area of "Upper Retjenu" and " Fenekhu" during the reign of
Senusret I Senusret I (Egyptian language, Middle Egyptian: wikt:z-n-wsrt, z-n-wsrt; /suʀ nij ˈwas.ɾiʔ/) also anglicized as Sesostris I and Senwosret I, was the second pharaoh of the Twelfth dynasty of Egypt, Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1971 ...
( BC). The earliest ''bona fide'' Egyptian report of a campaign to "Mentu", "Retjenu" and "Sekmem" (
Shechem Shechem ( ), also spelled Sichem ( ; he, שְׁכֶם, ''Šəḵem''; ; grc, Συχέμ, Sykhém; Samaritan Hebrew: , ), was a Canaan Canaan (; Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he, כְּנַעַן – , in pausa ...
) is the Sebek-khu Stele, dated to the reign of
Senusret III Khakaure Senusret III (also written as Senwosret III or the hellenised form, Sesostris III) was a pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, Egypt. He ruled from 1878 BC to 1839 BC during a time of great power and prosperity, and was the fifth king of the Twelfth ...
( BC). A letter from Mut-bisir to
Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad ( akk, Šamši-Adad; Amorite The Amorites (; sux, 𒈥𒌅, MAR.TU; Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒀀𒈬𒊒𒌝 or 𒋾𒀉𒉡𒌝/𒊎 ; he, אֱמוֹרִי, 'Ĕmōrī; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic la ...
( BC) of the
Old Assyrian Empire The Old Assyrian period was the second stage of Assyrian history, covering the history of the city of Assur from its rise as an independent city-state under Puzur-Ashur I 2025 BC to the foundation of a larger Assyrian territorial state after the ...
(2025–1750 BC) has been translated: "It is in Rahisum that the brigands (habbatum) and the Canaanites (Kinahnum) are situated". It was found in 1973 in the ruins of Mari, an
Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: ''māt Aššur''; syc, ܐܬܘܪ, ʾāthor) was a major ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a terr ...
n outpost at that time in
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, translit=Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, الجمهورية العربية السورية, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a Western Asian country loc ...
. Additional unpublished references to Kinahnum in the Mari letters refer to the same episode. Whether the term Kinahnum refers to people from a specific region or rather people of "foreign origin" has been disputed, such that Robert Drews states that the "first certain cuneiform reference" to Canaan is found on the Alalakh statue of King Idrimi (below). A reference to Ammiya being "in the land of Canaan" is found on the Statue of Idrimi (16th century BC) from
Alalakh Alalakh (''Tell Atchana''; Hittite language, Hittite: Alalaḫ) is an ancient archaeological site approximately northeast of Antakya (historic Antioch) in what is now Turkey's Hatay Province. It flourished, as an urban settlement, in the Middle a ...
in modern Syria. After a popular uprising against his rule, Idrimi was forced into exile with his mother's relatives to seek refuge in "the land of Canaan", where he prepared for an eventual attack to recover his city. The other references in the Alalakh texts are: * AT 154 (unpublished) * AT 181: A list of 'Apiru people with their origins. All are towns, except for Canaan * AT 188: A list of Muskenu people with their origins. All are towns, except for three lands including Canaan * AT 48: A contract with a Canaanite hunter. Around 1650 BC, Canaanites invaded the eastern
Nile delta The Nile Delta ( ar, دلتا النيل, or simply , ) is the River delta, delta formed in Lower Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in ...
, where, known as the
Hyksos Hyksos (; Egyptian language, Egyptian ''wikt:ḥqꜣ, ḥqꜣ(w)-wikt:ḫꜣst, ḫꜣswt'', Egyptological pronunciation: ''hekau khasut'', "ruler(s) of foreign lands") is a term which, in modern Egyptology, designates the kings of the Fifteenth ...
, they became the dominant power. In Egyptian inscriptions, ''Amar'' and ''Amurru'' (
Amorite The Amorites (; sux, 𒈥𒌅, MAR.TU; Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒀀𒈬𒊒𒌝 or 𒋾𒀉𒉡𒌝/𒊎 ; he, אֱמוֹרִי, 'Ĕmōrī; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic-speaking people ...
s) are applied strictly to the more northerly mountain region east of Phoenicia, extending to the Orontes. Archaeological excavations of a number of sites, later identified as Canaanite, show that prosperity of the region reached its apogee during this Middle
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
period, under the leadership of the city of Hazor, at least nominally
tributary A tributary, or affluent, is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the main stem river drain the surrounding drainage b ...
to Egypt for much of the period. In the north, the cities of Yamkhad and
Qatna Qatna (modern: ar, تل المشرفة, Tell al-Mishrifeh) (also Tell Misrife or Tell Mishrifeh) was an ancient city located in Homs Governorate Homs Governorate ( ar, مُحافظة حمص / ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library AssociationLibr ...
were hegemons of important confederacies, and it would appear that biblical Hazor was the chief city of another important
coalition A coalition is a group formed when two or more people or groups temporarily work together to achieve a common goal. The term is most frequently used to denote a formation of power in political or economical spaces. Formation According to ''A Gui ...
in the south.


Late Bronze Age (1550–1200)

In the early Late Bronze Age, Canaanite confederacies centered on Megiddo and Kadesh, before being fully brought into the
Egyptian Empire The New Kingdom, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire, is the period in ancient Egyptian History of Ancient Egypt, history between the sixteenth century BC and the eleventh century BC, covering the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, Eighteenth, Ni ...
and Hittite Empire. Later still, the
Neo-Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire was the fourth and penultimate stage of ancient Assyrian history and the final and greatest phase of Assyria as an independent state. Beginning with the accession of Adad-nirari II in 911 BC, the Neo-Assyrian Empire grew t ...
assimilated the region. According to the Bible, the migrant
ancient Semitic-speaking peoples Ancient Semitic-speaking peoples or Proto-Semitic people were people who lived throughout the ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopota ...
who appear to have settled in the region included (among others) the
Amorites The Amorites (; sux, 𒈥𒌅, MAR.TU; Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒀀𒈬𒊒𒌝 or 𒋾𒀉𒉡𒌝/𒊎 ; he, אֱמוֹרִי, 'Ĕmōrī; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic-speaking people ...
, who had earlier controlled Babylonia. The
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
Hebrew: ''Tān ...
mentions the ''Amorites'' in the '' Table of Peoples'' (
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis (from Greek ; Hebrew: בְּרֵאשִׁית ''Bəreʾšīt'', "In hebeginning") is the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its Hebrew name is the same as its first word, ( "In the beginning") ...
10:16–18a). Evidently, the Amorites played a significant role in the early history of Canaan. In Book of Genesis 14:7 ''f''.,
Book of Joshua The Book of Joshua ( he, סֵפֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ‎ ', Tiberian: ''Sēp̄er Yŏhōšūaʿ'') is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;
10:5 ''f''.,
Book of Deuteronomy Deuteronomy ( grc, Δευτερονόμιον, Deuteronómion, second law) is the fifth and last book of the Torah (in Judaism), where it is called (Hebrew: hbo, , Dəḇārīm, hewords f Moses label=none) and the fifth book of the Chr ...
1:19 ''f''., 27, 44, we find them located in the southern mountain country, while verses such as
Book of Numbers The book of Numbers (from Biblical Greek, Greek Ἀριθμοί, ''Arithmoi''; he, בְּמִדְבַּר, ''Bəmīḏbar'', "In the desert f) is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah. The book ...
21:13, Book of Joshua 9:10, 24:8, 12, etc., tell of two great Amorite kings residing at Heshbon and Ashteroth, east of the Jordan. However, other passages such as Book of Genesis 15:16, 48:22, Book of Joshua 24:15,
Book of Judges The Book of Judges (, ') is the seventh book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. In the narrative of the Hebrew Bible, it covers the time between the conquest described in the Book of Joshua and the establishment of a kingdom i ...
1:34, as well as others regard the name ''Amorite'' as synonymous with "Canaanite"; however "Amorite" is never used for the population on the coast.In the centuries preceding the appearance of the biblical Hebrews, parts of Canaan and southwestern Syria became tributary to the Egyptian
pharaoh Pharaoh (, ; Egyptian language, Egyptian: ''wikt:pr ꜥꜣ, pr ꜥꜣ''; cop, , Pǝrro; Biblical Hebrew: ''Parʿō'') is the vernacular term often used by modern authors for the kings of ancient Egypt who ruled as Monarch, monarchs from th ...
s, although domination by the Egyptians remained sporadic, and not strong enough to prevent frequent local rebellions and inter-city struggles. Other areas such as northern Canaan and northern Syria came to be ruled by the Assyrians during this period. Under
Thutmose III Thutmose III (variously also spelt Tuthmosis or Thothmes), sometimes called Thutmose the Great, was the sixth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Officially, Thutmose III ruled Egypt for almost 54 years and his reign is usually dated from 2 ...
(1479–1426 BC) and
Amenhotep II Amenhotep II (sometimes called ''Amenophis II'' and meaning ''Amun is Satisfied'') was the seventh pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Amenhotep inherited a vast kingdom from his father Thutmose III, and held it by means of a few military ...
(1427–1400 BC), the regular presence of the strong hand of the Egyptian ruler and his armies kept the Amorites and Canaanites sufficiently loyal. Nevertheless, Thutmose III reported a new and troubling element in the population.
Habiru Habiru (sometimes written as Hapiru, and more accurately as ʿApiru, meaning "dusty, dirty"; Sumerian language, Sumerian: 𒊓𒄤, ''sagaz''; Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒄩𒁉𒊒, ''ḫabiru'' or ''ʿaperu'') is a term used in 2nd-millenni ...
or (in Egyptian) 'Apiru, are reported for the first time. These seem to have been mercenaries, brigands, or outlaws, who may have at one time led a settled life, but with bad luck or due to the force of circumstances, contributed a rootless element to the population, prepared to hire themselves to whichever local mayor, king, or princeling would pay for their support. Although Habiru (a Sumerian
ideogram An ideogram or ideograph (from Ancient Greek, Greek "idea" and "to write") is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept, independent of any particular language, and specific words or phrases. Some ideograms are comprehensible onl ...
glossed as "brigand" in Akkadian), and sometimes (an Akkadian word) had been reported in Mesopotamia from the reign of the
Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of ...
ian king,
Shulgi Shulgi ( dŠulgi, formerly read as Dungi) of Ur was the second king of the Third Dynasty of Ur. He reigned for 48 years, from c. 2094 – c. 2046 BC ( Middle Chronology) or possibly c. 2030 – 1982 BC ( Short Chronology). His accomplish ...
of
Ur III The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century Common Era, BC (middle chronology) Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state which some historians c ...
, their appearance in Canaan appears to have been due to the arrival of a new state based in Asia Minor to the north of Assyria and based upon a
Maryannu Maryannu is an ancient word for the caste of chariot A chariot is a type of cart driven by a charioteer, usually using horses to provide rapid motive power. The oldest known chariots have been found in burials of the Sintashta culture in mod ...
aristocracy of horse-drawn
chariot A chariot is a type of cart driven by a charioteer, usually using horses to provide rapid motive power. The oldest known chariots have been found in burials of the Sintashta culture in modern-day Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, dated to c. 2000  ...
eers, associated with the Indo-Aryan rulers of the
Hurrians The Hurrians (; Cuneiform script, cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Ancient Near East, Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language, H ...
, known as
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), c. 1550–1260 BC, earlier called Ḫabigalbat in old Babylonian texts, c. 1600 BC; Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyri ...
. The Habiru seem to have been more a social class than an ethnic group. One analysis shows that the majority were Hurrian, although there were a number of Semites and even some
Kassite The Kassites () were people of the ancient Near East, who controlled Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire c. 1531 BC and until c. 1155 BC (Chronology_of_the_ancient_Near_East#Variant_Middle_Bronze_Age_chronologies, short chron ...
and
Luwian The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia, in present-day Turkey, during the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. They spoke the Luwian language, an Indo-European language of the Anatolian language ...
adventurers amongst their number. The reign of
Amenhotep III Amenhotep III ( egy, jmn-ḥtp(.w), ''Amānəḥūtpū'' , "Amun is Satisfied"; Hellenization, Hellenized as Amenophis III), also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent or Amenhotep the Great, was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, ...
, as a result, was not quite so tranquil for the Asiatic province, as Habiru/'Apiru contributed to greater political instability. It is believed that turbulent chiefs began to seek their opportunities, although as a rule they could not find them without the help of a neighbouring king. The boldest of the disaffected nobles was
Aziru Aziru was the Canaanite ruler of Amurru, modern Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon () or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to ...
, son of
Abdi-Ashirta Abdi-Ashirta (Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒀵𒀀𒅆𒅕𒋫 ''Warad-Ašîrta'' RAD2-A-ši-ir-ta fl. 14th century BC) was the ruler of Amurru kingdom, Amurru who was in conflict with King Rib-Hadda of Byblos. While some contend that Amurru ...
, who endeavoured to extend his power into the plain of
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , map_caption = , ...
. Akizzi, governor of Katna (
Qatna Qatna (modern: ar, تل المشرفة, Tell al-Mishrifeh) (also Tell Misrife or Tell Mishrifeh) was an ancient city located in Homs Governorate Homs Governorate ( ar, مُحافظة حمص / ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library AssociationLibr ...
?) (near
Hamath Hama ( ar, حَمَاة ', ; syr, ܚܡܬ, ħ(ə)mɑθ, lit=fortress; Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew (, or , ), also called Classical Hebrew, is an wikt:archaic, archaic form of the Hebrew language, a language in the Canaanite languages, ...
), reported this to Amenhotep III, who seems to have sought to frustrate Aziru's attempts. In the reign of the next pharaoh,
Akhenaten Akhenaten (pronounced ), also spelled Echnaton, Akhenaton, ( egy, wikt:ꜣḫ-n-jtn, ꜣḫ-n-jtn ''ʾŪḫə-nə-yātəy'', , meaning "Effective for the Aten"), was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh reigning or 1351–1334 BC, the tenth ruler of t ...
(reigned 1352 to 1335 BC) both father and son caused infinite trouble to loyal servants of Egypt like
Rib-Hadda Rib-Hadda (also rendered Rib-Addi, Rib-Addu, Rib-Adda) was king of Byblos during the mid fourteenth century BCE. He is the author of some sixty of the Amarna letters all to Akhenaten. His name is Akkadian in form and may invoke the Northwest S ...
, governor of Gubla (Gebal), by transferring their loyalty from the Egyptian crown to the Hittite Empire under Suppiluliuma I (reigned 1344–1322 BC). Egyptian power in Canaan thus suffered a major setback when the Hittites (or Hat.ti) advanced into Syria in the reign of Amenhotep III, and when they became even more threatening in that of his successor, displacing the Amorites and prompting a resumption of Semitic migration. Abdi-Ashirta and his son Aziru, at first afraid of the Hittites, afterwards made a treaty with their king, and joining with the Hittites, attacked and conquered the districts remaining loyal to Egypt. In vain did Rib-Hadda send touching appeals for aid to the distant Pharaoh, who was far too engaged in his religious innovations to attend to such messages. The Amarna letters tell of the Habiri in northern Syria. Etakkama wrote thus to the Pharaoh: Similarly, Zimrida, king of
Sidon Sidon ( ; he, צִידוֹן, ''Ṣīḏōn'') known locally as Sayda or Saida ( ar, صيدا ''Ṣaydā''), is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate, Lebanon, South Governorate, of which it is the capital, ...
(named 'Siduna'), declared, "All my cities which the king has given into my hand, have come into the hand of the Habiri." The king of
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس ) (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałēm. i ...
,
Abdi-Heba Abdi-Heba (Abdi-Kheba, Abdi-Hepat, or Abdi-Hebat) was a local chieftain of Jerusalem during the Amarna period (mid-1330s BC). Abdi-Heba's name can be translated as "servant of Hebat", a Hurrian goddess. Whether Abdi-Heba was himself of Hurrian de ...
, reported to the Pharaoh: Abdi-heba's principal trouble arose from persons called Iilkili and the sons of Labaya, who are said to have entered into a treasonable league with the Habiri. Apparently this restless warrior found his death at the siege of Gina. All these princes, however, maligned each other in their letters to the Pharaoh, and protested their own innocence of traitorous intentions. Namyawaza, for instance, whom Etakkama (see above) accused of disloyalty, wrote thus to the Pharaoh, Around the beginning of the
New Kingdom New is an adjective referring to something recently made, discovered, or created. New or NEW may refer to: Music * New, singer of K-pop group The Boyz Albums and EPs * ''New'' (album), by Paul McCartney, 2013 * ''New'' (EP), by Regurgitator ...
period, Egypt exerted rule over much of the Levant. Rule remained strong during the Eighteenth Dynasty, but Egypt's rule became precarious during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties.
Ramses II Ramesses II ( egy, wikt:rꜥ-ms-sw, rꜥ-ms-sw ''Rīʿa-məsī-sū'', , meaning "Ra is the one who bore him"; ), commonly known as Ramesses the Great, was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Along with Thutmose III he is oft ...
was able to maintain control over it in the stalemated battle against the Hittites at Kadesh in 1275 BC, but soon thereafter, the Hittites successfully took over the northern Levant (Syria and Amurru). Ramses II, obsessed with his own building projects while neglecting Asiatic contacts, allowed control over the region to continue dwindling. During the reign of his successor
Merneptah Merneptah or Merenptah (reigned July or August 1213 BC – May 2, 1203 BC) was the fourth pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. He ruled Egypt for almost ten years, from late July or early August 1213 BC until his death on May 2, ...
, the
Merneptah Stele The Merneptah Stele, also known as the Israel Stele or the Victory Stele of Merneptah, is an inscription by Merneptah Merneptah or Merenptah (reigned July or August 1213 BC – May 2, 1203 BC) was the fourth pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty ...
was issued which claimed to have destroyed various sites in the southern Levant, including a people known as "Israel". However, archaeological findings show no destruction at any of the sites mentioned in the Merneptah Stele and so it is considered to be an exercise in propaganda, and the campaign most likely avoided the central highlands in the southern Levant. Egypt’s withdrawal from the southern Levant was a protracted process lasting some one hundred years beginning in the late 13th century BCE and ending close to the end of the 12th century BCE. The reason for the Egypt's withdrawal was most likely a product of the political turmoil in Egypt proper rather than the invasion by the
Sea Peoples The Sea Peoples are a hypothesized seafaring confederation that attacked ancient Egypt and other regions in the Eastern Mediterranean, East Mediterranean prior to and during the Late Bronze Age collapse (1200–900 Common Era, BCE).. Quote: ...
as there is little evidence that the Sea Peoples caused much destruction ca. 1200 BCE. Many Egyptian garrisons or sites with an “Egyptian governor’s residence” in the southern Levant were abandoned without destruction including Dier el-Balah,
Ashkelon Ashkelon or Ashqelon (; Hebrew language, Hebrew: , , ; Philistine language, Philistine: ), also known as Ascalon (; Ancient Greek: , ; Arabic: , ), is a coastal city in the Southern District (Israel), Southern District of Israel on the Medite ...
, Tel Mor, Tell el-Far'ah (South), Tel Gerisa, Tell Jemmeh, Tel Masos, and Qubur el-Walaydah. Not all Egyptian sites in the southern Levant were abandoned without destruction. The Egyptian garrison at Aphek was destroyed, likely in an act of warfare at the end of the 13th century. The Egyptian gate complex uncovered at
Jaffa Jaffa, in Hebrew Yafo ( he, יָפוֹ, ) and in Arabic Yafa ( ar, يَافَا) and also called Japho or Joppa, the southern and oldest part of Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv-Yafo, is an ancient port city in Israel. Jaffa is known for its association w ...
was destroyed at the end of the 12th century between 1134-1115 based on C14 dates, while
Beth-Shean Beit She'an ( he, בֵּית שְׁאָן '), also Beth-shean, formerly Beisan ( ar, بيسان ), is a town in the Northern District (Israel), Northern District of Israel. The town lies at the Beit She'an Valley about 120 m (394 feet) below se ...
was partially though not completely destroyed, possibly by an earthquake, in the mid-12th century.


Amarna letters

References to Canaanites are also found throughout the Amarna letters of Pharaoh
Akhenaten Akhenaten (pronounced ), also spelled Echnaton, Akhenaton, ( egy, wikt:ꜣḫ-n-jtn, ꜣḫ-n-jtn ''ʾŪḫə-nə-yātəy'', , meaning "Effective for the Aten"), was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh reigning or 1351–1334 BC, the tenth ruler of t ...
BC. In these letters, some of which were sent by governors and princes of Canaan to their Egyptian overlord
Akhenaten Akhenaten (pronounced ), also spelled Echnaton, Akhenaton, ( egy, wikt:ꜣḫ-n-jtn, ꜣḫ-n-jtn ''ʾŪḫə-nə-yātəy'', , meaning "Effective for the Aten"), was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh reigning or 1351–1334 BC, the tenth ruler of t ...
(Amenhotep IV) in the 14th century BC, are found, beside ''Amar'' and ''Amurru'' (
Amorites The Amorites (; sux, 𒈥𒌅, MAR.TU; Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒀀𒈬𒊒𒌝 or 𒋾𒀉𒉡𒌝/𒊎 ; he, אֱמוֹרִי, 'Ĕmōrī; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic-speaking people ...
), the two forms ''Kinahhi'' and ''Kinahni'', corresponding to ''Kena'' and ''Kena'an'' respectively, and including Syria in its widest extent, as
Eduard Meyer Eduard Meyer (25 January 1855 – 31 August 1930) was a German historian A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrativ ...
has shown. The letters are written in the official and diplomatic
East Semitic The East Semitic languages are one of three divisions of the Semitic languages The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They are spoken by more than 330 million people across much of West Asia, the Horn of Afric ...
Akkadian language Akkadian (, Akkadian: )John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages''. Ed. Roger D. Woodard (2004, Cambridge) Pages 218-280 is an Extinct language, extinct East Se ...
of
Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: ''māt Aššur''; syc, ܐܬܘܪ, ʾāthor) was a major ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a terr ...
and
Babylonia Babylonia (; Akkadian: , ''māt Akkadī'') was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in the city of Babylon in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and parts of Syria). It emerged as an Amorites, Amorite-ruled ...
, though "Canaanitish" words and idioms are also in evidence. The known references are: * EA 8: Letter from Burna-Buriash II to
Akhenaten Akhenaten (pronounced ), also spelled Echnaton, Akhenaton, ( egy, wikt:ꜣḫ-n-jtn, ꜣḫ-n-jtn ''ʾŪḫə-nə-yātəy'', , meaning "Effective for the Aten"), was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh reigning or 1351–1334 BC, the tenth ruler of t ...
, explaining that his merchants "were detained in Canaan for business matters", robbed and killed "in Hinnatuna of the land of Canaan" by the rulers of
Acre The acre is a Unit of measurement, unit of land area used in the Imperial units, imperial and United States customary units#Units of area, US customary systems. It is traditionally defined as the area of one Chain (unit), chain by one furlong ( ...
and Shamhuna, and asks for compensation because "Canaan is your country" * EA 9: Letter from Burna-Buriash II to
Tutankhamun Tutankhamun (, egy, wikt:twt-ꜥnḫ-jmn, twt-ꜥnḫ-jmn), Egyptological pronunciation Tutankhamen () (), sometimes referred to as King Tut, was an ancient Egypt, Egyptian pharaoh who was the last of his royal family to rule during the end ...
, "all the Canaanites wrote to Kurigalzu saying 'come to the border of the country so we can revolt and be allied with you'" * EA 30: Letter from
Tushratta Tushratta (Akkadian language, Akkadian: and ) was a king of Mitanni, c. 1358–1335 BCE, at the end of the reign of Amenhotep III and throughout the reign of Akhenaten. He was the son of Shuttarna II. Tushratta stated that he was the grandson of ...
: "To the kings of Canaan... Provide y messengerwith safe entry into Egypt" * EA 109: Letter of
Rib-Hadda Rib-Hadda (also rendered Rib-Addi, Rib-Addu, Rib-Adda) was king of Byblos during the mid fourteenth century BCE. He is the author of some sixty of the Amarna letters all to Akhenaten. His name is Akkadian in form and may invoke the Northwest S ...
: "Previously, on seeing a man from Egypt, the kings of Canaan fled before him, but now the sons of
Abdi-Ashirta Abdi-Ashirta (Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒀵𒀀𒅆𒅕𒋫 ''Warad-Ašîrta'' RAD2-A-ši-ir-ta fl. 14th century BC) was the ruler of Amurru kingdom, Amurru who was in conflict with King Rib-Hadda of Byblos. While some contend that Amurru ...
make men from Egypt prowl about like dogs" * EA 110: Letter of
Rib-Hadda Rib-Hadda (also rendered Rib-Addi, Rib-Addu, Rib-Adda) was king of Byblos during the mid fourteenth century BCE. He is the author of some sixty of the Amarna letters all to Akhenaten. His name is Akkadian in form and may invoke the Northwest S ...
: "No ship of the army is to leave Canaan" * EA 131: Letter of
Rib-Hadda Rib-Hadda (also rendered Rib-Addi, Rib-Addu, Rib-Adda) was king of Byblos during the mid fourteenth century BCE. He is the author of some sixty of the Amarna letters all to Akhenaten. His name is Akkadian in form and may invoke the Northwest S ...
: "If he does not send archers, they will take yblosand all the other cities, and the lands of Canaan will not belong to the king. May the king ask Yanhamu about these matters." * EA 137: Letter of
Rib-Hadda Rib-Hadda (also rendered Rib-Addi, Rib-Addu, Rib-Adda) was king of Byblos during the mid fourteenth century BCE. He is the author of some sixty of the Amarna letters all to Akhenaten. His name is Akkadian in form and may invoke the Northwest S ...
: "If the king neglects
Byblos Byblos ( ; gr, Βύβλος), also known as Jbeil or Jubayl ( ar, جُبَيْل, Jubayl, Lebanese Arabic, locally ; phn, 𐤂𐤁𐤋, , probably ), is a city in the Keserwan-Jbeil Governorate of Lebanon. It is believed to have been first occ ...
, of all the cities of Canaan not one will be his" * EA 367: "Hani son (of) Mairēya, "chief of the stable" of the king in Canaan" * EA 162: Letter to
Aziru Aziru was the Canaanite ruler of Amurru, modern Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon () or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to ...
: "You yourself know that the king does not want to go against all of Canaan when he rages" * EA 148: Letter from Abimilku to the Pharaoh: " he kinghas taken over the land of the king for the 'Apiru. May the king ask his commissioner, who is familiar with Canaan" * EA 151: Letter from Abimilku to the Pharaoh: "The king, my lord wrote to me: 'write to me what you have heard from Canaan'." Abimilku describes in response what has happened in eastern
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian: ''klkyʾy'' (''Klikiyā''); Parthian language, Parthian: ''kylkyʾ'' (''Kilikiyā''); tr, Kilikya). is a geographical region in southern Anatolia in Turkey, extending inland from th ...
( Danuna), the northern coast of Syria (
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
), in Syria ( Qadesh, Amurru, and
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , map_caption = , ...
) as well as in
Sidon Sidon ( ; he, צִידוֹן, ''Ṣīḏōn'') known locally as Sayda or Saida ( ar, صيدا ''Ṣaydā''), is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate, Lebanon, South Governorate, of which it is the capital, ...
.


Other Late Bronze Age mentions

Text RS 20.182 from
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
is a copy of a letter of the king of Ugarit to
Ramesses II Ramesses II ( egy, wikt:rꜥ-ms-sw, rꜥ-ms-sw ''Rīʿa-məsī-sū'', , meaning "Ra is the one who bore him"; ), commonly known as Ramesses the Great, was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Along with Thutmose III he is oft ...
concerning money paid by "the sons of the land of Ugarit" to the "foreman of the sons of the land of Canaan (''*kn'ny'')" According to Jonathan Tubb, this suggests that the people of Ugarit, contrary to much modern opinion, considered themselves to be non-Canaanite. The other Ugarit reference, KTU 4.96, shows a list of traders assigned to royal estates, of which one of the estates had three Ugaritans, an Ashdadite, an Egyptian and a Canaanite.


=Ashur tablets

= A Middle
Assyrian Assyrian may refer to: * Assyrian people Assyrians are an Indigenous peoples, indigenous ethnic group native to Assyrian homeland, Assyria in Western Asia, West Asia. Modern Assyrians Assyrian continuity, descend from their Assyria, ancient cou ...
letter during the reign of
Shalmaneser I Shalmaneser I (𒁹𒀭𒁲𒈠𒉡𒊕 md''sál-ma-nu-SAG'' ''Salmanu-ašared''; 1273–1244 BC or 1265–1235 BC) was a king of Assyria during the Middle Assyrian Empire. Son of Adad-nirari I, he succeeded his father as king in 1265 BC. Accord ...
includes a reference to the "travel to Canaan" of an Assyrian official.


=Hattusa letters

= Four references are known from Hattusa: * An evocation to the Cedar Gods: Includes reference to Canaan alongside Sidon, Tyre and possibly Amurru * KBo XXVIII 1:
Ramesses II Ramesses II ( egy, wikt:rꜥ-ms-sw, rꜥ-ms-sw ''Rīʿa-məsī-sū'', , meaning "Ra is the one who bore him"; ), commonly known as Ramesses the Great, was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Along with Thutmose III he is oft ...
letter to
Hattusili III Ḫattušili (''Ḫattušiliš'' in the inflected nominative case) was the regnal name of three Hittite kings: *Hattusili I, Ḫattušili I (Labarna II) *Hattusili II, Ḫattušili II *Hattusili III, Ḫattušili III It was also the name of two Neo ...
, in which Ramesses suggested he would meet "his brother" in Canaan and bring him to Egypt * KUB III 57 (also KUB III 37 + KBo I 17): Broken text which may refer to Canaan as an Egyptian sub-district * KBo I 15+19:
Ramesses II Ramesses II ( egy, wikt:rꜥ-ms-sw, rꜥ-ms-sw ''Rīʿa-məsī-sū'', , meaning "Ra is the one who bore him"; ), commonly known as Ramesses the Great, was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Along with Thutmose III he is oft ...
letter to
Hattusili III Ḫattušili (''Ḫattušiliš'' in the inflected nominative case) was the regnal name of three Hittite kings: *Hattusili I, Ḫattušili I (Labarna II) *Hattusili II, Ḫattušili II *Hattusili III, Ḫattušili III It was also the name of two Neo ...
, describing Ramesses' visit to the "land of Canaan on his way to Kinza and Harita


Bronze Age collapse

Ann Killebrew has shown that cities such as
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس ) (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałēm. i ...
were large and important walled settlements in the pre-Israelite Middle Bronze IIB and the Israelite Iron Age IIC period ( and BC), but that during the intervening Late Bronze (LB) and
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic) and the Bronze Age (Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostly appl ...
I and IIA/B Ages sites like
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس ) (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałēm. i ...
were small and relatively insignificant and unfortified towns. Just after the Amarna period, a new problem arose which was to trouble the Egyptian control of southern Canaan (the rest of the region now being under Assyrian control). Pharaoh Horemhab campaigned against
Shasu The Shasu ( from Egyptian ''šꜣsw'', probably pronounced ''Shaswe'') were Semitic-speaking cattle nomads in the Southern Levant from the late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 ...
(Egyptian = "wanderers") living in
nomadic pastoralist Nomadic pastoralism is a form of pastoralism in which livestock are herding, herded in order to seek for fresh pastures on which to Grazing, graze. True nomads follow an irregular pattern of movement, in contrast with transhumance, where seasonal ...
tribes, who had moved across the
Jordan River The Jordan River or River Jordan ( ar, نَهْر الْأُرْدُنّ, ''Nahr al-ʾUrdunn'', he, נְהַר הַיַּרְדֵּן, ''Nəhar hayYardēn''; syc, ܢܗܪܐ ܕܝܘܪܕܢܢ ''Nahrāʾ Yurdnan''), also known as ''Nahr Al-Shariea ...
to threaten Egyptian trade through
Galilee Galilee (; he, הַגָּלִיל, hagGālīl; ar, الجليل, al-jalīl) is a region located in northern Israel and southern Lebanon. Galilee traditionally refers to the mountainous part, divided into Upper Galilee (, ; , ) and Lower Galile ...
and Jezreel.
Seti I Menmaatre Seti I (or Sethos I in Greek language, Greek) was the second pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt during the New Kingdom of Egypt, New Kingdom period, ruling c.1294 or 1290 BC to 1279 BC. He was the son of Ramesses I and Sitre, a ...
( BC) is said to have conquered these Shasu, Semitic-speaking nomads living just south and east of the
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יַם הַמֶּלַח, ''Yam hamMelaḥ''; ar, اَلْبَحْرُ الْمَيْتُ, ''Āl-Baḥrū l-Maytū''), also known by other names, is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel Israel (; ...
, from the fortress of Taru (Shtir?) to "''Ka-n-'-na''". After the near collapse of the
Battle of Kadesh The Battle of Kadesh or Battle of Qadesh took place between the forces of the New Kingdom of Egypt under Ramesses II and the Hittites, Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh (Syria), Kadesh on the Orontes River, just upstream o ...
,
Rameses II Ramesses II ( egy, wikt:rꜥ-ms-sw, rꜥ-ms-sw ''Rīʿa-məsī-sū'', , meaning "Ra is the one who bore him"; ), commonly known as Ramesses the Great, was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Along with Thutmose III he is oft ...
had to campaign vigorously in Canaan to maintain Egyptian power. Egyptian forces penetrated into
Moab Moab ''Mōáb''; Akkadian language, Assyrian: 𒈬𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Mu'abâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Ma'bâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒀊 ''Ma'ab''; Egyptian language, Egyptian: 𓈗𓇋𓃀𓅱𓈉 ''Mū'ībū'', name=, group= () is the name of an a ...
and
Ammon Ammon (Ammonite language, Ammonite: 𐤏𐤌𐤍 ''ʻAmān''; he, עַמּוֹן ''ʻAmmōn''; ar, عمّون, ʻAmmūn) was an ancient Semitic languages, Semitic-speaking nation occupying the east of the Jordan River, between the torren ...
, where a permanent fortress garrison (called simply "Rameses") was established. Some believe the "
Habiru Habiru (sometimes written as Hapiru, and more accurately as ʿApiru, meaning "dusty, dirty"; Sumerian language, Sumerian: 𒊓𒄤, ''sagaz''; Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒄩𒁉𒊒, ''ḫabiru'' or ''ʿaperu'') is a term used in 2nd-millenni ...
" signified generally all the nomadic tribes known as "Hebrews", and particularly the early
Israelites The Israelites (; , , ) were a group of ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes in the ancient Near East who, during the Iron Age, inhabited a part of Canaan. The earliest recorded evidence of a people by the name of Israel ...
of the period of the " judges", who sought to appropriate the fertile region for themselves. However, the term was rarely used to describe the Shasu. Whether the term may also include other related ancient Semitic-speaking peoples such as the
Moab Moab ''Mōáb''; Akkadian language, Assyrian: 𒈬𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Mu'abâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Ma'bâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒀊 ''Ma'ab''; Egyptian language, Egyptian: 𓈗𓇋𓃀𓅱𓈉 ''Mū'ībū'', name=, group= () is the name of an a ...
ites,
Ammon Ammon (Ammonite language, Ammonite: 𐤏𐤌𐤍 ''ʻAmān''; he, עַמּוֹן ''ʻAmmōn''; ar, عمّون, ʻAmmūn) was an ancient Semitic languages, Semitic-speaking nation occupying the east of the Jordan River, between the torren ...
ites and
Edom Edom (; Edomite: ; he, אֱדוֹם , lit.: "red"; Akkadian: , ; Ancient Egyptian: ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan, located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west, and the Arabian Desert The Arabian Dese ...
ites is uncertain. There is little evidence that any major city or settlement in the southern Levant was destroyed around 1200 BCE. At
Lachish Lachish ( he, לכיש; grc, Λαχίς; la, Lachis) was an ancient Canaanite languages, Canaanite and Israelites, Israelite city in the Shfela, Shephelah ("lowlands of Judea") region of Israel, on the South bank of the Lakhish River, mention ...
, The Fosse Temple III was ritually terminated while a house in Area S appears to have burned in a house fire as the most severe evidence of burning was next to two ovens while no other part of the city had evidence of burning. After this though the city was rebuilt in a grander fashion than before. For Megiddo, most parts of the city did not have any signs of damage and it is only possible that the palace in Area AA might have been destroyed though this is not certain. While the monumental structures at Hazor were indeed destroyed, this destruction was in the mid-13th century BCE long before the end of the Late Bronze Age began. However, many sites were not burned to the ground around 1200 BCE including:
Ashkelon Ashkelon or Ashqelon (; Hebrew language, Hebrew: , , ; Philistine language, Philistine: ), also known as Ascalon (; Ancient Greek: , ; Arabic: , ), is a coastal city in the Southern District (Israel), Southern District of Israel on the Medite ...
,
Ashdod Ashdod ( he, ''ʾašdōḏ''; ar, أسدود or إسدود ''ʾisdūd'' or ''ʾasdūd'' ; Philistine language, Philistine: 𐤀𐤔𐤃𐤃 *''ʾašdūd'') is the List of Israeli cities, sixth-largest city in Israel. Located in the country's So ...
,
Tell es-Safi Tell es-Safi ( ar, تل الصافي, Tall aṣ-Ṣāfī, "White hill"; he, תל צפית, ''Tel Tzafit'') was an Arab Palestinian village, located on the southern banks of Wadi 'Ajjur, northwest of Hebron Hebron ( ar, الخليل or ; ...
, Tel Batash, Tel Burna,
Tel Dor Tel Dor ( he, דוֹר or , meaning "generation", "habitation") or Tell el-Burj, also Khirbet el-Burj in Arabic Arabic (, ' ; , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: a ...
, Tel Gerisa, Tell Jemmeh, Khirbet Rabud, Tel Zeror, and Tell Abu Hawam among others. Despite many theories which claim that trade relations broke down after 1200 BCE in the southern Levant, there is ample evidence that trade with other regions continued after the end of the Late Bronze Age in the Southern Levant. Archaeologist Jesse Millek has shown that while the common assuption is that trade in Cypriot and Mycenaean pottery ended around 1200 BCE, trade in Cypriot pottery actually largely came to an end at 1300, while for
Mycenaean pottery Mycenaean pottery is the pottery tradition associated with the Mycenaean Greece, Mycenaean period in Ancient Greece. It encompassed a variety of styles and forms including the stirrup jar. The term "Mycenaean" comes from the site Mycenae, and was ...
, this trade ended at 1250 BCE, and destruction around 1200 BCE could not have affected either pattern of international trade since it ended before the end of the Late Bronze Age. He has also demonstrated that trade with
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia via a land bridg ...
continued after 1200 BCE. Archaeometallurgical studies performed by various teams have also shown that trade in
tin Tin is a chemical element with the Chemical symbol, symbol Sn (from la, :la:Stannum, stannum) and atomic number 50. Tin is a silvery-coloured metal. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand wit ...
, a non-local metal necessary to make
bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (including aluminium, manganese, nickel, or zinc) and sometimes non-metals, such as phosphorus, or metalloids such ...
, did not stop or decrease after 1200 BCE, even though the closest source of the metal were modern Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, or perhaps even Cornwall, England.
Lead Lead is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Pb (from the Latin ) and atomic number 82. It is a heavy metals, heavy metal that is density, denser than most common materials. Lead is Mohs scale of mineral hardness#Intermediate ...
from
Sardinia Sardinia ( ; it, Sardegna, label=Italian language, Italian, Corsican language, Corsican and Tabarchino ; sc, Sardigna , sdc, Sardhigna; french: Sardaigne; sdn, Saldigna; ca, Sardenya, label=Algherese dialect, Algherese and Catalan languag ...
was still being imported to the southern Levant after 1200 BCE during the early Iron Age.


Iron Age

By the
Early Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic) and the Bronze Age (Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostly appl ...
, the southern Levant came to be dominated by the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, besides the
Philistine The Philistines ( he, פְּלִשְׁתִּים, Pəlīštīm; Koine Greek Koine Greek (; Koine el, ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτος, hē koinè diálektos, the common dialect; ), also known as Hellenistic Greek, common Attic, the ...
city-states on the Mediterranean coast, and the kingdoms of
Moab Moab ''Mōáb''; Akkadian language, Assyrian: 𒈬𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Mu'abâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Ma'bâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒀊 ''Ma'ab''; Egyptian language, Egyptian: 𓈗𓇋𓃀𓅱𓈉 ''Mū'ībū'', name=, group= () is the name of an a ...
,
Ammon Ammon (Ammonite language, Ammonite: 𐤏𐤌𐤍 ''ʻAmān''; he, עַמּוֹן ''ʻAmmōn''; ar, عمّون, ʻAmmūn) was an ancient Semitic languages, Semitic-speaking nation occupying the east of the Jordan River, between the torren ...
, and
Aram-Damascus The Kingdom of Aram-Damascus () was an Aramean The Arameans ( oar, 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; arc, 𐡀𐡓𐡌𐡉𐡀; syc, ܐܪ̈ܡܝܐ, Ārāmāyē) were an ancient Semitic languages, Semitic-speaking people in the Near East, first recorde ...
east of the Jordan River, and
Edom Edom (; Edomite: ; he, אֱדוֹם , lit.: "red"; Akkadian: , ; Ancient Egyptian: ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan, located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west, and the Arabian Desert The Arabian Dese ...
to the south. The northern Levant was divided into various petty kingdoms, the so-called
Syro-Hittite states The states that are called Syro-Hittite, Neo-Hittite (in older literature), or Luwian-Aramean (in modern scholarly works), were Luwian The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia, in presen ...
and the Phoenician city-states. The entire region (including all Phoenician/Canaanite and
Aramean The Arameans ( oar, 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; arc, 𐡀𐡓𐡌𐡉𐡀; syc, ܐܪ̈ܡܝܐ, Ārāmāyē) were an ancient Semitic languages, Semitic-speaking people in the Near East, first recorded in historical sources from the late 12th century B ...
states, together with
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, ; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, ), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated ...
,
Philistia Philistia (; Koine Greek (Septuagint, LXX): Γῆ τῶν Φυλιστιείμ, romanized: ''gê tôn Phulistieìm''), also known as the Philistine Pentapolis, was a confederation of cities in the Southwest Levant, which included the cities of ...
, and
Samarra Samarra ( ar, سَامَرَّاء, ') is a city in Iraq. It stands on the east bank of the Tigris in the Saladin Governorate, north of Baghdad. The Abbasid Samarra, city of Samarra was founded by Abbasid Caliphate, Abbasid Caliphate, Calip ...
) was conquered by the
Neo-Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire was the fourth and penultimate stage of ancient Assyrian history and the final and greatest phase of Assyria as an independent state. Beginning with the accession of Adad-nirari II in 911 BC, the Neo-Assyrian Empire grew t ...
during the 10th and 9th centuries BC, and would remain so for three hundred years until the end of the 7th century BC. Emperor-kings such as Ashurnasirpal,
Adad-nirari II Adad-nirari II (reigned from 911 to 891 BC) was the first King of Assyria in the Neo-Assyrian empire, Neo-Assyrian period. Biography Adad-nirari II's father was Ashur-dan II, whom he succeeded after a minor dynastic struggle. It is probable that ...
,
Sargon II Sargon II (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , meaning "the faithful king" or "the legitimate king") was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 722 BC to his death in battle in 705. Probably the son of Tiglath-Pileser III (745–727), Sargon is general ...
,
Tiglath-Pileser III Tiglath-Pileser III (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , meaning "my trust belongs to the son of Ešarra"), was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 745 BC to his death in 727. One of the most prominent and historically significant Assyrian kings, Tig ...
,
Esarhaddon Esarhaddon, also spelled Essarhaddon, Assarhaddon and Ashurhaddon (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , also , meaning "Ashur (god), Ashur has given me a brother"; Biblical Hebrew: ''ʾĒsar-Ḥaddōn'') was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from the d ...
,
Sennacherib Sennacherib (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: or , meaning "Sin (mythology), Sîn has replaced the brothers") was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from the death of his father Sargon II in 705BC to his own death in 681BC. The second king of the ...
and
Ashurbanipal Ashurbanipal (Neo-Assyrian language, Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , meaning "Ashur (god), Ashur is the creator of the heir") was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 669 BCE to his death in 631. He is generally remembered as the last great king o ...
came to dominate Canaanite affairs. During the Twenty-fifth Dynasty the Egyptians made a failed attempt to regain a foothold in the region, but were vanquished by the Neo-Assyrian Empire, leading to an
Assyrian conquest of Egypt The Assyrian conquest of Egypt covered a relatively short period of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 673 BCE to 663 BCE. The conquest of Egypt not only placed a land of great cultural prestige under Assyrian rule but also brought the Neo-Assyrian Empi ...
. Between 616 and 605 BC the Neo-Assyrian Empire collapsed due to a series of bitter civil wars, followed by an attack by an alliance of
Babylonians Babylonia (; Akkadian: , ''māt Akkadī'') was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in the city of Babylon in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and parts of Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ...
,
Medes The Medes (Old Persian: ; Akkadian language, Akkadian: , ; Ancient Greek: ; Latin: ) were an Iranian peoples, ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media (region), Media between western ...
, and Persians and the
Scythians The Scythians or Scyths, and sometimes also referred to as the Classical Scythians and the Pontic Scythians, were an ancient Eastern * : "In modern scholarship the name 'Sakas' is reserved for the ancient tribes of northern and eastern Cent ...
. The
Neo-Babylonian Empire The Neo-Babylonian Empire or Second Babylonian Empire, historically known as the Chaldean Empire, was the last polity ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia. Beginning with the coronation of Nabopolassar as the List of kings of Babylon, King of B ...
inherited the western part of the empire, including all the lands in Canaan and
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, translit=Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, الجمهورية العربية السورية, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a Western Asian country loc ...
, together with Kingdom of Israel and the
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, , ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'údâ'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁𐤉𐤕𐤃𐤅𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'', "Davidic line, House of David") was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the South ...
. They successfully defeated the Egyptians and remained in the region in an attempt to regain a foothold in the
Near East The ''Near East''; he, המזרח הקרוב; arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ; fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik; tr, Yakın Doğu is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental region in Western Asia, that was once the hist ...
. The Neo-Babylonian Empire itself collapsed in 539 BC, and the region became a part of the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
. It remained so until in 332 BC it was conquered by the
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group and nation indigenous to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions, namely Greece, Greek Cypriots, Cyprus, Greeks in Albania, Albania, Greeks in Italy, ...
under
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Maced ...
, later to fall to the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
in the late 2nd century BC, and then
Byzantium Byzantium () or Byzantion ( grc, Βυζάντιον) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek Polis, city in classical antiquity that became known as Constantinople in late antiquity and Istanbul today. The Greek name ''Byzantion'' and its Romanizat ...
, until the
Arab The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 31635: , , plural ar, عَرَب, DIN 31635: , Arabic pronunciation: ), also known as the Arab people, are an ethnic group mainly inhabiting the Arab world in Western Asia, ...
Islamic invasion and conquest of the 7th century AD.


Egyptian hieroglyphic and hieratic (1500–1000 BC)

During the 2nd millennium BC,
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100Anno Domini, BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the ...
ian texts use the term "Canaan" to refer to an Egyptian-ruled colony, whose boundaries generally corroborate the definition of Canaan found in the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
Hebrew: ''Tān ...
, bounded to the west by the Mediterranean Sea, to the north in the vicinity of
Hamath Hama ( ar, حَمَاة ', ; syr, ܚܡܬ, ħ(ə)mɑθ, lit=fortress; Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew (, or , ), also called Classical Hebrew, is an wikt:archaic, archaic form of the Hebrew language, a language in the Canaanite languages, ...
in Syria, to the east by the
Jordan Valley The Jordan Valley ( ar, غور الأردن, ''Ghor al-Urdun''; he, עֵמֶק הַיַרְדֵּן, ''Emek HaYarden'') forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. Unlike most other river valleys, the term "Jordan Valley" often applies just to ...
, and to the south by a line extended from the
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יַם הַמֶּלַח, ''Yam hamMelaḥ''; ar, اَلْبَحْرُ الْمَيْتُ, ''Āl-Baḥrū l-Maytū''), also known by other names, is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel Israel (; ...
to around Gaza. Nevertheless, the Egyptian and
Hebrew Hebrew (; ; ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-surviving descendants, ...
uses of the term are not identical: the Egyptian texts also identify the coastal city of Qadesh in north west Syria near Turkey as part of the "Land of Canaan", so that the Egyptian usage seems to refer to the entire
Levant The Levant () is an approximation, approximate historical geography, historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, which is in use today in archaeology an ...
ine coast of the Mediterranean Sea, making it a synonym of another Egyptian term for this coastland, Retjenu. Lebanon, in northern Canaan, bordered by the
Litani river The Litani River ( ar, نهر الليطاني, Nahr al-Līṭānī), the classical antiquity, classical Leontes ( grc-gre, Λέοντες, Léontes, lions), is an important water resource in southern Lebanon. The river rises in the fertile Beqa ...
to the watershed of the
Orontes River The Orontes (; from Ancient Greek , ) or Asi ( ar, العاصي, , ; tr, Asi) is a river with a length of in Western Asia that begins in Lebanon, flowing northwards through Syria before entering the Mediterranean Sea near Samandağ in Turkey. A ...
, was known by the Egyptians as upper Retjenu. In Egyptian campaign accounts, the term Djahi was used to refer to the watershed of the Jordan river. Many earlier Egyptian sources also mention numerous military campaigns conducted in ''Ka-na-na'', just inside Asia. Archaeological attestation of the name "Canaan" in
Ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗ ...
ern sources relates almost exclusively to the period in which the region operated as a colony of the
New Kingdom of Egypt The New Kingdom, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire, is the period in ancient Egyptian History of Ancient Egypt, history between the sixteenth century BC and the eleventh century BC, covering the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, Eighteenth, Ni ...
(16th–11th centuries BC), with usage of the name almost disappearing following the
Late Bronze Age collapse The Late Bronze Age collapse was a time of widespread societal collapse during the 12th century BC, between c. 1200 and 1150. The collapse affected a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean (North Africa and Southeast Europe) and the Near East ...
( BC). The references suggest that during this period the term was familiar to the region's neighbors on all sides, although scholars have disputed to what extent such references provide a coherent description of its location and boundaries, and regarding whether the inhabitants used the term to describe themselves. 16 references are known in Egyptian sources, from the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt onwards. *
Amenhotep II Amenhotep II (sometimes called ''Amenophis II'' and meaning ''Amun is Satisfied'') was the seventh pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Amenhotep inherited a vast kingdom from his father Thutmose III, and held it by means of a few military ...
inscriptions: Canaanites are included in a list of prisoners of war * Three topographical lists * Papyrus Anastasi I 27,1" refers to the route from Sile to Gaza "the oreign countriesof the end of the land of Canaan" *
Merneptah Stele The Merneptah Stele, also known as the Israel Stele or the Victory Stele of Merneptah, is an inscription by Merneptah Merneptah or Merenptah (reigned July or August 1213 BC – May 2, 1203 BC) was the fourth pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty ...
* Papyrus Anastasi IIIA 5–6 and Papyrus Anastasi IV 16,4 refer to "Canaanite slaves from Hurru" * Papyrus Harris After the collapse of the Levant under the so-called "
Peoples of the Sea The Sea Peoples are a hypothesized seafaring confederation that attacked ancient Egypt and other regions in the Eastern Mediterranean, East Mediterranean prior to and during the Late Bronze Age collapse (1200–900 Common Era, BCE).. Quote: ...
"
Ramesses III Usermaatre Meryamun Ramesses III (also written Ramses and Rameses) was the second Pharaoh of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt, Twentieth Dynasty in Ancient Egypt. He is thought to have reigned from 26 March 1186 to 15 April 1155 BC and is considered ...
( BC) is said to have built a temple to the god
Amen Amen ( he, אָמֵן, ; grc, ἀμήν, ; syc, ܐܡܝܢ, ; ar, آمين, ) is an Abrahamic declaration of affirmation which is first found in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;
to receive tribute from the southern Levant. This was described as being built in ''Pa-Canaan'', a geographical reference whose meaning is disputed, with suggestions that it may refer to the city of Gaza or to the entire Egyptian-occupied territory in the south west corner of the
Near East The ''Near East''; he, המזרח הקרוב; arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ; fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik; tr, Yakın Doğu is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental region in Western Asia, that was once the hist ...
.


Greco-Roman historiography

The Greek term ''Phoenicia'' is first attested in the first two works of
Western literature Western literature, also known as European literature, is the literature written in the context of Western culture in the languages of Europe, as well as several geographically or historically related languages such as Basque language, Basque an ...
,
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') (born ) was a Greek poet who is credited as the author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are foundational works of ancient Greek literature. Homer is considered one of the ...
's ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; "a poem about Ilium") is one of two major ancient Greek Epic poem, epic poems attributed to Homer. It is one of the oldest extant works of literature still widely read by modern audiences. As with t ...
'' and ''
Odyssey The ''Odyssey'' (; grc, Ὀδύσσεια, Odýsseia, ) is one of two major Ancient Greek literature, ancient Greek Epic poetry, epic poems attributed to Homer. It is one of the oldest extant works of literature still widely read by moder ...
''. It does not occur in the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
Hebrew: ''Tān ...
, but occurs three times in the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...
in the
Book of Acts The Acts of the Apostles ( grc-koi, Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων, ''Práxeis Apostólōn''; la, Actūs Apostolōrum) is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of the Christian Church and the spread of The gospel, ...
. In the 6th century BC,
Hecataeus of Miletus Hecataeus of Miletus (; el, Ἑκαταῖος ὁ Μιλήσιος; c. 550 BC – c. 476 BC), son of Hegesander, was an early Greek historian and geographer. Biography Hailing from a very wealthy family, he lived in Miletus, then under ...
affirms that Phoenicia was formerly called , a name that
Philo of Byblos Philo of Byblos ( grc, Φίλων Βύβλιος, ''Phílōn Býblios''; la, Philo Byblius;  – 141), also known as Herennius Philon, was an antiquarian writer of grammatical, lexicon, lexical and historical works in Greek language, Greek ...
subsequently adopted into his mythology as his eponym for the Phoenicians: "Khna who was afterwards called Phoinix". Quoting fragments attributed to Sanchuniathon, he relates that
Byblos Byblos ( ; gr, Βύβλος), also known as Jbeil or Jubayl ( ar, جُبَيْل, Jubayl, Lebanese Arabic, locally ; phn, 𐤂𐤁𐤋, , probably ), is a city in the Keserwan-Jbeil Governorate of Lebanon. It is believed to have been first occ ...
,
Berytus ) or Laodicea in Canaan (2nd century to 64 BCE) , image = St. George's Cathedral, Beirut.jpg , image_size = , alt = , caption = Roman ruins of Berytus, in front of Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in mode ...
and Tyre were among the first cities ever built, under the rule of the mythical
Cronus In Ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, mythology, Cronus, Cronos, or Kronos ( or , from el, Κρόνος, ''Krónos'') was the leader and youngest of the first generation of Titans, the divine descendants of the Greek primordial de ...
, and credits the inhabitants with developing fishing, hunting, agriculture, shipbuilding and writing. Coins of the city of
Beirut Beirut, french: Beyrouth is the capital and largest city of Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon () or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located b ...
/ Laodicea bear the legend, "Of Laodicea, a metropolis in Canaan"; these coins are dated to the reign of
Antiochus IV Antiochus IV Epiphanes (; grc, Ἀντίοχος ὁ Ἐπιφανής, ''Antíochos ho Epiphanḗs'', "God Manifest"; c. 215 BC – November/December 164 BC) was a Greek Hellenistic kingdoms, Hellenistic List of Seleucid rulers, king who ruled ...
(175–164 BC) and his successors until 123 BC.
Saint Augustine Augustine of Hippo ( , ; la, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; 13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine, was a theologian and philosopher of Berbers, Berber origin and the bishop of Hippo Regius in Numidia (Roman pr ...
also mentions that one of the terms the seafaring Phoenicians called their homeland was "Canaan". Augustine also records that the rustic people of
Hippo The hippopotamus ( ; plural, : hippopotamuses or hippopotami; ''Hippopotamus amphibius''), also called the hippo, common hippopotamus, or river hippopotamus, is a large semiaquatic mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of only two ...
in North Africa retained the
Punic The Punic people, or western Phoenicians, were a Semitic people, Semitic people in the Western Mediterranean who migrated from Tyre, Lebanon, Tyre, Phoenicia to North Africa during the Iron Age, Early Iron Age. In modern scholarship, the term '' ...
self-designation ''Chanani''. Since 'punic' in Latin also meant 'non-Roman', some scholars however argue that the language referred to as Punic in Augustine may have been
Libyan Demographics of Libya is the demography Demography () is the statistics, statistical study of populations, especially human beings. Demographic analysis examines and measures the dimensions and Population dynamics, dynamics of popula ...
. The Greeks also popularized the term ''Palestine'', named after the Philistines or the Aegean
Pelasgians The name Pelasgians ( grc, Πελασγοί, ''Pelasgoí'', singular: Πελασγός, ''Pelasgós'') was used by classical Greek writers to refer either to the predecessors of the Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, '' ...
, for roughly the region of Canaan, excluding Phoenicia, with
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, , }; BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided in ...
' first recorded use of '' Palaistinê'', BC. From 110 BC, the Hasmoneans extended their authority over much of the region, creating a Judean- Samaritan- Idumaean- Ituraean-
Galilean Generically, a Galilean (; he, גלילי; grc, Γαλιλαίων; la, Galilaeos) is an inhabitant of Galilee Galilee (; he, הַגָּלִיל, hagGālīl; ar, الجليل, al-jalīl) is a region located in northern Israel and sout ...
alliance. The Judean (Jewish, see
Ioudaioi ''Ioudaios'' ( grc, Wiktionary:Ἰουδαῖος, Ἰουδαῖος; pl. ''Ioudaioi''). is an Ancient Greek ethnonym used in classical and biblical literature which commonly translates to "Jew" or "Judean". The choice of translation is the sub ...
) control over the wider area resulted in it also becoming known as
Judaea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία, ; la, Iūdaea) is an ancient, historic, Biblical Hebrew, contemporaneous L ...
, a term that had previously only referred to the smaller region of the
Judean Mountains The Judaean Mountains, or Judaean Hills ( he, הרי יהודה, translit=Harei Yehuda) or the Hebron Mountains ( ar, تلال الخليل, translit=Tilal al-Khalīl, links=, lit=Hebron Mountains), is a mountain range in State of Palestine, Pale ...
, the allotment of the
Tribe of Judah According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
''Random House Webster's Unabridg ...
and heartland of the former
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, , ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'údâ'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁𐤉𐤕𐤃𐤅𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'', "Davidic line, House of David") was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the South ...
. Between 73–63 BC, the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...
extended its influence into the region in the
Third Mithridatic War The Third Mithridatic War (73–63 BC), the last and longest of the three Mithridatic Wars, was fought between Mithridates VI of Pontus and the Roman Republic. Both sides were joined by a great number of allies dragging the entire east of the ...
, conquering Judea in 63 BC, and splitting the former Hasmonean Kingdom into five districts. Around 130–135 AD, as a result of the suppression of the
Bar Kochba Simon ben Koseba or Cosiba ( he, שִׁמְעוֹן בַּר כֹסֵבָא, translit= Šīmʾōn bar Ḵōsēḇaʾ‎ ; died 135 CE), commonly known as Bar Kokhba ( he, שִׁמְעוֹן בַּר כּוֹכְבָא‎, translit=Šīmʾōn bar ...
revolt, the province of Iudaea was joined with
Galilee Galilee (; he, הַגָּלִיל, hagGālīl; ar, الجليل, al-jalīl) is a region located in northern Israel and southern Lebanon. Galilee traditionally refers to the mountainous part, divided into Upper Galilee (, ; , ) and Lower Galile ...
to form new province of
Syria Palaestina Syria Palaestina (literally, "Palestinian Syria";Trevor Bryce, 2009, ''The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia''Roland de Vaux, 1978, ''The Early History of Israel'', Page 2: "After the revolt of Bar Cochba in 135 ...
. There is
circumstantial evidence Circumstantial evidence is evidence that relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion of fact—such as a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. By contrast, direct evidence supports the truth of an assertion directly—i.e., without need f ...
linking
Hadrian Hadrian (; la, Caesar Trâiānus Hadriānus ; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born in Italica (close to modern Santiponce in Spain), a Roman ''municipium'' founded by Italic peoples, Italic settlers ...
with the name change, although the precise date is not certain, and the interpretation of some scholars that the name change may have been intended "to complete the dissociation with Judaea" Sharon, 1998, p. 4. According to
Moshe Sharon Moshe Sharon ( he, משה שָׁרוֹן; born December 18, 1937) is an Israeli historian of Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text con ...
, "Eager to obliterate the name of the rebellious
Judaea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία, ; la, Iūdaea) is an ancient, historic, Biblical Hebrew, contemporaneous L ...
", the Roman authorities (General Hadrian) renamed it ''Palaestina'' or ''Syria Palaestina''.
is disputed.


Later sources

Padiiset's Statue is the last known Egyptian reference to Canaan, a small statuette labelled "Envoy of the Canaan and of
Peleset The Peleset ( Egyptian: ''pwrꜣsꜣtj'') or Pulasati were one of the several ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that d ...
, Pa-di-Eset, the son of Apy". The inscription is dated to 900–850 BC, more than 300 years after the preceding known inscription. During the period from BC, the dominant
Neo-Assyrian The Neo-Assyrian Empire was the fourth and penultimate stage of ancient Assyrian history and the final and greatest phase of Assyria as an independent state. Beginning with the accession of Adad-nirari II in 911 BC, the Neo-Assyrian Empire grew t ...
and
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
make no mention of Canaan.


Canaanites

The Canaanites were the inhabitants of ancient Canaan, a region that roughly corresponds to present-day
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, ; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, ), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated ...
and the
Palestinian Territories The Palestinian territories are the two regions of the former British Mandate for Palestine that have been militarily occupied by Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, ; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, ), officially the State of ...
, western
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; Romanization of Arabic, tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; Romanization of Arabic, tr. ' is a country in Western Asia. It is situated at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe, within the Levan ...
, southern and coastal
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, translit=Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, الجمهورية العربية السورية, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a Western Asian country loc ...
,
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon () or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to Lebanon–Syria border, the north and east and Israel to Blue ...
, and continued up to the southern border of
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Türkiye ( tr, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, links=no ), is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolia, Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a East Thrace, small portion on th ...
. They are believed to have been one of the oldest civilizations in
human history Human history, also called world history, is the narrative of humanity's past. It is understood and studied through anthropology, archaeology, genetics, and linguistics. Since the History of writing, invention of writing, human history has b ...
.


History

The
Levant The Levant () is an approximation, approximate historical geography, historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, which is in use today in archaeology an ...
was inhabited by people who referred to the land as ''ca-na-na-um'' as early as the mid-third millennium BCE. The Akkadian word "''kinahhu''" referred to the purple-coloured wool, dyed from the
Murex ''Murex'' is a genus of medium to large sized predatory tropical sea snails. These are carnivore, carnivorous marine (ocean), marine gastropod molluscs in the family Muricidae, commonly called "murexes" or "rock snails".Houart, R.; Gofas, S. (2 ...
molluscs of the coast—which was a key export of the region. When the
ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
later traded with the Canaanites, this meaning of the word seems to have predominated, as they referred to the Canaanites as ''Phoenikes'' (
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, ancient thalassocracy, thalassocratic civilization originating in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily located in modern Lebanon. The territory of the Phoenician city-st ...
ns), which may derive from the Greek-language word "''phoenix''" (), and also described the cloth for which the Greeks traded. The word "''phoenix''" was transcribed by the Romans to "''poenus''"; the descendants of the Canaanite settlers in
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of Ancient Carthage, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in ...
were likewise referred to as ''Punic''. Thus, while "Phoenician" and "Canaanite" refer to the same culture, archaeologists and historians commonly refer to the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
pre-1200 BCE Levantine peoples as Canaanites, while their
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic) and the Bronze Age (Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostly appl ...
descendants, particularly those living on the coast, are referred to as Phoenicians. More recently, the term "Canaanite" has been used for the secondary Iron Age states of the Levantine interior that were not ruled by Aramean peoples, that is, that were ruled by a separate and closely-related ethnic group which included the
Philistines The Philistines ( he, פְּלִשְׁתִּים, Pəlīštīm; Koine Greek (Septuagint, LXX): Φυλιστιείμ, romanized: ''Phulistieím'') were an ancient people who lived on the south coast of Canaan from the 12th century BC until 6 ...
and the
Israelite The Israelites (; , , ) were a group of ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes in the ancient Near East who, during the Iron Age, inhabited a part of Canaan. The earliest recorded evidence of a people by the name of Israel ...
kingdoms of Israel and Judah.


Culture

Canaan included what today are Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, northwestern Jordan, and some western areas of Syria. According to archaeologist Jonathan N. Tubb, "
Ammon Ammon (Ammonite language, Ammonite: 𐤏𐤌𐤍 ''ʻAmān''; he, עַמּוֹן ''ʻAmmōn''; ar, عمّون, ʻAmmūn) was an ancient Semitic languages, Semitic-speaking nation occupying the east of the Jordan River, between the torren ...
ites, Moabites,
Israelites The Israelites (; , , ) were a group of ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes in the ancient Near East who, during the Iron Age, inhabited a part of Canaan. The earliest recorded evidence of a people by the name of Israel ...
, and Phoenicians undoubtedly achieved their own cultural identities, and yet ethnically they were all Canaanites", "the same people who settled in farming villages in the region in the 8th millennium BCE." There is uncertainty about whether the name "Canaan" refers to a specific Semitic-speaking ethnic group wherever they live, the homeland of this ethnic group, a region under the control of this ethnic group, or perhaps any combination of the three. Canaanite civilization was a response to long periods of stable climate interrupted by short periods of
climate change In common usage, climate change describes global warming—the ongoing increase in global average temperature—and its effects on Earth's climate system. Climate variability and change, Climate change in a broader sense also includes ...
. During these periods, Canaanites profited from their intermediary position between the ancient civilizations of the Middle East—
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100Anno Domini, BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the ...
,
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
(
Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of ...
, Akkad,
Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: ''māt Aššur''; syc, ܐܬܘܪ, ʾāthor) was a major ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a terr ...
,
Babylonia Babylonia (; Akkadian: , ''māt Akkadī'') was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in the city of Babylon in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and parts of Syria). It emerged as an Amorites, Amorite-ruled ...
), the Hittites, and
Minoan Crete The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands, whose earliest beginnings were from 3500BC, with the complex urban civilization beginning around 2000BC, and then declining from 1450BC ...
—to become city states of merchant princes along the coast, with small kingdoms specializing in agricultural products in the interior. This polarity, between coastal towns and agrarian hinterland, was illustrated in Canaanite mythology by the struggle between the storm god, variously called
Teshub Teshub (also written Teshup, Teššup, or Tešup; cuneiform ; hieroglyphic Luwian , read as ''Tarhunzas'';Annick Payne (2014), ''Hieroglyphic Luwian: An Introduction with Original Texts'', 3rd revised edition, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, p.& ...
(
Hurrian The Hurrians (; Cuneiform script, cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Ancient Near East, Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language, H ...
) or Ba'al Hadad ( Semitic
Amorite The Amorites (; sux, 𒈥𒌅, MAR.TU; Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒀀𒈬𒊒𒌝 or 𒋾𒀉𒉡𒌝/𒊎 ; he, אֱמוֹרִי, 'Ĕmōrī; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic-speaking people ...
/
Aramean The Arameans ( oar, 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; arc, 𐡀𐡓𐡌𐡉𐡀; syc, ܐܪ̈ܡܝܐ, Ārāmāyē) were an ancient Semitic languages, Semitic-speaking people in the Near East, first recorded in historical sources from the late 12th century B ...
) and Ya'a, Yaw, or Yam, god of the sea and rivers. Early Canaanite civilization was characterized by small walled market towns, surrounded by peasant farmers growing a range of local horticultural products, along with commercial growing of
olive The olive, botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning 'European olive' in Latin, is a species of small tree or shrub in the family (biology), family Oleaceae, found traditionally in the Mediterranean Basin. When in shrub form, it is known as '' ...
s,
grape A grape is a fruit, botanically a berry (botany), berry, of the deciduous woody vines of the flowering plant genus ''Vitis''. Grapes are a non-Climacteric (botany), climacteric type of fruit, generally occurring in clusters. The cultivation of ...
s for wine, and
pistachio The pistachio (, ''Pistacia vera''), a member of the Anacardiaceae, cashew family, is a small tree originating from Central Asia and the Middle East. The tree produces nut (fruit)#Culinary definition and uses, seeds that are widely consumed as f ...
s, surrounded by extensive
grain A grain is a small, hard, dry fruit (caryopsis) – with or without an attached husk, hull layer – harvested for human or animal consumption. A grain crop is a grain-producing plant. The two main types of commercial grain crops are cereals and l ...
cropping, predominantly
wheat Wheat is a Poaceae, grass widely Agriculture, cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain that is a worldwide staple food. The Taxonomy of wheat, many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum'' ; the most widely grown is common wheat ...
and
barley Barley (''Hordeum vulgare''), a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally. It was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia Eurasia (, ) is the largest continental area o ...
. Harvest in early summer was a season when
transhumance Transhumance is a type of pastoralism or nomadism, a seasonal movement of livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions (''vertical transhumance''), it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and lower vall ...
nomadism A nomad is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, Nomadic pastoralism, pastoral nomads (owning livestock), tinkers and Merchant, trader nomads. In t ...
was practiced—shepherds staying with their flocks during the wet season and returning to graze them on the harvested stubble, closer to water supplies in the summer. Evidence of this cycle of agriculture is found in the Gezer calendar and in the biblical cycle of the year. Periods of rapid climate change generally saw a collapse of this mixed Mediterranean farming system; commercial production was replaced with subsistence agricultural foodstuffs; and transhumance
pastoralism Pastoralism is a form of animal husbandry where domesticated animals (known as "livestock") are released onto large vegetated outdoor lands (pastures) for grazing, historically by nomadic people who moved around with their herds. The animal s ...
became a year-round nomadic pastoral activity, whilst tribal groups wandered in a circular pattern north to the Euphrates, or south to the Egyptian delta with their flocks. Occasionally, tribal chieftains would emerge, raiding enemy settlements and rewarding loyal followers from the spoils or by tariffs levied on merchants. Should the cities band together and retaliate, a neighbouring state intervene or should the chieftain suffer a reversal of fortune, allies would fall away or intertribal feuding would return. It has been suggested that the Patriarchal tales of the Bible reflect such social forms. During the periods of the collapse of
Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. It was centered in the city of Akkad () and its surrounding region. The empire united Akkadian and Sumerian speakers under one rule ...
in
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
and the
First Intermediate Period of Egypt The First Intermediate Period, described as a 'dark period' in ancient Egyptian history, spanned approximately 125 years, c. 2181–2055 BC, after the end of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, Old Kingdom. It comprises the seventh Dynasty, Seventh (altho ...
, the Hyksos invasions and the end of the Middle Bronze Age in Assyria and Babylonia, and the Late
Bronze Age collapse The Late Bronze Age collapse was a time of widespread societal collapse during the 12th century BC, between c. 1200 and 1150. The collapse affected a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean (North Africa North Africa, or Northern Africa ...
, trade through the Canaanite area would dwindle, as Egypt, Babylonia, and to a lesser degree
Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: ''māt Aššur''; syc, ܐܬܘܪ, ʾāthor) was a major ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a terr ...
, withdrew into their isolation. When the climates stabilized, trade would resume firstly along the coast in the area of the
Philistine The Philistines ( he, פְּלִשְׁתִּים, Pəlīštīm; Koine Greek Koine Greek (; Koine el, ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτος, hē koinè diálektos, the common dialect; ), also known as Hellenistic Greek, common Attic, the ...
and Phoenician cities. As markets redeveloped, new trade routes that would avoid the heavy tariffs of the coast would develop from
Kadesh Barnea Kadesh or Qadesh or Cades (in classical Hebrew he, קָדֵשׁ, from the root "holy") is a place-name that occurs several times in the Hebrew Bible, describing a site or sites located south of, or at the southern border of, Canaan and the Kin ...
, through
Hebron Hebron ( ar, الخليل or ; he, חֶבְרוֹן ) is a State of Palestine, Palestinian. city in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judaean Mountains, it lies Above mean sea level, above sea level. The second-lar ...
,
Lachish Lachish ( he, לכיש; grc, Λαχίς; la, Lachis) was an ancient Canaanite languages, Canaanite and Israelites, Israelite city in the Shfela, Shephelah ("lowlands of Judea") region of Israel, on the South bank of the Lakhish River, mention ...
,
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس ) (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałēm. i ...
,
Bethel Bethel ( he, בֵּית אֵל, translit=Bēṯ 'Ēl, "House of El" or "House of God",Bleeker and Widegren, 1988, p. 257. also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one writing system, script to another t ...
,
Samaria Samaria (; he, שֹׁמְרוֹן, translit=Šōmrōn, ar, السامرة, translit=as-Sāmirah) is the historic and Hebrew Bible, biblical name used for the central region of Palestine (region), Palestine, bordered by Judea to the south and ...
,
Shechem Shechem ( ), also spelled Sichem ( ; he, שְׁכֶם, ''Šəḵem''; ; grc, Συχέμ, Sykhém; Samaritan Hebrew: , ), was a Canaan Canaan (; Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he, כְּנַעַן – , in pausa ...
, Shiloh through
Galilee Galilee (; he, הַגָּלִיל, hagGālīl; ar, الجليل, al-jalīl) is a region located in northern Israel and southern Lebanon. Galilee traditionally refers to the mountainous part, divided into Upper Galilee (, ; , ) and Lower Galile ...
to Jezreel, Hazor, and Megiddo. Secondary Canaanite cities would develop in this region. Further economic development would see the creation of a third trade route from Eilath,
Timna Timna ( Qatabānic: , romanized: , ; ar, تمنع, translit=Timnaʿ) is an ancient city in Yemen Yemen (; ar, ٱلْيَمَن, al-Yaman), officially the Republic of Yemen,, ) is a country in Western Asia. It is situated on the southern en ...
,
Edom Edom (; Edomite: ; he, אֱדוֹם , lit.: "red"; Akkadian: , ; Ancient Egyptian: ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan, located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west, and the Arabian Desert The Arabian Dese ...
( Seir),
Moab Moab ''Mōáb''; Akkadian language, Assyrian: 𒈬𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Mu'abâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Ma'bâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒀊 ''Ma'ab''; Egyptian language, Egyptian: 𓈗𓇋𓃀𓅱𓈉 ''Mū'ībū'', name=, group= () is the name of an a ...
,
Ammon Ammon (Ammonite language, Ammonite: 𐤏𐤌𐤍 ''ʻAmān''; he, עַמּוֹן ''ʻAmmōn''; ar, عمّون, ʻAmmūn) was an ancient Semitic languages, Semitic-speaking nation occupying the east of the Jordan River, between the torren ...
, and thence to the Aramean states of
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , map_caption = , ...
and
Palmyra Palmyra (; Palmyrene dialect, Palmyrene: () ''Tadmor''; ar, تَدْمُر ''Tadmur'') is an ancient city in present-day Homs Governorate, Syria. Archaeological finds date back to the Neolithic period, and documents first mention the city i ...
. Earlier states (for example the Philistines and
Tyrians Tyre (; ar, صور, translit=Ṣūr; phn, 𐤑𐤓, translit=Ṣūr, Greek language, Greek ''Tyros'', Τύρος) is a city in Lebanon, one of the List of oldest continuously inhabited cities, oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, t ...
in the case of Judah and
Samaria Samaria (; he, שֹׁמְרוֹן, translit=Šōmrōn, ar, السامرة, translit=as-Sāmirah) is the historic and Hebrew Bible, biblical name used for the central region of Palestine (region), Palestine, bordered by Judea to the south and ...
, for the second route, and Judah and Israel for the third route) tried generally unsuccessfully to control the interior trade. Eventually, the prosperity of this trade would attract more powerful regional neighbours, such as
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100Anno Domini, BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the ...
,
Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: ''māt Aššur''; syc, ܐܬܘܪ, ʾāthor) was a major ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a terr ...
, the Babylonians,
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
ns,
Ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
, and Romans, who would control the Canaanites politically, levying tribute, taxes, and tariffs. Often in such periods, thorough overgrazing would result in a climatic collapse and a repeat of the cycle (e.g., PPNB, Ghassulian,
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka or Warkah, was an ancient city of Sumer (and later of Babylonia) situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern Samawah, Muthanna Governorate, Al ...
, and the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
cycles already mentioned). The fall of later Canaanite civilization occurred with the incorporation of the area into the
Greco-Roman The Greco-Roman civilization (; also Greco-Roman culture; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth), as understood by modern scholars and writers, includes the geographical regions and countries that culturally—and s ...
world (as
Iudaea Judaea ( la, Iudaea ; grc, Ἰουδαία, translit=Ioudaíā ) was a Roman province which incorporated the regions of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea from 6 CE, extending over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of ...
province), and after
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
times, into the Muslim
Arab The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 31635: , , plural ar, عَرَب, DIN 31635: , Arabic pronunciation: ), also known as the Arab people, are an ethnic group mainly inhabiting the Arab world in Western Asia, ...
and proto-Muslim
Umayyad Caliphate The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. The caliphate was ruled by the ...
. Western Aramaic, one of the two
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a Natural language, language systematically used to make communication possib ...
s of Canaanite civilization, is still spoken in a number of small Syrian villages, whilst Phoenician Canaanite disappeared as a spoken language in about 100 CE. A separate Akkadian-infused
Eastern Aramaic The Eastern Aramaic languages have developed from the varieties of Aramaic that developed in and around Mesopotamia (Iraq, southeast Turkey, northeast Syria and northwest and southwest Iran), as opposed to western varieties of the Levant (modern ...
is still spoken by the existing Assyrians of
Iraq Iraq,; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq officially the Republic of Iraq, '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Turkey to Iraq–Turkey border, the north, Iran to Iran–Iraq ...
,
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
, northeast Syria, and southeast
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Türkiye ( tr, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, links=no ), is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolia, Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a East Thrace, small portion on th ...
.
Tel Kabri Tel Kabri ( he, תֵל כַבְרִי), or Tell al-Qahweh ( ar, تَلْ ألْقَهوَة, , mound of coffee), is an archaeological Tell (archaeology), tell (mound created by accumulation of remains) containing one of the largest Bronze Age, ...
contains the remains of a Canaanite city from the Middle
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
(2000–1550 BCE). The city, the most important of the cities in the Western
Galilee Galilee (; he, הַגָּלִיל, hagGālīl; ar, الجليل, al-jalīl) is a region located in northern Israel and southern Lebanon. Galilee traditionally refers to the mountainous part, divided into Upper Galilee (, ; , ) and Lower Galile ...
during that period, had a palace at its center. Tel Kabri is the only Canaanite city that can be excavated in its entirety because after the city was abandoned, no other city was built over its remains. It is notable because the predominant extra-Canaanite cultural influence is
Minoan The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands, whose earliest beginnings were from 3500BC, with the complex urban civilization beginning around 2000BC, and then declining from 1450BC ...
; Minoan-style frescoes decorate the palace.


Significant figures

Figures mentioned in
historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing history as an academic discipline, and by extension is any body of historical work on a particular subject. The historiography of a specific topic covers how historians ha ...
or known through archaeology Confirmed archaeologically * Niqmaddu I of
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
(Known from a seal used by Ugaritan Kings) * Yaqarum I of
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
(Known from a seal used by Ugaritan Kings) *
Ammittamru I Ammittamru I (Known by some sources as Amishtammru I or Amistammru I) was a king of the ancient Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, translit=Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, الجمهورية ا ...
of
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
(Amarna letters) *
Niqmaddu II Niqmaddu II ( ''Amorite'': ) was the second ruler and king of Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of ...
of
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
(Amarna letters) (1349–1315 BCE) * Arhalba of
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
(1315–1313 BCE) * Niqmepa of
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
(1313–1260 BCE) * Ammittamru II of
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
(1260–1235 BCE) * Ibiranu of
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
(1235–1220 BCE) * Ammurapi of
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
(1215–1185 BCE) *
Aziru Aziru was the Canaanite ruler of Amurru, modern Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon () or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to ...
, ruler of Amurru (Amarna letters) * Labaya, lord of
Shechem Shechem ( ), also spelled Sichem ( ; he, שְׁכֶם, ''Šəḵem''; ; grc, Συχέμ, Sykhém; Samaritan Hebrew: , ), was a Canaan Canaan (; Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he, כְּנַעַן – , in pausa ...
(Amarna letters) *
Abdi-Heba Abdi-Heba (Abdi-Kheba, Abdi-Hepat, or Abdi-Hebat) was a local chieftain of Jerusalem during the Amarna period (mid-1330s BC). Abdi-Heba's name can be translated as "servant of Hebat", a Hurrian goddess. Whether Abdi-Heba was himself of Hurrian de ...
, local chieftain of pre-Israelite Jerusalem ( Jebus) (Amarna letters) * Šuwardata, king of the Canaanite city of Gath or 'mayor' of Qiltu (Amarna letters) Rulers of Tyre *
Abibaal Abibaal ( phn, 𐤀𐤁𐤉𐤁𐤏𐤋, ʾabībaʿl, ''"My father is Baal"'') was a king of Tyre in the 10th century BC, father of the famous Hiram I. The only information known about him is derived from two passages in Josephus's ''Against Apion ...
990–978 BCE *
Hiram I Hiram I (Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤇𐤓𐤌 ''Ḥirōm'' "my brother is exalted"; Hebrew language, Hebrew: ''Ḥīrām'', Modern Arabic Language, Arabic: حيرام, also called ''Hirom'' or ''Huram'') was the Phoenician king of Tyre, ...
978–944 BCE *
Baal-Eser I Baal-Eser I (Beleazarus I, Ba‘l-mazzer I) was a king of Tyre (Lebanon), Tyre. His father, Hiram I, was a contemporary of David and Solomon, kings of Israel. The only information available about Baal-Eser I comes from the following citation of th ...
(Balbazer I) 944–927 BCE *
Abdastartus Abdastartus (Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤏𐤔𐤕𐤓𐤕 ''’bd’štrt'', possibly pronounced akin to ''’Abd-’Ashtart'') was a king of Tyre (Lebanon), Tyre, son of Baal-Eser I (Beleazarus) and grandson of Hiram I. The ...
927–918 BCE * Methusastartus 918–906 BCE *
Astarymus Astarymus (also called Aserymus; possibly Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤏𐤔𐤕𐤓𐤓𐤌 ''‘štrrm'', "Ashtar is great") was a king of Tyre (Lebanon), Tyre and the third of four brothers who held the kingship. The only information ava ...
906–897 BCE * Phelles 897–896 BCE *
Ithobaal I Ithobaal I ', 1 Kings 16:31; grc, Εἰθώβαλος ''Eithobalos'') is the name of a 9th-century BCE king of Tyre mentioned in the story of Jezebel from the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;
896–863 BCE *
Baal-Eser II Baal-Eser II (846–841 BC), also known as Balbazer II and Ba'l-mazzer I was a king of Tyre, Lebanon, Tyre, the son of Ithobaal I, brother of Jezebel and brother-in-law of Ahab. The primary information related to Baal-Eser II comes from Josephus' ...
(Balbazer II) 863–829 BCE * Mattan I 829–820 BCE * Pygmalion 820–774 BCE * Ithobaal II 750–739 BCE * Hiram II 739–730 BCE * Mattan II 730–729 BCE * Luli 729 694 BCE * Abd Melqart 694–680 BCE * Baal I 680–660 BCE Note:Tyre may have been under control of Assyria and/or Egypt for 70 years * Eshbaal III 591–573 BCE – ''
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of Ancient Carthage, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in ...
became independent of Tyre in 574 BCE'' * Baal II 573–564 BCE (under Babylonian overlords) * Yakinbaal 564 BCE * Chelbes 564–563 BCE *
Abbar Abbar is a name. People with this given name include: * Abbar (563-562 BC), king of Tyre People with this surname include: * Mohammed bin Ali Al Abbar (born 1956), United Arab Emirati businessman Places * Ab Bar, Iran {{surname Arabic-langu ...
563–562 BCE * Mattan III and Ger Ashthari 562–556 BCE * Baal-Eser III 556–555 BCE * Mahar-Baal 555–551 BCE * Hiram III 551–532 BCE * Mattan III (under Persian control) * Boulomenus * Abdemon BCE Legends * Cronos (Ilus), founder of
Byblos Byblos ( ; gr, Βύβλος), also known as Jbeil or Jubayl ( ar, جُبَيْل, Jubayl, Lebanese Arabic, locally ; phn, 𐤂𐤁𐤋, , probably ), is a city in the Keserwan-Jbeil Governorate of Lebanon. It is believed to have been first occ ...
according to Sanchuniathon * Makamaron, king of Canaan (Jubilees 46:6) Characters in the Hebrew Bible * Canaan, son of Ham (Gen. 10:6) *
Sidon Sidon ( ; he, צִידוֹן, ''Ṣīḏōn'') known locally as Sayda or Saida ( ar, صيدا ''Ṣaydā''), is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate, Lebanon, South Governorate, of which it is the capital, ...
, firstborn son of Canaan (Gen. 10:15) *
Heth Heth, sometimes written Chet, but more accurately Ḥet, is the eighth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Ḥēt 𐤇 , Hebrew Hebrew (; ; ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasia ...
, son of Canaan (Gen. 10:15) *
Sihon Sihon was an Amorite king mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, who refused to let the Israelites pass through his country. Biblical accounts The Book of Numbers recounts that as the Israelites making their The Exodus, Exodus journey came to the country ...
, king of Amorites (Deut 1:4) * Og, king of
Bashan Bashan (; he, הַבָּשָׁן, translit=ha-Bashan; la, Basan or ''Basanitis'') is the ancient, Hebrew Bible, biblical name used for the northernmost region of the Transjordan in the Bible, Transjordan during the Iron Age. It is situated in ...
(Deut 1:4) *
Adonizedek According to the Book of Joshua The Book of Joshua ( he, סֵפֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ‎ ', Tiberian: ''Sēp̄er Yŏhōšūaʿ'') is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;
, king of
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس ) (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałēm. i ...
(Josh. 10:1) *
Debir A Bible, Biblical word, dvir () may refer to: __NOTOC__ Names * Debir King of Eglon, a Canaanite monarch, king of Eglon, Canaan, Eglon, slain by Joshua (). Aided by miracles, Joshua's army routed the Canaanite military, forcing Debir and the other ...
, king of Eglon (Josh. 10:3) *
Jabin Jabin ( he, יָבִין ''Yāḇīn'') is a Biblical name meaning 'discerner', or 'the wise'. It may refer to: * A king of Tel Hazor, Hazor at the time of the entrance of Israel into CanaanJoshua 11:1, whose overthrow and that of the northern chi ...
, name of two kings of Hazor (Josh. 11:1; Judges 5:6)


Genetic studies

A 2020 genetic analysis has found that the Bronze Age Canaanite population descended from earlier local
Neolithic The Neolithic period, or New Stone Age, is an Old World archaeological period and the final division of the Stone Age. It saw the Neolithic Revolution, a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several pa ...
populations together with populations related to the Chalcolithic
Zagros Mountains The Zagros Mountains ( ar, جبال زاغروس, translit=Jibal Zaghrus; fa, کوه‌های زاگرس, Kuh hā-ye Zāgros; ku, چیاکانی زاگرۆس, translit=Çiyakani Zagros; Turkish language, Turkish: ''Zagros Dağları''; Luri Lan ...
and the Bronze Age
Caucasus The Caucasus () or Caucasia (), is a region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, mainly comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. The Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus range ...
. According to the researchers, this mixture is probably the result of a continuing migration from the Zagros and/or Caucasus to the Levant between 2500–1000 BCE. The study has also shown that the Canaanite population contributed to most present-day Jewish groups and Levantine Arabic-speaking groups. These populations are consistent with having 50% or more of their ancestry from people related to groups who lived in the Bronze Age Levant and the Chalcolithic Zagros. These present-day groups also show ancestries that cannot be modeled by the available ancient DNA data, highlighting the importance of additional major genetic effects on the region since the Bronze Age.


In Jewish and Christian scriptures


Hebrew Bible

Canaan and the Canaanites are mentioned some 160 times in the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
Hebrew: ''Tān ...
, mostly in the
Torah The Torah (; hbo, ''Tōrā'', "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") is the compilation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, namely the books of Book of Genesis, Genesis, Book of Exodus, Exodus, Leviticus, Book of Numbers, Numbers a ...
and the books of
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( ''Yəhōšuaʿ'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: ''Yŏhōšuaʿ,'' Literal translation, lit. 'Yahweh is salvation') ''Yēšūaʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَع ...
and Judges. The biblical history has become increasingly problematic as the archaeological and textual evidence supports the idea that the early Israelites were in fact themselves Canaanites. While the Hebrew Bible distinguishes the Canaanites ethnically from the ancient
Israelites The Israelites (; , , ) were a group of ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes in the ancient Near East who, during the Iron Age, inhabited a part of Canaan. The earliest recorded evidence of a people by the name of Israel ...
, modern scholars Jonathan Tubb and Mark S. Smith have theorized—based on their archaeological and linguistic interpretations—that the Kingdom of Israel and the
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, , ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'údâ'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁𐤉𐤕𐤃𐤅𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'', "Davidic line, House of David") was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the South ...
represented a subset of Canaanite culture. In the Hebrew Bible an
ancestor An ancestor, also known as a forefather, fore-elder or a forebear, is a parent or (Recursion, recursively) the parent of an antecedent (i.e., a grandparent, great-grandparent, great-great-grandparent and so forth). ''Ancestor'' is "any person ...
called
Canaan Canaan (; Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he, כְּנַעַן – , in pausa – ; grc-bib, Χανααν – ;The current scholarly edition of the Septuagint, Greek Old Testament spells the word without any accents, c ...
first appears as one of
Noah Noah ''Nukh''; am, ኖህ, ''Noḥ''; ar, نُوح '; grc, Νῶε ''Nôe'' () is the tenth and last of the pre-Flood patriarchs in the traditions of Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions are a group of religions centered aroun ...
's grandsons. He appears during the narrative known as the
curse of Ham The curse of Ham is described in the Book of Genesis as imposed by the patriarch Noah upon Ham (son of Noah), Ham's son Canaan (son of Ham), Canaan. It occurs in the context of Noah#Noah's drunkenness, Noah's drunkenness and is provoked by a sham ...
, in which Canaan is cursed with perpetual slavery because his father
Ham Ham is pork Pork is the culinary name for the meat of the Pig, domestic pig (''Sus domesticus''). It is the most commonly consumed meat worldwide, with evidence of pig animal husbandry, husbandry dating back to 5000 BCE. Pork is ...
had "looked upon" the drunk and naked Noah. The expression "look upon" at times has sexual overtones in the Bible, as in Leviticus 20:11, "The man who lies with his father's wife has uncovered his father's nakedness..." As a result, interpreters have proposed a variety of possibilities as to what kind of transgression has been committed by Ham, including the possibility that maternal incest is implied. The passage in the Book of Genesis often called the Table of Nations presents the Canaanites as descendants of Canaan, (, ). Genesis 10:15–19 states: Canaanite populations are said to have inhabited the Mediterranean coastlands (), including
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon () or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to Lebanon–Syria border, the north and east and Israel to Blue ...
corresponding to Phoenicia () and the
Gaza Strip The Gaza Strip (;The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p.761 "Gaza Strip /'gɑːzə/ a strip of territory under the control of the Palestinian National Authority and Hamas, on the SE Mediterranean coast including the town of Gaza.. ...
corresponding to
Philistia Philistia (; Koine Greek (Septuagint, LXX): Γῆ τῶν Φυλιστιείμ, romanized: ''gê tôn Phulistieìm''), also known as the Philistine Pentapolis, was a confederation of cities in the Southwest Levant, which included the cities of ...
() and the
Jordan Valley The Jordan Valley ( ar, غور الأردن, ''Ghor al-Urdun''; he, עֵמֶק הַיַרְדֵּן, ''Emek HaYarden'') forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. Unlike most other river valleys, the term "Jordan Valley" often applies just to ...
(, , ). The
Philistines The Philistines ( he, פְּלִשְׁתִּים, Pəlīštīm; Koine Greek (Septuagint, LXX): Φυλιστιείμ, romanized: ''Phulistieím'') were an ancient people who lived on the south coast of Canaan from the 12th century BC until 6 ...
, while an integral part of the Canaanite milieu, do not seem to have been ethnic Canaanites, and were listed in the Table of Nations as descendants of Mizraim. The
Arameans The Arameans ( oar, 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; grc, Ἀραμαῖοι; syc, ܐܪ̈ܡܝܐ, Ārāmāyē) were an ancient Semitic-speaking people in the Near East, first recorded in historical sources from the late 12th century BCE. The Aramean hom ...
,
Moab Moab ''Mōáb''; Akkadian language, Assyrian: 𒈬𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Mu'abâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Ma'bâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒀊 ''Ma'ab''; Egyptian language, Egyptian: 𓈗𓇋𓃀𓅱𓈉 ''Mū'ībū'', name=, group= () is the name of an a ...
ites,
Ammon Ammon (Ammonite language, Ammonite: 𐤏𐤌𐤍 ''ʻAmān''; he, עַמּוֹן ''ʻAmmōn''; ar, عمّون, ʻAmmūn) was an ancient Semitic languages, Semitic-speaking nation occupying the east of the Jordan River, between the torren ...
ites,
Midian Midian (; he, מִדְיָן ''Mīḏyān'' ; ar, مَدْيَن, Madyan; grc-gre, Μαδιάμ, ''Madiam'') is a geographical place mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and Quran. William G. Dever states that biblical Midian was in the "northwest Ara ...
ites and
Edom Edom (; Edomite: ; he, אֱדוֹם , lit.: "red"; Akkadian: , ; Ancient Egyptian: ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan, located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west, and the Arabian Desert The Arabian Dese ...
ites were also considered fellow descendants of
Shem Shem (; he, שֵׁם ''Šēm''; ar, سَام, Sām) ''Sḗm''; Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: ሴም, ''Sēm'' was one of the sons of Noah in the book of Genesis and in the book of Chronicles, and the Quran. The children of Shem were Elam (Hebrew ...
or
Abraham Abraham, ; ar, , , name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common Hebrews, Hebrew patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the Covenant (biblical), special ...
, and distinct from generic Canaanites/
Amorites The Amorites (; sux, 𒈥𒌅, MAR.TU; Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒀀𒈬𒊒𒌝 or 𒋾𒀉𒉡𒌝/𒊎 ; he, אֱמוֹרִי, 'Ĕmōrī; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic-speaking people ...
.
Heth Heth, sometimes written Chet, but more accurately Ḥet, is the eighth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Ḥēt 𐤇 , Hebrew Hebrew (; ; ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasia ...
, representing the
Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian peoples, Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara (before 1750 BC), then the Kültepe , Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centere ...
, is a son of Canaan. The later Hittites spoke an
Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to the languages of Europe, overwhelming majority of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and the northern Indian subcontinent. Some European languages of this family, English language, Englis ...
(called ''Nesili''), but their predecessors the
Hattians The Hattians () were an ancient Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with abou ...
had spoken a little-known language ( Hattili), of uncertain affinities. The Horites, formerly of
Mount Seir Mount Seir ( he, הַר-שֵׂעִיר, ''Har Sēʿīr'') is the ancient and Hebrew Bible, biblical name for a mountainous region stretching between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba in the northwestern region of Edom and southeast of the Kingdom ...
, were implied to be Canaanite (
Hivite The Hivites ( he, ''Ḥiwwîm'') were one group of descendants of Canaan (son of Ham), Canaan, son of Ham (son of Noah), Ham, according to the Sons of Noah, Table of Nations in (10:17). A variety of proposals have been made, but beyond the refe ...
), although unusually there is no direct confirmation of this in the narrative. The
Hurrians The Hurrians (; Cuneiform script, cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Ancient Near East, Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language, H ...
, based in
Upper Mesopotamia Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the Upland and lowland, uplands and great outwash plain of northwestern Iraq, northeastern Syria and southeastern Turkey, in the northern Middle East. Since the early Muslim conquests of the mid-7th century, ...
, spoke the
Hurrian language Hurrian is an extinct Hurro-Urartian language spoken by the Hurrians (Khurrites), a people who entered northern Mesopotamia around 2300 BC and had mostly vanished by 1000 BC. Hurrian was the language of the Mitanni kingdom in northern Mesopotam ...
.


Biblical borders

In biblical usage, the name was confined to the country west of the
Jordan River The Jordan River or River Jordan ( ar, نَهْر الْأُرْدُنّ, ''Nahr al-ʾUrdunn'', he, נְהַר הַיַּרְדֵּן, ''Nəhar hayYardēn''; syc, ܢܗܪܐ ܕܝܘܪܕܢܢ ''Nahrāʾ Yurdnan''), also known as ''Nahr Al-Shariea ...
. The Canaanites were described as living "by the sea, and along by the side of the Jordan" (
Book of Numbers The book of Numbers (from Biblical Greek, Greek Ἀριθμοί, ''Arithmoi''; he, בְּמִדְבַּר, ''Bəmīḏbar'', "In the desert f) is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah. The book ...
13:29) and "around Jordan" (
Book of Joshua The Book of Joshua ( he, סֵפֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ‎ ', Tiberian: ''Sēp̄er Yŏhōšūaʿ'') is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;
22:9). John N. Oswalt notes that "Canaan consists of the land west of the
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; Romanization of Arabic, tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; Romanization of Arabic, tr. ' is a country in Western Asia. It is situated at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe, within the Levan ...
and is distinguished from the area east of the Jordan." Oswalt then goes on to say that in Scripture, Canaan "takes on a theological character" as "the land which is God's gift" and "the place of abundance". The
Book of Numbers The book of Numbers (from Biblical Greek, Greek Ἀριθμοί, ''Arithmoi''; he, בְּמִדְבַּר, ''Bəmīḏbar'', "In the desert f) is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah. The book ...
, 34:2, includes the phrase "the land of Canaan as defined by its borders." The borders are then delineated in Numbers 34:3–12. The term "Canaanites" in biblical Hebrew is applied especially to the inhabitants of the lower regions, along the sea coast and on the shores of the Jordan River, as opposed to the inhabitants of the mountainous regions.


Conquest of Canaan

Yahweh Yahweh *''Yahwe'', was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. The origins of his worship reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age if not somewhat earlier, ...
promises the land of Canaan to
Abraham Abraham, ; ar, , , name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common Hebrews, Hebrew patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the Covenant (biblical), special ...
in the
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis (from Greek ; Hebrew: בְּרֵאשִׁית ''Bəreʾšīt'', "In hebeginning") is the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its Hebrew name is the same as its first word, ( "In the beginning") ...
. and eventually delivers it to descendants of Abraham, the
Israelites The Israelites (; , , ) were a group of ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes in the ancient Near East who, during the Iron Age, inhabited a part of Canaan. The earliest recorded evidence of a people by the name of Israel ...
. The Hebrew Bible describes the Israelite
conquest of Canaan The Book of Joshua ( he, סֵפֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ‎ ', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: ''Sēp̄er Yŏhōšūaʿ'') is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament, and is the first book of the Deuteronomistic history, th ...
in the " Former Prophets" (, ), viz. the books of
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( ''Yəhōšuaʿ'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: ''Yŏhōšuaʿ,'' Literal translation, lit. 'Yahweh is salvation') ''Yēšūaʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَع ...
, Judges,
Samuel Samuel ''Šəmūʾēl'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: ''Šămūʾēl''; ar, شموئيل or صموئيل '; el, Σαμουήλ ''Samouḗl''; la, Samūēl is a figure who, in the narratives of the Hebrew Bible, plays a key role in the transit ...
, and Kings. These books give the narrative of the Israelites after the death of
Moses Moses hbo, מֹשֶׁה, Mōše; also known as Moshe or Moshe Rabbeinu (Mishnaic Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ, ); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, Mūše; ar, موسى, Mūsā; grc, Mωϋσῆς, Mōÿsēs () is considered the most important Prop ...
and their entry into Canaan under the leadership of
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( ''Yəhōšuaʿ'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: ''Yŏhōšuaʿ,'' Literal translation, lit. 'Yahweh is salvation') ''Yēšūaʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَع ...
. The renaming of the Land of Canaan as the
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of the Southern Levant. Related biblical, religious and historical English terms include the Land of Canaan, the Promised Land, the Holy Land, and Palestine (region), Palesti ...
marks the
Israelite The Israelites (; , , ) were a group of ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes in the ancient Near East who, during the Iron Age, inhabited a part of Canaan. The earliest recorded evidence of a people by the name of Israel ...
conquest Conquest is the act of military wiktionary:subjugation, subjugation of an enemy by force of Weapon, arms. Military history provides many examples of conquest: the Roman conquest of Britain, the Mauryan conquest of Afghanistan and of vast area ...
of the
Promised Land The Promised Land ( he, הארץ המובטחת, translit.: ''ha'aretz hamuvtakhat''; ar, أرض الميعاد, translit.: ''ard al-mi'ad; also known as "The Land of Milk and Honey"'') is the land which, according to the Tanakh The H ...
. The Canaanites () are said to have been one of seven regional ethnic divisions or "nations" driven out by the
Israelites The Israelites (; , , ) were a group of ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes in the ancient Near East who, during the Iron Age, inhabited a part of Canaan. The earliest recorded evidence of a people by the name of Israel ...
following
the Exodus The Exodus (Hebrew language, Hebrew: יציאת מצרים, ''Yeẓi’at Miẓrayim'': ) is the founding myth of the Israelites whose narrative is spread over four books of the Torah (or Pentateuch, corresponding to the first five books of the ...
. Specifically, the other nations include the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the
Perizzites The Perizzites ( ''Pərīzzī'') are a group of people mentioned many times in the Bible as having lived in the land of Canaan before the arrival of the Israelites. The name may be related to a Hebrew term meaning "rural person."For the etymology, ...
, the Hivites, and the
Jebusites The Jebusites (; ISO 259-3 ''Ybusi'') were, according to the books Book of Joshua, of Joshua and Books of Samuel, Samuel from the Tanakh, a Canaanite tribe that inhabited Jerusalem, then called Jebus (Hebrew: ''Yəḇūs'', "trampled place") pr ...
(). One of the
613 commandments The Judaism, Jewish tradition that there are 613 commandments ( he, תרי״ג מצוות, taryag mitzvot) or mitzvot in the Torah (also known as the Law of Moses) is first recorded in the 3rd century AD, when Rabbi Simlai mentioned it in a sermon ...
prescribes that no inhabitants of the cities of six Canaanite nations, the same as mentioned in 7:1, minus the
Girgashites Girgashites (Heb. גִּרְגָּשִׁי) are one of the tribes who had invaded the land of Canaan as mentioned in Gen. 15:21; Deut. 7:1; Josh. 3:10; Neh. 9:8. The Girgashites are also known as the fifth ethnic group that descended from Canaan (G ...
, were to be left alive. (). In 738 BC, the
Neo-Assyrian empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire was the fourth and penultimate stage of ancient Assyrian history and the final and greatest phase of Assyria as an independent state. Beginning with the accession of Adad-nirari II in 911 BC, the Neo-Assyrian Empire grew t ...
conquered the Kingdom of Israel. In 586 BC, the
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, , ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'údâ'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁𐤉𐤕𐤃𐤅𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'', "Davidic line, House of David") was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the South ...
was annexed into the
Neo-Babylonian Empire The Neo-Babylonian Empire or Second Babylonian Empire, historically known as the Chaldean Empire, was the last polity ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia. Beginning with the coronation of Nabopolassar as the List of kings of Babylon, King of B ...
. The city of
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس ) (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałēm. i ...
fell after a siege which lasted either eighteen or thirty months. By 586 BC, much of Judah was devastated, and the former kingdom suffered a steep decline of both economy and population.


New Testament

"Canaan" (, ) is used only twice in the New Testament: both times in
Acts of the Apostles The Acts of the Apostles ( grc-koi, Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων, ''Práxeis Apostólōn''; la, Actūs Apostolōrum) is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of the Christian Church and the spread of The gospel, ...
when paraphrasing
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;
stories. Additionally, the derivative (, "Canaanite woman") is used in Matthew's version of the exorcism of the Syrophoenician woman's daughter, while the
Gospel of Mark The Gospel of Mark), or simply Mark (which is also its most common form of abbreviation). is the second of the four Gospel#Canonical gospels, canonical gospels and of the three synoptic Gospels. It tells of the ministry of Jesus from his baptis ...
uses the term ().


Uses of the name

By the
Second Temple period The Second Temple period in Jewish history lasted approximately 600 years (516 BCE - 70 CE), during which the Second Temple existed. It started with the return to Zion and the construction of the Second Temple, while it ended with the First Jewis ...
(530 BC – 70 AD), "Canaanite" in the
Hebrew language Hebrew (; ; ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-surviving descendants, ...
had come to be not an ethnic designation, so much as a general synonym for "
merchant A merchant is a person who trades in Commodity, commodities produced by other people, especially one who trades with foreign countries. Historically, a merchant is anyone who is involved in commerce, business or trade. Merchants have operated fo ...
", as it is interpreted in, for example,
Book of Job The Book of Job (; hbo, אִיּוֹב, ʾIyyōḇ), or simply Job, is a book found in the Ketuvim ("Writings") section of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), and is the first of the Poetic Books in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. Scholars are ...
40:30, or
Book of Proverbs The Book of Proverbs ( he, מִשְלֵי, , "Proverbs (of Solomon Solomon (; , ),, ; ar, سُلَيْمَان, ', , ; el, Σολομών, ; la, Salomon also called Jedidiah (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , Modern Hebrew, Modern: , Tiberia ...
31:24. The name "Canaanites" is attested as the
endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, ''native'' name for a geographical place, group of people, individual person, language or dialect, meaning that it is used inside that particular place, grou ...
of the people later known to the
Ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
from BC as Phoenicians, and following the emigration of Canaanite-speakers to
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of Ancient Carthage, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in ...
(founded in the 9th century BC), was also used as a self-designation by the
Punics The Punic people, or western Phoenicians, were a Semitic people, Semitic people in the Western Mediterranean who migrated from Tyre, Lebanon, Tyre, Phoenicia to North Africa during the Iron Age, Early Iron Age. In modern scholarship, the term '' ...
(''chanani'') of North Africa during Late Antiquity. This mirrors usage of the names Canaanites and Phoenicians in later books of the Hebrew Bible (such as at the end of the
Book of Zechariah The Book of Zechariah, attributed to the Hebrew prophet Zechariah, is included in the Twelve Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;ith_Rashi's_commentaryat_ ith_Rashi's_commentary.html"_;"title="Rashi.html"_;"t ...
, where it is thought to refer to a class of merchants or to non-monotheistic worshippers in Israel or neighbouring
Sidon Sidon ( ; he, צִידוֹן, ''Ṣīḏōn'') known locally as Sayda or Saida ( ar, صيدا ''Ṣaydā''), is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate, Lebanon, South Governorate, of which it is the capital, ...
and Tyre), as well as in its single independent usage in the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...
(where it alternates with the term "Syrophoenician" in two parallel passages). The
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Greek language, Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible. It includes several ...
(3rd and 2nd century BC) translates Canaan as "Phoenicia".


Legacy

"Canaan" is used as a synonym of the
Promised Land The Promised Land ( he, הארץ המובטחת, translit.: ''ha'aretz hamuvtakhat''; ar, أرض الميعاد, translit.: ''ard al-mi'ad; also known as "The Land of Milk and Honey"'') is the land which, according to the Tanakh The H ...
; for instance, it is used in this sense in the hymn "Canaan's Happy Shore", with the
line Line most often refers to: * Line (geometry) In geometry, a line is an infinitely long object with no width, depth, or curvature. Thus, lines are One-dimensional space, one-dimensional objects, though they may exist in Two-dimensional Euclide ...
s: "Oh, brothers, will you meet me, (3x)/On Canaan's happy shore," a hymn set to the tune later used in '' The Battle Hymn of the Republic''. In the 1930s and 1940s, some Revisionist Zionist intellectuals in
Mandatory Palestine Mandatory Palestine ( ar, فلسطين الانتدابية '; he, פָּלֶשְׂתִּינָה (א״י) ', where "E.Y." indicates ''’Eretz Yiśrā’ēl'', the Land of Israel) was a geopolitical entity established between 1920 and 1948 i ...
founded the ideology of Canaanism, which sought to create a unique Hebrew identity, rooted in ancient Canaanite culture, rather than a Jewish one.


See also

* Amarna letters–localities and their rulers *
Canaanite and Aramaic inscriptions The Canaanite and Aramaic inscriptions, also known as Northwest Semitic inscriptions, are the primary extra-Biblical source for understanding of the society and history of the ancient Phoenicians, Ancient Hebrews, Hebrews and Arameans. Semitic ins ...
* Canaanite gate of ancient Tell *
Canaanite shift In historical linguistics, the Canaanite shift is a vowel shift/sound change that took place in the Canaanite languages, Canaanite dialects, which belong to the Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic branch of the Semitic languages family. ...
* Curse of Canaan * Names of the Levant * Proto-Canaanite alphabet *
Knanaya The Knānāya, (from Syriac Language, Syriac: ''Knā'nāya'' (Canaanite)) also known as the Southists or Tekkumbhagar, are an endogamy, endogamous ethnic group found among the Saint Thomas Christian community of Kerala, India. They are differenti ...
*
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
*
Yahwism Yahwism is the name given by modern scholars to the religion of History of ancient Israel and Judah, ancient Israel. Yahwism was essentially Polytheism, polytheistic, with a plethora of Deity, gods and Goddess, goddesses. Heading the pantheon ...


Citations


General bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Canaan & Ancient Israel
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Explores their identities (land-time, daily life, economy & religion) in pre-historical times through the material remains that they have left behind.



by Flavius Josephus.
When Canaanites and Philistines Ruled Ashkelon
Biblical Archaeology Society {{Authority control Amarna letters locations Ancient history of Jordan Land of Israel