Black Ships and Sea Raiders

Black Ships and Sea Raiders

The Late Bronze and Early Iron Age Context of Odysseus’ Second Cretan Lie

Jeffrey P. Emanuel


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The end of the Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean was a time of social, political, and economic upheaval – conditions reflected, in many ways, in the world of Homer’s Odyssey. Jeffrey P. Emanuel examines the Odyssey’s Second Cretan Lie (xiv 191 – 359) in the context of this watershed transition, with particular emphasis on raiding, warfare, maritime technology and tactics, and the evidence for the so-called ‘Sea Peoples’ who have been connected to the events of this period. He focuses in particular on the hero’s description of his frequent raiding activities and on his subsequent sojourn in the land of the pharaohs, and connections between Odysseus’ false narrative and the historical experiences of one particular Sea Peoples group: the ‘Sherden of the Sea.’


Jeffrey P. Emanuel:
Jeffrey P. Emanuel is associate director of academic technology and CHS fellow in Aegean archaeology and prehistory at Harvard University.