Bandits, nomads and the formation of highland polities : hinterland activity in Palestine in the late Bronze and early Iron Age
This study is an effort to view events in the Ancient Near East, especially Palestine, during the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age from a somewhat different angle. In a first instance, it will try to move away from concentrating on the movement of ethnic entities. Emphasis will be on the social groupings involved, bandits and nomads being singled out especially as they behave and evolve in a highland environment. Chapter I assesses whether or not ancient Palestine in particular offers conditions appropriate for the rise of banditry. chapter 2 will analyze behavioral patterns among bandits and stress that they can function as wielders of important political and military power. Chapter 3 introduces nomads especially as they are perceived by the sedentary and urban groups, but also as they stand in relation to bandits. Chapter 4 will use these findings to present a picture of the Palestinian highlands as an autonomous hinterland. Chapter 5 will treat the Late Bronze-Iron Age transition more directly. It will point out how these same highlands became an attractive area of refuge during the time of the late Egyptian takeover, the arrival of the Sea Peoples, and, finally, the collapse of the empire. Chapter 6 will move onto the processes of state-formation after that collapse. It will present the capacities of bandits and nomads to develop stronger polities from a sociological point of view, before the concluding chapter 7 takes a close look at first the written, then the epigraphical and archaeological material relevant to the particular Palestinian highland situation, especially treating the question of the power and size of any polity that would have arisen under the given conditions.