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Ethnicity in Mediterranean Protohistory

Wim M. J. van Binsbergen and Fred C. Woudhuizen


This book on ethnicity in Mediterranean protohistory may well be regarded as the main and final result of the project on the ethnicity of the Sea Peoples as set up by Wim van Binsbergen as academic supervisor and worked out by Fred Woudhuizen who, in theprocess, earned himself a PhD from the Erasmus University Rotterdam (2006). The book is divided into four parts: I) Ethnicity in Mediterranean proto-history: explorations in theory and method: With extensive discussions of the Homeric catalogue of shAs, the Biblical Table of Nations, and the Sea Peoples of the Late Bronze Age, against the background of a long-range comparative framework; II) The ethnicity of the Sea Peoples: an historical, archaeological and linguistic study; III) The ethnicity of the Sea Peoples: A second opinion; IV) The ethnicity of the Sea Peoples: Towards a synthesis, and in anticAation of criticism. It will soon be clear to the reader that the two authors differ considerably in their view on the matter, largely as a result of their different background and discAlinary allegiance. Thus Wim van Binsbergen (Parts I and III) – apart from providing an elaborate theoretical framework – , as a historicising anthropologist focuses on long-term processes and cultural features, whereas Fred Woudhuizen (Part II), as a historian by origin, is more occupied with the reconstruction (however difficult, in the protohistorical context) of the petty historical incidents. But however much the two authors may differ in detail and in overall discAlinary orientation, in the end they offer the reader a balanced synthesis, co-authored by both of them (Part IV), in which their respective views turn out to be complementary rather than diametrically opposed, and in which also a further methodological and linguistic vindication is offered for the more controversial points contained in the present book.