Sherden


Sherden
One of the Sea-peoples reigns of Merneptah and Ramesses III, c.1236-1166 BC.
    The Sherden were amongst the *Sea-peoples who attacked Egypt in the Ramesside period, but they were first mentioned in Egyptian records during the reign of *Amenophis III, when they were described as pirates. In the reign of *Ramesses II, they came in war-ships from the midst of the sea and in the ensuing battle, many prisoners were taken. Later, they appeared amongst Pharaoh's bodyguard, and in the battles between *Ramesses III and the *Sea-peoples, they fought both for and against the Egyptians. Finally, they came to own and cultivate plots of land in Egypt, which presumably they had been awarded on account of their military service for Egypt. In the temple reliefs, they are shown wearing distinctive helmets which are ornamented with a large knob or disc at the apex and with projecting bull's horns; they carry round shields with handles and two-edged swords.
    Although they were seafarers or pirates, they have also been tentatively associated with various land sites. The bronze-working population of Sardinia who built stone towers (nuraghi) seemed to arrive on the island suddenly, sometime between 1400 and 1200 BC, and they have left bronze statues there which show themselves with horned helmets and round shields similar to those of the Sherden. In Corsica, similar helmets are represented on figures that are depicted on the menhir-like tombstones. It is possible that Cyprus may have been the original homeland of these people, although Sardinia is probably the place where they ultimately settled, for according to the earliest *Phoenician inscription there, the name of the island was Shardan.
    The Sherden fought against the Egyptians under *Merneptah as part of the coalition of *Libyans and *Sea-peoples, but in *Ramesses III's reign they occur not only in the enemy alliance but also as warriors on the Egyptian side.
BIBL. CAH ii, ch xxviii; Guido, M. Sardinia. London: 1963.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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