Home Region:  Levant (Southwest Asia)

Yisrael

EQ 2020  il_yisrael / IlYisrl

_Short description_
The ancient kingdom of Israel 1030-722 CE was a monarchy established by Israelite people that was eventually conquered by the Assyrian Empire. Initially a monarchic union with Judah, around 930 BCE the Northern Kingdom (Israel) gained autonomy. In the 9th century Israel entered an anti-Assyria coalition but from Jehu (841 BCE) paid them tribute and thereafter were frequently a vassal of the Mesopotamian empire. After a revolt against Assyria in 727 CE the Assyrians ended the polity sending many of its inhabitants into exile.
The century authorities ruled through administrative centers and fortresses sites that had "public buildings and ... large open spaces." [1] Local administration may have been through tribal elders who may have been responsible for tax collection. Our image of a centralized monarchy (for some of or the whole of the period) might be tempered by the ideas of Pfoh (2008) who has argued Israel was actually a "patronage kingdom" in which a monarchy did not control a truly unitary state. Nevertheless, Israel possessed a standing army with a strong chariot corps, and used weapons of iron and bronze. Fortifications were many and imposing, and the Palace of Omri was one of the grandest in the Ancient Near East.
At its height, Israel imposed tribute on many of the surrounding kingdoms, not only Judah but Moab, Edom, and perhaps others as well. The Israelite population primarily lived in cities and towns in the hills, with fortified cities protecting the frontiers on the plains and dominating major trade routes through the region. Trade linked Israel with its northern neighbor Phoenicia, particularly through the port of Dor. At the height of its power, Israel was also a significant military force, contributing the largest contingent to the regional coalition that turned back Assyria’s first attempt to conquer the Levant.
At least some of the population was literate even before the 10th Century BCE, though the prevalence of literacy is disputed. While the majority of the populace lived in small towns and villages, a significant fraction lived in walled cities such as the capital, Samaria. Most of the economy was in agriculture and pastoral production; staples for export included grain, wine, and oil. In the eighth century BCE the population likely exceeded well over a quarter of a million people, a vast increase on the less than 100,000 people estimated for the earliest times.


_Oren’s long description_
How the Kingdom of Israel began is a matter of dispute. The Bible depicts it as originally being the greater part of the old Israelite tribal confederation, and then a part of the United Monarchy under Saul, David, and Solomon (c. 1030 BCE)—before seceding during the rule of Rehaboam, and forming its own state. This narrative is more or less accepted by some archaeologists such as Mazar, while others such as Finkelstein assert that Israel actually emerged first from a process of gradual state formation, with the southern kingdom of Judah emerging later. [2]
Regardless, the two kingdoms always had close interactions, and the northern kingdom of Israel was almost always the dominant one. At its height, Israel imposed tribute on many of the surrounding kingdoms, not only Judah but Moab, Edom, and perhaps others as well. The Israelite population primarily lived in cities and towns in the hills, with fortified cities protecting the frontiers on the plains and dominating major trade routes through the region. Trade linked Israel with its northern neighbor Phoenicia, particularly through the port of Dor. At the height of its power, Israel was also a significant military force, contributing the largest contingent to the regional coalition that turned back Assyria’s first attempt to conquer the Levant. Israel featured a standing army with a strong chariot corps, with weapons of iron and bronze. Fortifications were many and imposing, and the Palace of Omri was one of the grandest in the Ancient Near East.
However, starting with the assassination of the Omrid king Jehoram by Jehu (c. 841 BCE), Israel’s fortunes waned; and it spent the rest of its existence as the tributary of either Aram or Assyria, depending on which of the two empires were ascendent. Even when the economy of Israel flourished during particular periods of the next century (as attested to by the greater incidence of luxury goods in archaeological finds), Israel was still subject to the depredations of foreign powers, being invaded several times. Ultimately, following an ill-fated rebellion against Assyria, the polity of Israel was dissolved (c. 722 BCE), its people exiled, and the land turned into an Assyrian province.
Israelite politics were marked with instability. In contrast to the kingdom of Judah, which featured a single ruling dynasty that traced its beginnings to David, Israelite kings frequently met violent ends. These would typically be at the hands of rebellious military commanders who would seize the throne, though such rebels ran the risk of being deposed themselves in short order. Zimri, one rebel captain, would rule for only a single week before losing the support of the army to rival captain Omri, founder of the Omrid Dynasty.
At least some of the population was literate even before the 10th Century BCE, though the prevalence of literacy is disputed. While the majority of the populace lived in small towns and villages, a significant fraction lived in walled cities such as the capital, Samaria. Most of the economy was in agriculture and pastoral production; staples for export included grain, wine, and oil.
A word of caution is in order about coding methodology. Much of the evidence we have about this polity comes from archaeological finds. However, the brute fact of an archaeological artifact is often used as the basis for considerable interpretation and conjecture. Methods have been improving over time, but still some archaeologists tend to leap far ahead of what the evidence will support. Additionally, the meaning of many finds is hotly disputed by archaeologists, each faction insisting for its point of view.
Worse, scholars of this particular polity often operate with ideological motives - either to prove the essential historicity of the Bible, or to disprove it—which can distort their claims. Israel Finkelstein, for example, once claimed that King David never existed, before having to revise his view after the discovery of the Tel Dan Stela. [2] (He now believes, as National Geographic puts it, that David was "a raggedy upstart akin to Pancho Villa.") His "Low Chronology" seems to have been motivated by the attempt to disprove the early existence of the United Monarchy, and the weight of the evidence now contradicts the chronology (while still inconclusive on the matter of the United Monarchy). [3] In general, it seems that many archaeologists treat the absence of evidence as evidence of absence—risky to do, considering that new finds are unearthed practically every month.
In short, every data point that is backed up with archaeology must be considered provisional, and new discoveries can totally upend our picture of what happened. As can new interpretations that correct erroneous early interpretations, a constant danger with motivated archaeologists.

[1]: (Finkelstein 2013, 104)Israel Finkelstein. 2013. The Forgotten Kingdom: The Archaeology and History of Northern Israel. Society of Biblical Literature. Atlanta, GA. Available online here.

[2]: Cf. Finkelstein/Mazar (2007).

[3]: Mazar (2005)

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
36 S  
Original Name:
Yisrael  
Capital:
Jerusalem  
Shechem  
Tirzah  
Samaria  
Alternative Name:
Israel  
Northern Kingdom  
Northern Kingdom of Israel  
Bit Humri  
House of Omri  
Shomron  
Samaria  
Ephraim  
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
855 BCE  
Duration:
[1,030 BCE ➜ 722 BCE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
personal union with [---]  
none  
alliance with [---]  
vassalage to [---]  
alliance with [---]  
Supracultural Entity:
Israelite  
Succeeding Entity:
Neo-Assyrian Empire  
Scale of Supracultural Interaction:
[10,000 to 20,000] km2  
Relationship to Preceding Entity:
population migration  
Preceding Entity:
Ancient Phoenicia  
Degree of Centralization:
confederated state  
Language
Linguistic Family:
Afro-Asiatic  
Language:
Hebrew  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[15,000 to 20,000] people  
Polity Territory:
[8,000 to 15,000] km2  
Polity Population:
[40,000 to 50,000] people 1030 BCE 1000 BCE
[50,000 to 300,000] people 900 BCE
[300,000 to 400,000] people 800 BCE 722 BCE
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
7  
Religious Level:
2  
Military Level:
[6 to 8]  
Administrative Level:
-  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
present  
Professional Priesthood:
inferred present  
Professional Military Officer:
present  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
present  
Merit Promotion:
unknown  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
present  
Examination System:
unknown  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
unknown  
Judge:
inferred present  
Formal Legal Code:
present  
absent  
Court:
unknown  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
inferred present  
Irrigation System:
unknown  
Food Storage Site:
present  
Drinking Water Supply System:
present  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
inferred present  
Port:
present  
Canal:
absent  
Bridge:
inferred absent  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
inferred present  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present  
Script:
present  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
present  
Nonwritten Record:
unknown  
Mnemonic Device:
unknown  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
unknown  
Sacred Text:
present  
absent  
Religious Literature:
inferred present  
Practical Literature:
unknown  
Philosophy:
unknown  
Lists Tables and Classification:
present  
History:
inferred present  
Fiction:
present  
absent  
Calendar:
unknown  
Information / Money
Token:
unknown  
Precious Metal:
present  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent  
Foreign Coin:
absent  
Article:
unknown  
Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
unknown  
General Postal Service:
absent  
Courier:
unknown  
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
present  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
present  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
unknown  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
absent  
  Fortified Camp:
inferred present  
  Earth Rampart:
present  
  Ditch:
present  
  Complex Fortification:
present  
  Long Wall:
absent  
Military use of Metals
  Iron:
present  
  Copper:
present  
  Bronze:
present  
Projectiles
  Tension Siege Engine:
unknown  
  Sling Siege Engine:
unknown  
  Sling:
present  
  Self Bow:
present  
  Javelin:
present  
  Handheld Firearm:
absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent  
  Crossbow:
absent  
  Composite Bow:
inferred present  
  Atlatl:
absent  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
unknown  
  Sword:
present  
  Spear:
present  
  Polearm:
absent  
  Dagger:
present  
  Battle Axe:
unknown  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
present  
  Elephant:
absent  
  Donkey:
inferred present  
  Dog:
absent  
  Camel:
unknown  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
present  
  Shield:
present  
  Scaled Armor:
present  
  Plate Armor:
absent  
  Limb Protection:
inferred present  
  Leather Cloth:
inferred present  
  Laminar Armor:
absent  
  Helmet:
present  
  Chainmail:
absent  
  Breastplate:
present  
Naval technology
  Specialized Military Vessel:
absent  
  Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
absent  
  Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
absent  
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Yisrael (il_yisrael) was in:
 (1030 BCE 722 BCE)   Galilee
Home NGA: Galilee

General Variables
Identity and Location


Capital:
Jerusalem

Jerusalem: 1030-951 BCE; Shechem: ??? Tirzah: 950-900 BCE; Samaria: 899-722 BCE Dates are approximate; the century-points are correct. "The book of 1 Kings (12:25) says that Jeroboam I built Shechem, but it also hints (14:17) that he later moved to Tirzah; 1 Kings specifically mentions Tirzah as the capital of the northern kingdom in the days of Baasha (15:21, 33; 16:6), Elah (16:8-9), Zimri (16:15), and the first half of the reign of Omri (16:23). Assuming that Jeroboam ruled at least part of his reign from Tirzah, as did his son Nadab, as well as Tibni, Tirzah was the seat of the first six or seven northern kings, for a period of forty to fifty years. I see no reason to doubt the authenticity of the consistent and deeply rooted information on Tirzah as the capital of Israel. The authenticity of this memory is highlighted by the fact that Tirzah does not play an important role in the rest of the Deuteronomistic History." [1]
"Tirzah lost its importance in the early ninth century, when Omri (884-873 b.c.e.) moved the capital of the northern kingdom to Samaria, possibly in his desire to establish a link with the coastal plain and the port of Dor (de Vaux 1967, 382). Indeed, the beginning of the transformation of Israel into a more complex kingdom came with the construction of the first palace at Samaria, probably by Omri. A full-scale urban transformation of the capital and the kingdom characterizes the more advanced phase of the Omride dynasty, probably in the days of Ahab (873-852 b.c.e.)." [2]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:66)

[2]: Finkelstein (2013:78)

Capital:
Shechem

Jerusalem: 1030-951 BCE; Shechem: ??? Tirzah: 950-900 BCE; Samaria: 899-722 BCE Dates are approximate; the century-points are correct. "The book of 1 Kings (12:25) says that Jeroboam I built Shechem, but it also hints (14:17) that he later moved to Tirzah; 1 Kings specifically mentions Tirzah as the capital of the northern kingdom in the days of Baasha (15:21, 33; 16:6), Elah (16:8-9), Zimri (16:15), and the first half of the reign of Omri (16:23). Assuming that Jeroboam ruled at least part of his reign from Tirzah, as did his son Nadab, as well as Tibni, Tirzah was the seat of the first six or seven northern kings, for a period of forty to fifty years. I see no reason to doubt the authenticity of the consistent and deeply rooted information on Tirzah as the capital of Israel. The authenticity of this memory is highlighted by the fact that Tirzah does not play an important role in the rest of the Deuteronomistic History." [1]
"Tirzah lost its importance in the early ninth century, when Omri (884-873 b.c.e.) moved the capital of the northern kingdom to Samaria, possibly in his desire to establish a link with the coastal plain and the port of Dor (de Vaux 1967, 382). Indeed, the beginning of the transformation of Israel into a more complex kingdom came with the construction of the first palace at Samaria, probably by Omri. A full-scale urban transformation of the capital and the kingdom characterizes the more advanced phase of the Omride dynasty, probably in the days of Ahab (873-852 b.c.e.)." [2]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:66)

[2]: Finkelstein (2013:78)

Capital:
Tirzah

Jerusalem: 1030-951 BCE; Shechem: ??? Tirzah: 950-900 BCE; Samaria: 899-722 BCE Dates are approximate; the century-points are correct. "The book of 1 Kings (12:25) says that Jeroboam I built Shechem, but it also hints (14:17) that he later moved to Tirzah; 1 Kings specifically mentions Tirzah as the capital of the northern kingdom in the days of Baasha (15:21, 33; 16:6), Elah (16:8-9), Zimri (16:15), and the first half of the reign of Omri (16:23). Assuming that Jeroboam ruled at least part of his reign from Tirzah, as did his son Nadab, as well as Tibni, Tirzah was the seat of the first six or seven northern kings, for a period of forty to fifty years. I see no reason to doubt the authenticity of the consistent and deeply rooted information on Tirzah as the capital of Israel. The authenticity of this memory is highlighted by the fact that Tirzah does not play an important role in the rest of the Deuteronomistic History." [1]
"Tirzah lost its importance in the early ninth century, when Omri (884-873 b.c.e.) moved the capital of the northern kingdom to Samaria, possibly in his desire to establish a link with the coastal plain and the port of Dor (de Vaux 1967, 382). Indeed, the beginning of the transformation of Israel into a more complex kingdom came with the construction of the first palace at Samaria, probably by Omri. A full-scale urban transformation of the capital and the kingdom characterizes the more advanced phase of the Omride dynasty, probably in the days of Ahab (873-852 b.c.e.)." [2]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:66)

[2]: Finkelstein (2013:78)

Capital:
Samaria

Jerusalem: 1030-951 BCE; Shechem: ??? Tirzah: 950-900 BCE; Samaria: 899-722 BCE Dates are approximate; the century-points are correct. "The book of 1 Kings (12:25) says that Jeroboam I built Shechem, but it also hints (14:17) that he later moved to Tirzah; 1 Kings specifically mentions Tirzah as the capital of the northern kingdom in the days of Baasha (15:21, 33; 16:6), Elah (16:8-9), Zimri (16:15), and the first half of the reign of Omri (16:23). Assuming that Jeroboam ruled at least part of his reign from Tirzah, as did his son Nadab, as well as Tibni, Tirzah was the seat of the first six or seven northern kings, for a period of forty to fifty years. I see no reason to doubt the authenticity of the consistent and deeply rooted information on Tirzah as the capital of Israel. The authenticity of this memory is highlighted by the fact that Tirzah does not play an important role in the rest of the Deuteronomistic History." [1]
"Tirzah lost its importance in the early ninth century, when Omri (884-873 b.c.e.) moved the capital of the northern kingdom to Samaria, possibly in his desire to establish a link with the coastal plain and the port of Dor (de Vaux 1967, 382). Indeed, the beginning of the transformation of Israel into a more complex kingdom came with the construction of the first palace at Samaria, probably by Omri. A full-scale urban transformation of the capital and the kingdom characterizes the more advanced phase of the Omride dynasty, probably in the days of Ahab (873-852 b.c.e.)." [2]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:66)

[2]: Finkelstein (2013:78)


Alternative Name:
Israel

"Bit Humri" was the name that some Assyrian texts used for the Northern Kingdom. [1]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:87)

Alternative Name:
Northern Kingdom

"Bit Humri" was the name that some Assyrian texts used for the Northern Kingdom. [1]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:87)

Alternative Name:
Northern Kingdom of Israel

"Bit Humri" was the name that some Assyrian texts used for the Northern Kingdom. [1]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:87)

Alternative Name:
Bit Humri

"Bit Humri" was the name that some Assyrian texts used for the Northern Kingdom. [1]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:87)

Alternative Name:
House of Omri

"Bit Humri" was the name that some Assyrian texts used for the Northern Kingdom. [1]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:87)

Alternative Name:
Shomron

"Bit Humri" was the name that some Assyrian texts used for the Northern Kingdom. [1]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:87)

Alternative Name:
Samaria

"Bit Humri" was the name that some Assyrian texts used for the Northern Kingdom. [1]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:87)

Alternative Name:
Ephraim

"Bit Humri" was the name that some Assyrian texts used for the Northern Kingdom. [1]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:87)


Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
855 BCE

This is at the apex of the reign of King Ahab, shortly before he participated in a regional coalition against the Assyrian Empire at the Battle of Qarqar c. 853 BCE. While the hard historical evidence of the battle’s outcome is slight, it is known that the Assyrian campaign did not proceed further south afterwards, and only retook the territory four years later. Nevertheless, Ahab died shortly after the battle and many subject kingdoms rebelled upon his death, including Moab and Edom. [1]

[1]: Kelle (2007:78-80)


Duration:
[1,030 BCE ➜ 722 BCE]

The early date is speculative, being approximately when the first consolidated monarchy was established by the Israelite people (traditionally assumed to be that of King David; non-Biblical evidence for his rule is thin but nonzero, for example the stela at Tel Dan.) [1] The later date is approximately when the Assyrian Empire conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and exiled many of its inhabitants.

[1]: Cf. Cline (2009:61).


Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
personal union with [---]

The timeline here largely follows Kelle (2007:21-23). During the initial period, Israel is presumed to have been joined to the Davidic monarchy (or a regime with the same practical effect), which is taken to be a personal union between Israel and Judah. [1] Circa 930 BCE, the Northern Kingdom splits off and develops into a separate regime; during the time of Omri and Ahab, Israel dominates its immediate neighbors and participates in an anti-Assyria regional coalition. Circa 841 BCE, Jehu seizes the throne and pays tribute to Assyria. For the next century, Israel is in a constant state of vassalage to either Assyria or Aram, as their respective political fortunes wax and wane. Finally, in 727 BCE, Israel joins in a regional rebellion against Assyria that ends with its dissolution as a polity.

[1]: Flanagan (1981)

Suprapolity Relations:
none

The timeline here largely follows Kelle (2007:21-23). During the initial period, Israel is presumed to have been joined to the Davidic monarchy (or a regime with the same practical effect), which is taken to be a personal union between Israel and Judah. [1] Circa 930 BCE, the Northern Kingdom splits off and develops into a separate regime; during the time of Omri and Ahab, Israel dominates its immediate neighbors and participates in an anti-Assyria regional coalition. Circa 841 BCE, Jehu seizes the throne and pays tribute to Assyria. For the next century, Israel is in a constant state of vassalage to either Assyria or Aram, as their respective political fortunes wax and wane. Finally, in 727 BCE, Israel joins in a regional rebellion against Assyria that ends with its dissolution as a polity.

[1]: Flanagan (1981)

Suprapolity Relations:
alliance with [---]

The timeline here largely follows Kelle (2007:21-23). During the initial period, Israel is presumed to have been joined to the Davidic monarchy (or a regime with the same practical effect), which is taken to be a personal union between Israel and Judah. [1] Circa 930 BCE, the Northern Kingdom splits off and develops into a separate regime; during the time of Omri and Ahab, Israel dominates its immediate neighbors and participates in an anti-Assyria regional coalition. Circa 841 BCE, Jehu seizes the throne and pays tribute to Assyria. For the next century, Israel is in a constant state of vassalage to either Assyria or Aram, as their respective political fortunes wax and wane. Finally, in 727 BCE, Israel joins in a regional rebellion against Assyria that ends with its dissolution as a polity.

[1]: Flanagan (1981)

Suprapolity Relations:
vassalage to [---]

The timeline here largely follows Kelle (2007:21-23). During the initial period, Israel is presumed to have been joined to the Davidic monarchy (or a regime with the same practical effect), which is taken to be a personal union between Israel and Judah. [1] Circa 930 BCE, the Northern Kingdom splits off and develops into a separate regime; during the time of Omri and Ahab, Israel dominates its immediate neighbors and participates in an anti-Assyria regional coalition. Circa 841 BCE, Jehu seizes the throne and pays tribute to Assyria. For the next century, Israel is in a constant state of vassalage to either Assyria or Aram, as their respective political fortunes wax and wane. Finally, in 727 BCE, Israel joins in a regional rebellion against Assyria that ends with its dissolution as a polity.

[1]: Flanagan (1981)

Suprapolity Relations:
alliance with [---]

The timeline here largely follows Kelle (2007:21-23). During the initial period, Israel is presumed to have been joined to the Davidic monarchy (or a regime with the same practical effect), which is taken to be a personal union between Israel and Judah. [1] Circa 930 BCE, the Northern Kingdom splits off and develops into a separate regime; during the time of Omri and Ahab, Israel dominates its immediate neighbors and participates in an anti-Assyria regional coalition. Circa 841 BCE, Jehu seizes the throne and pays tribute to Assyria. For the next century, Israel is in a constant state of vassalage to either Assyria or Aram, as their respective political fortunes wax and wane. Finally, in 727 BCE, Israel joins in a regional rebellion against Assyria that ends with its dissolution as a polity.

[1]: Flanagan (1981)


Supracultural Entity:
Israelite

Here in the broader sense of the peoples descended from the early tribal confederation, in both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms.


Succeeding Entity:
Neo-Assyrian Empire

Scale of Supracultural Interaction:
[10,000 to 20,000] km2

km squared. This represents the roughly-estimated area of both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. The precise extent of both is uncertain, as is the distinction between territory they controlled directly versus territory that was subject to them indirectly. [1]

[1]: Estimated using Geacron for 900 BCE.


Relationship to Preceding Entity:
population migration

The Israelite settlements first are found in hilly, desolate regions of the highlands that had little previous settlement during the Canaanite heyday, perhaps as refuges from the domination of surrounding powers such as the Philistines. In time, these became a political power in their own right. [1]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013), Lehmann (2004).



Degree of Centralization:
confederated state

This is uncertain. While the region featured frequent civil war, there are no independent records or biblical traditions of powerful noblemen or the like with any territorial bases or autonomy. However, much of local administration seems to have been performed by tribal elders; and it is possible that taxes were collected within each region. [1] Pfoh (2008) argues that Israel was actually a "patronage kingdom" in which the monarchy did not control a truly unitary state.

[1]: Cf. McMaster (2014:85)


Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[15,000 to 20,000] people

"The estimated area of Iron Age II Samaria according to Kenyon… is 70 hectares, with an estimated population of 17,000. Samaria had developed into a large central capital, larger than Jerusalem in the same period." [1]

[1]: Zertal (2001).


Polity Territory:
[8,000 to 15,000] km2

in squared kilometers. The precise extent of the Northern Kingdom is uncertain, as is the distinction between territory it controlled directly versus territory that was subject to it indirectly. [1]

[1]: Estimated using Geacron for 900 BCE.


Polity Population:
[40,000 to 50,000] people
1030 BCE 1000 BCE

People.
"The central hill country—between the Jezreel and the Beer-sheba Valleys—is well known archaeologically from both excavations and intensive survey projects. The surveys, mainly those conducted in the 1980s, revealed a massive wave of settlement that swept throughout this region in the Iron I (Finkelstein 1988; 1995; Zertal 1994; Ofer 1994). The main concentration of sites can be found in the northern part of this region, between Jerusalem and the Jezreel Valley. The settlement process may have started in the final phase of the Late Bronze Age (the late thirteenth or early twelfth centuries b.c.e.), accelerated in the early Iron I (the late twelfth to mid-eleventh century), and reached its peak in the late Iron I (the late eleventh and first half of the tenth centuries b.c.e.). In the late Iron I there were approximately 250 sites in this area (compared to ca. 30 sites in the Late Bronze Age), with a total built-up area that can be estimated at roughly 220 hectares (ca. 50 hectares in the Late Bronze Age). Using the broadly accepted, average density coefficient of two hundred people living on one built-up hectare in premodern societies, the late Iron I population can be estimated at circa 45,000 people." [1]
"Estimation of population is based on the results of surface surveys; if done properly, the collection of pottery sherds at a given site can shed light on the size of the site in every period of habitation. Accordingly, one can draw a settlement map for a given period with all sites, classified according to size, and compute the total built-up area. Deploying a density coefficient (number of people living on one built-up hectare in premodern, traditional towns and villages), it is possible to reach the total number of inhabitants. The population of [the Northern Kingdom of] Israel on both sides of the Jordan River in its peak prosperity in the middle of the eighth century can accordingly be estimated at 350,000—three times larger than the population of Judah of that time (Broshi and Finkelstein 1992)." [2]
It should be noted that these estimates are highly speculative, and there is reason to believe that they underestimate the true population by a considerable amount. "Some of the densities recently put forward for area coefficients have been based on unwalled, premodern villages…. How similar is such a village to a walled Bronze or Iron Age town or city? Although this is not a case of comparing apples and oranges (more like oranges and grapefruit), it seems probable that the economic constraints of building a defensive system put a permanent physical limit on the settlement area," leading to higher population densities. [3]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:37-38)

[2]: Finkelstein (2013:109-110)

[3]: Zorn (1994:33)

Polity Population:
[50,000 to 300,000] people
900 BCE

People.
"The central hill country—between the Jezreel and the Beer-sheba Valleys—is well known archaeologically from both excavations and intensive survey projects. The surveys, mainly those conducted in the 1980s, revealed a massive wave of settlement that swept throughout this region in the Iron I (Finkelstein 1988; 1995; Zertal 1994; Ofer 1994). The main concentration of sites can be found in the northern part of this region, between Jerusalem and the Jezreel Valley. The settlement process may have started in the final phase of the Late Bronze Age (the late thirteenth or early twelfth centuries b.c.e.), accelerated in the early Iron I (the late twelfth to mid-eleventh century), and reached its peak in the late Iron I (the late eleventh and first half of the tenth centuries b.c.e.). In the late Iron I there were approximately 250 sites in this area (compared to ca. 30 sites in the Late Bronze Age), with a total built-up area that can be estimated at roughly 220 hectares (ca. 50 hectares in the Late Bronze Age). Using the broadly accepted, average density coefficient of two hundred people living on one built-up hectare in premodern societies, the late Iron I population can be estimated at circa 45,000 people." [1]
"Estimation of population is based on the results of surface surveys; if done properly, the collection of pottery sherds at a given site can shed light on the size of the site in every period of habitation. Accordingly, one can draw a settlement map for a given period with all sites, classified according to size, and compute the total built-up area. Deploying a density coefficient (number of people living on one built-up hectare in premodern, traditional towns and villages), it is possible to reach the total number of inhabitants. The population of [the Northern Kingdom of] Israel on both sides of the Jordan River in its peak prosperity in the middle of the eighth century can accordingly be estimated at 350,000—three times larger than the population of Judah of that time (Broshi and Finkelstein 1992)." [2]
It should be noted that these estimates are highly speculative, and there is reason to believe that they underestimate the true population by a considerable amount. "Some of the densities recently put forward for area coefficients have been based on unwalled, premodern villages…. How similar is such a village to a walled Bronze or Iron Age town or city? Although this is not a case of comparing apples and oranges (more like oranges and grapefruit), it seems probable that the economic constraints of building a defensive system put a permanent physical limit on the settlement area," leading to higher population densities. [3]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:37-38)

[2]: Finkelstein (2013:109-110)

[3]: Zorn (1994:33)

Polity Population:
[300,000 to 400,000] people
800 BCE 722 BCE

People.
"The central hill country—between the Jezreel and the Beer-sheba Valleys—is well known archaeologically from both excavations and intensive survey projects. The surveys, mainly those conducted in the 1980s, revealed a massive wave of settlement that swept throughout this region in the Iron I (Finkelstein 1988; 1995; Zertal 1994; Ofer 1994). The main concentration of sites can be found in the northern part of this region, between Jerusalem and the Jezreel Valley. The settlement process may have started in the final phase of the Late Bronze Age (the late thirteenth or early twelfth centuries b.c.e.), accelerated in the early Iron I (the late twelfth to mid-eleventh century), and reached its peak in the late Iron I (the late eleventh and first half of the tenth centuries b.c.e.). In the late Iron I there were approximately 250 sites in this area (compared to ca. 30 sites in the Late Bronze Age), with a total built-up area that can be estimated at roughly 220 hectares (ca. 50 hectares in the Late Bronze Age). Using the broadly accepted, average density coefficient of two hundred people living on one built-up hectare in premodern societies, the late Iron I population can be estimated at circa 45,000 people." [1]
"Estimation of population is based on the results of surface surveys; if done properly, the collection of pottery sherds at a given site can shed light on the size of the site in every period of habitation. Accordingly, one can draw a settlement map for a given period with all sites, classified according to size, and compute the total built-up area. Deploying a density coefficient (number of people living on one built-up hectare in premodern, traditional towns and villages), it is possible to reach the total number of inhabitants. The population of [the Northern Kingdom of] Israel on both sides of the Jordan River in its peak prosperity in the middle of the eighth century can accordingly be estimated at 350,000—three times larger than the population of Judah of that time (Broshi and Finkelstein 1992)." [2]
It should be noted that these estimates are highly speculative, and there is reason to believe that they underestimate the true population by a considerable amount. "Some of the densities recently put forward for area coefficients have been based on unwalled, premodern villages…. How similar is such a village to a walled Bronze or Iron Age town or city? Although this is not a case of comparing apples and oranges (more like oranges and grapefruit), it seems probable that the economic constraints of building a defensive system put a permanent physical limit on the settlement area," leading to higher population densities. [3]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:37-38)

[2]: Finkelstein (2013:109-110)

[3]: Zorn (1994:33)


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
7

levels.
1. Capital city.
2. Fortified cities.3. Administrative centers. "Most of these sites served as royal and administrative centers or border fortresses rather than standard towns. They were devoted to public buildings and had large open spaces. Very little was found that attests to domestic quarters." [1] 4. Ring-shaped villages.5. Agglomerated villages. is this a distinct hierarchy from #4, or simply a size difference? I.e. did ring-shapped villages serve a greater set of administrative, political, economic, ritual functions than agglomerated villages, or were they basically the same in function but differed in typical size?6. Farmsteads.7. Seasonal or nomadic camps.
"Volkmar Fritz identifies three general settlement types: (1) ring-shaped villages, (2) agglomerated villages, and (3) farmsteads. Characteristic of the first type—ring-shaped villages—is the arrangement of houses in a closed circle or oval, with an open area in the center, an arrangement that possibly functioned as a means of defense, as well as providing an open area for keeping animals. The agglomerated village type consists of individual buildings, or complexes of several buildings, with streets of varying width and irregular open areas left between the individual units. The edges of this village type are open, and living space is relatively close and restricted. The third type of settlement—farmsteads—consists simply of single buildings or groups of buildings surrounded by a widely extending wall, which may have functioned as an enclosure for animals." [2]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:104).

[2]: McNutt (1999:49)


Religious Level:
2

levels. That there were dedicated priests with at least two levels of hierarchy is about all we know. Whether parochial religious figures were linked in a centralized hierarchy with the center, or whether the king claimed to be the paramount priest, or how elaborate the priestly hierarchy was, are all unknown.


Military Level:
[6 to 8]

1. King
2. "Sar haTzava" (commander of the army)3. "Shalish" (captain? deputy?), possibly descended from earlier position "Nose’ Keilim" (equipment-bearer, attendant)
“Only scant references exist concerning the leadership of the Israelite and Judean military. The king was the head of the army. Offices like “captain” (Hebrew, shalish) and “commander” (Hebrew, sar) were important for the army and chariotry, yet the precise nature of these offices and how one achieved them remains uncertain.” [1] “At times, the rank of shalish designated a personal assistant to the king, but Pekah’s experience as a “captain” was more likely as a member of a group of commanding officers or elite warriors within the military organization. The office shared some of the functions of and perhaps developed out of the older position of the nose’ kelim (“armor-bearer”), which had been prominent in Israel during the early stages of military development before the 9th century.” [2] (Compare with II Samuel 11:3-9.)4. Commander ("sar") of the thousand. (It is difficult to know whether this position was distinct from that of Shalish.)5. Commander of the hundred.6. Commander of the fifty.7. Commander of the ten.
“The infantry had units of 1,000, 100, 50, and 10, and may have lived in garrisons in key cities.” [3] Compare II Kings 1:9.8. Common soldier.

[1]: Kelle (2007:44)

[2]: Kelle (2007:140)

[3]: Kelle (2007:71)


Administrative Level:
-

While we have some Biblical descriptions of royal bureaucracies which are paralleled by Ugaritic tablets, [1] they do not provide enough detail to infer the actual bureaucratic hierarchy with any certainty.

[1]: McMaster (2014:83-85).


Professions
Professional Soldier:
present

“Both biblical and non-biblical sources confirm that standing armies were in place in Israel and Judah by the Assyrian period in the 9th century.” [1]

[1]: Kelle (2007:42-43).


Professional Priesthood:
present

The Bible (I Kings 18:19) describes how King Ahab maintained hundreds of functionaries of the Phoenician Baal "who eat at Jezebel’s table". Professional priests are widely attested to in the region.



Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
present

"At Dothan, this administrative building stands out from the surrounding domestic structures because of its repetitious internal arrangement and ashlar masonry, and, within the building, the finds consist of a series of small storage vessels filled with grain…." [1]

[1]: McMaster (2014:85)





Law

Judge:
present

E.g. Ahab securing the vineyard of Naboth by having him accused of blasphemy (I Kings 21).


Formal Legal Code:
present

This turns on the degree to which the Mosaic code existed in a formal manner, and was followed, which is hotly debated by scholars. It is clear that informal codes existed, at the very least. There is no evidence for a royal law code for the Northern Kingdom that has survived.

Formal Legal Code:
absent

This turns on the degree to which the Mosaic code existed in a formal manner, and was followed, which is hotly debated by scholars. It is clear that informal codes existed, at the very least. There is no evidence for a royal law code for the Northern Kingdom that has survived.



Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
present

"Physical markets, since they are as much a process as a location, are hard to detect archaeologically. Occasional markets are places of exchange, not storage, and leave few traces. At smaller cities, storage and administrative buildings next to a city gate might have served as a periodic market (Kochavi 1998; Herr 1988). In larger centers, such as Tel Dan, the paved plaza outside the city gate was a more developed locale—though the stalls for such a marketplace could still be temporary and the traders might only occasionally visit. Perhaps the most developed attempt to outline a local extramural market center would be the recent work of Yifat Thareani, who argues that the public building at Tel Aroer, containing an unusually large number of weights for measuring silver, served a commercial function (2011: 161-73, 301-4)." [1]

[1]: McMaster (2014:87)


Irrigation System:
unknown

It is a commonplace that ancient Israel depended primarily on rainwater for its agriculture, in contrast to Egypt and Mesopotamia. No evidence for large-scale irrigation systems has been found; however, that does not make smaller systems impossible.


Food Storage Site:
present

"The ostraca house at Samaria received goods from clans across the territory of Manasseh (Reisner, Fischer, and Lyon 1924, with modifications in Tappy 2001: 497, fig. 84). While the ostraca house is not a common architectural form, it does have a parallel in the Iron ILA/B “administrative building” at the regional center of Tell Dothan. At Dothan, this administrative building stands out from the surrounding domestic structures because of its repetitious internal arrangement and ashlar masonry, and, within the building, the finds consist of a series of small storage vessels filled with grain…." [1]

[1]: McMaster (2014:85)


Drinking Water Supply System:
present

“Huge water systems are one of the main characteristics of Israelite fortifications. These held water that often came from a source located outside the city walls. The system often consisted of a vertical shaft, with broad steps leading down to a horizontal tunnel, which in turn led to the water source, often in a cave. The entrance to the cave from outside the citadel was of course blocked off. Water systems have been excavated at Megiddo, Hazor and Lachish; the latter, however, was not finished. The water system of Jerusalem will be discussed later.” [1]

[1]: Rossi (2010:72)


Transport Infrastructure

Dorsey infers this mainly from the use of chariots and wheeled carts, which require flat roads, though they seem to have been unpaved. [1]

[1]: Dorsey (1991).


"Dor was strongly connected by maritime trade to Phoenicia (Stern 2000; Gilboa 2005) and must have served as the main maritime gate of the northern kingdom. The fact that Ahab married a Phoenician princess (1 Kgs 16:31) testifies to the close commercial interests of the northern kingdom on the coast and in Phoenicia." [1] Smaller port at Ashkelon as well. [2]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:108)

[2]: McMaster (2014:86)



Bridge:
absent

Probably absent according to Dorsey. [1]

[1]: Dorsey (1991).


Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
present

Evidence of calcite-alabaster quarrying in ’Abud Cave that predated this polity and also continued after it. Additional quarrying of materials such as sandstone attested to in the Samra Caves near Jericho. [1] Given the scale of stone building in this polity, additional quarrying is practically certain—though at least some of the stone used in e.g. Samaria was quarried on-site.

[1]: Frumkin et al. (2014)


Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present

Best example known is the Gezer Calendar. [1]

[1]: E.g. King/Steger (2001:88)


Script:
present

For example, "An ostracon from Izbet Sartah was found in a silo of Stratum II, dating to the end of the eleventh century BCE. The 22-letter alphabet was incised in five rows in proto-Canaanite script. Although it is apparently earlier than the tenth century BCE, it is included here since, from a paleographic point of view, it is similar to the inscription from Khirbet Qeiyafa and apparently belongs to the transition between Iron I and Iron II." [1] "A hoard found at Eshtemoa included five jugs full of silver scrap; the word חמש, “five”, is written in red or black ink on three of them. Based on ceramic and paleographic typology, the jugs date to the tenth or ninth centuries BCE." [2] Additional examples listed in the cited article.

[1]: Ahituv/Mazar (2014:54). For a general overview of literacy in ancient Israel, see Rollston (2010).

[2]: Ahituv/Mazar (2014:57)


Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
present

For example, "An ostracon from Izbet Sartah was found in a silo of Stratum II, dating to the end of the eleventh century BCE. The 22-letter alphabet was incised in five rows in proto-Canaanite script. Although it is apparently earlier than the tenth century BCE, it is included here since, from a paleographic point of view, it is similar to the inscription from Khirbet Qeiyafa and apparently belongs to the transition between Iron I and Iron II." [1] "A hoard found at Eshtemoa included five jugs full of silver scrap; the word חמש, “five”, is written in red or black ink on three of them. Based on ceramic and paleographic typology, the jugs date to the tenth or ninth centuries BCE." [2] Additional examples listed in the cited article.

[1]: Ahituv/Mazar (2014:54). For a general overview of literacy in ancient Israel, see Rollston (2010).

[2]: Ahituv/Mazar (2014:57)


Nonwritten Record:
unknown

Best example known is the Gezer Calendar. [1]

[1]: E.g. King/Steger (2001:88)



Information / Kinds of Written Documents

This dispute depends on the timing of the Bible’s writing. Elements of the books of Samuel and Kings, at a bare minimum, almost certainly date back to this period, but whether they were first transmitted in written or oral form is disputed. For example, Finkelstein writes: "The history of ancient Israel in the Hebrew Bible was written by Judahite authors in Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom and the hub of the Davidic dynasty. As such it transmits Judahite ideas regarding territory, kingship, temple, and cult. Moreover, even what some scholars consider as the early layers of the history of ancient Israel, such as the books of Samuel (e.g., McCarter 1994; Halpern 2001; Römer and de Pury 2000, 123-28; Hutton 2009), were written after the northern kingdom was vanquished by Assyria and its elite was deported.… The original northern texts—or at least some of them—could have been written as early as the first half of the eighth century b.c.e. in the capital Samaria or in the temple of YHWH at Bethel, located on the northern border of Judah (also Fleming 2012, 314-21; for a later date of compilation at Bethel, see Knauf 2006; Davies 2007a, 2007b; for the archaeology of Bethel, see Finkelstein and Singer-Avitz 2009). Both written texts and oral traditions were probably brought to Judah by Israelite refugees after the fall of Israel in 720 b.c.e. (Schniedewind 2004; Finkelstein and Silberman 2006b)…" [1]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:2-3)

This dispute depends on the timing of the Bible’s writing. Elements of the books of Samuel and Kings, at a bare minimum, almost certainly date back to this period, but whether they were first transmitted in written or oral form is disputed. For example, Finkelstein writes: "The history of ancient Israel in the Hebrew Bible was written by Judahite authors in Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom and the hub of the Davidic dynasty. As such it transmits Judahite ideas regarding territory, kingship, temple, and cult. Moreover, even what some scholars consider as the early layers of the history of ancient Israel, such as the books of Samuel (e.g., McCarter 1994; Halpern 2001; Römer and de Pury 2000, 123-28; Hutton 2009), were written after the northern kingdom was vanquished by Assyria and its elite was deported.… The original northern texts—or at least some of them—could have been written as early as the first half of the eighth century b.c.e. in the capital Samaria or in the temple of YHWH at Bethel, located on the northern border of Judah (also Fleming 2012, 314-21; for a later date of compilation at Bethel, see Knauf 2006; Davies 2007a, 2007b; for the archaeology of Bethel, see Finkelstein and Singer-Avitz 2009). Both written texts and oral traditions were probably brought to Judah by Israelite refugees after the fall of Israel in 720 b.c.e. (Schniedewind 2004; Finkelstein and Silberman 2006b)…" [1]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:2-3)


Religious Literature:
present

Probably the best example is the Book of Proverbs; at the very least, portions of it seem to have been inspired by a second-millennium BCE Egyptian text. [1]

[1]: Alter (2010:184)




Lists Tables and Classification:
present

Best example known is the Gezer Calendar. [1]

[1]: E.g. King/Steger (2001:88)


History:
present

The Bible attests the the existence of the "Annals of the Kings," which may have been the source for the chronologies within Kings and Chronicles, but the text itself has been lost. Similar royal histories were the norm in surrounding societies.


This turns on when the Song of Songs was composed, with scholarly opinions ranging from the 10th Century BCE all the way to the 2nd Century BCE under Hellenistic influence. [1]

[1]: Exum (2012).

This turns on when the Song of Songs was composed, with scholarly opinions ranging from the 10th Century BCE all the way to the 2nd Century BCE under Hellenistic influence. [1]

[1]: Exum (2012).



Information / Money

Precious Metal:
present

"A hoard found at Eshtemoa included five jugs full of silver scrap; the word חמש, “five”, is written in red or black ink on three of them. Based on ceramic and paleographic typology, the jugs date to the tenth or ninth centuries BCE." [1]

[1]: Ahituv/Mazar (2014:57)




Foreign Coin:
absent

The earliest coins known worldwide were minted in Anatolia in the Seventh Century BCE. No coins have been found in the Ancient Near East that date from before the Persian Empire. [1]

[1]: Bienkowski/Millard (2000:77-78)


Article:
unknown

No sources list prices in terms of e.g. cattle, but in a recently pastoral society it is not out of the question.


Information / Postal System



Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
Wooden Palisade:
present

“The Assyrian relief depicting the siege of Lachish shows wooden battlements on which shields were hung to strengthen the defence.” [1]

[1]: Rocca (2010:64)



Stone Walls Mortared:
unknown

Smaller residential buildings were often mortared with clay, but whether this technique was used for fortifications is unknown.


Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present

"The architectural program of the Omrides seems to have been conceived in order to serve their territorial ambitions: casemate forts or administrative centers were built on the borders of the kingdom (figs. 18, 19): Har Adir (and possibly Tel Harashim) facing Tyre; Hazor and En Gev facing the territory of Aram Damascus; Ramoth-gilead opposite Aram Damascus in the Bashan; Jahaz and Ataroth facing Moabite Dibon; and Gezer facing the Philistine city-states. Except for the capital Samaria, only Jezreel seems to have been located in the heartland of Israel. The Omride compound there could have been erected as a center of command in the demographically Canaanite valley and as a military post related to the chariot force of the kingdom (Cantrell 2011)." [1]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:109)




Fortified Camp:
present

"One of Saul’s important innovations was the introduction of the fortified camp for prolonged campaigns. These were well-organized, semipermanent base camps broken into special zones for training, ordinance [sic] manufacture, and quartermaster." [1] This source is fairly speculative and based on textual reading of the Bible. Later, in I Samuel 23:14, David is described as living in מצדות in the desert, variously translated as "strongholds" or "fortified camps." I favor the latter translation, as a permanent stronghold would have been easy for Saul to find.

[1]: Gabriel (2003:32)


Earth Rampart:
present

Ancient Levant: "In the Middle Bronze Age, sloping earth ramparts known as glacis appear." [1]

[1]: (Philip 2003, 190) Graham Philip. Weapons and Warfare in Ancient Syria-Palestine. Suzanne Richard. ed. 2003. Near Eastern Archaeology: A Reader. Eisenbrauns. Winona Lake.


E.g. "The layout of Khirbet Atarus - a rectangular, elevated compound surrounded by a rock-cut [dry] moat on three sides and protected by a steep slope on the fourth—is identical to the Omride compound in Jezreel." [1] (Note that references to "moats" in ancient Israel are invariably to dry moats, i.e. ditches.)

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:100)


Complex Fortification:
present

“During the United Monarchy much use was made of the so-called casemate wall, which consisted of two parallel walls joined at determined intervals by perpendicular walls. Casemate walls could be freestanding, as at Megiddo VA, or could be integrated into city buildings, as at Beer-sheba II. Casemate walls could be used as soldiers’ dwellings, or to store food or weapons that could be used in case of siege. Sometimes the stone casemates served as a framework, which was filled with earth. From the Divided Monarchy onwards massive walls are more frequent. The earliest type is the inset and offset type, built with sections of around 6m long that alternately project and recede. The degree of projection was 0.5-0.6m. Megiddo IVA is the best example of this type.” [1]

[1]: Rocca (2010:63-64)



Military use of Metals

In the Levant, in Israel iron replaced bronze for utilitarian objects by 900 BCE [1] and data from this time shows both bronze and iron weapons were being used. [2]

[1]: (McNutt 1999, 163) Paula M McNutt. 1999. Reconstructing the Society of Ancient Israel. Westminister John Knox Press. Louisville.

[2]: (Gabriel 2003, 117) Gabriel, Richard. 2003. The Military History of Ancient Israel. Westport: Praeger Publishers


Copper:
present

In the Levant, in Israel iron replaced bronze for utilitarian objects by 900 BCE [1] and data from this time shows both bronze and iron weapons were being used. [2]

[1]: (McNutt 1999, 163) Paula M McNutt. 1999. Reconstructing the Society of Ancient Israel. Westminister John Knox Press. Louisville.

[2]: (Gabriel 2003, 117) Gabriel, Richard. 2003. The Military History of Ancient Israel. Westport: Praeger Publishers


Bronze:
present

In the Levant, in Israel iron replaced bronze for utilitarian objects by 900 BCE [1] and data from this time shows both bronze and iron weapons were being used. [2]

[1]: (McNutt 1999, 163) Paula M McNutt. 1999. Reconstructing the Society of Ancient Israel. Westminister John Knox Press. Louisville.

[2]: (Gabriel 2003, 117) Gabriel, Richard. 2003. The Military History of Ancient Israel. Westport: Praeger Publishers


Projectiles
Tension Siege Engine:
unknown

II Chronicles 26:15 records that King Uzziah of Judah commissioned defensive engines of some kind to be placed on the corner towers of Jerusalem, which could shoot "arrows and great stones," but the nature of such engines is unknown and there is no supporting evidence for them elsewhere.






Handheld Firearm:
absent

“Both biblical and non-biblical sources confirm that standing armies were in place in Israel and Judah by the Assyrian period in the 9th century. Little is known of the specific recruitment, composition, and organization of these forces, but they consisted of three primary elements: infantry, chariotry, and cavalry. Infantry formed the primary fighting force and included spearmen, equipped with spears, lances, javelins, and shields; archers, utilizing bows of various sizes, carrying quivers on their backs, and often accompanied by separate shield-bearers; and slingers, organized in combat pairs." [1]

[1]: Kelle (2007:42-43).




Composite Bow:
present

Composite bows were known as far back as the Early Bronze period in the Levant, though they were uncommon and the simple bow was more frequently used. [1] However, they were replaced almost entirely with composite bows in the Middle Bronze period. "Indeed, the introduction of the chariot ca. 2000 B.C. coincided with the development of the composite bow, which quickly replaced the simple bow in most military contexts." [2] There is little reason to believe that composite bows fell out of use during the Iron Age.

[1]: Burke (2004:62-63).

[2]: Burke (2004:57).



Handheld weapons

"Very few long iron swords are known from Israel. The earliest is a sword of similar dimensions found in Family Tomb 1 at Achzib, Phase 1, which was dated to the 10th century b.c.e. (E. Mazar 2004: 117, 122; Fig. 29:8). It recalls our sword in its length, the fact that the handle and blade were made as one unit, and the rounded widening of the handle’s end. However, at Achzib the handle has two protrusions probably intended to hold wooden parts in place." [1]

[1]: Mazar/Ahituv (2011)






Animals used in warfare

"The strength of the Israelite horse industry is attested already in the mid-ninth century, in Shalmaneser III’s account of the chariot forces of the anti-Assyrian coalition in the Battle of Qarqar; Ahab is mentioned by the Assyrian king as arriving with the largest number of chariots." [1]

[1]: Finkelstein (2013:133)



Donkey:
present

Donkeys had been common in the region for millennia, and at the very least would have been used to carry supplies.




Armor
Wood Bark Etc:
present

At least some shields were made of wood. [1]

[1]: Gabriel (2003:116)


Shield:
present

“Biblical texts and Assyrian reliefs portray Israelite and Judean infantrymen as outfitted with shields, helmets, and coats of armor, sometimes including a scarf around the head and covering the ears.” [1]

[1]: Kelle (2007:43)


Scaled Armor:
present

“Standard dress [for light infantry] was probably a short tunic and boots, while battle gear was likely to include scale armor, a breastplate, and perhaps a helmet.” [1]

[1]: Kelle (2007:137)



Limb Protection:
present

Greaves were known to the Israelites from the example of the Philistines, for example I Samuel 17:5.


Leather Cloth:
present

Leather or cloth armor was known from the Egyptians at the very least, [1] and the tribal militias were unlikely to have been issued armor from the regime, leaving them to equip themselves.

[1]: Gabriel (2003:43)






Naval technology

Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
absent

There is no record of any Israelite navy or naval engagement during the entire period; all references to ships involve trade, sometimes sponsored by kings. [1]

[1]: Kelle (2007:43)




Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.