But what do we know of the Philistines from sources other than the Bible? Well, we know that they lived in cities around the Mediterranean, many of which were in modern-day Israel and Palestine. And one such settlement, Ashkelon – which still exists in a more contemporary form to this day – is situated on what is now the Israeli coast.
There’s archaeological evidence of the Philistines, too, the earliest of which comes from the beginning of the 12th century B.C. What’s more, among the excavated Artifacts there are examples of Philistinian pottery with clear ancient Greek influences. And further evidence shows that the Philistines ate pork, a clear distinction between them and their Jewish neighbors. Indeed, as Harvard University archaeologist Lawrence Stager told National Geographic, the Philistines had “an extraordinarily different culture” from the other people who lived around them in the Middle East.
What’s more, the Philistines’ true origins are still a matter of debate for historians and archaeologists. And while the Hebrew Bible says that the Philistines originated from the Land of Caphtor, what is now believed to be Crete, many think that they may have had far more dubious roots. In fact, some academics have asserted that the Philistines may have had connections with the Sea Peoples – a loose alliance of piratical raiders who roamed the Mediterranean in the 12th and 13th centuries B.C.