Who was a Philistine?

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The ancient Philistines lived in an area known as Philistia (also known as "Pleshet," or the "land of the Philistines") along Canaan's southern coast in what is now present-day Israel and the Gaza Strip. There are numerous references to the Philistines, such as Goliath, in the early books of the Old Testament: They were believed to be "descended from Ham," according to the Book of Genesis; and they may have been one of the "Sea Peoples" of the Mediterranean. There is some speculation that they may have originated from the island of Crete. They were often in conflict with the Israelites and were defeated by King David and later conquered by the Assyrians in 732 B.C. The name "Palestine" derived from the Philistines. Archaeological finds have provided evidence that there were probably at least five Philistine cities in Canaan: Gath, Gaza, Ashdod, Ekron and Ashkelon. Philistine pottery was distinctive.

Especially notable is the early Philistine pottery, a locally made version of the Aegean Mycenaean Late Helladic IIIC pottery, which is decorated in shades of brown and black. This later developed into the distinctive Philistine pottery of the Iron Age I, with black and red decorations on white slip known as Philistine Bichrome ware.

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