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Different tribes and nations have existed all around the Mediterranean sea in the bronze age and later. They would know their land-neighbors, and may have communicated and traded with each other directly via sea travel (during calm summer months, as soon as seafaring was advanced enough). Yet they would not have been a military threat to each other as long as the sea travel was too risky and expensive, compared to campaigns over land. So I imagine that for some time, the Mediterranean allowed trade but blocked conquest, until a time when conquest became viable due to ship technology allowing safe travel of armies. The question is when (with what nation) those dynamics changed.

I imagine that in prehistory, rafts and canoes only followed the shorelines at best, but at some point in antiquity, it must have become common to cross the Mediterranean sea at different points every year for communication, raids and trade (at Gibraltar and Sicily mostly supposedly), maybe during the calm season only at first.

Similarly, I imagine that for waging war, there must have been evolutionary stages of shipbuilding that allowed to cross the Mediterranean en masse with an armada, not too expensively, and without risking not being able to return. I imagine during the Greco-Persian wars, technology was not advanced enough for direct (non-shore-following) warfare across the sea, while during the Punic wars it was advanced enough.

So are there in literature known stages for when the Mediterranean became traversable for different purposes? Possibly with the required advances in shipbuilding and navigation required?

The purpose of my question is to understand 1. when knowledge transfer became reliable across the Mediterranean and 2. when countries on the other side become viable military targets / significant military threats, compared to neighboring territories reachable on land.

I have trouble finding details about bronze age sea trade routes. It seems established that tin got from the British isles to middle east, but other than crossing the English Channel, I am not sure where sea-faring ships were used as opposed to river-boats.

Update1: as an example Wikipedia has a map of Phoenician trade routes, but it's not clear if the Phoenicians also had a navy to attack lands along those routes, in particular without following the directions with the ships (As opposed to conquering North Africa by land, and establishing other colonies without need for warfare).

Update2: Some websites declare: "The Phoenicians were famed in antiquity for their ship-building skills, and they were credited with inventing the keel, the battering ram on the bow, and caulking between planks". So it seems that before the Phoenicians, only near-shore travels were common, and at the end of their period, seafaring was advanced enough to cross the Mediterranean with more safety in greater number, but maybe there was no definite time when such traversals became significant for military conquest. It would still be interesting to know which nation first became an existential threat to all other nations in the Mediterranean due to seafaring.

Update3: The sea peoples mentioned in wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Peoples as: "The Sea Peoples are a purported seafaring confederation that attacked ancient Egypt and other regions of the East Mediterranean prior to and during the Late Bronze Age collapse". But it does not indicate where those were based, nor what ships they used, nor whether their ships could travel away from the coast: "The Sea Peoples remain unidentified in the eyes of most modern scholars".

Udate4: It would seem that a safe upper bound would be the roman conquests of Sicily in 241 BC and then Carthage itself in 146 BC, at which time any nation bordering the Mediterranean would likely have to consider defenses against a roman invasion via the sea.

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    The bronze Age starts roughly about 3000 BCE around the Mediterranean and, due to the extreme rarity of the required tin, required long distance trade. This long distance trade was almost certainly by sea, so overseas trade likely precedes the development of both cuneiform and hieroglyphic writing. – Pieter Geerkens Aug 6 '20 at 1:40
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    This looks relevant: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1095-9270.12155 – Brian Z Aug 6 '20 at 2:19
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    @tkruse - at least in my experience, you'll improve your chances of getting a good answer if everything you know is in the question and not in the comments. Also might help to clarify which question you want answers to. Are you looking for a formal theory of maritime travel, or the rates of communication/knowledge transfer (which may not be maritime), or for military transport (which is definitely different than communication)? Napoleon found ways to project military force without sea control. – Mark C. Wallace Aug 6 '20 at 10:24
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    I wouldn't have phrased it this way, but I think the answer is probably a recapitulation of the technology of maritime shipbuilding technology and navigation technology. I don't know the answer, but I used to know most of it, so it is answerable. – Mark C. Wallace Aug 6 '20 at 10:27
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    The biggest enigma of this sort is how Australia was populated by humans approximately 50,000 years ago. Geology shows that they had to cross hundreds miles of open sea. And the evidence of the presence of humans so long ago is indisputable. This suggests that overseas travel was practiced VERY long before history begins, and unfortunately there is no information about how could it be performed. – Alex Aug 6 '20 at 14:19
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Dugout canoe

Dugout canoe

Dugouts are the oldest boat type archaeologists have found, dating back about 8,000 years to the Neolithic Stone Age

Pesse canoe

Pesse canoe

The Pesse canoe is believed to be the world's oldest known boat, and certainly the oldest known canoe. Carbon dating indicates that the boat was constructed during the early mesolithic period between 8040 BCE and 7510 BCE

Uru boat

Indus Valley to Mesopotamia

Boats played an important role in the commerce between the Indus Valley Civilization and Mesopotamia.[13]

Uru boat

The Uru, or "Fat Boat", is a generic name for large Dhow-type wooden ships made by asharis in Beypore, a village south of Kozhikode, Kerala, in the southwestern coast of India.

This type of boat has been used by the Arabs since ancient times as trading vessels, and even now, urus are being manufactured and exported to Arab nations from Beypore. These boats used to be built of several types of wood, the main one being teak. The teak was taken from Nilambur forests in earlier times, but now imported Malaysian teak is used. A couple of boat-building yards can still be found near the Beypore port

Herodotus

The historians Herodotus, Pliny the Elder and Strabo record the use of boats for commerce, travel, and military purposes.[14]

Hjortspring boat

Hjortspring boat

Thousands of rock carvings from this period depict ships, and the large stone burial monuments known as stone ships, suggest that ships and seafaring played an important role in the culture at large. The depicted ships most likely represent sewn plank built canoes used for warfare, fishing and trade. These ship types may have their origin as far back as the neolithic period and they continue into the Pre-Roman Iron Age, as exemplified by the Hjortspring boat.[42]

Praise of the two lands

Praise of the two lands

"Praise of the Two Lands", appearing in an inscription (c. 2613 BCE) of boat building projects of Egyptian pharaoh Sneferu, is the first reference to a ship bearing a name.

Sealand dynasty

Sealand dynasty

The Sealand Dynasty, (URU.KÙKInb 12) or the 2nd Dynasty of Babylon (although it was independent of Amorite-ruled Babylon), very speculatively c. 1732–1460 BC (short chronology), is an enigmatic series of kings attested to primarily in laconic references in the king lists A and B, and as contemporaries recorded on the Assyrian Synchronistic king list A.117. The dynasty, which had broken free of the short lived, and by this time crumbling Babylonian Empire, was named for the province in the far south of Mesopotamia

Sea peoples

Sea peoples

The Sea Peoples are a purported seafaring confederation that attacked ancient Egypt and other regions of the East Mediterranean prior to and during the Late Bronze Age collapse (1200–900 BCE)

Battle against Sherden sea pirates

Ramesses II

In his second year, Ramesses II decisively defeated the Sherden sea pirates who were wreaking havoc along Egypt's Mediterranean coast by attacking cargo-laden vessels travelling the sea routes to Egypt.[20]

My answer

I think we can clearly see the history of Ship building is far larger than something created by only Phoenicians.

However is there any truth to Phoenicians being linked to large scale seafaring?

Phoenicians

Early historic references

Years later, other waves of Sea People, the Sherden included, were defeated by Merneptah, son of Ramesses II, and Ramesses III. An Egyptian work written around 1100 BC, the Onomasticon of Amenope, documents the presence of the Sherden in Palestine.12 After being defeated by Pharaoh Ramsses III, they, along with other "Sea Peoples", would be allowed to settle in that territory, subject to Egyptian rule.

The Italian orientalist Giovanni Garbini identified the territory settled by the Sherden in Northern Palestine as the one occupied, according to the Bible, by the Israelite tribe of Zebulun, where also appears a village named Sared.[13][14][15]

So, who are the Phoenicians?

Phoenicians

Phoenician

Phoenicia (/fəˈnɪʃə/;5 from Ancient Greek: Φοινίκη, Phoiníkē) was an ancient Semitic-speaking thalassocratic civilization that originated in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, specifically modern Lebanon.6 It was concentrated along the coast of Lebanon and included some coastal areas of Syria and northern Palestine reaching as far north as Arwad and as far south as Acre and possibly Gaza.810 At its height between 1100 and 200 BC, Phoenician civilization spread across the Mediterranean, from Cyprus to the Iberian Peninsula.

So therefore, shipping could not have possibly been a creation solely of the Phoenicians, though it is possible the Phoenicians were the Sherden.

Who the Sherden were, and why they had taken to the sea's would be theory, not fact. Whether it be due to the Minoan eruption. They were definitely advanced when it came to Seafaring.

However there is evidence of long distance shipping which pre-dates the Sea-peoples.

I also do not agree that contemporary historians are of the opinion that even the most ancient boating was necessarily only conducted close to the shore.

Though, they have no archaeological evidence that it was not, common sense might suggest otherwise.

History

History

Boats have served as transportation since the earliest times.1 Circumstantial evidence, such as the early settlement of Australia over 40,000 years ago, findings in Crete dated 130,000 years ago,2 and in Flores dated to 900,000 years ago

Origins

Origins

The ancestors of present-day Aboriginal Australians migrated from Asia by sea during the Pleistocene era

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    I don't know who downvoted, while the answer is not succinct, it has a lot of useful pointers. The Battle of Ramesses II against the Sherden people may hint at an earliest known sufficient seafaring ability to cross the Mediterranean with an army (not following the coast), though the details on wikipedia are insufficient. – tkruse Aug 7 '20 at 2:45
  • @tkruse If you go to threads made by me in Meta, you will see why i am being downvoted. It is because when i first came here i got a bit ahead of myself and asked too many questions about things which pertain to ancient ancient history and cannot be easily answered. And i got a negative reaction. However the owners of the site are aware that i became the victim of vote targetting. It will probably take a while to get over. – user45344 Aug 7 '20 at 2:47

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