Many of the peoples of Ethiopia, such as the Amhara, tend to look like a blend between sub-Saharan Africans and Caucasians. By their own legend, they are descended from the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, King Menelik I. But which Caucasians?
From Scientific Reports:
Published: 11 December 2019
West Asian sources of the Eurasian component in Ethiopians: a reassessment
Ludovica Molinaro, Francesco Montinaro, Burak Yelmen, Davide Marnetto, Doron M. Behar, Toomas Kivisild & Luca Pagani
Scientific Reports volume 9, Article number: 18811 (2019)
… Our results unveil a genomic legacy that may connect the Eurasian genetic component of contemporary Ethiopians with Sea People and with population movements that affected the Mediterranean area and the Levant after the fall of the Minoan civilization.
The Sea People are the mysterious ethnicities whom the the Pharaoh of Egypt blamed for what is now known as the Late Bronze Age Collapse, after about 1200 BC (the time of the Trojan War and much other tumult).
The most sensible-sounding explanation for the Late Bronze Age Collapse of the palace cultures of the Near East is the rise of the Iron Age (iron is more widespread, cheaper, and more democratic in its effects). But the dates can’t seem to be made to match up.
Our analyses aimed at describing the non African component of Ethiopians as a combination of available ancient ones, and we stress our results should not be interpreted as involving a direct connection or descent line between Neolithic Anatolia and Ethiopia. Instead, these results can be seen as informative for shortlisting available ancient and modern populations which, following geographic and chronological considerations, may be suitable proxies for the groups that mediated the Eurasian gene flow to East Africa. Of the ones analyzed here, Minoans and Tunisian Jews seem to provide the two closest matches to NAF [non-African ancestors of Ethiopians], adding on top of the genetic evidence a criteria of space/time compatibility. A tentative link between these three groups may be provided by the historical maritime trade routes connecting Crete (home to the Minoan culture) to the Levant and by the shuffling role played by a horde of nomads who navigated throughout the Mediterranean Sea 3 kya: the Sea People. These tribes are linked to Crete, Anatolia where they fought the Hittite Empire, Egypt and the Levant, and are told to have settled in the land of Canaan, known also as Palestine.
Most of the theories about the Sea People suggest that they were more or less Cretan or Greek.
One theory is that the Philistines, enemies of Samson in the Old Testament, were a Sea People.
Interestingly, the Sea People tribes that settled in Palestine included, among others, Denyen and Peleset according to the Egyptian inscriptions of Merneptah and Medinet Habu. Although there are different theories around the origin of each of these tribes, there are suggestions that link the Denyen with the tribe of Dan, from which Jews from Ethiopia have been said to descend, and the Peleset to the Philistines from the Levant. The role of Sea People may therefore be crucial in explaining a temporary presence of a Minoan-like ancestry in the Levant, bringing Anatolian-like components to levels as high as 85%. A pulse of populations with Anatolian-rich ancestry has just been recently detected in Iron Age Levant, appearing and disappearing from the archaeological record within a range of few centuries, at the beginning of the 1st Millennium BCE. These Levant Iron Age samples can indeed be modelled as having at least 80% Anatolian Neolithic ancestry (~20% CHG [Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer] and ~80% Anatolia_N, … Notably Ethiopian NAF is still closer than Levant IA to Tunisian Jews (Supplementary Table S5). Ethiopian NAF therefore offers a solution to the disappearance of the Levant IA component from the population record of the area, where their signal may have become erased as a consequence of major warfare after 1000 BCE20 or 3 kya, displacing these genetic components towards Ethiopia (an allegory of which can be read in the mythological account of the meeting between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba) and North Africa Jewish communities (where such a signature is still detectable after the major population movements following the Alhambra Decree after 1492 CE).