From the time of the Judges onward, prominent inhabitants of the maritime plain of Palestine. They probably came from Crete, and are generally supposed to have adopted the religion and civilization of the Chanaanites. They are mentioned in the genealogy of nations (Genesis 10; 1 Par. 1), and first appear in biblical history in the prophesied birth of Samson; their domination over Israel lasted 40 years (Judges 13). During the latter part of the 8th century B.C., and the whole of the 7th, the Philistines engaged in a series of wars and conquests with the Egyptians and Assyrians; after the time of the latter they ceased to be known by this name; their land finally passed under Roman rule, and in the ebb and flow of warring nations, it is probable that they were absorbed and lost their identity.

New Catholic Dictionary

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