Cultures > Sea Peoples

Sea Peoples

Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


The Sea Peoples were a coalition of naval coastal raiders who were responsible for pillaging and causing massive social unrest around the Mediterranean Sea and may have been one of the factors of the major Bronze Age Collapse which saw the complete decimation of nearly all of the major civilizations around the Mediterranean Basin at the time including Greece, Egypt and all along the coast of Mesopotamia.

The Sea Peoples were a confederation of maritime raiders and invaders who played a significant role in the Late Bronze Age collapse (circa 1200 BCE) and its aftermath. Here's an overview of the Sea Peoples and their interactions with Egypt:

  1. Origins and Identity:

    • The Sea Peoples were a diverse group of peoples from various regions around the eastern Mediterranean, including the Aegean, Anatolia, and the Levant.
    • They are mentioned in ancient Egyptian inscriptions, as well as in records from other civilizations such as the Hittites and the Mycenaeans.
  2. Invasions and Raids:

    • From around the 13th century BCE, the Sea Peoples began launching a series of invasions and raids against the coastal regions of the eastern Mediterranean, targeting cities and kingdoms such as Hatti (the Hittite Empire), Mycenae, Cyprus, and Canaan.
    • Their motives for these attacks are not entirely clear but may have included factors such as overpopulation, famine, and conflict in their homelands, as well as a desire for plunder and conquest.
  3. Confrontation with Egypt:

    • The Sea Peoples are particularly well-known for their encounters with ancient Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Merneptah (circa 1213–1203 BCE) and his successors.
    • In the inscriptions of Merneptah and later pharaohs, the Sea Peoples are depicted as a formidable threat to Egypt, with battles fought against them both on land and at sea.
  4. Battle of the Delta:

    • The most significant conflict between Egypt and the Sea Peoples was the Battle of the Delta, which took place during the reign of Ramesses III (circa 1186–1155 BCE).
    • In this battle, the Sea Peoples, accompanied by their allies, attempted to invade Egypt by crossing the Nile Delta. However, they were defeated by the Egyptian army, and their invasion was repelled.
  5. Aftermath:

    • The defeat of the Sea Peoples at the Battle of the Delta marked the end of their major incursions into Egypt.
    • Some of the Sea Peoples who were captured or surrendered were resettled in Egypt and integrated into the Egyptian military and society, while others returned to their homelands or migrated elsewhere.
  6. Legacy:

    • The Sea Peoples' invasions contributed to the destabilization and collapse of several civilizations in the eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age collapse.
    • Their actions had long-lasting repercussions on the political, economic, and social landscapes of the region, paving the way for new powers and civilizations to emerge in the following centuries.

In summary, the Sea Peoples were a confederation of maritime raiders and invaders who posed a significant threat to ancient Egypt and other civilizations during the Late Bronze Age. Their confrontations with Egypt, particularly the Battle of the Delta, are well-documented in ancient inscriptions and have left a lasting impact on the history of the eastern Mediterranean.

Bronze Age Collapse

Led to the fall of the Hittites

However, eventually the Sea Peoples were beaten back by the Egyptians and they settled towards Greece and the eastern Mediterranean.


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