Sea Peoples and the Phoenicians: A Critical Turning Point in History

Based on the paper presented by Sanford Holst at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco on June 28, 2005

Sea Peoples origin and identity

Relentless attacks by groups known as the Sea Peoples around 1200 BC virtually destroyed all the major powers of the Mediterranean, and cleared the way for the rise of the Greeks, Romans and Western civilization.[i] Surprisingly for such a pivotal moment in world history, the origin and identity of the Sea Peoples are still widely debated. Many theories have been advanced to explain these times, and their participants have been declared to come from Anatolia, or the Aegean, or even Atlantis. We will consider the various theories, as well as a new composite view which does not appear to have been considered previously.

An important element mentioned by many sources, and yet given consideration by virtually none, is the simple fact that—in the midst of a cataclysm which destroyed almost every city in the eastern Mediterranean area—the Phoenician cities remained untouched. This turns out to be one of the keys which help to unlock the mystery of the Sea Peoples—an event which changed the course of history.

Theories Advanced About the Sea Peoples

The traditional major milestone events in the Sea Peoples invasion are:[ii]

  • 1208 BC  —  King Merneptah of Egypt turned back an incursion by the Sea Peoples and Libyans at the Nile Delta.
  • 1180 BC —  The Hittite empire fell.
  • 1180 to 1176 BC —  The Levant fell (eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean) except for the Phoenician cities.
  • 1176 BC —  King Ramses III of Egypt stopped the Sea Peoples attacks by land and by sea, allowing them to keep the land they had taken.

The main current theory advanced to explain the origin and actions of the Sea Peoples has been described by Eliezer D. Oren[iii] as “the collapse of the two great empires of that day—the Hittite in Anatolia and the Mycenaean in Greece—brought about their (peoples’) mass migrations to the coastlands of the Levant and Cyprus.” The collapse of those two empires was basically laid to economic and environmental factors.

Shelley Wachsmann[iv] added a significant point which was missing from the above explanation, and that was the participation of people from Central Europe and the Black Sea region. This may have been a major factor in the events of this time.

Another theory which was previously prominent held that the Sea Peoples were almost entirely from western Anatolia. This view was championed by R. D. Barnett[v] and by others such as Eberhard Zangger[vi]. However recent scholarship has shown rather clearly that these peoples came from a wider area, indicating a wider range of causes for these events.

An examination of the Sea Peoples would be remiss if it did not also acknowledge another popular theory: that these people were from the lost city of Atlantis, as identified by Frank Joseph[vii] and others. It must be admitted that this theory had a promising historical genesis: a description by Plato, unknown peoples, and inscriptions on Egyptian temples. Now, however, some of those people listed by the Egyptians, such as the Lukka, have been identified and their homes in Anatolia are known. Also, Plato identified Atlantis as having perished long before the Sea Peoples. Until Joseph excavates his proposed site or someone else can show this legendary place still existed—and then perished—at the same time as the Sea Peoples (sending them out to conquer other lands), this possibility is not adequately supported.

In addition to considering the other theories mentioned above, a composite view is also considered—which brings together well-supported elements from the other theories. This approach may allow greater conformance with the array of facts discovered about the Sea Peoples and the events of this time.

Facts Presented

As previously mentioned, some theories comment upon but do not look into the curious fact that Phoenician cities seem to have been unaffected by the destruction which went on around them at this time. First, let us consider the documented history of these cities, and note whether any destruction occurred to them during the time being studied.

Tyre was one of the leading Phoenician cities in 1200 BC, and we are fortunate to have an excellent archaeological study of this site which went all the way down to bedrock. Performed by Patricia Bikai in 1973, this work documented clearly the relevant layers of interest to us.[viii] They not only showed there was no widespread destruction at that time, there was also great continuity from layer to layer, indicating that the local society continued to live in the same way throughout this period. The results were highly conclusive.

To digress for a moment. . . .

If you would like to discover more about the Phoenicians than what is covered in this article, the book Phoenicians: Lebanon’s Epic Heritage is recommended. It is deeply researched but also a highly readable exploration.

Going beyond the few traditionally-cited facts, this authoritative work also draws from interviews with leading archaeologists and historians on-site in the lands and islands where the Phoenicians lived and left clues regarding their secretive society.

You can take a look inside the book. See the first pages here.

Sarepta (modern Sarafand) between Tyre and Sidon was similarly the subject of detailed archaeological study. Glenn Markoe described the results as showing no destruction and having great continuity in the strata.[ix] This likewise was quite conclusive.

Sidon and Byblos were the other significant Phoenician cities at this time, but to date insufficient research has been conducted to support or deny the conclusion of no destruction at these sites.[x] It is hoped that additional archaeological work will eventually be performed to verify their status as well.

The most northern Phoenician city was on the island of Arwad, also known as Arvad and Arados. It had been taken from the Phoenicians prior to the coming of the Sea Peoples and was being held by the Hittites. This city was in fact destroyed by the Sea Peoples[xi]—and after their incursion it was returned to the Phoenicians.[xii] Rather than disproving the current assertion, this remarkable treatment of Arwad adds to the view that the Phoenicians were accorded a special status by the invading peoples.

Based upon the sum of this evidence, we can only conclude that observations of the Phoenician cites being undamaged during this time, and having been accorded a special status by the invaders, have been verified. That there was a relationship or partnership of some nature between the Sea Peoples and the Phoenicians is clearly in evidence.

The next step in probing the mystery of the Sea Peoples is to examine the economic and environmental factors cited by Philip C. Betancourt[xiii] and others as being the primary cause of the mass migration of the Sea Peoples. In this interesting train of logic, Betancourt et al seem to have begun by observing that after the Sea Peoples were settled in Palestine there was a similarity between their pottery and that of the Mycenaeans. Therefore the assumption was made that the Sea Peoples were Mycenaeans. This led to a search being made in Greece to find the cause of the Sea Peoples migration. Betancourt noted there was an adequate supply of food at this time in Greece and that the population had grown very large. An essential link in their food system was the extensive trade in the Aegean which allowed shortages in any locality to be made up by shipments from other areas.

He also pointed out that widespread disruption of this system of distribution could have caused a collapse of the society and a descent into warfare and migration. He postulated further that a simple two-year drought could have caused this whole system to collapse. All of this was offered to support a position that the Mycenaeans might have been the Sea Peoples.

But at that point the model failed. He admitted that the similarity between Mycenaean and Philistine pottery did not begin until a later date—the middle of the 12th century BC—and not at the beginning of that century when the Sea Peoples migration took place. Further there was no evidence of widespread drought or famine in Greece prior to the Sea Peoples attacks. Similarly there was no evidence of the Mycenaeans destroying the Hittite empire, nor of their forming vast caravans of people moving by land down the Levantine coast. Yet the actual Sea Peoples did all these things. We will soon see how the Mycenaeans fit into the events of this time—however it is already clear they were not the Sea Peoples.

Trevor Bryce[xiv] and others who examined conditions in Anatolia at this time found a completely different picture than the one shown in Mycenaean Greece. Food shortages definitely existed in Anatolia, which the Hittites were able to relieve by importing wheat and other goods from Egypt and Canaan. However the peoples of western and northern Anatolia were not members of the Hittite world, and in fact were frequently at war with that empire and with the Mycenaeans. In this part of Anatolia is where we find unrelieved food shortages and increasing pressure to take some form of necessary action.

To illustrate the problem clearly, Itamar Singer[xv] cited texts from the Emar region which state there was a year of hardship in which three qa of grain cost one silver shekel. Then later a shekel would buy only two qa of grain. Finally that same amount of silver would buy only one qa of grain. The price of grain had already become a hardship—and then it had tripled in cost. There clearly was a rising food shortage at this time.

Having said this, it must be noted that other motivations appear to have existed for the Sea Peoples as well. As pointed out by Wachsmann,[xvi] some groups among them may have joined simply due to greed. The quick-strike raids in the Aegean and across the southern coast of Anatolia seem particularly of this nature, given that delivering settlers into those areas does not seem to have been the prime motivation.

A symbiotic relationship seems to have developed between those who were motivated to find good land for their families and those who simply wanted booty and adventure. The chaos created by each benefited the other, and the results suggest they came to share mutual enemies and mutual allies.

We have seen how pressures were increasing in and around Anatolia. But why was this particular moment chosen for exploding into action? Before answering that question, let us examine the intense pressures which were mounting upon the Phoenicians.

Campaigns Triggered

The Phoenician people had been dominant sea traders in the Mediterranean prior to 1500 BC[xvii],[xviii] and in some cases had partnered with others to maintain that position. Then the rise of the Mycenaeans[xix] caused sea trade in the Aegean—and even as far as Cyprus—to fall into the hands of that new power. This pushed the Phoenicians backward from the west.

The growth of Ugarit as a major sea trader[xx] located just north of the Phoenicians exerted additional pressure from that direction. Immediately beside that powerful city were the Hittites, whose increasing territorial expansion across lands to the north and east of the Phoenicians brought that dangerous land-force closer.

Also after 1500 BC the Egyptian pharaohs sent their armies up the Levantine coast and demanded to be recognized as overlords of the Phoenicians[xxi] as well as the rest of the Levant. Although the Phoenician people retained a great deal of independence under this arrangement, they were subjected to heavy demands for tribute which was theoretically buying Egyptian protection. As the Amarna letters showed, however, that protection was somewhere between weak and non-existent, with raiders coming into Phoenician lands unimpeded.[xxii]

During this time the Hittites continued to press southward. They engulfed Ugarit and came to the borders of Phoenicia. The powerful Ramses II of Egypt fought the Hittites, but finally signed a treaty with them in 1258 BC which ceded to the Hittites all the lands those people had taken.[xxiii] To the Phoenicians it must have been evident the next push southward by the Hittites would breach the walls of their coastal cities, at which point the sea traders could again expect no support from Egypt, and Phoenicia would in all probability cease to exist.

As a brief digression from the sea traders’ problems, we note that during the next forty-five years of Ramses’ long reign following this treaty, the Hittites were beset on all sides but held their own. They fought the Assyrians in the east, the fierce Kaska people who controlled the north shore of Anatolia, and they fought the several groups of people who divided western Anatolia among them.[xxiv] Meanwhile the Mycenaeans continued to raid into western Anatolia and held lands in the neighborhood of Miletus, which was also known as Millawanda.[xxv]

Then, in 1213 BC, the great Ramses II died[xxvi] and a paroxysm seized the entire region. It was fairly common in the ancient Mediterranean for the death of a powerful king to lead to attacks by neighboring states, each seeking to determine if the successor king was weak, and if prized lands might be wrested away. The Phoenicians would have had every reason to fear an imminent campaign southward by the Hittites. However the Hittites were preoccupied by problems at home and put off action in this direction.

Instead it was the Sea Peoples who took action. In 1208 BC they sailed to Egypt in small numbers, estimated at 5000 warriors,[xxvii] and attacked the successor to Ramses: king Merneptah. To do this they joined with the Egyptians’ western neighbors, the Libyans, and mounted an attack on the Nile Delta. Merneptah routed those forces, as described on his victory stele at Thebes.[xxviii]

This attack by the Sea Peoples on Egypt, the breadbasket which had been supplying the Hittites with wheat via Ugarit,[xxix] was consistent with the argument that these people were driven by food shortages in their lands. The Sea Peoples’ first strike, if successful, would have acquired ownership of some part of that food source. Even though the Hittites were the long-time adversaries of virtually all the people who made up the Sea Peoples, the Hittites had no excess of food, so the first strike had gone against Egypt.

On this same subject, one might well ask what led to the special treatment the Phoenicians seem to have been given by the Sea People. What services could the Sea Peoples possibly have received from these maritime traders? As was noted, widespread food shortages in the north had driven up the price of wheat to incredible levels. Widely known as astute merchants,[xxx] the Phoenicians would naturally have included wheat shipments in their sea trade at this time. Since Ugarit held a virtual monopoly on wheat shipments to the Hittites,[xxxi] that market was not open to the Phoenicians. Instead these sea traders had to push far afield to western Anatolia, the Aegean and the Black Sea—the areas which gave rise to the Sea Peoples. At a time of severe food shortages, when this need was about to erupt into a truly massive migration of people, the Phoenicians were the ones who could bring some quantity of food.

With the Hittites threatening their northern border, the Phoenicians would reasonably have supported whichever groups among Sea Peoples wanted to shift attacks away from the failed effort at Egypt and toward a more promising one against the Hittites. With hindsight we can now see what attraction this course of action would have held for the Sea Peoples. Though the Hittites themselves had no excess food to offer, they stood between the Sea Peoples and an achievable goal: the land of Canaan surrounding the Phoenicians, which was second only to Egypt as a source of wheat.[xxxii] In addition, by going through the Hittite land and Canaan, the Sea Peoples would bring a force numbering hundreds of thousands to confront the wheat-rich Egyptians—rather than the handful of warriors who had failed on the first attempt.[xxxiii]

The attacks against the Hittites began by land. In fact the greatest campaigns the Sea Peoples would mount were by land. This has led recent sources to refer to them as the Land and Sea Peoples[xxxiv] which is a much more accurate appellation. The Kaska lived to the north of the Hittites, between them and the Black Sea, and attacked at this time. The Assuwa, Arzawa and Lukka lived in the land to the west of the Hittites, between that empire and the Aegean Sea, and also attacked. But a problem had to be overcome. The Mycenaeans continued to hold the Aegean and attacked the Anatolian people from the seaward side.[xxxv] To deal with this, warriors and ships in the Sea Peoples confederacy poured from Anatolia and the Black Sea into the Aegean, where they ravaged the Mycenaeans in their islands and on the Greek mainland. The Mycenaean citadel-cities may or may not have been taken at this time, but the coastal towns were certainly laid waste by these raiders. Betancourt’s model has therefore proven partially correct—because following this widespread disruption the Mycenaean cities withered and eventually died.[xxxvi]

When the Aegean had been thus cleared, the people of western Anatolia were no longer fighting on two fronts. They were able to turn their full attention to the Hittites. The now-open Aegean allowed ships belonging to the Sea Peoples to sail through those waters and begin to raid the Hittites all along their Mediterranean coast.[xxxvii] This proved to be pivotal in the struggle against that entrenched power. In 1182 BC Ugarit fell and the flow of wheat from Egypt was cut off.[xxxviii] Approximately two years later the Kaska captured Hattusas, the capital of the Hittites, and that empire died.[xxxix]

The Hittite blockage had been removed. Now nothing stood in the way of the Sea Peoples’ exodus. With their wives, children and household possessions in two-wheeled carts, the Sea Peoples—now more properly the Land Peoples—flowed across the former Hittite territory. At the territory’s southeast corner they turned south on their path of destruction and, observing their special relationship with Phoenicia, they by-passed that land. Flowing down through Canaan they destroyed the cities they encountered.[xl] Many settled beside the wheat fields and took some of the land for themselves and their families.

A very large number of the Land and Sea Peoples continued onward and eventually arrived at the border between Canaan and Egypt. There they were met by the armies of Ramses III and a great battle was fought—with a second battle being fought in the Nile Delta—according to descriptions on his funerary temple at Medinet Habu in Thebes.[xli]

The [Northerners] in their isles were disturbed, taken away in the [fray] at one time. Not one stood before their hands, from Kheta (Hittite empire), Kode (Cilicia), Carchemish, Arvad, Alasa (Cyprus), they were wasted. {The}y {[set up]} a camp in one place in Amor (near Ugarit). They desolated his people and his land like that which is not. They came with fire prepared before them, forward to Egypt. Their main support was Peleset, Thekel (Tjeker), Shekelesh, Denyen, and Weshesh. (These) lands were united, and they laid their hands upon the land as far as the Circle of the Earth. Their hearts were confident, full of their plans.

Now, it happened through this god, the lord of gods, that I was prepared and armed to [trap] them like wild fowl. He furnished my strength and caused my plans to prosper. I went forth, directing these marvelous things. I equipped my frontier in Zahi, prepared before them. The chiefs, the captains of infantry, the nobles, I caused to equip the harbor-mouths, like a strong wall, with warships, galleys, and barges. They were manned [completely] from bow to stern with valiant warriors bearing their arms, soldiers of all the choicest of Egypt, being like lions roaring upon the mountain-tops. The charioteers were warriors, and all good officers, ready of hand. Their horses were quivering in their every limb, ready to crush the countries under their feet. I was the valiant Montu, stationed before them, that they might behold the hand-to-hand fighting of my arms. I, king Ramses III, was made a far-striding hero, conscious of his might, valiant to lead his army in the day of battle.

Those who reached my boundary, their seed is not; their heart and their soul are finished forever and ever. As for those who had assembled before them on the sea, the full flame was in their front, before the harbor-mouths, and a wall of metal upon the shore surrounded them. They were dragged, overturned, and laid low upon the beach; slain and made heaps from stern to bow of their galleys, while all their things were cast upon the water.

This description at Medinet Habu was accompanied by pictures displaying battle scenes in which the Sea Peoples’ boats were shown as having a very peculiar design: The fore-post and aft-post were identical and each had a bird’s head at the top. Wachsmann traced this design to vessels found only in Central Europe[xlii] along the Danube River corridor. The Danube River emptied into the Black Sea on the north side of Anatolia, where boatmen from this region could join the rest of the Sea Peoples. It should be noted that the names of several groups among the Sea Peoples were not found anywhere in the Anatolian or Aegean regions, and might reasonably have designated people who came from the Black Sea area. Also, as noted earlier, refugees from the shattered Mycenaean world would eventually come to live among the Sea Peoples, though they did not begin to arrive in Cyprus and Palestine until the latter part of the 12th century BC.[xliii]

 Experts differ over exactly how many battles were fought between Ramses and the Sea Peoples, as well as where they were fought. But the net result was that the Sea Peoples were finally stopped in their southward movement. Large numbers of them settled in Canaan and gave their own name to the land:  primarily the Peleset people who settled a wide swath of land which became known as Palestine.[xliv] Others sailed west and settled upon islands which were likewise given the name of the tribe which settled there: the Shekelesh who settled on Sicily,[xlv] the Sherden who settled on Sardinia,[xlvi] and several settlements in other lands.

Sea Peoples Origin and Identity

Who were the Sea Peoples? This issue has been touched upon briefly several times during this analysis, and it deserves to be addressed directly. Perhaps the best and most unambiguous way to answer this question is to separate the winners from the losers in this epic series of battles. As we have seen, the major losers were a) the city of Ugarit which was totally destroyed and never rebuilt, b) the Hittite empire which was destroyed and left only a residual fragment on the Euphrates River, c) the Mycenaeans who were fatally wounded and would disappear completely within a hundred years, and d) Egypt which had won the battles but lost the Levant—it would waste away and become a shadow of its former self.

The winners, who constituted the Sea Peoples’ confederacy, were a) the tribes of people who came from Anatolia—and the lands to its north and west—who migrated into the Levant and onto islands across the Mediterranean, b) the Kaska who kept their original lands in the north of Anatolia on the Black Sea, and added the heart of the Hittite territories to their own, c) the West Anatolian people who remained in their own lands, but added some of the Hittite lands, and gained influence in the Aegean, and d) the Phoenicians who seem to have gained more than anyone else from the mass migration of the Land and Sea Peoples.


Under the destructive force of the Sea Peoples’ attacks, all of the Phoenicians’ powerful adversaries had been destroyed. The Phoenician cities were untouched by this devastation that happened around them, which left these people in an advantageous      position. The historical record[xlvii],[xlviii] shows their active cities quickly began to expand their domain by placing trading posts in Cyprus, the Aegean, Sicily, Sardinia, North Africa, Algeria, Morocco and Spain.

Among the cities they created were these in Morocco: Lixis (modern Larache), Sala (Rabat), Mogador (Essaouira) and Tingis (Tangier); in Spain: Gadir (Cadiz), Malaka (Malaga), Ibisa (Ibiza); in Algeria: Icosia (Algiers); in Tunisia: Utica and Carthage, both now gone; in Sardinia: Karalis (Cagliari); in Sicily: Panormus (Palermo); in Cyprus: Kition (Larnaca).  These were in addition to their home cities in Lebanon: Tyre (Sor), Sidon (Saida), Beirut (Beirut), Byblos (Jbail), Tripoli (Trablous), and many others. The Phoenicians gave rise to a powerful and wealthy sea-trading empire which stretched from Morocco to the Levant.

As a result of assembling and examining these many scattered facts about the Sea Peoples, which had been documented in separate studies by noted scholars, a larger picture has emerged. We are better able to see who the Sea Peoples were, what drove them, the actions they took, and where they settled. By clarifying the “mysteries” surrounding them, we are now able to more fully understand this critical turning point in history.

The legacy of the Sea Peoples was that they had forcefully cleared away the old powers from the Mediterranean and left freshly plowed ground. In time the Greeks and Romans would rise and they—together with the often overlooked Phoenicians—would sow the seeds of Western civilization.


[i] Grant, Michael  The Ancient Mediterranean  (New York: Meridian, 1988), p. 80.

[ii] Experts cannot agree on the specific year in which each of these events occurred. In each case there is a cluster of dates within a narrow band for these events. One of the well-supported dates within each band has been identified for use in this paper. Using any of the other dates within these bands does not change the outcome.

[iii] Oren, Eliezer D.  “Introduction”  The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment  (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 2000), p. xvii.

[iv] Wachsmann, Shelley  “To the Sea of the Philistines”  The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment  (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 2000), p. 122.

[v] Barnett, R. D.  “The Sea Peoples”  Cambridge Ancient History  (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), Vol. II, Part 2, pp.359-378.

[vi] Zangger, Eberhard  “Who Were the Sea People?” Saudi Aramco World 46:3 (Houston, 1995), pp. 20-31.

[vii] Joseph, Frank  Survivors of Atlantis  (Rochester, VT: Bear & Co, 2004), pp. 10-23.

[viii] Bikai, Patricia  The Pottery of Tyre  (Warminster, UK: Aris & Phillips, 1978), pp. 73-74.

[ix] Markoe, Glenn  Peoples of the Past: Phoenicians  (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), p. 24.

[x] Markoe,  Peoples of the Past: Phoenicians, p. 24.

[xi] Breasted, J. H.  Ancient Records of Egypt  (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2001/1906), vol. 4, pp. 37-39.

[xii] Moscati, Sabatino  The World of the Phoenicians  (Italian, translated into English by Weidenfeld and Nicolson)  (London: Orion Books, 1999/1968), pp. 9.

[xiii] Betancourt, Philip P. “The Aegean and the Origin of the Sea Peoples”  The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment  (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 2000), pp. 298-300.

[xiv] Bryce, Trevor  The Kingdom of the Hittites  (Oxford: Clerendon Press, 1998), pp. 364-365.

[xv] Singer, Itamar  “New Evidence on the End of the Hittite Empire”  The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment  (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 2000), pp. 24-25.

[xvi] Wachsmann,  “To the Sea of the Philistines”, pp. 103-105. 

[xvii] Holst, Sanford  “Origin of the Phoenician Trading Empire”  World History Association conference paper presented in Fairfax, Virginia, 2004, pp. 1-8.

[xviii] Bentley, Jerry and Herbert Ziegler  Traditions & Encounters  (New York: McGraw Hill, 2000), p.51.

[xix] McDonald, William A. and Carol G. Thomas  Progress into the Past: The Rediscovery of Mycenaean Civilization  (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1990), p. 420.

[xx] Grant,  The Ancient Mediterranean, p. 76. 

[xxi] Grimal, Nicolas  A History of Ancient Egypt  (French, translated into English by Ian Shaw)  (Oxford: Blackwell, 1988), p. 215.

[xxii] Dunand, Maurice  Byblos  (French, translated into English by H. Tabet)  (Paris: Librairie Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1973), pp. 28-29.

[xxiii] Bryce,  The Kingdom of the Hittites, p. 306.

[xxiv] Bryce,  The Kingdom of the Hittites, p. 320.

[xxv] Bryce,  The Kingdom of the Hittites, p. 60.

[xxvi] Freeman, Charles  Egypt, Grece and Rome  (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), p.74.

[xxvii] Wood, Michael  In Search of the Trojan War  (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), p. 219.

[xxviii] Barnett,  “The Sea Peoples”, p. 366.

[xxix] Bryce,  The Kingdom of the Hittites, p. 364.

[xxx] Grant,  The Ancient Mediterranean, pp. 60-61. 

[xxxi] Bryce,  The Kingdom of the Hittites, p. 356.

[xxxii] Bryce,  The Kingdom of the Hittites, p. 357.

[xxxiii] Sandars, Nancy K.  The Sea Peoples  (London: Thames and Hudson, 1978), p. 133.

[xxxiv] McDonald and Thomas,  Progress into the Past: The Rediscovery of Mycenaean Civilization,   p. 459.

[xxxv] Bryce,  The Kingdom of the Hittites, p. 399.

[xxxvi] Sandars,  The Sea Peoples, p. 197.

[xxxvii] Bryce,  The Kingdom of the Hittites, pp. 366-367.

[xxxviii] Van Soldt, W.H.  “Ugarit: A Second-Millennium Kingdom on the Mediterranean Coast”  Civilizations of the Ancient Near East  (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1995), p. 1265.

[xxxix] Murnane, William J.  “The History of Ancient Egypt: An Overview”  Civilizations of the Ancient Near East  (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1995), p. 708.

[xl] Finkelstein, Israel  “The Philistine Settlements: When, Where and How Many?”  The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment  (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 2000), p. 159.

[xli] Breasted,  Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 4, pp. 37-39.

[xlii] Wachsmann, “To the Sea of the Philistines”,  p.122.

[xliii] Sandars,  The Sea Peoples, p. 183.

[xliv] Dothan, Trude  “The ‘Sea Peoples’ and the Philistines of Ancient Palestine”  Civilizations of the Ancient Near East  (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1995), pp. 1267-1279.

[xlv] Barnett,  “The Sea Peoples”, pp. 367-368.

[xlvi] Sandars,  The Sea Peoples, p. 161.

[xlvii] Markoe,  Peoples of the Past: Phoenicians, pp. 170-188.

[xlviii] Moscati, Sabatino  The Phoenicians  (New York: Rizzoli International, 1999/1988), pp. 8-304.

CLOUD: Sea Peoples origin and identity, Phoenicians, Mycenaeans, Egyptians, Hittites

Further information

If you would like to experience more of the Phoenician world than you found in this article, the book Phoenicians: Lebanon’s Epic Heritage is recommended. It is deeply researched but also a highly readable exploration, with 104 illustrations.

Going beyond the few traditionally-cited facts, this authoritative work also draws from interviews with leading archaeologists and historians on-site in the lands and islands where the Phoenicians lived and left clues regarding their secretive society.


You can take a look inside this book. See the first pages here.