COPYRIGHT © INHIST.COM / 2023
The sea has always been a tempting source of food for humans living on the edge of coastlines. Such people are often called “coastal” or “sea-faring”; they have developed unique cultures, and have thrived in harsh coastal environments for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians belong to this category of sea-faring cultures.
In their early dynastic period, around 2200 BC, the Egyptians start to mention a mysterious group of people known as the Sea People or Repwet in Egyptian inscriptions and artworks. This article explores the origin and history of the Sea People as well as their impact on ancient Egypt.
Who were the Sea People?
The Sea People were a confederation of seafaring people who lived in the eastern Mediterranean, raiding and pillaging the coast of the region during the late Bronze Age collapse (1200-900 BCE). The Sea People are most often mentioned as having attacked and invaded Egypt and the Hittite Empire in the late-Bronze Age, but they may have been an migratory or invading group. According to Egyptian and Hittite records, the Sea People came from the Mediterranean Sea, which would suggest that they were sailors or naval-like peoples.
Why did they attack Egypt and other regions in the East Mediterranean?
The Sea People are generally believed to have come from the Mediterranean. Egyptian records indicate that they were seeking to migrate or invade somewhere in the region. Wherever they came from, they may have been fleeing a climate change event such as drought, a collapse of their society, or even an invasion by a neighboring people. Egypt was likely a target because it was wealthy and they could take advantage of this.
Egypt’s wealth likely came from grain that was grown in the region. The Sea People may have been seeking to take land from the Egyptians and Hittites, which would explain the timing of their attacks. This would also help explain why they were so successful in their attacks and why the Hittites and Egyptians were unable to push back against them.
How did they fight?
Not much is known about the tactics used by the Sea People, however, they were able to conduct successful attacks on the Nile Delta, the Nile Valley, Canaan, Syria, and Anatolia. They were most probably a naval force, which allowed them to travel long distances to different regions in the Mediterranean and attack these regions.
The Sea People possibly used a combination of different weapons to attack and raid their enemies. The first of these weapons was the bow and arrow. Archers could shoot arrows while on ships, and the arrows would likely be able to travel long distances. This allowed the archers to attack enemies from a distance, which allowed them to stay safe while they were attacking.
It is also believed that the Sea People used other types of projectiles, such as javelins or spears. Third, the Sea People perhaps used tools such as axes or swords to kill or injure their enemies. Finally, the Sea People most probably used ships that were made of wood or leather to travel and attack in the Mediterranean.
Where did they come from?
The exact origins of the Sea People are unknown. It is possible that the Sea People originated from a variety of different places. It is possible that they came from the Mediterranean Sea, which they would be sailing in to attack Egypt and other regions in the East Mediterranean.
It is also possible that they came from the Aegean Sea, which is located near the Mediterranean Sea and may have been an area where the Sea People actually originated. It is also possible that they came from areas in the western Mediterranean, such as Spain, Morocco, or Gibraltar. It is also possible that the Sea People originated from places other than the Mediterranean, such as the Black Sea or even Northern Europe.
The mysterious Sea People are a legendary group of people who appear in the records of not only ancient Egypt, but also various other ancient civilizations. They first appear in the great pandemic that struck the Mediterranean and Near East in the 13th century BCE. The Sea Peoples are mentioned again later on in several other documents, such as the Amarna letters and the records of Ramses III, in which they appear once more as threatening raiders from the sea.
The Sea People have been connected with several different groups of people from history. Some theories claim that they were actual tribes or nations; others suggest that they were an elite warrior class, mercenaries or spies; while some believe that they might be a mythological representation of natural disaster. So just who were these mysterious Sea People?