Erich Lessing

Trafalgar on the Mediterranean. Egyptian and Sea Peoples warriors clash in an epic naval battle in about 1177 B.C. The scene is preserved on the walls of Medinet Habu, mortuary temple of Pharaoh Ramesses III. The color drawing based on the reliefs provides an easier-to-see view of the engagement.

In the hieroglyphic text accompanying the Medinet Habu reliefs and in a papyrus document now known as Papyrus Harris I, Ramesses III boasted of a great victory against the Sea Peoples. The archaeological evidence, however, writes author Bryant Wood, reveals a steady Sea Peoples advance south along the coast of Canaan to the very borders of Egypt itself. After being halted there in a standoff against Ramesses III’s forces in the battle depicted at Medinet Habu, the Sea Peoples settled in Canaan, becoming the dominant power there until the rise of the united Israelite kingdom under King David.