After Yigael Yadin, The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands, Vol. II

This color drawing of the naval battle between Egyptian and Sea Peoples warriors, based on the reliefs on the walls of the Medinet Habu temple (see photograph), provides an easier-to-see view of the engagement. The battle occurred during the eighth year of Ramesses III’s reign (about 1175 B.C.E.) and pitted a coalition of Sea Peoples tribes—peoples from the Aegean, of whom the Philistines are the best known—against the Egyptian forces. This was the third battle between the forces; a generation earlier, in 1208 B.C.E., Pharaoh Merneptah defeated an invading army of Libyans and Sea Peoples. A change in climate, and the resulting famine, could well have been the cause for the Sea Peoples’ belligerent movement from their homeland. In an inscription left by Merneptah, the pharaoh describes his adversaries as “roaming the land and fighting to fill their bellies daily; they have come to the land of Egypt to seek food for their mouths.”