Photo and Drawing: Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

Women and children first. A second detail from Medinet Habu (see also the naval battle scene shown earlier in this article) shows that when the Sea Peoples invaded Egypt they came not as a roving band of marauders, but as whole peoples. Seen here are ox-carts bearing women and children. Despite Ramesses III’s boast of having utterly defeated the Sea Peoples, the Egyptians in fact did well merely to check the invaders’ advance. Soon after Ramesses’ death, Egypt lost control over Palestine and southern Syria; the Sea Peoples became the dominant force in Canaan until the rise of the united Israelite monarchy under King David, in about 1000 B.C.E.