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Sea Peoples of the Bronze Age Mediterranean c. 1400 BC - 1000 BC


For years I have been a fan of the titles published by Osprey Publishing. They find a specific topic, typically related to a certain group of peoples and cram as many details into a short and coherent piece of work. This volume provides the reader with the most up to date research surrounding the mysterious group commonly referred to as the Sea Peoples; a confederation of migrants that played an influential role during the Late Bronze Age period of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Prior to the release of this publication, the de facto often cited research was that of N.K. Sandars’ 1985 title, “The Sea Peoples: Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean 1250 - 1150 BC. The problem with this title is that despite being an excellent source for the topic in question, it is a bit outdated. In recent decades we have unearthed many new clues on this most volatile period of ancient history. This is where this recent title comes into the picture.

The authors of this latest research introduce the reader to the historical background of these Sea Peoples and the sources to which they derive. This is followed by the mostly inconclusive identification of each mentioned ethnic group or clan. The authors then highlight their appearances as it has been preserved in ancient artifacts and mostly Egyptian inscriptions. The rest focuses on their military tactics and exploits. Do not let the 60 pages fool you. It’s content is complete and to the point.

It needs to be noted that none of this research is new but instead produces a consolidated and near complete source of what we know of these intriguing peoples. What we do know is that at random points during the Late Bronze Age, waves of migrants spread throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. Some brought wives and children to resettle and start new lives away from what may have been a troubled home. While others were simply looking for work, possibly as soldiers or mercenaries for hire. There was also a third group commonly identified as pirates and attacking trading vessels as they traveled along the Anatolian coastline. The origin of these groups, their eventual destination, and the reason for their migration has yet to reveal itself. In time, the archaeology of the region may yield more clues.

“The Sea Peoples of the Bronze Age Mediterranean” is one of the most well researched books on the topic of the Sea Peoples, and this publication is highly recommended.

By Petros Koutoupis


Have you read Eric Cline's book on this period and the various reasons why Eastern Mediterranean empires and economies collapsed about this time? It's called 1177 BC The Year Civilization Collapsed. Excellent and by a well respected scholar. He includes the Sea People, of course, but widens the understanding of causes of collapse way beyond this simplistic explanation that for years was the standard "The Sea People did it!" Anyway, a very good book. Enjoyable to read, also.

pkoutoupis's picture

Judith, Thank you very much for your comment. Of course, I read Cline’s publication. I have even reviewed it here: You are absolutely correct. It is an excellent read.



Petros Koutoupis