Are there any known links between the Trojan war and the sea people invasions of the late bronze age, or any theory linking the two? I know that the approximate dates for both roughly coincide, and that some of the people seem to be the same (like the Achaeans/Ekwesh). Both also involve attacking Hittite settlements (Ilion/Wilusa).

Do we know if the two are somewhat related or not, or is there just not enough archeological evidence to decide?

7 Answers 7


The question is addressed in the book:

Eric H. Cline, 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed ISBN: 9780691140896

(can be found free on the internet). I read the book, it indeed discusses this question at length. But my impression is that there is too little reliable information about Sea people, and about "Troyan war" to make any definite conclusions.


The existence of the "sea peoples" is known only from the inscriptions at Medinet Habu, not directly from archaeological remains. As you say certain aspects of artwork of Medinet Habu show, for example, ships that are known to be contemporaneous with LHIIIC which is immediately post Troy, which occurred in the transition between LHIIIB and LHIIIC.

There is probably no direct connection between the two. The reason for this is that one of the members of the sea people confederation appears to be the Philistines, a Levantine people. Other vague links connect Crete and Cyprus to the confederation. The Greeks who attacked Troy were from the Peloponnesus and mainland Greece. Therefore, it appears the groups of people involved were different. However, the events could be related in the sense that multiple wars often occur at the same time, one triggering the other.

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    Phillistines arrived in the near east as a Sea People. They were probably Greek, as the recent find of a Phillistine Cemetery reinforced, in addition to their pottery
    – John Dee
    Mar 12, 2018 at 2:06

Apparently there is (or at least used to be) a theory floating around that the story of the Argo represented organized Greek attempts to expand their maritime influence in that direction (eastward), and the Trojan War represented Anatolian (Hittite?) resistance to that. Here's how Colin McEvedy put it:

One might expect to get some useful information on this period from the many Greek legends that refer back to the Late Bronze Age. Unfortunately these rarely look outside the Aegean, ... A possible explanation has been seen in another legend of the period, the voyage of the Argo. A generation before the Trojan war the Argo had sailed to Colchis, at the far end of the Black Sea, in search of the Golden Fleece (read precious metals generally?): maybe the Trojans subsequently decided to choke off Greek enterprise in this direction, and, in doing so, provoked Agamemnon's offensive. But if so, why did the Argo's voyage go unreported in the years after Troy's destruction? Maybe it was all about the peerless Helen after all.

Colin's little quip at the end there I think was his way of saying he finds this argument a bit of a stretch.

  • This sounds plausible, but it needs more data.
    – Tevo77777
    Oct 13, 2015 at 0:22
  • This is my favorite theory, but you didn't connect it to the Sea Peoples
    – John Dee
    Mar 14, 2018 at 1:16

We don't know much about the period. People have a lot of interesting ideas.The legend does fall into the period of the Bronze Age Collapse with the Sea Peoples, and is represented in Hittite texts as Ahhiya and Wilusa (Achaeans and Troy). Some consider the attack on Troy by the Mycenae to be one of the agressions of Sea Peoples.

Conversely, I once read that the list of Sea Peoples were allies of Troy. Thus, Troy was a leader of the onslaught against the Medditerranean powers. I can't seem to relocate the theory. Eberhard Zangger takes this approach in his view of a Luwian Civilization that competed with others.

An even more novel idea that emerged from this reading of Plato's account, however, was that it may have been Troy and its allies that in fact triggered the conflicts at the end of the Bronze Age. Plato's source, an Egyptian priest, says:

So this host, being all gathered together, once made an attempt to enslave by one single onslaught both your country [Greece] and ours [Egypt], and the whole of the territory within the Straits.

This passage would argue that Troy and its allies were in fact the aggressors who brought on the crisis. At the same time, the passage is reminiscent of the Sea People accounts at Medinat Habu. Thus I considered a hypothesis based on simple equivalence: The Sea People may well have been Troy and its confederated allies, and the literary tradition of the Trojan War may well reflect the Greek effort to counter those raids. Eberhard Zangger, Who Were The Sea Peoples?

It has been argued that the Luwians never formed a single unified Luwian state, but populated a number of polities where they were mixed with other population groups. However, a minority opinion holds that in the end they did form a unified force, and brought about the end of Bronze Age civilization by attacking the Hittites and then other areas as the Sea People. Archeologist Eberhard Zangger found a document in Luwian hieroglyphics among the affairs of James Mellaart (who died in 2012) supporting this idea. Wikipedia, Luwians

The Etruscans (E-troy-scans) are related to Trojans, and may have arrived during in the migrations of the Sea Peoples. Genetics and linguistics have confirmed that the Etruscans were from Asia Minor. The Aeneid describes the hero's escape from Troy to Rome, which possibly represents this migration.


The Arachaeans were the Greeks in the Trojan War. The Mycenae were a later group in Greece. Within a couple of generations some invader from Thrace/Macedonia/the North occupied the Greek Peninsula. This pushed the Arachaens off. Along with strangler allies they faced the Egyptians as the Sea People. These were either rebuffed martially or bought off diplomatically. These Sea People became the Philistines encroaching on the land allotted to Tribe of Dan. Or, possibly, the Sea People/Philistines acculturated to become the Tribe of Dan. So a long evolution would have the Arachaea becoming the Tribe of Dan.

See Ian Wilson's BEFORE THE FLOOD.

  • 1
    strangler allies??
    – Steve Bird
    Aug 3, 2022 at 21:09
  • @SteveBird, a scary kind of ally... :) Probably "straggler"? Aug 3, 2022 at 21:57

Troyan war and Sea people have the links: 1.-sack on Mediterranian hill forts in short. 2.-the synonymous names of ethnic groups. But Sea people were oldest story than Troyan war. It was an alliance where Troyans and Achaeans were together - the allies, also not for ever (we know that from Hittite and Egyptian texts), but in second phase it broke in two parts,-the Trojan group and Achaean group. Many of historians ask where was the shelter of Sea people, maybe they came somewhere from the north? Only one possibility could be right: from the Adriatic sea, not from Hisarlik and Pelopones. Many toponyms from Istria and Dalmatia affirm that. Example - Truwisa, -in Istria is located toponym: village Trviž (and many other toponyms in Istria and Dalmatia).

Sources from: Vedran Sinožić,"Naša Troja",(Our Troy), Naklada Uliks,Rijeka,2016.,Croatia.

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    I think this needs to be expanded on with some more detail and some source references too. Mar 8, 2018 at 21:12
  • You are right (Killing time-interesting name),but I have fear of them because my answers are not well received.Problems with reputation,understand?My answers are short and some of them are forbiden.Big eye.
    – historicus
    Mar 8, 2018 at 21:47

Really,the Virgil's Aeneid describe the escape from Troy which is in Istria(E-troy-scans) by John Dee answer ,and : Is-tria-ns,by Vedran Sinožić.In Istria there are toponyms :-Spina,Tuscani,Resari,Resni,Tuški,Turan,also in Slovenia.This escape was done across the river Timav (Virgil),nearby Istria,and it fit very well into theory that Etruscans came from Troy ,which is in Istria,acropolis city of Motovun.Troyans were one of the Sea people,but they(Troyans) were a group formed of three or many ethnic groups,and one of them were Dardanians from the east parts of Europe and Asia Minor.My opinion is that Etruscans took the origins from Dardanians,also ,there is an interesting theory about linguistic connection beetwen Etruscan language and Magyar language,also Slavic languages.Sea people "ethnic sign" Truwisa-today in Istria is village Trviž.This theory is supported also with many geographical facts in Homer's description of Troy land.Troy location on Hisarlik doesn't agree with a story of Sea People. Sources: 1.-Anton Berlot,Ivan Rebec,So bili Etruščani Slovani,Založba Lipa,Koper,1984.,Slovenia. 2.-Vedran Sinožić,Naša Troja(Our Troy),Naklada Uliks,Rijeka,2016.,Croatia.

  • Please dont place two answers on a question. If you have new material to add, edit your original answer. You might want to take a look at the tour for the site, and the How to Answer section to learn a little more about how to participate on this site.
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  • just Cal-it was the moment of new inspiration,and usefully to give information to the Historian community.If not,this blog will be frivolous.
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    Mar 11, 2018 at 16:38
  • 1
    The edit key works equally well for new inspirations. One of these answers is likely to get deleted, or at least gather extra down votes.
    – justCal
    Mar 11, 2018 at 16:45
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    Just trying to guide you, as a new user, towards better 'reception' of your participations here. Good luck.
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    Mar 11, 2018 at 16:52
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    Thank you.Participation is sometimes hard in this place.
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    Mar 11, 2018 at 17:03

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