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There are many theories as to who they were. The wiki page has nine hypotheses.

What is the most widely accepted theory on who the ancient Sea Peoples were?

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    Sorry, but if you are linking to wikipedia in your question, which has information on them, what are you trying to get here in addition? Theory is nice but it's pretty broad.
    – MichaelF
    Nov 2, 2011 at 11:55
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    The question states quite clearly I want to know the most widely accepted theory
    – YUASK
    Nov 2, 2011 at 13:03
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    It's just linking to a wikipedia article and asking something off it without much detail here, that doesn't really add much to our site. I'd expect more detail here on the question. Just to note I didn't downvote, I just asked about the question.
    – MichaelF
    Nov 2, 2011 at 15:08
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    I think it's a valid question. Though Wikipedia lists allot of information, its Non-POV position means that it weights all possible theories evenly, even though some are less well supported than others. It's quite right to ask if any of the six theories is more likely than the others. Nov 2, 2011 at 15:19
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    Wikipedia also has a habit of portraying fringe theories as equally valid, even when they have been dismissed by serious researchers.
    – Canageek
    Nov 2, 2011 at 20:53

2 Answers 2

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The sea peoples are in Egyptian sources referred to as "foreign people of the sea". It is in other words a name they use for any sea-faring foreigners that attack Egypt. Some of the sources list the names of these sea peoples, making it clear that it is not one people that is meant.

The theories mentioned on Wikipedia may therefore all be correct at the same time.

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The "sea peoples" that are mentioned by the Egyptians were probably, the Minoans....the ancient peoples of Crete. The Minoan Civilization lived and prospered during the Age of the Egyptian Pharaohs and Minoan Crete was also identified-(by the Greeks) as a "Thalassocracy"-(roughly translated as a "Sea Power" or "Rulers of the Sea"). Ancient Crete, (as well as present-day Crete), is located North of Egypt and trade (as well as diplomatic) relations between the 2 countries, was very likely. While there is no primary proof that the Minoans were the "sea peoples" referred to by the Egyptians, there is some interesting and intriguing circumstantial evidence.

The Egyptians may have also been referring to the Greco-Myceneans, who were also a seafaring peoples that settled into many Mediterranean territories once occupied by the Minoans-(including Crete proper). It is also plausible to suggest that the Greco-Mycenaeans may have had commercial and diplomatic relations with Pharaonic Egypt. The Myceneans, like the Minoan Cretans before them, also lived and prospered during the time of the Pharaohs. Again, while there is no primary proof supporting the Greco-Mycenean "sea people" thesis, a circumstantial case is not so implausible or unimaginable.

It is unlikely that the Egyptians were referring to the Carthaginians as "the sea peoples". While the Carthaginians did establish their own impressive commercial empire throughout much of the Mediterranean region, their civilization followed the centuries old Pharaonic Age and had thrived during the 1st millennium BC/BCE, though not beforehand.

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  • It would be appreciated if the downvoter would please explain why this answer received a downvote. The answer is theoretically and circumstantially based, due to the fact that there is no substantial primary evidence of the existence of an ancient "sea peoples". However, based on the chronology, the close geographical proximity and the seafaring civilizations who lived and prospered in the Eastern Mediterranean during Pharaonic times, the Minoan or Mycenean thesis is not so implausible and a circumstantially based argument has some justification.
    – user49540
    May 1, 2021 at 4:55
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    I would guess (it's not me, so I can't be sure) that the downvote is because you don't cite any sources. Which historians are saying that "The "sea peoples" that are mentioned by the Egyptians were probably, the Minoans". On a more general point, if you backed up your answers by citing sources (by which I don't mean just saying 'relevant Wikipedia / Britannica' articles') and avoided just repeating what others have already said, you might not get so many downvotes on your answers. May 1, 2021 at 5:00
  • Well, that's a good and noteworthy point, though I should mention that, due to personal matters, I don't necessarily have the abundance of time to meticulously cite or reference every posting. As someone who holds a Master's degree in History and as someone who has actually worked with primary sources, I am well aware of how the sourcing process works. But, as I had mentioned to an earlier Commentator, this is an online public forum and not a graduate seminar. An online public forum is, (at least the way I understand it), a less formalized and less rigidly structured setting when.....
    – user49540
    May 1, 2021 at 5:42
  • compared with the rigors and expectations of a graduate setting.
    – user49540
    May 1, 2021 at 5:43
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    Why did my question get a downvote? applies to answers as well. Instead of whining about being downvoted, why not research the FAQ and Meta and learn this site's culture and expectations. May 1, 2021 at 16:56

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