- Generic name, coined by the Egyptologist Gaston Maspero, for invading people who were held responsible for the collapse of late Bronze Age culture in Anatolia and the eastern Mediterranean. They were likely to have been tribal groups of people moving with women and children, as well as war bands engaged in raiding and piracy. Their activity was not the direct reason for the collapse of states like that of the Hittite empire but it coincided with internal unrest, outbreaks of disease, and bad harvests, which led to a massive displacement of people throughout the western part of the ancient Near East, causing further instability and economic breakdown. Their attack on Egypt in 1191 by ships on the mouth of the Nile and the victory gained by the pharaoh Ramesses III were depicted on large wall reliefs on his mortuary temple at Medinet Habu. Their weapons, ships, and equipment, as well as the names recorded, suggest an Aegean origin of at least one group, the Philistines, who were settled by Ramesses in southwest Palestine.
Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. EdwART. 2012.