In his book ‘Peoples of the Sea’ Velikovsky pointed to tiles from the time of Ramses III–who under the conventional chronology lived in the 12th century BC–with what appear to be Greek letters and Persian motifs. Velikovsky called attention to what appears to be Persian influence on some Egyptian art from the time of Ramses III. He pointed out that Egyptian temples from the time of Ramses III resemble temples from the Ptolemaic age. Yet, under the conventional chronology these ages were supposedly separated by about 900 years. These points give additional support to the idea that Ramses III lived in the 4th century BC, not the 12th.
Why is there no written account by the Philistines or other “Sea Peoples” of their supposed mass migration and attack against Egypt in the 12th century BC? Why does no ancient Greek author discuss these events? These events are supposedly reflected in the reliefs of Ramses III at Medinet Habu. Why did Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BC about Egypt, not mention these events, nor Ramses III’s successful defense against the supposed invasion? The answer appears to be that the reliefs of Ramses III at Medinet Habu do not describe a Philistine invasion, nor events of the 12th century BC. They describe events involving Persian soldiers and Greek mercenaries of the 4th century BC, and when Herodotus wrote about Egypt, these events had not yet occurred.
In modern times, the temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu was found to be one of the best preserved temples of Egypt under the pharaohs. Yet if it has existed since the 12th century BC, why would it be so well preserved? Would it not have been destroyed or damaged when the Assyrians under Assurbanipal invaded Egypt in approximately 663 BC, or when the Persians under Cyrus’ son Cambyses invaded Egypt in 525 BC? The good state of preservation of the temple supports the idea that the temple was built in the 4th century BC, for in that case it would not have existed during the invasions of Assurbanipal and Cambyses, and it would be one of the youngest temples in pharaonic Egypt.
Moreover, Velikovsky argued that one of Ramses III’s names was Nectanebo. The phrase ‘nekht-a-neb’ was a part of a rendering of the name by the Egyptologist E.A. Wallis Budge. It appears that the name Nectanebis, mentioned by Diodorus as being the name of the Egyptian king who repelled the Persian naval expedition led by Pharnabazus, was essentially just a shortened version of one of Ramses III’s names.
Velikovsky presented conclusive evidence in ‘Peoples of the Sea’ that the reliefs of Ramses III at Medinet Habu do not depict Philistines and migrating hordes of ‘Sea Peoples’ in the 12th century BCE, but soldiers of the Persian empire and Greek mercenaries in the 4th century BCE. The widely accepted idea that a mass migration of Philistines and other “Sea Peoples” swept destructively through the eastern Mediterranean Basin and attacked Egypt in the 12th century BCE is based mainly on a misinterpretation of the reliefs at Medinet Habu.