Enemies of Ancient Egypt

Every large and powerful empire obtains enemies of every shape and form. For Egypt, their enemies consisted of one of two types: the first being the enemy that had resources that Egypt wanted, but were of little threat as invaders (such as the Mittani or Hatti), and the second being the empires that had little of value, but threatened the rule of Egypt (the Libyans and Sea Peoples).

Nubians were wanted because of the gold and other resources in their empire. They were the main threat which Egypt faced and were considered to be “vile” and “wretched” by Egyptian kings. Nubians were a main source of wealth and slave power, as military campaigns and trading expeditions were sent to Nubia at regular intervals in order to sustain a regular supply of prisoners, herds of cattle and exotic products from the south such as ivory, ostrich feathers and ebony. (Picture below = Nubian)
A northern, or Asiatic captive with text specifying his region of origin, here, Kamaka.

Libyans wre depicted by the Egyptians mostly as dark skinned and bearded, though occasionally with fair hair and blue eyes. Rule over Libyans, like that of Nubians, were signs of the king’s power in militay and political expeditions. During the New Kingdom reigns of Merneptah and Ramesses III, the Egyptians had to stave off major invasions from Libyans, but by the late New Kingdom these people eventually became an influential group within Egyptian society. In fact, by the 22nd Dynasty, they even gained temporary control of Egypt. (Picture below = Libyan)

Ramesses II, armed with an axe, holds three foreign enemies by their hair. They include a Nubian, a Syrian and a Libyan.

During the Second Intermediate Period, Egypt was ruled by a dynasty of Asiatic kings known as the Hyksos (“rulers of foreign lands”). They came to Egypt with horses, chariots and copper weapons, which the Egyptians would later adapt for their own armies. By the beginning of the New Kingdom, the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt by King Ahmose, but this interlude of foreign rule in Egypt resulted in a new, aggressive policy of imperialism in Syria-Palestine.
(Alexa Straughan)
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