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The Latin
Latin
name LIBYA (from Greek Λιβύη, Libyē) referred to the region west of the Nile
Nile
generally corresponding to the modern Maghreb . Its people were ancestors of the modern Berbers
Berbers
. Berbers
Berbers
occupied the area for thousands of years before the beginning of human records in ancient Egypt. Climate changes affected the locations of the settlements.

More narrowly, Libya
Libya
could also refer to the country immediately west of Egypt, viz. Marmarica ( Libya
Libya
Inferior) and Cyrenaica
Cyrenaica
(Libya Superior). The Libyan Sea
Libyan Sea
or Mare Libycum was the part of the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
south of Crete
Crete
, between Cyrene and Alexandria
Alexandria
.

In the Hellenistic period
Hellenistic period
, the Berbers
Berbers
were known as Libyans, a Greek term for the inhabitants of the Maghreb. Their lands were called " Libya
Libya
" and extended from modern Morocco
Morocco
to the western borders of ancient Egypt
Egypt
. Modern Egypt
Egypt
contains the Siwa Oasis
Siwa Oasis
, which was part of ancient Libya. Siwi , a Berber language , is still spoken in the area.

CONTENTS

* 1 Name * 2 History * 3 Geography * 4 Later sources * 5 Ancient Libyan (Berber) tribes * 6 See also * 7 References and notes * 8 External links

NAME

Further information: Libu
Libu

The Greek name is based on the ethnonym Libu
Libu
( Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
: Λίβυες Líbues, Latin
Latin
: Libyes). The name Libya
Libya
(in use since 1934 for the modern country formerly known as Tripolitania and Barca ) was the Latin
Latin
designation for the region of the Maghreb, from the Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
( Attic Greek : Λιβύη Libúē, Doric Greek : Λιβύᾱ Libúā). In Classical Greece , the term had a broader meaning, encompassing the continent that later (second century BC) became known as Africa , which, in antiquity, was assumed to constitute one third of the world's land mass, compared to Europe
Europe
and Asia
Asia
combined.

The Libu
Libu
are attested since the Late Bronze Age as inhabiting the region (Egyptian R'bw, Punic : 𐤋𐤁𐤉 lby). The oldest known references to the Libu
Libu
date to Ramesses II
Ramesses II
and his successor Merneptah , pharaohs of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt
Egypt
, during the 13th century BC. LBW appears as an ethnic name on the Merneptah
Merneptah
Stele .

Menelaus
Menelaus
had travelled there on his way home from Troy ; it was a land of wonderful richness, where the lambs have horns as soon as they are born, where ewes lamb three times a year and no shepherd ever goes short of milk, meat or cheese.

Homer
Homer
names Libya, in Odyssey
Odyssey
(IX.95; XXIII.311). Homer
Homer
used the name in a geographic sense, while he called its inhabitants "Lotus-eaters ". After Homer, Aeschylus
Aeschylus
, Pindar
Pindar
, and other ancient Greek writers use the name. Herodotus
Herodotus
(1.46) used Λιβύη Libúē to indicate the African continent; the Líbues proper were the light-skinned North Africans, while those south of Egypt
Egypt
(and Elephantine on the Nile) were known to him as "Aethiopians "; this was also the understanding of later Greek geographers such Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
, Strabo
Strabo
, Pliny the Elder , etc.

When the Greeks actually settled in the real Libya
Libya
in the 630s, the old name taken from the Egyptians was applied by the Greeks of Cyrenaica
Cyrenaica
, who may have coexisted with the Libu. Later, the name appeared in the Hebrew language
Hebrew language
, written in the Bible
Bible
as LEHABIM and LUBIM, indicating the ethnic population and the geographic territory as well. In the neo-Punic inscriptions, it was written as Lby for the masculine noun, and Lbt for the feminine noun of Libyan.

Latin
Latin
absorbed the name from Greek and the Punic languages. The Romans would have known them before their colonization of North Africa because of the Libyan role in the Punic Wars
Punic Wars
against the Romans. The Romans used the name LíBUES, but only when referring to Barca and the Libyan Desert
Libyan Desert
of Egypt. The other Libyan territories were called "Africa".

Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
literature called Libya
Libya
Lubya, indicating a speculative territory west of Egypt. Modern Arabic uses Libya. The Lwatae, the tribe of Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
, as the Arabs
Arabs
called it, was a Berber tribe that mainly was situated in Cyrenaica. This tribe may have ranged from the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
to modern Libya
Libya
, however, and was referred to by Corippius as Laguatan ; he linked them with the Maures . Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldun
's Muqaddimah
Muqaddimah
states Luwa was an ancestor of this tribe. He writes that the Berbers
Berbers
add an "a" and "t" to the name for the plural forms. Subsequently, it became Lwat.

Conversely, the Arabs
Arabs
adopted the name as a singular form, adding an "h" for the plural form in Arabic. Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldun
disagrees with Ibn Hazam , who claimed, mostly on the basis of Berber sources, that the Lwatah, in addition to the Sadrata and the Mzata, were from the Qibts (Egyptians). According to Ibn Khaldun, this claim is incorrect because Ibn Hazam had not read the books of the Berber scholars.

Oric Bates , a historian, considers that the name Libu
Libu
or LBW would be derived from the name Luwatah whilst the name Liwata is a derivation of the name Libu.

HISTORY

Archaeological Site of Sabratha, Libya
Libya

Compared with the history of Egypt
Egypt
, historians know little about the history of Libya, as there are few surviving written records. Information on ancient Libya
Libya
comes from archaeological evidence and historic sources written by Egyptians neighbors, the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines , and from Arabs
Arabs
of Medieval times.

Since Neolithic times, the climate of North Africa has become drier. A reminder of the desertification of the area is provided by megalithic remains, which occur in great variety of form and in vast numbers in presently arid and uninhabitable wastelands: dolmens and circles like Stonehenge
Stonehenge
, cairns, underground cells excavated in rock, barrows topped with huge slabs, and step-pyramid-like mounds. Most remarkable are the trilithons , some still standing, some fallen, which occur isolated or in rows, and consist of two squared uprights standing on a common pedestal that supports a huge transverse beam. In the Terrgurt valley, Cowper says, "There had been originally no less than eighteen or twenty megalithic trilithons, in a line, each with its massive altar placed before it."

In ancient times, the Phoenicians and Carthaginians , the Persian Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
(see Libya
Libya
(satrapy) ), the armies of Alexander the Great and his Ptolemaic successors from Egypt, then Romans , Vandals , and local representatives of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
ruled all or parts of Libya. The territory of modern Libya
Libya
had separate histories until Roman times, as Tripoli and Cyrenaica.

Cyrenaica
Cyrenaica
, by contrast, was Greek before it was Roman. It was also known as Pentapolis , the "five cities" being Cyrene (near the village of Shahat) with its port of Apollonia (Marsa Susa), Arsinoe (Tocra), Berenice (Bengazi) and Barca (Merj). From the oldest and most famous of the Greek colonies the fertile coastal plain took the name of Cyrenaica.

These five cities were also known as the Western Pentapolis; not to be confused with the Pentapolis of the Roman era on the current west Italian coast.

GEOGRAPHY

The exact boundaries of Ancient Libya
Libya
are unknown. It lay west of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
and was known as "Tjehenu" to the Ancient Egyptians. Libya
Libya
was an unknown territory to the Egyptians: it was the lands of the spirits . Map of the world according to Herodotus
Herodotus

To the Ancient Greeks , Libya
Libya
was one of the three known continents along with Asia
Asia
and Europe
Europe
. In this sense, Libya
Libya
was the whole known African continent to the west of the Nile
Nile
Valley and extended south of Egypt. Herodotus
Herodotus
described the inhabitants of Libya
Libya
as two peoples: The Libyans in northern Africa and the Ethiopians in the south. According to Herodotus, Libya
Libya
began where Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
ended, and extended to Cape Spartel , south of Tangier
Tangier
on the Atlantic coast .

Modern geographers suspect that Ancient Libyans may have experienced loss of forests, reliable fresh water sources, and game availability as the area became more desert-like..

LATER SOURCES

After the Egyptians, the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines mentioned various other tribes in Libya. Later tribal names differ from the Egyptian ones but, probably, some tribes were named in the Egyptian sources and the later ones, as well. The Meshwesh
Meshwesh
-tribe represents this assumption. Scholars believe it would be the same tribe called Mazyes by Hektaios and Maxyes by Herodotus, while it was called "Mazaces" and "Mazax" in Latin
Latin
sources. All those names are similar to the name used by the Berbers
Berbers
for themselves, Imazighen .

Late period sources give more detailed descriptions of Libya
Libya
and its inhabitants. The ancient historian Herodotus
Herodotus
describes Libya
Libya
and the Libyans in his fourth book, known as The Libyan Book. Pliny the Elder , Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
, and Procopius
Procopius
also contributed to what is now primary source material on ancient Libya
Libya
and the Libyans.

Ibn Khaldun, who dedicated the main part of his book Kitab el\'ibar , which is known as "The history of the Berbers", did not use the names Libya
Libya
and Libyans, but instead used Arabic names: The Old Maghreb
Maghreb
, (El-Maghrib el-Qadim), and the Berbers
Berbers
(El-Barbar or El-Barabera(h)).

ANCIENT LIBYAN (BERBER) TRIBES

There were many Berber tribes in ancient Libya, including the now extinct Psylli , with the Libu
Libu
being the most prominent. The ancient Libyans were mainly pastoral nomads, living off their goats, sheep and other livestock. Milk, meat, hides and wool were gathered from their livestock for food, tents and clothing. Ancient Egyptian sources describe Libyan men with long hair, braided and beaded, neatly parted from different sides and decorated with feathers attached to leather bands around the crown of the head while wearing thin robes of antelope hide, dyed and printed, crossing the shoulder and coming down until mid calf length to make a robe. Older men kept long braided beards. Women wore the same robes as men, plaited, decorated hair and both genders wore heavy jewelry. Weapons included bows and arrows, hatchets, spears and daggers.

The Libyan script that was used in Libya
Libya
was mostly a funerary script . It is difficult to understand, and there are a number of variations.

Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldun
divided the Berbers
Berbers
into the Batr and the Baranis
Baranis
.

Herodotus
Herodotus
divided them into Eastern Libyans and Western Libyans . Eastern Libyans were nomadic shepherds east of Lake Tritonis . Western Libyans were sedentary farmers who lived west of Lake Tritonis. At one point, a catastrophic change reduced the vast body of fresh water to a seasonal lake or marsh.

Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldun
and Herodotus
Herodotus
distinguish the Libyans on the basis of their lifestyles rather than ethnic background. Modern historians tend to follow Herodotus's distinction. Examples, Oric Bates in his book The Eastern Libyans. Some other historians have used the modern name of the Berbers
Berbers
in their works, such as the French historian Gabriel Camps .

The Libyan tribes mentioned in these sources were: "Adyrmachidae ", "Giligamae ", "Asbystae ", "Marmaridae ", "Auschisae ", " Nasamones ", " Macae ", " Lotus-eaters
Lotus-eaters
(or Lotophagi)", " Garamantes ", "Gaetulians ", "Maures (Berbers) ", and "Luwatae ", as well as many others.

SEE ALSO

* North Africa during Antiquity
North Africa during Antiquity
* History of North Africa
History of North Africa

REFERENCES AND NOTES

* ^ Gabriel Camps, L\'origin des berbères Archived 29 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ Oliver, Roland p. 47 * ^ Gardiner, Alan Henderson (1964) Egypt
Egypt
of the Pharaohs: an introduction Oxford University Press, London, p. 273, ISBN 0-19-500267-9 * ^ The Cambridge History of North Africa
History of North Africa
and the people between them as the Egyptians, p. 141. * ^ Fage, J. D. (ed.) (1978) "The Libyans" The Cambridge History of Africa: From c. 500 BC to AD 1050 volume II, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, p. 141, ISBN 0-521-21592-7 * ^ The full name of Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
was Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah AL-LAWATI at-Tanji ibn Battuta * ^ The History of Ibn Khaldun, third chapter p. 184-258(in Arabic) * ^ Bates, Oric (1914) The Eastern Libyans. London: Macmillan & Co. p. 57 * ^ A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, Raymond O Faulkner, Page 306 * ^ Bates, Oric * ^ Mohammed Chafik, Highlights of thirty-three centuries of Imazighen p. 9 . * ^ Chaker, Salem. "L\'écriture libyco-berbère (The Libyco-Berber script)" (in French). Archived from the original on 13 January 2010. Retrieved 5 December 2010. * ^ Chaker Script * ^ Ibn Khaldun, The History of Ibn Khaldun: The thirth chapter p. 181-152. * ^ Herodotus
Herodotus
, On Libya, from The Histories, c. 430 BC * ^ " Gabriel Camps is considered as the father of the North African prehistory, by founding d'Etude Berbère at the University of Aix-en-Provence and the Encyclopédie berbère." (From the introduction of the English book The