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Ancient World /
Ancient Libya



A type of funeral pyramids employed at the Garamantian empire (Libya)
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A type of funeral pyramids employed at the Garamantian empire.

Land roughly corresponding geographically with the modern state of Libya. It was often mainly identified as the lands west of Ancient Egypt, the home of tribes, or peoples, like the Meshwesh, Peywed, Libu, Tamahu and Garamantians.
To a large extent Ancient Libya began in its east with Siwa Oasis (Egypt) and ending in central modern Tunisia, but possibly covering extensive areas into modern Algeria. Its southern border was the desert, with the region of the Garamantians as the last stronghold.
The Libu were the first Libyan people mentioned in Egyptian sources in the 13th century BCE, and it appears that that name would be used for the other peoples from the same regions as well.
From Libya several flows of emigration to Egypt happened, and Libyan lords successfully managed to take control of Egypt during the Late Period; both the 22nd and the 23rd Dynasties were Meshwesh. A second Libyan dynasty was the shortlived 24th one.
The peoples of Ancient Libya are most likely ascendents to modern day Libyans, although more recent waves of immigration has added to the ethnic complexity. Also, the inhabitants of Egypt's Western Desert are considered descending from the Ancient Libyans, and they have contributed substantially to the population of the Nile Delta.
The region of Tripoli and Cyrenaica had independent histories. Tripoli was established by the Phoenicians with three cities, Oea, Sabratha and Leptis Magna, that would later transform into a Roman colony. That of Cyranaica was Greek, with the city of Cyrene as the first colony.
From Ancient Libya comes one structure, with unique features. It was a high standing grave tower with a pyramidical roof. There are only few of these left, the finest may actually be in Dougga in present Tunisia, challenged by that in Sabratha in Libya itself.




By Tore Kjeilen