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Foreign relations of the Third Intermediate and Late Period

Throughout its history Egypt always traded and fought with western desert peoples (broadly 'Libyans'). Already in the New Kingdom many of them seem to have settled in the Delta; in the Third Intermediate Period they became the ruling families, as reflected in the non-Egyptian names of generals and kings such as Sheshonq, Osorkon, Psamtek, or Nekau.
There are close relations between Egypt and many parts of the Greek world. Egyptian objects are well attested on many Greek sites. Greek objects are found in Egypt (compare pottery). Greek art of the geometric-orientalising period seems to be very much influenced by Egyptian art (maybe via the Phoenicians, see for example a kouros). Naukratis was a Greek trading colony in Egypt. Greek soldiers fought for Egyptian kings.

The relations of Egypt in the Third Intermediate Period are dominated by war. In the 22nd and 26th Dynasties there are attempts to conquer parts of Palestine; more often Egypt was on the defensive against the mightier empires of the East (Assyrians, Babylonians, Achaemenid Iran ).

Egypt had close relations with Cyprus. In the 26th Dynasty the island was conquered by the Egyptians and was part of their empire. There is a strong Egyptian influence on arts and crafts in Cyprus in that period.


The relationship of Egypt to Nubia is dominated by the Nubian conquest of Egypt in the 25th Dynasty. The Assyrian invasions of 674, 671 and 664 BC forced the Nubian kings out of Egypt. Later relations between the two countries are not very clear. There are signs of periodic military conflict. However, the great number of objects found in Nubia in Egyptian style demonstrate the close relations of the countries.

see: Nubia

Further reading:
Smith 1965
(on foreign - Near Eastern - influence on Egyptian art)

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