Medjay

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In the Old Kingdom to Second Intermediate Period, the term 'Medjay' was used by the Egyptians to refer to people living in the Eastern Desert near the 1st and 2nd cataracts. They were a pastoral nomadic peoples. The Egyptian word for them does not properly reflect their socio-cultural divisions. These pastoral nomads interacted with the Egyptians all the time especially looking for employment, and many of them lived in Egypt. During the wars of the Second Intermediate Period, many Medjay enlisted in the military. The valiant performance of the Medjay at war created a great reputation for 'The Medjay'. This reputation caused the meaning of the word Medjay to change at the beginning of the New Kingdom. It was integrated into contemporary changes in the Egyptian military. By the reign of Thutmose III, the word 'Medjay' was then used to refer to desert police that protected and patrolled the high and lower desert. They are predominantly found around important cities, like Thebes (esp. the Valley of the Kings), Amarna, and Memphis. And they are found in many border areas where people enter into Egypt, like the Wadi Tumuliat, Wadi Hammamat, and the roads of the Western Desert. The Medjay in the New Kingdom was an ethnically mixed group, and anyone with the proper skill set could join. Eastern Desert Pastoral nomads still existed in the New Kingdom, but they were typically referred to by other terms. The Medjay have also been associated with the Pangrave Material Culture at the end of the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period. The direct connection between these two groups is tenuous. A bibliography for the Medjay includes:

Manfred Bietak, Ausgrabungen in Sayala-Nubien 1961-1965: Denkmäler der C-Gruppe und der Pan-Gräber-Kultur. Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Philosophish-Historische Klasse Denkschriften 92 (Wien: Hermann Böhlaus Nachf., 1966).

Manfred Bietak, "The C-Group and Pan-Grave Culture in Nubia," in Nubian Culture Past and Present: Main Papers Presented at the Sixth International Conference for Nubian Studies in Uppsala 11-16 August, 1986, ed. Tomas Hägg (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1987), 113-128.

Gun Björkman, "Neby, the Mayor of Tjaru in the Reign of Tuthmosis IV," Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 11, (1974): 43-51.

Jaroslav Černý, A community of workmen at Thebes in the Ramesside period Bibliothèque d’étude 50 (Cairo: Institut français d’archéologie orientale du Caire, 1973).

John Coleman Darnell, "Opening the Narrow Doors of the Desert: Discoveries of the Theban Desert Road Survey," in Egypt and Nubia: Gifts of the Desert, ed. Renée Friedman (London: The British Museum Press, 2002), 132-155

John Coleman Darnell, "A Stela of the Reign of Tutankhamun from the Region of Kurkur Oasis," Studien Zur Altägyptischen Kultur 31, (2003): 73-91.

Rafed El-Sayed, "r'n Md3.iw - lingua blemmyica - tu-bedawie. Ein Sprachenkontinuum im Areal der nubischen Ostwüste und seine (sprach-) historischen Implikationen " Studien Zur Altägyptischen Kultur 32, (2004): 351-362.

Silvia Lupo de Ferriol and Viloeta Pereyra de Fidanza, "Los š3sw y los md3yw en sus relaciones con el estado egipcio," Revista de Estudios de Egiptología 2, (1991): 23-44.

Sir Alan Gardiner, Ancient Egyptian Onomastica (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1947).

Serena Giuliani, "Some Cultural Aspects of the Medja of the Eastern Desert," in Nubian Studies 1998: Proceedings of the Ninth Conference of the International Society of Nubian Studies, ed. Timothy Kendall (Boston: Department of African-American Studies Northeastern University, 2004), 286-290.

Andrea M. Gnirs, Militär und Gesellschaft: Ein Beitrag zur Sozialgeschichte des Neuen Reiches. Studien zur Archäologie und Geschichte Altägypens 17 (Heidelberg: Heidelberger Orientverlag, 1996).

Barry Kemp, "An Incised Sherd from Kahun, Egypt," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 36, no. 4 (1977): 289-292.

Kate Liszka, "'Medjay' (no. 188) in the Onomasticon of Amenemope," in Millions of Jubilees: Studies in Honor of David P. Silverman, eds. Zahi Hawass and Jennifer Houser Wegner (Cairo: Publications du Conseil Suprême des Antiquités de L'Égyptie, 2010), 315-331.

Kate Liszka and Bryan Kraemer, "Further 'Semna Despatches' in Papyri Ramesseum 18 and 19," (in preparation).

Liszka, K. “We Have Come to Serve Pharaoh”: A Study of the Medjay and Pangrave Culture as an Ethnic Group and as Mercenaries from c.2300 BCE until c. 1050 BCE. PhD Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, in preparation.

Kate Liszka, "'We have come from the Well of Ibhet': Ethnogenesis of the Medjay," (in preparation).

A.G. McDowell, Jurisdiction in the Workmen's Community of Deir el-Medina, eds., J.F. Borghouts, E. van Donzel, M.S.H.G. Heerma van Voss and H. te Velde. Egyptologische Uitgaven 5 (Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, 1990).

Danielle Michaux-Colombot, "The MD3Y.W, not Policemen but an Ethnic Group from the Eastern Desert," in Études nubiennes : conférence de Genève : actes du VIIe Congrès international d'études nubiennes, 3-8 septembre 1990 ed. Charles Bonnet (Genève: Suisse : Société d'études nubiennes, 1992), 29-36.

Danielle Michaux-Colombot, "Qui sont les Medjay et où se situait leur territoire?," in Pharaons Noirs: Sur la Piste des Quarante Jours, ed. Marie-Cecile Bruwier (Belgium: Museé Royal de Mariemont, 2007), 83-93.

Simone Petacchi, "The Medjay People in Egypt. The Case of 'Medjayt' from Ethnonym to Anthroponym as a Peculiar Characteristic of the Middle Kingdom," in Proceedings of the Fourth Central European Conference of Young Egyptologists, eds. Kata Endreffy and András Gulyás (Budapest, 2007), 311-317.

Georges Posener, "NEHESY et MEDJAY," Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 83, (1958): 38-43.

Torgny Säve-Söderbergh and Lana Troy, New Kingdom Pharaonic Sites: The Finds and the Sites, ed. Torgny Säve-Söderbergh. The Scandinavian Joint Expedition to Sudanese Nubia 5:2 (Uppsala: Almqvis & Wiksell Tryckeri, 1991).

Thomas Schneider, Ausländer in Ägypten währen des Mittleren Reiches und der Hyksoszeit: Teil 2 Die ausländische Bevölkerung, ed. Manfred Görg. Ägypten und Altes Testament 43 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2003).

Paul C. Smither, "The Semnah Despatches," The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 31, (1945): 3-10.

Laszlo Török, Between Two Worlds: The Frontier Region between Ancient Nubia and Egypt 3700BC - 500 AD. Probleme der Agyptologie 29 (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2009).

Bruce G. Trigger, Nubia under the Pharaohs (Boulder Colorado: Westview Press, 1976).

R. van Walsem, "The God Monthu at Deir el-Medina," in Gleanings from Deir el-Medina, eds. J.R. Borghouts, E. van Donzel, M.S.H.G. Heerma, van Voss and H. te Velde (Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, 1982), 193-214.

Karola Zibelius, Afrikanische Orts- und Volkernamen in hieroglyphischen und hieratischen Texten. Beihefte zum Tubinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients, Reihe B (Geisteswissenschaften) (Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert, 1972).

Karola Zibelius-Chen, Die ägyptische Expansion nach Nubien : eine Darlegung der Grundfaktoren. Beihefte zum Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients. Reihe B, Geisteswissenschaften 78 (Wiesbaden: L.Reichert, 1988).

Karola Zibelius-Chen, "Ein weiterer Beleg zum sprachlichen Kontinuum des Medja-Bedja (Tu-bedauye)," in jn.t dschr.w: Festschrift für Friedrich Junge, eds. Gerald Moers, Heike Behlmer, Katja Demuß and Kai Widmaier (Gottingen: Universitat Gottingen, 2006), 729-735.

Karola Zibelius-Chen, "Die Medja in altägyptischen Quellen," Studien Zur Altägyptischen Kultur 36, (2007): 391-405.

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