According to the Wikipedia page, the Antiu were desert-dwellers with whom the early Pharaohs waged continuous war.

Is this the extent of our knowledge about them? For instance, do we know anything about why the ancient Egyptians were in strife with them, what their society was like, and so on?

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    Nomads/Herders in contact with settled societies always had a "trade or raid" relationship depending on whether they thought they could get away with it.
    – Oldcat
    Aug 30, 2014 at 0:03

1 Answer 1


Exactly who the Antiu were has long been a matter of academic debate.

Some have argued that the "Anu" or "Antiu" were the pre-dynastic people of Upper Egypt. Others suggest that they were a nomadic people from the Sinai Peninsula. If they were the former, they would eventually be absorbed into Egypt when the kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt were unified.

It seems likely that the Antiu were one of the traditional Egyptian enemies known collectively "Nine Bows". In the pre-dynastic period the Nine Bows does seem to have referred to "native" enemies rather than foreigners. However, from the perspective of the people living in the fertile Nile delta ("Lower Egypt"), the inhabitants of both Upper Egypt and the Sinai might be considered as "desert-dwelling native enemies".

As far as we know, the Antiu didn't leave any records of their own, so we have to rely on Egyptian sources, which generally just show Egyptian rulers smiting these "enemies of Egypt", (all in accordance with Maat).

As a result, we know almost nothing about their society, but Oldcat is very probably right when he suggests in the comments above that nomad groups like the Antiu were likely to have had a "trade or raid" relationship with a settled society like that of the Nile delta in pre-dynastic Egypt.

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