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The Levant, or Retjenu in ancient Egyptian (transliteration: rṯnw), is a geographical region in the Eastern Mediterranean located to the north-east of the Sinai peninsula, between the Mediterranean Sea to the west, the Euphrates river to the east, and the Taurus mountains to the north.

During Thutmose III's military campaigns in the Levant, the southern Levant inhabited by Canaanite peoples was referred to as Upper Retjenu (i.e. Upper Levant) and the northern Levant inhabited by Amorite peoples was referred to as Lower Retjenu (i.e. Lower Levant).

Upper Levant[]

The southern Upper Levant, also called Djahy in ancient Egyptian (ḏꜣhy), may be distinguished by its Canaanite peoples. It corresponded roughly with modern Israel, Palestina and Jordan, as well as the Phoenician coast and Beqaa Valley of Libanon.

The independent Canaanite Middle Bronze Age (2000–1500 BC) city-states were turned into vassal states paying tribute to the New Kingdom of Egypt during the Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 BC). The Egyptians devided Djahy into the sub-regions of Canaan, Upe (centred around Damascus), and Amqi and Takhsy in the Beqaa Valley.

After the Bronze Age Collapse (ca. 1200 BC), independent kingdoms established themselves in the Upper Levant. These include the Kingdoms of; Israel, Judea, Moab, Ammon, Aram-Damascus and Edom.

Lower Levant[]

The northern Lower Levant, also called Amurru, may be distinguished by its Amorite peoples. It corresponded roughly with present-day northern Libanon and north-western Syria.

Unlike the Upper Levant, where larger centralized kingdoms only appeared at the onset of the early Iron Age, the Lower Levant was already home to large kingdoms in the Middle Bronze Age – namely the Kingdom of Yamhad and the Kingdom of Qatna.

During the New Kingdom, ancient Egypt struggled for control of the city-states of Amurru, due to its closer proximity to two other great empires of the Late Bronze Age; that of the Mitanni and the Hittites. New Kingdom Egypt managed to control Amurru proper (the southern part of the Lower Levant) for a significant period of time, only briefly conquering the entire Levant under Thutmose I.

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