From the earliest times, the Egyptians came into conflict with the Beduin (whom they called 'Shoshu'), who were the desert tribes that wandered along and lived on the borderlands of Egypt. They formed part of that desert environment which, with its teeming wild animals and as the location of most of the cemeteries, represented a place of death and hostility to the Egyptians. The Beduin lived in tents and pursued a largely nomadic existence but, to feed their families, they traded goods such as galena (used as eye-paint) with the Egyptians. Nevertheless, the Egyptians always regarded them as savages. Attracted by the pleasant and easy life of the Nile valley, the Beduin constantly harrassed Egypt from earliest times. When the system of centralised government collapsed, the Beduin incursions were successful; as part of the government's continuous policy to protect Egypt's boundaries, every attempt was made to keep this menace at bay and, in times of internal stability, strings of military fortresses were built and corps of police patrolled the desert with dogs.
    The Beduin are mentioned in the famous literary piece, the 'Story of *Sinuhe', in which the Egyptian Sinuhe flees from Egypt and joins the Beduin in their wandering existence, eventually becoming the chief of a tribe.
    The persecution of the *Jews which foreshadowed the Exodus from Egypt was part of a general campaign in Ramesside times against foreigners and, in the reign of *Sethos I, a great slaughter of the Beduin is recorded.
BIBL. Faulkner, R.O. The wars of Sethos I. JEA 33 (1947) pp. 34 ff.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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  • Beduin — Bed uin, n. See {Bedouin}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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