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The Medjay were originally a semi-nomadic people whose homeland was in the eastern desert in Nubia, ranging from Kemet (Egypt) to the Red Sea. They are mentioned as early as 2400 BC, when Kemetic texts recorded them as warriors serving within the Kemetic military, the police force as well as administrators within the Government. Later ancient texts also document their presence as soldiers at fortresses built along the Iteru (Nile) in Nubia. Their role serving as forces of authority was so enduring that by the time of the New Kingdom the name Medjay had become synonymous with the word for police. The Medjay's closet living ancestors are the Beja and live in Upper Egypt, Nubia and the Horn of Africa.

The first mention of the Medjay in written records dates back to the Old Kingdom, when they were listed among other Nubian peoples in the Autobiography of Weni, who was at the time a general serving under Pepi I Meryre (reigned 2332–2287 BC). During this time the term "Medjay" referred to people from the land of Medja, a district thought to be located just east of the Second Cataract in Nubia. Nubia was referred to as Ta-Seti, meaning "Land of the bow", by the Kemetyu (Egyptians) and the people there were renown for their military skills, particularly as archers.
During the Second Intermediate Period (1650–1550 BC), Kemet was weakened by the immigration of the Hyksos people from the near east who invaded and established a dynasty in Lower Kemet and the Delta, keeping the nation divided for several centuries. It was Ahmose I who was finally able to expel the foreigners in the Delta, unite the country and establish the 18th Dynasty which ruled over all of Kemet, beginning the New Kingdom period in 1550 BC. The Medjay were instrumental in his campaign as well as future campaigns which would solidify the divine authority of the Wa-Setian Kings of the south over Lower Kemet and the Delta region and expelling the foreigners.
"I sailed north to my victory to drive back the Asiatics, my courageous Army in front of me like a flame of fire, with the Bowmen of the Medjay upland of our encampment ready to seek out the Asiatics." - Stela of King Kamose, 17th Dynasty
"I have not spoken angrily or arrogantly. I have not cursed anyone in thought, word or deeds." ~35th & 36th Principals of Ma'at

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