The representation of travel beyond the established borders of Egypt has been conceived as one of many markers of literary fictionality. One of the few texts that showcase this is the Middle Kingdom Tale of Sinuhe. Many have examined the Tale’s literary qualities through its portrayal of characters and activities associated with border traversal. But how novel was its representation of travel to the northeast? This paper focuses on travel and travellers as portrayed mainly in Old to Middle Kingdom textual material relating to Egyptian-Near Eastern relations. Examining similarities and differences across time, it questions whether Old Kingdom transregional agents and activities, as well as their representations, influenced the emergence of tropes on transborder movement. It also discusses how periods of increased long-distance connectivity may have shifted concepts of travel, likely contributing to an emphasis on the pertinence of a safe return to Egypt.
Old Kingdom; Middle Kingdom; Egypt, Levant; Western Asia; travel; transregionalism; Sinuhe
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