Synopsis: The fracturing and diminishment of Egyptian power in the early Iron Age is captured in “The Report of Wenamun.”

I found (King Zakar-baal of Byblos) seated in his upper chamber with his back against a window, and the waves of the great sea of Phoenicia broke behind his head. I said to him: “Blessings of Amun!” He said to me: “How long is it to this day since you came from the place where Amun is?” I said to him: “Five whole months till now.” He said to me: “If you are right, where is the dispatch of Amun that was in your hand? Where is the letter of the High Priest of Amun that was in your hand?” I said to him: “I gave them to Smendes and Tentamun.” Then he became very angry and said to me: “Now then, dispatches, letters you have none. Where is the ship of pinewood that Smendes gave you? Where is its Phoenician crew? Did he not entrust you to this foreign ship’s captain in order to have him kill you and have them throw you into the sea? From whom would one then seek the god? And you, from whom would one seek you? – The Report of Wenamun

Map of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean:

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