What Was Libya Called in Ancient Times?

Libya is a country located in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north and Egypt to the east. However, have you ever wondered what Libya was called in ancient times? Let’s take a look at the history of this fascinating country.

What Was Libya Called in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, Libya was known as ‘Libya’ or ‘Libye’ which was derived from the Libyan tribe that inhabited the region. The term ‘Libya’ was first used by the Greeks to refer to North Africa as a whole, but later came to specifically refer to the region west of Egypt.

Ancient Libyan Civilization

The ancient Libyan civilization dates back to around 4000 BC when they were primarily nomadic tribes. Over time, these tribes began to settle and form complex societies. By 1000 BC, there were three major kingdoms in Libya: Cyrene in the east, Tripolitania in the west, and Fezzan in the south.

The Phoenician Influence

Around 800 BC, Phoenician traders established colonies along the Libyan coast. These colonies became wealthy trading centers and helped spread Phoenician culture throughout Libya. The most notable Phoenician colony was Carthage, located in modern-day Tunisia.

Greek Rule

In 630 BC, Greeks from Cyrene conquered Egypt and established their own colony there. They also expanded their territory westward into Tripolitania and Fezzan. The Greeks ruled over Libya for several centuries until they were eventually conquered by Rome.

Roman Conquest

In 74 BC, Rome conquered Cyrene and made it a Roman province. This marked the beginning of Roman rule over Libya. Under Roman rule, Libya became an important center for agriculture and trade.


In conclusion, Libya has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. From the ancient Libyan civilization to Phoenician influence and Greek and Roman rule, Libya has been shaped by numerous cultures throughout its history. Understanding the country’s past can help us better appreciate its present and future.