More narrowly, Libya could also refer to the country immediately west of Egypt, viz. Marmarica (Libya Inferior) and Cyrenaica (Libya Superior). The Libyan Sea or Mare Libycum was the part of the Mediterranean Sea south of Crete, between Cyrene and Alexandria.
In the Hellenistic period, the Berbers were known as Libyans, a Greek term for the inhabitants of the Maghreb. Their lands were called "Libya" and extended from modern Morocco to the western borders of ancient Egypt. Modern Egypt contains the Siwa Oasis, which was part of ancient Libya. Siwi, a Berber language, is still spoken in the area.
The Greek name is based on the ethnonym Libu (Ancient Greek: Λίβυες Líbues, Latin: Libyes). The name Libya (in use since 1934 for the modern country formerly known as Tripolitania and Barca) was the Latin designation for the region of the Maghreb, from the Ancient Greek (Attic Greek: Λιβύη Libúē, Doric Greek: Λιβύᾱ Libúā). In Classical Greece, the term had a broader meaning, encompassing the continent that later (second century BC) became known as Africa, which, in antiquity, was assumed to constitute one third of the world's land mass, compared to Europe and Asia combined.
The Libu are attested since the Late Bronze Age as inhabiting the region (Egyptian R'bw, Punic: 𐤋𐤁𐤉 lby). The oldest known references to the Libu date to Ramesses II and his successor Merneptah, pharaohs of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt, during the 13th century BC. LBW appears as an ethnic name on the Merneptah Stele.
Menelaus had travelled there on his way home from Troy; it was a land of wonderful richness, where the lambs have horns as soon as they are born, where ewes lamb three times a year and no shepherd ever goes short of milk, meat or cheese.