Nubia

Last updated
Nubian pharaohs of the 25th Dynasty NubianPharoahs.jpg
Nubian pharaohs of the 25th Dynasty
Map of Ancient Egypt, with Nubian Desert marked Ancient Egypt map-en.svg
Map of Ancient Egypt, with Nubian Desert marked

Nubia ( /ˈnbiə, ˈnj-/ ) is a region along the Nile river encompassing the area between Aswan in southern Egypt and Khartoum in central Sudan. It was the seat of one of the earliest civilizations of ancient Africa, with a history that can be traced from at least 2500 BC onward with the Kerma culture. The latter was conquered by the New Kingdom of Egypt under pharaoh Thutmose I around 1500 BC. Nubia was home to several empires, most prominently the kingdom of Kush, which conquered Egypt during the 8th century BC during the reign of Piye and ruled the country as its Twenty-fifth Dynasty (to be replaced a century later by the native Egyptian Twenty-sixth Dynasty).

Nile river in Africa and the longest river in the world

The Nile is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa, and is the longest river in the world, though some sources cite the Amazon River as the longest. The Nile, which is about 6,650 km (4,130 mi) long, is an "international" river as its drainage basin covers eleven countries, namely, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Republic of the Sudan and Egypt. In particular, the Nile is the primary water source of Egypt and Sudan.

Aswan City in Egypt

Aswan is a city in the south of Egypt, and is the capital of the Aswan Governorate.

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Contents

The collapse of Kush in the 4th century AD after more than a thousand years of existence was precipitated by an invasion by Ethiopia's Kingdom of Aksum and saw the rise of three Christian kingdoms, Nobatia, Makuria and Alodia, the last two again lasting for roughly a millennium. Their eventual decline initiated not only the partition of Nubia into the northern half conquered by the Ottomans and the southern half by the Sennar sultanate in the 16th century, but also a rapid Islamization and partial Arabization of the Nubian people. Nubia was again united with the Khedivate of Egypt in the 19th century. Today, the region of Nubia is split between Egypt and Sudan.

Ethiopia country in East Africa

Ethiopia, Oromo: Itiyoophiyaa, Somali: Itoobiya, Hebrew: אתיופיה -officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country in the northeastern part of Africa, popularly known as the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the north, Djibouti to the northeast, and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. With over 102 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world and the second-most populous nation on the African continent. It occupies a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi), and its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa.

Kingdom of Aksum trading nation in the area of Eritrea and Northern Ethiopia

The Kingdom of Aksum was an ancient kingdom located in what is now Tigray Region and Eritrea. Axumite Emperors were powerful sovereigns, styling themselves King of kings, king of Aksum, Himyar, Raydan, Saba, Salhen, Tsiyamo, Beja and of Kush. Ruled by the Aksumites, it existed from approximately 100 AD to 940 AD. The polity was centered in the city of Axum and grew from the proto-Aksumite Iron Age period around the 4th century BC to achieve prominence by the 1st century AD. Aksum became a major player on the commercial route between the Roman Empire and Ancient India. The Aksumite rulers facilitated trade by minting their own Aksumite currency, with the state establishing its hegemony over the declining Kingdom of Kush. It also regularly entered the politics of the kingdoms on the Arabian Peninsula and eventually extended its rule over the region with the conquest of the Himyarite Kingdom. The Manichaei prophet Mani regarded Axum as one of the four great powers of his time, the others being Persia, Rome, and China.

Nobatia former country

Nobatia or Nobadia was a late antique kingdom in Lower Nubia. Together with the two other Nubian kingdoms, Makuria and Alodia, it succeeded the kingdom of Kush. After its establishment in around 400, Nobadia gradually expanded by defeating the Blemmyes in the north and incorporating the territory between the second and third Nile cataract in the south. In 543 it converted to Coptic Christianity, just to get annexed by Makuria under unknown circumstances somewhere during the 7th century.

The primarily archaeological science dealing with ancient Nubia is called Nubiology.

Archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts and cultural landscapes. Archaeology can be considered both a social science and a branch of the humanities. In North America archaeology is a sub-field of anthropology, while in Europe it is often viewed as either a discipline in its own right or a sub-field of other disciplines.

Nubiology is the designation given to the primarily archaeological science that specialises in the scientific study of Ancient Nubia and its antiquities.

Linguistics

The name Nubia is derived from that of the Noba people, nomads who settled the area in the 4th century CE following the collapse of the kingdom of Meroë. The Noba spoke a Nilo-Saharan language, ancestral to Old Nubian. Old Nubian was mostly used in religious texts dating from the 8th and 15th centuries. Before the 4th century, and throughout classical antiquity, Nubia was known as Kush , or, in Classical Greek usage, included under the name Ethiopia ( Aithiopia ).

Meroë ancient city

Meroë is an ancient city on the east bank of the Nile about 6 km north-east of the Kabushiya station near Shendi, Sudan, approximately 200 km north-east of Khartoum. Near the site are a group of villages called Bagrawiyah. This city was the capital of the Kingdom of Kush for several centuries. The Kushitic Kingdom of Meroë gave its name to the Island of Meroë, which was the modern region of Butana, a region bounded by the Nile, the Atbarah and the Blue Nile.

Old Nubian language ancient variety of the Nubian language

Old Nubian is an extinct Nubian language, attested in writing from the 8th to the 15th century AD. It is ancestral to modern-day Nobiin and closely related to Dongolawi and Kenzi. It was used throughout the kingdom of Makuria, including the eparchy of Nobatia. The language is preserved in more than a hundred pages of documents and inscriptions, both of a religious, and related to the state and private life, written using an adaptation of the Coptic alphabet.

Classical antiquity Age of the ancient Greeks and the Romans

Classical antiquity is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 5th or 6th century AD centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome known as the Greco-Roman world. It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.

Historically, the people of Nubia spoke at least two varieties of the Nubian language group, a subfamily that includes Nobiin (the descendant of Old Nubian), Kenuzi-Dongola, Midob and several related varieties in the northern part of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan. Until at least 1970, the Birgid language was spoken north of Nyala in Darfur, but is now extinct. However, linguistic evidence indicates that the languages spoken in the ancient Kerma Culture (present-day southern Egypt and northern Sudan) in Nubia, belonged to the Cushitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages. [1] [2]

The Midob people are an ethnic group from the Meidob Hills region in Darfur, Sudan. They speak Midob, one of the Nubian languages. The population of this ethnic group possibly exceeds 50,000.

Nuba Mountains mountain range

The Nuba Mountains, also referred to as the Nuba Hills, is an area located in South Kordofan, Sudan. The area is home to a group of indigenous ethnic groups known collectively as the Nuba peoples. In the middle ages, the Nuba mountains probably had been part of the Nubian kingdom of Alodia. In the 18th century, they became home to the kingdom of Taqali that controlled the hills of the mountains until their defeat by Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad. After the Mahdi's defeat by the British, Taqali was restored as a client state. Infiltration of the Messiria tribe of Baggara Arabs has been influential in modern conflicts.

Kordofan geographic region

Kordofan is a former province of central Sudan. In 1994 it was divided into three new federal states: North Kordofan, South Kordofan and West Kordofan. In August 2005, West Kordofan State was abolished and its territory divided between North and South Kordofan States, as part of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement. West Kordofan was reestablished in July 2013.

Geography

Nubia was divided into three major regions: Upper, Middle, and Lower Nubia, in reference to their locations along the Nile. Lower refers to regions downstream and upper refers to regions upstream. Lower Nubia lies between the First and the Second Cataracts, within the current borders of Egypt. Middle Nubia lies between the Second and the Third Cataracts. Upper Nubia lies south of the Third Cataract. [3]

Lower Nubia is the northernmost part of Nubia, downstream on the Nile from Upper Nubia. Sometimes, it overlapped Upper Egypt stretching to the First and Second Cataracts, so roughly until Aswan. A great deal of Upper Egypt and northern Lower Nubia were flooded with the construction of the Aswan High Dam and the creation of Lake Nasser. However the intensive archaeological work conducted prior to the flooding means that the history of the area is much better known than that of Upper Nubia. Its history is also known from its long relations with Egypt.

Cataracts of the Nile rapid

The Cataracts of the Nile are shallow lengths of the Nile River, between Aswan and Khartoum, where the surface of the water is broken by many small boulders and stones jutting out of the river bed, as well as many rocky islets. In some places, these stretches are punctuated by whitewater, while at others the water flow is smoother, but still shallow.

Upper Nubia is the southernmost part of Nubia, upstream on the Nile from Lower Nubia. It is so called because the Nile flows north, so it is further upstream and of higher elevation in relation to Lower Nubia.

History

Prehistory

Tools, Weapons and adornments from el-Barga (6000–5500 BC) Tools, Weapons and adornments from el-Barga (6000-5500 BC).jpg
Tools, Weapons and adornments from el-Barga (6000–5500 BC)

Early settlements sprouted in both Upper and Lower Nubia. Egyptians referred to Nubia as "Ta-Seti," or "The Land of the Bow," since the Nubians were known to be expert archers. [4] Modern scholars typically refer to the people from this area as the "A-Group" culture. Fertile farmland just south of the Third Cataract is known as the "pre-Kerma" culture in Upper Nubia, as they are the ancestors.

The Neolithic people in the Nile Valley likely came from Sudan, as well as the Sahara, and there was shared culture with the two areas and with that of Egypt during this period. [5] By the 5th millennium BC, the people who inhabited what is now called Nubia participated in the Neolithic revolution. Saharan rock reliefs depict scenes that have been thought to be suggestive of a cattle cult, typical of those seen throughout parts of Eastern Africa and the Nile Valley even to this day. [6] Megaliths discovered at Nabta Playa are early examples of what seems to be one of the world's first astronomical devices, predating Stonehenge by almost 2,000 years. [7] This complexity as observed at Nabta Playa, and as expressed by different levels of authority within the society there, likely formed the basis for the structure of both the Neolithic society at Nabta and the Old Kingdom of Egypt. [8] Around 3500 BC, the second "Nubian" culture, termed the A-Group, arose. [9] It was a contemporary of, and ethnically and culturally very similar to, the polities in predynastic Naqada of Upper Egypt. [10] [11] The A-Group people were engaged in trade with the Egyptians. This trade is testified archaeologically by large amounts of Egyptian commodities deposited in the graves of the A-Group people. The imports consisted of gold objects, copper tools, faience amulets and beads, seals, slate palettes, stone vessels, and a variety of pots. [12]

Nubian terracotta female figurine from the Neolithic period ca. 3500–3100 B.C.E. Brooklyn Museum Nubian. Female Figurine, ca. 3500-3100 B.C.E.jpg
Nubian terracotta female figurine from the Neolithic period ca. 3500–3100 B.C.E. Brooklyn Museum

Around 3300 BC, there is evidence of a unified kingdom, as shown by the finds at Qustul, that maintained substantial interactions (both cultural and genetic) with the culture of Naqadan Upper Egypt. The Nubian culture may have even contributed to the unification of the Nile Valley.

Toby Wilkinson, based on work by Bruce Williams in the 1980s, wrote that "The white crown, associated in historic times with Upper Egypt, is first attested later than the red crown, but is directly associated with the ruler somewhat earlier. The earliest known depiction of the white crown is on a ceremonial incense burner from Cemetery at Qustul in Lower Nubia". [13] Based on a 1998 excavation report, Jane Roy has written that "At the time of Williams' argument, the Qustul cemetery and the 'royal' iconography found there was dated to the Naqada IIIA period, thus antedating royal cemeteries in Egypt of the Naqada IIIB phase. New evidence from Abydos, however, particularly the excavation of Cemetery U and the tome U-j, dating to Naqada IIIA has shown that this iconography appears earlier in Egypt." [14]

Pottery of the Nubian A-Group, Musee du Louvre Nubian A group.jpg
Pottery of the Nubian A-Group, Musee du Louvre

Around the turn of the protodynastic period, Naqada, in its bid to conquer and unify the whole Nile Valley, seems to have conquered Ta-Seti (the kingdom where Qustul was located) and harmonized it with the Egyptian state. Thus, Nubia became the first nome of Upper Egypt. At the time of the first dynasty, the A-Group area seems to have been entirely depopulated, [4] most likely due to immigration to areas west and south.

This culture began to decline in the early 28th century BC. George Reisner suggested that it was succeeded by a culture that he called the "B-Group", but most archaeologists today believe that this culture never existed and that the area was depopulated from c. 3000 BC to c. 2500, when a-group descendants returned to the area. [15] [16] The causes of this are uncertain, but it was perhaps caused by Egyptian invasions and pillaging that began at this time. Nubia is believed to have served as a trade corridor between Egypt and tropical Africa long before 3100 BC. Egyptian craftsmen of the period used ivory and ebony wood from tropical Africa which came through Nubia.

In 2300 BC, Nubia was first mentioned in Old Kingdom Egyptian accounts of trade missions. From Aswan, right above the First Cataract, the southern limit of Egyptian control at the time, Egyptians imported gold, incense, ebony, copper, ivory, and exotic animals from tropical Africa through Nubia. As trade between Egypt and Nubia increased, so did wealth and stability. By the Egyptian 6th dynasty, Nubia was divided into a series of small kingdoms. There is debate over whether these C-Group peoples, [17] who flourished from c. 2500 BC to c. 1500 BC, were another internal evolution or invaders. There are definite similarities between the pottery of the A-Group and C-Group, so it may be a return of the ousted Group-As, or an internal revival of lost arts. At this time, the Sahara Desert was becoming too arid to support human beings, and it is possible that there was a sudden influx of Saharan nomads. C-Group pottery is characterized by all-over incised geometric lines with white infill and impressed imitations of basketry.

During the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1640 BC), Egypt began expanding into Nubia to gain more control over the trade routes in Northern Nubia and direct access to trade with Southern Nubia. They erected a chain of forts down the Nile below the Second Cataract. These garrisons seemed to have peaceful relations with the local Nubian people, but little interaction during the period. [18] A contemporaneous but distinct culture from the C-Group was the Pan Grave culture, so called because of their shallow graves. The Pan Graves are associated with the East bank of the Nile, but the Pan Graves and C-Group definitely interacted. Their pottery is characterized by incised lines of a more limited character than those of the C-Group, generally having interspersed undecorated spaces within the geometric schemes.

Nubia and Ancient Egypt

Nubia in hieroglyphs
NubiaNubiaNubia
Nubia
[19]
Ta-seti
T3-stj
Curved land [19]
Nubia
Nubia
NubiaNubia
Nubia
Nubia
Nubia
[20]
Setiu
Stjw
Curved land of the Nubians [20]
NubiaNubiaNubia
Nubia
Nubia
NubiaNubiaNubiaNubiaNubiaNubiaNubia
Nubia
Nubia
NubiaNubiaNubiaNubiaNubia

Nehset / Nehsyu / Nehsi
Nḥst / Nḥsyw / Nḥsj
Nubia / Nubians
Nubia NASA-WW places german.jpg
Nubia

One interpretation is that Nubian A-Group rulers and early Egyptian pharaohs used related royal symbols. Similarities in rock art of A-Group Nubia and Upper Egypt support this position. Ancient Egypt conquered Nubian territory in various eras, and incorporated parts of the area into its provinces. The Nubians in turn were to conquer Egypt under its 25th Dynasty. [21]

However, relations between the two peoples also show peaceful cultural interchange and cooperation, including mixed marriages. The Medjay (mj3, [22] ) represents the name ancient Egypt gave to a region in northern Sudan where an ancient people of Nubia inhabited. They became part of the Egyptian military as scouts and minor workers.

During the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, "Medjay" no longer referred to the district of Medja but to a tribe or clan of people. It is not known what happened to the district, but, after the First Intermediate Period of Egypt, it and other districts in Nubia were no longer mentioned in the written record. [23] Written accounts detail the Medjay as nomadic desert people. Over time, they were incorporated into the Egyptian army. In the army, the Medjay served as garrison troops in Egyptian fortifications in Nubia and patrolled the deserts as a kind of gendarmerie. [24] This was done in the hope of preventing their fellow Medjay tribespeople from further attacking Egyptian assets in the region. [25] Later, they were even used during Kamose's campaign against the Hyksos [26] and became instrumental in making the Egyptian state into a military power. [27]

By the Eighteenth Dynasty of the New Kingdom period, the Medjay were an elite paramilitary police force. [25] No longer did the term refer to an ethnic group and, over time, the new meaning became synonymous with the policing occupation in general. Being an elite police force, the Medjay were often used to protect valuable areas, especially royal and religious complexes. Though they are most notable for their protection of the royal palaces and tombs in Thebes and the surrounding areas, the Medjay were known to have been used throughout Upper and Lower Egypt.

Ramesses II holding a crook and a flail. Nubia, 19th Dynasty, c. 1240 BC. State Museum of Egyptian Art, Munich Ramesses II holding a crook and a flail. 19th Dynasty, c. 1240 BC. From Nubia. State Museum of Egyptian Art, Munich.jpg
Ramesses II holding a crook and a flail. Nubia, 19th Dynasty, c. 1240 BC. State Museum of Egyptian Art, Munich

Various pharaohs of Nubian origin are held by some Egyptologists to have played an important part towards the area in different eras of Egyptian history, particularly the 12th Dynasty. These rulers handled matters in typical Egyptian fashion, reflecting the close cultural influences between the two regions.

[T]he XIIth Dynasty (1991–1786 B.C.E.) originated from the Aswan region. As expected, strong Nubian features and dark coloring are seen in their sculpture and relief work. This dynasty ranks as among the greatest, whose fame far outlived its actual tenure on the throne. Especially interesting, it was a member of this dynasty that decreed that no Nehsy (riverine Nubian of the principality of Kush), except such as came for trade or diplomatic reasons, should pass by the Egyptian fortress and cops at the southern end of the Second Nile Cataract. Why would this royal family of Nubian ancestry ban other Nubians from coming into Egyptian territory? Because the Egyptian rulers of Nubian ancestry had become Egyptians culturally; as pharaohs, they exhibited typical Egyptian attitudes and adopted typical Egyptian policies. (Yurco 1989) [28]

In the New Kingdom, Nubians became indistinguishable in the archaeological record from Egyptians.

It is an extremely difficult task to attempt to describe the Nubians during the course of Egypt's New Kingdom, because their presence appears to have virtually evaporated from the archaeological record. The result has been described as a wholesale Nubian assimilation into Egyptian society. This assimilation was so complete that it masked all Nubian ethnic identities insofar as archaeological remains are concerned beneath the impenetrable veneer of Egypt's material culture. In the Kushite Period, when Nubians ruled as Pharaohs in their own right, the material culture of Dynasty XXV (about 750–655 B.C.E.) was decidedly Egyptian in character. Nubia's entire landscape up to the region of the Third Cataract was dotted with temples indistinguishable in style and decoration from contemporary temples erected in Egypt. The same observation obtains for the smaller number of typically Egyptian tombs in which these elite Nubian princes were interred. [29]

Kerma

Kerma city Kerma city.JPG
Kerma city

From the pre-Kerma culture, the first kingdom to unify much of the region arose. The Kerma Culture, named for its presumed capital at Kerma, was one of the earliest urban centers in the Nile region and spoke languages of the Cushitic branch. [1] [2] [30] By 1750 BC, the kings of Kerma were powerful enough to organize the labor for monumental walls and structures of mud brick. They also had rich tombs, with possessions for the afterlife and large human sacrifices. George Andrew Reisner excavated sites at Kerma and found distinctive Nubian architecture such as large tombs and palace-like structures. At one point, Kerma came very close to conquering Egypt. Egypt suffered a serious defeat at the hands of the Kingdom of Kush. [31] [32]

The Turin Papyrus Map TurinPapyrus1.jpg
The Turin Papyrus Map

According to Davies, head of the joint British Museum and Egyptian archaeological team, the attack was so devastating that, if the Kerma forces had chosen to stay and occupy Egypt, they might have eliminated it for good and brought the nation to extinction. When Egyptian power revived under the New Kingdom of Egypt (c. 1532–1070 BC), Egyptians began to expand further southwards. The Egyptians destroyed Kerma's kingdom and capitol and expanded the Egyptian empire to the Fourth Cataract.

By the end of the reign of Thutmose I (1520 BC), all of northern Nubia had been annexed. The Egyptians built a new administrative center at Napata, and used the area to produce gold and incense. [33] [34] The Nubian gold production made Egypt a prime source of the precious metal in the Middle East. The primitive working conditions for the slaves are recorded by Diodorus Siculus, who saw some of the mines at a later time. [35] One of the oldest maps known is of a gold mine in Nubia, the Turin Papyrus Map dating to about 1160 BC; this map is also one of the earliest characterized road maps in existence. [36]

Kush

Napatan period

Statue of King Taharqa, 25th Dynasty Paris Musée du Louvre Ancient Egyptian sculptures (6552243769).jpg
Statue of King Taharqa, 25th Dynasty
Figurine of the King Senkamanisken, Napata period ca. 643-623 BC Senkamenisken-Shabti BrooklynMuseum.png
Figurine of the King Senkamanisken, Napata period ca. 643-623 BC

When the Egyptians pulled out of the Napata region, they left a lasting legacy that was merged with indigenous customs, forming the kingdom of Kush. Archaeologists have found several burials in the area that seem to belong to local leaders. The Kushites were buried there soon after the Egyptians decolonized the Nubian frontier. Kush adopted many Egyptian practices, such as their religion. The Kingdom of Kush survived longer than that of Egypt, invaded Egypt (under the leadership of king Piye), and controlled Egypt during the 8th century BC as the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt. [37]

The Kushites held sway over their northern neighbors for nearly 100 years, until they were eventually repelled by the invading Assyrians. The Assyrians forced them to move farther south, where they eventually established their capital at Meroë. Of the Nubian kings of this era, Taharqa is perhaps the best known. A son and the third successor of the founding pharaoh, Piye, he was crowned in Memphis, Egypt c.690. [38] Taharqa ruled over both Nubia and Egypt, restored Egyptian temples at Karnak, and built new temples and pyramids in Nubia before being driven from Egypt by the Assyrians. [39] [40] [41] [42]

Meroitic period

Marble portrait of a Nubian denizen ca. 120–100 BC Marble head of Nubian denizen.jpg
Marble portrait of a Nubian denizen ca. 120–100 BC
Aerial view at Nubian pyramids, Meroe Sudan Meroe Pyramids 2001.JPG
Aerial view at Nubian pyramids, Meroe

Meroë (800 BC – c.AD 350) in southern Nubia lay on the east bank of the Nile, about 6 km north-east of the Kabushiya station near Shendi, Sudan, ca. 200 km north-east of Khartoum. The people there preserved many ancient Egyptian customs, but were unique in many respects. They developed their own form of writing, first utilizing Egyptian hieroglyphs, and later using an alphabetic script with 23 signs. [43] Since king Arakamani the kings were buried in Meroe.

Achaemenid period

Kušiya soldier of the Achaemenid army, circa 480 BCE. Xerxes I tomb relief. Xerxes detail Ethiopian.jpg
Kušiya soldier of the Achaemenid army, circa 480 BCE. Xerxes I tomb relief.

The Achaemenids occupied the Kushan kingdom, possibly from the time of Cambyses (circa 530 BCE), and more probably from the time of Darius I (550-486 BCE), who mentions the conquest on Kush (Kušiya) in his inscriptions. [44] [45]

Strabo describes a clash with the Romans in which the Romans defeated Nubians. According to Strabo, following the Kushite advance, Gaius Petronius (a Prefect of Egypt at the time) prepared a large army and marched south. The Roman forces clashed with the Kushite armies near Thebes and forced them to retreat to Pselchis (Maharraqa) in Kushite lands. Petronius then sent deputies to the Kushites in an attempt to reach a peace agreement and make certain demands.

Quoting Strabo, the Kushites "desired three days for consideration" in order to make a final decision. However, after the three days, Kush did not respond and Petronius advanced with his armies and took the Kushite city of Premnis (modern Karanog) south of Maharraqa. From there, he advanced all the way south to Napata, the second Capital in Kush after Meroe. Petronius attacked and sacked Napata, causing the son of the Kushite Queen to flee. Strabo describes the defeat of the Kushites at Napata, stating that "He (Petronius) made prisoners of the inhabitants". [46]

During this time, the different parts of the region divided into smaller groups with individual leaders, or generals, each commanding small armies of mercenaries. They fought for control of what is now Nubia and its surrounding territories, leaving the entire region weak and vulnerable to attack. Meroë would eventually meet defeat by the new rising Kingdom of Aksum to their south under King Ezana.

The classification of the Meroitic language is uncertain; it was long assumed to have been one of the Afroasiatic languages like the Egyptian language, but is now considered to have likely been one of the Eastern Sudanic languages.

At some point during the 4th century, the region was conquered by the Noba, from which the name Nubia may derive; another possibility is that it comes from the Egyptian word for gold. [47] From then on, the Romans referred to the area as Nobatia.

Christian Nubia

A church mural depicting an elaborate cross, Faras (12th century) Cross, Faras.jpg
A church mural depicting an elaborate cross, Faras (12th century)

Around AD 350, the area was invaded by the Kingdom of Aksum and the Meroitic kingdom collapsed. Eventually, three smaller Christian kingdoms replaced it: northernmost was Nobatia between the first and second cataract of the Nile River, with its capital at Pachoras (modern-day Faras); in the middle was Makuria, with its capital at Old Dongola; and southernmost was Alodia, with its capital at Soba (near Khartoum). King Silky of Nobatia crushed the Blemmyes, and recorded his victory in a Greek inscription carved in the wall of the temple of Talmis (modern Kalabsha) around AD 500.

While bishop Athanasius of Alexandria consecrated one Marcus as bishop of Philae before his death in 373, showing that Christianity had penetrated the region by the 4th century, John of Ephesus records that a Monophysite priest named Julian converted the king and his nobles of Nobatia around 545. John of Ephesus also writes that the kingdom of Alodia was converted around 569. However, John of Biclarum records that the kingdom of Makuria was converted to Catholicism the same year, suggesting that John of Ephesus might be mistaken. Further doubt is cast on John's testimony by an entry in the chronicle of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria Eutychius, which states that in 719 the church of Nubia transferred its allegiance from the Greek to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

By the 7th century, Makuria expanded becoming the dominant power in the region. It was strong enough to halt the southern expansion of Islam after the Arabs had taken Egypt. After several failed invasions the new rulers agreed to a treaty with Dongola, called Baqt, allowing for peaceful coexistence and trade. This treaty held for six hundred years. Over time the influx of Arab traders introduced Islam to Nubia and it gradually supplanted Christianity. While there are records of a bishop at Qasr Ibrim in 1372, his see had come to include that located at Faras. It is also clear that the cathedral of Dongola had been converted to a mosque in 1317. [48]

The influx of Arabs and Nubians to Egypt and Sudan had contributed to the suppression of the Nubian identity following the collapse of the last Nubian kingdom around 1504. A vast majority of the Nubian population is currently Muslim, and the Arabic language is their main medium of communication in addition to their indigenous old Nubian language. The unique characteristic of Nubian is shown in their culture (dress, dances, traditions, and music).

Islamic Nubia

Nubians from the early 19th century Gallery of Nubians (early 19th centuy).jpg
Nubians from the early 19th century

In the 14th century, the Dongolan government collapsed and the region became divided and dominated by Arabs. The next centuries would see several Arab invasions of the region, as well as the establishment of a number of smaller kingdoms. Northern Nubia was brought under Egyptian control, while the south came under the control of the Kingdom of Sennar in the 16th century. The entire region would come under Egyptian control during the rule of Muhammad Ali in the early 19th century, and later became a joint Anglo-Egyptian condominium.

Contemporary issues

With the end of colonialism and the establishment of the Republic of Egypt (1953), and the secession of the Republic of Sudan from unity with Egypt (1956), Nubia was divided between Egypt and Sudan.

During the early-1970s, many Egyptian and Sudanese Nubians were forcibly resettled to make room for Lake Nasser after the construction of the dams at Aswan. Nubian villages can now be found north of Aswan on the west bank of the Nile and on Elephantine Island; and many Nubians now live in large cities, such as Cairo.

Notes

  1. 1 2 Bechaus-Gerst, Marianne; Blench, Roger (2014). Kevin MacDonald, ed. The Origins and Development of African Livestock: Archaeology, Genetics, Linguistics and Ethnography - "Linguistic evidence for the prehistory of livestock in Sudan" (2000). Routledge. p. 453. ISBN   1135434166 . Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  2. 1 2 Behrens, Peter (1986). Libya Antiqua: Report and Papers of the Symposium Organized by Unesco in Paris, 16 to 18 January 1984 - "Language and migrations of the early Saharan cattle herders: the formation of the Berber branch". Unesco. p. 30. ISBN   9231023764 . Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  3. Edwards, David (2004). The Nubian Past. Oxon: Routledge. pp. 2, 90, 106. ISBN   9780415369886.
  4. 1 2 Emberling, Geoff (2011). Nubia: Ancient Kingdoms of Africa. New York: Institute for the study of the ancient world. p. 8. ISBN   978-0-615-48102-9.
  5. "Studies of Ancient Crania From Northern Africa". – S.O.Y. Keita, American Journal of Physical Anthropology (1990)
  6. "Dr. Stuart Tyson Smith". ucsb.edu.
  7. PlanetQuest: The History of Astronomy – Retrieved on 2007-08-29
  8. Late Neolithic megalithic structures at Nabta Playa – by Fred Wendorf (1998)
  9. Shaw, Ian; Jameson, Robert, eds. (2002). A Dictionary of Archaeology. Wiley. p. 433. ISBN   978-0-631-23583-5.
  10. Hunting for the Elusive Nubian A-Group People – by Maria Gatto, archaeology.org
  11. "Further Studies of Crania From Ancient Northern Africa: An Analysis of Crania From First Dynasty Egyptian Tombs, using Multiple Discriminant Functions". – American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 87: 245–254 (1992)
  12. "Hierarchy and heterarchy – the earliest cross-cultural trade along the Nile". www.academia.edu. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  13. Emberling, Geoff (1999). Early Dynastic Egypt. London: Routledge. p. 165. ISBN   0-415-18633-1.
  14. Roy, Jane (February 2011). The Politics of Trade:Egypt and Lower Nubia in the 4th Millennium BC. Brill. p. 215. ISBN   9789004196117 . Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  15. Shaw, Ian; Jameson, Robert, eds. (2002). A Dictionary of Archaeology. Wiley. p. 115. ISBN   978-0-631-23583-5.
  16. Török, László (2008). Between Two Worlds:The Frontier Region between Ancient Nubia and Egypt 3700 BC – 500AD. Brill. pp. 53–54. ISBN   9789004171978.
  17. "The C-Group people in Lower Nubia, 2500 – 1500 BC. Cattle pastoralists in a multicultural setting". www.academia.edu. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  18. "Between Kush and Egypt: The C-Group people of Lower Nubia during the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period". www.academia.edu. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  19. 1 2 Elmar Edel: Zu den Inschriften auf den Jahreszeitenreliefs der "Weltkammer" aus dem Sonnenheiligtum des Niuserre, Teil 2. In: Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen, Nr. 5. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1964, p. 118–119.
  20. 1 2 Christian Leitz et al.: Lexikon der ägyptischen Götter und Götterbezeichnungen, Bd. 6: H̱-s. Peeters, Leuven 2002, ISBN   90-429-1151-4, p. 697.
  21. Barbara Watterson, The Egyptians. Blackwell, Oxford. pp. 50117
  22. Erman & Grapow, Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache, 2, 186.1-2
  23. Gardiner, op.cit., p. 76*
  24. Bard, op.cit., p.486
  25. 1 2 Wilkinson, op.cit., p. 147
  26. Shaw, op.cit., p.201
  27. Steindorff & Seele, op.cit., p. 28
  28. F. J. Yurco, "The ancient Egyptians..", Biblical Archaeology Review (Vol 15, no. 5, 1989)
  29. Bianchi, 2004, Daily Life of the Nubians. p. 99–100
  30. "The Kingdom of Kush: An African Centre on the Periphery of the Bronze Age World System". www.academia.edu. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  31. Tomb Reveals Ancient Egypt's Humiliating Secret The Times (London, 2003)
  32. "Elkab's hidden treasure". Al-Ahram. Archived from the original on 2009-02-15.
  33. James G. Cusick (5 March 2015). Studies in Culture Contact: Interaction, Culture Change, and Archaeology. SIU Press. pp. 269–. ISBN   978-0-8093-3409-4.
  34. Richard Bulliet; Pamela Crossley; Daniel Headrick (1 January 2010). The Earth and Its Peoples. Cengage Learning. pp. 66–. ISBN   0-538-74438-3.
  35. Anne Burton (1973). Diodorus Siculus, Book 1: A Commentary. BRILL. pp. 129–. ISBN   90-04-03514-1.
  36. James R. Akerman; Robert W. Karrow (2007). Maps: Finding Our Place in the World. University of Chicago Press. ISBN   978-0-226-01075-5.
  37. "Ancient Sudan~ Nubia: History: The Kushite Conquest of Egypt". ancientsudan.org.
  38. Diop, Cheikh Anta (1974). The African Origin of Civilization. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books. pp. 219–221. ISBN   1-55652-072-7.
  39. Bonnet, Charles (2006). The Nubian Pharaohs. New York: The American University in Cairo Press. pp. 142–154. ISBN   978-977-416-010-3.
  40. Mokhtar, G. (1990). General History of Africa. California, USA: University of California Press. pp. 161–163. ISBN   0-520-06697-9.
  41. Emberling, Geoff (2011). Nubia: Ancient Kingdoms of Africa. New York: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. pp. 9–11. ISBN   978-0-615-48102-9.
  42. Silverman, David (1997). Ancient Egypt. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 36–37. ISBN   0-19-521270-3.
  43. Meroë: writing – digitalegypt
  44. Dandamaev, M. A. (1989). A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire. BRILL. pp. 80–81. ISBN   9004091726.
  45. Curtis, John; Simpson, St John (2010). The World of Achaemenid Persia: History, Art and Society in Iran and the Ancient Near East. I.B.Tauris. p. 222. ISBN   9780857718013.
  46. Nubian Queens in the Nile Valley and Afro-Asiatic Cultural History Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, Professor of Anthropology, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston U.S.A, August 2026, 1998
  47. "Nubia". Catholic Encyclopedia .
  48. Hassan, Arabs, 125.

Further reading

Related Research Articles

History of Sudan aspect of history

The history of Sudan includes that of both the territory that composes Republic of the Sudan, South Sudan as well as that of a larger region known by the term "Sudan". The term is derived from Arabic: بلاد السودان‎ bilād as-sūdān, or "land of the black people", and can be used more loosely of West and Central Africa in general, especially the Sahel.

Nubians are an ethnolinguistic group indigenous to present-day Sudan and southern Egypt who originate from the early inhabitants of the central Nile valley, believed to be one of the earliest cradles of civilization. They speak Nubian languages, part of the Northern Eastern Sudanic languages.

Psamtik II Egyptian pharaoh

Psamtik II was a king of the Saite-based Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt. His prenomen, Nefer-Ib-Re, means "Beautiful [is the] Heart [of] Re." He was the son of Necho II.

Nubian pyramids pyramids that were built by the rulers of the ancient Kushite kingdoms

Nubian pyramids are pyramids that were built by the rulers of the ancient Kushite kingdoms.

Tantamani Egyptian pharaoh

Tantamani, Tanutamun or Tanwetamani (Egyptian) or Tementhes (Greek) was a Pharaoh of Egypt and the Kingdom of Kush located in Northern Sudan and a member of the Nubian or Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt. His prenomen or royal name was Bakare which means "Glorious is the Soul of Re."

Kerma capital

Kerma was the capital city of the Kerma Culture, which was located in present-day Sudan at least 5500 years ago. Kerma is one of the largest archaeological sites in ancient Nubia. It has produced decades of extensive excavations and research, including thousands of graves and tombs and the residential quarters of the main city surrounding the Western/Lower Deffufa.

The Kerma culture or Kerma kingdom was an early civilization centered in Kerma, Sudan. It flourished from around 2500 BCE to 1500 BCE in ancient Nubia, located in Upper Egypt and northern Sudan. The polity seems to have been one of a number of Nile Valley states during the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. In the Kingdom of Kerma's latest phase, lasting from about 1700–1500 BCE, it absorbed the Sudanese kingdom of Sai and became a sizable, populous empire rivaling Egypt. Around 1500 BCE, it was absorbed into the New Kingdom of Egypt, but rebellions continued for centuries. By the eleventh century BCE, the more-Egyptianized Kingdom of Kush emerged, possibly from Kerma, and regained the region's independence from Egypt.

C-Group culture archaeological culture

The C-Group culture is an archaeological culture found in Lower Nubia, which dates from ca. 2400 BCE to ca. 1550 BCE. It was named by George A. Reisner. With no central site and no written evidence about what these people called themselves, Reisner assigned the culture a letter. The C-Group arose after Reisner's A-Group and B-Group cultures, and around the time the Old Kingdom was ending in Ancient Egypt.

Napata city

Napata was a city-state of ancient Nubia on the west bank of the Nile at the site of modern Karima, Sudan.

Gaius Petronius Roman governor

Gaius Petronius or Publius Petronius was the second and then fourth Prefect of Roman Aegyptus.

The A-Group culture was an ancient civilization that flourished between the First and Second Cataracts of the Nile in Nubia. It lasted from c. 3800 BC to c. 3100 BC.

National Museum of Sudan

The National Museum of Sudan or Sudan National Museum, abbreviated SNM, is a double storied building constructed in 1955 and established as a museum in 1971. The building and its surrounding gardens house the largest and most comprehensive Nubian archaeological collection in the world including objects from the Paleolithic through to the Islamic period originating from every site of importance in the Sudan.

Nubian architecture

Nubian architecture is diverse and ancient. Permanent villages have been found in Nubia which date from 6000 BC. These villages were roughly contemporary with the walled town of Jericho in Palestine.

Kingdom of Kush ancient African kingdom

The Kingdom of Kush or Kush was an ancient kingdom in Nubia, located at the Sudanese and southern Egyptian Nile Valley.

Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt Ethiopian period of Ancient Egypt

The Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt, also known as the Nubian Dynasty or the Kushite Empire, was the last dynasty of the Third Intermediate Period of Egypt that occurred after the Nubian invasion.

Roman–Nubian relations

The History of Nubian expeditions is related to the Roman presence and exploration of Nubia. Between the Roman Empire and Nubia there was a relationship and interaction that lasted nearly seven centuries, from the first century BC to the sixth century AD.

Cushitic peoples Peoples primarily indigenous to Northeast Africa

The Cushitic peoples are peoples primarily indigenous to Northeast Africa and speak or historically spoke Cushitic languages, which constitute a sub-groups of the larger Afroasiatic languages. Cushitic languages are spoken primarily in the Horn of Africa, as well as the Nile Valley, and parts of the African Great Lakes region. Some examples of these people include Afar, Beja, Oromo, Somali, and Sidama.

Temple of Amun, Jebel Barkal

The Temple of Amun is an archaeological site at Jebel Barkal in Northern State, Sudan. It is situated about 400 kilometres (250 mi) north of Khartoum near Karima. The temple stands near a large bend of the Nile River, in the region that was called Nubia in ancient times. The Temple of Amun, one of the largest temples at Jebel Barkal, is considered sacred to the local population. Not only was the Amun temple a main centre of what at one time was considered to be an almost universal religion, but, along with the other archaeological sites at Jebel Barkal, it was representative of the revival of Egyptian religious values. Up to the middle of the 19th century, the temple was subjected to vandalism, destruction, and indiscriminate plundering, before it came under state protection.