Nubia

Around 3,500 BC, one of the first sacral kingdoms to arise in the Nile was Ta-Seti, located in northern Nubia. Ta-Seti was a powerful sacral kingdom in the Nile Valley at the 1st and 2nd cataracts that exerted an influence over nearby chiefdoms based on pictorial representation ruling over Upper Egypt. Ta-Seti traded as far as Syro-Palestine, as well as with Egypt. Ta-Seti exported gold, copper, ostrich feathers, ebony and ivory to the Old Kingdom. By the 32nd century BC, Ta-Seti was in decline. After the unification of Egypt by Narmer in 3,100 BC, Ta-Seti was invaded by the Pharaoh Hor-Aha of the First Dynasty, destroying the final remnants of the kingdom. Ta-Seti is affiliated with the A-Group Culture known to archaeology.

Small sacral kingdoms continued to dot the Nubian portion of the Nile for centuries after 3,000 BC. Around the latter part of the third millennium, there was further consolidation of the sacral kingdoms. Two kingdoms in particular emerged: the Sai kingdom, immediately south of Egypt, and the Kingdom of Kerma at the third cataract. Sometime around the 18th century BC, the Kingdom of Kerma conquered the Kingdom of Sai, becoming a serious rival to Egypt. Kerma occupied a territory from the first cataract to the confluence of the Blue Nile, White Nile, and Atbarah River. About 1,575 to 1,550 BC, during the latter part of the Seventeenth Dynasty, the Kingdom of Kerma invaded Egypt. The Kingdom of Kerma allied itself with the Hyksos invasion of Egypt.

Egypt eventually re-energized under the Eighteenth Dynasty and conquered the Kingdom of Kerma or Kush, ruling it for almost 500 years. The Kushites were Egyptianized during this period. By 1100 BC, the Egyptians had withdrawn from Kush. The region regained independence and reasserted its culture. Kush built a new religion around Amun and made Napata its spiritual center. In 730 BC, the Kingdom of Kush invaded Egypt, taking over Thebes and beginning the Nubian Empire. The empire extended from Palestine to the confluence of the Blue Nile, the White Nile, and River Atbara.

In 760 BC, the Kushites were expelled from Egypt by iron-wielding Assyrians. Later, the administrative capital was moved from Napata to Meröe, developing a new Nubian culture. Initially, Meroites were highly Egyptianized, but they subsequently began to take on distinctive features. Nubia became a center of iron-making and cotton cloth manufacturing. Egyptian writing was replaced by the Meroitic alphabet. The lion god Apedemak was added to the Egyptian pantheon of gods. Trade links to the Red Sea increased, linking Nubia with Mediterranean Greece. Its architecture and art diversified, with pictures of lions, ostriches, giraffes, and elephants. Eventually, with the rise of Aksum, Nubia’s trade links were broken and it suffered environmental degradation from the tree cutting required for iron production. In 350 AD, the Aksumite king Ezana brought Meröe to an end.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.