A: Nubia was once the center of the ancient world. They manufactured an abundance of goods and traded with civilizations all around them.
Q: When did the Nubians live?
A: The Nubians lived for more than 2000 years. From around 2000 B.C. to 350 A.D., Nubia established itself as a powefull kingdom.
Q: Who are the Nubians?
A: The Nubian’s were also known as the Kushites and lived in the Kingdom of Kush. They became one of the most powerful civilizations in Africa.
Q: Where is Nubia located?
A: Nubia is located south of Egypt along the Nile River. It is present day Sudan.
Ramses was one of Egypt’s greatest pharoahs. Once he died, Egypt entered a strict decline and began to lose power. With Egypt out of the way, Nubia, its neighboring civilization to the south, began to gain power and expand. Through the Nubian kings, Nubia became a dominant civilization in Africa. History of Nubia
After Conquering all of Egypt from the Libyan’s , he ruled Nubia and Egypt until his death.
He was Portrayed as a peaceful king
Liked to make treaties instead of going to war
King Piankhi was buried in an Egyptian style pyramid in El-Kurru
ruled from 716-702 B.C.
Golden age of ruling Egypt
He built new temples and made additions to old ones.
Appointed his son, Horemakhet as the Priest of Amun in Thebes
King Shabaka (716-702 B.C.)
Ruled from 690- 664 B.C.
Greatest builder of Nubian kings
Expanded on temples in every important city.
Capital in Napata
Tarahaq made Napata into a glorious city.
He built pyramids, temples,and beautiful
Angered over Nubian interference with his territories.
Attacks Egypt and conquers it from Nubian’s
Assyrian’s appoint Psammetikhos as king of Egypt
After being appointed king of Egypt by the Assyrians, Psammetikhos marries an Ethiopian woman
Shortly after taking the throne, the Assyrians suffer problems within their own government, giving Psammetikhos a chance to seize the throne from the Assyrians.
Began living in Nubia after the Assyrian’s conquered Egypt from the Nubians
Threatened to attack King Psammetikhos in Egypt
Psammetikhos attacks Kushites forcing them to retreat to Meroe
Kushites lived here from
275 B.C.- 350 A.D
located south of Egypt near the
Copious amounts of iron
With abundant resources
Meroe became a major
They transported goods to the Red
Sea where they would be traded with
India, Arabia, and many more countries
In exchange for their goods, the Kushites received jewelry, cotton cloth, silver, and glass.
The Kushite kings lived a lifestyle of pharaoh
Buried in stone pyramids
Ruled from 12 B.C. to 20 A.D.
Greatest Nubian king of Meroe
Built beautiful temples and pyramids
Expanded kingdom to the Ethiopian Foothills in the south and the First Cataract in the north
The End of Meroe
Iron and Agriculture industries decline
Over farming unfertilized the land and made it impossible to farm
To make the Iron, trees where needed for charcoal
They cut down more trees then were able to grow back
Without these crucial Industries, the Kushites could not support their kingdom
Kingdom of Aksum
Meroe neighbors to the southeast
Aksum invaded Meroe and captured their seaports and ended the Meroe Kingdom
ANCIENT NUBIAN CULTURE
The Ancient Nubians believed highly in their culture to help establish their civilization. Like Ancient Egypt, their neighbor along the Nile River, the Nubian way of life was based strongly on their religion (an important part of a civilization’s culture). To represent their strong beliefs, art and architecture (other main aspects of culture) played a large part in expressing their views on religion. This made culture very important for the development of Ancient Nubia. The cultures of both Egypt and Nubia also influenced one another over periods of time.
By: Amber Lamourt
ANCIENT NUBIAN CULTURE: ARTS & ARCHITECTURE
THE ART OF ANCIENT NUBIA
Most of the carvings, paintings and pottery of Ancient Nubia was greatly influenced in the style of the Ancient Egyptians. Most often, artists found inspiration in the scenes of everyday life, as well as historical events and histories of their rulers. Many scenes of harvest gatherings, religious ceremonies, and decrees by the kings are found depicted on Nubian pottery and temple walls. The Nile River was referred to most often in paintings as well.
Vessels were made of ceramic clay during the earlier periods in Nubian history, and later, bronze, ivory and alabaster were used as well.
Both Egyptian and Nubian artists used grid systems to calculate the sizes and characteristics of their murals. The positions and actions of the figures portrayed had to be in line with the perimeter of the walls. This is the reason why the figures in murals seem to have a “straight” position to them.
Like the Ancient Egyptians, Nubians built pyramids to house deceased royalty. The construction of their pyramids, however, differed in shape and material. The idea of pyramid building was adapted by the Kushite Rulers Kashta and Piy in the 8 th Century B.C., and afterward, more than 200 pyramids have been discovered in Nubia.
During the Old and New Kingdoms, Pharaohs of Egypt left behind grand monuments and statues in Nubia, such as the statues of Abu Simbel built to honor Pharaoh Rameses II.
By: Amber Lamourt
ANCIENT NUBIAN CULTURE: ARTS & ARCHITECTURE (continued) Left: The monument of Abu Simbel at Nubia, built to honor Rameses II. Right: An early Nubian ceramic pot with a simple design of African wildlife. Their pottery would later advance to depict scenes of events and everyday life, like the Egyptians. By: Amber Lamourt
ANCIENT NUBIAN CULTURE: RELIGION
The Ancient Nubians shared many common religious ideals with that of their neighbors, the Egyptians. Both religions referred to many of the same gods and goddesses.
EGYPT’S RELIGIOUS INFLUENCE
The Nubians worshipped the “universal” gods of Egypt, the more common among the near regions to Egypt and even commonly known to the world today. These deities included Horus, Hathor, Anubis, Bastet, Geb and Nut, Isis, Osiris, Thoth, Set, and the most common of all, Ra (of the sun).
Many deities popularly known as Egyptian actually originated from Nubian religion, such as the war goddess Sekhmet. In the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, it is believed by many archaeologists and scholars that Upper Egypt was located in Nubia before it expanded to the north. The founder of the first united dynasty in Egypt, Pharaoh Narmer, was even believed to have been born in Tini, a town in Nubia. This is the reason for the similarities in Nubian and Egyptian culture.
The Nubians also believed in ba and ka, the spiritual parts of a being believed by the Egyptians to have travelled to the underworld when a person died. Ka represented physical qualities of a being, while ba represented the non-physical characteristics, such as personality. The Nubians represented ba by statues of winged figures.
By: Amber Lamourt
THE GODS OF NUBIA
As well as worshipping the Egyptian gods, the Nubians were the founders of many other gods that they alone paid reverence to:
Apedemak: the lion-god and “Lord of Royal Power”. This deity symbolized the royal throne of Nubia. It is also possible the Egyptian lion-goddess Sekhmet was derived from Apedemak.
Mandulis: referred to as a high god, even to the point of challenging the authority of Ra, Osiris and Amon of Egypt during the Roman Empire’s hold over Egypt in 1 st Century B.C.
Sebiumeker: the god of procreation, believed to have been the original form of the Egyptian Atum, the prime creator god.
The Nubians pressed religion as a dire part of everyday living. Daily prayers were mandatory , to the extent of banishment if a member of society did not pray to the gods.
Often, religious figures were worn as part of Nubian attire, such as on a headdress or piece of jewelry.
Ancient Nubian Culture: Religion (Continued…)
ANCIENT NUBIAN CULTURE: RELIGION (continued)
TEMPLES OF WORSHIP
The Nubians built many religious temples similarly constructed as that of the Egyptian pyramids, where high priests would pay tribute to their gods. Certain high gods, such as Apedemak, received temples dedicated only to them.
A RELIGIOUS TURNINGPOINT
At around 8 th Century A.D., powerful Christian kingdoms conquered Nubia, and eventually the civilization’s religion converted from a polytheistic one to the monotheistic religion of Christianity.
In the mid 14 th Century, the Nubian religion was once again converted, to the religion of Islam when the Juhayna Arabs conquered the Christian kingdom in Nubia. Nubians also adopted the Arab language.
Above : A temple located in the city of Meroe, dedicated to the god Apedemak. Right: A Nubian statue representing the ba of a person’s spirit, believed to have lived on after the physical being died. By: Amber Lamourt
ANCIENT NUBIAN CULTURE: COMMON CUSTOMS & TRADITIONS
Ancient Nubian traditions were sacred to the culture. Today, these customs are still carried out among Nubian people, just as they were thousands of years ago.
NUBIAN MARRIAGE TRADITIONS
Nubian men and women often married during childhood, and like the Egyptians, they intermarried with family members (usually cousins).
Nubian wedding ceremonies consisted of many rituals, so much that the ceremonies would last up to 40 days. It was traditional that the man would present gifts to his wife and her family members during the ceremony. The Nubians would celebrate by adorning themselves in heavy beaded jewelry and colorful silk robes.
THE CUSTOMS OF THE PEOPLE
The trait of honesty was, and still is, sacred to the people of Nubia. Such a factor ties into performing only good deeds as a way of having reverential regard toward the gods (which was mandatory for all Nubians).
Nubian social status depended on how much land and cattle a man owned. Those of noble blood, as well, had high social status. Royals were the highest of classes, and during the Old Kingdom of Egypt when Pharaohs had control over Nubia, kings were considered demi-gods.
Nubian commoners wore simple garments, often colorful and wrapped around the body several times. Royals wore kilts and lion skin during the Old Kingdom. Nubian women wore multiple pieces of jewelry, usually two necklaces at once and large dangling earrings. All social classes wore gold, because of its abundance.
By: Amber Lamourt
ANCIENT NUBIAN CULTURE: THE INFLUENCE OF EGYPT
When the Old Kingdom’s pharaohs first ruled over Nubia, the traditional factors of Nubian culture would later spread when the Pharaoh Narmer brought over his knowledge of Nubian culture into the newly-united Egypt. Egypt later conquered Nubia once again during the late New Kingdom, and their cultures diffused.
Both regions had similar artistic visions. Their paintings told stories of the work along the Nile, of banquets and celebrations of their royals, and of everyday life for commoners. Their architecture suggests they had similar skills in building, and used much of the same material such as mud-bricks.
NUBIAN AFFECTS ON EGYPT
Visual evidence can suggest that Egypt was greatly inspired at one point by their Nubian neighbors. Egyptian murals depict the life of the Nubians as seen through their eyes, giving a clearer picture to how similar their working skills, attire, and religions were.
The picture on the left is a depiction of a Nubian festival. The picture on the right is a mural of an Egyptian banquet. The murals bear similar artistic styles and the events portray similar aspects of the culture, such as providing tribute to the royals. By: Amber Lamourt
Women of Nubia
Nubia was not only a advanced civilization that can rival their neighbor, Egypt in many aspects, it was also a civilization where women were treasured, and held on a higher status then the women of other civilization of the same time period. One example to show they were sacred, was how women were thought to have mothered legendary gods.
Nubian Queens and Role of Everyday
There was an unexpected number of Nubian ruling
queens, especially in the time period of the golden age
of Meroitic kingdom.
Nubian Queens are called Kentakes.
Kentakes were portrayed as warrior queens, and
would fight in order to protect their own empire.
It is believed that, Alexander the Great tried to
make Kush-Meroitic his, but failed to do so, because of
a warrior queen called Candace of Amanirenas of Meroe.
She was the wife of King Teriteqas, and later succeeded
him when he passed away. The Kentake fought in the
war against Rome, and lost an eye in the process. Afterwards she was immortalized in statues, pottery, and art, just like many other queens were.
The common women of Nubia also had another social class, the priestess. The priestess was the head of the religious cult, and had male servants tend to her service.
The Ancient Nubian Army
After the death of Ramses, the Ancie n t Egyptians’ powers began to decrease, the military power of Nubia increased. Eventually, the Nubians took over Egypt, and became the 25 th dynasty. The armies were headed by kings, as well as queens. They began a conquest to rebuild the lost glory of t h e Egyptians. The Nubians occupied Egypt for about 100 years from 760 to 664 B.C until they were force to retreat back to Meroe by the Assyrians.
In the 8 th century, under the command of Kushite king Piye, the Nubians managed to conquer whole Egypt, therefore becoming its 25 th dynasty.
Piye (Piankhi), after capturing the cities of Memphis and Herakleopolis, the Egyptian king at that time, Tefnakht fled to an island after 5 months of battling.
The Nubian army evolved after their new gain. They now had the advantage of Nubian archers.
After almost 100 years of ruling Egypt, the Nubians were forced to retreat back to Meroe.
The Nubians last fight over Egypt with the Assyrians was headed by probably the most prominent king, Taharqa. He was the son of Piye, and reigned for about 26 years. In his 17 th year of ruling Egypt, the Assyrians attacked, but were defeated by Taharqa. About 3 years later, the Assyrian king captured the city of Memphis, and along with it, many royal family members. Taharqa then fled back to Nubia, and experienced a golden age there, after he died.
The Nubian Empire was ruled by complete monarchy. The king’s home was located in southern Nubia, therefore ruling directly there.
Kings of ancient Nubia had 3 jobs: the political leader, the spiritual head and the military warlord.
Both upper and lower Nubia had a governor who helped the king organize the empire. Each government would report to the federal official called the “peker”. The peker would pass on information to the king and the queen from the governors.
Even though there were kings, there were also jobs such as the Minister of Treasury, these lower ranking officials also had powers, they acted like a “check and balance” system. These check and balance systems were often in vain, because the kings would always figure a way out to surpass the “congress” in power.
It was also forbidden to have a king not related to his predecessor.
The Golden Age of the Meroitic kingdom was the center of attention for the ancient world. It was a flourishing time for the Nubians. They traded with Asia, and was already in the iron age. They traded with many countries and eventually led to the conquering of Lake Chad. (700-300 B.C)
Golden Age (cont…)
After being forced out of Egypt, the Nubians became excellent iron miners. They also began to enhance their trading, resulting in international trades with civilizations such as ancient China, and ancient India.
They also gained more knowledge in literature, such as the alphabet. They first used the Egyptian hieroglyphics and eventually used that to make their own alphabet of 23 letters.
Even though they practiced Egyptian customs, and culture, they also developed their own religion.
Nubians were excellent craftsmen, meaning they were excellent at making jewelry and were great blacksmiths.
Their exports consisted of cotton, jewelry and pure gold.
The most important achievement during this period was probably the gain of Lake Chad and its surrounding land. Lake Chad provides water to about 20,000 people. It was also very rich in silt, meaning the land around was very fertile, and was abundant in crops.
As a result of Egyptian Influence, Nubians also built many pyramids. These pyramids were different, shape and size wise. They were smaller, and the top was mostly flat.
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