Positive Progress Through The Benevolent Use Of Knowledge

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dr.Author Lewis pt.1-Dr. Molefi Kete Asante-(videos_

Dr. Molefi Kete Asante



Dr.Author Lewis pt.1

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Bast. Independent. "Your independence is a foundation for your strength and success" The Egyptian Goddess Bast transforms into a cat each night and protects her family and those who call upon her with her all seeing night vision. She exhibits the catlike traits of the feminine, which include gracefulness, independence, playfulness, and intuition. Bast also works with cat lovers to help their feline companions. The daughter of the sun god Ra, Bast has the rare distinction of both being a moon and a sun goddess.

Sweet Egyptian Love Devotion*

Egyptian song....Sweet Love....Sweet Devotion.......

When I see you my eyes shine.... and I press close to look at you.
Most beloved of men!
Who rules my heart.
Oh the happiness of this hour my love.
May it go on forever,
Never leave me!
Oh night be mind forever Now that my lover has come.




Friday, October 17, 2008



The Egyptian Goddess Nut was originally viewed as the Goddess of the Day Sky, which was the place above the Earth where the clouds were formed. She was known by a variety of names that included Neuth, Nuit, and Nwt (which is pronounced New-Eat), and it was from those names that the modern English words, "night," "nocturnal," and "equinox," and the French term "la nuit," which means "the night," were derived.
As time passed, Nut's influence grew extensively, and she became not only the personification of the day sky, but the Goddess of the whole Sky, as well. That also made Nut the Goddess of the Wind, and of everything else that fell between the place where the sun rose in the East, and where it finally made its descent in the West.

Several myths came about that describe the manner in which the Sun moved across the sky from the East to the West. One myth described how Nut, the sky, gave birth to the Sun every morning. Then, as the day continued, the Sun passed over Nut's body until he finally reached her mouth at sunset. It was at that point that the Sun entered Nut's mouth, and traveled through her body until he came forth from her vagina the following morning, to then repeat the cycle once again.

Alternatively, another version of the myth describes how the Sun sailed up, over Nut's legs and back, in the Atet (Matet) boat until high noon. At high noon, the Sun changed boats and then sailed in the Sektet boat over the rest of Nut's body until sunset finally arrived.

Because of Nut's strong connection to the sun's rebirth, she was associated, as well, with the religious belief in the resurrection of the dead. Her image was frequently used to decorated the inner lids of coffins from which, it was believed, the dead would one day be reborn. Since Nut was also seen as a Goddess of the Dead, it was believed that Pharaohs entered her body when they died, and then traveled through it until they exited it at the time of their resurrection.

Nut was a member of the Heliopolitan Ennead, and in her role as the mistress of all heavenly bodies, she was believed to be reaching across the sky from horizon to horizon, touching one with her hands and the other with her feet.

Nut was the daughter of Shu, the God of Air, and Tefnut, the Goddess of Moisture in the Heliopolitan genealogy. She was also both sister and wife to the God of the Earth, Geb, and the mother of Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephthys.

Nut was also a Goddess of the late historical period of Egypt, and as such, she absorbed a variety of attributes that had previously belonged to several other Goddesses into herself. Indeed, it is believed that in earlier times, Nut was a Mother Goddess that had a great many children, and she has often been confused with several of the older nature Goddesses, because she either shared many of their characteristics with them, or those characteristics were merged together within her, including those of the very ancient Goddess Hathor (Het-Hrt). The sharing of attributes was actually quite common among many of the Netjer.

Nut has frequently been portrayed as a woman wearing a vase of water on her head. Most often, however, she is looked upon as being the roof of the sky or heaven, with her body stretched out so that her hands and feet are touching the Eastern and Western horizons, or the four cardinal points, respectively, so that her body arches to form a semi-circle, with her arms and legs representing the four pillars upon which the sky rests.

Her father, Shu, holds Nut up in that position, while her husband, Geb, lies on the ground reclining on one elbow, with his knees up in the air. It is said that in this position, Geb depicts the hills and valleys of the land, and that Shu is holding up Nut with his arms in the same manner that the air was believed to hold up the sky.

This particular positioning is of great importance, because when Shu raised Nut(the sky) above Geb (the earth) he brought an end to chaos and, if he was ever to leave that position for any reason, chaos would return to the world.

In another version of this myth, Ra asked Nut to raise him into the heavens and remove him from the world below, because he found it to be quite distasteful. Nut rose upward carrying Ra on her back, but the higher she rose the dizzier she became. She would have definitely crashed to the ground had it not been for four Gods who steadied her legs, while her father, Shu, held up her belly.

These Gods became the four pillars of the Sky, and Nut's body became the firmament to which Ra then attached the stars. The combination of the Goddess of the Sky, Nut, the God of the Air, Shu, and the God of the Earth, Geb, formed the Egyptians' idea of how their world was designed.

There are several different versions of the Egyptian Creation Myth, and Nut played an important role in all of them.

The Creation Myth that belonged to the Lower Kingdom of Egypt stated that in the beginning, only the ocean existed. Then, out of an egg that suddenly appeared on the surface of the ocean, Ra, the God of the Sun appeared. Through his own secretions, Ra had four children, the gods Shu and Geb and the goddesses Tefnut and Nut. Shu and Tefnut became the atmosphere. Then they stood on Geb who became the earth, and raised Nut up to become the sky.

Ra was the supreme ruler of the world, and he ruled over everyone and everything. Geb and Nut eventually produced two sons, Set and Osiris, and two daughters, Isis and Nephthys. As time passed, and Ra grew old, he finally stepped down and Osiris succeeded him as the King of the Earth, assisted by Isis, who was both his sister and his wife.

Set hated Osiris with a passion, and he eventually murdered his brother, leaving Isis to embalm her beloved husband's body with the help of the God Anubis, who became the God of Embalming, and from that time on Osiris became the symbol of good, while Set became the symbol of evil, thus establishing the two poles of morality, and fixing them once and for all.

Isis, through working her powerful magick, was able to resurrect Osiris and he became the King of the Netherworld and the Kingdom of the Dead. Their son Horus the Elder, eventually defeated Set in a great battle, and then took his rightful place as the King of the Earth.

The Upper Kingdom Creation Myth is slightly different from that of the Lower Kingdom. It tells how, in the beginning, there was only Nun, the primal ocean of chaos, that contained the very beginnings of everything else that would ever be. It was from those waters that Ra appeared and, completely alone, he parthenogencally gave birth to Tefnut and Shu. Shu, the God of Air, and Tefnut, the Goddess of Moisture, then gave birth to Geb and Nut, the God of the Earth and the Goddess of the Sky. That was how the physical universe was created, and then mankind was created from Ra's tears.

It is believed that Geb and Nut were born in a sexual embrace, and that Ra, who did not approve of their incest, ordered Shu to forcibly interposed himself between them, thus separating the Earth from Sky. The myth in which the earth and the sky are married, and then become separated, is known throughout the world as a universal myth, having a wide assortment of variations.

One example of this is the Greek Creation Myth. The Goddess Gaea was the Earth and Uranus, who was the Heavens, was both her husband and her son. It was Gaea who made the decision to separate herself from Uranus, and she did so with the help of her youngest son Chronos, who castrated his own father, thereby separating the Earth from the Sky.

Even though Ra had forbidden Geb and Nut to continue in their eternal sexual embrace, they married anyway, and their refusal to separate caused Ra to become so furious with them that he ordered their father, Shu, to separate them, which he did. Ra then placed a curse upon Nut, to keep her from giving birth to a child on any given day in any given year. Unfortunately, though, a major problem existed. Nut was already pregnant with Geb's children and she did not know what to do.

It was then that Nut went to her dear friend Thoth, the God of Wisdom, who also happened to be Ra's son, and asked him for his help. Amazingly, Thoth actually did find a way to get around Ra's curse. First, Thoth went to visit Khonsu, the God of the Moon, and challenged him to a game of draughts. The longer they played the game, the larger the stakes became. In the end, it was Thoth who won, and what Khonsu had bet, which Thoth had won, was an amount of the element of light, which amount was exactly enough to create five additional days. Thoth placed those five days between the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, thereby creating five days that did not fall upon any given day in any given year. Indeed, due to Thoth's great wisdom, Ra's curse was both upheld and defeated, and Nut was able to give birth to her children on those five days that once did not exist.

Nut was never actually personified in a truly human form. Rather, she was always depicted as a midnight blue or black skinned woman, arched above her father, Shu and husband, Geb, and was either covered with or imbedded with stars. Often, the Moon is seen resting in her genitals, while the Milky Way is leaking from her hanging breasts. While Nut may never have taken on a truly human form, each and every depiction of her shows her as a uniquely feminine and sexual Goddess. While Nut's love for Geb was so great, that she had to forceably be kept apart from him for all eternity, the story of that love will always remain a tale of eternal love and desire, just as the earth and the sky will forever seem to meet when you glance at the far horizon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Landmarks of the rich & dramatic history of S. Africa

The history of South Africa is irrevocably linked to the history of Africa, one of contrast and diversity.

A history marked by the rise of complex societies and migrations and a tribute to all its people who adapted to the challenges of nature with enthusiasm and courage.

A way of life where people’s livelihood depended on hunting, gathering and the herding of animals within a certain area. The introduction of iron changed the African continent irrevocably and was a large step forward in the development of its people.

Start your history of South Africa tour by clicking on any of the subjects in the menu below;


African background,...

The discovery of iron and its use created the potential for agriculture, which changed the lifestyles of the African people forever. Population numbers rose and a pattern of migration started, a pattern that would develop into the mass migration of black people from the great lakes in central Africa to the north, east and south of Southern Africa. It is known as the southern migration, a key factor in South Africa's history.
more about the ancient Africa history >>>

Ancient times,...

The famous fossilized scull of one of the very first ancestors of humankind, known today as Mrs. Ples. It is believed to be 2,5 million years old and was found in the Sterkfontein caves at the Cradle of Humankind area. It is on display in the Transvaal museum in Pretoria - History of South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

The history of man in South Africa covers such a vast period of time that it is difficult to determine exactly where to start. A possible choice could be the development of Hominidae (human race) five million years ago, or maybe 2,3 million years ago with the development of the genus Homo. Archaeological evidence suggests that both Homo habilis and Homo erectus inhabited southern Africa and that modern humans have lived in South Africa for over 100,000 years.

more about the Ancient Times in South Africa >>>

The San and the Khoi people,...

Battle Cave, ancient dwelling-place of the Bushmen (San) in the Injusati valley in the Drakensberg mountains, famous for its scenes depicting the San people’s way of life and their rock art on the cave walls - History of South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

Together they are called the "Khoisan", a term that has been used to describe their broad similarity in cultural and biological origins. It is derived from the names "Khoikhoi" and "San". "Khoikhoi" was the original name used by the Hottentots in reference to themselves and "San" was the name the Bushmen used when they referred to themselves. They are the first known inhabitants of South Africa, believed to have emerged from the same gene pools as the black people, but to have developed separately.

more about the "San" and the "Khoi" people >>>

Origins of the black people,...

Zulus ploughing the land like in the old days - History of South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

With the development of the iron blade, reaping became easier and agriculture took on a whole new meaning. Populations grew faster than before and people were encroaching on each other's land. This necessitated an enlargement of territory, which led to a mass migration of African peoples from the Great Lakes in central Africa, to the North, East and Southern Africa, known as the southern migration. Some anthropologists believe that this migration process could have taken up to 2 000 years.

more about the Bantu people migration into South Africa >>>

Settlement of the black people,...

The above is the generally accepted view of the origins and spread of the Bantu people in three phases during the southern migration - History of South Africa

Many of the Bantu speaking tribes who came from central Africa during the Southern Migration, established themselves in today's KwaZulu-Natal, further along the southern coast and in Mpumalanga. Other tribes tended to move more into the interior. Although their languages and culture did have similarities, they were far from identical. The black population of South Africa can be divided into several ethnic groups, of which the Nguni speaking people form a major part. Other main groups are the Sotho, the Venda and the Shangaan-Tsonga.

more the settlement of Black people in South Africa >>>

First European discoverers,...

A replica of the ship in which in which Portuguese seafarer Bartolomeu Dias rounded the southern tip of Africa in 1488, calling it the "Cape of Good Hope". It is on display in the Dias museum in Mosselbay - History of South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

The white population arrived on the South African scene long after the black people. Bartolomeu Dias, a Portuguese seafarer, was the first European to sail around the southern point of Africa in 1486. He named it "The Cape of Good Hope" ("Cabo de Boa Esperanca"). Nine years were to pass before Vasco da Gama, another Portuguese seafarer, attempted a voyage around the southern point of Africa. Although the Portuguese were the first to travel around the Cape, they were not seriously interested in southern Africa.

more about the early history of the The Cape of Good Hope >>>

Early European settlers,...

The first Europeans to settle in South Africa were the Dutch seafarer Jan van Riebeeck and his crew, who arrived with their three ships in Table Bay in 1652. The local inhabitants in the Cape at that time were the Khoisan people - History of South Africa

On 6 April 1652, the Dutch seafarer Jan van Riebeeck arrived in Table Bay with his three ships. His mission was to establish a supply station on behalf of the Dutch East India Company ( V.O.C.). Originally, the V.O.C. did not intend to establish a full-fledged colony at the Cape, but it committed itself when it gave nine Company servants their freedom in 1657 to establish private farms in the Rondebosch area below the eastern slopes of Table Mountain.

more about the early European Settlers and the Cape colony >>>

The Slaves,...

Cape Malay minstrels, many of them descendents of the Malay slaves imported by Jan van Riebeeck in 1658, having their annual street carnival with their own unique Malay music and singing - History of South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

The importation of slaves greatly enlarged the population of the Cape. Slaves were imported from other parts of Africa, Madagascar, India and East Asia. They were mainly used as labourers and servants but many of them were skilled carpenters and bricklayers. Their skills played an invaluable role in speeding up the progress and development of the Cape. The intermingling between the slaves and the European population marked the beginning of the coloured community un the cape.

more about the slaves in South Africa’s Cape colony Cape colony >>>

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The French Huguenots,...

The Huguenot monument and museum in Franschhoek, in commemoration of the settlement of the French Huguenot refugees in the Cape colony in 1689
copyright © South African tourism
In 1689, some 180 Huguenot refugees were brought to the Cape after Louis XIV had banned Calvinism in France. They settled mainly in what was then known as the "Olifantshoek vallei" (elephant corner valley), known today as Franschhoek and Franschhoek valley. People from Germany, Scandinavia, Flanders and Switzerland also contributed to the diverse population of the Cape. With their love and knowledge of wine making, the French settlers stood at the cradle of South Africa’s famous wine making culture of today.

more about the French Huguenots in South Africa >>>

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Colonization of the Cape,...

Entrance to the Castle of Good Hope, the oldest stone building in South Africa. The fort was built by the Dutch colonists over the period 1666 to 1679, to protect the Colony against invasion from across the sea - History of South Africa
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After the French revolution, the newly founded Republic of France conquered the Netherlands in 1795. The Netherlands became known as the Batavian republic and the ruler of the Netherlands, Prince William of Orange, had to flee to England. In England, the prince asked the British to prevent France from taking possession of the Dutch colonies. Britain obliged and, as a result, became involved with the Cape. Not all the inhabitants of the Cape however were in favour of British occupation.

more about the colonial history of south Africa >>>

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1820 Settlers,...

One of the beautiful beaches of Algoa bay, known as Summerstrand beach at Port Elizabeth with the Boardwalk and casino in the background - History of South Africa
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Following the Napoleonic wars, Britain was experiencing a serious unemployment problem and Lord Somerset was therefore keen to entice British immigrants to the Cape. He also thought that they would help to maintain peace on the border between the Fish and Sundays Rivers. In 1819, the British government decided to send emigrants to the Cape. Only 4000 of the 90,000 applications were approved. The first settlers arrived in Table Bay on 17 March 1820. From there they were sent to Algoa Bay, today known as Port Elizabeth.

more about the 1820 Settlers in south Africa >>>

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Mfecane / Difaqane (Total War),...

Young Zulus performing a traditional Zulu warrior dance at the Shakaland museum in Zulu land - History of South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

One of the most significant historical occurrences in the early history of South Africa was the Mfecane. The term Mfecane in the Nguni language means "destroyed in total war". In Sotho it is Difaqane, meaning "hammering" or "forced migration / removal". The great Zulu and Sotho tribes fought each other for space and domination throughout Southern Africa, killing and displacing hundreds of thousands of people across the sub-continent. A key figure in this all-out battle among the African tribes was the great Zulu king Shaka.

more about the rise of the Zulu nation in south Africa >>>

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The Great Trek,...

Historical scene at the Voortrekker Monument museum in Pretoria, depicting the "Laager" (encampment) of a Voortrekker family on their journey into the interior of South Africa - History of South Africa
copyright ©South African tourism

Over a time span of three years starting in 1835, some 12,000 Voortrekkers (pioneers) left the Cape Colony and trekked (moved) into the interior by ox wagon. In time, these Voortrekkers started to build a unique identity and started calling themselves Afrikaners. They also developed a hybrid language, Afrikaans, which stemmed from high Dutch but incorporated strong French, Malay, German and Black influences. The Afrikaans-speaking descendants of these people would later simply be called “Boere” (boers or farmers).

more about the Great Trek in south Africa >>>

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Voortrekker / Zulu war,...

The Blood River monument, a replica of the fortified "Laager" (encampment) of Andries Pretorius and his men in commemoration of the battle of Blood River in 1838 between the Voortrekkers and the Zulus - History of South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

Many of the Voortrekkers leaving the Cape colony, decided to move to the Natal region, on the eastern coast of South Africa. At that time Natal was largely inhabited by the Zulus, who had developed into one of the strongest and most powerful black nations of Africa. So the land in natal was not for the taking. Having left the Cape on March 1837, Voortrekker leader Piet Retief and his party of about 400 Voortrekkers opted for Natal as their destination. They initiated negotiations with reigning Zulu king Dingane, to obtain land.

more about the Voortrekker-Zulu war and the Battle of Blood River >>>

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Discovery of Gold and Diamonds,...

The Big Hole of Kimberley, place of the biggest diamond rush the world has ever seen. 50,000 miners dug a hole of around 300 x 200 meters and close to 1100 meters deep - History of South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

With the discovery of diamonds and gold in the 19th century, urbanisation started in earnest in South Africa. People came from all over the world to stake their claims in the diamond fields. New towns were established to accommodate the huge influx of people. When gold was discovered in the Transvaal (Pilgrim’s rest, Barberton and the Witwatersrand), a similar process took place. Mining magnates such as Cecil John Rhodes and Barney Barnato, who both had interests in the diamond industry, also became involved in the mining of gold.

more about the discovery of Diamonds and Gold in South Africa >>>

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Anglo / Zulu war,...

The battlefield at Isandhlwana hill where a British force of some 1700 men armed with guns and canon, were virtually wiped out by more then 20,000 spear-wielding Zulu warriors - History of South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

In the second half of the 1800’s Great Britain saw itself faced with two colonies, two independent "Boer" republics and several independent African territories including a very powerful Zulu Kingdom, with little control over any of them. As part of the British efforts to consolidate their power, the British High Commissioner for South Africa requested Zulu king Cetshwayo to virtually disarm his entire army. The Zulu's had no such inclination what so ever and the Anglo / Zulu war as it is known today was under way.

more about the Anglo-Zulu war in South Africa >>>

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Anglo / Boer wars,...

Melrose House in Pretoria, where the peace treaty of Vereniging was signed on the 31st of May 1902, ending the second Anglo-Boer war - History of South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

With the discovery of diamonds and gold the British realized that there was great wealth for the taking outside the Cape Colony. In 1877 they annexed the region where the “voortrekker boers” had founded their "Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek" (South African Republic, also called The Republic of Transvaal), 25 years before. The boers were infuriated and on 16 December 1880 they declared themselves independent from Great Britain and shots were fired by Transvaal boers at Potchefstroom, marking the start of the first Anglo / Boer war.

Ancient South Africa, the Cradle of Human kind

Ancient South Africa has left us a rich past from prehistoric cultures who made its mountains and plains their home.

Their fossilised remains were found in the Sterkfontein caves, now renamed the cradle of humankind, just north of Johannesburg.

The country is in fact an extraordinary rich store of fossil evidence of the evolutionary history of humans, going back several million years. From a Christian point of view however, the evolution theory is still strongly debated.

Believed to be 2,5 million years old, this fossilized scull known today as Mrs. Ples, was found in the Sterkfontein caves, at the "Cradle of Human kind" just north of Johannesburg - ancient South Africa
copyright © Maropeng visitors centre

In 1924 near the village of Taung in the North West a labourer in a limestone quarry found a small fossilized human-like scull. His find was sent to professor Raymond Dart, head of the anatomy department of the University of the Witwatersrand for further examination. He realised that the scull was something out of the ordinary.

He discovered that next to ape-like features, the scull also showed features that were distinctly human. The teeth showed that the scull was that of an approximately three year old child. But most significantly, he found that the child had been able to stand and move on two legs.

The interior of the Kromdraai caves, another treasure chest of hominid fossils, situated nearby the Sterkfontein caves in the “Cradle of Human Kind” region - ancient South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

Professor Dart named what is known as the "Taung child": Australopithecus Africanus, meaning “southern ape of Africa”, although he was convinced that the "Taung child" belonged to the very first ancestors of human kind.

In 1947 Dr. Robert Broom discovered the almost perfectly preserved fossilized scull of an adult Australopithecus Africanus, known today as Mrs. Ples. This 2,5 million years old scull was found in the Sterkfontein caves, in the area known as the “Cradle of Human kind” just north of Johannesburg.

The real fossilized remains of Mrs Ples at the Maropeng visitors centre and an artists impression of how she could have looked like - ancient South Africa
copyright © Maropeng visitors centre

In more recent times from 1994, Dr. Ron Clarke, Stephen Motsumi and Nkwane Molefe have painstakingly excavated the world famous fossil “Little Foot”, also belonging to the species Australopithecus. This virtually complete skeleton was found at the Sterkfontein cave area, lying in the very spot where the creature died, between 3 and 3,5 million years ago.

The earliest ancestors of human kind are known as Australopithecines, commonly known as ape-men and believed to have evolved some 5 million years ago. These creatures had an ape-like appearance with human characteristics like standing and moving on two legs, while retaining their climbing ability. This gave them a crucial advantage in the struggle for survival, enabling them to live in both forested areas and on the open savannahs.

One of the cave entrances of the Sterkfontein cave system at the “Cradle of Human kind” - ancient South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

The following development was the emergence of "Homo habilis", approximately 2 million years ago. Called "handy man", Homo habilis is believed to have been able to make and use tools and to communicate in a rudimentary language. As the "father of culture" he is one of the true early ancestors of today's Homo sapiens.

In 1949 it was again Dr. Robert Broom who found fragments of early hominid fossils at Swartkrans, also part of the region called "The Cradle of Human kind", this time associated with stone tools. Later these remains were classified as belonging to "Homo habilis".

The interior of the Sterkfontein caves, known today as the "Cradle of Human Kind" near Krugersdorp, is a rich store of fossil evidence of the evolutionary history of humans - ancient South Africa
copyright © South African tourism

The same year, also at Swartkrans, Dr. broom and his co-worker T J Robinson found fossils of another new early hominid, called "Homo erectus", the immediate ancestor of early "Homo sapiens". They evolved about one million years ago and were able to make large stone tools, hand axes and cleavers. In addition "Homo erectus" mastered the art of making fire and is believed to be the first hominid to leave Africa, colonizing the entire "Old World".

Eventually "Homo sapiens" evolved onto the scene some 150,000 years ago. It is in South Africa that the world's oldest remains of our own species, Homo sapiens, have been found, some 60,000 years before their arrival in Europe and Asia.

Front view of the Tumulus Building of the Maropeng visitors' centre at the Cradle of Human kind, designed to look like an ancient burial mound. Named Maropeng in the Setswana language, ("the place where we once lived"), the centre is designed to help tourists, schoolchildren and others explore the rich fossil heritage of the area. - ancient South Africa
copyright © Maropeng visitors centre

In recent years South Africa has again yielded discoveries of human remains which have caught the attention of the world. At the Klasies river caves along the Eastern cape coast and the Border cave in KwaZulu-Natal, human remains with anatomically modern features have been found, dating back well over 100,000 years.

The Sterkfontein area in South Africa where most of the discoveries of early hominid fossils were made, is one of the world's most productive and important palaeo-anthropological sites. Known today as the "Cradle of Human kind", the 47,000 hectare Sterkfontein valley lies between nondescript hills, covered with scattered shrubs and trees about 40 km north west of Johannesburg.


Third Intermediate Period 1069- 715BC

This period involved 4 dynasties from the twenty-first to the twenty-fourth.

The era opens the final millennium of ancient Egypt’s history. Apart from a brief time of unified rule by the Theban priest-king Pinudjem I, it was marked by divisions within, with pharaohs in control only of Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt ruled by hereditary chief priests at Thebe.

Thebes had no foreign policy and the pharaohs at Memphis were incapable of firm rule. The international standing of Egypt sank to a low level until the assumption of power by Shoshenq I and the commencement of the twenty-second, or Libyan Dynasty. The Libyans ruled for a century and a half, with their base in the north, until a branch set up a separate kingdom at Thebes, the twenty-third Dynasty, whose succession of five kings co-existed with the parents branch until uprising of Tefnakht at Sais, and the invasion of the Nubians, which brought the era to an end.

Twenty- First Dynasty 1069- 945BC

The result of the feeble rule of the last Ramessids was a lapse into the division of the two lands. The first king was Smendes (ruled 1069- 1043BC), a vizier of Lower Egypt, who set up his capital in the Delta city of Tanis. Upper Egypt was ruled from Thebes, where Herihor, who combined the offices of high priest of Amun and vizier of Upper Egypt, was placed as effective king.

Unity was briefly restored when his grandson Pinudjem I, who at first reigned as high priest, formally assumed the kingship and ruled at Tanis (1054-1042BC).

In his reign, the royal mummies that had been violated and robbed in the Valley of the Kings were rewrapped and reentered in a secret place behind the temple of Hatshepsut, where they were found in modern days. After his death the power fluctuated between Tanis and Thebe sometimes under one king, sometimes under a combination of a king in the north and a high priest in the south. The priests were the real rulers, using the powers of Amun-Ra to deal with all matters.
Twenty- second and third Dynasties (945- 715BC)

The first king was Shoshenq, a Libyan by descent. He was the leader of the Libyan community that had first come to Egypt partly as slave-prisoners from the armies defeated by Rameses III, partly as mercenaries hired by the Egyptians. His power centre was Herakleopolis, in Middle Egypt, between Thebes and the Delta, and he found it easy to extend his power northwards, eventually making his capital at Bubastis.

Under the Libyans, kingship was a military dictatorship, and the Egyptian peasantry went about their daily work just as they had done under the rule of Hyksos. Shoshenq became wealthy by a raid on the kingdom of Judah in which he sacked the temple at Jerusalem and departed with the riches of Solomon.

The descendants of Shoshenq reigned undisturbed until 825BC, when another branch set up the Twenty-Third Dynasty, based at Thebes. These riled in parallel, but the division was a sign of weakness in the structure, and local governors once again claimed hereditary and independent power.

Twenty-Fourth Dynasty (727-715BC)

This was a brief period of two kings ruling. Its founder was Tefnakht, the local prince or governor of the Delta city of Sais, who made himself master of the Delta, taking Bubastis and Tanis, and then moved on Upper Egypt, capturing Hermopolis and Memphis, and laying siege to Herakleoppolis, when the Nubian invasion brought his venture to sudden halt.

On the departure of the Nubians, he regained control of Lower Egypt and was succeeded by his son, Bocchoris, who ruled well. He was favorably remembered, but his rule ended with the return of the Nubians, who are reputed to have captured him and burned him alive.

Late Period 747-333BC

In this era, a great part was ruled by the Nubians. Then came the Saites which were a mere puppets for the Assyrians. However, between these dynasties Egypt had a degree of stability and prosperity, together with a firm central rule and a ‘good Nile’. Thus Egypt could make a rapid recovery from any attack because of her population and potential for agricultural wealth. The latter part of this era was marked by two periods of Persian conquests until Alexander destructed the
Twenty-Fifth Dynasty 747- 656BC

This is also known as the Nubian Dynasty. Under the Libyan kings, Nubia had ceased to be an Egyptian possession or dependency. When priest-kings of Thebes were attacked by the Libyans, many of the priesthood took refuge in Nubia. The temple at Napata became a sort of Thebes in exile. For two centuries of Libyan domination the tradition of the Amun-Ra cult was maintained. Egyptian language stayed the official language of the government and the Nubians took pride that they were still Egyptians.


The Nubian king, PIANKHY, launched an invasion of Egypt from the south, transporting his army down the Nile in a huge flotilla of boats. They encountered Tefnakht, the local prince or governor of SAIS, at Thebes and defeated him there, then fought their way on down-river, taking Hermopolis, Memphis and finally overrunning the Delta. The Egyptians made submission to Piankhy, and Tefnakht on his surrender was treated honorably by the Nubian king. Then, his conquest complete, Piankhy and his army abandoned Egypt and returned up the Nile to their distant capital, No attempt was made to leave an administration. The last king of the Libyan Dynasty, Osorkon, reoccupied Thebes and set up his own rule again.

Tefnakht resumed his control of Memphis and the Delta.

Piankhy’s son and successor, Shabaka (ruled 716-702BC), invaded Egypt, brought the Libyan Dynasty and the twenty-fourth dynasty to an end, and set up his capital at Thebes. During his reign temples were renovated throughout the country. He made a treaty with the Assyrians, avoiding war on that front.

His successor was Shabitku (ruled 702-690BC), during whose reign confrontation with the Assyria could not be avoided, and an alliance was made with the kingdom of Judah. His uncle, Taharqa, led an army into Palestine, where Sennacherib, king of Assyria, was besieging Jerusalem. At this time the Assyrians were struck by a mysterious plague, and war was again delayed.

In 690BC, Taharqa had Shabitku murdered and assumed the throne himself. He moved his capital to Tanis, in the eastern Delta, from which forward position he hoped to mount an empire-building campaign into Near east. Taharqa was an efficient administrator and planner. Military governors were installed at Thebes and Napata.

In 671BC the Assyrian king Esarhaddon finally launched a direct attack on Egypt. Whilst Taharqa awaited him in the Delta, the Assyrian marched directly on Memphis, capturing the city and cutting the Egyptians’ lines of communication. Taharqa’s family was captured by the Assyrians and the Pharaoh himself fled back to Nubia.

Esarhaddon, by now had captured a great deal of the Middle East, and did not remain in Egypt. Thus, Taharqa returned and retook Memphis. His possession was only for a few years before Esarhaddon’s successor, Assurbanipal, came with a vast force and captured Memphis and Thebes. Taharqa died in 664BC and was followed by Tantamani (ruled 664-656BC).

He invaded Egypt from Napata in order to drive out the Assyrians, but Assurbanipal forced him back into Nubia. The Nubian Dynasty was at an end.

Twenty-Sixth Dynasty 672-525BC

The first king was Necho I (ruled 672- 664BC), a descendant of the king Tefnakht. As a Delta lord, he had collaborated with Sennacherib and Assurbanipal and had been rewarded with gold and honors. His capital was SAIS, and this dynasty is referred to as the SAITE Dynasty. His son Psammetichus I, shook off the dominion of the Assyrians and re-established an independent Egypt. He made careful moves in order to establish his own control in Upper Egypt, whose spiritual leader, the chief priestess of Amun was a daughter of the great Piankhy. The Egyptians started to revive their old ways and religion.

NECHO II (ruled 610-595BC), the son of Psammetichus, pursued an ambitious foreign policy. He made allies with the Assyrians against the Babylonians and destroyed the army of Judah and marched into Syria.

Necho’s successor PsammetichusII (ruled 595-589BC), directed his attention southwards, sending an expedition as far as the second cataract. His successor, Apries (ruled 589-570), made war on the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon, perhaps more in the pursuit of trading disputes. Apries was overthrown by his own general, Amasis (ruled 570- 526BC), who held of a Babylonian attack and kept the state in prosperity.

Later, he made alliances with the Babylonians as there was a great rise of danger from Persia. Under Psammetichus III, who had just reigned (526-525BC), the Persians guided across Sinai by the Bedouins and assisted by the treachery of Greek mercenaries, utterly defeated the Egyptians at Pelusium. Psammetichus killed himself at that point.
Twenty Seventh Dynasty 525-404BC

This Dynasty was under the Persian Occupation. As Egypt was the richest part of their new empire, the Persian monarchs took a considerable interest in its affairs and government. They assumed the titles and style of the Pharaohs and did not attempt to alter the institutions and customs of the country.

Cambyses (ruled 525-522BC) was regarded as a founder. He invaded Nubia in a catastrophic campaign in which his entire army had perished. However he built some temples although as was said him being a savage.

His successor, Darius I (ruled 522-486BC) was opposed by the Egyptians and had to come in person to put down the uprising. He introduced a number of reforms, and coins were made. He built a temple in the oasis of el-Kharga.

The continuous struggle between the Greeks and the Persians encouraged the Egyptians to rebel and form more efforts at resistance. However, there were times when the Persians took control until a Saite lord, succeeded in expelling the Persians.

Twenty- Eighth Dynasty 404-399BC

This Dynasty consisted of the very short reign of king Amyrtaeus, A lord of Sais in the Delta. He succeeded in driving out the residual Persian garrison in 404BC.

Twenty-Ninth and Thirtieth Dynasties 399- 343BC

The last two dynasties in Late Period, where there was a succession of shadowy kings that could not grasp the affairs of the state. Egypt power and fame started to decline with many generals and captains making their own fortunes and power.

It was in the Thirtieth Dynasty that king NECTANEBO I, made a valiant effort to restore the form of the Saite kingdom and drove away Greek mercenaries. He started in reviving the country with many buildings and arts with restorations of the temple at Karnak and that of Isis at Philae. He stopped another attack of the Persians.

His son, Tachos (ruled 362- 360BC), renewed alliance with the Greeks and invaded Syria. To finance his expedition , he levied heavy taxes and suffered consequent unpopularity. He was abandoned in mid-campaign by his grandson Nectanebo II who returned back to Egypt leaving Tachos to surrender to the Persians.

However, his reign was short although many buildings were built in that time. The Persians returned again more fiercely and he tried to defend his country but could not and later fled south and kept up an appearance of rule in exile.

Macedonian Dynasty 332-304BC

The dynasty that followed the Thirtieth Dynasty, with which the numbering system ceased, and the second Persian occupation. The Persian governor of Egypt resigned his power to Alexander the Great, with the consent of the people.

The Macedonians, Alexander himself (ruled 333-323BC),Philip Arrhidaeus (323-316BC), Alexander IV (316-304BC), all preserved the forms of Egyptian life and society. In the peace that followed Alexander’s conquest , the priesthood kept or renewed its privileges, and temple reconstruction and temple-building went on at a rapid pace.

Ptolemaic Period 304-30BC

This period is mostly studied in Greek and Roman history. The Ptolemies assumed the dignities and titles of the pharaohs, accepted their status as semi-divine and took up such Egyptian traditions. They restored many temples and built others. But throughout the country the Greeks formed a kind of upper class, controlling official posts to the exclusion of Egyptians, who resented and despised the Greeks.

During this period the indigenous peasant population, performing their daily tasks were increasingly exploited and impoverished as Greek merchants and magnates took control of the products.

The Ptolemies could not regenerate Egypt’s greatness, as had been done so many times in the past.

In 30 BC, the shadow of the kingdom came to an end with the suicide of Cleopatra, last of the Ptolemies to reign in Egypt.

Friday, October 10, 2008


AFRICAN FRACTALS is an introduction to fractal geometry, its various expressions in African cultures, and an exploration of the implications of these designs for cultural theory, math education, and African development.
Drawing on interviews with African designers, artists, and scientists, Ron Eglash investigates fractals in African architecture, traditional hairstyling, textiles, sculpture, painting, carving, metalwork, religion, games, practical craft, quantitative techniques, and symbolic systems.

He also examines the political and social implications of the existence of African fractal geometry. His book makes a unique contribution to the study of mathematics, African culture, anthropology, and computer simulations.

RELATED WEB SITES Ron Eglash is a Senior Lecturer in Comparative Studies at Ohio State University.

Fractals Provide Unusual Theme In Much African Culture And Art
ScienceDaily (July 27, 1999) — COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In everything from braided hairstyles to the design of housing settlements, the geometric structures known as fractals permeate African culture.

See also:
Computers & Math
Computer Modeling
Computer Science
Fun & Learning
Chaos theory
In a new book, an Ohio State University scholar examines the unlikely pairing of this mathematical concept and the culture and art of Africa.

"While fractal geometry is often used in high-tech science, its patterns are surprisingly common in traditional African designs," said Ron Eglash, senior lecturer in comparative studies in the humanities. Eglash is author of African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design (Rutgers University Press, 1999).

Eglash said his work suggests that African mathematics is more complex than previously thought. He also says using African fractals in U.S. classrooms may boost interest in math among students, particularly African Americans. He has developed a Web page to help teachers use fractal geometry in the classroom. (

Fractals are geometric patterns that repeat on ever-shrinking scales. Many natural objects, like ferns, tree branches, and lung bronchial systems are shaped like fractals. Fractals can also be seen in many of the swirling patterns produced by computer graphics, and have become an important new tool for modeling in biology, geology, and other natural sciences.

In African Fractals, Eglash discusses fractal patterns that appear in widespread components of indigenous African culture, from braided hairstyles and kente cloth to counting systems and the design of homes and settlements.

Other researchers have studied bits and pieces of African mathematics in areas such as art, architecture, and religious practices, but Eglash said this is the first attempt to describe the common theme of fractal geometry among several different African cultures.

"There is no singular 'reason' why Africans use fractals, any more than a singular reason why Americans like rock music," Eglash noted in his book. "Such enormous cultural practices just cover too much social terrain."

He began this research in the 1980s when he noticed the striking fractal patterns in aerial photos of African settlements: circles of circular houses, rectangles inside rectangles, and streets branching like trees. Eglash confirmed his visual intuition by calculating the geometry of the arrangements in the photos -- they were indeed fractal.

At first he thought that only unconscious social dynamics were responsible. Later, however, he received a Fulbright grant for field work in west and central Africa, and found during his travels that fractals were a deliberate part of many African cultures' artistic expressions and counting systems, too.

In one chapter, Eglash described an ivory hatpin from the Democratic Republic of the Congo that is decorated with carvings of faces. The faces alternate direction and are arranged in rows that shrink progressively toward the end of the pin. Eglash determined that the design matches a fractal-like sequence of squares where the length of the line that bisects one square determines the length of the side of the following square.

In another chapter, he illustrated how divination priests of the Bamana people in Dakar, Senegal, calculate fortunes using a recursively generated binary code. Eglash explained that diviners use base-two arithmetic, just like the ones and zeros in digital circuits, and bring each output of the arithmetic procedure back in as the next input. This produces a string of symbols that the priests then interpret as the client's fortune. This technique is similar to a kind of random number generation in computing, Eglash said, and the Bamana's technique can produce over 65,000 numbers before the sequence repeats.

While fractals can be found in cultures on other continents -- Celtic knots are one example -- fractals are particularly prevalent in Africa.

Eglash pointed out that this does not mean African mathematics is more complex than Western mathematics, or that African cultures are "closer to nature" because fractals are present in nature -- these sweeping conclusions are just plain incorrect, he said.

"Creating a body of mathematics is about intellectual labor, not some kind of transcendental revelation. There are plenty of important components of European fractal geometry that are missing from the African version," Eglash said.

On the other hand, Eglash maintained, his work does show that African mathematics is much more complex than previously thought.

Knowing fractal geometry enables scientists to model complex processes in biology, chemistry, and geography on computer. It also helps generate realistic computer images of natural features such as rugged terrain or tangled tree branches. Still, most schools teach classical geometry -- the study of simple shapes like circles or squares -- not fractal geometry, Eglash said.

In studies of African-American students' poor math performance, researchers have suggested that computer-based teaching methods or the presentation of real-world math applications might encourage students to learn more. According to Eglash, the use of African fractals in math classes could combine both solutions.

Eglash's Web page contains links for obtaining both commercial products related to African fractals as well as free materials. For example, he has just written a program that allows students who visit the page to interact with a computer simulation of the patterns in cornrow hairstyles.

Even without computers, Eglash said, students can still learn about Fractals using common school supplies. In his book he explained how to fold a piece of paper to demonstrate the geometry of a traditional African tie-dye method, for example.

The Web page also has some materials that teachers can print out and use with their students. One lesson shows how students can derive fractal equations from their own photos of cornrow braid patterns using a protractor and some simple calculations.

Eglash cautioned that African-American students won't automatically be interested in fractals simply because they appear in African designs. He suggests that the most powerful potential of African fractal geometry comes from its opposition to biological determinism -- the assumption that math ability is genetically determined.

"Just think how often students are told by parents, 'Oh, don't worry about your bad scores, I was no good at math either.'" Such myths have their most devastating impact on minority children, Eglash said, but he makes a distinction between this kind of argument and more simplistic models of identity or self-esteem.

For instance, when Eglash introduced fractal geometry to a class of 12-year-old African-American students at a 1996 urban youth conference, the students used traditional African fractals only as inspiration for creating new designs of their own.

"The best thing we can do is give students the tools for constructing their own identities -- powerful new tools like African fractals -- and then just get out of the way," Eglash said.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bastet Poetry


When Nile was young; when Britain´s savage hordes
Woad-stained, lurked beastlike in their woods and caves,
Whilst daily battling with the wolf and bear,
And mighty Urus: then, wast Thou divine!
´Fore Thee a priesthood, wise in ancient lore
Spread offerings rich an drare, and humbly bowed,
Whilst Temple girls paced in the votive dance,
With Utchat-Amulet of gold adorned,
Thou didst recline on Pharaoh´s golden throne;
And when Thy time upon this earth was o´er
- And mighty Pharaoh, too, must pass away,
Ptah-Seker-Asar having called ye hence -
Then cunning workmen wrapped Thy slender form
In choicest swaddling-cloths, with spices rare,
And, jewel-decked, Thou shareds´t the Pharaoh´s tomb.
Egypt fell

On evil days: the Roman Eagles waved
Their threatening pinions o´er Nile´s yellow sand -
´Gainst Thee the Roman raised an impious hand -
Not yet, not yet, was Egypt´s spirit dead!
"The Roman slew a cat!" - Athirst for blood -
Forgotten dread of Rome - the swarthy mob
Poured, howling vengeance, from each alley-way -
And the proud Roman knew the taste of death -
For he had slain a cat! ... Far, far away
Are now those Pagan days! O´er all our heads
Civilisation´s blessings freely pour;
O, Bast, look downward through the centuries,
And see Thy children! Timorous through the streets
Some crouch, the sport of every ruffian lad;
Cold-blooded tortures wrench their tender limbs
In name of Science: others meet their end
Choking and struggling in the deadly gas,
Whilst white-clad savants, smiling, book their throues,
And khaki soldiers, shuddering, stand aghast -
Yet scarce a soul lifts a protesting voice!

We are not pagans, as those sons of Nile!
Let uns give thanks we are not such as they!

(H.C. Brooke: "Lines to an Abyssinian Cat", 1925)


Mau Bast! Mau Bast! A Basti, per em setat,
erta-na chu em asui neter sentra semu hena
net'emmit, hetep ab em asui tau heqt.

Hail Bast! Hail Bast! Hail Bast,
coming forth from the secret place,
may there be given to me splendor
in the place of incense, herbs,
and love-joys, peace of heart in the
place of bread and beer.

From the Bastet Shrine follow the Link:

Return to Bastet Main Page

Bastet: "Devouring Lady" (from bas, to devour, with feminine ending)

Bast is first and foremost a protectress; specifically of the royal house and the Two Lands. Later she got the life-preserving goddess of joy and protector of women. However, Bast's original role did not include the "cat as sex symbol" archetype. Worshiped in the Delta city of Bubastis and usually depicted as a cat or in human form with the head of a cat, Bast was seen as a protector of cats and those who cared for them.

You are about to enter the shrine of the ancient Egyptian goddess Bastet. (Entrance at the bottom of this page)


Other Names and Titles Her Role
The Cat in Egypt Her Signs and Symbols
Bast Poetry Offerings
And now enter her shrine Cult Centers

Other Names and Titles

Bastet, Bast, Bastis, "the Tearer"

Bubastis Greek version,

Pacht, Pasht Pasch

Ubast, Ubasti

Ba en Aset : the soul of Aset (Isis)

Other titles Bast was given with time were "Lady of the East", "the Light
Bearer", "Lady of Truth" and "Goddess of the Birth Chamber".

The vase is a bas vase, and the loaf represents the sound /t/. The word Bast is made up of the word "bas" and the Egyptian suffix "-t", and is pronounced "baohst" in the sense that there is a long "a" which has a bit of an o-sound to it. Bastet, another form of her name would then be the feminine of Bast, which is already feminine! This could be due to the fact that a vase and two loaves were often given to her as an offering. Change them to hieroglyphics and it would be "bas" + "t" + "t". Result... Bastet! That is not the preferred name, but since it is widely used in books it deserved an explanation.

Relations in the Egyptian Pantheon

Although she can be traced back as far as 3000 B.C., it was not until later times that Bast was acknowledged as sister to Horus and the daughter of Isis and Osiris. She does not appear in the original Osirian myth.
Several theories have arisen regarding the origin of Bast. We have already noted how she was considered by some authorities to have been the daughter of Ra, but another school of thought insists that her oldest form was as a lioness-headed Goddess named Tefnut, Horus being another (or later?) version of Tefnut's twin, Shu the Sky God. It is on account of this portrayal in lioness form that she no doubt became confused with Sekhmet, who is desingated as the warrior aspect of Hathor. Again, there are those who consider Sekhmet and Bast to be one and the same Deity with Bast representing the more domesticated aspect of the cat family, while others do not see Bast as an entity in her own right at all, but as the personalized anima (female aspect) of Horus.

Bast was said to be the daughter of Ra himself and legend has it that she defended her aging parent against his only real enemy, the serpent Apep, a representation, no doubt, of the eternal force of evil or darkness.

Shame on them:
Cemeteries of mummified felines have been unearthed
by archaeologists and in the 19. cen. bastards of English
merchants sold thousands of those mummies as fertilizer.

The Cat in Egypt
The domestic cat became highly regarded by Egyptian civilization as an animal of awe and wonder. Originating between five and six thousand years ago, domesticated cats came to be praised for their excellent mouse hunting abilities. The Egyptians found cats fascinating, even regarding them as godlike. Because cats were deeply respected, they were often mummified and even buried in great tombs with their owners. Finally, the Egyptian battle of Pelusium illustrates, better than any other example, the importance Egyptians placed on cats.
Indeed, so highly regarded were cats in Egyptian society that it was considered a high crime to kill a cat, punishable by death. Families owning cats took care that they received attention and respect.

Deep respect was given to cats even after they died. Whenever a household cat died, the entire family would go through a period of grief, shaving their eyebrows to mark their sadness. Deceased cats were very often mummified and entombed with fine jewelry and treasures; a custom usually reserved for only the most powerful and wealthy. Mummified rats and mice have even been found in cats' tombs, signaling the Egyptian belief in a cat afterlife.

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Her Role

"The Tearer" is first and foremost a protectress; specifically of the royal house and the Two Lands.
According to Herodotus, Bast was a happy and benign Deity who brought good fortune, music, dance and joy to all. Statues of cats are commonly passed off as facsimiles of Bast, but this is incorrect. The cat was indeed her sacred animal and the people of the time tended to see the Goddess in every cat that walked past, but her original depiction was as a royal lady or priestess with a cat's head. In addition to the symbols already discussed, her other accoutrements were the Aegis, a kind of small protective apron, and a basket often containing kittens. Bast expressed the qualities of the lion or cat family, beauty of movement, agility, strength, caution, fidelity to the pride, etc., all of which could equally be interpreted at the spiritual level.

During the New Kingdom (1539-1075 BC), she became equated with Sekhmet, the lioness deity of war.

Into the Greek period, She would be equated with the virgin huntress Artemis and considered the protectress of children and pregnant mothers, musicians and a goddess of all sorts of excess, especially sexual excess.

Her Signs and Symbols

In addition to her major symbol, the sistrum, Bast was also allotted one of the Divine Eyes in the form of the Uraeus, or Serpent of Wisdom. According to the one version, she acquired this from her brother Horus, but the popular belief was that she was given charge of it by Ra for defending him against Apep. Although the Uraeus is considered to be the right Eye and the Horus Eye the left, there is obviously some confusion here as Eyes were depicted under the Horus banner facing either way, which rather suggests that the ancient Egyptians themselves were, perhaps, a little unsure as to which was which.
In art Images of Bast portray her with a sistrum (ancient Egyptian percussion instrument) in her right hand, and a small bag over her left arm, with figurines of kittens surrounding her feet. Such images are among the most naturalistic works of ancient Egyptian.

Symbols: cat, lioness, sistra (especially later periods), Udjat-eye.

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Thousands of small cat sculptures,
probably left with offerings to the Temple by devotees,
have also been recovered at Bubastis.

sweet liquids and foodstuffs

mint, catnip, honey, raw meat,

perfumes and ointments (especially in the "bas" jars which are a pun on Her name).

Never offered: cats (The penality for killing a cat was getting killed !)

Cult Centers

Temple honoring Bast were found at Bubastis, Memphis-Sakkara and Dendera.
The center of the worship of Bast was at the city of Bubastis and, thanks to Herodotus, we have some vivid and generous accounts of her nature and rites:

Chapter 60

[1] When the people are on their way to Bubastis, they go by river, a great number in every boat, men and women together. Some of the women make a noise with rattles, others play flutes all the way, while the rest of the women, and the men, sing and clap their hands.
[2] As they travel by river to Bubastis, whenever they come near any other town they bring their boat near the bank; then some of the women do as I have said, while some shout mockery of the women of the town; others dance, and others stand up and lift their skirts. They do this whenever they come alongside any riverside town.
[3] But when they have reached Bubastis, they make a festival with great sacrifices, and more wine is drunk at this feast than in the whole year besides. It is customary for men and women (but not children) to assemble there to the number of seven hundred thousand, as the people of the place say.

Chapter 67

[1] Dead cats are taken away to sacred buildings in the town of Bubastis, where they are embalmed and buried

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Short Information on Bastet

Bast ( Bastet, Bastis, Bubastis, Pacht, Ubast) is a name well-known in the West.

She was responsible for Joy, Music, and Dancing, also Health and Healing.
She also protected humans against contagious diseases and evil spirits.

Her cult can be traced back to about 3200 BC,
and she became a national deity when Bubastis became the capital of Egypt in about 950 BC.

Her origin is said to be in this city Bubastis,
although her association with the lion-goddess Sekhmet makes it likely that her cult was also celebrated at Memphis.
Temple honoring Bast were found at Bubastis, Memphis-Sakkara and Dendera.

Cats, as manifestations of Deity, were sacred; they protected the grain from mice and rats.
Killing a cat was punished with death.
Bast is the daughter and/or wife of Ra, the God of the Sun.

The Benu (Bennu)

by Jefferson Monet

Related to the verb weben (wbn), meaning "to rise", "rise in brilliance" or "shine" as well as ben-ben, the up thrust sacred stone of Heliopolis, benu (bennu) describes a bird that was an important avian deity. Originally of solar associations, the Benu bird came to be connected with three important gods consisting of Atum, Re and Osiris.
As an aspect of Atum, the Benu bird was said to have flown over the waters of Nun before the original creation. According to this tradition, the bird came to rest on a rock from which its cry broke the primeval silence and this determined what was and what was not to be in the unfolding creation.

The Benu, according to ancient Egyptian mythology, was also believed to be the ba of Re, and by Egypt's Late Period, the hieroglyphic sign depicting the bird was used to write the name of this sun god. During the Middle Kingdom, it was said that the Benu of Re was the means by which Atum came into being in the Primeval water.

Like the sun god, the Benu's own birth is attributed to self generation. A mythological papyri of the 21st Dynasty provides a vignette of a heart-amulet and scarab beetle near to which stand the Benu, which is described as "the one who came into being by himself". It was believed to constantly rise renewed just like the sun, and was called the "lord of jubilees". The Benu Bird was said to each morning appear under the form of the rising sun, and was supposed to shine upon the world from the top of the famous persea tree in Heliopolis wherein he renewed himself.

This most likely led to the concept of its long life, later identifying it with the Greek phoenix which also renewed itself from a fiery death like the sun rising at dawn. In fact, it may have been the prototype for the phoenix, and there may well be an etymological connection between the two birds' names, though certainly there are distinct differences between myths surrounding them.

The bird was primarily associated with Atum and Re, but inevitably, its connection with rebirth came to associate it also with Osiris. In quoting from the Book of the Dead, Wallis Budge quotes a passage that reads, "I go in like the Hawk, and I come forth like the Bennu, the Morning Star (i.e., the planet Venus) of Ra; I am the Bennu which is in Heliopolis" and he goes on to say that the scholion on this passage expressly informs us that the Benu is Osiris. In essence, the Benu was considered a manifestation of the resurrected Osiris.

Herodotus tells us that the bird lived for 500 years before building a nest of aromatic boughs and spices which it then set ablaze and was consumed within the inferno. From the conflagration a new Benu bird arose who, after embalming its father's ashes, flew with them to Heliopolis where it deposited the ashes on the altar of the temple of Re. However, this tale told by Herodotus has no foundation in actual pharaonic mythology, where the bird never seems to permanently die. There were, in fact, a number of classical interpretations of the Benu bird which resulted in a misunderstanding of the Egyptian myth, perhaps because of the association with the Egyptian bird and the Greek phoenix.


At Heliopolis where the Benu bird first served as a symbol of solar deities, its iconography was probably fashioned from the yellow wagtail (Motacilla flava) which, according to the Pyramid Texts, represented Atum. However, by the New Kingdom, the bird was usually depicted as a gray heron (ardea cinera). At that point in Egyptian mythology, it was usually represented with long legs and beak, and a two-feather crest growing form the back of its head. Typically, the bird surmounted a stylized ben-ben stone as a symbol of the great solar god, but its association with Osiris meant that it was also sometimes represented in the sacred willow of that god. Sometimes, it was also depicted wearing the Atef Crown in its aspect as Osiris. In at least, one the sarcophagus of the Divine Adoratrice of Amun, Ankhnesneferibre, now in the British Museum, the Benu is imagined as perched on a sacred willow tree in the temple. However, the Benu could also be depicted in a hybrid form with the head of a man. Classically, the Benu bird is described as being as large as an eagle, with red and gold (solar or flame-colored) plumage.

The bird was frequently depicted in the vignettes of the netherworld books as well as on heart amulets and other objects, particularly those of a funerary nature. When carved on the back of a heart-scarab and buried with the dead, it is a symbol of anticipated rebirth in the netherworld and ensures that the heart does not fail in the examination of past deeds in the Hall of the Two Truths (judgment of the dead). In the Book of the Dead there are formulae to transform the deceased into the Great Benu. Here, the deceased says, "I am the Benu, the soul of Ra, and the guide of the gods in the Duat." In another verse, he says, "I am pure. My purity is the purity of the Great Benu which is in the city of Suten-henen."


Surprisingly little is known of the formal veneration of this important aspect of ancient Egyptian mythology. However, it is highly probable that it formed the basis for an important role in the cults near Heliopolis, where the cult was first established and probably most important. Wallis Budge tells us that "the sanctuary of the Bennu was the sanctuary of Ra and Osiris, and was called Het Benben, i.e., the 'House of the Obelisk'..." However, almost nothing else is known about the worship of the most ancient of Egyptian icons.


Title Author Date Publisher Reference Number
Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife, The Hornung, Erik 1999 Cornell University Press ISBN 0-8014-3515-3
Ancient Gods Speak, The: A Guide to Egyptian Religion Redford, Donald B. 2002 Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-515401-0
Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, The Wilkinson, Richard H. 2003 Thames & Hudson, LTD ISBN 0-500-05120-8
Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, A Hart, George 1986 Routledge ISBN 0-415-05909-7
Egyptian Book of the Dead, The (The Book of Going Forth by Day) Goelet, Dr. Ogen 1994 Chronicle Books ISBN 0-8118-0767-3
Gods and Myths of Ancient Egypt Armour, Robert A. 1986 American University in Cairo Press, The ISBN 977 424 669 1
Literature of Ancient Egypt, The (An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, and Poetry) Simpson, William Kelly 1972 Yale University Press ISBN 0-300-01711-1
Religion in Ancient Egypt: Gods, Myths, and Personal Practice Baines, John; Lesko, Leonard H.; Silverman, David P. 1991 Cornell University Press ISBN 0-8014-2550-6


Tuesday, October 7, 2008




Narmer, also known as Menes, became the first King of both Upper and Lower Kemet (Egypt). Born in Tini (a southern Nubian town later called Thinis by the Greeks), he ascended to the thrown by defeating Selk for reign over the Delta area and proceeded to demolish the barbarians (Caucasoids and Asian invaders) to unify Upper and Lower Kemet. The creator of hydraulic engineering, he was able to divert the flow of the Nile via a dam. He founded the Kemetian capital Men-ne-fer (Memphis) or "the good place." His reign established the lineage of rule and royal customs and traditions Kemetians maintained throughout their world domination.

Djoser Neterkhet

Djoser, a Pharoah of the 3rd Dynasty reign for 19 years. Before him, rulers were buried in small, low level tombs. Summoning the assistance of Grand Vizier and universal genius Imhotep, he designed the first pyramid ever built. His 135,000 sq. ft. burial complex help to establish his fame. In addition to phenomenal architectual accomplishments, Djoser also negotiated with and established trading with the Phoenicians and extended the southern border of his empire down to the First Cataract.

Akhet Khufu

Reigning for 24 years, Khufu's reign is most famous for his greatest achievement, The Great Pyramid. At 75,587 sq. ft. and over 48 stories high, it is the last Wonder of the World still standing. Merely accomplishing the task of creating such a monument exhibits his great skill: the administrative oversight of worker recruitment, engineering, obtaining the materials, and financial obligation was extraordinary. Not limited to pyramid building, Khufu also wrote "The Sacred Book" a religous text highly valued by the ancient Kemetians.


Perhaps the greatest thinker ever to walk the earth, Imhotep was a Grand Vizier, Grand Physician, Grand Architect, Chieft Priest, Astronomer, and Scribe. Details of his exploits are legendary: Historical reports suggest that he treated more than 200 diseases, Imhotep knew the circulation of blood (over 4,000 years before it was evident in Europe!!!), thousands of years before bacteria was discovered and before European and American doctors were aware, Imhotep knew to wash his hands before conducting surgery, he was about to approximate the circumference of the earth at 25,000 miles, he KNEW that the earth was round over 4,000 prior to Columbus, and, among other accomplishments, he design the first ever pyramid!!!Though Hippocratus is cited as "The Father of Medicine" it is Imhotep who deserves the title. This multi-genius was so incredible that he was deified (worshipped as a god) by both the Ancient Kemetians and the greeks.

User Maat Re Setep En Ra Ramessu Meriamen

Even before he was king, Ramses took on tremendous responsibilities. For his father, Sethy I, he was deputy in administrative, military, and religous affairs, all before the age of 25! When Ramses became ruler of Upper and Lower Kemet, he became known as "The Builder King," constructing massive monuments, tombs, and temples including: The Great Temple at Abu Simbel, the completion of Sethy I's limestone temple, the 54,000 sq. ft. Hypostlye Hall, the Ramesseum (his burial temple), a temple for his wife Nefertari, and many other monuments. Inaddition, Ramses was also known for his military genius, commanding an army at as young as 10 years of age!!!His military exploits helped expand the Kemetian borders all the way to the Euphrates River. During his 66 year reign, Ramsses The Great established libraries all throughout Kemet and colonies he established in Syria and Hittiteland. During his reign, Kemet was the WORLD leader in trade, the arts, science, math, military power, and education.

Nefertari Merimut

Queen Nefetari was the wife of the famous King Ramses II, though prior to their marriage she ruled with her father who was King of Nubia (south of Kemet). A woman of striking beauty, she immediately became Ramses II's great love. He placed her in very powerful and influential roles, serving in both governmental and religous affairs. After a treaty between Ramses II and Khattusilis III (a Hittite king) was signed, Nefertari's correspondence with the Hittite queen Pudukhepa made peace between the two nations a smoother transition. She was so beloved by Ramses that he erected a smaller temple at Abu Simbel in her honor, upon which he inscribed: "Ramses II, he has made a Temple, excavated in the Mountain of Eternal Workmanship...for the Chief Queen Nefertari, Beloved of Mut, in Nubia, forever and ever... Nefetari...for whose sake the very sun does shiine!..." (taken from Pharaoh Triumphant p.99)


Originally named Nefer Kheperu Ra Wah En Ra Amenhotep (Amenhotep IV), he is known as the great reformer. Upon obtaining the crown, Akenaton initially assumed the traditional role of king and chief religious figure. However, by his fifth year in power, he began to question traditional religion and art. He became the first known human to embrace the concept of monotheism (one god). He believed that there was only one god-Aton (represented by the sun disc) and that Aton was the spirit of radiating from the heat produce by the sun. Praising Aton, he changed his name to Akenaton (who is beneficial to Aton" to show his dedication and had Amen (the former primary god in Kemet) removed from as many scriptures and monuments as possible. He moved the capital to a new city he built named Akheaton. He began to embrace a practice of non-violence and non-aggression; which left Kemet very vulnerable. Unfortunately, because of his devotion to religious matters, the kingdom of Kemet lacked administrative guidance necessary to maintain its vast empire. By the end of his reign, Kemet has undergone a vast transformation

Neb Kheperu Ra Tutankhamen

Known now as "The Boy King," Tutankhamen ascended to the thrown at only 9 years old, the son-in-law of King Akenaten. After Akenaten's reign, Kemet was in a state of confusion and decline; his religious affairs leading to Kemet's temporary chaos. Under the guidance of wise advisors, "The Boy King" began the process of restoring order to Kemet. He changed his name from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamen, to represent his returned devotion to Amen, Kemet original primary god. He restored the name of Amen and reopened temples dedicated to him throughout Kemet. During his 10 year reign, he also fought battles to retain tax collections lost during his prodecessor Akenaten's reign. Tutankhamun was infamous when his tomb was discovered intact in 1922 A.D. Treasurers in his tomb amazed the world and made everyone aware of "The Boy King"


Nefertiti was the queen-consort of the controversial Kemetian Pharoah Akhetnaten. He was the first Pharaoh to establish worship of one god by directing exclusive worship of the sun god Aten, of which Nefertiti was a devout follower.Nefertiti was married to Akhenaten and she helped him initiate many religious, artistic, and cultural changes. She may have even exercised the priestly office, a position normally reserved for kings. Akhenaten's Own Words at Describing Nefertiti:
"The Hereditary Princess, Great of Favor,
Mistress of Happiness,
Gay with the two feathers, at hearing whose voice one rejoices,
Soothing the heart of the king at home, pleased at all that is said,
the Great and Beloved Wife of the King, Lady of the Two Lands,
Neferu-aten Nefertiti, living forever."
Nefertiti is displayed with a prominence that other Egyptian queens were not. Her name is enclosed in a royal cartouche, and there are in fact more statues and drawings of her than of Akhenaten. Some have even claimed that it was Nefertiti, not Akhenaten, who instigated the monotheistic religion of Aten. It is around the year 15 that Nefertiti mysteriously disappears from view. It could be that she died, although no indication of this exists to this date. Some scholars think that she was banished for some reason, and lived the rest of her years in the northern palace, raising Tutankaten. (Though the hypothesis remains that she was Smenkhkara, the mysterious succesor of Akhenaten.)Whatever the case, she is replaced by her oldest daughter, Meritaten, and we hear no more of her. Nefertiti was said to have died five days before her 40th birthday though her sarcophagus has never been found. Nefertiti's incredible beauty, attested by the famous bust sculpted in limestone at Akhet-Aten by Thutmose and her mystery make her one of the most intruiging persons in Ancient Kemet history.

Khnemt Amen Maat Ka Ra Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I and a royal descendant of the 18th Dynasty. The natural heiress to the throne, she married Thutmose II and they ruled Kemet jointly for the duration of their lives. Upon the death of Thutmose II, she assumed the role as Queen Regent and eventually, King. To express her power, she dressed as the kings of the past did, even wearing the diving beard. A ruler who preferred peace, she focus on restoring the beauty of Kemet as opposed to expanding its borders. She reopened the Sinai mines which brought more gold and turquoise to Kemet. She erected what was the largest obelisk up to her reign in Karnak and resotred old temples that were once neglected by the invading Hyksos. Her decisions brought great wealth to the Land of Kemet. Perhaps one of her greatest accomplishments was the establishment of trading between Kemet and the land of Punt (Ethiopia), the land from which many of Kemet's deities came. Her exploits made her reign one of the most prosperous of all time in Kemetian history.

Menkhepe Ra Tehutimes

Thutmose III reigned as one of Kemet's most powerful rulers ever; guiding Kemet to its highest level of excellence since its creation. Thutmose III ascended to the throne in an untraditional fashion. Prior to ruling Kemet he was a devout priest in the temple of Amen. On a feast day, however, the priest paraded with a symbol of the god around the northern colonnade of the Karnak Temple. When it stopped at Thutmose III, it symbolize his right to the throne. As the son of Thotmosis II and Aset, he his royal lineage returned to the thrown upon the death of the great Queen Hatshepsut. He then lead an army in a fierce battle to regain possession of Palestine, and after 20 years reestablished Kemetian ownership of Palestine and Syria. He was also victorious over Mitanni and established a provincial capital in the fourth cataract of Nubia. Under his leadership, the Kemetian army fought a battle in a land known as Megiddo. The battle destroyed the area so severely that the people said that it was what the end of the world would look like. From this, the term Armageddon is derived. Thutmose III's Kemet had control over areas as far away as mainland Greece and the Euphrates. Under his greatness, Kemet became the first empire of the world, an example of the greatness which lies within.

Neb Maat Ra Amenhotep

Amenhotep III was the son of Thutmosis IV and Queen Mutemiwa. He ruled Kemet during a period of peace and tranquility, allowing him to focus on the architectual, educational, and spiritual growth of his empire. Under his rule, international trade and communication rose dramatically. Amenhotep III broke out of tradition by marrying Tiye, a woman from Southern Nubia. She was so beautiful and loved by him that she became known as the "Great Royal Wife" and participated fully in governmental affairs. Militarily, he develloped a marine police force to provide security for local and visiting merchants. Politically, he maintained diplomatic correspondence with Babylon, Cypress, Mitanni, and other lands. Scarabs with his name and the name of his wife reached as far as Greece. Architectually, Amenophis III ordered the building of the Temple of Mut, furnished with 600 black granite statues of Sekhmet (the lioness goddess) and surrounded it with a crescent shaped lake. He created the Colossi of Amenhotep III--70 foot statues cut from a single block of granite and weighing over 700 tons. A ruler of 37 years, he was the father of two of Kemet's most famous rulers: Akenaton, and Tutankhamen.

Nefertem Khu Re Taharka

Taharka was one of the greatest Kemetian (Egyptian) (as well as Nubian) kings of all time. Inheriting the throne from his Uncle Shabaka, he became king at the age of 25! Upon his coronation, he expressed his power by arranging for mother, the Queen, to travel 1200 miles to see him crowned. Taharka's reign lasted for 26 years, during which time he became "Emperor of the World", unifying both Upper and Lower Kemet (Egypt) under a Nubian (truly Afrikan) King, restoring the order of the "Golden Ages" of Kemet. He made numerous economic and cultural advances in both Kemet and his homeland of Nubia. His reign brough about the building of the Chapel of Het Heru in Ipet Resyt (Luxor Temple), and expanded the Temple of Mut at Ipet Isut (Karnak) in addition to many, many other improvements. Militarily, Taharka battled the Assyrian King Esahaddon and King Baal of Tyre for control of Kemet. A Biblical figure, he is credited in II Kings 19:9 for saving is Hebrew brothers from certain death. The reign of Taharka and his military exploits established him as one of the most powerful rulers of the ancient world.


Beaded Collars From The Grave Of An Amarna Princess ?


The Egypt Centre has four beaded collars which, it has been suggested, were found in the grave of an Amarna princess.

Three of the collars have pendant amulets suspended from them. One has a floral amulet (or possibly an oyster shell), another a Bes amulet and one a heart amulet. One of the most popular amulets from Amarna was that of the dwarf god Bes. The Bes collar in the Egypt Centre has an unusual female Bes figure (though it has been stated by some Egyptologists that such representations of Bes with breasts before the Ptolemaic Period) are not the female Bes, that is, Beset, but rather depict overweight male forms, perhaps to symbolise abundance (Ward 1972)).

The collars have no proven provenance and yet for many years have resided in the University of Wales Swansea stating that they were from a princesses' grave. The idea that these collars come from a princesses' grave derives largely from the fact that they are obviously from a rich tomb, that the style of some of the beads and amulets are similar to those from Amarna and that a rich tomb was pillaged in the Amarna area in the 1880s. The collars were purchased by Berens in the 1880s and later purchased by Sir Henry Wellcome. However, the 1880s tomb itself not only contained fragments of sarcophagus with the names of Amarna princesses but also the name of Akhetaten and Amenophis III (Martin 1974).

That the collars belonged to females is supported by the fact that some of the amulets particularly the Beset (?), fish, and nasturtium/melon seeds (the type of seed is not clear) are associated with females, although since there are so few comparable pieces of jewellery, statistically the associations may be meaningless. Nasturtium/melon seed beads and fish amulets were found associated with burials of the wives of Tuthmosis III. One of the collars also carries what could be interpreted as an oyster shell, though alternatively it may represent floral decoration. (Bosse-Griffiths 1977, 98) saw it as a ‘fan’. Gold oyster shells have been found on the jewellery of Princess Khnumet from Dashur and among the treasures of Meret, Sithathor, Senebtisy and Nubhotepti. They are also usually shown in Egyptian representational art around a woman's neck (Andrews 1994, 43). However, the pectoral of Tutankhamun has fish amulets on it so these are not exclusively female associated objects. Other amulets upon the collars, such as the heart amulet can be associated with either men or women. See if you can also see the baboon amulet, the man with a stick amulet and the cornflower/poppy head amulet, a squatting child with a finger in its mouth? More than one collar also has a number of rosette beads.

One would expect such collars as these to have faience terminals. Terminals can be seen on the cartonnage collars in 'The House Of Death' (the downstairs gallery in the Centre). However, the terminals may have been cut off the 'Amarna' collars and sold separately.

Broad collars seem to have been a common feature of Egyptian dress. However, it is unusual to find collars with the thread still intact. Often dealers made up collars with beads from a variety of sources and often of different dates. It is possible that the same has been done with ours. However, the beads do seem to date to the same period, the 18th Dynasty which reinforces the idea that the thread is genuine. In addition, the thread is linen. The ancient Egyptians used linen whereas modern forgers tended to use cotton.

We have considered having the thread radio-carbon dated but this would destroy the thread.

Further Reading

Andrews, C., 1994. Amulets Of Ancient Egypt. British Museum Press.

Bosse-Griffiths, K. 1975. Bead Collars With Amarna Amulets In The Welcome Collection of University College, Swansea. Égyptologie, 1, 20-24.

Bosse-Griffiths, K., 1977. 'A Beset Amulet From The Amarna Period'. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 63, 98-106.

Györy, H., 1998 Remarks on Amarna Amulets in C.J. Eyre ed. Proceedings of the 7th International Congress of Egyptologists September 1995. Leuven Peters 497-507

Martin, Geoffrey, T., 1974. The Royal Tombs at El-Amarna. I London.

Ward, W.A 1972, A Unique Beset Figurine, Orientalia 41, 149-159.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Nubian Chronology
A-Group: 3800-3100 B.C.
C-Group: 2300-1550 B.C.
Kerma Culture: 2000-1559 B.C.
Egyptian Domination: 1950-1100 B.C.
Napatan Period 747-200 B.C.
Meroitic Period 200 B.C.-A.D. 300
X-Group (Ballana Period) A.D. 250-550
Christian Period: A.D. 550-1400

(All dates are approximate)


The earliest of the Nubian cultures (the A-Group and C-Group) were located in northern Nubia. Until recently it was thought that A-Group people were semi-nomadic herdsmen. However, new research suggests that a line of kings 1ived in Qustul in northern Nubia as early as, or perhaps even earlier than, the first pharaohs of Egypt. The people of these early cultures buried their dead in stone-lined pit graves, accompanied by pottery and cosmetic articles. At this time, Nubia was known to the Egyptians as "Ta Sety," the "Land of the Bow," because of the fame of Nubian archers.

By 1550 B.C. kings at Kerma were ruling Nubia. They were buried in huge round tombs, accompanied by hundreds of sacrificed retainers. People of the Kerma culture were accomplished metal workers, and they also made thin-walled pottery on a wheel. This was a time of increased contact between Egypt and "Kush," as Nubia was then called.

Egypt dominated parts of Nubia from about 1950 to 1000 B.C. Forts, trading posts and Egyptianstyle temples were built in Kush, and the Nubian elite adopted the worship of Egyptian gods and even the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing system. The gold, ebony and ivory of Nubia contributed to the material wealth of Egypt, and many of the famed treasures of the Egyptian kings were made of products from Nubia.

By 800 B.C., Egypt had fragmented into rival states. In 747 B.C., the city of Thebes in southern Egypt was threatened by northerners, and the Egyptians called upon the Nubian king for protection. The Kushite king, Piye, marched north from his capital at Napata, rescued Thebes and reunified Egypt. For the next 100 years, Kushite kings ruled both Nubia and Egypt. This era was brought to a close by the invasion of Assyrian armies in 663 B.C., and the Nubian king fled south to his capital at Napata.

By 200 B.C., the capital had shifted yet farther south to Meroe, where the kings continued to be buried in pyramid tombs and to build temples to Nubian and Egyptian gods in a hybrid Egyptian Roman-African style. Roman historians record the skirmishes and treaties which marked the relation ship of Roman Egypt and Nubia.

By A.D. 250 the culture of Nubia changed radically, perhaps due to the immigration of new peoples into the Nile Valley. Pyramid tombs were replaced by the great tumulus burials of the kings of Ballana. These kings were laid to rest with sacrificed retainers, horses, camels, and donkeys. In the 7th century, Nubia was converted to Christianity. The skill of Nubian archers forestalled the conversion of Nubia to Islam until A.D. 1400.


In the 1960's, a dam was constructed at Aswan, Egypt. It created a 300-mile-long lake which permanently flooded ancient temples and tombs was well as hundreds of modern villages in Nubia. While the dam was under construction, hundreds of archaeologists worked in Egypt and Sudan to excavate as many ancient sites as possible. The Oriental Institute worked in Nubia from 1960 68. Today, the 5000 Nubian objects in the collection of The Oriental Institute Museum and thousands of objects in other museums are our sole resource for recovering the rich civilization of northern Nubia, for the sites themselves are lie beneath the waters of Lake Nasser. In contrast, expeditions from many countries are working in southern Nubia.

The modern inhabitants of southern Egypt and Sudan still refer to themselves as Nubians. They speak the Nubian language as well as Arabic. Thousands of Nubians from the north were forced to relocate from their endangered homelands to be resettled in Egypt and Sudan.

The Economic Importance of Nubia
Precious Metals and Stones
Egyptian interests in Nubia were always driven by economics. The one factor that chiefly characterized Egypt's relationship with Nubia through most of their history was exploitation. Nubia's most important resource for Egypt was precious metal, including gold and electrum. The gold mines of Nubia were located in certain valleys and mountains on either side of the Nile River, although the most important mining center was located in the Wadi Allaqi. That valley extended eastward into the mountains near Qubban (about 107 km. south of Elephantine). Nubia was also an important source of valuable hard stone and copper, both of which were necessary for Egypt's monumental building projects.

Trading in African Goods
Especially important for Egypt was that Nubia was also a corridor to central Africa and a point for the trans-shipment of exotic goods from that region, including: frankincense, myrrh, "green gold," ivory, ebony and other exotic woods, precious oils, resins and gums, panther and leopard skins, monkeys, dogs, giraffes, ostrich feathers and eggs, as well as pygmies (who became important to Egyptian religious rituals). In the Old Kingdom, the Egyptians regularly penetrated as far as the Second Cataract to barter for these products which were coming down through the upper Nile Valley (viz., the expeditions of Harkhuf, Hekayib, Mekhu and Sabni).

Nubia was also an important source of manpower and labor for the Egyptians. The Palermo Stone records that early in the Fourth Dynasty, King Snefru led a military campaign into Nubia reputedly to crush a "revolt" there (the Egyptians considered all enemies--whether foreign or domestic--as "rebels" against the natural order). According to that text, he captured 200,000 head of cattle and 7,000 prisoners, all of whom were deported to Egypt as laborers on royal building projects. While some archaeologists argue that this campaign was limited to Lower Nubia, others note that the amount of 7,000 is rather high for a country that was fairly depopulated at the time. If the number was not inflated as royal propaganda, then Snefru could have penetrated into Upper Nubia as far as the Land of Yam and made his conquests there.
The Old Kingdom Presence in Nubia

Egyptian Activities
By the Old Kingdom (if not earlier in the Second Dynasty), the Egyptians founded a settlement at Buhen which apparently was an important site for copper production. Later, Khufu opened diorite quarries to the west of Toshka and south of Buhen, while other quarrying expeditions were sent south above the Second Cataract. The Fourth Dynasty also saw the establishment of a regular messenger service between the First and Second Cataracts.

By the reign of Sahure in the early Fifth Dynasty, the Egyptians began trading with the Land of Punt , which was accessible only by sailing along the seacoast on the Red Sea. Expeditions to Punt began by sailing upriver to Coptos, then caravaning eastward through the Wadi Hammamat or the Wadi Gasus to the seacoast. There the expeditions built ships and embarked on the sea voyage south. While the Egyptians did not penetrate Punt eastward from the Nile in Upper Nubia, apparently some Puntite goods and pygmies were trans-shipped to Egypt via a circuitous overland route through Nubia.

Despite that Buhen was abandoned in the Fifth Dynasty and the diorite quarries near Toshka were closed, Egypt maintained its hold over Nubia in the late Old Kingdom. In the early Sixth Dynasty, Egyptians were recruiting Nubian mercenaries into the Egyptian army. Weni recounts that he included five different Nubian peoples when he assembled the great army of King Pepi I for the military campaign to Canaan. He also led a major quarrying expedition to Ibhat southeast of the Second Cataract, and he built giant barges in Wawat, for which, he says, the rulers of Wawat, Irtjet, Yam and Medja "dragged wood" (in token humiliation?). Later he cut a series of channels through the First Cataract, after which King Merenre traveled to Elephantine in order to receive the homage of the Nubian leaders. Pepi II prepared an expedition to sail to Punt in his reign, although it is uncertain that its preparations were completed.

Apparently, the governors of Elephantine at this time were responsible for royal affairs in Nubia. Harkhuf recounts four successive expeditions on which he served or directed to Upper Nubia and Yam in the reigns of Merenre and Pepi II. He was a pathfinder, and his orders were to discover routes through the country and to trade with its leaders. While his earlier trips saw him traveling through Irtjet and Zatju along the river, in his later journeys, these territories had turned hostile to Egypt, forcing him to travel on desert tracts and through the western oases. On his return to Egypt, laden with goods, Harkhuf could only travel through Irtjet, Zatju, and Wawat with the added protection of forces of the friendly ruler of Yam.

The change in the disposition of these territories was probably spurred by the arrival of a new people who gradually overtook Upper and Lower Nubia at this time and settled those areas. These were the C-Group people who were hostile to Egypt, and ultimately, they may have conspired to force Egypt out of Nubia at the end of the Old Kingdom, when the Egyptian state began to fragment and fall into civil war.

Nubian Confederacy
Evidence indicates (e.g., the account of Harkhuf) that at certain periods in the reigns of Merenre and Pepi II, the Upper Nubian chiefdoms of Irtjett and Zatju, as well as Wawat in Lower Nubia, united together under a single ruler. At some point, this C-Group union might even have included the Early Kerma culture, which was distantly related to the C-Group. Evidently, Yam stayed independent of this confederacy. The purpose of the union, undoubtedly, was to resist Egyptian penetration and colonization of Nubia. For that reason, the Egyptians led by Hekayib, Governor of Elephantine, launched a military campaign to suppress the C-Group, splitting Wawat from the confederacy and helping to stabilize Egyptian control of the region. However, the Egyptians were not able to pacify Nubia entirely, despite several military campaigns in the Sixth Dynasty. Nubia remained restive for the remainder of the Old Kingdom. So, e.g., Sabni, Governor of Elephantine, recounts that he had to journey quickly to Wawat with an army to recover the body of his father, the previous governor, who had been killed on a trading mission.