Piye and the Black Pharaohs of Egypt

The history of Ancient Egypt is a three thousand year odyssey into the heart of human civilization, and it still echoes in many of our daily activities in ways we do not even begin to realize. I can’t support this belief with anything as respectable as facts, but it’s one that I hold, nevertheless.

It was all the more reason to me to be so intrigued when I learned that Egyptian civilization thrived for three-quarters of a century during the 25th dynasty under the rule of foreign leaders from Nubia. I was even more surprised to learn that their culture and architecture was so closely related to that of their northern neighbours. This seems strange, I mean, didn’t Tutankhamen have sandals with crouching Nubians carved into the feet so that he could constantly trample them? It may have been worse than history of intermittent warfare: it was a family affair.

The ancient nation of Nubia consists mostly of what is now present day Sudan. At the start of the 25th dynasty Egypt had fractured into a series of smaller factions ruled by local warlords. The Nubian king Piye, supposedly feeling that it was his duty to restore Egyptian culture and religion, invaded, defeating each of the individual lords and uniting Egypt with his own kingdom.

It seems incredible that this history of a major African civilization is still clothed in such obscurity. Considering their architectural achievements alone there should have been enough material evidence to raise a few academic heads somewhere. Hopefully this is changing though, and we can look forward to even more details of the life of the Nubians.

Resources of Interest:

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