African history History 201
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This 3 page Study Guide was uploaded by toni jones on Thursday October 6, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to History 201 at Rutgers University taught by Dr. Habtamu Tegegne in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see African History in History at Rutgers University.
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Date Created: 10/06/16
Lecture Notes: Egypt and its legacy 20 September 2016 Ancient Egypt We have already seen that about 5, 000 BC, before any kingdoms arose in Egypt, African people began to grow wheat in the Sahara desert west of the Nile Valley. As the climate dried, these farmers moved into the Nile Valley and they formed the substratum of pre dynastic Egyptian people. Economy: Gift of the Nile: based on riverine agriculture; annual flooding leaves kmt (black soil) The Rise of Egyptian state and dynasties Area: from ‘first cataract’ to Nile Delta, during period: 3,100BC – 332 BC Egyptian history organized by dynasty (totally 31 dynasties) Chronology: Old Kingdom: 2,650 BC – 2,134 BC (golden age of Egypt) Middle Kingdom: 2,040 BC – 1,640 BC New Kingdom: 1,550 BC – 1,070 BC The social/cosmic order of Egypt: – Cosmic order as unequal and hierarchical – pharaoh, government officials, soldiers, scribes, merchants, artisans, farmers and slaves 1. Pharaohs: centralized and authoritarian with power held by pharaoh – Pharaoh provided stability—ma’at – Pharaoh’s power derived from his godhood – Gods were merciful, and perfect – Pharaohs built and used majestic architecture – Pharaoh, king as god, used tomb to embody the state’s ideology 2. Religion: Religion played an important role World inhabited by three groups: Gods, Kings, Everyone else Cults of the gods: Each region had different gods Gods represented by animal and human symbols – Horus, the hawk god; Osiris, god of underworld – Hathor, god of childbirth and love; Ra, the sun god – Amun, creator, the hidden god – The priesthood (in charge of rituals) Egypt had very activist, highly educated and stratified priests. 3. Writing and scribes Scribes formed third layer of authority; they monopolized literacy; collected taxes, propagated royal culture; managed gangs for public works – Egyptian script complicated Two basic forms of Egyptian writing 1. Hieroglyphs, “sacred carving”, used in temple, royal, or divine contexts 2. Demotic writing, cursive script, commonly used in administrative and legal records, and literature. EGYPT’S WIDER WORLD Egypt was long isolated, although parallel developments were taking place in the Tigris Euphrates Valley, in China, and in the Indus Valley in India. Eg’s main line of expansion was southward along the Nile. Before 2,000 BC some Nubian kingdoms had been incorporated into the kingdom By 2,000 BC Eg was sending expeditions down the Red Sea to a land they called Punt. Following 1570 BC and an invasion from South West Asia, Eg became deeply involved in “Middle East” politics. Following Greek rule, 332 BC, Eg became oriented to the Middle East; and the coming of Islam and the Arabic language in the 7thC AD intensified this process. For over 1,000 years, Eg has thought of itself as an Arab country. 1 EGYPT’S LEGACY TO AFRICA The kingdom of KUSH emerged, near the Second Cataract a little after 2,000 BC. Its capital was at Napata. Its people spoke a NiloSaharan language. Kush was deeply influenced by Egyptian culture and politics. About 500 BC the capital of Kush moved further south to Meroe, into the political center of what is now the Sudan Republic. The textbook suggests that no influence of Egypt passed beyond this part of the Nile Valley. Others have produced many different arguments about Egypt and its relationship to other parts of Africa. Some go so far as to claim that Egypt was the source of all civilizations and cultures on the continent. That theory is untenable. Another theory argues that one of the main institutions which the ancient Egyptians developed and then passed on to the rest of Africa via Nubia and Kush was the institution of divine kingship. The idea that the king was a god; that on his health depended the health and welfare of the people; that the country was united around worship of the king; many rituals of fertility, planting, harvesting, and irrigation were associated with this idea. Certainly this idea and its institutions can be found throughout Africa from West Africa to East and Southern Africa and it is an intriguing possibility that it is Egypt’s main legacy to the rest of Africa. This theory is a diffusionist theory, and has been questioned by many scholars. (I think it is farfetched.) The biggest problem is that there is a gap of hundreds of years and many hundreds of miles from Meroe to the great centers of civilization in West Africa, let alone to the chieftains and kingdoms of East and Southern Africa. Moreover, some West Africans prefer to think that they developed their own civilization and institutions, however much they may have borrowed from other people. Egypt and Nubia Two Points: 1. Origin lie in the settlement of early farming peoples along the Middle Nile coming from the Sahara. 2. Empire strikes back: rise of Nubian power over Nile; selective appropriation of Egyptian culture. 3. Collapse of Kush and rise of Monophysite Christianity across upper Nile, ca. 550AD1250AD. Area: from 1st cataract to Blue & White Nile confluence the known ‘black Africa’ of antiquity Nubian culture at capital of Kerma (2,500 BC 2,134 BC) Arrival of NiloSaharan speakers to Nubia by 2,100BC; celebrate pastoral & military culture New Kingdom (Egypt) colonization & destruction of Kerma (ca. 1500 BC) Nubia becomes Egyptian colony (1500BC1070BC), supplies estates for Egyptian temples & noblemen Collapse of New Kingdom (1070BC) and rise of independent Nubian ‘Kush’ (biblical name) Two phases of Kushitic development: Kush part 1: The first phase began with the rise of Kushite political power based at their capital Napata near the fourth cataract. Important developments during this phase: a. the Kushitic court at Napata (800BC–300 BC) became Egyptianized in its rites, religion and manner, in its architecture, and use of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Kush adopts Egyptian god Amun, but also venerates local god Apedamak 2 b. Kush gained in strength, conquered Egypt & established subsequent Nubian rule of 25 dynasty/the Ethiopian dynasty over the Nile Valley, 767 BC656 BC c. Kushitic culture had developed its distinctive identity, although based on Egyptian models: Kushitic temples and palaces had distinctive styles and ornaments which belong primarily to Kush. Much of their religion, their language, and pottery, remained largely Kushitic. Kush part 2: Meroe (300BC – 350AD) The second phase began with the shift of the political center to Meroe resulting in new developments and accomplishments: a. Meroe was the greatest ironfounding center of the world; b. A new alphabetic script alphabet script (based on Egyptian hieroglyphs), which has yet to be deciphered developed; c. Fine painting of pottery and temple building reached a new excellence; d. Extensive network of international trade with the GraecoRoman world, the countries of the Red Sea basin, India and China was established. d. By about 100 BCE Meroe was one of the most powerful African empire; relying on the strength of its wideranging trade, Meroe continued to flourish until the middle of the 4 AD th f. Collapses with deforestation and ultimate invasion from Aksum (ca. 350AD) Christian Nubian: Successors to Meroe, 350AD 1250AD Meroe collapse is succeeded by three smaller Nubian kingdoms: Nobatia, Makuria & Alwa Kingdoms receive Christianity No monastic tradition develops; Nubian Christianity not fully adapted to local culture, remains elite import Nubia cut off from Alexandria after Arab invasion of 641 A.D., retains longlasting political independence Long peace (Baqt) between Christian Nubia & Islamic World (6521257) based on trade of slaves for foods th th Islamic conquest of upper Nile begins in 13 century, ends with Arab settlement in 15 century n missions from Alexandria & Byzantium; convert to Christianity 6 century A.D. Monophysite Christianity transforms politics of Nubia and its highest strata: Egyptianinspired ideology of past 3,000 years gets discarded, kings now mere mortals Religious authority lies in Alexandria Kings enter priestly orders; bishops hold state offices 3
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