Course overview

In a Study Day suitable for all we will consider how ancient Egypt treated a neighbour. Nubia is the area immediately to the south of ancient Egypt encompassing the south of Egypt today and much of modern Sudan. Nubia itself developed significant cultural entities especially the Kerma civilization and the later Napatan and Meroitic cultures. However much of the history of Nubia is inter-twined with ancient Egypt. The relationship between ancient Egypt and Nubia is a fascinating one and an ever-changing story. This day school explores the Nubian experience with Egypt from trade, through conquest, to the ‘Black Pharaohs’ of the Kushite period.

Course description

Ancient Egypt’s relationship with its southern neighbour changed significantly over time. This accessible to all study day explores the core narrative of the interconnections which evolve from early trade to a more intrusive relationship. Key topics will include: • The Kerma civilization described by UNESCO as “one of the earliest urban centres in sub-Saharan Africa”

• The Middle Kingdom conquest of Lower Nubia and the so-called forts

• The New-Kingdom ‘Golden Empire’ – an imperialistic conquest of Nubia by Egypt

• The so-called “Black Pharaohs” who conquered Egypt from the south and ruled both Nubia and Egypt

In considering these topics we will use a mix of textual and archaeological evidence. Propaganda stelae (stone slabs with writing) will give one viewpoint of the conquest of Lower Nubia will fragments of papyrus of commanders’ dispatches hint at the day-to-day reality. The Piye Victory Stela describes the Kushite conquest of Egypt and monumental tombs in Thebes (where the tutor participates in an excavation) give a picture of the power and wealth of officials. Our emphasis as we explore this evidence will be to reach beneath a propaganda of xenophobia and consider the real value and connection between these often uneasy and unequal neighbours.

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