Archive for the Meroë Category

Meroe Kush Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt – Gebel Barkal – Nuri – El Kurru – Meroitic Kushite Period

Posted in Amon Temple, Axum, Gebel Barkal, Jebel Barkal, Kashta, Kerma, Kurgus, Kurru, Kush, Kushite Period, Meroë, Meroitic, Napata, Nubia, Nuri, Piankhi, Piye, Ptolemaic, Roman Egypt, Sanam, SCN with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2009 by www.Amunirdis.net
Meroitic Kushite Period – Meroe – Kush – Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt – Gebel Barkal – Nuri – Kurru

“The Meroitic Kushite period is named after the royal burial ground at Meroe, situated between the Fifth and Sixth Cataracts. In the third century BC the royal cemetery was moved there from Napata, though Meroe had long been one of the major centers of the Kushite state. This move coincided with the arrival of Greek culture in Egypt, following the country’s conquest by Alexander the Great. The resulting Graeco-Egyptian culture influenced the Kingdom of Kush giving its later phases a distinctive character. This was in contrast to the preceding Napatan period, which was influenced by the Pharaonic Egyptian culture. The Kushite kingdom prospered from control of the trade routes along the Nile valley from Central Africa to Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt, particularly after the 2nd Century when the camel was introduced to Africa and there was a flourishing of caravan routes across the continent. Its position gave Meroe access to trading outlets on the Red Sea. The kingdom also had the resources needed for the smelting of iron: ore, water from the Nile and wood from acacia trees to make charcoal.
In 24 BC, soon after Rome had taken Egypt from Anthony and Cleopatra, the Kushites invaded Lower Nubia, attacking and plundering Syrene, Elephantine and Philae. From there, they push on to Thebes and defeated its Roman garrison. Strabo reported that the Kushite Queen “enslaved the inhabitants, and threw down a statue of Caesar”. A bronze head of Augustus was unearthed in excavation at Meroe in 1912, and can be seen in the British Museum.
The Roman general Aelius Petronius was dispatched into Nubia. He met and defeated a Meroitic army and drove on to Napata, which was said to have been captured and destroyed, and its inhabitants enslaved. The Kushites sent envoys for negotiations at Samos Island and concluded a peace treaty. Kushite tribute was suspended and a permanent ambassadorial position was established between Meroe and Roman Egypt. The Romans withdrew to Maharraka, which established Roman control of Lower Nubia. The peace treaty endured for three centuries, with special emphasis on Red Sea trade, even into the Indian Ocean. Curiously, in Stabo’s account it was noted that the Merotic queen, Kandake Amanirenawas, was “a very masculine sort of woman and blind in one eye.”
By A.D. 300-350, Meroe was largely abandoned due mainly to environmental pollution. The smelting industry had poisoned the soil. Trees had been cut down and the resulting erosion had washed away the topsoil thus reducing the ability to feed the population. In A.D. 350, the Christian King Ezana of Axum defeated Meroitic forces, and the Meroitic period ended. The Meroitic written language has never been translated.”


http://dba.spearhead1944.com/Meroitic/MeroiticKushite.htm
[Retrieved on 11 February 2009]

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“An end and a beginning

On March 23, 2007 the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art opens at the Brooklyn Museum. To celebrate the opening and the accompanying exhibition, “Pharaohs, Queens and Goddesses”, we decided to devote the last posting of the 2007 season at the Mut Precinct to some of the female figures, mortal and divine, associated with the site.

Hatshepsut being crowned by Amun-Re and granted life and dominion by the goddess “Great in Magic”, from the reconstructed Red Chapel in the Karnak Open Air Museum. An early 18th Dynasty temple at Mut dates to the reign of this woman who ruled as king.

“God’s Wife of Amun” was an important female priestly title in Thebes. In the 1st millennium BC it was usually held by a sister or daughter of the reigning king, each God’s Wife adopting her successor. They became so powerful that they were able to have themselves represented in roles normally played by the king.

In scenes of goddesses suckling humans, the human is normally the king, with the scene representing the transfer of life and power. Yet in this scene in the Chapel of Osiris-Ruler-of-Eternity at Karnak, not only is the God’s Wife of Amun, Shepenwepet I, being suckled, she is also wearing 2 Double Crowns, something shown nowhere else in any period.

In her funerary chapel at the temple of Medinet Habu, Amunirdis makes offerings to Amun and Hathor. The presence of funerary chapels to mortals within the sacred grounds of a temple is rare until the Third Intermediate Period, a time when God’s Wives of Amun flourished.

Intangible concepts could also be represented as goddesses. In a scene commemorating an important military campaign by Sheshonq I of Dynasty 22, the goddess “Victorious Thebes”, carrying a mace, an axe and a bow, drags conquered cities (shown as bound prisoners with the city names enclosed in cartouches representing fortified walls) to be slaughtered.

Upper and Lower Egypt were represented as the goddesses Nekhbet (right) and Wadjet. Scenes of the king flanked by these protective deities are common in all periods of Egyptian history. This one comes from the Mut Precinct’s Ptolemaic Chapel D.


Keeping Mut and Sakhmet happy was a main function of the Mut priesthood. In this scene from the Mut Precinct’s main entrance the king (holding Hathor-headed sistra) and two priestesses play music to Mut and Sakhmet to amuse them and keep them contented.


Two busts of Sakhmet in the Mut Precinct. Sakhmet angered could release disease and disaster on Egypt. Contented she could control these forces, which is why she is a goddess of health and healing as well as of death and destruction.


These 3 reliefs of Mut span a period of several hundred years. On the left is a relief from Amunirdis’s funerary chapel at Medinet Habu; in the center a relief from the chapel of Osiris-Ruler-of-Eternity at Karnak; and on the right a relief in Chapel D at the Mut Precinct. In all three scenes Mut appears in her usual guise of a human wearing the Double Crown.

And finally, a stela of a king offering to Mut that we uncovered in 2006. While the stela is uninscribed, it is entirely possible that it dates to the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, showing that Mut continued as an important goddess even after Egypt’s conquest by Rome.

Richard Fazzini
Director, Mut Expedition”