TÖRÖK, László - Between Two Worlds. The Frontier Region between Ancient Nubia and Egyp

Between Two Worlds Probleme der Ägyptologie Herausgegeben von Wolfgang Schenkel, Antonio Loprieno und Joachim Friedrich Quack 29. Band Between Two Wor...

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Between Two Worlds

Probleme der Ägyptologie Herausgegeben von

Wolfgang Schenkel, Antonio Loprieno und Joachim Friedrich Quack

29. Band

Between Two Worlds The Frontier Region between Ancient Nubia and Egypt 3700 BC – AD 500


László Török


This book is printed on acid-free paper. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Török, László. Between two worlds : the frontier region between ancient Nubia and Egypt, 3700 BC -500 AD / by László Török. p. cm. -- (Probleme der Ägyptologie) ISBN 978-90-04-17197-8 (hardback : alk. paper) 1. Egypt--History--To 640 A.D. 2. Nubia--History. 3. Egypt--Relations--Nubia. 4. Nubia--Relations--Egypt. I. Title. II. Series. DT83.T67 2008 932--dc22 2008043649

ISSN 0169-9601 ISBN 978 90 04 17197 8 Copyright 2009 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Hotei Publishing, IDC Publishers, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers and VSP. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill NV provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change. printed in the netherlands


List of Tables in the Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . List of Plates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Preface and Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Note on Geographical Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

xi xiii xv xxi

Chapter One Introduction: A Nubian Worshipper of Isis from the Second Century BC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. The Budapest Terracotta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Cultural Syncretism on the Nubian Border . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1 1 3

Chapter Two Frontiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 1. Frontier Lines and Frontier Zones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 2. The Egyptian-Meroitic Frontier in the Roman Period: An Introductory Note. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 3. The Frontier in the Egyptian Myth of the State. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 4. The “Frontier” at Hagr el-Merwa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 5. The Egyptian-Meroitic Frontier in the Roman Period: A Second Introductory Note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Chapter Three The Beginnings: A-Group Lower Nubia and the Emerging Egyptian State (c. 3700–2800 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. Before Political Frontiers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. The Emergence of Elites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Late Mesolithic and “Abkan” Lower Nubia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. The Rise of the A-Group Chiefdoms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. The Contacts of the A-Group with Egypt in the Naqada Period . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. The Emergence of Territorial Political Units . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. The Contacts of the Late A-Group with Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

23 23 29 31 33 37 39 48



Chapter Four Old Kingdom Domination and the Rebirth of the Native Polities (c. 2800–2160 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. The Post-A-Group Hiatus and the Establishment of the Egyptian Domination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Lower Nubia in the Early Bronze Age: The Emergence of the C-Group Polities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. The Early C-Group Chiefdoms between Egypt and Early Kerma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

53 53 58 64

Chapter Five Lower Nubia and First Intermediate Period Egypt (c. 2160–2055 BC). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Chapter Six Lower Nubia between Kerma and Middle Kingdom Egypt (c. 2055–1650 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 1. The Egyptian Occupation of Lower Nubia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 2. Nubians and Egyptians in Lower Nubia under Middle Kingdom Domination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Chapter Seven Kerma Domination in Lower Nubia in the Second Intermediate Period (c. 1650–1550 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Chapter Eight Locating the Cultures of Lower Nubia in the Late Neolithic, Early and Middle Bronze Age: Some Preliminary Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 1. Against Models. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 2. Unity of the Nile Valley? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 2.1. Image and Society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 2.2. C-Group Display . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 2.3. Excursus: The Paintings of K XI at Kerma and the End of Classic Kerma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139 Chapter Nine New Kingdom Egypt in Nubia (c. 1550–1069 BC) . 157 1. The Conquest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157 2. Managing Chaos: The Viceregal Administration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 2.1. Order and Chaos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 2.2. The Viceroy and his Realm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171 2.3. Settlement and Economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182 2.3.1. Before Thutmose III (1555–1479 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182 2.3.2. Wawat and Kush from Thutmose III to Thutmose IV (1479–1390 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184



2.3.3. Wawat and Kush from Amenhotep III to Horemheb (1390–1295 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187 2.3.4. Wawat and Kush under the Nineteenth Dynasty (1295–1186 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 2.3.5. The Last Century of New Kingdom Domination in Wawat and Kush (1186–1069 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195 2.3.6. The End of the Egyptian Domination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200 Chapter Ten Religion and Society in New Kingdom Nubia . . . . . . 209 1. Gods and Temples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209 1.1. The State and the Gods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209 1.2. The Adoption of the Traditional Local Cults. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211 1.2.1. The Beginnings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211 1.2.2. From Ahmose to Thutmose III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215 1.2.3. Amenhotep II and Thutmose IV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229 1.3. Amenhotep III’s Royal Cult . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230 1.4. From Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten to Horemheb . . . . . . . . . . 236 1.5. The Sacred Landscape of Ramesside Nubia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243 1.5.1. Creating a New Sacred Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243 1.5.2. Beit el-Wali and Aksha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246 1.5.3. Abu Simbel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 248 1.5.4. Amara West and Derr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252 1.5.5. Wadi es-Sebua and Gerf Hussein. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253 1.5.6. The “Nubian” Gods in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257 Chapter Eleven Nubians and Egyptians in New Kingdom Nubia: The Degrees of Egyptianization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263 1. Wawat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263 2. Wawat and Kush . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280 Chapter Twelve A Long, Silent Interlude? Lower Nubia in the Third Intermediate Period (c. 1069–795 BC). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285 1. The Archaeological Record . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285 2. The Remains of the Viceregal Administration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 288 3. Native Polities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291 4. Queen Kadimalo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294 5. The el Kurru Chiefs and Their Chronologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298 6. Egyptianization at el Kurru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304



Chapter Thirteen Lower Nubia under the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and the Napatan Kings (c. 795–332 BC). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311 1. Introduction: The Emergence of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty . . . 311 2. Alara’s Memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314 3. Kashta and Piankhy in Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319 4. Lower Nubia in the Double Kingdom of Egypt and Kush (c. 755–656 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 328 4.1. The Archaeological Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 328 4.2. The Limits of Egyptianization. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329 4.3. The Great Amun Temple at Napata and the Sacred Geography of Piankhy’s Realm. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331 4.4. Lower Nubia under Taharqo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 339 4.5. The Fortresses in Lower Nubia and the Wadi Howar. . . . . 343 4.6. North and South: Similarities and Differences . . . . . . . . . . . . 345 5. The End of the Double Kingdom. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350 6. Lower Nubia after the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359 6.1. Egypt in Lower Nubia (from the Campaign of Psamtek II to the Early Fourth Century BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359 6.2. Kush in Lower Nubia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 364 6.2.1. The First Half of the Fourth Century BC . . . . . . . . . . . 364 6.2.2. The Second Half of the Fourth Century BC. . . . . . . . 372 Chapter Fourteen The Neighbour of Ptolemaic Egypt (c. 332–30 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377 1. Egypt in Lower Nubia before the Upper Egyptian Revolt (c. 332–205 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377 1.1. The First Contacts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377 1.2. The Distribution of Settlement in Lower Nubia. . . . . . . . . . . 380 1.3. The Egyptian Conquest of Lower Nubia in 275/4 BC . . . . 384 2. Lower Nubia under Kushite Rule during the Upper Egyptian Revolt (207/6–186 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391 3. Nubians and Egyptians in the Triakontaschoinos (186–30 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400 3.1. The Construction of an Egyptian Province (c. 186–100 BC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400 3.2. The Construction of a Meroitic Province? (c. 100–30 BC). 411 3.2.1. Meroitic Cemeteries in the Triakontaschoinos . . . . . 411 3.2.2. From Royal Tomb to Elite Pyramid: The Mortuary Evidence of the Meroitic Advance into Ptolemaic Lower Nubia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415



Chapter Fifteen Uniting Two Worlds: Lower Nubia in the Time of the Meroitic Viceroys (c. 30 BC to the Middle of the AD Fourth Century) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427 1. Augustus in Lower Nubia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427 1.1. Cornelius Gallus and the Foederate Tyrannos of Lower Nubia in 29 BC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427 1.2. The “District-Commissioners” in the Foederate Triakontaschoinos and in early Roman Lower Nubia . . . . 435 1.3. The Fall of Cornelius Gallus and the War Between Meroe and Rome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 439 2. Government, Society and Culture in the Roman Dodekaschoinos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 443 2.1. Creating a Sacred Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 443 2.2. Egyptians and Nubians in the Dodekaschoinos . . . . . . . . . . . 456 3. Formulae of Elite Identity in Lower Nubian Mortuary Inscriptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 473 4. The Government of Meroitic Lower Nubia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 491 4.1. The Official Hierarchy and the Regions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 491 4.2. The Governor of Akine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 496 4.3. The Ruler and the Province . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 502 4.4. Regional Identities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 505 4.5. Lower Nubia United with Meroe and Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 507 Chapter Sixteen Post-Meroitic Lower Nubia before the Advent of Christianity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 515 Chapter Seventeen Epilogue. Three Ages of Lower Nubian Autonomy: The A-Group and C-Group Chiefdoms and the Kingdom of Noubadia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 531 Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 543 Index of Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 581 Index of Places and Peoples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 591 Index of Topics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 599 Plates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 607


Table A Table B Table C Table D Table E Table F Table G Table H Table I Table J Table K Table L Table M Table N Table O Table P Table Q Table R Table S Table T Table U Table V Table W Table X Table Y

The chronology of C-Group pottery design structures (p. 132) Kerma, K XI, paintings, iconographical program of the base register(s) (p. 146) Twentieth Dynasty archaeological complexes and epigraphic documents of rulers and viceroys (p. 196) The iconographical program of the rock shrine at Ellesiya (p. 225) The iconographical program of the hypostyle of the rock temple at Gerf Hussein (p. 256) Worship of “Nubian” deities in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties (p. 260) The alternative el Kurru sequences (p. 304) Alternative chronologies, Kashta to Taharqo (p. 324) Harsiyotef ’s wars (p. 368) Harsiyotef ’s festivals (p. 371) The Lower and Middle Nubian toponyms of Bion with their Egyptian, Meroitic and modern equivalents (p. 381) The Lower and Middle Nubian toponyms of Juba with their correspondences with the Bion list and Meroitic and modern placenames (p. 382) Arqamani’s titularies (p. 393) Early Meroitic sites between the First and Third Cataracts (p. 398) Genealogy of the Wayekiye family between c. AD 120–300 (p. 456) The family of the lady Khakhoteli, AD first century (p. 477) The relations of the lady Natakili in the second half of the AD first century (p. 479) The family of the lady Bokheye between c. AD 150–300 (p. 482) Genealogy of Netewitara c. AD 180–250 (p. 484) Genealogy of the lady Balekewiteke c. AD 200–300 (p. 484) Relations of the peseto Abaratoye around AD 250–270 (p. 485) An elite family in Arminna in the AD third century (p. 486) The relations of the lady Bakheye around AD 100 (p. 488) Relations of the lady Maliwose in the AD third century (p. 489) Relations of the lady Wiritelito around AD 270–320 (p. 490)

LIST OF PLATES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Map of the Middle Nile Region Hellenistic terracotta vessel from Egypt, Budapest, Museum of Fine Arts T 534. After Török 1995b Pl. XI Hellenistic terracotta vessel from Egypt, Budapest, Museum of Fine Arts T 534, front view. After Török 1995b Pl. LXXVI Hellenistic terracotta vessel from Egypt, Budapest, Museum of Fine Arts T 534, side view. After Török 1995b Pl. LXXVII, left Hellenistic terracotta vessel from Egypt, Budapest, Museum of Fine Arts T 534, side view. After Török 1995b Pl. LXXVII, right Map of north-east Africa. After Shaw (ed.) 2000 p. 323 Hagr el Merwa, rock drawings. From left to right: bull figures of AmunRe-Kamutef, Thutmose III’s Horus name before Amun of Nubia, Thutmose I’s Horus name before Amun of Nubia, lion of Thutmose III, lion of Thutmose I. After Davies 2001 fig. 3 Esh-Shaheinab, pottery and stone tools. After Jesse 2004 fig. 17 Kerma, early Neolithic settlement. After Jesse 2004 fig. 23 Kadruka, Cemetery KDK 1, tomb 131. After Reinold–Krzyzaniak 1997 fig. 8 Kadruka, Cemetery KDK 1, female anthropomorphic figurines from tombs 200 (left) and 131 (right). After Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 Cats 272, 273 Kadruka, Cemetery KDK 1, caliciform beaker from tomb 131. After Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 Cat. 22 Mediq, Cemetery 79, eggshell type vessel. After Wildung (ed.) 1997 Cat. 37 Sayala, Cemetery 137, decorated mace. After Firth 1927 fig. 8 Seal impressions from A-Group sites. After Nordström 1972 Pl. 55 Aksha, Naqada IIIa–b jar with incised drawing of a bull or a cow. After Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 Cat. 242 Gebel Sheikh Suleiman, rock drawing. After Wilkinson 1999 fig. 5.3.2 Gebel Sheikh Suleiman, rock drawing. After Wilkinson 1999 fig. 5.3.1 Debeira East, C-Group cemetery, remains of tomb superstructures. After Geus 2004b fig. 184 Aniba, C-Group Cemetery N, stelae. After Steindorff 1935 Pl. 8/b Aniba, C-Group Cemetery N, tomb N 844, remains of superstructure. After Steindorff 1935 Pl. 10/c Buhen, Middle Kingdom fortress. After Wildung (ed.) 1997 fig. 12 Areika, isometric representation of the fort. After Wegner 1995 fig. 3 Wadi es-Sebua, C-Group settlement. After Trigger 1976 fig. 33


list of plates

25 Buhen, stela with royal figure. After Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 Cat. 74 26 Askut, shrine in the house of Meryka, reconstruction of S.T. Smith. After S.T. Smith 2003 fig. 5.29 27 Askut in the Middle Kingdom, Second Intermediate Period and New Kingdom. After S.T. Smith 2003 fig. 5.1 28 El-Kadada, Cemetery C, Sector 22, tomb 15, female figurine. After Wildung (ed.) 1997 Cat. 4 29 Halfa Degheim, Cemetery 277, tomb 16B, female figurine. After Wildung (ed.) 1997 Cat. 31 30 Khor Nashriya, painting from the ceiling of the “Felsmalerei-Höhle”, watercolour copy. After Bietak–Engelmayer 1963 Pl. XXV 31 Design structures on C-Group incised pottery. After Nordström 1989 fig. 16 32 Aniba, C-Group Cemetery N, tomb N 478, decorated bowl. After Steindorff 1935 Pl. 33/7 33 Aniba, C-Group Cemetery N, decorated bowls from tombs N 874a (top), N 874 (centre), N 623 (bottom). After Steindorff 1935 Pl. 33/1, 2, 3 34 Aniba, C-Group Cemetery N, decorated bowls from tomb N 782 (top) and from an unknown tomb (bottom). After Steindorff 1935 Pl. 34/2, 3 35 C-Group phase IIa designs on incised pottery. After Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989 Pl. 6 36 Adindan, C-Group Cemetery T, bowl with incised decoration. After Wenig 1978 Cat. 32 37 Base patterns on C-Group vessels with incised decoration. After Nordström 1989 fig. 18 38 Aniba, C-Group Cemetery N, tomb N 714, decorated bowl. After Steindorff 1935 Pl. 47/3 39 Koshtamna, late C-Group footed bowl. After Wenig 1978 Cat. 37 40 Kerma, Eastern Deffufa, ground plan. After Bonnet et al. 2000 fig. 42 41 Map of New Kingdom Nubia. After Török 1997a Map 5 42 Lower Nubia in the Meroitic period. After Adams 1977 fig. 55 43 Philae, temple of Isis. After Arnold 1999 Pl. XV 44 The temples of Philae in the Roman period. After Arnold 1999 Pl. XIV 45 Debod, ground plan of the Augustan temple. After Arnold 1999 fig. 142 46 Kalabsha, ground plan of the Augustan temple. After Arnold 1999 fig. 203 47 Kalabsha, cult terrace of the Augustan temple (reconstructed at its new site). After Hölbl 2004 fig. 142 48 Dendur, ground plan of the Augustan temple. After Arnold 1999 fig. 206 49 Dakka, ground plan of the Ptolemaic-Meroitic-Roman temple. After Arnold 1999 fig. 128 50 Dakka, Ptolemaic-Meroitic-Roman temple, rear view. After Hölbl 2004 fig. 214 51 Kertassi, kiosk. After Arnold 1999 fig. 197 52 Maharraqa, ground plan and section of the temple. After Arnold 1999 fig. 207 53 Meroe City, Chapel M 292, detail of wall painting, watercolour copy. After Grimm 1998 fig. 141a


This is the South Wind, African, who flows from the ancient Source, god bringing Egypt water that life be sturdy and prosper. He is the breath of life, the South Wind, offered to me and through him I live.1

On a summer night of 1971 I was returning home from my first journey to the “western world” beyond the iron curtain. After long hours spent in a doze on the narrow berth of my sleeper, I finally fell into a slumber when the train halted with a sudden jerk. Waking up with a start, I drew aside the blind of the compartment window. We arrived at the Hungarian side of the border between Austria and Hungary. Barely holding at bay their Alsatians, all along the platform of the dimly lit station there stood armed frontier guards at every five meters. A shudder passed over me. I am trapped now voluntarily and for ever. Even though this did not prove quite true and I was indeed fortunate enough to be allowed to cross the border of the “really existing socialism” every now and then and travel to the “western world”, the crossing of my country’s frontier remained a stress for me as long as going around was a matter of permissions and not merely of finances. Yet there is still many a country in the world the frontiers of which are impenetrable barriers made to keep the outside world out and the boundaries of which are prison walls for many of those who live within them. No wonder thus that the historian may at any time feel it opportune, to tell his/her contemporaries about ancient frontiers: how and why were they military barricades, walls to enclose people inside and exclude others outside. How and why were they “a state of mind”

1 Coffin Texts Spell 162. A. de Buck: The Egyptian Coffin Texts II. Chicago 1938 389 ff.; free translation of Foster 1992 34.


preface and acknowledgements

determined by ideologies of superiority and expansion2 or how would they have become flexible zones of communication and functioned as “controlled environment[s] in which contact with the outside world could be facilitated”.3 The nature of the frontier between ancient Egypt and Nubia begun to puzzle me no sooner than I made my first hesitant steps in Nubian studies, trying to show that the early medieval eparchy of Lower Nubia (see Chapter XVI) functioned as an intermediary zone invested with a special power to maintain trade contacts between the Christian Nubian kingdoms and Islamic Egypt, i.e., between a state without money economy on the one side, and a state with money economy, on the other.4 The archaeological discoveries of the UNESCO International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia and the unfolding of modern archaeological research in the Sudan set out new agendas for Nubian studies.5 The last thirty years have seen the shift from Egyptocentrism6 to the debate about the political/cultural relationship between the northern and southern regions of the ancient Nubian kingdoms7 and then to the discovery of the south.8 My personal agendas were part of this general process,9 even if now and again I fiercely opposed the trends that seemed to me disproportionately “Nubiocentric” or arrogantly anti-interdisciplinary. More recently, Lower Nubia started to fascinate me as a mine of information for the study of acculturation in medial areas. This time, my interest for acculturation processes in Nubian history was aroused by works discussing evidence from the third and second millennia BC: first by Bruce Williams’s publication

Whittaker 1994 5, on Turner 1893. Lintott 1993 42, on the frontiers of imperial Rome. 4 L. Török: Money, Economy and Administration in Christian Nubia. BdE 95 (1978) 287–312. 5 See first of all W.Y. Adams’ seminal history of Nubia: Adams 1977. 6 For the traditional view of Nubia determined by late 19th – early 20th century Egyptocentrism, see, e.g., Arkell 1955; Emery 1965. For the abandonment of “Egyptocentrism”, see Trigger 1965; Trigger 1976; Adams 1977; and cf. B.G. Trigger: History and Settlement in Lower Nubia in the Perspective of Fifteen Years. Meroitica 7 (1984) 367–380; Trigger 1989; id.: Early Civilizations. Ancient Egypt in Context. Cairo 1993. 7 See first of all the thesis and contributions in Adams et al. 1976 and cf. Adams 1977. 8 For the idea of Kush (the Napatan-Meroitic kingdom) as a Sudanese state, see Edwards 1996 13 ff.; Edwards 1998. 9 Török 1978a, 1979, 1980, 1985, 1997a 92 ff., 357 ff., 432 ff., 476 ff., 1999b, 2002a. 2 3

preface and acknowledgements


of the finds from the A-Group Cemetery L at Qustul10 and the debate on their historical significance,11 then by Torgny Säve-Söderbergh’s and Lana Troy’s work on the New Kingdom princes of Teh-Khet12 and Stuart Tyson Smith’s books on the fortress of Askut in the second millennium BC13 and on ethnic identities and boundaries in Nubia under Egyptian domination during the Middle and New Kingdoms.14 I cannot be grateful enough for the inspiration I have drawn from these works and from conversations with Professors Lana Troy, Stuart Tyson Smith and the late Torgny Säve-Söderbergh. Professor SäveSöderbergh also displayed a genuine and amicable interest for the more actual (and personal) moments that motivated, and continue to motivate, my curiosity about the nature of ancient Lower Nubia.15 For, of course, my interest for acculturation in Lower Nubia continued to be kindled by the political, social and cultural processes one may experience in my part of the world since the demolition of the iron curtain on the night of 9 November 1989. From the late fourth millennium BC to the late third century AD, the whole, or parts of, Lower Nubia were ruled alternatingly by Egypt and the consecutive Nubian states, i.e., the kingdoms of Kerma (Kush), Napata and Meroe. However, this book is not so much a history of territorial conquest and reconquest or an account of changes of frontier lines and frontier policies as a study of continuity and change in the political, social and cultural structure of a region dividing and at the same time connecting two powerful states. Impressed by the seemingly thoroughly Egyptianized appearance of Nubian culture, earlier students of Nubian history described the Egyptian-Nubian nexus in the terms of conqueror and conquered, initiator and follower, model and imitation. In the more recent literature, one encounters a different image, even if there are exceptions such as Toby Wilkinson’s startling verdict seemingly raising the ghost of early twentieth-century ethnic prehistory and culture-historical

Williams 1980; 1986. Bothmer 1979 179 f.; Adams 1985; Williams 1987; B.B. Williams: Decorated Pottery and the Art of Naqada III. Berlin 1988; Smith 1991; Baines 1995b 104 f. 12 Säve-Söderbergh 1991; Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991. 13 S.T. Smith 1995; cf. also Kemp 1997. 14 S.T. Smith 2003; cf. also S.T. Smith 1991a. 15 For Torgny Säve-Söderbergh’s personal outlook, see his memoir: Vid vägs ände. En rapsodi från Grönlands berg till Nubians brända dalar. Jonsered 1996. 10 11


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archaeology—but motivated in reality by a sort of indignation at imperial attitudes:16 But for the First Cataract south of Elephantine, the Nubian Nile valley was essentially a continuation of the Egyptian Nile valley, and the Egyptians seem to have seen it as a natural addition to their realm. Throughout much of Egyptian history, the relationship between Egypt and Nubia was one of subjugator and subjugated, master and servant… Although the relationship swiftly became an unequal one, there is some evidence that Lower Nubia was not far behind Egypt in the process of state formation and the race to establish political and economic hegemony over the Nile valley. Had Lower Nubian, rather than Upper Egyptian rulers won that race, the history of north-east Africa would have been very different.17

The picture is of course less simple than this, as also shown by the survey presented by Wilkinson himself of Nubian-Egyptian contacts in the Early Dynastic period.18 Modern students of Nubian history prefer to write about an interaction between two rivals19 and give a different description of acculturation processes in Nubia as being characterized by an inner-directed use of Egyptian conceptions, forms, means, and modes of expression for the articulation and maintenance of the native Nubian culture. Like many other students of Nubian history and culture, I have started my work trying to understand the testimonies of Egypt’s impact on Nubia because I believed that native Nubian culture could be perceived only if its Egyptian constituent is identified and clearly discerned. It took some time to realize that, in a Nubian context, also the Egyptian constituent is Nubian and our task is to understand the Nubian contents that have been articulated with the help of Egyptian means— which does not mean that this task can and may be performed in a selfconsciously professed ignorance of the Egyptian cultures with which ancient Nubia came into contact.20 16 Cf. Trigger 1989. For the context of the history of Nubian studies, see Adams 1977 65 f.; Trigger 1994; Török 1995d; 1997a 7 ff. 17 Wilkinson 1999 175 f. 18 Wilkinson 1999 175 ff.—Henceforth, the regnal dates of the Egyptian rulers are quoted after Shaw (ed.) 2000 479–483, a chronology based first of all on Beckerath 1997 (132 ff. for Senusret III). In Hornung–Krauss–Warburton (eds) 2006 490 ff. the chronology of the period between c. 2350 and 750 BC is based on lunar dates wherefore it differs slightly from Beckerath’s dates. 19 Cf. O’Connor 1993. 20 For the recent radicalism of the views on Egyptology in Nubian Studies, see, e.g., Edwards 2003; Morkot 2003; Fuller 2003. For a critical response, see Török n.d.

preface and acknowledgements


On the way to this discovery, many masters guided me. Here my special thanks go to the late Professors Bernard V. Bothmer, Fritz Hintze and László Castiglione as well as to Professors János György Szilágyi, Charles Bonnet and Jan Assmann for all what I have learnt from them about acculturation in general and acculturation processes in Nubia in particular. Special words of gratitude are due to Professors K. Zibelius-Chen and J.F. Quack for a great number of important suggestions and the generous correction of many errors, further to Dr Claude Rilly whose magisterial Langue du royaume de Méroé (Paris 2007), which I had the privilege to read in proofs, was a rich source of inspiration while I worked on this book.21 I am greatly indebted to Professors Tomas Hägg and Tamás A. Bács for suggestions, discussions and literature and to Mr. Géza Andó and Professor Gábor Zólyomi for their magnanimous assistance in my repeated computer crises. For many helpful suggestions and for the correction of several errors I am especially grateful to the anonymous reviewer who read my manuscript for Koninklijke Brill. All remaining errors are of course my responsibility. Last but not least, I feel particularly indebted to the professional staff at Koninklijke Brill and especially to Ms. Jennifer Pavelko, Mr. Michiel Klein-Swormink, and Mr. Michael J. Mozina for all what they have done for the publication of this book. I dedicate it to my friends Tormod Eide, Tomas Hägg, and Richard Holton Pierce in memory of the many hours we spent together in Bergen working on the Fontes Historiae Nubiorum, which I remember as something of the most stimulating and blissful I have experienced as a Nubian scholar. Veroce ˝ and Budapest, spring 2006 – winter 2007

21 This book grew out from my Inaugural Lecture delivered on April 18, 2005 at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.


In this book, the political and geographical term Kush will refer to the native kingdom emerging after the end of the Egyptian New Kingdom occupation and existing in the Middle Nile Region as a political unit until the AD fourth century (Pl. 1). However, the term Kush may also appear in other contexts. In Egyptian texts of the Second Intermediate Period and the early New Kingdom Kush is identical with the kingdom of Kerma. During the New Kingdom, Kush is the area between the Second and Fourth Cataracts. The power of the Egyptian “king’s son of Kush” [Viceroy of Kush] extended, however, over both Lower Nubia (= Wawat) and Upper Nubia (= Kush), see Chapter IX.2. Between the c. eighth-third centuries BC, the kingdom of Kush may also be called kingdom of Napata (after one of its centres); between the fourth-third century BC and the AD fourth-fifth century it may be referred to as kingdom of Meroe (after another of its centres). In Greek texts the kingdom of Kush is called Αιοπα, Aithiopia (this form is to be preferred to the writing Ethiopia). Geographically the term is interchangeable with the geographical term Nubia. In a strict sense, Nubia designates geographically Lower Nubia between the First and Second Cataracts and Upper Nubia between the Second and Fifth Cataracts. Occasionally, the area between the Second and Third Cataracts is distinguished as Middle Nubia. Linguistically Nubia is identical with the territory, which was, until recently, the modern homeland of the three Nubian-speaking population groups, viz., the Kenuzi (between Aswan and Wadi esSebua), the Mahas (between Korosko and the Third Cataract) and the Danagla (between the Third Cataract and Ed Debba). In this book, the terms Lower and Upper Nubia will be used in the strict geographical sense described above, while Nubia will be used, similarly to the great majority of modern historical and archaeological studies, as an alternative term for the Middle Nile Region.1


For the terminology, see Török 1997a 1 f.


“We are come to the limits of Egypt, the fairest of islands, to behold the land of Isis, Inachus’ daughter, and the deep stream of the Nile, which keeps Egypt prosperous year by year for the good fortune of Caesar. Hail, beloved mistress, and hail to you too, Sarapis, who dwells in the land across the water, most holy Abaton[.]”1

1. The Budapest Terracotta The Collection of the Department of Classical Antiquities in the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts keeps a remarkable Hellenistic clay vessel in the form of a draped female figure in kneeling posture (Pls 2–5).2 Its front and back were made in separate moulds. To the mould-made figure, the coroplast added hand-modelled arms and a stippled floral wreath tied with a broad ribbon (taenia) and, after the removal of the moulds and before firing, he also extensively retouched the face and the drapery with a pointed tool. The typological and iconographical model of the figure may be identified in a terracotta type representing girls performing a libation offering. This latter type was created probably in the Boiotian Tanagra and imitated in Myrina in Asia Minor3 and in the eastern Mediterranean as well. The now partly missing right arm of the figure was raised and bent at the elbow so that the upper arm was held horizontally and the forearm vertically. The broken-off and lost forwards-extended left hand 1 Greek epigram inscribed on the south pylon of the temple of Isis at Philae, É. Bernand 1969 No. 158; FHN II No. 170, trans. T. Eide. 2 Inv. No. T 534, Török 1995b 190 f. Cat. 145, Pls XI, LXXVI, LXXVII. Height 15.5 cm. Fine, dense, micaceous pale brick red Nile silt with marl clay admixture. 3 Paris, Musée du Louvre inv. Myr 233, Tanagra. Mythe et archéologie. Musée du Louvre, Paris 15 septembre 2003 – 5 janvier 2004. Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal 5 février - 9 mai 2004. Paris 2003 178 ff. Cat. 122, 325–250 BC, from Myrina, “Tomb A”. Cf. also S. MollardBesques: Musée National du Louvre. Catalogue raisonné des figurines et reliefs en terre-cuite grecs, étrousques et romains II. Myrina. Paris 1963 113 Cat. MYR 232(3), Pl. 135/a.


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held an object at which the gaze of the figure was directed. It may be presumed on the basis of Hellenistic Egyptian terracottas that the object in question was a phiale4 into which the female figure poured a liquid from another ritual vessel, viz., from an oinochoe or a rhyton which she held in her right hand.5 Thus the figure was shown performing a libation in a similar manner as it occurs in its aforementioned typological models. The floral wreath tied with a ribbon, the ends of which fall to the shoulders, is a traditional attribute of attendants of cult acts. The rather heavy forms of the squat body and the correct, yet summary treatment of the drapery just as well as the naturalistic modelling of the face display a marked distance from the affected gracility and mannered Classicism of the models from Tanagra and Myrina. The provenance of the terracotta is indicated by its fabric as well as by its style: both are typical for Egyptian, more precisely Alexandrian, terracottas of the Ptolemaic period.6 Such an identification of the provenance is also supported by the garment with fringed edge passing over the left shoulder and draped across the torso.7 This type of garment represents a Hellenistic variant of the traditional tripartite female costume developed in the Late Period8 and appearing in various renderings on images of priestesses and cult attendants of Isis. The provenance of the terracotta is also indicated by the appearance of the kneeling woman. The ringlets of her hair, her knotted eyebrows, flat, broad snub-nose with flaring nostrils, furthermore her nasolabial furrows and fleshy lips belong to the characteristic features of the Nubian type. The naturalistic modelling of the face and especially of the eye, the drapery treatment and the shape of the floral wreath date the terracotta to the second third of the second century BC. Its fine

Cf. H. Luschey: Phiale. RE Suppl. VII (1940) 1026–1030. F. Dunand: Religion populaire en Égypte romaine. Les terres cuites isiaques du Musée du Caire. Leiden 1979 Nos 50, 51. 6 Cf. E. Breccia: Terrecotte figurate greche e greco-egizie del Museo di Alessandria. Monuments de l’Égypte gréco-romaine II. 1. Bergamo 1930 21 ff.; Himmelmann 1983 28 f. and passim; E. Bayer-Niemeier: Griechisch-römische Terrakotten. Liebieghaus-Museum Alter Plastik Frankfurt am Main. Bildwerke der Sammlung Kaufmann I. Melsungen 1988 13; J. Fischer 1994 19 f. 7 For the “wrong” direction of the draping of the fringed edge of the garment (usually it passes over the right shoulder), see, e.g., F. Dunand: Terres cuites gréco-romaines d’Egypte. Département des antiquités égyptiennes. Paris 1990 Cat. 397–401 (Isis), 495 (priestess). 8 Cf. R.S. Bianchi in: R.S. Bianchi (ed.): Cleopatra’s Egypt. Age of the Ptolemies. Brooklyn 1988 206 f. 4 5



quality shows the work of a master coroplast.9 The extensive retouch indicates that the Budapest terracotta was intended to serve as an improved patrix for mass production and was probably reworked by the original coroplast himself.10 The figure is identified by her floral wreath and garment as a cult attendant. Both her garment and ethnic type suggest that she is a cult attendant or priestess of the temple of Isis on the island of Philae, a goddess worshipped traditionally by the inhabitants of Lower Nubia.11 As it was already indicated earlier, she was shown performing a libation offering.12 Judging by the posture of her arms and the supposed cult vessels in her hands, it was a wine offering.13 Her kneeling posture indicates, however, that the libation in question was performed at a low table or poured on the ground beside an altar. It was thus a Greek-type mortuary offering,14 which was, however, also meaningful in the terms of the traditional Egyptian mortuary libation.15 2. Cultural Syncretism on the Nubian Border The association of the cult of Isis with a Greek rite—which could easily be related in form as well as in contents not only to the traditional Egyptian libation performed at the tomb but also to a traditional form of Nubian mortuary offering16—manifests the success of

9 For the dating cf. H. Philipp: Terrakotten aus Ägypten. Berlin 1972 20 ff. Nos. 6, 7, 9, 10; Himmelmann 1983 42 ff.; J. Fischer 1994 39 ff. 10 See, in general, J.P. Uhlenbrock (ed.): The Coroplast’s Art. Greek Terracottas of the Hellenistic World. An Exhibition and Publication in Honor of Dorothy Burr Thompson. New York 1990 and cf. Török 1995b 22 ff. 11 Cf., e.g., Priscus, fragm. 21, FHN III No. 318, and see the Demotic, Meroitic and Greek adorations inscribed by Nubian pilgrims on the walls of the Isis temple and its precinct: Griffith 1937; A. Bernand 1969 passim, É. Bernand 1969 passim; Burkhardt 1985; FHN II, III passim. 12 Cf. Borghouts 1980. 13 For wine offering in ancient Egypt, see C. Meyer: Wein. LÄ VI (1986) 1169–1182; for the role of wine in mortuary religion in Egypt, see the Book of the Dead Ch. 145 57, E. Hornung: Das Totenbuch der Ägypter. Zürich–München 1990 284. 14 Cf. E. Simon: Libation. in: Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum I. Processions. Sacrifices. Libations. Fumigations. Dedications. Los Angeles 2004 237–253 245. 15 Borghouts 1980. 16 In Nubia, wine libations were performed at the conclusion (?) of the burial rites as early as from the seventh century BC onwards. For examples, see Beg. W. 609 (seventh century BC), Dunham 1963 32 ff.; Beg. W. 701 (sixth century BC), ibid. 57; Beg. W. 705


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the efforts of Ptolemaic religious policy aimed at a synthesis of traditional Egyptian and Hellenistic Greek religiosity in the third and second centuries BC. The image of a Nubian attendant of the cult of Isis of Philae performing a Greek chthonic offering introduces this book as a visual paradigm. Yet it does so as a splendid example of the kind of cultural syncretism that was characteristic for the medial region between ancient Egypt and Nubia rather than as a model case of EgyptianGreek religious syncretism. The figural vessel served probably as a container for the holy water of the Nile inundation originating perhaps directly from the river between Elephantine and Philae where the (symbolic) source of the Nile was located.17 In later times the water used for libation in the cult of the goddess was regarded all over the Roman Empire as originating from the Nile at the First Cataract.18 The goddess of Philae was associated in many ways with the Inundation. A Ptolemaic hymn from the Philae temple addresses her as Isis, giver of life, residing in the sacred mound, […] she is the one who pours out the Inundation.19

Created in Alexandria, i.e., in the far-away northern capital of Ptolemaic Egypt, for mass production and thus for a geographically as well as socially wide distribution, the Budapest terracotta was also meant to tell about the communal and cultural identity of the southernmost region of Egypt as it was viewed from the northern metropolis. At the same time, the master of the Budapest terracotta presented an impressive symbol of Isis’ universal queenship over the world outside Egypt.20 In the image three different ethnic, and at the same time cultural, (sixth century BC), ibid. 310; Beg. W. 10 (third century BC), ibid. 76 ff.; Beg. S. 6 (third century BC), Dunham 1957 28 f., fig. 8; Beg. S. 3 (third century BC), ibid. 40, fig. 18. 17 Herodotus 2.28, cf. Lloyd 1976 28 ff.—For the ritual use of Nile water drawn from the river in the period of the inundation, see V.A. Hibbs: The Mendes Maze. A Libation Table for the Inundation of the Nile (II–III A D.). New York–London 1985 182 ff. The water of the inundation was also associated with red wine. 18 R. Merkelbach: Isis regina—Zeus Sarapis. Die griechisch-ägyptische Religion nach den Quellen dargestellt. Stuttgart–Leipzig 1995 36, 104.—Cf. in more general terms: C. Maderna: Ägypten—phantastische “römische” Welt. in: H. Beck–P.C. Bol–M. Bückling (eds): Ägypten Griechenland Rom. Abwehr und Berührung [catalogue of the exhibition in the Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, November 26 2005–February 26 2006]. Frankfurt 2005 434–445. 19 Zabkar ˇ 1988 51, also quoted by S.A. Stephens: Seeing Double. Intercultural Poetics in Ptolemaic Alexandria. Berkeley–Los Angeles–London 2003 101. 20 For Isis in Ptolemaic royal ideology and for her universal queenship, see Bergman



aspects were stressed: Nubian, Greek, and Egyptian. Namely, the Nubian ethnotype was united with the Hellenized cult of Isis, one of the most generally revered21 ancient Egyptian deities, and associated with Philae, a “national” sanctuary22 which was developed since the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty as a southern pendant of the ancient northern sanctuaries of Isis at Mendes, Sais and Sebennytos.23 The Nubian figure also alluded to the Nubian origin of the annual Nile inundation. Worshippers of the goddess in the Greek and Roman world usually connected the Nile water used for libations with the First Cataract region, but for many of them it was also obvious that the water used in the sanctuaries of Isis comes actually from “hot Meroe beyond Elephantine”.24 The depiction of the Nubian ethnotype living on both sides of the Egyptian border presented a clear visual description of an important (though certainly not exclusive) feature of the ethnic reality of the frontier region between Egypt and Meroe. It also hinted at the political ambivalence inherent in the zone-like character of the frontier, which is also indicated in the remarks made by Strabo:25 For perhaps the frontier [between Egypt and Aithiopia] at that time26 was closer to Thebes, even though the present frontier too is close enough, i.e., the one at Syene and Philae. Of these, Syene belongs to Egypt, while Philae is a settlement common to the Aithiopians and the Egyptians.

And: 1968 121 ff.; Morenz 1973 248 ff.; R. Turcan: The Cults of the Roman Empire. Oxford– Cambridge, Mass. 1996 75 ff.; Hölbl 2001 passim; Huss 2001 385 f.; T.M. Doussa: Imagining Isis: On Some Continuities and Discontinuities in the Image of Isis in Greek Isis Hymns and Demotic Texts. in: K. Ryholt (ed.): Acts of the Seventh International Conference of Demotic Studies, Copenhagen 1999. Copenhagen 2002 149–184; J.F. Quack: “Ich bin Isis, Herrin der beiden Länder”. Versuch zum demotischen Hintergrund der memphitischen Isisaretalogie. in: S. Meyer (ed.): Egypt—Temple of the Whole World. Studies in Honour of Jan Assmann (Numen Book Series 97). Leiden 2003 319–365. 21 Herodotus 2.42 notes the nationwide unity of the cults of Osiris and Isis; cf. also Bergman 1968 293 f. 22 Cf. A. Giammarusti–A. Roccati: File. Storia e vita di un santuario egizio. Novara 1980; ˇ E. Winter: Philae. LÄ IV (1982) 1022–1027; Zabkar 1988; Vassilika 1989. 23 Cf. H. de Meulenaere: Mendes. LÄ IV (1981) 43–45; J. Malek: Sais. LÄ V (1983) 355–357; C.C. Edgar–G. Roeder: Der Isistempel von Behbet. RecTrav 35 (1913) 89– 116; G. Steindorff: Reliefs from the Temples of Sebennytos and Iseion in American Collections. Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 1944–1945 39–59. 24 Juvenal, Satires 6.526–528. 25 Strabo 1.2.32, FHN III No. 188, trans. T. Hägg. 26 Strabo writes about the time when Menelaus arrived in Athiopia according to Homer, Odyssey 4.84.


chapter one A little beyond the cataract lies Philae, a settlement common to Aithiopians and Egyptians, built like Elephantine and of equal size, and with Egyptian temples.27

Aithiopian (i.e., Nubian)-Egyptian coexistence in the frontier region has been expressed in the same manner already by Herodotus, who confused,28 however, the shared island of Philae with another island located farther south at modern Maharraqa, viz., with the island of Tac(h)ompso/Takompso (T A-q-m A-p-s of Egyptian Late Period texts;

Ιερ Συκμινος of Greek and Hiera Sycaminos of Latin sources):29 From Elephantine on, the country is inhabited by Aithiopians, and so is half of the island [of Tac(h)ompso], while the other half is inhabited by Egyptians.30

This is of course not all what we may, and have to, say about the Budapest terracotta and its complex background. We shall return to its political connotations in Chapter XIV.

Strabo 17.1.49, FHN III No. 188, trans. T. Hägg. Cf. Lloyd 1976 120. 29 Cf. Bion of Soloi in Pliny, Nat. hist. 6.177–178, 180–181, 191, 193; FHN II No. 108; Juba in Pliny, Nat. hist. 6.179, FHN III No. 186a; Ptolemy, Geographica 4.5.33, 4.7.5–7, FHN III No. 222. 30 Herodotus, 2.29.4, FHN I No. 56, trans. T. Eide. 27 28

chapter two FRONTIERS “[H]is southern boundary is as far as the wind, his northern boundary is as far as the sea.”1

1. Frontier Lines and Frontier Zones European enlightenment argued that states are politically integral territories extending to natural boundaries, which may be defined as linear frontiers. Nineteenth century colonial imperialism believed in the colonisers’ civilizatory mission which contributed to the academic interpretation of ancient frontiers2—especially the frontiers of the Roman Empire—as barriers between civilization and barbarism or as “the meeting place[s] between savagery and civilization”.3 It was only in the 1920s that social historians under the influence of Lucien Febvre (cofounder of the Annales school) first suggested that the two concepts of a frontier as a fixed “military front” and as a territorial boundary… did not merge until the nineteenth century. Nor was the fixed frontier… an evolution from a cordon sanitaire to a natural barrier line… [it was] a consequence of the rise of the nation-state, which accentuated the moral differences in nationalities[.]4 1 From an inscription of Seti I, quoted by Liverani 1990 54 f., cf. H. Grapow: Die bildlichen Ausdrücke des Ägyptischen. Vom Denken und Dichten einer altorientalischen Sprache. Leipzig 1924 42. 2 In Greek, the word ρος (plur. ροι) means boundary and boundary stone in both the political and the civil law, see T. Thalheim: ροι. RE VIII.2 (1913) 2414– 2416. For the Latin terms finis (plur. fines), termini, see K.-H. Ziegler: Das Völkerrecht der römischen Republik. ANRW I. 2 (1972) 68–114; id.: Grenze. RAC XII (1983) 1095– 1107 1096 ff.; Whittaker 1994 10 ff. In the context of land-distribution, limes meant the road separating one terrain from another; politically, it was originally the route of penetration into enemy territory. The earliest occurrence of limes as a fortified frontier is in an inscription written under Caracalla (AD 198–217). Cf. Lintott 1993 42. 3 Turner 1893.—For the economic aspect of Roman-barbarian frontier contacts, see more recently, e.g., M. Erdrich: Rom und die Barbaren. Das Verhältnis zwischen dem Imperium Romanum und den Germanischen Stämmen vor seiner Nordwestgrenze von der späten Römischen Republik bis zum Gallischen Sonderreich. Mainz 2001; M.J. Galestin: Barriers for Barbarians? in: Visy (ed.) 2005 221–225. 4 Whittaker 1994 7 f.


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More recent frontier studies unfolding in the 1970s moved in the direction pointed out by Febvre. In the view of C.R. Whittaker, the author of a series of seminal works on the frontiers of Rome, [t]he implication that power was restricted by linear boundaries of walls or great rivers is flatly contradicted by historical, geographical studies that, while admitting that the Romans, like the Chinese, may have had an ideological view of a limite de civilisation, rightly conclude that the frontiers were imprecise, more zonal than linear, despite the illusion of walls[.]5

In another study Whittaker generalizes thus: frontiers are really regions which are marginal because they are mixed both socially and economically, representing as they do change over from intensive to extensive production. They are necessarily zones because no state ever arrives at the optimum balance between its range of conquest (i.e., its military capacity) and the economy of its rule (i.e., where the military expenditure is no longer paid by tax returns); and because the turn-over from economic viability to economic liability is necessarily gradual, unperceived and unstable.6

The notion of frontier as a line was not self-evident in other periods and regions, either. To quote an example which is especially relevant for our investigation, the ancient Egyptian term t Asˇ, “border”, signified originally a line where a field, a settlement, a district, or the land itself ended. The same term was also used to denote a territory.7 t Asˇ was defined by men8 and it also signified the political boundary “made” (jrj t Asˇ) or expanded (swsh t Asˇ) by the ruler.9 A natural boundary was denoted by the term drw.˘ Yet drw also denoted a territory or a region ¯ ¯ defined by a natural boundary, and it was also used with the meaning “end of a land”, “Endbereich”.10 In the Eighteenth Dynasty drw denoted ¯ territories lying beyond the borders of Egypt.11 5 Whittaker 1994 8, with reference to P. Guichonnet–C. Raffestin: Géographie des frontières. Paris 1974. 6 C.R. Whittaker: Trade and Frontiers of the Roman Empire. in: P.D.A. Garnsey– C.R. Whittaker (eds): Trade and Famine in Classical Antiquity. Cambridge 1983 110–125, quotation after Cruz-Uribe 2002 168. 7 Hannig–Vomberg 1995 916, 1999 284. 8 See W. Helck: Grenze. LÄ II (1976) 896 f. 9 Cf. E. Hornung: Zur geschichtlichen Rolle des Königs in der 18. Dynastie. MDAIK 15 (1957) 120–133 125 f.; Meurer 1996 11. 10 Zibelius-Chen 1988 201; Hannig–Vomberg 1995 1010, 1999 285. 11 J.M. Galán: Victory and Border. Terminology Related to Egyptian Imperialism in the XVIIIth Dynasty (Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 40). Hildesheim 1995 131 f.; Meurer 1996 12.



2. The Egyptian-Meroitic Frontier in the Roman Period: An Introductory Note But let us return here to the issue of Nubia’s boundaries in the Roman period, for it was the study of Roman frontiers that inspired the current general conclusions concerning frontier history. To-day, scholarly consensus about the frontier between Roman Egypt and Nubia seems to be in agreement with the main current of modern Roman frontier studies, even though one still continues to be interested in the changes in the declared geographical position of a supposed “border line”12 rather than in the nature of a frontier zone. In the Roman period—just as in all other periods of the ancient history of Nubia and Egypt—the border between the two countries was of a particular nature, for in reality it consisted of two different sorts of frontier (Pl. 6). The first was a frontier zone with a settled population. It intersected the narrow valley of the Nile. In the course of the times between the third millennium BC and the early Middle Ages, this zone changed many times its extension and geographical situation between the First and the Second Cataract. Therefore, the history and culture of the frontier zone between Nubia and Egypt means no less than the history and the culture of the whole of Lower Nubia. As a result of political and military considerations and also in its quality as a customs frontier,13 this frontier zone could be reduced to a point in the Nile Valley, or, more precisely, to a controlled frontier line running across the Nile from one point on the west bank to another point on the east bank and it could be defended as a fortified “gateway”.14 As another sort of frontier, the rest of the Nubian-Egyptian border to the west and east of the Nile was made up of two desert frontier zones15 of great lengths. These zones had no settled population. In the somewhat better known Eastern Desert16 and so also in the eastern desert


From a military point of view, see U. Monneret de Villard: La Nubia Romana. Roma 1941; A.M. Demicheli: Rapporti di pace e di guerra dell’Egitto romano con le popolazioni dei deserti africani. Milano 1976 42; Speidel 1988. 13 Cf. Aristocreon in Pliny, Nat. hist. 5.59, FHN II. No. 103 (third century BC); Sehel, Famine Stela column 26, FHN II No. 135 (early second century BC); Philostratus, Vita Apollonii 6.2, FHN III No. 242 (around AD 220). 14 See below on Semna. 15 Cf. Whittaker 1994 144 f. and passim. 16 On the border area in the Eastern Desert in the early fourth century AD cf. the evidence from #Abu Sha#ar, Bagnall–Sheridan 1994 159 ff.


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frontier zone, there lived groups of nomadic Beja tribes17 (the Blemmyes of Hellenistic and Roman period sources).18 The ethnic picture of the Western (Libyan) Desert remains obscure.19 Earlier students of Nubian history when speaking about the Nubian-Egyptian frontier were concerned about the frontier in the Nile Valley and ignored the desert.20 It is only in the last one or two decades that scholarly interest turned to the desert on the confines of Egypt and Nubia21 and especially the Eastern Desert area between the Upper Egyptian/Lower Nubian Nile and the Red Sea.22 One hardly has started to formulate questions concerning the desert frontiers of Roman (especially late Roman) Egypt, however.23 While such Cf. Sadr 1991 95 ff. For the Blemmyes, see first of all Eratosthenes in Strabo 17.1.2, FHN II No. 109; Strabo 17.1.53, FHN III No. 190; Procopius, De bellis 1.19.27, FHN III No. 328 and cf. Updegraff 1978; 1988. The textual sources relating to Blemmyans were collected and commented recently in volumes I–III of FHN. The textual evidence collected and analysed in the FHN, as well as the supposedly relevant archaeological evidence is treated in a puzzling manner in Barnard 2005. 19 For the Predynastic-Early Dynastic period, see Wilkinson 1999 173 f.; for the Old and Middle Kingdom periods: Kemp 1983 119 ff.; Lange 2004. For A-Group connections: Rampersad 2003 90; Lange 2004. Cf. also P. Huard: Influences culturelles transmises au Sahara tchadien par le groupe C de Nubie. Kush 15 (1967–1968) 84–124; P. Huard–J. Leclant: Problèmes archéologiques entre le Nil et le Sahara. Le Caire 1972, and see Chapter III. 20 See the general remarks made by Welsby 1996 57 ff. 21 Sadr 1991; Bradley 1992; R.[G.] Morkot: The Darb el-Arbain, the Kharga Oasis and Its Forts, and Other Desert Routes. in: D.M. Bailey (ed.): Archaeological Research in Roman Egypt. The Proceedings of The Seventeenth Classical Colloquium of The Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, held on 1–4 December, 1993. Ann Arbor 1996 82–94. 22 Cf., e.g., D.P.S. Peacock–V.A. Maxfield: Survey and Excavations at Mons Claudius I. Topography and Quarries. Le Caire 1997; Kaper (ed.) 1998; V.A. Maxfield: The Deployment of the Roman Auxilia in Upper Egypt and the Eastern Desert during the Principate. in: G. Alföldy–B. Dobson–W. Eck (eds): Kaiser, Heer und Gesellschaft in der römischen Kaiserzeit. Gedenkschrift für Eric Birley. Heidelberg 2000 407–442; K. Krzywinski– R.H. Pierce (eds): Deserting the Desert. A Threatened Cultural Landscape between the Nile and the Sea. Bergen 2001; V.A. Maxfield–D.P.S. Peacock: Survey and Excavation at Mons Claudianus II. Excavations. Le Caire 2001; Cuvigny 2003; Maxfield 2005; Lassányi 2005.—The interest for the desert frontier is also connected to the study of the nomadic peoples living in the ancient Middle Nile region, see Sadr 1991; Bradley 1992. 23 R.E. Zitterkopf–S.E. Sidebotham: Stations and Towers on the Quseir-Nile Road. JEA 75 (1989) 155–189; S.E. Sidebotham: A Limes in the Eastern Desert of Egypt: Myth or Reality? in: Roman Frontier Studies 1989. Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies 1989. Exeter 1991 494–497; Bagnall–Sheridan 1994; id.: Greek and Latin Documents from #Abu Sha"ar, 1992–1993. Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 31 (1994) 109–120; S.E. Sidebotham: The Roman Frontier in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. in: W. Groenman-van Waateringe et al. (eds): Roman Frontier Studies 17 18



questions24 may eventually be directed at the life and political/economic significance of the peoples living in the desert areas, which functioned as frontier zones, they are formulated from the viewpoint of Egypt, not Nubia.25 It remains thus to be investigated, how does it look from the other side what Whittaker discerns in the case of the Arabian desert frontier from the Roman perspective: the Arabian frontier was a true limes, a road for movement and not a blocking, defensive system. In the Palestine sector it has been suggested that the road forts were posted more for internal security against the bandits of Judaea than to protect the territory against external, nomadic raiders… the eastern frontier… from the Pontic shore to the Red Sea was in essence a line of communication and supply, the base from which the Romans extended their control without any sense of boundaries. This does not mean that such lines were never defensive when external attacks came… But it is not proved that fines imperii were perceived as having a permanently defensive role.26

In his discussion of the relationship between Roman imperial expansionism and the Roman notion of fines imperii, Whittaker also notes that there was… an unwillingness to accept that Rome had any boundaries. That feeling derived perfectly rationally from certain ideological principles. It is an extraordinary fact that no Roman geographic description or map tells us where the boundaries of empire actually lay or whether there were ever any marker stones. It is true that two places are marked as fines Romanorum on a section of the Peutinger table depicting Syria and Mesopotamia… these fines look as if they were the boundary between the provinces and a client state (possibly Palmyra), since underneath one is written fines exercitus Syriaticae, showing where the military responsibility of the Roman army ended. It could have been a trading post as well, since the words commercium barbarorum are also written… [I]deology is no guide to the reality of frontiers… there is no hint of a scientific assessment of the strategic advantages and disadvantages… On the contrary, it is the conventional cries of imperialism that are deafening.27

Such deafening cries were of course proclamations of a complex ideology of state and regency, even if they were prompted occasionally by

1995. Proceedings of the XVIth International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies. Oxford 1997 503–509. 24 Sadr 1991; Bradley 1992. 25 For an exception, see again Welsby 1996 44 f., 57 ff. and Welsby 1998. 26 Whittaker 1994 59. 27 Whittaker 1994 68 f.


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personal “desire for glory”, as Cassius Dio reproaches Trajan and Septimius Severus.28 3. The Frontier in the Egyptian Myth of the State Historians mistaking the ancient Egyptian myth of the state for a calculated, smart propaganda believe that in pharaonic Egypt too cries for universal regency were generated by a similar desire for glory (and profit, one always hurries to add).29 The pharaohs of the Old and Middle Kingdoms tried to define Egypt’s political frontiers in their divine quality as universal rulers, their duty being to protect the ordered world (Egypt) against Chaos by fighting the enemies of the gods of Egypt and defending and expanding her boundaries.30 From the beginnings of Dynastic Egypt, the political myth of universal regency is clearly articulated in the textual and visual discourse on kingship. The royal duty of seizing foreign lands is powerfully visualized by the scene of “Pharaoh Smiting His Enemies”:31 Durch das Erschlagung der Feinde-Motif bezieht der König die Legitimation seiner Herrschaft, seine Herrschaft wiederum legitimiert ihn zur Feindvernichtung.32

The first attempts made at the domination of Lower Nubia towards the end of the Predynastic period (see Chapter III) left behind visual proclamations of brutal military aggression directed against foreigners,33 such Cassius Dio, Roman History [Xiph.] 68.17.1, [Xiph.] 75.1.1. For the pitfalls of interpretation cf. S.T. Smith 2003 168 ff. 30 For the concepts of frontier in ancient Egypt, see first of all W. Helck: Zur Vorstellung von der Grenze in der ägyptischen Frühgeschichte. Hildesheim 1951; E. Hornung: Von zweierlei Grenzen im alten Ägypten. Eranos Jahrbuch 49 (1980) 393–427; id.: Grenzen und Symmetrien. in: E. Hornung: Geist der Pharaonenzeit. Zürich–München 1989 76– 88 und cf. H. Brunner: Die Grenzen von Zeit und Raum bei den Ägyptern. AfO 17 (1954–1955) 141–145. 31 See Swan Hall 1986.—The earliest representation of a ruler smiting his enemies was found on a pottery vase from the Naqada Ic–IIa (c. 3600–3500 BC, for the terminology, see Chapter III) grave U-239 at Abydos, G. Dreyer–U. Hartung–T. Hikade et al.: Umm el-Qaab: Nachuntersuchungen im frühzeitlichen Königsfriedhof. MDAIK 54 (1998) 77–167 figs 12/1, 13.—For a scene depicting a ruler smiting captives from the Naqada IIc (c. 3400–3300 BC) Painted Tomb (Tomb 100) at Hierakonpolis, see Quibell– Green 1902 Pl. LXXV, LXXVI. 32 Zibelius-Chen 1988 207. 33 For the formation of the Egyptian “foreigner ideology”, see D. Valbelle: Les Neuf Arcs: l’égyptien et les étrangers de la préhistoire à la conquête d’Alexandre. Paris 1990. 28 29



as the rock inscriptions and drawings from Gebel Sheikh Suleiman near the Second Cataract (see Chapter III and figs 17, 18); the wooden label of King Aha (First Dynasty) from Abydos referring to a campaign against Nubia; and the stela fragment of King Khasekhem(wy) (Second Dynasty) from Hierakonpolis recording the suppression of Nubia.34 These Nubian images correspond to King Den’s (First Dynasty) year label inscribed “First time of smiting the east(erners)” and displaying the king’s image slaying a Palestinian captive.35 From the early Middle Kingdom, rock drawings and stelae showing the image of Pharaoh slaying his enemies were powerful means of intimidation in the frontier regions, similarly to the texts of the boundary stelae declaring the prohibition of passing Egypt’s frontiers. One is tempted to conclude from these monuments that in the Middle Kingdom the land was circumscribed with clearly drawn frontier lines.36 That the case was not this we shall see in more detail in the subsequent chapters of this book. Let us advance here that the non-linear nature of the frontiers may also be inferred from the text of the granite boundary stela erected c. 1862 BC37 by Senusret III, the Middle Kingdom conqueror of Lower Nubia within (!) the walls of the fortress of Semna:38 The southern frontier made in year 8 under the majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt Khakaure (may he live for ever and ever) in order to prevent it being passed by any Nubian journeying north by land or in a kai-boat as well as any livestock belonging to Nubians, with the exception of a Nubian who shall come to traffic at I"k. n [Mirgissa] or on an embassy, or on any matter which may lawfully be done with them; but it shall be forbidden for any kai-boat of the Nubians to pass northwards beyond Semna for ever.39

Wilkinson 1999 figs 5.3.1–4. Wilkinson 1999 fig. 5.1.1. 36 For the issue cf. S. Quirke: Frontier or Border? The Northeast Delta in Middle Kingdom Texts. in: A. Nibbi (ed.): The Archaeology, Geography and History of the Egyptian Delta in Pharaonic Times. Oxford 1989 261–275, and see the criticism of Warburton 2001 311. 37 For the controversy around the dating of Senusret III’s reign, see U. Luft: Die chronologische Fixierung des ägyptischen Mittleren Reiches nach dem Tempelarchiv von Illahun. Wien 1992; J. Wegner: The Nature and Chronology of the Senusret III-Amenemhat III Regnal Succession: Some Considerations Based on New Evidence from the Mortuary Temple of Senusret III at Abydos. JNES 55 (1996) 249–279; Callender 2000 149; T. Schneider: Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period. in: Hornung– Krauss–Warburton (eds) 2006 168–196 172 f. 38 Berlin 14753, PM VII 151; Meurer 1996 10 f. 39 Quoted after Lloyd 2000 375. 34 35


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This means that Nubians living in the kingdom of Kerma beyond the Semna boundary were forbidden to enter the vast fortified frontier region, i.e., the Lower Nubian Nile Valley extending from Semna in the south to Elephantine in the north—except for anybody who journeyed to the trading station at Mirgissa some 50 km to the north of Semna.40 Semna also appears in other texts as a gateway to Egypt.41 At the same time, Elephantine continued to be called the southernmost place in Egypt:42 as if the whole of the Nile Valley from Elephantine to Semna, i.e., the whole of Lower Nubia would be a frontier zone.43 Independently from the actual position of the frontier, Elephantine was considered the southern frontier of Egypt since the First Dynasty. When the actual military frontier was established at Semna, the Second Cataract was identified with the First Cataract region the deities of which were transplanted to the fortresses of the new frontier. In New Kingdom texts Buhen was called Abw rsj, “southern Elephantine”44 (cf. Chapter X.1.2.2). In his recent study of Egyptian-Nubian coexistence in Middle Kingdom Nubia, Stuart Tyson Smith concludes that studies of frontiers tend to see colonial boundaries as a polarized opposition between colonial and indigeneous populations. In practice, frontiers act as zones of interaction that crosscut political, social, and … ethnic boundaries.45

In the Second Intermediate Period, (Fifteenth-Seventeenth Dynasties, c. 1650–1550 BC),46 Lower Nubia was conquered by the Kerma kingdom (see Chapter VI). The Egyptian domination was restored by Ahmose (1550–1525 BC) and Amenhotep I (1525–1504 BC), the first rulers of

See also the Semna Despatches, Smither 1945; Zibelius-Chen 1988 149 f. Zibelius-Chen 1988 203. 42 Schlott-Schwab 1981 74 ff. 43 Cf. J. Baines: Early Definitions of the Egyptian World and Its Surroundings. in: T.F. Potts–M. Roaf–D. Stein (eds): Culture through Objects: Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honour of P.R.S. Morey. Oxford 2003 27–57 37. 44 Schlott-Schwab 1981 75. 45 S.T. Smith 2003 54, with reference to K.G. Lightfoot–A. Martinez: Frontiers and Boundaries in Archaeological Perspective. Annual Review of Anthropology 24 (1995) 471– 492. 46 Hornung–Krauss–Warburton (eds) 2006 492: 1759–c. 1539 BC.—Beckerath 1997 136 ff. counts to the Second Intermediate Period the Thirteenth to Seventeenth Dynasties, 1794/93–1550 BC. 40 41



the Eighteenth Dynasty. Their successors Thutmose I (1504–1492 BC), Thutmose II (1492–1479 BC),47 Hatshepsut (1473–1458 BC) and Thutmose III (1479–1425 BC) annihilated the kingdom of Kerma and established Egyptian control to the Fourth Cataract region (see Chapters VII, IX). Thutmose I proudly placed his territorial authority in the framework of cosmic regency: I have made the boundaries of Egypt as far as the circuit of the sun-disc, I have strengthened those who (formerly) were fearful… I have made Egypt mistress, with every land her subjects.48

4. The “Frontier” at Hagr el-Merwa By the sole reign of Thutmose III ([1479]-1457–1425 BC) Egyptian control was extended as far south as the region of the Fourth Cataract. Under Thutmose I and Thutmose III, boundary “stelae”, i.e., inscriptions and images of the King before Amun-Re, were carved on the north-east face of the rock of the Hagr el-Merwa, “a gigantic boundary stone”49 at the modern village of Kurgus50 situated between the Fourth and Fifth Cataracts c. 40 km south of Abu Hamed.51 The “stelae” of both kings present identical images and texts (Pl. 7). They depict the Horus-name of the king facing a seated ram-headed Nubian Amun-Re surmounting a four-line inscription and to the left of the latter the figure of a bull, i.e., Amun-Re Kamutef (Bull-of-his-mother). The identical inscriptions repeat a conventional threat-formula: As for any Nubian who shall transgress52 this stela, which (my) father Amun has given to me, his chieftains will be slain, he shall endure in my grasp, the sky shall not rain for him, his cattle shall not calve, there shall be no heir of his upon earth.53

The inscriptions and drawings declare powerfully that the border set by the king of Egypt demarcates


For the regnal years of Thutmose II, see Chapter IX.1. Urk. IV 102, trans. Redford 1995 167. For kingship and the sun god, see ibid. 169 ff.—Cf. Galán 1995. 49 Davies 2001 57. 50 The authors of Cline–O’Connor (eds) 2006 use the spelling Kurguz. 51 Davies 1998, 2001, 2003b. 52 Or “violate”, Davies 2001 50. 53 Davies 2001 50. 48


chapter two not only the southern limits of political and military reach, a frontier of empire, but also by definition… one end of the cosmos, a frontier between the worlds of order and chaos… The enthroned, ram-headed Amun-Ra, the supreme god, is the giver of life and universal dominion, both terrestrial and cosmic, to the king; as Bull-of-his-mother, the primeval creator god, he stands as re-creator and guarantor of the cosmos in this dangerous liminal zone. The human image of the king is avoided. The king, receiving life and dominion, is represented by his Horus-name, stressing his divine nature… The secular and cosmic aspects of the boundary are fully integrated in the… inscription, threatening royal and divine retribution upon a ‘real’ native population, but of a type—foreign, Nubian, desert-dwelling—traditionally counted among the ‘mythic’ forces of chaos.54

The Hagr el-Merwa texts and images present in context basic features of New Kingdom imperial ideology, also including the twofold conception of static and dynamic border. As put by Mario Liverani, [a]ccording to the static conception, the border of the universal empire lies fixed in its optimal position, as an ideal and cosmic border unaffected by historical accidents55

while according to the dynamic conception the king moves his border, only and always forward… The enlargement of the political border up to its coincidence with the optimal, cosmic boundary of the world, produces in the last analysis the elimination of the inner borders of the world and the elimination of any difference between center and periphery. It is an action of enlargement of order and peace at the expense of disorder and trouble, it is the fulfilment of creation and world organization… This dynamic border is always in the process of realization, but obviously never completed.56

The constant, unlimited growth of empires stops only at “the ends of the earth”, ultimos terrarum fines, as it would be told in Rome in the first century BC when Pompey erects an inscription proclaiming that [h]e has taken the boundaries of the empire to the limits of the earth.57

The Thutmoside “boundary stelae” at Kurgus were forbidding the transgession of a border that was said to be at the very place where the

54 55 56 57

Davies 2001 57. Liverani 1990 51. Liverani 1990 56 f. Diodorus 40.4, cf. Whittaker 1994 32.



stelae stand. Similarly to other boundary inscriptions, this indication cannot be taken literally, however. It is unclear whether there existed at all any contemporary permanent settlement/military station at Kurgus. The “boundary stone” of Hagr el-Merwa is located c. 1200 m to the east from the undated but probably post-Pharaonic Kurgus fort site.58 The “stelae” are facing the Eastern Desert. If there was a boundary at all that was meant to be protected practically and/or magically from intruders, it could have been at the point where the desert road starting at modern Korosko (between Shablul and Wadi el Arab in Lower Nubia) reached the vicinity of the northernmost point of the Nile’s great bend (between the Fourth and Fifth Cataracts at modern Abu Hamed c. 40 km north of Kurgus) and rejoined the Nile at Abu Hamed or Kurgus.59 Since permanent Egyptian presence does not seem to have reached beyond the region of Napata, the “boundary” at Kurgus seems to have meant to protect the desert trade route connecting Egyptian Lower Nubia with regions to the east and south of the Middle Nile rather than a “frontier”. The boundary “stelae” addressed possible intruders from the Eastern Desert attacking the section of the route south of Hagr el-Merwa. All private inscriptions on the “boundary stone” of Hagr el-Merwa date from the reigns of Thutmose I and III, with the significant exception of the inscription of Setau, Viceroy of Kush, dated to Year 44 of Rameses II (c. 1235 BC).60 In this regnal year, Setau led a military

I. Welsby Sjöström: The Cemetery and the Fort. Sudan & Nubia 2 (1998) 30–32; S.T. Smith 2003 95; cf. also I. Welsby-Sjöström’s unpublished paper on the Medieval date of the archaeologically identified Kurgus fortress submitted at the Eleventh International Conference of Nubian Studies, Warsaw 27 August – 2 September 2006. 59 For the supposed southern terminus of the trade route at Abu Hamed in New Kingdom times, see Adams 1977 304; P.L. Shinnie: Trade Routes of the Ancient Sudan. in: Davies (ed.) 1991 49–53 51; at Kurgus, e.g., M. Mollat du Jourdin–J. Desanges: Les routes millénaires. Paris 1988 88 ff. Alfredo and Angelo Castiglione write about “the ancient caravan route from Kurgus, which after having crossed the desert … arrived once more on the Nile at Korosko”, but their description of the southern section of the route is obscure as to the age of the actual section reaching to-day Kurgus, cf. A. Castiglioni–A. Castiglioni–J. Vercoutter–K. Sadr: L’Eldorado dei faraoni. Alla scoperta di Berenice Pancrisia. Novara 1995; A. Castiglioni–A. Castiglioni: Pharaonic Inscriptions along the Eastern Desert Routes in Sudan. Sudan & Nubia 7 (2003) 47– 51. 60 Davies 2003b 55 f. 58


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expedition to the southern lands of Irem61 and Akita62 in order to acquire slaves for the construction work at the temple of Rameses II at Wadi es-Sebua (north of Korosko in Lower Nubia).63 The expedition travelled probably on the aforementioned desert road. The inscription of Setau indicates the nature as well as the continued political, economic and ideological significance of the “boundary” in the Kurgus region. While the phraseology of universal regency articulated a general aspect of royal legitimacy, utterances about conquest made in New Kingdom and Late Period royal titularies presented mostly political programs.64 This is also true for the titularies of the kings of Kush in the Napatan period.65 E.g., King Irike-Amannote (late fifth – early fourth century BC) assumed at his enthronement the threatening Nebty- and Golden Horus names “Seizer-of-every-land” and “Subduer-of-everyland”,66 respectively. The names proclaimed (together with the King’s less directly formulated Horus name “Mighty-Bull-Appearing-inThebes”)67 the long-term military intention of Kushite advance in Lower Nubia (cf. Chapter XIII). 61 The Irem of New Kingdom texts seems to have been identical with the Yam appearing in the Old Kingdom evidence, see Zibelius 1972 78 ff., 84 f. According to Priese 1974; Kemp 1983 129 f.; H. Goedicke: Yam—More. GM 101 (1988) 35–42, Irem may be located in the Kerma region. The identification of the Kerma region as the site of Yam-Irem should be preferred to the location of Irem in the northern Butana (i.e., the northern part of the “Island of Meroe”) suggested by D. O’Connor: The Location of Irem. JEA 73 (1987) 99–136 and J.C. Darnell: Irem and the Ghost of Kerma. GM 94 (1986) 17–23, which was also accepted in Török 1997a 94 f. 62 Ikati or Akita (Zibelius 1972 95 f.) is described in a stela of Rameses II from Kuban as a region with gold mines but without water (KRI II 353 ff.; Hein 1991 13). Since Kuban guarded the entrance of the Wadi Allaqi, Säve-Söderbergh 1941 163 located Ikati in the desert east of Kuban; Emery 1965 193 in the area of the Wadi Allaqi. A location in the gold-mining region between the Fourth and Fifth Cataracts may, however, also be considered. 63 KRI III 91–94 (25); K.A. Kitchen: Ramesside Inscriptions. Historical and Biographical, Translated and Annotated Translations III. Ramesses II, His Contemporaries. Oxford 2000 64; Hein 1991 19, 93. 64 For examples, see Grimal 1986 683 ff. 65 For their political implications, see Török 1997a 198 ff. and see the comments on the titularies in FHN I and II. 66 FHN II No. (69). The Nebty-name repeats the Nebty-name of Thutmose I (Karnak obelisks), the Golden Horus name was modelled on Rameses II’s Golden Horus name on his (east) obelisk at Luxor. 67 Irike-Amannote’s Meroitic personal name “Begotten-of-Amun-of-Thebes” similarly alludes to the regency over Egypt and might have been assumed at his ascent to the throne. It is worth noting that Irike-Amannote also assumed an unusual Throne name occurring before him only in the titulary of Psamtek II, a memorable enemy of Kush whose army devastated large parts of Nubia two centuries earlier in 593 BC.



The utterances of the “boundary stelae” of the Thutmosids at Kurgus are of course epigrammatic if compared to the more detailed discourse presented in Thutmose III’s great triumphal stela erected at Napata in Year 47 (c. 1432 BC):68 He made it [the stela] as his monument for his father Amun-Re, Lord of the Thrones of the Two Lands, within the fortress (called) ‘Slaughter of the Desert Dwellers’, making for him a resting place for eternity, since he has increased the victories of my majesty more than (those of) all (other) kings who had (ever) been. It was subject to the command of his ka that I seized the southerners and in accordance with his guidance that I seized the northerners.69 He created the son of Re, Thutmose, ruler of Thebes, given life like Re for ever, the good god who seizes by means of his strong arm, who beats down the southerners and beheads the northerners, who shatters the heads of the evildoers and achieves the massacre of the Bedouin, who overthrows the rebellious factions of the Sand Dwellers and subdues the lands at the ends of the world, who strikes down the nomads of Nubia and conquers the boundaries of the lands that have attacked him… He is a bull stout of heart, whose southern boundary reaches to the Horns-of-the-Earth, to the southernmost limit of this land and whose northern boundaries reach to the limits of Asia, even unto the pillars of heaven.70

The textual and visual vocabulary of the imperial myth of rulership was repeatedly discussed in the Egyptological literature so that it may suffice to refer here to the relevant works.71 The relationship between the discourse on the myth of the state and the changing political-cultural realities will be discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. Here the warning must be advanced that topoi and actual policies only rarely conform completely to each other. The manner in which conquered Nubia was integrated into Egypt did not correspond precisely to the tradition according to which the kings of the New Kingdom returning from campaigns directed against Nubian rebels recorded their homecoming in inscriptions erected in the First Cataract region.72 MFA 23.733, Reisner–Reisner 1933; Urk. IV 1227 ff. (365). I.e., regions of the Levant in northern Palestine, the Lebanon and parts of Syria. Cf. Redford 1992 155 ff.; Bryan 2000 245 ff. 70 Trans. Cumming 1982 1 f.—The “four pillars of heaven” are located at the horizon, i.e., the end of the world, and they support the sky. 71 Cf. Lorton 1974; U. Luft: Beiträge zur Historisierung der Götterwelt und der Mythenschreibung (Studia Aegyptiaca 4). Budapest 1978; Grimal 1986; Swan Hall 1986; Liverani 1990; O’Connor–Silverman (eds) 1995. See also the survey presented in Zibelius-Chen 1988 209 ff. 72 Thutmose I: Urk. IV 88 f.; cf. Thutmose II ibid. 137 (55), Thutmose IV ibid. 1545– 68 69


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It did not in all respects correspond, either,73 to the topos of “wretched Kush” created after the New Kingdom conquest of Nubia. “Wretched Kush” was a powerful stereotype connoting inferiority. While it was used magically in the context of ritual acts and representations in order to forestall the success of eventual Nubian rebels,74 it does not seem to have governed the everydays of Egyptian-Nubian coexistence on the Middle Nile. 5. The Egyptian-Meroitic Frontier in the Roman Period: A Second Introductory Note Returning briefly to what we have started this chapter with, viz., the terminology concerning the frontier between Roman Egypt and Nubia, I quote here one or two texts which refer, however obliquely, to the nature of the frontier which was a zone but which was identified with a certain place that was considered traditionally as Egypt’s southernmost point. The texts also cast some light on the ethnic character of the frontier zone. In a Greek epigram written in 7 BC by a certain Catilius on the south pylon of the Isis temple Philae calls out: I am the beautiful border of Egypt and the far-off limit of the land of the Aithiopians.75

The author of a roughly contemporary Greek epigram written on the same pylon records that [h]aving arrived at the island [of Philae], the limits of Egypt, most beautiful, holy, (place) of Isis, in the face of Aithiopia, we saw in the river Nile fast-sailing ships which carried the Aithiopians’ shrines, worthy of the gods, to our land, the wheat-bearing, worth a visit, which all mortal men on earth revere.76

According to Strabo (early first century AD), in mythic times

1548 (487), Amenhotep III ibid. 1665–1666 (567), cf. Zibelius-Chen 1988 203. 73 For the issue, see first of all Loprieno 1988. 74 See Assmann 2000 89 ff. and cf. Ritner 1993; S.T. Smith 2003 11 ff., 19 ff. 75 FHN II No. 169, trans. T. Eide. 76 FHN II No. 170, trans. T. Eide.



the frontier [between Egypt and Aithiopia]… was closer to Thebes, even though the present frontier too is close enough, i.e., the one at Syene and Philae. Of these, Syene belongs to Egypt, while Philae is a settlement common to the Aithiopians and Egyptians.77

In AD 141–142 the famous Greek orator Aelius Aristides made a journey to Egypt and visited the frontier region. He wrote about its northern end:78 When I was on my way south [from Syene] to the Altars79 where the Aithiopians have a garrison, the road took me far from the river bank; but I cut over to the anchorage which is the first above the First Cataract (Katadoupoi),80 and passed over to Philae. This is an island on the border between Egypt and Aithiopia, no larger than the city on it.81

In AD 200 the emperor Septimius Severus sailed up the Nile to Upper Egypt and saw all of it except for a short stretch; for he was not able to enter into the border area of Aithiopia because of a pestilence.82

In c. AD 220 Philostratus spoke about (Hiera) Sycaminos as the border between Aithiopia and Egypt.83 In Heliodorus’ Greek novel Aithiopika, written around AD 350–375,84 the history of the frontier region is summarized thus: The city of Philae is situated on the Nile, a little above the Lesser Cataracts… The city was once occupied and colonized by Egyptian exiles, which made it a matter of dispute between Aithiopians and Egyptians. The former regarded the cataracts as the boundary of Aithiopia, whereas the Egyptians, because their exiles were the first to colonize Philae, claimed that the city belonged to them as if taken in war. So the city constantly changed hands, each time becoming the possession of those who managed to take and occupy it first.85 Strabo 1.2.32, FHN III No. 188, trans. T. Hägg. For the geographical reality rendered quite correctly by Aelius Aristides, see Speidel 1988 773. 79 Unidentified place. 80 According to the third century BC historian Bion of Soloi (in Pliny, Nat. hist. 6.178), the Catadupians lived on the east bank of the Nile south of Syene but north of Tachompso, see FHN II No. 108. 81 Aelius Aristides 36.48, FHN III No. 230.—The region is described similarly in Heliodorus, Aethiopica 10.1.2. 82 Cassius Dio, Roman History 76.13.1, FHN III No. 241, trans. T. Eide. 83 Philostratus, Vita Apollonii 6.2, FHN III No. 242. 84 Hägg 2000 195. 85 Heliodorus, Aethiopica 8.1.2–3, FHN III No. 274, trans. T. Hägg. 77 78


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But let us postpone the discussion of the frontier’s location in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods to Chapters XIV–XV. First we have to turn to the records of the age when political boundaries first began to take shape in the region of the First Cataract.


Is it Nubians? Then we will protect ourselves. There are plenty of fighters to repel the Bowmen.1

1. Before Political Frontiers The history of the Lower Nubian frontier zone starts in an age in the larger part of which the notion of political frontier does not make sense.2 What we may discern in the archaeological record of the Neolithic of the Middle Nile Region3 are cultural entities (i.e., socio-economic, technological, and ideological complexes) confined within a certain geographical range. We also may discern contacts or transitions between such entities and influences exerted by one cultural entity on another one. Admonitions of Ipuwer 14.13, Lichtheim 1973 161. In this chapter, I repeat calibrated radiocarbon dates provided in the recent literature: cf. the chapters on Nubian prehistory in Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004. On dates in Egyptian prehistory, see S. Hendrickx: Analytical Bibliography of the Prehistory and the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt and Northern Sudan. Leuven 1995; Hendrickx 1996; Wilkinson 1999; Wilkinson 2000; Shaw (ed.) 2000; S. Hendrickx: Predynastic-Early Dynastic Chronology. in: Hornung–Krauss–Warburton (eds) 2006 55–93; cf. S.W. Manning: Radiocarbon Dating and Egyptian Chronology. in: Hornung–Krauss–Warburton (eds) 2006 327–355. I also shall note eventual contradictions between radiocarbon dates presented by the same authors in different publications. BP (i.e., before AD 1950) refers to uncalibrated radiocarbon dates. 3 For the Neolithic of Lower and Upper Nubia, see the surveys presented by Wendorf 1968; Nordström 1972; Adams 1977 101 ff.; R. Håland: Problems in the Mesolithic and Neolithic Culture-History in the Central Nile Valley, Sudan. in: Hägg (ed.) 1987 47–74; A.S.A. Mohammed-Ali: The Neolithic of Eastern Sudan and its Implications for the Central Nile. ibid. 75–86; Caneva (ed.) 1988; J. Reinold: Néolithique soudanais: les coutumes funéraires. in: Davies (ed.) 1991 16–29; A.E. Marks: Relationships between the Central Nile Valley and the Eastern Sudan in Later Prehistory. ibid. 30–39; Krzyzaniak 1995; Midant-Reynes 2000a 100 ff.; Krzyzaniak–Kroeper–Kobusiewicz (eds) 2000; J. Reinold: Archéologie au Soudan. Les civilisations de Nubie. Paris 2000; Jesse 2004; Edwards 2004 38 ff.; Honegger 2005, all with further literature. 1 2


chapter three

Egyptology and African archaeology adopted the concept of Neolithic of nineteenth and twentieth century European archaeology. This concept is based on the occurrence of at least three out of four traits, viz., polished stone implements, pottery, agriculture, and the domestication of animals. More recently, students of African archaeology strongly argue against the use of the concept and the term of Neolithic. They suggest that the term as a time marker became irrelevant with the advent of radiocarbon dating. Yet they also warn that [i]t is not to be supposed that, by dropping the term ‘neolithic’ and substituting phrases such as ‘pastoral’, ‘agricultural’, ‘farming’, ‘cropraising’, ‘food-producing’ or any other expressions, all problems will be solved. Such terms only relate to one aspect of one parameter of living… The understanding of the complex issues involved in sedentism, semisedentism, nomadism, territorial occupancy and the myriad forms of food production and food usage cannot be assisted by oversimplifying terminology.4

While one can only agree with this, so far no new terminology has been suggested that could adequately describe the prehistoric cultures of the Middle Nile Region (presumably because we do not know them sufficiently). Therefore I shall use Neolithic for orientation as a chronological/archaeological term under the presumption that the deviations of Middle Nile Neolithic cultures from the traditional notions of European and Near Eastern Neolithic are nevertheless obvious to the readers of the more recent literature. Unlike the course of Neolithization in other parts of the world, cereal-based agriculture played only a limited role, and only in certain areas, in the transition from hunting and gathering to food-producing.5 Sedentism developed in several different forms on the Middle Nile and in the interior.6 The motor of the transition was animal husbandry the spread of which was part of the long-distance exchange connecting the cultures of the Middle Nile Region with each other and with those of the Lower Nile, the Eastern Sahara, and the Kassala region. The direction(s) and manner(s) of the spread of animal husbandry in Egypt, Sinclair et al. 1993 7 f.—Cf. also Wengrow 2006 1 ff. Cf. Sinclair et al. 1993 16 ff. 6 Cf. R. Haaland: Sedentism, Cultivation, and Plant Domestication in the Holocene Middle Nile Region. Journal of Field Archaeology 22 (1995) 157–174; ead.: Emergence of Sedentism: New Ways of Living, New Ways of Symbolizing. Antiquity 71 (1997) 374–385; M. Arioti–C. Oxby: From Hunter-fisher-gathering to Herder-hunter-fishergathering in Prehistoric Times (Saharo-Sudanese Region). Nomadic Peoples 1 (1997) 98– 119; Edwards 2004 43 ff., 56 ff. 4 5

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the Sahara and the Middle Nile Region are far from being established. According to the majority view, livestock was introduced to the Middle Nile from the Eastern Sahara where it arrived from the Lower Nile. Muzzolini suggests, however, that [t]he lack of correspondence in the emergence of domestication between the Middle East, the Nile valley and the Sahara was not… due to time differences caused by an assumed cultural diffusion and for which there is, in any case, no direct evidence. Nor was it due to differences between nuclear areas, which, in any case, cannot be identified in Africa; nor is it attributable to the colonization of ‘tension zones’. The differences were solely due to the potentialities that each group recognized in its own territory in terms of its own culture. The territory thus formed a unit that was both ecological and cultural at one and the same time.7

With the spread of stockbreeding from the Early Neolithic onwards8 not only the patterns of subsistence changed. Population growth and the growth of economic productivity, the development of new technologies and forms of material culture, the unfolding of social differentiation, permanent socal roles and structured social relations determined the formation of traditions and practices articulating the relations between the individual and the community, between the community and the world.9 The Upper Nubian Mesolithic culture (c. 8000–4900 BC) named Khartoum Mesolithic after the site excavated in the 1940s, and the subsequent Khartoum Neolithic10 (c. 4900–3800 BC, Pl. 8) and Late Neolithic (c. 3800–3000 BC)11 represent a long and slow development towards food producing. Excavations at the carbon-dated (c. 5700 BC) Mesolithic settlement site of Saggai 40 km north of Khartoum yielded high-quality pottery and stone and bone implements. The hunting and fishing community constituted part of a particular pattern of Late Mesolithic and Early Neolithic (c. 6000–4100 BC) hunter-gatherer settlements in the region comprising Muzzolini 1993 239. Cf. Clutton-Brock 1993 66 f.; R. Blench: Ethnographic and Linguistic Evidence for the Prehistory of African Ruminant Livestock, Horses and Ponies. in: T. Shaw et al. (eds) 1993 71–103 73 ff.; C. Ehret: Nilo-Saharans and the Saharo-Sudanese Neolithic. ibid. 104–125. 9 Caneva 1991 6 ff.; cf. B.E. Barich: People, Water and Grain: The Beginnings of Domestication in the Sahara and the Nile Valley. Roma 1998. 10 Identified first at esh-Shaheinab, A.J. Arkell: Early Khartoum. Oxford 1949; id.: Shaheinab. London 1953. 11 For the chronology, see Krzyzaniak 1995 119. 7 8


chapter three functionally specialized settlements distributed over a vast territory, which extended from the Nile to at least 40 km inland. The characteristics of these sites differed, with permanent sites along the river being used in the winter, the dry season, and long-term camp-sites in the hinterland in the summer, the rainy season. Both settlement areas were complemented by a number of hunting locations, on top of the small jebels scattered throughout the area. These cultures are characterized by… a complex site and territorial organization, with permanent settlements, containing graves, seasonal transhumance and functionally specialized sites.12

Recent excavations conducted at el-Barga c. 15 km east from the Nile in the neighbourhood of Kerma at a Mesolithic settlement (carbon-dated to c. 7300 BC) with burials (dated to c. 7000 BC) and at a MesolithicEarly Neolithic cemetery carbon-dated to c. 6000–5500 BC13 yielded information on the development of sedentarization and stockbreeding besides hunting and food-gathering at a considerably earlier time.14 The Mesolithic burials are without furnishings and there is no sign of any hierarchical organization of the community. C. one millennium later, the burials in the Early Neolithic-type cemetery indicate the emergence of social distinctions determined by the introduction of animal domestication. The richest grave furnitures belong to burials of women, which may perhaps be interpreted as indicative of the distinguished role of matrilinearity in the emerging hierarchical structure of society. Radiocarbon samples from the burial of a man and a child and containing the skull of a domesticated ox provided dates of c. 5750 BC. Apparently, this is not the earliest case of animal domestication in the Kerma region, however. At two settlement sites situated 5 km from el-Barga circular stone structures, probably huts, were discovered. At these settlements bones of domesticated oxen were found together with ostrich eggshells and shells which were carbon-dated to c. 6900 BC, i.e., about one millennium before the el-Barga Early Neolithic cemetery. An early date for an independent domestication of cattle—which lived in the wild in the Lower (Egyptian) Nile Valley15—and for the beginnings of 12 I. Caneva: The Saggai Region. in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 29–30 29. For Saggai, see also I. Caneva–A. Zarattini: Saggai: A Settlement of Hunter-Fishers North of Khartoum. in: Krzyzaniak–Kobusiewicz (eds) 1984 301–306; I. Caneva: Da cacciatori residenti a allevatori nomadi: il neolitico pastorale Centro-Sudanese. Origini. Preistoria e protoistoria delle civiltà antiche 14 (1988–1989) 513–524. 13 Honegger 2006 4 ff. 14 Honegger 2005 243 ff. 15 According to Clutton-Brock 1993 66, “the earliest securely dated finds of cattle

the beginnings


“Neolithization” has also been suggested on the basis of finds from the Nabta region16 located near the southeastern edge of the Western Desert c. 100 km west of Abu Simbel and c. 30 km north of the modern Sudanese border, where, besides domesticated cattle, also sheep and goat are supposed to have appeared around c. 6000–5600 BC.17 Such an early episode of the independent domestication of cattle in the Eastern Sahara is, however, doubted by several writers.18 In Wengrow’s view, at Nabta Playa domestic sheep and goat does not appear before the advanced sixth millennium.19 The Early Neolithic settlement at Kerma, dated to c. 4700–4500 BC,20 covered c. 1500 m2. Its circular huts (with a diameter of about 4 m) were enclosed by palisades. Traces of two rectangular buildings

in a cultural context come from Capéletti in Algeria and date from the seventh to the sixth millennium BC… Other early finds have been recorded from sites in the Sahara and in west Africa… Whether these cattle originated from western Asia, through Egypt or were domesticated in Africa, cannot be determined… [It has been] postulated that the remains of cattle from early neolithic sites, dated to 9000 BP, in the Bir Kiseiba region of the eastern Sahara could be from domesticated animals derived from wild Bos primigenius in the Nile valley.” For the issue, see also Abbas S. Mohammed-Ali: Evidence of Early Food Production in Northeast Africa: An Alternative Model. in: Krzyzaniak– Kobusiewicz (eds) 1984 65–72. 16 According to F. Wendorf–R. Schild: Conclusions. in: F. Wendorf–R. Schild– A.E. Close (eds): Cattle-keepers of the Eastern Sahara: The Neolithic of Bir Kiseiba. Dallas 1984 404–428 404 ff. and W. Wetterstrom: Foraging and Farming in Egypt: the Transition from Hunting and Gathering to Horticulture in the Nile Valley. in: T. Shaw et al. (eds) 1993 165–226 182, there were three major moist periods in the region: c. 10,000– 8200 BP; 8100–7900 BP; 7700–5400 BP or later. Others date the “Neolithic Wet Phase” to the period between 6500–4500 BP “when territories abandoned during the preceding dry phase were reoccupied and ‘true neolithic’ societies emerged”, see Muzzolini 1993 234. More recently, the onset of the arid climate is dated between 4900–4400 BC, see Hendrickx–Vermeersch 2000 35. 17 A. Gautier: Quaternary Mammals and Archaeozoology of Egypt and the Sudan: A Survey. in: Krzyzaniak–Kobusiewicz (eds) 1984 43–56 50 ff.; Wendorf et al. 2001; F. Wendorf: Forty Years of Archaeological Research in Sudanese and Egyptian Nubia. Sudan & Nubia 7 (2003) 2–10 7 ff. The evidence from el-Barga either shows that the early animal domestication found at Nabta sites was not an isolated phenomenon, or that it is a question of the interpretation of the archaeological finds, as opposed to the views of, e.g., K. MacDonald: African Livestock: Indigenous or Imported. in: R. Blench– K. MacDonald (eds): The Origins and Development of African Livestock. Archaology, Genetics, Linguistics and Ethnography. London 2000 (non vidi); D. Wengrow: On Desert Origins for the Ancient Egyptians [review of Wendorf–Schild 2001]. Antiquity 77 (2003) 597–601; Wengrow 2003 126. See also Hendrickx–Vermeersch 2000 32 ff. 18 Wengrow 2006 47 ff., with further literature. 19 Wengrow 2006 25. 20 Honegger 2004a 85; 2006 7 f.


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were also found (Pl. 9).21 Largely ignoring the development of the site during the subsequent centuries, by the late fourth – early third millennium BC we find an archaic-type walled (?) “urban” settlement at Kerma in which habitation, religious and administrative functions seem to have been spatially separated.22 Although we know that this Pre-Kerma settlement is the ancestor of the town of Kerma, the centre of the state of Kerma emerging around 2500 BC, it remains to be established whether the development of the Pre-Kerma settlement may be compared to the early urbanization occurring in Upper Egypt in the second half of the fourth millennium BC.23 Pre-Kerma settlements were identified between the Second Cataract and the Dongola area and dated to the period between the mid-fourth millennium BC and c. 2500 BC. Early and Middle Pre-Kerma pottery displays similarities to Lower Nubian Middle and Late A-Group pottery24 (see Chapters III.4– 7). The contacts between Egypt and the Middle Pre-Kerma territory were mediated by the Lower Nubian A-Group (see below).25 Claude Rilly identified recently the Nubian names preserved in the Papyrus Golenischeff 26 as Proto-Meroitic27 and suggested that the emergence of the Pre-Kerma culture was connected to the immigration of a ProtoMeroitic speaking population from the Wadi Howar Region in the mid-fourth millennium BC28 caused by the desiccation of the savannahs following the Neolithic subpluvial.29 Similarly, the emergence of Kerma would have been connected to the arrival of a large population from the same region in the middle of the third millennium BC, the period

21 M. Honegger: Evolution de la societé dans le bassin de Kerma (Soudan) des derniers chasseurs-cueilleurs au premier royaume de Nubie. BSFE 152 (2001) 12–27; Honegger 2004a 85 ff.; Jesse 2004 39 f. 22 Honegger 2004c; Honegger 2005 242 f.; Honegger 2006 8 ff. 23 Cf. Kemp 1977 passim and esp. 198 f.; Kemp 1989 31 ff. For the problem, see recently Honegger 2006 12 f. 24 Honegger2004b 61 ff. 25 Honegger 2004b 63. 26 From the Hyksos period. A. Erman: Hymnen an das Diadem der Pharaonen aus einem Papyrus der Sammlung Golenischeff. Berlin 1911. 27 Rilly 2007 3 ff.; C. Rilly: The Earliest Traces of Meroitic. in: D. Payne–M. Reh (eds): Advances in Nilo-Saharan Linguistics 2001. Proceedings of the 8th Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium Hamburg August 22–25, 2001. Köln, in print. 28 For an introduction to the archaeology of the Wadi Howar Region, see B. Keding: The Yellow Nile: New Data on Settlement and the Environment in the Sudanese Eastern Sahara. Sudan & Nubia 2 (1998) 2–12; Jesse 2006a. 29 Cf. also Wilkinson 1999 45 f.; Jesse 2004.

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of the desertification of the Lower Wadi Howar.30 Rilly’s hypothesis provides an explanation for the Pre-Kerma-Kerma continuity and it also partly explains the socio-economic background of the differences between the urbanization in Egypt and in the Upper Nubian PreKerma polity. 2. The Emergence of Elites The existence of a social elite is prevalent by the later fifth millennium, in the age of “primary pastoralism”,31 at all sites investigated between the Khartoum region and the Third Cataract. From the excavated 200 Early Neolithic graves at Kadero in the Khartoum region,32 c. 8–10 % was found to contain a rich and high-quality tomb furnishing. Their pits were deeper than the poor burials and they occurred in clusters. The seventeen cemeteries33 and the c. thirty settlement sites investigated so far in the region of Kadruka34 (north of Kerma in the Wadi el-Khowi, a palaeochannel of the Nile constituting the eastern border of the Kerma Basin) visualize the socio-economic processes of the transition from Early to Late Neolithic. In the oldest cemetery KDK 21,35 situated on a man-made funerary mound, some grave pits were bordered by stone “stelae”. The main tomb was that of a woman whose burial also contained the body of a sacrificed man. Around the main grave (a woman) of the later cemetery mound KDK 1836 twelve individuals were buried in a circle. The most recent cemetery KDK 137 30 Rilly n.d.a. I am grateful to Dr. Rilly for granting me insight into the manuscript of his paper. 31 Cf. Wengrow 2003; Wengrow 2006 26 ff. 32 J. Reinold: Kadero. in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 49–51. 33 Reinold 2004; Reinold 2006 151 ff.—According to Reinold 2004 44 note 3, they are dating from a period of c. one millennium between c. 4620+/-80 BC – 3340+/60 BC. 34 J. Reinold: Les fouilles françaises et franco-soudanaises. Kadruka. in: Gratien–Le Saout (eds) 1994 70–86; Reinold 2006 151 ff.—Cf. cemetery R12 c. 5 km to the northnorth-east of Kawa, S. Salvatori–D. Usai: First Season of Excavation at Site R12, a Late Neolithic Cemetery in the Northern Dongola Reach. Sudan & Nubia 5 (2001) 11– 20. 35 Radiocarbon dates between 3900+/-70 and 3960+/-60 BC: Reinold 2004 44 note 4. Reinold 2001 9 gives, however, dates ranging between 4790–4720 BC. 36 Radiocarbon dates between 3630+/-70 and 3520+/-70 BC: Reinold 2004 45 note 6. Reinold 2001 6 gives, however, radiocarbon dates between 4470–4250 BC. 37 Radiocarbon dates between 3250+/-70 and 3640+/-60 BC: Reinold 2004 45 note


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was opened with the burial of a man (Tomb 131, Pl. 10). Among other artifacts, his grave contained stone macheads, two bucrania, an anthropomorphic figurine of sandstone (Pl. 11, right),38 further a caliciform pottery beaker used for funerary libations (Pl. 12)39 (for the caliciform vessel, cf. Chapter VIII.2). According to Jacques Reinold, [t]he spatial organization of the burials presents a division into two groups… The one located on the summit [of the burial mound] develops in concentric circles around Tomb 131 and includes the individuals (all ages and sexes mixed) with the greatest number of grave goods. The further from the centre of the circle, the poorer the grave goods. The other group, which is located on the slope, presents a higher percentage of females. The grave goods are poorer than those of the first group and certain prestige goods are completely absent.40

Communities combining stockbreeding with hunting, food gathering and fishing, i.e., exploiting the resources of increasingly large territories in the Nile Valley and the interior, were thus living around their socially stratified “ancestral” cemeteries, which they used for several generations. In the course of the fourth millennium BC the developments in social stratification also seem to have been similar in the populations living in the region of Kadero41 and Geili42 south of modern Khartoum and at el-Kadada in the Shendi Reach.43 Their semi-nomadic patterns of subsistence did not bring about the development of large permanent settlements. According to Reinold, the settlements and cemeteries of the region of Kadruka belonged to communities of agriculturalists and were organized as chiefdoms.44 It would be mistaken, however, to associate the development of more complex forms of social organization exclusively with agriculture and permanent village life and

7. At the same time and in the same publication, objects from KDK 1 grave 131 are dated to 4228 BC by the same author on the basis of a radiocarbon datum, Reinold in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 Cat. 22. The same dating appears in J. Reinold in: Nubia. Los reinos del Nilo en Sudán. Barcelona 2003 Cat. 120. 38 J. Reinold in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 Cat. 273. 39 J. Reinold in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 Cat. 22. 40 Reinold 2004 43. 41 L. Krzyzaniak: Early Farming in the Middle Nile Basin: Recent Discoveries at Kadero (Central Sudan). Antiquity 65 (1991) 515–532; Krzyzaniak 1992 270. 42 Caneva (ed.) 1988; I. Caneva: Post-Shaheinab Neolithic Remains at Geili. in: Krzyzaniak–Kroeper–Kobusiewicz (eds) 1996 315–320. 43 J. Reinold: Les fouilles françaises et franco-soudanaises. El-Kadada. in: Gratien– Le Saout (eds) 1994 51–66; Reinold 2006 145 ff. 44 Reinold 2004 44.

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maintain the view in which cultural complexity is inconsistent with pastoral economy.45 Social stratification in the cemeteries at el-Kadada was also articulated by a particular burial custom occurring in rich graves and interpreted as human and animal sacrifice. According to the excavator’s observations, in a number of graves the main grave owner was placed in a flexed position in the centre of the pit and was accompanied with rich funerary equipment also including the body of a sacrificed person buried in a bag. In many cases a bucranium is placed between the two bodies. In one of the cemeteries the secondary body is that of a child or an adolescent buried in an extended position. In later (?) cemetery sections the place of the secondary body was taken by the burial of a dog.46 3. Late Mesolithic and “Abkan” Lower Nubia Turning now to the Lower Nubian evidence, Mesolithic sites around Wadi Halfa in the region of the Second Cataract display cultural features of the Khartoum Mesolithic. The presence of common traits with the material culture of the Khartoum Mesolithic and of culturally related contemporary communities in the Dongola Reach does not, in itself, demonstrate the movement of peoples but rather indicates that certain design elements and techniques of decoration spread widely along the Nile by diffusion to local and quite autonomous groups of people.47

The communities of the semi-sedentary Lower Nubian “Khartoum Variant” culture48 lived in small camp-sites along the river, produced pottery and microlithic tools and practiced fishing, hunting and food-collecting. They buried their dead in the settlements.49 The Late Mesolithic (c. 6500–5500 BC) “Khartoum Variant” evolved into early “Abkan” Caneva 1991 7 f.; cf. also Wengrow 2006 26 ff. J. Reinold: Les fouilles pré- et protohistoriques de la section française de la Direction des Antiquités du Soudan: les campagnes 1984–1985 et 1985–1986. ANM 2 (1987) 17–56 39 ff.; Reinold 2006 146 f. 47 A.E. Marks–J.L. Shiner–T.R. Hays: Survey and Excavations in the Dongola Reach, Sudan. Current Anthropology 9 (1968) 319–323 323, and cf. Nordström 1972 11. 48 For a survey, see Midant-Reynes 2000a 142 ff. 49 Nordström 1972 8 ff.; E.A.A. Garcea: The Palaeolithic and Mesolithic. in: Welsby– Anderson (eds) 2004 20–24 23. 45 46


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(after the modern settlement of Abka south of Wadi Halfa where the first sites of the culture were identified).50 Small, scattered fifth millennium BC settlement sites of the early “Abkan” culture were discovered around Wadi Halfa and in the Batn el-Hagar region south of the Second Cataract. Early “Abkan” strongly resembles Khartoum Neolithic,51 while later, fourth millennium BC “Abkan” material culture is already considered to represent a local variant of the above-discussed Late Neolithic of the Kerma region.52 Though later “Abkan” sites produced only a few bones of cattle and goat,53 there may be little doubt that the “Abkan” communities lived a semi-settled existence. The minimal subsidiary role played by domesticated animals in the “Khartoum Variant” and “Abkan” cultures may be explained as a consequence of the rich potential of hunting and fishing rather than a constant retardation of socio-economic processes. Discussing the similarities in the Neolithization of Upper Egypt and Nubia, Butzer concludes that [t]he persistence of strong hunting, gathering and fishing components, as well as the only gradual displacement of Epi-Paleolithic technology… argues that the new economic modes were adopted slowly and selectively during a millennium or more, rather than dramatically.54

The coexistence of different modes of subsistence to the north and south of the Second Cataract, in the Khartoum region, the Eastern Sahara and the desert east of the Nile promoted the development of long-distance exchange on the Middle Nile and beyond. E.g., the aforementioned female anthropomorphic figurine from grave 131 of Cemetery 1 in the region of Kadruka (Pl. 11, right) was made from veined sandstone found at a source situated at a distance of over 150 km from Kadruka. At Saggai, Red Sea shells were found at a fifth milennium BC Early Khartoum site, while “Khartoum Variant” communities at the Second Cataract imported Egyptian flint from several hundred kilo-

For a survey, see Midant–Reynes 2000a 145 f.—Cf. M.C. Gatto: The Khartoum Variant Pottery in Context: Rethinking the Early and Middle Holocene Nubian Sequence. ANM 10 (2006) 57–72. 51 O.H. Myers: Abka Re-excavated. Kush 6 (1958) 131–141; id.: Abka Again. Kush 8 (1960) 174–181; Nordström 1972 12 ff.; and cf. T.R. Hays: Predynastic Development in Upper Egypt. in: Krzyzaniak–Kobusiewicz (eds) 1984 211–219. 52 Cf. A. Vila: La prospection archéologique de la vallée du Nil, au sud de la Cataracte de Dal (Nubie soudanaise) V. Paris 1977. 53 Nordström 1972 16. 54 Butzer 1976 11. 50

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meters for making their tools.55 It may well have been long-distance exchange that also promoted the spread of domesticated animals and Neolithic food producing in the Middle Nile Region.56 Around 4700 BC a new pottery style emerged in Wadi Shaw and Wadi Sahal in the Laqiya Region, a wadi system in the northwestern Sudan c. 300 km to the west of the Third Cataract and c. 150–200 km south of the modern Egyptian-Sudanese border. This style corresponds to the style of Abkan pottery from the Nile Valley and Late Neolithic pottery from Bir Kiseiba in the Nabta region,57 indicating thus close relations between Lower Nubia and the regions to the west. According to Lange, the emergence of this style could possibly be seen in connection with the spread of animal domestication and the change of cultural traits throughout northern Sudan.58

The contacts between Lower Nubia and the Eastern Sahara, in particular the Laqiya Region, would be maintained during the remaining part of the fifth millennium as well as in the fourth millennium BC (see below). 4. The Rise of the A-Group Chiefdoms The terminal “Abkan” culture of the Second Cataract region was contemporary with the emergence of an indigeneous Late Neolithic culture in northern Lower Nubia. It is called (Nubian) A-Group, a particularly uncommunicative term based on George Andrew Reisner’s cultural chronology.59 The A-Group was the first of the so far unrecorded cultures that Reisner discovered at Shellal and identified as the earliest occupation of Nubia. Noting the resemblance of ‘A-Group’ pottery to that of the Predynastic Egyptians, as well as the seeming absence of older remains in Nubia, Reisner quite understandably conceived of a southward migration of Egyptian settlers into a previously uninhabited land… The weight of modern evidence indicates Krzyzaniak 1992 269. Caneva 1991; Krzyzaniak 1992 269. 57 Lange 2006 109 ff.; cf. Schön 1996; M.C. Gatto: Early Neolithic Pottery of the Nabta-Kiseiba Area: Stylistic Attributes and Regional Relationships. in: K. Nelson (ed.): Holocene Settlement of the Egyptian Sahara II. The Pottery of Nabta Playa. New York 2002 65–78. 58 Lange 2006 113. 59 Reisner 1910. 55 56


chapter three that both culture and society were unmistakably Nubian, and related to those of earlier and later times in the same area. In the beginning, a connection with the Neolithic Abkan tradition… now seems evident.60

In time, A-Group culture spans the period between c. 3700–2800 BC, which is subdivided into an Early (c. 3700–3250 BC), a Classical or Middle (c. 3250–3150 BC) and a Terminal or Late phase (c. 3150–2800 BC).61 This chronology was established mainly on the basis of the chronology of the Egyptian artefacts occurring in A-Group assemblages.62 Accordingly, the Early A-Group is contemporary with the second half of the Naqada I phase (c. 4000–3500 BC) and the Naqada IIb–IIc– IId1 phases (c. 3500–3250 BC);63 the Classical or Middle A-Group with Naqada IId2-IIIa2 (c. 3250–3150 BC); the Terminal or Late A-Group with Naqada IIIa2/Dynasty 0 (c. 3150–3000 BC) and with Dynasty 1 and early Dynasty 2 (c. 3000–2800 BC).64 A-Group habitation sites and cemeteries were found between Saras south of the Second Cataract and Kubaniya north of the First Cataract. The chronological distribution of the culture’s cemeteries shows a southward expansion with time.65 Early A-Group habitation sites and cemeteries were found only in northern Lower Nubia between Kubaniya66 and Dakka.67 The presAdams 1977 118 f.; cf. Wendorf (ed.) 1968 II 1053. Cf. Smith 1991 92 f.; C. Bonnet: A-Group and Pre-Kerma. in: Wildung (ed.) 1997 37–39 37; Nordström 2004 134. For the end of the Terminal or Late phase I adopt here Bonnet’s dating which does not contradict Nordström’s dating (c. 2900 BC) which was established on the basis of the latest Egyptian imports dating from the early First Dynasty. 62 See first of all Nordström 1972 and Smith 1991. 63 For the chronology of the Naqada culture, see W. Kaiser: Zur inneren Chronologie der Naqadakultur. Archaeologia Geographica 6 (1957) 69–77; id.: Zur Entstehung des gesamtägyptischen Staates. MDAIK 46 (1990) 287–299; Hendrickx 1996; Wilkinson 2000. 64 Cf. Wengrow 2006 273 f., Tables 2 and 3. 65 Nordström 1972 29; Midant-Reynes 2000a 220 f.; Nordström 2004. In Rampersad’s view, this may be contradicted by the distribution of the habitation sites: Rampersad 2003 97 ff. Our knowledge of the settlement sites and their chronology is not sufficient, however. 66 Early A-Group presence as far north as the region of Kom Ombo is argued for by M.C. Gatto: Nubians in Egypt: Survey in the Aswan-Kom Ombo Region. Sudan & Nubia 9 (2005) 72–75. 67 M.C. Gatto: Ceramic Traditions and Cultural Territories: the “Nubian Group” in Prehistory. Sudan & Nubia 6 (2002) 8–19 16 hypothesizes that the A-Group originated in the Dakka-Sayala area. This seems to be contradicted by the chronology of the cemeteries which, as already noted above, supports a southward expansion of the culture starting from the First Cataract area, cf. Smith 1991; Nordström 2004. 60 61

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ence of an A-Group cemetery at Kubaniya,68 a place c. 10 km north of Aswan on the west bank, seems to indicate that in this period the ethnic frontier between Egypt and Nubia lay at Gebel Silsile rather than Aswan.69 It must be added, however, that indigenous Nubian AGroup pottery was recovered at Kubaniya only in the cemetery sections contemporary with Naqada Ic through IIc (c. 3600–3300 BC), while the later burials contemporary with Naqada IId–IIIa2 and Dynasty 0 (c. 3300–3000 BC) contained no Nubian artefacts and did not differ in any respect from contemporary Upper Egyptian burials. An Early AGroup centre emerged in the earlier part of the phase in the region of Khor Bahan south of the First Cataract,70 where the richest cemetery of the phase was excavated. It is here that the first copper artefacts appeared in Nubia. Another centre emerged at a later stage of the phase. The location of this latter is indicated by a special site at Khor Daoud (see below), furthermore by a number of cemeteries around Dakka with c. 20–100 burials and by some smaller grave groups discovered between Dakka and Afya. Trigger71 and Rampersad72 suggested that Early A-Group settlement was not confined on northern Lower Nubia, since a group of habitation sites around Saras,73 with a material culture displaying features of the Early Khartoum culture, may signal an expansion from the south. This expansion did not reach beyond the Second Cataract, however, and its connection with the northern Early A-Group remains unknown. The find material from Early A-Group cemeteries and habitation sites is dominated by Egyptian pottery, siltstone74 palettes, stone maceheads and flint knives. While also the tombs resemble contemporary Upper Egyptian graves—contracted body on its left side, head to the south, wrapped up in matting, buried in an oval or sub-rectangular pit—, the Egyptian imports in the grave inventories occur, as a rule, in the company of local pottery.75 This clearly indicates that neither the Early A-Group cemetery at Kubaniya north of the First Cataract nor Junker 1919. Smith 1991 94. 70 Reisner 1910 115 ff.; cf. Nordström 1972 28. 71 Trigger 1965 69. 72 Rampersad 2003 97. 73 R.S. Solecki et al.: Preliminary Statement of the Prehistoric Investigations of the Columbia University Nubian Expedition in Sudan, 1961–1962. Kush 11 (1963) 70–92. 74 In the earler literature the definitions schist or slate were preferred, cf. Wengrow 2006 51. 75 Already recognised by Junker 1919. 68 69


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the dominant presence of Egyptian artefacts at this cemetery and other A-Group sites do mean that the Early A-Group represents an expansion of Upper Egyptians into Lower Nubia76 or that its culture was an “outgrowth of the Amratian phase [i.e., Naqada I] in Upper Egypt”.77 During the Early A-Group phase stone vessels, siltstone palettes, combs and hairpins; beads and pendants, flint knives and pigments; beer and wine were imported in increasing quantities from Upper Egypt.78 The Nubian goods bartered included ebony and ivory, ostrich eggs, exotic skins. From c. 3500–3400 BC the A-Group may also have started to acquire gold and semi-precious stones from the nomads living in the Eastern Desert.79 Yet pottery vessels imported from Nubia also occur in the late Naqada I (c. 3600–3500 BC) “princely” Tomb 6 at Hierakonpolis, Locality 6.80 From around 3500–3400 BC onwards there existed a trading or redistribution centre at Khor Daoud c. 9 km north of the entrance of the Wadi Allaqi on the east bank of the Nile. At Khor Daoud 578 storage pits were excavated, many of which contained pottery vessels from different periods and holding originally oil, wine and beer, the earliest ones dating from the Naqada IIa, the rest from the Naqada IIb–IId phases. This centre seems to have survived until the Naqada IIIa phase, i.e., the emergence of the united Egyptian state.81 Another trading centre existed at Elephantine from the Naqada IId1 Cf. W.A. Fairservis: Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile. New York 1962 71. Trigger 1965 68 ff.; Nordström 1972 28. 78 Cf. Wengrow 2006 34; and see B.G. Aston: Ancient Egyptian Stone Vessels: Materials and Forms. Heidelberg 1994. 79 Smith 1991 108. Gold, doubtless originating from the south, was worked in Egypt from the late Badarian period (c. 4400–4000 BC) onwards, cf. A. Lucas–J.R. Harris: Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries. London 1962 257 ff. R. Klemm–D.D. Klemm: Chronologischer Abriss der antiken Goldgewinnung in der Ostwüste Ägyptens. MDAIK 50 (1994) 189–222 found only limited evidence for gold mining in Predynastic times. Wilkinson 1999 172 suggests that the scattered mining sites were exploited by the local population. According to K. Sadr: The Wadi Elei Finds. CRIPEL 17 (1997) 67–76, gold mining was practised in a primitive manner in the Nubian Desert during the fifth millennium BC and there were contacs between the populations of the Egyptian and Nubian Nile Valley and the Eastern Desert.—Cf. in general S. Aufrère: L’univers minéral dans la pensée égyptienne. Le Caire 1991 353 ff.; J. Vercoutter: Or et politique dans l’Égypte des origines. in: Berger–Clerc–Grimal (eds) 1994 403–410; Nicholson–Shaw (eds) 2000. 80 B. Adams: Elite Graves at Hierakonpolis. in: Spencer (ed.) 1996 1–15 5; Wilkinson 2000 381.—Cf. also R. Friedman: Pebbles, Pots and Petroglyphs: Excavations at Hk 64. in: Friedman–Adams (eds) 1992. 81 For the archaeological evidence, see B.B. Piotrovsky: The Early Dynastic Settlement of Khor-Daoud and Wadi-Allaki, the Ancient Route of the Gold Mines. Fouilles en Nubie (1961–1963). Le Caire 1967 127–140; Nordström 1972 26. 76 77

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phase (from c. 3300 BC). The early settlement at Elephantine was partly inhabited by an A-Group population.82 The suggestion that it was a trading outpost of the Naqada II proto-state centred at Hierakonpolis83 requires further proofs. 5. The Contacts of the A-Group with Egypt in the Naqada Period The southward shift of Early A-Group settlement and the emergence of a bartering or redistribution centre at Khor Daoud may be interpreted as an evidence for the unfolding of the trade contacts between Upper Egypt, the nomads of the Eastern Desert and sub-Saharan Africa in which the A-Group, controlling a key section of the routes of communication between these territories, acquired the lucrative role of middlemen. The successful organization of long-distance exchange presupposes an organized society. Indeed, hierarchical differences and different social/age/gender roles are clearly indicated by the quantitative and qualitative differences occurring in Early A-Group grave equipments.84 It is, however, an oversimplification of the developments in AGroup Nubia when Midant-Reynes interprets the impact of trade as follows: [t]here can be no doubt that the A Group was a product of the Naqadaculture explosion. The development of commerce along the Nile and the consequent emergence of high quality craftmanship led to the creation of anchorage points—‘trading posts’—the purpose of which was to ensure that the Naqada potentates were able to transfer raw materials from the south to the north, and this transversal at first took place in terms of reciprocity, but later, under the first rulers of dynastic Egypt, became more radically aggressive.85

82 W. Kaiser et al.: Stadt und Tempel von Elephantine—25./26./27. Grabungsbericht. MDAIK 55 (1999) 63–236 187 f.; Raue 2002. 83 Cf. Kaiser 1999 283. 84 For the analysis and ranking of the mortuary evidence, see Nordström 1972; J.A. Brown: The Search for Rank in Prehistoric Burials. in: R. Chapman–I. Kinnes– K. Randsborg (eds): The Archaeology of Death. Cambridge 1981 25–37; Smith 1991; H.Å. Nordström: The Nubian A-Group: Ranking Funerary Remains. Norwegian Archaeological Review 29 (1996) 17–39; M.C. Gatto: A-Groups: A Complex Society of Lower Nubia (Egypt, Sudan). in: F. Alhaique et al. (eds): Proceedings of the VIIth Congress IUSSP. Workshops I. Forlì 1998 515–519; Nordström 2004. 85 Midant-Reynes 2000a 223.


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Midant-Reynes disregards here the inner dynamics of the changes brought about by the establishment of long-distance exchange. The absence of Egyptian objects in contemporary archaeological contexts outside the Early A-Group landscape is conspicuous and it suggests that direct trade with Upper Egypt remained an A-Group monopoly until c. 3100–2800 BC, i.e., the Late A-Group phase.86 Modern terminology is frequently misleading. So are the traditional terms Classical and Terminal A-Group and also their recently introduced equivalents, i.e., Middle and Late A-Group. Even if one keeps in mind that these terms combine a typology of burials and material culture with Upper Egyptian chronology as it is reflected in imports to Lower Nubia, they inevitably suggest that the brief Classical or Middle A-Group (contemporary with Naqada IId2-IIIa2, c. 3250–3150 BC) represents the peak of A-Group history, while the Terminal or Late AGroup (contemporary with Naqada IIIa2/Dynasty 0, c. 3150–3000 BC, and with Dynasty 1 and early Dynasty 2, c. 3000–2800 BC) was a prolonged period of decline terminated finally by early dynastic aggression. The reality was probably different. It may be argued with good reasons that the Middle and Late phases constitute together one single period of evolution87 in the course of which a more complex form of chiefdom emerged in Lower Nubia. As it is reflected in the archaeological evidence, the unfolding of long-distance trade contacts ran parallel with the process of differentiation in grave inventories and with a southward expansion of A-Group settlement. Behind these processes one may suppose changes in subsistence patterns, first of all a growing importance of agricultural activities besides cattle-breeding and hunting (similarly to what may be observed in late fifth and fourth millennium Upper Nubia); the increase of surplus production and population growth. By c. 3250 BC, the beginning of the Classical or Middle phase, AGroup settlement extended over the entire Lower Nubian Nile Valley between Kubaniya north of the First Cataract and Saras in the Second Cataract region, also incorporating in the south what was formerly the territory and population of the “Abkan” culture.88 The settlements and cemeteries concentrated in three Nile Valley sections, viz., between 86 87 88

201 f.

Honegger 2004b 63. See Nordström 2004 141. For the transition between “Abkan” and Middle A-Group, see Mills 1967–1968

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Kubaniya and Debod, Gerf Hussein and Sayala, and Arminna and Saras. Habitation sites of some importance may be identified in all of them: in the first, at Meris Markos;89 in the second, at Dakka;90 and in the third, at Faras91 and Saras.92 The fertile zones in Lower Nubia were not entirely continuous and varied from small plots to patches several km long and 1–1.5 km wide, the three most important ones being in the regions of Dakka, Aniba/Karanog, and Faras, respectively (from north to south). The Nile Valley section between Kubaniya and Debod included the First Cataract region, i.e., the gate to Egypt. The region between Gerf Hussein and Sayala included the fertile Dakka plain, while the region between Arminna and Saras included the fertile Faras area and the Second Cataract area, i.e., the gate to Upper Nubia; and it also may have controlled the Aniba/Karanog region. While it cannot be decided if these three concentrations of Middle A-Group settlements and cemeteries represent three separate polities, it seems that the Terminal phase saw the emergence of two territorial political units,93 i.e., two separate complex chiefdoms (see below). 6. The Emergence of Territorial Political Units The overwhelming majority of the habitation sites of the Early, Middle and Late A-Group phases had a temporary/seasonal character with dwellings, which consisted probably of a reed hut built on a wooden framework. The settlements were built on eroded silts or platforms at the river edge.94 Trigger argues that [d]espite the appearance of unsettled, virtually nomadic, conditions [in these settlements], there is other evidence suggesting considerably more stability. In particular there are secondary burials in a large number of graves, which appear to have been made some time after the original burial. This seems to indicate that a band or family was able to use the same cemetery over a long period of time. Perhaps each of these groups tended to keep a limited section of the river, a way of life more in

Reisner 1910 215 ff. Firth 1915 9 f. 91 Nordström 1972 134 ff. 92 G.W. Hewes: Prehistoric Investigations on the West Bank in the Batn el Hagar by the University of Colorado Nubian Expediion. Kush 14 (1966) 25–43 39. 93 Cf. Geus 2006 347 f. 94 Cf. Midant-Reynes 2000a 220. 89 90


chapter three keeping with at least a partial dependence on agriculture than nomadic wandering. Since the habitations were very flimsy the settlements could be moved fairly often. During most of the year the camps were probably located along the edge of the river, and it was only during the flood period that their inhabitants retreated to the edge of the flood plain.95

Due to new archaeological discoveries, the semi-nomadic way of life of a considerable part of the A-Group population and the importance and dimensions of pastoralism are now seen in a different light. Before the early 1980s A-Group settlement was thought to have been restricted to the Nile Valley. Excavations and surveys carried out in the Wadis Shaw and Sahal in the Laqiya Region96 have demonstrated that from the second half of the fourth millennium BC, i.e., from the later part of the Early A-Group phase onwards, A-Group pottery also occurs in considerable quantity at settlements in the Laqiya Region.97 At Wadi Shaw cattle, sheep and goat bones were found in association with A-Group pottery, indicating the presence of A-Group herders in the region. An A-Group pottery depot was also discovered at Bir Sahara c. 200 km west of Nabta Playa in the Eastern Sahara.98 Such a large extension of A-Group settlement may be explained with the seasonal movement of semi-nomadic pastoral groups leaving the Lower Nubian Valley during or shortly after the rainy season when the grazing areas were flooded there by the annual inundation. Though the climate of the Eastern Sahara became drier in the fourth millennium BC, due to the still high ground water influx the Laqiya Region and the Selima Sandsheet north of it could nevertheless offer excellent pasturage and sufficient watering holes.99 While the majority of the Lower Nubian A-Group population continued to live in temporary/seasonal settlements, also a more permanent habitation type emerged in the course of the Late A-Group phase (c. 3150–2800 BC).100 Remains of settlements with houses built from

Trigger 1965 71 f. For a summary, see R. Kuper: Prehistoric Research in the Southern Libyan Desert. A Brief Account and Some Conclusions of the B.O.S. Project. in: Actes Lille I 123–140. 97 Lange 2006 109 ff. 98 M.C. Gatto: Two Predynastic Pottery Caches at Bir Sahara (Egyptian Western Desert). Sahara 13 (2001); Lange 2006 113. 99 Lange 2003 121 ff.; Lange 2006 110 f. 100 For a typology of A-Group settlements, see Rampersad 2003 90 ff. 95 96

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sandstone rubble survived at Dakka,101 Afya,102 El Riqa,103 Argin West104 and Abu Simbel West.105 At Afya, houses of rectangular plan were also found.106 In a house, which contained six rooms and covered about 200 m2, mortar (Nile mud mixed with sand) and traces of wall plastering were discovered. Though the archaeological record does not permit far-reaching conclusions, it is worth noting that these settlements, inhabited probably by an elite which led a more sedentary life than the rest of the population, lie in more or less equal distances along the west bank of the Nile between the First and the Second Cataract. Provided that the archaeological record is not too accidental (which, given the intensity of the archaeological surveys conducted in Lower Nubia, is fairly unlikely), such a pattern would support the suggestion that these settlements also functioned as “stations” of an organized and “centrally” controlled long-distance trade and that it was this trade that was the principal motor of social, political and cultural developments in Middle and Late A-Group Lower Nubia. The archaeological evidence does not permit a more precise estimation of the life span of the individual settlements. A well-maintained mud-brick house in pharaonic Egypt could be inhabited for a century or so.107 Such a life span may also be supposed in the case of A-Group houses with stone walls strengthened sometimes with mortar and with a wood-and-mat (?) roof construction. The geographical distribution of the aforementioned elite settlements may give the impression that the whole of Late A-Group Lower Nubia constituted one single polity extending from the First to the Second Cataract. However, mortuary evidence from two significant sites, viz., Qustul and Sayala, contradicts this impression. In Cemetery L at Qustul, where twenty-five Terminal A-Group graves were excavated, eight extraordinarily large tombs were identified as burials of rulers of what Bruce Williams identified as a monarchy,108 O’Connor and Firth 1915 9 f. B.B. Lal: Indian Archaeological Expedition to Nubia, 1962: A Preliminary Report. Fouilles en Nubie, 1961–1963. Le Caire 1967 95–118. 103 Smith 1962 71. 104 H.-Å. Nordström: Excavations and Survey in Faras, Argin and Gezira Dabarosa. Kush 10 (1962) 34–58 44. 105 Smith 1962 45. 106 For a rectangular Naqada I house at Hierakonpolis, see Midant-Reynes 2000b 52. Of Naqada II towns, rectangular houses and enclosure walls are typical, ibid. 57. 107 D. Arnold: Lexikon der ägyptischen Baukunst. Zürich 1994 99 f. 108 Williams 1986. 101 102


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Wilkinson as a proto-kingdom,109 Adams and Nordström as a complex chiefdom.110 It seems that the most likely definition is this latter. The existence of a second polity of a similar character is indicated by one of the burials at the rich cemetery of Cemetery 137 at Sayala111 and further by a number of burials at the related Sayala Cemetery 142.112 As it is also supported by the chronology of the finds from these burials, Qustul Cemetery L as well as the Sayala cemeteries served for the burial of several generations of chieftains. At the badly plundered Cemetery L of Qustul an abundance of imported stone vessels and pottery was recovered alongside a wealth of fine Late A-Group “eggshell” pottery (Pl. 13),113 a refined painted and burnished luxury pottery type produced probably in the Qustul area.114 The Egyptian objects and pottery vessels from Syria or Palestine115 attest extensive long-distance trade connections. The most outstanding object was found in tomb L 24. It is a stone incense burner,116 an object type occurring in Nubian A-Group contexts but not known from Egypt. The badly damaged burner was decorated with the incised representation of a serekh façade and the procession of three boats.117 In one of the boats a royal figure wearing the Upper Egyptian White Crown was depicted. The design also includes other motifs that are familiar from late Predynastic, Early Dynastic and later Egyptian iconography such as the Horus falcon, the rosette/star sign,118 and standards. Williams argued in his analysis of Cemetery L that “tombs of this size, wealth and date in Egypt would have been immediately recognized as royal”119 and used the decorated incense burner as the starting point for his hypothesis, according to which Cemetery L was the burying ground of Lower Nubian rulers who conquered and unified Egypt O’Connor 1993 20; Wilkinson 1999 177. Adams 1985; Nordström 2004. 111 Firth 1927; Smith 1994. 112 Firth 1915 213 ff.; Smith 1994 372 ff.—Cf. also Zibelius-Chen 2001 22 f. 113 Type Groups AII and AVII of Nordström 1972 84, 87 f. 114 Williams 1986 27, 81 f.; Edwards 2004 68; Geus 2006 348; Wengrow 2006 167 ff. 115 Smith 1991 107 f. (Cemetery 111); Williams 1986 Pl. 25 (Qustul). 116 From tomb L 24, Wenig 1978 117 Cat. 4; Williams 1986 Pls 34, 38. Its provenance was doubted by Bothmer 1979 179 f. note 6. 117 Cf. A.A. O’Brien: The Serekh as an Aspect of the Iconography of Early Kingship. JARCE 33 (1996) 123–138. 118 By the First Dynasty, the rosette/star sign was associated with the king and in archaic writing was used as an alternative for the word h. rw, “Horus”, i.e., “the king”, see Loprieno 1995 20. 119 Williams 1980 16. 109 110

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and created the early pharaonic state, symbols of which already existed in their native polity.120 However, the great majority of the Nubian pottery vessels from Cemetery L may be dated to the period of Late AGroup contemporary with Dynasty 0 (c. 3200–3000 BC).121 The earliest known examples of Egyptian royal iconography, such as, e.g., the representation of the Red Crown on a late Naqada I (c. 3500 BC) pottery vessel from Abydos122 or the triumphal scenes in the painting from Hierakonpolis Tomb 100 (c. 3400–3300 BC) are much older than the Qustul censer.123 It seems thus that it was the Qustul rulers who adopted symbols of royal authority developed in Egypt and not vice versa. But even if the symbols on the Qustul censer must lose their supposed significance as forerunners of pharaonic symbols, the censer preserves its importance as a marker of political developments in Nubia. Ceremonial incense burners of the type found in A-Group graves were used only in Nubia. The occurrence of Egyptian images of rulership on an object made for a Nubian chieftain hardly means anything else than that these images were, at least partly, understood in Nubia and adopted as signs that also possessed some sort of a Nubian reading.124 The influence of the Upper Egyptian polities on the eve of their unification and the emergence of the pharaonic state125 is also obvious in the case of another Lower Nubian polity formed more or less contemporarily with the polity around Qustul.126 As already noted above, evidence for this second polity comes from Cemeteries 137 and 142 at Sayala. The funerary equipment of the richest grave (tomb 1) at Cemetery 137 contained stone vessels, copper axes and chisels, palettes with bird’s heads, a lion head of glazed quartz,127 a mica plaque (mirror?) and two Egyptian maces. The handles of the latter were sheathed in gold. The

Williams 1980; Williams 1986 163 ff. Adams 1985 187 ff. 122 J.C. Payne: Catalogue of the Predynastic Egyptian Collection in the Ashmolean Museum. Oxford 1993 94, fig. 34.774; Baines 1995b 95 f., fig. 3.1. 123 Quibell–Green 1902 Pls LXXV–LXXIX; B.J. Kemp: Photographs of the Decorated Tomb at Hierakonpolis. JEA 59 (1973) 36–43; for its dating, see W. Kaiser– G. Dreyer: Umm el-Qaab: Nachuntersuchungen im frühzeitlichen Königsfriedhof, 2. Vorbericht. MDAIK 40 (1982) 211–269 242 f. 124 Smith 1994 376 argues even more confidently: “the Seyala princes were cognisant of and imitated Naqada rulership ideology, and [the] Naqada rulers were conscious that this was so”. 125 Kemp 1989 31 ff. 126 For the dating, see Smith 1994 369 f. 127 Firth 1927 38, Pl. 18; Lacovara 1998 fig. 1. 120 121


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sheathing of the smaller mace, with a pink quartz mace head,128 was decorated in low relief with five registers of animal figures (wild animals and a stork),129 among them an elephant trampling two serpents (Pl. 14).130 It is supposed that the animal figures appearing on Late Predynastic, i.e., Naqada IIIa (c. 3200–3100 BC), prestige objects (combs, knife handles, ivory sickles), on votives such as siltstone palettes, and on symbols of authority such as ceremonial maces were “emblems of spiritual forces which could also act as signifiers of groups of people”.131 While these meanings were probably irrelevant for the Lower Nubian viewer, the mace itself as a sign of authority was not—neither for the AGroup chieftain who received it as a diplomatic gift nor for the Upper Egyptian ruler who sent it to him. Not only emblematic symbols of rulership were imported from Egypt. Cylinder seals and impressions of seals of A-Group manufacture from Middle and Late A-Group contexts (Pl. 15)132 indicate that elements of the centralized administrative structure evolving in Late Predynastic Egypt were also adopted. The seals indicate that “state goods” were identified, controlled and redistributed using official markers the designs of which may have been connected to individual chieftains. At the same time, these designs may have represented the first steps towards the development of a Nubian writing system made under the inspiration of the evolving hieroglyphic writing.133 Any such development was, however, halted for good by dramatic changes in the relationship between Egypt and the A-Group polities (see below). From the Early A-Group phase onwards, Lower Nubian grave structures, burial positions and the composition of the grave inventories show the influence of Egyptian burial customs.134 At the same time, Nubian influence may also be pointed out in the Egyptian mortuary Formerly JE 43883. The object was stolen in 1920 from the Cairo Museum. Firth 1927 204 ff., fig. 8, Pl. 18; Trigger 1976 42 f., fig. 10; Smith 1994 fig. 1. The animals are identified and analogous representations listed by Smith 1994 365 ff. 130 I. Hofmann: Zur Kombination von Elephant und Riesenschlange im Altertum. Anthropos 65 (1970) 619–632; Smith 1994 365; Midant-Reynes 2000a 238. 131 Kemp 2000 236, with reference to A.M. Roth: Egyptian Phyles in the Old Kingdom: the Evolution of a System of Social Organization. Chicago 1991 199 ff.—For the associations between rulership and the scenes representing fighting animals cf. Williams–Logan 1987. 132 For a discussion of the finds, see G. Björkman–T. Säve-Söderbergh: Seals and Seal Impressions. in: Nordström 1972 117–118. 133 Cf. Loprieno 1995 20 ff. 134 Cf. Williams 1991a 77 ff. 128 129

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complex: viz., Nubian-type cattle burials, known from the Middle/Late A-Group cemeteries at Qustul,135 occur in the elite cemetery at Hierakonpolis, Locality 6.136 However, while the cattle burials at Hierakonpolis may be explained as a consequence of the presence of a Nubian colony, it cannot be excluded that the adoption of Egyptian grave structures and burial customs may also imply a Nubian adoption of Egyptian mortuary beliefs. It cannot be decided, however, whether the occurrence of seated female pottery figures in A-Group graves137 was influenced by the “funerary statuettes” of standing or seated men and women in Naqada I, II and III burials138 or by terracotta female figurines (of different types, however) found in Late Neolithic (around 3500 BC) graves e.g. at el-Kadada139 or does it indicate the independent emergence of native A-Group conceptions connected to fertility and afterlife.140 The religious (?) background and meaning of the rather frequent finds of pottery strainers associated (?) with ostrich eggs in children’s graves141 are similarly obscure. Secondary burials found in a great number of Middle and Late AGroup tombs indicate that the tombs were marked on the surface. The stone circle superstructures discovered in Cemetery 268 at Tungala West-Afya142 are exceptional, but stone circles and other, even less solid kinds of grave superstructures may have been destroyed by erosion. Grave superstructures as well as the spatial hierarchy of tomb groups within individual cemeteries are expressions of social status and may also have been intended to secure the inheritance of status. Cemeteries with a hierarchically determined spatial structure and used for many generations may well have developed into sacred areas and places of tribal/group/family identity. In theory, an “ancestral” burial place is a place of ancestor worship and of associated mortuary offerings. The eventual religious connotations of A-Group grave superstructures remain nevertheless obscure. Due to the eroded surface of most cemeteries and/or the lack of minute observations, the evidence for Williams 1986 176. M.A. Hoffman: The Predynastic of Hierakonpolis—An Interim Report. Giza-Macomb, Ill. 1982 55 f.; B. Adams: Hierakonpolis. in: Bard (ed.) 1999 371–374 373 f. 137 Cf. Nordström 1972 27. 138 So Midant-Reynes 2000a 222 and cf. Midant-Reynes 2000b 49 f. 139 E.g., Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 45 Cat. 20. 140 Cf. Ucko 1968 405 ff.; Wenig 1978 24. 141 Nordström 1972 27 f. 142 Smith 1962 64 ff.; Nordström 1972 27. 135 136


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mortuary offerings performed at the tombs is limited. Offering places were observed on the west or south side of A-Group tumuli143 and decapitated bovines were buried close to mounds covering rich burials.144 On the whole, there is only scarce evidence that may be confidently interpreted as a manifestation of A-Group religious conceptions. But again, such evidence may have been destroyed by erosion. At a site at Nabta Playa dated to the Late Neolithic period (c. 5100–4700 BC) a megalithic complex consisting of an alignment of ten large stones, a circle of small upright slabs, and two slab-covered tumuli was discovered. A chamber under one of the tumuli contained the burial of a longhorned bull.145 It was supposed by the excavators that the megalithic complex was oriented to the cardinal points and the summer solstice.146 Independently from the interpretation of the complex as a whole, the bull burial, similarly to other cattle burials in the Nabta area, may be considered a testimony of some sort of a cow/bull cult prefiguring both the emergence of such cow-goddesses as Bat and Hathor and the very strong associations between Egyptian kings and bulls.147

Other interpretations of the stones of the megalithic complex as symbols of a divinity or representations of ancestors are, however, more likely.148 We shall see below (Chapter IV.3) that early C-Group cemeteries were “guarded” by worked upright-standing stones and also other, non-mortuary (?) sacred spaces were marked out in a similar manner.149 Similar megalithic monuments in Egypt represent the roots of the stela tradition and may be regarded as ancestors of early cult precincts with complexes of standing stones (Hierakonpolis,150 around 3300 BC?) or Smith 1962 64 ff. Firth 1927 217; Williams 1986 (tombs L 3, 6, 7, 20, 25–27). 145 F. Wendorf–R. Schild–N. Zedeno: A Late Neolithic Megalith Complex in the Eastern Sahara: A Preliminary Report. in: Krzyzaniak–Kroeper–Kobusiewicz (eds) 1996 125–132; Hendrickx–Vermeersch 2000 34. 146 For even more ambitious explanations, see F. Wendorf–J.M. Malville: The Megalithic Alignments. in: Wendorf et al. 2001 489–502; R. Schild, unpubl. main paper submitted at the Eleventh International Conference for Nubian Studies, Warsaw 27 August – 2 September 2006. But see the doubts expressed by Wengrow 2006 57. 147 I. Shaw: Ancient Egypt. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford 2000 131 f. 148 J.C. de Moor: Standing Stones and Ancestor Worship. Ugarit-Forschungen 27 (1995) 1–20; Kemp 2000 231 f. 149 Steindorff 1935 38 ff., Bietak 1968 24 f. 150 For the temple complex at Locality Hk29A, see Quibell–Green 1902; B. Adams: Ancient Hierakonpolis: Supplement. Warminster 1974; ead.: Ancient Nekhen. Garstang in the City of Hierakonpolis. New Malden 1994 4 ff.; Kemp 2000 228 ff., fig. 12. 143 144

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statues (Coptos,151 around 3150 BC). A round-topped stone “stela” was found at Qustul, Cemetery L, yet its actual significance and connection with a burial remain obscure.152 The aforementioned cattle burials at Qustul may indicate that there existed a cattle cult among the Lower Nubian cattle herders too. It is in this sense that the drawing of a bull or cow incised on an imported Naqada IIIa–b (c. 3500–3200 BC) jar153 from Aksha (Pl. 16) may be interpreted. The jar was found in a rich Terminal A-Group (c. 3150– 2800 BC) grave, it was thus buried after a long period of use. The incised drawing may well have been made in connection with the burial. An early form of cult place may also be identified. Caves or rock shelters with rock paintings on their walls or with rock drawings in their close neighbourhood discovered at Sayala/Khor Nashriya,154 Korosko East155 and Serra West156 seem to have been places of domestic and perhaps also local religion, the nature of which remains obscure, however, before the significance of the paintings and drawings representing longhorned cattle, giraffes, elephants, and ostrichs is properly understood (cf. Chapter VIII.2.1 and fig. 30). These caves were associated with habitations or were habitations but part of the finds made in them, such as grinding stones with traces of red ochre, human and animal bone, may refer to religious activities as well. It is worth noting that all these sites seem to have been (re-)inhabited in C-Group times. During the C-Group new paintings representing cattle were added to the A-Group paintings on the ceiling of the “Felsmalerei-Höhle” at Sayala/Khor Nashriya.157 In a recent paper, Hans-Åke Nordström presented the preliminary results of his ongoing analysis of the cemeteries of the A-Group, concluding that [t]he correlation of data from Middle A-Group and Terminal A-Group respectively, shows an increase in the number of burials reflecting a growth of the population and also a very clear advancement of the material culture—the Terminal phase represents indeed the affluent A-Group 151 152 153 154 155 156 157

Kemp 2000 230 ff. Williams 1989 137 ff. Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 Cat. 242. Bietak–Engelmayer 1963. Smith 1962 79 ff.—Bietak–Engelmayer 1963 27 ff. refer to the site as Wadi el-Arab. G.J. Verwers: The Survey from Faras to Gezira Dabarosa. Kush 10 (1962) 19–33 22. Bietak–Engelmayer 1963 38 ff.


chapter three society. This affluence can be noted in practically all the ordinary village cemeteries from this period. Furthermore, as in Predynastic Egypt, one finds a shift towards a more complex structure with clear social inequality developed during the Terminal A-Group.158

7. The Contacts of the Late A-Group with Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt Developments in the social, political and intellectual structure of Predynastic (Naqada III-Dynasty 0, c. 3200–3000 BC) and Early Dynastic (Dynasty 1 – early Dynasty 2, c. 3000–2800 BC) Egypt and Terminal/Late A Group Lower Nubia were, however, not collateral. The fertile sections of the Lower Nubian valley had a limited subsistence potential and sustained a small population159 of agriculturalists and cattle herders living in scattered villages. While the scatters of small villages were replaced in Late Predynastic-Early Dynastic Egypt by agricultural towns which grew into centers of state administration, redistribution, and cult,160 the size and geographical distribution of the productive areas in Lower Nubia and the extension of pastoral activities in the Eastern Sahara did not render possible the spontaneous emergence of larger A-Group settlements developing into towns.161 At the peak of the development of their socioeconomic and cultural structure, the A-Group polities reached the stage of complex chiefdom. As we have seen, long-distance trade created surpluses and brought about the development of specialized production and social inequality. By the period contemporary with Naqada III-Dynasty 0 we also see signs for the development of a more advanced social/economic organization. Though the chieftains of the complex chiefdoms emerging in the Middle – early Terminal A-Group phase ruled over a population the majority of which lived in tiny villages and camp-sites, these chiefdoms, with whom Late Predynastic Egypt maintained regular contacts, begun to display signs of acculturation and political concentration which were easily perceived by their Egyptian trading partners. The prosperity of the A-Group polities depended entirely on their trade first Nordström 2004 139. For population estimates, see Trigger 1965 156 ff.; Török 1997a 44 ff. 160 Cf. Kemp 1977 189 ff.; Kemp 1989 64 ff.; see also Bard 1994. 161 Cf. K.A. Bard–R.L. Carneiro: Patterns of Predynastic Settlement Location, Social Evolution, and the Circumscription Theory. CRIPEL 11 (1989) 15–23 21. 158 159

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with the rulers of Hierakonpolis and then with the Upper Egyptian Predynastic proto-kingdom which emerged in the early Naqada III phase around 3200–3150 BC from the united polities centred around ThisAbydos, Naqada and Hierakonpolis.162 Not quite to the same extent, also the prosperity of the Upper Egyptian proto-kingdom depended on the long-distance trade mediated by the A-Group, especially since imported materials and their transformation into prestige goods by a growing class of artisans played a central role in the formation process that led to the emergence of the pharaonic state.163 While the unification of the Upper Egyptian polities demanded a constant increase of the import, the independence of the “affluent” A-Group chiefdoms threatened with negative changes in the rentability of the trade. Two rock drawings at the southern end of the Second Cataract at Gebel Sheikh Suleiman indicate that Late Predynastic rulers164 sent military expeditions to Lower Nubia. One of the drawings (Pl. 17) depicts [a]n empty serekh… Immediately in front of the serekh is a prisoner, his arms bound behind his back with a bow, the sign used in later periods to write the name for Nubia (Ta-Sety). In front of the prisoner are three signs, the meaning of which remains uncertain. A pool of water, the hieroglyphic sign for the letter sˇ, may indicate the name of the prisoner or his territory. Two town signs surmounted by birds may also be symbols or names of defeated settlements. The end of the scene shows the prostrate bodies of victims, underneath a high-prowed vessel. This last element probably stands for the ships which bore the Egyptian expedition southwards into Lower Nubia.165

Another drawing (Pl. 18)166 shows a large scorpion holding a bound prisoner on a rope, a second figure brandishing a weapon and a third one shooting arrows towards the prisoner. The prisoner who wears a feather on his head is probably a Lower Nubian enemy while the scorpion may be the representation of a ruler wearing the title Kemp 1989 35 ff.; Bard 1994; Wilkinson 1999; Wilkinson 2000; Midant–Reynes 2000a 231 ff.; Bard 2000; Warburton 2001 114 ff. 163 Cf. Midant-Reynes 2000a 236 ff. 164 For the dating of the drawings to the Late Predynastic period (Dynasty 0), see W. Helck: Zwei Einzelprobleme der thinitischen Chronologie. MDAIK 26 (1970) 83– 85; W.J. Murnane: The Gebel Sheikh Suleiman Monument: Epigraphic Remarks. in: Williams–Logan 1987 Appendix C 282–285. 165 Wilkinson 1999 177 ff. 166 Cf. W. Needler: A Rock-drawing on Gebel Sheikh Suliman (Near Wadi Halfa) Showing a Scorpion and Human Figures. JARCE 6 (1967) 87–91 Pl. I fig. 3. 162


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“Scorpion”167 or perhaps King Scorpion of Dynasty 0 who is depicted on the famous macehead dedicated in the early temple at Hierakonpolis.168 Further campaigns against T A-sty, Ta-Sety,169 are recorded on a wooden label of King Aha, the first ruler of the First Dynasty (c. after 3000 BC)170 and a fragmentary limestone stela of King Khasekhemwy, the last ruler of the Second Dynasty (before 2686 BC).171 It is traditionally assumed that the expeditions recorded in the Gebel Sheikh Suleiman rock drawings were directed to Lower Nubia in order to establish direct control over the southern trade by destroying the power of the A-Group rulers.172 It is also supposed that the Gebel Sheikh Suleiman drawings actually mark the violent end of the A-Group chiefdoms. This is contradicted by the aforementioned monuments of Aha and Khasekhemwy, which indicate the existence of some sort of polity or polities in Lower Nubia continuing to control Egypt’s access to southern goods. The latest burials at Qustul Cemetery L seem to be contemporary with the first half of Dynasty 1 (c. 3000–2890 BC) and Egyptian imports of this period also occur in other Late A-Group find assemblages.173 The Gebel Sheikh Suleiman rock drawings attest thus only the beginnings, and mark the territorial goals, of the expansionist policy developed by the rulers of the First and Second Dynasties who were increasingly aware of the advantages of direct trade contacts with the territories south of the Second Cataract. As suggested by Bruce Trigger, It is likely that Egypt for the first time possessed the economic organization to carry on direct trade with the south, thereby circumventing Lower Nubian middlemen and toll masters. An increasing demand for raw materials from the south also may have made direct contact with that area more urgent than it had been formerly.174

For King Scorpion, see Wilkinson 1999 56 f., 179. The toponym is translated “Bow-land” by R.H. Pierce in the volumes of the FHN. A similar translation was already suggested by Griffith 1922 78. More recently, the translations “Country of the Three-Curved-Bow” or “Land of the St-Bow” were suggested with reference to the special Nubian type of bow used in the toponym as hieroglyph for st instead of the standard Egyptian sign for “bow”, see A.K. Vinogradov: On the Rendering of the Toponym T3 STJ. CdE 75 (2000) 223–234. 170 Wilkinson 1999 180, fig. 5.3.3. 171 Wilkinson 1999 180, fig. 5.3.4. 172 Cf. Smith 1991. 173 Nordström 1972 28 f. 174 Trigger 1976 45. 168 169

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It seems that the introduction of a new, aggressive Lower Nubian policy in the Early Dynastic period was preceded by the withdrawal of Egyptian presence in Palestine around the end of the First Dynasty: the comparison of the advantages of the two sources of exotic wares, the Near Eastern and the Nubian, was apparently in favour of the latter.175 It was shown by Hans-Åke Nordström176 that northern Lower Nubia between the Dakka region and the First Cataract was only sparsely populated in the Late A-Group period (c. 3150–2800 BC). It may also be supposed that towards the end of the Late A-Group period this area was already under Egyptian control. The fact that the production of Late A-Group pottery ceases around 2800 BC concurrently with the end of the influx of Egyptian imports signals the collapse of Late AGroup social and economic structure and the end of the A-Group polities in all Lower Nubia. Egypt’s southern trade was going to be established in a way that there was no place in it for a native Lower Nubian population.

175 Wilkinson 1999 180; for the connection between the withdrawal from Palestine and the rise of Byblos, see ibid. 160 ff. 176 Nordström 2002; 2004.


Now when the ruler of Irtjet, Satju, and Wawat saw how strong and numerous the troop from Yam was which came down with me to the residence together with the army that had been sent with me, he gave me cattle and goats, and led me on the mountain paths of Irtjet.1

1. The Post-A-Group Hiatus and the Establishment of the Egyptian Domination According to Reisner’s periodization of Nubian history, the A-Group period was followed by a B-Group period.2 Since the finds associated with this period reflected a much less complex socioeconomic structure and a less advanced culture than the Middle and Late A-Group evidence, the B-Group culture, as described by Reisner, induced a misleading reconstruction of the impact of the early Old Kingdom domination on a—hypothetical—settled native society. In 1966 H.S. Smith convincingly demonstrated that the archaeological evidence attributed to the B-Group belongs in reality to the Early A-Group.3 Consequently, no evidence was left to represent the period between the end of the Late A-Group (c. 2800 BC) and the beginning of the Early C-Group (c. 2300 BC, see below). From the hiatus occuring thus in the archaeological record, the literature concluded that the Nile Valley between the First and Second Cataracts was completely or almost completely depopulated for about five centuries between c. 2800 BC and c. 2300 BC. A part of the A1 The Autobiography of Harkhuf from his tomb at Aswan, inscription on the left side of entrance, lines 5 ff., Lichtheim 1973 26. 2 Reisner 1910 213–348. 3 H.S. Smith: The Nubian B-Group. Kush 14 (1966) 69–124; see also Smith 1991.


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Group population was believed to have moved to Upper Egypt in the Early Dynastic period. Another part may have remained in the southern part of Lower Nubia between Aniba and the Second Cataract,4 as it is suggested by burials identified as post-Terminal A-Group5 and by a small amount of non-Egyptian pottery recovered at Buhen North6 (for the site, see below). The temporary campsites of this population disappeared, however, as a result of sediment deposition or erosion or remained unidentified by the archaeologists. As to the bulk of the AGroup population, it may be confidently supposed that it moved to regions of the Eastern Sahara that had already been inhabited for a period by their ancestors (see Chapter III.6). The climatic conditions allowed the use of these regions for nomadic cattle-herding7 until c. 2400–2300 BC, when, in the period coinciding with the dramatic political, economic and cultural changes in late Old Kingdom Egypt,8 the worsening environmental conditions forced the descendants of the A-Group to return to the Nubian Nile Valley.9 Although the details of the process remain obscure, the disappearance of the bulk of the A-Group population from the Nile Valley was brought about by the aggressive Egyptian policy the documents of which were discussed above in Chapter III.7. The point of departure of the Egyptian penetration into Lower Nubia was Elephantine, where the earliest dwellings appeared in the Naqada IId period (c.3300–3200 BC). The earliest traces of urban architecture on the island date from the period of Dynasty 0 (c. 3200–3000 BC). The first fortress was built in

Gratien 1995. Williams 1989 121 ff.; Smith 1991 92, 101; Shaw 2000 322; and cf. Rampersad 2003 90. See, however, Seidlmayer 1991 338 note 4. 6 H.S. Smith–L. Giddy: Nubia and Dakhla Oasis in the Late Third Millennium BC: The Present Balance of Textual and Archaeological Evidence. in: Mélanges offerts à Jean Vercoutter. Paris 1985 317–330 319 f.; Gratien 1995 50 ff.; cf. C. Bonnet: Upper Nubia from 3000 to 1000 BC. in: Davies (ed.) 1991 112–117 112. 7 For the evidence, see Schön 1996 122 f.; M. Lange: Wadi Shaw 82/52—ein peridynastischer Siedlungsplatz im Nordsudan. Archäologische Informationen 22 (1999) 105–113; Lange 2006 111 ff. 8 Cf. N. Kanawati: The Egyptian Administration in the Old Kingdom: Evidence on its Economic Decline. Warminster 1977; Malek 2000 113 ff. 9 In 1977, Adams hypothesized thus: “the ‘mysterious C People’ are anyone but the descendants of the A People and their Stone-Age predecessors. Immigrants they certainly were in Lower Nubia, but immigrants in all probability only from some neighbouring region where the actual process of cultural transition from the A to the C Horizon took place”. Adams 1977 143. 4 5

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the period of the First Dynasty (c. 3000–2890 BC).10 It is from this time (cf. Chapter II.3) that the southern frontier of Egypt was ideologically fixed at Elephantine. The building of the fortress11 signals the establishment of the territorial political control of a state extending from the Delta in the north to the First Cataract region in the south. It is important to add that the presence of Nubians is attested at Elephantine and in its vicinity from the Naqada IId period up to the New Kingdom.12 Under the Second Dynasty (2890–2686 BC) Egyptian settlements were established at Kuban close to the entrance of the Wadi Allaqi13 and at Buhen North near the Second Cataract.14 At the latter site, seal impressions of rulers of the Second through Fifth Dynasties (c. 2890– 2345 BC) were found.15 An Early Dynastic rock-cut inscription on the south face of a hill at the Old Kingdom town of Buhen invokes Horus and Isis, i.e., the deities who would be associated with the Egyptian town in later sources.16 The goal of the expedition of Khasekhemwy (before 2686 BC), the last ruler of the Second Dynasty, was probably Upper Nubia (cf. Chapter III.7). There is little evidence, however, for trade contacts that could have been introduced by Khasekhemwy’s campaign between Egypt and the late Pre-Kerma polities south of the Second Cataract: so far, only few Egyptian objects have been recovered at sites predating the Early Kerma or Kerma Ancien period (c. 2500–2050 BC).17 The Palermo Stone, a Fifth Dynasty stela inscribed around 2400 BC,18 records a 10

M. Ziermann: Elephantine XVI. Befestigungsanlagen und Stadtentwicklung in der Frühzeit und im frühen Alten Reich. Mainz 1993; Kaiser 1999 283 f.; M. Ziermann: Elephantine XXVIII. Die Baustrukturen der älteren Stadt (Frühzeit uns Altes Reich). Mainz 2003. 11 For the concurrent establishment of royal cult, see S.J. Seidlmayer: Town and State in the Early Old Kingdom. A View From Elephantine. in: Spencer (ed.) 1996 108–127; Wilkinson 1999 278 f.; 328 ff. 12 Seidlmayer 1991; Raue 2002. 13 Emery–Kirwan 1935 26, 58, Pl. 14; Gratien 1995 46 f. 14 Cf. W.B. Emery: Egypt Exploration Society, Preliminary Report on the Excavations at Buhen, 1962. Kush 11 (1963) 116–120; Kemp 1983 125 f.—Zibelius-Chen 1988 145 does not exclude the possibility that the foundation of Buhen may be dated to the reign of Aha, the first ruler of the First Dynasty. 15 Emery 1965 111 ff.; Gratien 1995 47: Khafra, Menkaura (Fourth Dynasty); Sahura, Neferirkara, Nyuserra (Fifth Dynasty). 16 Smith 1972; Wilkinson 1999 180 f. 17 Honegger 2004b 63; for a settlement site also yielding Egyptian pottery at Sai, see L. Meurillon: Les greniers Pré-Kerma de l’île de Sai. Lille 1997; F. Geus: Pre-Kerma Storage Pits on Sai Island. in: Kendall (ed.) 2004 46–51. 18 Urk. I 236,10; H. Schäfer: Ein Bruchstück altägyptischer Annalen. Berlin 1902; G. Daressy: La Pierre de Palerme et la chronologie de l’ancien empire. BIFAO 12 (1916) 161–


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Nubian campaign of King Sneferu (Fourth Dynasty, 2613–2589 BC) resulting in the booty of 7,000 captives and 200,000 cattle. The captives are supposed to have been settled in the Eastern Delta region.19 Considering the absence of any archaeological evidence that would attest to the existence of any substantial native population in Lower Nubia at this time, such booty could have been carried off only from Upper Nubia.20 Relations of a more peaceful kind are indicated by an isolated tomb in the vicinity of an A-Group cemetery at Shellal,21 dated to the Third or early Fourth Dynasty, and identified by David O’Connor as the burial of an upper-class Upper Nubian visiting Egypt on some diplomatic or trading mission.22 The Palermo Stone23 also records that various goods, among them myrrh and electrum, were brought from the land of Punt in the later reign of the Fifth Dynasty King Sahura (2487–2475 BC). King Djedkara (2414–2375 BC) received a pygmy from Punt,24 and Harkhuf too brought for Pepy II a pygmy, originating similarly from Punt, from his fourth expedition to Yam (see Chapter IV.2). The child Pepy II was more curious to see the pygmy than “the gifts of the mining-region of Punt”.25 From the Fifth through the Twentieth Dynasty trading expeditions were sent to Punt in order to acquire electrum, gold, panther skins, ebony, throw-sticks, ivory, myrrh, eye paint, apes and baboons.26 The land of Punt could be reached on an inland route via Upper Nubia as well as by a sea route, i.e., it was situated in an area “far south of Egypt that in the east could be reached by the Red Sea, and westward by 214; T.A.H. Wilkinson: Royal Annals of Ancient Egypt. The Palermo Stone and Its Associated Fragments. London–New York 2002; M. Baud: Le format de l’histoire. Annales royals et biographies de particuliers dans l’Égypte du IIIe millénaire. in: N. Grimal–M. Baud (eds): Événement, récit, histoire officielle. L’écriture de l’historiographie dans les monarchies antiques (Études égyptologiques 3). Paris 2003 271–302. 19 R. Gundlach: Die Zwangsumsiedlung auswärtiger Bevölkerung als Mittel ägyptischer Politik bis zum Ende des Mittleren Reiches (Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei 26). Stuttgart 1994 71 ff.; Meurer 1995 99. 20 Contra Zibelius-Chen 1988 50 f. 21 Reisner 1910 190. 22 O’Connor 1993 27. 23 Urk. I 246,3–5. 24 Urk. I 128,17–129,1. 25 Lichtheim 1973 27 has “the mine-land [i.e., the Sinai] and of Punt”. For the “mining-region of Punt”, see A.M.A.H. Sayed: Discovery of the Site of the 12th Dynasty Port at Wadi Gawasis on the Red Sea Shore. RdE 29 (1977) 138–178 176 f.; Kitchen 1993 588. 26 Cf. Phillips 1997.

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ascending the valley of the Nile”.27 Judging by its produces, plants and animals occurring in later representations,28 Punt may be located in the southeastern Sudan and/or in northern Eritrea.29 The foundation of Kuban and Buhen signals thus the establishment of a commercial route connecting Egypt with Upper Nubia and territories farther south across an almost completely uninhabited, easily controllable area. Yet Elephantine and the Egyptian settlements at Kuban and Buhen, i.e., the Lower Nubian stations of the commercial route, also played a significant role in the establishment of direct Egyptian control over the various natural resources of, and available through, Lower Nubia. Both Kuban and Buhen were connected to the richness in copper ore of the Wadi Allaqi. The importance of the copper cannot be overestimated. By definition, the Bronze Age was dependent upon copper and tin, both of which were acquired [for long periods of time]30 by the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians from lands beyond their political control. Neither copper nor tin was mined in either.31

Finds from Buhen relating to copper working of considerable dimensions are associated with pottery dated to the Fourth and Fifth Dynasties (2613–2345 BC).32 Finds from Naqada III-Dynasty 0, Early Dynastic, First and Second Dynasty royal and elite tombs at Abydos clearly reflect the increasing importance in royal and elite display of copper artefacts produced in royal workshops.33 A seal impression from Buhen North attests the presence of an jmj-r A smntjw, i.e., an official responsible Kitchen 1993 589. Cf. L. Bradbury: Kpn-Boats, Punt Trade and a Lost Emporium. JARCE 33 (1996) 37–60; K.A. Kitchen: Further Thoughts on Punt and Its Neighbours. in: A. Leahy– J. Tait (eds): Studies on Ancient Egypt in Honour of H.S. Smith. London 1999 59–60. 29 Kitchen 1993 604 and fig. 35.1: “occupying an area along the Red Sea coast from (perhaps) north of Port Sudan to northern Eritrea, and extending inland (along with the aromatic flora) perhaps as far as Kassala, and Er-Roseires southward, Punt may… extend west from the coast via the gold-bearing mountains towards Berber just above the Fifth Nile Cataract… A southward and westward reach of Punt to (or just west of) the White Nile then would straddle the route by which pygmies reached Egypt via Punt (down the Nile)”. D. Meeks: Locating Punt. in: D. O’Connor–S. Quirke (eds): Mysterious Lands. London 2003 53–80 suggests (for me unconvincingly) that Punt is to be located in the Arabian Peninsula. 30 My addition. 31 Warburton 2001 135.—Cf. T. Stetch–V.C. Pigott: The Metals Trade in Southwest Asia in the Third Millennium B.C. Iraq 48 (1986) 39–64. 32 Zibelius-Chen 1988 71 f.; Gratien 1995 50 ff. 33 Cf. Bard 2000 69 f. 27 28


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for the prospecting of raw materials and their import to Egypt.34 The continuity of the Egyptian settlements of Buhen and Kuban until the late Fifth Dynasty seems likely. The stone (granite, anorthosite gneiss, and quartz) quarries of the Toshka region in the Western Desert35 were exploited by Egyptian workmen under the Fourth (Khufu, Djedefra) and Fifth Dynasties (Sahura, Djedkara).36 The actual form of the territorial administration and the form and extent of the military presence required for the control over Lower Nubia’s resources and for the maintenance of trade along the Lower Nubian Nile Valley remain equally obscure.37 But there can be no doubt that the exploitation of gold, semi-precious stones, copper, granite and other hardstones was established under the conditions of an organized territorial supremacy38 which was, however, uninhibited by the opposition of a conquered native population. 2. Lower Nubia in the Early Bronze Age: The Emergence of the C-Group Polities The last Old Kingdom royal name attested at Buhen is that of King Nyuserra of the Fifth Dynasty (2445–2421 BC).39 The names of the Sixth Dynasty rulers occurring in the Lower Nubian evidence belong into a context which significantly differed from the domination of the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Dynasties: from the early Sixth Dynasty (2345– 2181), Egypt had to face a re-settled Lower Nubia whose population was organized into chiefdoms. These chiefdoms displayed features of polities that were en route towards archaic state formation.40 Before

For the evidence, see Zibelius-Chen 1988 74 note 28. For the office, cf. R. Gundlach: Prospektoren. LÄ IV (1982) 1155–1156. 35 Cf. Nicholson–Shaw (eds) 2000. 36 For the evidence, see Zibelius-Chen 1988 80 f.; Gratien 1995 46; I.M.E. Shaw– E.G. Bloxam: Survey and Excavation at the Ancient Pharaonic Gneiss Quarrying Site of Gebel el-Asr, Lower Nubia. Sudan & Nubia 3 (1999) 13–20; P. Storemyr–E. Bloxam et al.: Survey at Chephren’s Quarry, Gebel el-Asr, Lower Nubia: 2002. Sudan & Nubia 6 (2002) 25–29. 37 For the various views, see Säve-Söderbergh 1941 30 ff.; E. Martin-Pardey: Untersuchungen zur ägyptischen Provinzialverwaltung bis zum Ende des Alten Reiches. Hildesheim 1976 190 ff.; Zibelius-Chen 1988 140 f.; Bard 2000 77. 38 Cf. Zibelius-Chen 1988 136 ff. 39 Seal impression of an jmj-r A smntjw, see above in Chapter IV.1. 40 For typological considerations, see Breuer 1990 42 ff.; Kristiansen 1991; C.E. 34

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answering the question about the origins of these polities, let us first see the evidence relating to them. Weni, a high official, governor of Upper Egypt, serving three Sixth Dynasty kings, viz., Teti (2345–2323 BC), Pepy I (2321–2287 BC), and Merenra (2287–2278 BC), reports in his biography that Merenra ordered him, in order to transport stone quarried at Aswan, to build three barges and four tow-boats of acacia wood of Wawat. Then the foreign chiefs [h. q Aw h Aswt, “rulers of foreign countries”] of Irtjet, Wawat, Yam, and Medjay˘ cut the timber for them.41

The acquisition of Nubian products and the access to goods originating from more southern regions of Africa and obtainable via Upper Nubian mediators required a regulation of the contacts with the Lower Nubian polites. It was reached by a combination of intimidation, i.e., military aggression, and diplomacy. The inscription of Pepy I’s (2321–2287 BC) name on the rocks of the First Cataract is probably an early monument of the Sixth Dynasty policy of intimidation south of the Egyptian border.42 The intimidation of Lower Nubia was necessary for the establishment of trade contacts with Upper Nubia. The diplomatic stage of the action is attested by the find at Kerma of fragments of at least twentyfive different commemorative alabaster (i.e., calcite) vases inscribed for him.43 These vessels were probably items of a gift exchange between Pepy I and the ruler of the Kerma Basin south of the Third Cataract, i.e., the region occurring in the texts under the name of J Am, Yam, later Irem.44 The biogaphy of Harkhuf,45 another high official serving as governor of Upper Egypt under Merenra and his successor, Pepy II (2278– 2184 BC), describes four trading expeditons led to Yam. Besides the Guksch: Ethnological Models and Processes of State Formation—Chiefdom Survivals in the Old Kingdom. GM 125 (1991) 37–50. 41 From Weni’s tomb chapel at Abydos, Cairo CG 1435, Urk. I 98–110 (17); Lichtheim 1973 21 f. 42 Zibelius-Chen 1988 6. 43 Reisner 1923 I–III 30 ff., IV–V 507 ff.; Lacovara 1991; Valbelle 2004a 178. Lacovara suggests that the vases may have arrived at Kerma long after their manufacture. His view is not compelling, cf. Kemp 1983 129. 44 For the situation of J Am, Yam, Irem, see Edel 1967; Zibelius 1972 78 ff.; Priese 1974; Kemp 1983 129 f.; H. Goedicke: Yam–More. GM 101 (1988) 35–42.—O’Connor 1987 and J.C. Darnell: Irem and the Ghost of Kerma. GM 94 (1986) 17–23 suggested a less probable localization of Yam/Irem in the northern Butana, which was, however, accepted by several writers, also including Török 1997a 94. 45 From Harkhuf ’s tomb at Qubbet el-Hawa on the west bank, c. 1.5 km north of


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ruler, h. q A,46 of Yam, the text refers to chiefs (h. q Aw) of several Lower Nubian polities, viz., Wawat, Irtjet, Satju, and Medjay. Wawat,47 Irtjet,48 Satju49 and Yam (from north to south) lay in the Nile Valley, while the land of the Medjay may be localized in the Eastern Desert.50 The chiefs of Medjay, Wawat and Irtjet also appear in two rock inscriptions at the First Cataract paying obeisance to Merenra after Egyptian military expeditions in Merenra’s first (?) and fifth year51 that seem to have been intended to regulate trade connections.52 The campaigns resulted, at least temporarily, in a vassal status of these chiefdoms53 as it is indicated by an inscription dated to Merenra’s first year in the Satet chapel at Elephantine. It records the king’s visit in the chapel and his intention, to subdue the chiefs (h. q Aw) of the foreign countries.54 Other contemporary inscriptions attest expeditions to Nubia led by “overseers of foreign troops” and record the titles “overseer of the army of Satju” and “overseer of the foreign troops of Satju” which indicate that mercenaries originating from southern Lower Nubia also participated in the expeditions.55 Harkhuf led his first three expeditions to Yam under Merenra, the fourth under the boy-king Pepy II. The first expedition “opened the way” to Yam. The phrase seems to indicate that the trade relations had to be re-established from reign to reign (for the significance of the expression “opening the way” see Chapter IV.3). On his second expedition Harkhuf found Satju and Irtet under the authority of one chief. On the third, Satju, Irtjet and Wawat were all combined under a single ruler (h. q A). It may be concluded from these records that by c. 2300 BC, after a hiatus of c. five or six centuries, Lower Nubia was resettled by a Elephantine, Urk. I 120–127 (16) A–C; Lichtheim 1973 23 ff.—For the Old Kingdom rock tombs of Qubbet el-Hawa, see Edel 1983. 46 In the Egyptian terminology, the title hq A defines an independent foreign ruler or . a person controlling administratively a territory, see Lorton 1974 22 f., 60 ff. 47 Edel 1967; Zibelius 1972 101 ff. 48 Edel 1967; Zibelius 1972 88 f. 49 Edel 1967; Zibelius 1972 153 f. 50 Zibelius 1972 133 ff.; Kemp 1983 122. 51 Urk. I 111 (19) and 110 (18), respectively. 52 Zibelius-Chen 1988 59. 53 O’Connor 1991 147. 54 Zibelius-Chen 1988 5 f. 55 E. Edel: Zwei neue Felsinschriften aus Tumâs mit nubischen Ländernamen. ZÄS 97 (1971) 53–63; Kemp 1983 126.

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population which formed three separate polities by Merenra’s reign. In the course of the following one hundred years or so these polities were united into one single polity, albeit the unification process was not quite direct. The biography of Pepinakht from the reign of Pepy II records military expeditions against the separate chiefdoms of Wawat and Irtjet.56 After Pepy II, however, no reference is made at separate chiefdoms in Lower Nubia. From the beginning of the Middle Kingdom Wawat designated all Lower Nubia from the First to the Second Cataract. It may thus be safely concluded that the separation of Wawat and Irtjet under Pepy II was an episode and not the reversal of the integration process. Such episodes of fissions are rather characteristic for the development of expanding complex chiefdoms.57 The short period of time between c. 2400–2300 BC and Pepy II’s reign (2278–2184 BC) witnessed a swift political development from simple chiefdoms which extended over fairly small sections (each about 115 km long) of the Nile Valley around Dakka (Wawat), Aniba (Irtjet), and Faras (Satju) to a complex chiefdom of a considerable size extending over the whole of Lower Nubia from the First to the Second Cataract.58 Who were the Lower Nubians occurring in the Sixth Dynasty texts referred to above? Although the details of the process leading from a scarcely inhabited trading corridor under Egyptian domination to the emergence of native polities remain largely unknown, some basic factors determining its course may be identified. With the end of the “Neolithic Wet Phase” around the middle of the third millennium BC,59 the increasing aridity drove away the cattlebreeding populations from the Wadi Howar in the south and the LaFrom his tomb at Qubbet el-Hawa, next to Harkhuf ’s tomb, Urk. I. 133, 10; 134, 6; Breasted 1906–1907 I 163 § 358. 57 Cf. O’Connor 1991 152; for a more general discussion of the archaic state, see Breuer 1990 17 ff.—For C-Group social structure, cf. also H. Hafsaas: Cattle Pastoralists in a Multicultural Setting. The C-Group People in Lower Nubia 2500–1500 BCE. Unpubl. master thesis, University of Bergen. Bergen 2003. 58 D. O’Connor suggests a radically different localization of the chiefdoms in his The Location of Yam and Kush and Their Historical Implications. JARCE 23 (1986) 27–50; in O’Connor 1987 and in O’Connor 1991. According to him, in the Early Bronze Age Wawat extended over all Lower Nubia, while Irtjet and Satju occupied Upper Nubia from the Third to the Fourth Cataract. He also suggests that all of them were complex chiefdoms. To O’Connor’s localization, I prefer the traditional one, since O’Connor’s view could be accepted only if also his identification of Yam (Irame) with the Butana region would be accepted, against which, however, Priese and others presented convincing arguments (see above). 59 Cf. K. Neumann: Zur Vegetationsgeschichte der Ostsahara im Holozän. Holz56


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qiya Region in the north. Populations from the Wadi Howar moved to the Dongola region.60 Arguing on the basis of the dominance of Proto-Meroitic names in the name material of the Kerman elite,61 Claude Rilly suggested that a part of these populations were ProtoMeroitic-speakers, similarly to earlier, mid-fourth millennium immigrants from the Wadi Howar. It also would seem highly probable that after c. 2500 BC the mass immigration from the Wadi Howar played a significant role in the emergence of the Kerma kingdom62 (cf. Chapter III.1). In turn, the population of the Laqiya Region, the descendants of the A-Group pastoralists who had moved there from Lower Nubia around 2800 BC, sought refuge in the Lower Nubian river valley (see Chapter IV.1). From around 2400–2300 BC, small settlements appeared in the fertile zones around Dakka, Aniba, and Faras. Their early CGroup culture (for the term, see below) displays affinities with Early Kerma or Kerma Ancien. The interpretation of the C-Group culture as part of a larger Nubian tradition63 was connected to the suggestion that a part of the population came eventually from Upper Nubia.64 However, the features shared with Early Kerma may also be explained as the result of a Kerman influence on the material culture of the newly settled C-Group communities and do not necessarily indicate an Upper Nubian ethnic origin of the whole, or even a part of the Lower Nubian population.65 We shall return to the issue of Kerman influence on the following pages. It is important to note that episodic immigrations from the Eastern Sahara may already have occurred during the Late and post-A-Group periods. A recent study66 points kohlen aus prähistorischen Fundstellen. in: R. Kuper (ed.): Forschungen zur Umweltgeschichte der Ostsahara (Africa Praehistorica 2) 1989 13–181. 60 For the history of the Wadi Howar, see Jesse 2006a. 61 Recorded in the Fifteenth Dynasty Papyrus Golenischeff, cf. Chapter III.1, end. 62 Rilly 2007 3 ff. 63 Cf. Bietak 1966 38 ff.; Bietak 1979 107.—From a linguistic point of view: C. Rilly: Méroitique et parlers nubiens anciens. Langue retrouvée, langue disparue, langue fantôme. Journal des Africanistes 76 (2006) 63–100 76 ff. 64 Gratien 1978; Bietak 1979 as well as, e.g., Malek 2000 115 f.; Edwards 2004 75 ff. and others suggest that the C-Group arrived from Upper Nubia. M. Bietak: The C-Group and Pan-Grave Cultures in Nubia. in: Hägg (ed.) 1987 113–128 suggests, however, that the C-Group arrived from the oases of the Western Desert. 65 O’Connor 1993 27 emphasizes the differences in material culture and mortuary evidence. See also Geus 1991. 66 B. Glück: Zur Frage der Datierung der frühen C-Gruppe in Unternubien. Ägypten und Levante 15 (2005) 131–151.

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out the presence of a “proto-C-Group” pottery decoration tradition associated with finds from the Eastern Sahara (Tibesti, Wadi Howar) and occurring in A-Group assemblages from Qustul Cemetery L and the northern Lower Nubian cemeteries Gedekol 77/1, Mo"alla, Ginari, Meris Markos, and Debod. This “proto-C-Group” tradition in pottery decoration constitutes part of the features connecting the C-Group to A-Group culture.67 Another factor of the changes in Lower Nubia may be sought for in internal changes occurring in Sixth Dynasty Egypt. The biography of Weni refers to a plot against King Pepy I68 and there are signs for the growth of the authority of local officials at the expenses of royal power. The second half of Pepy II’s long reign (2278–2184 BC) saw the erosion of the ideological bases of kingship and centralized government.69 The settlers appearing around 2400–2300 BC in Lower Nubia are identified in the literature as the C-Group, another uncommunicative term coined by Reisner in his monumental cultural chronology.70 The C-Group culture embraces Lower Nubia’s history from c. 2400–2300 to c. 1600 BC, i.e., for about eight centuries. On the basis of the archaeological evidence it is divided into five phases, viz., Phases Ia, Ib, IIa, IIb, and III.71 In order to correlate the development of the C-Group culture with historical data it is more convenient, however, to speak about Early, Middle, and Late C-Group. Early C-Group comprises Phase Ia and the earlier part of Phase Ib and corresponds with a part of Early Kerma or Kerma Ancien (c. 2500– 2050 BC) on the one hand, and with the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Dynasties of the Old Kingdom (2345–2160 BC) and the First Intermediate Period (2160–2055 BC), on the other. Middle C-Group comprises the later part of Phase Ib and Phase IIa. It corresponds with Middle Kerma or Kerma Moyen (c. 2050–1750 BC) on the one hand, and with the Eleventh, Twelfth, and early Thirteenth Dynasties of the Middle Kingdom (2055–1650 BC), on the other. Finally the Late C-Group comprises Phases IIb and III and corresponds with the first part (until c. 1600 BC) of Classic Kerma or Kerma Classique (1750–1500 BC) on the

Cf. Trigger 1976 49 ff. Lichtheim 1973 19. 69 Cf. Malek 2000 113 ff. 70 Reisner 1910. 71 For the periodization, see Bietak 1968; Gratien 1978; Zibelius-Chen 1988 55 f., fig. 2. Phases IIb and III may be largely contemporary, cf. Edwards 2004 97. 67 68


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one hand, and with the advanced Thirteenth Dynasty (1773–1650 BC) and the Second Intermediate Period (1650–1550 BC), on the other. 3. The Early C-Group Chiefdoms between Egypt and Early Kerma As already indicated in the foregoing, no exact date can be assigned to the beginnings of the Early C-Group. The history of the Egyptian domination in the largely uninhabited post-A-Group Lower Nubian Nile Valley ends around the middle of the Fifth Dynasty, probably in, or shortly after, the reign of King Nyuserra (2445–2421 BC). A new chapter opened with the arrival of the first immigrants from the Eastern Sahara around 2400–2300 BC. Neither the size of the immigrating population and its live-stock, nor its initial social organization should be underestimated, for already by the reign of Merenra (2287–2278 BC), thus within less than a century, the C-Group is recorded to have formed chiefdoms whose h. q Aw, “chiefs”,72 seem to have had fixed residences. By the end of the Sixth Dynasty, i.e., before 2184 BC, the three chiefdoms were united into one polity (see Chapter IV.2). Let us briefly survey the evidence for the Early C-Group chiefdoms and their relations with Egypt and Kerma. Early C-Group burials display features in common with Early Kerma burials as to the orientation of the head of the contracted body to the east, facing north, as well as to the general types of personal adornment: beads, bracelets, armlets and hair rings.73 The tomb superstructures were different, however. In Lower Nubia they were fairly high (1 to 2 m) solid stone masonry structures or stone rings filled with sand and gravel, similarly to A-Group tomb superstructures (Pl. 19). By contrast, Early Kerma tombs had low sand-and-gravel mound superstructures reinforced with rings of small stone slabs or large pebbles. On the east or northeast side of the superstructure of Early C-Group tombs pottery and occasionally bucrania74 were deposited, where also stone “stelae” were found, in many cases with the incised representation of cattle.75 In his discussion of Cemetery N at Aniba, O’Connor has shown 72 For the meaning of the term hq A as a person exerting administrative control over . a territory, see Lorton 1974 22 f., 60 ff. 73 For the types, see Steindorff 1935. 74 E.g., Säve-Söderbegh (ed.) 1989 fig. 53a, Pls 120/1, 2, 121/1, 2 etc. 75 Cf. Firth 1915 Pl. 35/a, b; Geus 1991 59 ff. For the burial typology, see Bietak 1968; Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989 7 ff.—For the wider context of the C-Group “stelae”, see

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that, as a tendency, the average superstructure size increased during the Early C-Group. In the Phase Ia section of the cemetery, where the average superstructure size moves between 1.00–1.90 m, there is a separate cluster of larger (diameter 2.39–3.19 m) superstructures. Carefully dressed, round-topped “stelae”, arranged in groups, are also associated with these burials (Pl. 20)76 and with Early C-Group burials in other cemeteries in the northern part of Lower Nubia, e.g. at Qurta West77 and Dakka.78 The larger examples are 2,0–2,20 m high. In the transitional Phase Ia–Ib elite superstructures have diameters around 5.8 m, while the average superstructure size is 2.10 m. A similar dichotomy of sizes would also be characteristic for the Middle C-Group, Phase Ib and Phase IIa superstructures at Aniba.79 Though the size and quality of the superstructures allow a summary classification of the tombs into “elite” and “average”, such a classification is certainly an over-simplification. A finer hierarchy could be achieved on the basis of the eventual differences in the composition of grave inventories. However, since the tombs of Aniba Cemetery N and other Early C-Group cemeteries are badly plundered, the incompletely preserved assemblages from “elite” and “average” burials cannot be safely evaluated as structured expressions of status. In any case, the high-quality pottery in Phase Ia and Ib burials represents a form of display which had already been characteristic for A-Group elite burials and which may also be observed in the burials of the Early Kerma elite. Besides black-mouthed bowls similar in technique to A-Group types, the Early C-Group pottery corpus consists of black and red wares decorated on the exterior with incised designs, which were filled with white paint. C-Group pottery is entirely hand-made. Its contrasting with contemporary wheel-made Egyptian pottery, as to its primitive technology,80 is doubtless justified. Nevertheless, the significance of its elaborate decoration cannot be denied even if we are unable to decipher the meaning of the designs occurring on the vessels (for the fine decorated C-Group pottery, see Chapter VIII.2.1).

A. Manzo: Funerary Stelae of Eastern Sudan in a Nubian Perspective. A Contribution to the Study of Ancient Funerary Customs. in: Gratien (ed.) 2007 263–273. 76 Steindorff 1935 38 ff., Pls 8–15. 77 Cemetery 118, Firth 1927 149, Pl. 8/f. 78 Cemetery 101, Firth 1915 Pl. 35/a, b. 79 O’Connor 1993 33 ff., fig. 3.3. 80 Adams 1977 150 f.


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The elaborate marking of the tombs by means of stone tumuli, the erection of stelae at the individual tombs and/or in the cemetery, the mortuary offerings placed outside the tombs81 present a, however poorly understood, evidence for religious conceptions82 and their association with the structure of the society. The cemeteries of the Early CGroup appear to have been “ancestral” cemeteries of fairly small communities. They reflect the basic structural units of the chiefdoms.83 The small (average size 1,5 by 2–2,5 m) mud-brick chapel attached to the eastern or south-eastern side of the tomb superstructure served for the deposition of offerings and was probably the place of some sort of ancestor worship. The chapel built at the western (!) side of grave N 844 at Aniba gives an idea of the perspectives of the religious developments starting with the building of special structures for offerings instead of placing offerings on the surface next to the tomb. Chapel N 844 contained a mud-brick lined subterranean shaft with the burial of a man.84 The chapel entrance was flanked by two roundtopped stone stelae (Pl. 21). It is perhaps not entirely mistaken to interpret the rectangular chapel with its burial and the symmetrically placed stelae as an attempt at the creation of monumental religious architecture. No further attempts of this kind are known from the C-Group culture, however. The primitive settlements—generally nothing more than temporary campsites85—describe a seemingly egalitarian society in which status differences do not clearly correspond with differences in material wealth. Yet the social stratification reflected in the Nubian mortuary evidence is corroborated by the textual evidence from Egypt that also offers an insight into the structure of the Egyptian trade with the south. We have reviewed a part of this evidence in Chapter IV.2. Let us now return for a moment to these texts. The biography of Pepinakht, a high official of Pepy II and successor of Harkhuf, was already mentioned in Chapter IV.2. It records that at his first expedition to Wawat and Irtjet Pepinakht massacred “a great number of the chiefs’ children and of troop leaders” and took a great number of prisoners to Memphis.86 At his second expedition Pepinakht 81 82 83 84 85 86

For an overview, see Adams 1977 156 f. Cf. Kemp 2000 231. Cf. Breuer 1990 45 ff. Steindorff 1935 183. Cf. Trigger 1976 49 ff. Urk. I 133 14 f.

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took prisoner the rulers (h. q Aw) of both Wawat and Irtjet as well as their children and two jmjwj-r A sˇnw.87 The latter title, attested in Old Kingdom titularies, and traditionally translated as “overseer of forces”, indicates the existence of a group of persons performing a specialized elite function clearly distinct from that of the h. q A. According to ZibeliusChen’s acute remark, the regular appearance of Lower Nubian mercenaries in the Egyptian army88 presupposes the existence of a sort of “governmental” structure in the Lower Nubian chiefdoms which enabled the society as well as the individual to interact with the Egyptians in this and in other matters.89 The remark on the capture of the “ruler’s children” (msw h. q A) appears to support the hypothesis, according to which the office of the h. q A was hereditary.90 The emergence of the institution of hereditary rulership may well have been connected to the emergence of other hereditary functions within the elite, which promoted a development leading to higher forms of administration. Most significantly, the military achievements of Pepinakht, which resulted in the capture of elite hostages and other prisoners and in the collection of “tributes” (for the term, see below), were rewarded with his deification shortly after his death. The cult of Pepinakht under the name Heqaib (“He-who-is-master-of-his-heart”) unfolding at Elephantine in the course of the early Middle Kingdom91 elevated the aggressivity of the Egyptian behaviour towards the Lower Nubian polities into the sphere of religion and political ideology. The early New Kingdom cult of the deified Senusret III may partly be interpreted in a similar context (see Chapter X.3). The conception of foreign policy as it is reflected in the Middle Kingdom cult of Heqaib had deep roots reaching back to the earliest Egyptian monuments of aggression against foreign countries from the Late Predynastic, First and Second Dynasty periods (cf. Chapters II.3, III.7). Features of the Middle Kingdom (Eleventh and Twelfth Urk. I 134 6 ff. For the evidence, see E. Eichler: Untersuchungen zum Expeditionswesen des ägyptischen Alten Reiches. Wiesbaden 1993; Meurer 1996 125 ff. 89 Zibelius-Chen 1988 61. 90 Zibelius-Chen 1988 60 f. 91 L. Habachi: Heqaib. LÄ II (1977)1120–1121; id.: The Sanctuary of Heqaib (Elephantine IV). Mainz 1985; cf. id.: The Identification of Heqaib and Sabni with Owners of Tombs in Qubbet el-Hawa and Their Relationship with Nubia. in: L. Habachi (ed.): Sixteen Studies on Lower Nubia. Le Caire 1981 11–27; D. Franke: Das Heiligtum des Heqaib auf Elephantine: Geschichte eines Provinzheiligtums im Mittleren Reich (SAGA 9). Heidelberg 1994 esp. 140 ff. 87 88


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Dynasties) ideology of an ever-expanding Egypt whose ruler conquers all foreign lands violently are already prevalent in Harkhuf ’s biography. Zibelius-Chen calls the attention to the accent of pressure and violence occurring in the phraseology of this, and other Old Kingdom texts describing the interaction with native elites.92 Two expressions seem especially relevant: wb A and sh. tp. The expression wb A, “to open”, “to explore”, repeatedly occurs in the context of the violent securing of privileges for Egypt on a foreign territory. The term sh. tp, “to pacify”, occurs in both aggressive and “diplomatic” contexts. For an aggressive context two examples will be quoted here, viz., the biography of Sabni, a high official making an expedition to Lower Nubia under Pepy II, inscribed in his tomb at Qubbet el-Hawa,93 and Pepinakht’s biography (Chapters IV.2, 3). The military accompanying Sabni was escorted by j #Aw-Nubians, i.e., Nubian dragomans who were, as Sabni claims, “pacified” (sh. tp) earlier by him. According to Zibelius-Chen, this can only mean that they have been recruited from territories, which were under some sort of Egyptian control. As to Pepinakht, after smiting Wawat and Irtjet during his first expedition, he returned to Lower Nubia in order to sh. tp these lands and take (as hostages?) their chiefs together with their children. Returning to Egypt, he delivered Nubian gifts to his king. A “diplomatic” rather than aggressive connotation of the term sh. tp occurs, e.g., in the biography of Harkhuf who used it in the description of his negotiations with the ruler of Yam (see below). Anyhow, the “pacification” of a foreign country resulted always in certain fixed obligations: sh. tp beinhaltet eine “Befriedung”, die die Verpflichtung zu Arbeits- und Abgabeleistungen einschliesst. Der Wortbedeutung auch in der Übersetzung nahekommend, könnte man als sinngemässe Wiedergabe des Wortes “zu Satisfaktion(sleistungen) veranlassen” vorschlagen.94

From the Egyptian viewpoint, a basic feature of the relations established with the “pacified” foreign polities is that the Egyptian partner was always the king himself. This comes to expression not only in the standard opening sentence of the expedition reports: “His Majesty sent me…”. Less directly, it is also indicated by the regular use of the term ı"nw, “[diplomatic] gift, dues, goods, income, presents, produce, revenue, Zibelius-Chen 1988 147 ff. Urk. I 136; the whole inscription in translation: Breasted 1906–1907 I. 166 ff. §§ 365–374. 94 Zibelius-Chen 1988 149. 92 93

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tribute”, an expression which would be misleading to equate with one modern concept.95 In his Official Gift in Ancient Egypt, Edward Bleiberg argues that examples from the tomb biographies [of Harkhuf and Sabni] refer to nonviolently acquired ı"nw from both individual Egyptians and foreigners living to the south of Egypt. The only accurate English equivalent to ı"nw would be a word that would fit all of the situations in which the Egyptians employed ı"nw as an appropriate description of the transaction. From these examples, it is clear the Egyptians saw ı"nw as a transaction in which goods moved into or from the king’s privy-purse, no matter what the method of acquiring the goods was and without real interest in whether the king ruled over the donor of the goods.96

Bleiberg concludes that ı"nw was always part of a redistributive process… in most periods both parties to the transaction were human individuals of unequal status… The regular exchange of ı"nw between individuals of unequal status from both higher to lower, and lower to higher allows a modern translation for the word of “official gift”.97

In his biography, Harkhuf records about his third expedition that, upon arriving in Yam, he had to find that the ruler of Yam had gone off to Tjemeh-land,98 to smite the Tjemeh to the western corner of heaven. I went up after him to Tjemeh-land and satisfied [sh. tp] him, so that he praised all the gods for the sovereign [i.e., Merenra]… Now when I had satisfied this ruler of Yam, [I came down through][…] south of Irtjet and north of Satju. I found the ruler of Irtjet, Satju, and Wawat. I came down with three hundred donkeys laden with incense, ebony, h. knw-oil,99 hs Ajt,100 panther skins, elephant’s tusks, throw sticks, and all sorts of good¯products. Now when the ruler of Irtjet, Satju, and Wawat saw how strong and numerous the troop from Bleiberg 1996 127 ff. Bleiberg 1996 46. 97 Bleiberg 1996 117. For ı"nw see also D.A. Warburton: State and Economy in Ancient Egypt. Fiscal Vocabulary of the New Kingdom. Fribourg-Göttingen 1997. 98 Lange 2006 114 argues that the Tjemeh (temehu) of Harkhuf ’s biography is identical with the nomads of the (earlier) Handessi Horizon (c. 2200–1100 BC) living in the large Western Desert area from the Laqiya Region in the north and the Middle Wadi Howar-Wadi el Melik region in the south. Cf. F. Jesse: The Wadi Howar. in: Welsby– Anderson (eds) 2004 53–55 54. 99 According to Zibelius-Chen 1988 101 f., hknw was a vegetal raw material acquired . from the south; the Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor mentions it as a product of Punt, Lichtheim 1973 214. 100 For the correction of the reading of the word (Lichtheim 1973 26 has s At), see Zibelius-Chen 1988 99. An aromatic material acquired in the territory of the Medjay? 95 96


chapter four Yam was which came down with me to the residence together with the army that had been sent with me, this ruler escorted me, gave me cattle and goats, and led me on the mountain paths of Irtjet[.]101

Though Harkhuf travelled to Yam with a military escort, his biography does not leave any doubt that his journey was not a military expedition. When he “pacified” (sh. tp-ed) the ruler of Yam in order to be able to bring back three hundred donkeys loaded with exotic goods, he did not take booty but had to offer presents in return. It remains obscure, however, what the gifts of the king of Egypt included. The calcite vases inscribed for Pepy II, the fragments of which were discovered at Kerma alongside fragments of vases bearing the name of Pepy I,102 may have been part of the equivalent of the produces indicated in the biography. Old Kingdom-style axe heads, mirrors and copper daggers103 recovered from Early Kerma graves arrived at Kerma similarly in the framework of gift exchange with the king of Egypt. On his third expedition Harkhuf took the Oasis Road leading from the nome of This, i.e., Abydos, to Yam. He travelled along the Darb el-Arba"in road to Selima Oasis from where a route was leading to the southeast. This route reached the Nile above Amara, allowing Harkhuf to avoid Lower Nubia.104 Returning to Egypt, he appears to have taken the desert road leading from Selima Oasis to Elephantine via the Dunqul and Kurkur Oases, which, however, he may have left at the Dunqul Oasis. From there he took a road which reached the Nile at Tomas, a place which could be defined as situated “south of Irtjet and north of Satju”—if this badly damaged passage of the inscription in Harkhuf ’s tomb contained indeed such a geographical definition of the route on which Harkhuf reached the actual place where he met the ruler of united Irtjet, Satju and Wawat. The reasons for travelling along desert roads, which were several hundred miles longer than the road along the Nile remain obscure. Since the goods were carried by donkeys, the difficulties of travelling by boat through the almost Lichtheim 1973 25 f. Lacovara 1991. 103 D. Dunham: Excavations at Kerma. Boston 1982 Pls XXXVII/a, XXXVIII/a, b; XL/c; Bonnet (ed.) 1990 97. 104 Warburton 2001 155 aptly remarks that “The character of the Nile Valley with its narrow zone of cultivated land would suggest… that forces could take desert paths to reach their destinations, and thus avoid unnecessary conflicts en route… The existence of… desert routes would presumably imply that significant forces could simply skirt strongholds and keep their eyes on the targets required”. 101 102

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impassable Batn el-Hagar (Belly of Rocks) south of the Second Cataract could not have influenced the choice of the route.105 But it could be influenced by the behaviour of the ruler of Irtjet, Satju and Wawat who may have been hostile from time to time, as it actually seems to be hinted at in the passage quoted above from Harkhuf ’s biography: namely, the chief escorted Harkhuf, gave him cattle and goats, and led him on the “mountain paths” of Irtjet only when he realized “how strong and numerous the troop from Yam was”. During the larger part of the Sixth Dynasty, the relations with the Lower Nubian polities were successfully regulated to the advantage of Egypt. The jmj-r A h Aswt, “overseer of the foreign countries”,106 a high official residing at˘ Elephantine, was responsible for the management of the trade contacts with Lower Nubia.107 His competence was considerable, for he was also responsible for the prospection108 and supply of Nubian raw materials, the recruiting of Nubian labour forces and the recruiting of mercenaries for the Egyptian army. Several overseers were described in their tombs to have “brought the products of all foreign countries to their lord”, or “brought to the king the products of the northern and the southern foreign countries”.109 All of them are known to have led expeditions to Lower and Upper Nubia and/or Punt (Chapter IV.1) and/or to the northern foreign countries, i.e., to Byblos.110 In carrying out his tasks, the jmj-r A h Aswt was supported by mili˘ into the foreign lands”.111 tary contingents casting “the dread of Horus It seems that, besides hardstones, the most desired Lower Nubian “gifts” were mercenaries. Already Weni (Chapter IV.2) commanded an army with considerable contingents of “Irtjet-Nubians, MedjayNubians, Yam-Nubians, Wawat-Nubians, Kaau-Nubians”, leading them on five campaigns against the nomadic “Asiatic sand-dwellers” of Cf. Trigger 1965 82; Trigger 1972 57. Eleven officials bearing this title were buried at Qubbet el-Hawa. For their list, see Edel 1983 60 f.—The title occurs first on a seal-impression under Khasekhemwy of the Second Dynasty: P. Kaplony: Die Inschriften der ägyptischen Frühzeit. Wiesbaden 1963 III Pl. 72/269, but is not attested again before the Sixth Dynasty. It also occurs in the sense of “overseer of the desert”. 107 The first jmj-r A h Aswt is attested at Elephantine under the Second Dynasty, yet his ˘ more restricted. Cf. Zibelius-Chen 1988 139 f. authority was probably 108 Cf. J. Yoyotte: Les Sementiou et l’exploitation des régions minières à l’Ancien Empire. BSFE 73 (1975) 44–55. 109 Edel 1983 61. 110 Edel 1983 61. 111 Harkhuf, Lichtheim 1973 25; for further evidence, see Zibelius-Chen 1988 140. 105 106


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an unspecified region of Palestine.112 Nubian mercenaries continued to serve in the Egyptian army and in border police units from this period onwards.113 From the Egyptian equivalent of the Lower Nubian “gifts” only the Egyptian pottery found at Early C-Group sites114 is visible: the wheel-made, round-based, necked vessels were containers for foodstuffs and liquids.115 Though many of the vessels were found in later contexts, i.e., they were frequently reused, it was obviously not the vessels but their contents that was the actual Egyptian equivalent of the Nubian produces. Foodstuffs had already been imported from Egypt by the AGroup polities (see Chapter III.4). The calcite vases inscribed for Pepy I (Chapter IV.2) and Pepy II and discovered at Kerma were mentioned above as testimonies of the regulated trade or, to use a more appropriate term, gift exchange between Sixth Dynasty Egypt and Yam, the contemporary Upper Nubian polity situated in the Kerma Basin, the centre of which was the settlement of Kerma. Judging by what we learn from the biographies of the leaders of the expeditons sent by the kings of the Sixth Dynasty to Upper Nubia and from the archaeological evidence of the Early Kerma or Kerma Ancien period (c. 2500–2050 BC), by the second half of the Sixth Dynasty Yam was a developed polity. Its ruler was able to control a profitable foreign trade with Egypt as well as with territories to the south of the Kerma Basin. The actual structure of the Early Kerma polity remains unknown. The evolution of social hierarchy at the settlement of Kerma is reflected by the growing differences in the sizes of the tomb superstructures and the complexity of funerary equipments, but it is only towards the end of the period that a complex chiefdom is clearly indicated by large tombs surrounded by a great number of small graves.116 The establishment of a separate quarter for religious buildings and associated workshops in the early phase of the period and, from around 112 Lichtheim 1973 19. The land of the k AAw-Nubians cannot be localized, cf. Zibelius 1972 160 f. 113 Cf. W. Helck: Söldner. LÄ V (1984) 1051–1052. 114 R. Holthoer: The Wheelmade Pottery in Middle Nubian Context. in: SäveSöderbergh (ed.) 1989 59–75; cf. also the material catalogued in G. Donner: The Finnish Nubia Expedition to Sudanese Nubia 1964–1965. The Excavation Reports I–II. Helsinki 1988 I. 45–96. 115 Cf. Trigger 1976 54. 116 On Cemetery N, see C. Bonnet: Sepultures et coutumes funéraires. in: Bonnet (ed.) 1990 69–87; cf. Kendall 1997a 39 f.; on the early sections of the Eastern Cemetery, Bonnet et al. 2000 16 ff.

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2200 BC, the use of burnt brick in the building of rectangular dwelling houses replacing round huts built of light materials117 may be interpreted as signs for the unfolding of a social hierarchy which can be defined either as a developed form of complex chiefdom or perhaps an early form of kingdom. There may be little doubt that the Kerman rulers contemporary with Harkhuf were able to control economy, war and ideology (i.e., the ideology of power and the cults)118 and that their territorial power extended over the Kerma Basin and the region between the Second and Third Cataracts.119 The contact of Egypt with the increasingly powerful Kerma polity seems to have been similar to the contact with another independent trading partner, viz., Byblos on the coast of Canaan c. 40 km north of modern Beirut,120 where counterparts of the calcite vessels from Kerma were also recovered121 (see above and Chapter IV.2). The gold and exotic wares from the south were just as important for Egypt’s prestige economy as the Lebanese cedar (Cedrus Libani) and other woods acquired through the port of Byblos. With the collapse of the Old Kingdom, these relations would undergo radical changes.

117 Bonnet–Valbelle 2005 18 ff.; cf. Bonnet 1986; 1987; C. Bonnet: Organisation sociale et institutions. in: Bonnet (ed.) 1990 47–51. 118 Cf. T. Earle: The Evolution of Chiefdoms. in: Earle (ed.) 1991 1–15, esp. 8 ff.; Kristiansen 1991. 119 Cf. A. Vila: La prospection archéologique de la vallée du Nil au sud de la cataracte de Dal (Nubie soudanaise) I–XV. Paris 1974–1985; Gratien 1986; C. Bonnet: Les établissements des cultures Kerma. in: Caneva–Roccati (eds) 2006 15–20. 120 W. Helck: Die Beziehungen Ägyptens zu Vorderasien im 3. und 2. Jahrtausend v. Chr. Wiesbaden 1971; M. Wright: Contacts between Egypt and Syro-Palestine during the Old Kingdom. Biblical Archaeologist 51 (1988) 143–161; Redford 1992 37 ff.; Wilkinson 1999 160 ff. 121 P. Montet: Notes et documents pour servir à l’histoire des relations entre l’ancienne Égypte et la Syrie, II. Nouvelles traces des Égyptiens à Byblos. Kêmi 1 (1928) 83–93; Redford 1992 41 f.


None indeed sail north to Byblos today. What shall we do for pine trees for our mummies? Free men are buried with their produce, nobles are embalmed with their oil as far as Crete. They come no more. Gold is lacking; exhausted are materials for every kind of craft.1

The evidence discussed in the previous chapter indicates that the materials and produces acquired from Lower Nubia and, via Lower Nubia, the area controlled by the Kerma chiefs and territories south of the Kerman chiefdom were of great importance for the rulers of the later Old Kingdom. The connections with the Lower and Upper Nubian polities could be regulated to the advantage of Egypt without major conflicts, which would have moved the rulers of Egypt to consider the subjugation of the C-Group chiefdom(s) or the emergent Kerman state. By the end of the Early Bronze Age Lower Nubia was confronted, however, with a largely altered Egyptian partner. The fading of the centralized Egyptian state started under the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties. The advanced Sixth Dynasty period saw the emergence of dynasties of local district administrators (the nomarchs) and the shift of power from the royal court to provincial centres. The political disunity of First Intermediate Period Egypt is described traditionally as chaos, yet the changes occurring in the centre-province relationship and the social, economic and cultural patterns of the countryside may, with some exaggeration, also be described in the terms of a “social revolution”.2 The c. one hundred years of the First Intermediate

1 The Admonitions of Ipuwer 3.6–10, Lichtheim 1973 152, cf. Blumenthal 1996 113. For a different translation of the passage “as far as Crete” cf. recently J.F. Quack, Ägypten und Levante 6 (1996) 81 note 57. 2 I use the term “social revolution” in the sense of Kemp 1983 115 f., 174 ff.—Cf. also


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Period (c. 2160–2055 BC)3 witnessed prolonged struggles between the provincial magnates4 and the formation of two competing kingdoms with the capitals Herakleopolis (Ninth and Tenth Dynasties) and Thebes (Eleventh Dynasty). The process of political disintegration was reversed by the Theban kingdom in the last decades of the third millennium BC. The rulers of Thebes re-established a centralized government operating now a more complex political system and controlling a more complex social structure. The c. one century of the First Intermediate Period corresponds roughly with the earlier half of Phase Ib of the Nubian C-Group. Culturally, Phase Ib is part of the long evolutionary process embracing the Early, Middle, and Late C-Group periods.5 As formulated by W.Y. Adams, the most important transformations of the C Horizon may have occurred in the social and ideological spheres. Material changes, though they are the basis for archaeological recognition of this period, are more conspicuous quantitatively than qualitatively.6

Yet a deeper insight into the transformations occurring in the course of the c. seven centuries of C-Group history is not rendered possible by the sources at our disposal. The Egyptian textual evidence and, much more indirectly, the archaeological remains permit us only to form a summary idea of the evolution of the three C-Group chiefdoms, the process of their unification, and the nature of their contacts with Egypt and with Kerma (see Chapters IV.2, 3). It is rather self-evident that the decline and end of the Old Kingdom also affected the life in C-Group Lower Nubia. It may be concluded from the archaeological record that long-distance trade betwen Egypt and Kerma stopped at the end of the Old Kingdom and, as we also may read in the passage quoted from The Admonitions of Ipuwer at the head of this chapter, Egyptian trade with Lower Nubia disappeared R.J. Wenke: Anthropology, Egyptology and the Concept of Cultural Change. in: Lustig (ed.) 1997 117–136 117 f. 3 Hornung–Krauss–Warburton (eds) 2006 491: c. 2118–1980 BC.—For the history of the First Intermediate Period, see Schenkel 1965; Kemp 1983 112 ff.; Seidlmayer 2000. 4 Seidlmayer 2000 145 ff. rightly warns that the picture of chaos presented in the literature of the Middle Kingdom should not be naively accepted as an authentic historical record of the First Intermediate Period. 5 Cf. Bietak 1968, 1979; Trigger 1976 49 ff.; Adams 1977 142 ff.; Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989 6 ff. 6 Adams 1977 147.

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almost completely: finds from C-Group contexts indicate a limited influx of Egyptian products. The collapse of long-distance trade along the Nile was, as also Ipuwer laments, the counterpart of the collapse of Egypt’s exchange with Western Asia.7 Throughout the First Intermediate Period, Lower Nubian mercenaries fought for the Theban rulers.8 Cemetery (Gebelein near Luxor) and settlement (Kubaniya north of Aswan) finds also show that considerable numbers of Nubian warriors were settled on Egyptian territory. The Nubian settlers married Egyptian women and their burials followed Egyptian traditions. The majority of the mercenaries fighting in one or the other Egyptian ruler’s army returned, however, to Lower Nubia. The autobiography of Ankhtifi, nomarch of the third and fourth Upper Egyptian nomes in the early First Intermediate Period, records that Ankhtifi’s barley “went upstream until it reached Lower Nubia”,9 probably as part of the mercenaries’ payment; and the influx of Egyptian goods may be explained at least partly as a result of the material Egyptianization of Nubians who spent a period of their life in Egypt. The trade with the divided Egypt of the First Intermediate Period was certainly much less profitable for the C-Group rulers than the exchange with the pharaohs of the Old Kingdom used to have been for the AGroup chiefs. The limited import of Egyptian products may well have had a negative effect on the relations between the chiefs and the elite and retarded the social and political processes in a polity that was on its way from complex chiefdom to kingdom (see Chapter IV.3). On the whole, however, the relative peace of the first half of the First Intermediate Period may have been rather favourable to the consolidation of the C-Group chiefs’ power. In the advanced First Intermediate period there occurred conflicts between Thebes and the C-Group chiefdom. An inscription from Gebelein (?)10 speaks about the Egyptian officer Djemi making Wawat tributary to his ruler. Egyptian aggressivity could have been motivated Cf. S.T. Smith 2003 60 ff.—Yurco 2004 447 f. suggests, however, a dating of The Admonitions of Ipuwer to the Second Intermediate Period and regards it as a description of the Hyksos invasion and its aftermath. Cf. Meurer 1996 105. J.F. Quack suggests a late rather than early Middle Kingdom dating (communication made in a letter of June 2008). 8 Säve-Söderbegh 1941 50 ff.; H.G. Fischer 1961; Trigger 1965 92 f. 9 Inscription on the pillars of Ankhtifi’s rock tomb at el-Mo"alla, J. Vandier: Mo"alla. Le Caire 1950 220 ff.; Schenkel 1965 54 § 37; Meurer 1996 101; Seidlmayer 2000 128 f. 10 Stela of the officer (mr mˇ s #) and chief of dragomans (mr#) Djemi, Säve-Söderbergh 1941 45; H.G. Fischer 1961 77. 7


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by several factors. A consolidated Nubian polity extending from the First to the Second Cataract represented an imminent danger to the Theban kings, who were also aware of the growing power of the rulers of Yam who resided at Kerma beyond the land of the Lower Nubian chiefs. There may be little doubt that the chiefs of C-Group Lower Nubia and Yam were figured as possible allies turning their combined forces against Egypt. The contours of the Egyptian sense of danger as well as the reality and dimensions of the actual threat represented by C-Group Lower Nubia and its southern neighbour become distinct from the hindsight, i.e., from the perspective of the Middle Kingdom activities in Lower Nubia and at the Second Cataract (Chapter VI). Egyptian aggressivity was probably also fuelled by the demands of the royal display unfolding on the eve of Egypt’s reunification:11 the acquisition of gold, hardstones and other materials from Lower Nubia and of exotic wares from the south became once more vitally important for a court that was to rule a vast centralized kingdom (Chapters III.5– 7).

11 On the constructions of King Wahankh Intef (2112–2063 BC) cf. W.S. Smith 1981 161 ff.; Seidlmayer 2000 134 ff.


Guard your borders, secure your forts, Troops are useful to their lord.1

1. The Egyptian Occupation of Lower Nubia In his Instructions2 King Amenemhat describes the ideally righteous, beneficent and glorious regency3 of a ruler who … travelled the far South, turned back to Delta marshes, stood on the edges of the world and saw its contours, Attained the outer limits of this mighty Egypt[,] […] set each thing firmly in its place[,] […] bated lions, captured crocodiles; […] conquered Nubians and brought back Medjay, and […] made Asiatics crawl like dogs4

but who was at the same time vulnerable through the solitariness of his god-like royal office5 and was most perfidiously betrayed and assassinated6 just by those whom his arms had had encircled: I gave to the poor and raised the humble, advanced the man from nowhere like the man of means; But it was he who ate my food who mustered troops, the one I circled with my arms hatched plots therein,

Instruction to King Merikare, Lichtheim 1973 101. Cf. Blumenthal 1996 passim. 3 Blumenthal 1996 117. 4 Trans. Foster 1992 38. 5 Cf. Parkinson 1996 146 f. 6 K. Jansen-Winkeln: Das Attentat auf Amenemhat I. und die erste ägyptische Koregentschaft. SAK 18 (1991) 241–264; C.A. Thériault: The Instruction of Amenemhet as Propaganda. JARCE 30 (1993) 151–160 and W.K. Simpson: Belles lettres and Propaganda. in: Loprieno (ed.) 1996 435–443 441 read the Instruction as the account of an attempted regicide. 1 2


chapter six Those clothed with my fine linen thought me dressed in weeds, and those perfumed with myrrh spilled out my water.7

The splendid verses repeat familiar phrases of the discourse on a prince’s disappointment and his moral duty to surmount his disillusionment. Parallels may frequently be encountered in the “pessimistic” literature of the Middle Kingdom.8 Amenemhat’s exclamation I was not steeled for this! I did not think it!

arises from the historical experience of disruption and insecurity of the generations of princes and intellectuals who, throughout the First Intermediate Period, continued to see the sense of a united kingdom and take the measure of the catastrophal dangers of disunity. Formulating the ideals of an unyielding royal authority of divine origins, the Middle Kingdom discourse on the role of the ruler9 rests upon the lessons drawn from this experience and supports the struggle for unity. The new Nubian policy of the re-unified Middle Kingdom Egypt (2055– 1650 BC) may be understood before this background. Commenting on the daybook inscription from Memphis,10 Redford presents an acute summary of the ideological-political context of the formidable swiftness and brutal impetus with which the first rulers of the reunited Egypt turned against the Lower Nubian C-Group polity: [W]e see a court and government immensely rich, powerful, and efficient, able to work its will not only inside the country but beyond the borders as well. Moreover, one senses the resolve to be ruthless… the Pharaohs of the 12th and 13th Dynasties viewed hither Asia and the Levant as theirs to exploit to the full… Titles denoting colonization, occupation, and military surveillance… turn up mainly in the Nubian theater.11

7 Testament of King Amenemhat [Instruction of Amenemhat], trans. Foster 1992 37. Written probably under the reign of Senusret I (1956–1911 BC), son and successor of Amenemhat I (1985–1956 BC), cf. Blumenthal 1996 131. 8 Cf. Baines 1995a 19 ff.; Parkinson 1996; M. Lichtheim: Didactic Literature. in: Loprieno (ed.) 1996 243–262 243 ff. 9 For Middle Kingdom royal dogma, see G. Posener: Littérature et politique dans l’Égypte de la XIIe dynastie. Paris 1956; Blumenthal 1970; and cf. Baines 1995a 19 ff.; Assmann 1996 154 ff. 10 S. Farag: Une inscription memphite de la XIIe dynastie. RdE 32 (1980) 75–82; H. Altenmüller–A.M. Moussa: Die Inschrift Amenemhets II. aus dem Ptah-Tempel von Memphis. Ein Vorbericht. SAK 18 (1991) 1–48; J. Malek–S. Quirke: Memphis, 1991: Epigraphy. JEA 78 (1992) 13–18. 11 Redford 1992 79 f. (my Italics).

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The early Middle Kingdom witnessed the unfolding of an aggressive ideology of domination and an ever-expanding Egypt whose ruler conquers violently all foreign lands (“the foreign lands belong to the king”)12 and defends his frontiers.13 The Instruction for King Merikare speaks thus about the king’s political wisdom: Strengthen your borders, your frontier patrols; It is good to work for the future, One respects the life of the foresighted, While he who trusts fails.14

The Boundary15 Stela of Senusret III erected in regnal year 16 (c. 1856 BC) at Semna16 presents a unitary portrayal of the empire builder’s duties: I have made my boundary further south than my fathers, I have added to what was bequathed me. I am a king who speaks and acts, What my heart plans is done by my arm. One who attacks to conquer, who is swift to succeed[.] […] One who attacks him who would attack[.] […] As for any son of mine who shall maintain this border which my majesty has made, he is my son, born to my majesty. The true son is he who champions his father, who guards the border of his begetter. But he who abandons it, who fails to fight for it, he is not my son, he will not be born to me.17

Royal legitimacy and the expansion of Egypt’s boundaries were organically interconnected:

Redford 1995 165. Blumenthal 1970 187 ff. 14 Lichtheim 1973 100 (39), 101 (62–63). 15 The traditional name of this document is incorrect, both the Semna and Uronarti “boundary” stelae of Senusret III are literary/victory stelae, see Meurer 1996 32. 16 Berlin 1157, K.-H. Priese: Ägyptisches Museum Berlin. Mainz 1991 46 No. 28. A duplicate stela was erected in Year 16 at Uronarti: Khartoum 451. See Meurer 1996 31 ff. and cf. L. Morenz: Beiträge zur ägyptischen Schriftlichkeitskultur des Mittleren Reiches und der Zweiten Zwischenzeit. Wiesbaden 1996 63; S.J. Seidlmayer: Zu Fundort und Aufstellungskontext der grossen Semna-Stele Sesostris’ III. SAK 28 (2000) 233–242. 17 Lichtheim 1973 119 f.—Lichtheim translated the last sentence as “…he was not born to me”. The translation “he will not be born to me” was suggested to me by Professor J.F. Quack. 12 13


chapter six Hail to you, Khakaure, our Horus, Divine of Form! Land’s protector who widens its borders, Who smites foreign countries with his crown, Who holds the Two Lands in his arms’ embrace, [Who subdues foreign] lands by a motion of his hands. How [the gods] rejoice: you have strengthened their offerings! How your [ people ] rejoice: you have made their frontiers!18

The “motion of his hands” is an equivalent here of “oral display as a form of action”:19 The tongue of His Person restrains the Nubian; His phrases put the Asiatics to flight.20

Conquest is also justified by the inferiority of the conquered:21 Since the Nubian listens to the word of mouth, To answer him is to make him retreat. Attack him, he will turn his back, Retreat, he will start attacking. They are not people one respects, They are wretches, craven-hearted.22

The notion of the foreigner’s inferiority fits into a more complex pattern, however. As Jan Assmann writes: Die Ausländer werden in diesem Weltbild nicht als Partner politischen Handelns wahrgenommen. Sie sind wie wilde und scheue Tiere, die sich auf jeden Angriff hin zurückziehen und auf jeden Rückzug hin vorsprechen und zuschnappen[.] … Wichtig ist: der Ausländer ist nicht der Böse, auch nicht der Rebell. Er gehört gar nicht in die durch die Verwirklichung der Ma#at geschaffene Rechtslandschaft der geordneten Welt hinein, in der nach Gut und Böse unterschieden werden kann. Er muss abgeschreckt und eingeschüchtert, aber nicht “bestraft” werden.23 From two hymns in the praise of Senusret III, Lichtheim 1973 198 f. Eyre 1996 415–433 426. 20 Hymn to Senusret III, F.Ll. Griffith: The Petrie Papyri. Hieratic Papyri from Kahun and Gurob. London 1898 1 ff., trans. Eyre 1996 426. 21 S. Schoske: Ptpt h Aswt. Die Unterwerfung des Feindes im alten Ägypten. Ph.D. dissertation ˘ Heidelberg 1982. 22 Lichtheim 1973 119. 23 Assmann 2000 96.—For the foreigner image, see recently J.F. Quack: Demagogen, Aufrührer und Rebellen. Zum Spektrum politischer Feinde in Lebenslehren des Mittleren Reiches. in: H. Felber (ed.): Feinde und Aufrührer. Konzepte von Gegnerschaft in ägyptischen Texten besonders des Mittleren Reiches. Stuttgart–Leipzig 2005 74–85. 18 19

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We have seen in Chapter IV.3 that the historical Pepinakht, a high official under the Sixth Dynasty King Pepy II, nomarch of Elephantine in the times of the violent occupation of A-Group Nubia, was transformed in the late Old Kingdom into the local saint Heqaib, “He-whois-master-of-his-heart”. The small original chapel of Heqaib at Elephantine was enlarged first in the early (?) Eleventh Dynasty, then again in the early Twelfth Dynasty.24 Heqaib’s cult elevated Egyptian aggressivity towards Lower Nubia into the sphere of religion and political ideology and formulated it as a divinely sanctified, normative behaviour. In more concrete terms, it is not always that easy to distinguish between intimidation and punishment or to discern the successive steps of conquest and the degrees of domination. Let us briefly survey the sources. After some fourteen years of regency in Upper Egypt, Mentuhotep II (2055–2004 BC) succeeded in extending his power over the Herakleopolitan kingdom as well.25 The political aims in the final stage of Egypt’s reunification also included the intimidation of the C-Group chiefdom: the incursions of the troops stationed by Mentuhotep II in the fortress of Elephantine not only demonstrated the power of a new centralized state in a traditionally awe-inspiring manner but also forecasted a new Nubian policy. An inscription from el-Ballas dated tentatively to Mentuhotep II’s reign speaks about the annection of “Wawat and the Oasis” to Upper Egypt.26 Graffiti at Abisko near Aswan27 seem to attest that armed actions reached as far south as Buhen or possibly Kerma.28 Similarly to Old Kingdom documents using the same phraseology, these inscriptions indicate pilfering and intimidating raids rather than efforts at the establishment of a permanent occupation.29 Under Mentuhotep II and during the brief reigns of his successors 24 Cf. Kaiser et al. 1997.—A fine description of the chapel is presented by R.B. Parkinson: Poetry and Culture in Middle Kingdom Egypt. A Dark Side to Perfection. London–New York 2002 3. 25 His Horus name sm A.t Awy, “Uniter-of-Two-Lands” occurs first in his regnal year 39, but it seems that he had adopted it earlier on the occasion of his sed-festival, cf. Callender 2000 151 f. 26 H.G. Fischer: Inscriptions from the Coptite Nome: Dynasties VI–XI. Roma 1964 112 ff. 27 E. Brovarski–W.J. Murnane: Inscriptions from the Time of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II at Abisko. Serapis 1 (1969) 11–33; J.C. Darnell: The Rock Inscriptions of Tjemehau at Abisko. ZÄS 130 (2003) 31–48. 28 Cf. J.C. Darnell: The Route of Eleventh Dynasty Expansion into Nubia. An Interpretation Based on the Rock Inscriptions of Tjemehau at Abisko. ZÄS 131 (2004) 23–37. 29 It should be added that Kemsit, one of Mentuhotep II’s lesser wives, seems to have been Nubian. For the somewhat problematic evidence, see Meurer 1996 113.


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Mentuhotep III (2004–1992 BC) and Mentuhotep IV (1992–1985), the acquisition of Nubian materials and produces could be secured in the framework of trade. This framework was special, however, insofar as every Egyptian trading expedition might have been prepared by or coupled with an aggressive action. Besides guarding the frontier, the garrison at Elephantine served as a basis for periodical intimidating raids, while the trading expeditions were escorted by Upper Egyptian forces and militia similarly to the Old Kingdom practice.30 Within less than three decades, however, the situation radically changed. A graffito inscribed on a rock at Korosko,31 the starting point of the important desert road leading from Lower Nubia to the goldmining regions in the Eastern Desert and reaching the Middle Nile at Abu Hamed below the Fifth Cataract,32 records the conquest of Wawat in Year 29, i.e., the last regnal year of Amenemhat I (1985– 1956 BC).33 Amenemhat I’s inscription signals the military occupation of Lower Nubia as far as the Second Cataract34 and the beginnings of an Egyptian domination which is described in the literature traditionally as a colonial rule practiced by a territorial empire.35 The occupation of Lower Nubia was carefully prepared by Amenemhat. Some time in the first half of his reign36 he started the building of mud-brick fortresses at Ikkur37 and Kuban38 at the entrance of the Wadi Allaqi, at Aniba39 in the geographical and political centre of the C-Group territory, and at Buhen40 at its southern boundary. Nubian campaigns were recorded, however, in Amenemhat I’s tenth, eighteenth, and twenty-ninth


The trading expeditions sent to Punt from the reign of Mentuhotep III onwards did not pass through Lower Nubia. For the expedition of Mentuhotep III to Punt, see the rock inscription in the Wadi Hammamat of the expedition leader Henenu, dated to the king’s Year 8 (c. 1996 BC), J. Couyat–P. Montet: Les inscriptions hiéroglyphiques et hieratiques du Ouadi Hammamat. Le Caire 1912–1913 81 ff.; R. Gundlach: Wadi Hammamat. LÄ VI (1986) 1099–1113 1104; Kitchen 1993 589 f. 31 PM VII 84; Zaba ˇ 1974 31 No. 4. 32 For the significance of the gold-mining region of Abu Hamed cf. Chapter II.4. 33 For Amenemhat I’s reign cf. L.M. Berman: Amenemhet I. Ann Arbor 1985. 34 Cf. Zaba ˇ 1974 Nos 4, 10, 52, 53, 58, 59, 61, 73. 35 See the excellent survey presented by S.T. Smith 2003 74 ff. 36 For this dating cf. Säve-Söderbergh 1941 30 ff.; Kemp 1983 130 f. 37 PM VII 37; Firth 1912 22 ff. 38 Emery–Kirwan 1935 26 ff.—For Egyptian presence at Kuban and Buhen in the Old Kingdom, see Chapter IV.1. 39 Steindorff 1937 1 ff. 40 Randall-MacIver–Woolley 1911; Caminos 1974; Smith 1976; Emery–Smith–Millard 1979.

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regnal years, which indicates prolonged C-Group resistance. By the early reign of Amenemhat’s successor Senusret I41 (1956–1911 BC), stages I– II of these forts were complete.42 A fortified palace at Kor43 near Buhen, a site, which would grow subsequently into an industrial and trading (?) centre, seems to have been the short-lived headquarters of Senusret I (?) during another Nubian expedition.44 The enormous fortresses—at Buhen (Pl. 22), the outer fortifications enclosed an area measuring c. 450 by 150 m, the citadel c. 150 by 138 m—had multiple functions. They constituted a powerful defence line protecting Egypt from aggression from the south; the garrisons stationed in them (according to the size of the individual forts, 100 to 500 or more men)45 controlled the C-Group population and supported longdistance trade between Egypt and Kerma as well as quarrying activities46 in Lower Nubia. Under Senusret I Egyptians started to mine for gold in the Wadis Allaqi and Gabgaba. The fortress of Kuban guarded the entrance to the mining area and the gold was smelted at Kuban and shipped from there to Egypt. Scales and weights for weighing gold were also discovered in the forts of Uronarti and Semna.47 The activities of the forts were coordinated by an intricately organised bureaucratic administration, which replaced the native political structure. Under Senusret I’s third successor Senusret III (1870–1831 BC)48 a new Nubian policy was introduced. Early in his reign, Senusret III extended Egypt’s boundary to the region of H . h. south of the Second 49 Cataract. The new southern frontier was established at Semna and For his reign, see Obsomer 1995. For the building history of the forts, see the literature quoted above and Kemp 1983 130 f.; Kemp 1989 168 ff. 43 For the site, see J. Vercoutter: Kor est-il Iken? Rapport préliminaire sur les fouilles françaises de Kor (Bouhen sud), Sudan, en 1954. Kush 3 (1955) 4–19; H.S. Smith: Kor. Report on the Excavations of the Egypt Exploration Society at Kor, 1965. Kush 14 (1966) 187–243; Kemp 1989 178 f. 44 Cf. the autobiography of Ameni in his tomb, Säve-Söderbergh 1941 70 f. 45 Cf. A. Vila: L’armament de la forteresse de Mirgissa-Iken. RdE 22 (1970) 87–179. For estimates concerning individual garrisons, see Dunham 1967 118; Williams 1993; S.T. Smith 1995 40 f.; Meurer 1996 47; B.B. Williams: Serra East and the Mission of Middle Kingdom Fortresses in Nubia. in: E. Teeter–J.A. Larsen (eds): Gold of Praise: Studies on Ancient Egypt in Honor of Edward F. Wente. Chicago 1999 435–454. 46 See Zibelius-Chen 1988 191. 47 Cf. Säve-Söderbergh 1941 73; Vercoutter 1959 133 ff.; Trigger 1976 66 f. 48 For Senusret III’s reign, see R.D. Delia: A Study of the Reign of Senwosret III. Columbia 1988. 49 Meurer 1996 27 argues that Hh was identical with Semna and Kumma. .. 41 42


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Kumma as described in a stela50 erected at Semna in Year 8 of Senusret (for its text, see Chapter II.3. We shall return to the contents of this stela in Chapter VI.2). In Year 8 a 78 m long, 10.4 m wide, and 7.8 m deep51 canal was built at Sehel (between Elephantine and Philae) to allow unhidered access for the Egyptian fleet to Nubia. The building of the canal was commemorated in an inscription at Sehel.52 The early Twelfth Dynasty forts of Ikkur,53 Kuban,54 Aniba55 and Buhen56 were rebuilt, and new forts were built north of the Second Cataract at Faras57 and Serra East,58 in the region of the Second Cataract at Dabenarti59 and Mirgissa60 and south of the Second Cataract at Askut,61 Shalfak,62 Uronarti,63 Semna,64 Semna South65 and Kumma.66 The fortresses were subordinate to the “overseer of the south” who controlled the territory between Cusae (in the region of Hermopolis) in Egypt and the Second Cataract: Lower Nubia was considered thus part of Egypt.67 The territorial expansion68 beyond the Second Cataract and the building of a strategically coordinated chain of forts69 was determined Berlin 14753, Meurer 1996 10 f. I.e., 150 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, 15 cubits deep, Gasse–Rondot 2003 41. 52 Cf. Gasse–Rondot 2003 41. 53 82 by 110 m.—The measurements of the forts after Arnold 1994 83. For the forts in the New Kingdom cf. Chapter IX. 54 70 by 125 m. 55 87 by 138 m. 56 See above. 57 75 by 85 m. Cf. Griffith 1921 80 ff.; J. Lipinska: Faras. LÄ II (1975) 114–115. 58 80 by ? m, PM VII 128; G.R. Hughes: Serra East. Kush 11 (1963) 124–219; Williams 1993. 59 60 by 230 m, Dunham 1967 177; S.T. Smith 1991b 122 ff. 60 190 by 295 m, Dunham 1967 141–191; J. Vercoutter: Excavations at Mirgissa. Kush 12 (1964) 57–62; Kush 13 (1965) 62–68; Vercoutter et al. 1970 8 ff.; Vercoutter et al. 1975; 1976. 61 77 by 87 m, A. Badawy: Archaeological Problems Relating to the Egyptian Fortress at Askut. JARCE 5 (1966) 23–27; S.T. Smith 1991b; S.T. Smith 1995; S.T. Smith 2003 97 ff. 62 47 by 95 m, Dunham 1967 115–137. 63 Triangular, 57 by 114 by 126 m, Dunham 1967 3–112. 64 135 by 135 m, Dunham–Janssen 1960 5–73. 65 L.V. Zabkar–J.J. ˇ ˇ Zabkar: Semna South. A Preliminary Report on the 1966–1968 Excavations of the University of Chicago Oriental Institute Expedition to Sudanese Nubia. JARCE 19 (1982) 7–50. 66 70 by 117 m, Dunham–Janssen 1960 113–128. 67 Cf. S.T. Smith 1995 39 ff. 68 Cf. Säve-Söderbergh 1941 80 ff.; Trigger 1976 68 ff.; Zibelius-Chen 1988 186 ff.; Kemp 1989 168 ff.; Williams 1999. 69 In general, see S. Clarke: Ancient Egyptian Frontier Fortresses. JEA 3 (1916) 155– 50 51

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by a new factor, viz., the spectacular unfolding of the power of Kerma. Kerma appeared under the name Kush (K As)70 for the first time in the text of a stela discovered by Champollion and Rossellini at Buhen in 1830 in a list of prisoners presented to Senusret I.71 The chain of fortresses between Elephantine and Semna-Kumma was destined to defend the empire against aggression from the south, control a now considerably enlarged occupied territory and its population, and serve the purposes of long-distance trade.72 A similar policy is manifested by the line of forts built under the early Twelfth Dynasty along the border with Palestine and by the fortress built in the Wadi Natrun73 to protect the Western Delta from the Libyans.74 Theoretically, the Nubian forts also could secure the military hinterland for expansion towards the south, i.e., aggression directed against Kush.75 Indeed, a camp built in the reign of Senusret III in the northern part of the island of Sai midway between Semna and the Third Cataract attests Egyptian penetration into a territory controlled by a native chief (in the late Old Kingdom, it was controlled by Kerma, cf. Chapter IV.3) and the establishment there of a bridge-head for campaigns into the Kerma heartland south of the Third Cataract, such as Senusret III’s campaign 179; L. Borchardt: Altägyptische Festungen an der Zweiten Nilschwelle. Leipzig 1923; Arnold 1994 82 f.; Williams 1999. 70 Middle Kingdom writing: K Asˇ, New Kingdom writings: K Asˇj, Kwˇ s, Kˇsj, Kˇswj, and finally Kˇs. For the evidence, see Meurer 1997 20. 71 Dated to Year 18 of Senusret I, c. 1937 BC, Florence 2540, Urk. VII 5,17, cf. Wb V 109; Zibelius 1972 165 ff.; Török 1997a 1 f.—Kush denotes Upper Nubia (Kerma), cf. Gratien 1978 294 f.; Posener 1987 23. 72 I cannot share the view of Adams 1984 46 according to whom “[e]ven if we accord them some warlike prowess… the Second Cataract Forts make no sense as territorial defenses against them [i.e., the northern Nubians]. Clustered as they were along the riverbank, the forts would have been an effective deterrent only against a maritime force. They would easily have been outflanked by an army moving overland— as any native Nubian force would have moved”. Adams seems to forget that patrols dispatched from the forts could effectively control all movements in Lower Nubia, of whatever nature and dimensions. Also Warburton’s definition is one-sided: “During the Middle Kingdom the central government established a series of fortifications intended to prevent Nubian commerce from entering Egypt without authorization”, further “It has been argued that the Egyptian fortresses in Nubia reflect military necessity, and yet it should be evident that these fortresses were incapable of protecting anything except commerce: they could not—and did not—form an impenetrable line which military forces could not pierce. The forts merely assured that any significant commercial activity would be dominated by the Egyptians”. Warburton 2001 119, 187. 73 A. Fakhry: Wâdi-El-Natrûn. ASAE 40 (1940) 845–848. 74 Cf. Shaw 2000 318. 75 Thus, e.g., Shaw 2000 325.


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in Year 10 (c. 1860 BC).76 There is no evidence, however, that would indicate that the Sai camp was in use after this campaign.77 In the Execration Texts78 dating from the two centuries of the Twelfth Dynasty SˇA #t, Sai,79 occurs as an independent native polity under the rule of its own chief (h. q A).80 It is significant that the Execration Texts intended to magically destroy Egypt’s enemies81 also list the h. q A of Kush, i.e., Kerma. The Middle Kingdom names82 of the Nubian forts present the threatening face of a formidable conqueror: hsf md Aı"w, “Repressing-the-Med¯ jay”83 (Serra East), dr st"ıw, “Destroying ˘the Nubians” (Askut),84 w #f h Aswt, ¯ ˘ “Curbing-the-Foreign-Countries” (Shalfak), hsf ı"wnt"ıw, “Repelling-the˘ (or: SetiuIuntiu”85 (Uronarti), d Aı"/d Aı"r St"ı, “Subduer-of-the-Seti-land 86 Nubians)” (Semna South), shm H#-k Aw-R # m A # hrw, “King-Khakaure ˘ ˘ West), and ı"tnw ˘ pdwt, “Warding-off[Senusret III]-is-Powerful” (Semna ¯ the-Bows” (Kumma). The name of Faras, ı"nq t Awy, “Embracing/Uniting-Two-Lands”, however, seems to have given expression to the conception that Lower Nubia was part of Egypt. The aggressive message 76 For Senusret III’s rock inscription at Dal cf. J. Leclant: Egypt in Nubia During the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. in: Africa in Antiquity I 63–73 64. 77 Cf. Zibelius-Chen 1988 232 f. 78 The four principal groups of the Execration Texts are: alabaster figurines from Helwan, early Twelfth Dynasty, G. Posener: Princes et pays d’Asie et de Nubie. Textes hiératiques sur des figurines d’envoûtement du Moyen Empire suivis de remarques paléographiques sur les textes similaires de Berlin par B. van de Walle. Bruxelles 1940 48 ff.—Mirgissa vases, sherds and figurines, late Twelfth Dynasty, G. Posener: Les textes d’envoûtement de Mirgissa. Syria 43 (1966) 277–287.—Berlin sherds, late Twelfth or Thirteenth Dynasty, K. Sethe: Die Ächtung feindlicher Fürsten, Völker und Dinge auf altägyptischen Tongefäßscherben. Berlin 1926.—Figurines from Saqqara, Thirteenth Dynasty, Posener op.cit. See also Posener 1987; O’Connor 1991 147 ff.; Meurer 1996 102.—For the magical significance of the texts and figurines, see also Ritner 1993 136 ff., 153 ff. For the magical practice, see J.F. Quack: Some Old Kingdom Execration Figurines from the Teti Cemetery. BACE 13 (2002) 149–160. 79 See recently C. Rilly: Le nom de Sai et ses occurrences dans les textes méroitiques. in: Gratien (ed.) 2007 303–312 304 ff. 80 For the title, see Lorton 1974 22 f., 60 ff.; Zibelius-Chen 2001 24 ff. 81 For the Asiatic enemies in the Execration Texts, see Redford 1992 87 ff., but also cf. the note in Warburton 2001 312. 82 Ramesseum Onomasticon, A.H. Gardiner: An Ancient List of the Fortresses of Nubia. JEA 3 (1916) 184–192; id.: Ancient Egyptian Onomastica. Oxford 1947 10 f., 263, 266; S.T. Smith 1991b 117 ff.; S.T. Smith 1995 25 f. The Onomasticon gives the names in a south-to-north order. 83 For the Medjay, see Chapter IV.2. 84 For the name on seals from Askut, see S.T. Smith 1995 25 ff. 85 General name for Nubian nomads. 86 Cf. L.V. Zabkar: ˇ Semna South: The Southern Fortress. JEA 61 (1975) 42–44.

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of the fortress names is identical with that of Senusret I’s and Senusret III’s names and epithets.87 The forts were not only the places from where the land was governed: with their enormous dimensions, they also dominated the Nubian landscape and were awe-inspiring symbols of Pharaoh’s omnipresent supernatural power. The effort of building these forts was immense: e.g., the walls of Serra East, one of the smaller fortresses, contained c. 15.000 m3 of mud-brick alone. The fortresses were surrounded by ditches cut from the rock or lined with masonry or mud-brick and the parapets of the ditches were also crowned with a wall. In several forts the mudbrick walls were reinforced with timber. Timber, which had to be imported to Lower Nubia, was also used in the architecture of the buildings in the interior of the fortresses. Since the Nile was impassable to shipping below Mirgissa, the Second Cataract was bypassed there by a 8 km long mud-paved slipway. The boats were placed on sledges and dragged along the wet slipway by men and oxen.88 Moreover, Semna and Semna South were linked by a wall, behind which boats could be beached. The fort of Serra East also enclosed a basin in which ships could safely dock.89 It is thus fully justified to call the Lower Nubian forts “the mightiest fortifications ever erected in the ancient world”.90 Nevertheless, Adams suggests that [t]heir function was not to keep the Nubians under control, but rather to keep the Nile under Egyptian control. They had their counterpart millennia later… in the ‘castles’ which reappeared in Nubia in the late Middle Ages… the absence of Egyptian forts at the cataracts above Semna … suggests the possibility that the Nile above Semna was effectively controlled by another power. If so, this was a genuine international trade. […] Any attempt to account for the fortresses on pragmatic military grounds alone seems as futile as an attempt to account for the pyramids in terms of a need to dispose of the dead. Both are examples of the material hypertrophy which is characteristic of Egyptian civilization. Once the decision to build them was taken, the rest followed from force of habit.91

It would seem, however, that, if there was any “material hypertrophy” in the size and complexity of the fortifications, it was determined rather 87 Blumenthal 1970 164 ff., 185 ff., 194 ff., 231 ff.; Beckerath 1984 65 f.; Zibelius-Chen 1988 232 f. 88 A. Vila in: Vercoutter et al. 1970 204–214. 89 Cf. Trigger 1976 75. 90 Adams 1977 176. 91 Adams 1977 185 ff.


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by a cautious assessment of the potential danger threatening Egypt from Kerma and by the deeply shocking experience of the First Intermediate Period. The monumental architecture of the fortresses also reflects the style of government of the Twelfth Dynasty: [t]he archaeological evidence from Middle Kingdom Nubia projects into this military frontier region a massive application of Middle Kingdom administration. Behind the forts must lie a hidden mountain of scribal effort. We can only marvel at the excess of zeal and energy that the whole operation reveals.92

It is important to add, however, that the great fortresses in Nubia, although built to defend Egyptian interests against hostile Nubian kingdoms, are also statements of power, and the part they might have played in assisting the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty to demonstrate their authority to their own potentially unruly aristocracy is a factor that should not be ignored.93

Summing up the views concerning the motifs of the conquest of Lower Nubia and the purpose of the Middle Kingdom forts, we may agree with Karola Zibelius-Chen that wenn auf der einen Seite das Herrschaftsverständnis des ägyptischen Pharaonentums, politisches Programm und Bürokratismus als Kraftstoff für die expansionistischen Bestrebungen angesehen werden können, auf der anderen Seite die machtpolitischen Umstände…—[wie] das aufstrebende Kuschitenreich—als Motor für die ägyptische Annexion und wirtschaftliche Ausbeutung weiter Teile Nubiens gelten müssen.94

In Stuart Tyson Smith’s view, economic interests played an even more decisive role in the conquest. Analyzing the changes occurring in Egypt’s Nubian policy during the advanced Twelfth and the Thirteenth Dynasty, he concludes that Egypt tried to minimize the costs of the empire and maximalize the profit drawn from the exploitation of the resources of the occupied territory and from long-distance trade.95 We shall return to these changes below in Chapter VI.2. Here Smith’s conclusion concerning the role of the forts deserves to be quoted: Kemp 1989 178. Kemp 1997 130. 94 Zibelius-Chen 1988 239. Zibelius-Chen also refers to a “politisches Vakuum in Unternubien” as a motif of expansion, yet this is not valid for the early phase of the Egyptian penetration. 95 S.T. Smith 2003 passim and cf. S.T. Smith: Ancient Egyptian Imperialism: Ideological Vision or Economic Exploitation. Reply to Critics of Askut in Nubia [= S.T. Smith 1995]. CAJ 7 (1997) 301–307. 92 93

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the Second Cataract forts of the Middle Kingdom operated as a well planned and integrated system with considerable functional differentiation, ranging from Semna fort’s apparent emphasis of garrison, to Askut’s more passive focus on support of the other forts and local activities. One need not seek to find a single, or even primary, purpose for the system. It is clear that the forts had a multi-faceted role in the Nubian policy of the Middle Kingdom Pharaohs, serving on the one hand in support of the punitive campaigns to the south and as a static defense to prevent violation of the bundary, and on the other to regulate and facilitate riverine and overland trade, monitor the local population… and exploit the natural resources of the area.96

In the reign of Senusret III the garrisons were manned with soldiers recruited in Egypt.97 The Twelfth Dynasty stelae, rock inscriptions, statues and seal impressions from Lower Nubia attest various ranks of army officers ranging from infantry generals ("ımy-r mˇs # wr, ı"my-r mnf A.t) to army scribes (sˇs mˇs #) and #h. Awty soldiers; of naval officers ranging from fleet commanders ("ımy-r #h. #w) to commanders of oarsmen ("ımy-r hny.t). The police are represented by titles ranging from police ¯ commanders ("ımy-ht s A-pr) to policemen (s A-pr).98 Evidently, the garrisons also functioned as ˘customs guards. The Semna Despatches99 record that units of soldiers ( #h. Awty) and Medjay, i.e., Nubian desert men, regularly patrolled the desert to control every movement of the natives, but they also record trading with Nubians arriving from and returning to the south100 (the chiefdom of SˇA #t or Kerma?) at the fortress of Semna. As attested by the seal impressions101 found in large quantities in the Nubian fortresses, the adminstrative/economic institutions established in them such as the departments of the treasury (pr-h. d), granaries ¯ (ˇsnw.t), magasins (wd A.w), and “labor prisons” (hnrt),102 continued to be ¯ ˘ S.T. Smith 1991b 132. Smith 1976 68, 79. 98 For the evidence, see Hintze–Reineke et al. 1989; R.J. Leprohon: Les forces du maintien de l’ordre dans la Nubie au Moyen Empire. in: Berger–Clerc–Grimal (eds) 1994 285–291. 99 BM EA 10752 = Papyrus Ramesseum C, A.H. Gardiner: The Ramesseum Papyri I. Plates. Oxford 1955 8; Smither 1945. 100 Cf. Zibelius-Chen 1988 149. 101 Cf. S.T. Smith: The Administration of Egypt’s Southern Frontier: Middle Kingdom Sealing Practice at Uronarti and Askut Forts. in: T.G. Palaima (ed.): Aegean Seals, Sealings and Administration. Liège 1990 197–216; S.T. Smith 2001. 102 On this institution, see W.C. Hayes: A Papyrus of the Late Middle Kingdom in the Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn 1955 37 ff.; S.T. Smith 1995 47; and see below the discussion of Areika. 96 97


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modelled on urban institutions in Middle Kingdom Egypt.103 Seal impressions from Mirgissa and Uronarti and a rock inscription at Kumma also attest the existence of governors (htm n h. Aty- # n I"k. n).104 As shown by Kemp, the combined storage capacity˘ of all the Nubian forts considerably exceeded the needs of the Egyptian garrisons and the Egyptian administrators living within their walls. Kemp suggests that the granaries in the forts (especially the large one in the fort of Askut, “a fortified grain store”) also functioned as bases of supply for military campaigns.105 Grain was shipped in from Egypt, but a smaller part of it may have been produced in Lower Nubia.106 On the whole, the rationalism of the Egyptian establishment in Lower Nubia is obvious.107 2. Nubians and Egyptians in Lower Nubia under Middle Kingdom Domination The regulation of trade with the Nubians figures prominently in the text of the Semna boundary stela from Year 8 of Senusret III108 (for the text, see Chapter II.3). According to the stela, the purpose of the forts of Semna and Kumma was to prevent any Nubian “journeying north by land or in a kai-boat as well as any livestock belonging to Nubians, with the exception of a Nubian who shall come to traffic at I"k. n [Mirgissa]”. While the dimensions of local trade at Semna were probably not large, the trading post at Mirgissa may have been an important, perhaps the most important, centre of long-distance trade between Kerma and Egypt where cargoes arriving from the south were re-loaded on Egyptian vessels. Pottery finds from Kerma attest a fairly large-scale import of various commodities from Upper and Lower Egypt, which constantly increased during the Twelfth Dynasty and in the earlier Thirteenth Dynasty.109 In For the evidence and its interpretation, see Gratien 1994 and cf. Gratien 2004. Gratien 1994 188. 105 B.J. Kemp: Large Middle Kingdom Granary Buildings (and the Archaeology of Administration). ZÄS 113 (1986) 120–136. 106 Cf. S.T. Smith 1995 46 ff. 107 From the military point of view: Warburton 2001 221. I do not agree, however, with his generalization: “Egyptian policy was… generally marked by a clear lack of determination” (ibid.). 108 Berlin 14753, Meurer 1996 10 f. 109 J. Bourriau: Relations Between Egypt and Nubia During the Middle and New Kingdoms. in: Davies (ed.) 1991 129–144 129 f.; Bourriau 2004. 103 104

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exchange, Egypt acquired luxury goods, which, like the gold mined or the stone quarried in Lower Nubia and the Eastern Desert, constituted an essential part of Egyptian redistributive economy and royal display. The occupation of Lower Nubia first to the Second Cataract and then to the Semna-Kumma region was a violent process. The Egyptian conquerors met with a prolonged opposition. This time, there were probably no Nubian mercenaries to strengthen the Egyptian troops: now the famed Nubian warriors fought against them. A rock inscription of Senusret I’s vizier Enyotefoqer110 at Gebel el-Girgawi south of Korosko (East)111 gives an idea of the cruelty with which the C-Group chiefdom was occupied and the manner in which the violence was justified: Enyotefoqer, [whose nickname is] Gem, said: “I am a valiant man of vigour, a pleasant man from [the city called] She-in-front-of-her-Lord, [a scribe] excellent with [his] fingers, a humble one, yet in great affection of [His] Majesty, [distributing] clothes among his troops… One has been engaged in building this hn(r)t.112 Then the Nubians of the entire remaining part of Wawat were˘ slaughtered. Thereupon I sailed victoriously upstream, slaughtering the Nubian on his river-bank(s) and then I sailed downstream plucking corn and cutting down their remaining trees. I (?) put fire into their houses, as one has to act against him who rebelled against the King (of Upper Egypt).”113

The negative attitude towards the Nubians is stressed in all kinds of inscriptions connected with the military as well as in the symbolic representations of domination occurring on the seals used by the individual garrisons.114 It is articulated thus in the graffito of a Twelfth Dynasty officer at Areika: […] beloved of his lord, the king’s follower Khuisobek. I set out, acting for him with a troop of bowmen, being at their head […] I campaigned/patrolled, living on the road […]/guarding the road […] residing far from my […] without placing a Nubian in my heart.115


The Antefoker/Antefoqer of the literature. Another rock inscription of Enyotefoqer on the south side of the Gebel el-Girgawi: ˇ Zaba 1974 39 No. 10A. 112 In the actual context it may have been a “labor prison” for captured Nubians as well as a small fortified camp supporting Enyotefoqer’s campaign, see the next sentences of the inscription. 113 Zaba ˇ 1974 99 f. No. 73. 114 Cf. Wegner 1995 144 ff. 115 Weigall 1907 Pl. LXXV; trans. Wegner 1995 150. 111


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This attitude is strikingly (but understandably) contrasted by the attitude of the Egyptian military commanders towards their own men: Year 16 [of Senusret I?]. Ameny, son of Mentjuwoser, son of Iay: “I am a man of the troops charging down upon the strong one, (but) loving life and hating death”116

or, more explicitely:117 Enyotef, son of Henenu, son of Djaf-Enyotef: “I was born in the Year . 10 of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Sh. tp-"ıb-R# [Amenemhat I], triumphant. I am the calm man who is among the troops. I caused no harm to my assemblage of recruits.”118

As triumphal monuments generally do, also Enyotefoqer’s rock inscription overexaggerates the topoi of punishment and devastation. A total destruction of the land and its inhabitants would not have served the conqueror’s interests. The text of a stela119 from the reign of Amenemhat II (1911–1877 BC) records that, as a punishment, Nubian chieftains were forced to work as gold-washers. This may not have been an isolated case. While the C-Group chiefdom as a political structure was replaced by an Egyptian administration centered in the forts, it cannot be excluded from the very outset that the elite of Wawat was not destroyed physically, or even that it was allowed to participate in the control of the C-Group communities. Such participation may be imagined, however, only on a village level and/or within the framework of family/clan structures: neither form of native participation in “colonial” administration would necessarily leave behind written records. The survival of C-Group cultural traditions such as burial customs and fine decorated pottery (see Chapter VIII.2.1) throughout the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period may be better comprehended if we suppose a however infringed survival of the social structure of the developed phase of the Early C-Group (see Chapters IV.3, V). ˇ Zaba 1974 79 No. 56. ˇ Zaba 1974 80 refers to lines 8 f. of the Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor to illuminate the general conception of the good commander behind these inscriptions: “Your crew has come back safely,/there are no losses to our expedition/Though we traversed the northern marches of Wawat/and skirted Senmut fortress.” Trans. Foster 1992 24. 118 Zaba ˇ 1974 54 No. 27. Translation slightly corrected by J.F. Quack (in a letter of June 2008). 119 From Abydos, BM 569, Säve-Söderbergh 1941 74; Obsomer 1995 350; Wegner 1995 153. 116 117

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As already noted, the administrative institutions established in the forts reproduced institutions of the government of Egypt north of Elephantine. The principal departments appearing in the evidence were listed above in Chapter VI.1. As to the direct control of the C-Group communities, the occurrences of the titles ı"my-r w #rwt n styw, “overseer of districts of Nubians”,120 ı"my-r w#rtyw, “overseer of district men/superintendent of district inhabitants”, ı"my-r w #rt, “district overseer”,121 indicate that Lower Nubia was divided into smaller regional units the inhabitants of which were controlled by Egyptian officials. The actual relationship between the w #rwt (“districts”), and the territorial units controlled by the individual forts remains obscure, however. It was the governed and not the government that differed. Although there is no textual evidence to tell about the actual principles according to which the C-Group population living in the small settlements around the Egyptian forts was allowed to preserve its village-level social, economic, and political structure, the archaeological evidence is rather unequivocal. The lack of Egyptian imports in the C-Group settlements and the scarcity of C-Group pottery in the forts seems to indicate that the inhabitants of the forts and the native settlements lived in a kind of cultural separation in the first half of the Twelfth Dynasty. We shall see later that this situation begun to change around 1800 BC, i.e., towards the end of the Middle C-Group. The large quantities of seal impressions connected with the institution of hnrt, “labor prison”, found in the forts reveal that until the advanced˘ Twelfth Dynasty the forced labor of Nubians (and perhaps also Egyptians deported to Nubia) put in labor prisons as a punishment constituted an important element of the fortress system.122 Labor prisons were operated in the forts of the line built out under Amenemhat I, Senusret I and Senusret III and in smaller forts built in the fertile areas, which were densely settled by the C-Group. Areika (Pl. 23),123 the only excavated example of the smaller forts, presents an excellent illustration of the changes occurring in Egypt’s Nubian policy in the course of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasties. The fort of Areika, the architecture 120 Stela from Elephantine, Berlin 19.500, W. Wreszinski: Ägyptische Inschriften aus den Königlichen Museen zu Berlin I. Leipzig 1913 260 ff.; Wegner 1995 152. 121 Rock graffiti at Areika, Weigall 1907 Pls LII, LIII; Wegner 1995 151 f. 122 S.T. Smith 1991b 125; Wegner 1995 153 f. 123 D. Randall-MacIver–C.L. Woolley: Areika. Philadelphia 1909 5–18; Wegner 1995. Edwards 2004 94 quotes Wegner’s paper but does not seem to be aware of his conclusions concerning the use of the site.


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of which followed a type of Egyptian Middle Kingdom fortresses,124 was built in the early Twelfth Dynasty, probably under Senusret I,125 on the west bank c. 10 km downstream from Amada and c. 15 km upstream from the aforementioned site of Gebel el-Girgawi south of Korosko (East). The soldiers stationed in the original fort participated in the military control of the Amada area and the fort was also the seat of Egyptians involved in district administration. Areika also included a hnrt, “labor prison”126 which may have been identical with the hnrt men˘ ˘tioned in Enyotefoqer’s inscription from Gebel el-Girgawi.127 The Middle C-Group Phase IIa domestic pottery (mainly cooking pots, water jars, storage vats) from the fort128 was used probably by the natives, who were put into the hnrt of Areika. This pottery may also indicate ˘ that the C-Group communities were obliged to contribute to the supply of the labor prisons. Significantly, the Egyptians living in the fort of Areika used only Egyptian pottery, tablewares as well as containers, while no Egyptian ceramics was used in the contemporary C-Group settlements.129 The expansion of the occupied territory to the Semna-Kumma frontier and the completion of the fortress system were coupled with a significant change in the nature of Egypt’s presence in Nubia. As shown by H.S. Smith,130 by the 1800s BC Egyptian officials and their families were buried in Nubia,131 which indicates that at this time the occupied land was governed by permanent settlers. The replacement of rotating garrisons and officials supplied from Egypt with permanent settlers was meant to minimalise the costs of occupation. The change in the system of government secured a greater autonomy for the forts132 and it went together with a change in the imperial attitude.133 Instead of Wegner 1995 135 ff. For the dating on the basis of the ceramic evidence, see Wegner 1995 140 ff. 126 Wegner 1995 131 ff. 127 Wegner 1995 156. 128 Wegner 1995 138 f.—Wegner stresses the typological and chronological closeness of the Areika assemblages to those from Wadi es-Sebua (see below). 129 For Wadi es-Sebua and Aniba cf. Wegner 1995 139. 130 Smith 1976 67 ff.; S.T. Smith 1995 51 ff. 131 For the evidence from Buhen Cemetery K, see Randall-MacIver–Woolley 1911 185–216; for Mirgissa Cemetery MX-TC, see Vercoutter et al. 1975 229–289; and cf. S.T. Smith 1995 66 ff. 132 S.T. Smith 2003 76. 133 Since I am not disposed to believe that the analysis of the historical evidence would make a sense only if it leads to the creation of a model, I prefer to refrain here from discussing theoretical issues such as the definition of the Middle (and New) 124 125

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soldiers and bureaucrats who counted the days until they could return to Egypt from a subjugated foreign land, Lower Nubia was controlled by people, who considered now Nubia a continuation of Egypt in a different manner than their predecessors. For the Egyptian of the earlier Middle Kingdom it was a horror to be buried in a foreign land.134 The burial of Egyptians on the Middle Nile signals that in the advanced Middle Kingdom Lower Nubia was no longer a foreign land for them. A fascinating evidence for the Egyptianization of the Nubian environment is also presented by the monuments of domestic ancestor cult found in late Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasty contexts at Askut.135 The changes in the Egyptian perception of the Middle Nile environment also brought about changes in the traditionally hostile and exclusive perception of the Nubians. Some time in the (late?) reign of Senusret III the Egyptian garrison abandoned Areika. The site was reoccuppied, apparently without any longer interval, by a C-Group community the ceramic/artifactual evidence of which spans over the second half of Phase IIa of the Middle C-Group and Phase IIb of the Late C-Group (late Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasties). The new occupants transformed the Egyptian fort into a habitation site partly preserving the perimeter walls and the buildings in the interior of the fort and adding a number of structures with curvilinear walls built in the characteristic C-Group standing stone slab technique. The architecture of the new buildings displays close affinities with the houses of the walled settlement at Wadi es-Sebua136 and with houses excavated at Aniba,137 Wadi el-Arab,138 Faras139 and in the region between Faras and Gemai140 and also observed at

Kingdom stages of Nubian expansion as “acculturation imperialism”, “acculturation colonialism” “equilibrium imperialism”, or “equilibrium colonialism” etc. For the issue, see Adams 1984; S.T. Smith 1991a; 1995; 1997; 2003; Kemp 1997, all with further literature. 134 For an early Twelfth Dynasty rendering of the discourse on the horror of being buried in a foreign land, see The Tale of Sinuhe IX, trans. Foster 1992 97 ff. and cf. Assmann 2001 235. 135 S.T. Smith 1995 64 ff.; S.T. Smith 2003 127 ff. 136 S. Sauneron: Un village nubien fortifié sur la rive oriental de Ouadi es-Sébou. BIFAO 63 (1965) 161–167. 137 A. Langsdorff: Die Siedlung des nubischen Mittelalters. in: Steindorff 1935 202– 219. 138 Emery–Kirwan 1935 106 ff. 139 Griffith 1921 65 ff. 140 T. Säve-Söderbergh: Preliminary Report of the Scandinavian Joint Expedition.


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Karanog.141 All these structures seem to date from Phase IIa of the Middle C-Group. The C-Group houses of Faras were built in the advanced Twelfth Dynasty similarly to Areika in an Egyptian fort after it has been abandoned by the Egyptian garrison, for which it originally had been built.142 The partial preservation of the fortified perimeter wall at Areika as well as the building of a fortified wall with loopholes for archers and with three gates including a main gate fortified with Egyptian-type spur walls around the settlement at Wadi es-Sebua indicate the modification of the earlier governmental structure based on the Egyptian fortresses. The rising of certain C-Group settlements which imitate features of the Egyptian forts or even occupy abandoned Egyptian forts (what could not have been done without Egyptian consent or intention) above the rest of the small native habitation sites indicates that the native population was no longer governed exclusively by Egyptian officials but its elite was included into the local level of the government of Lower Nubia. Later Middle- and Late C-Group burials in Cemetery N of Aniba offer clear evidence for marked social differences within the C-Group community. Tombs with vaulted mud-brick burial chamber, large stone circle superstructure (diameter between c. 9–15 m) with rectangular mud-brick chapel (with flat, later with vaulted roof) at the east or south-east143 may have belonged to high-standing natives participating in the government of Lower Nubia. The walled village of Wadi es-Sebua (Pl. 24)144 indicates that some native communities performed special duties. Wadi es-Sebua controlled the entrance of an important road leading into the Eastern Desert.145 The great number of Pan-Grave146 burials in its region suggests that it may have been inhabited (partly?) by a new population, which arrived in Lower Nubia and Upper Egypt147 in the advanced Twelfth, or the Archaeological Investigations between Faras and Gamai, November 1961-March 1962. Kush 11 (1963) 47–69 58. 141 Steindorff 1937 35. 142 Cf. Wegner 1995 158 f. 143 Steindorff 1935 29 ff. 144 For the finds from the site, see B. Gratien: Le village fortifié du groupe C à Ouadi es-Sebua Est, le typologie de la céramique. CRIPEL 7 (1985) 39–69. 145 Edwards 2004 98 f. 146 For the Pan-Grave culture, see Bietak 1966; M. Bietak: Pfannengräber (PanGraves) und Medjaju. LÄ IV (1981) 999–1004; Bietak 1987; Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989 15–19, and cf. Strouhal–Jungwirth 1984. 147 For Pan-Grave burials in Egypt, see W.M.F. Petrie: Diospolis Parva. The Cemeteries of Abadiyeh and Hu 1898–1899. London 1901 (reprint edn. 1972) 45 ff.; Säve-Söderbergh

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early Thirteenth Dynasty.148 The Pan-Grave immigrants preserved their distinct cultural traits until the end of the Second Intermediate Period. The occurrence of Pan-Grave burials in C-Group cemeteries in both Lower Nubia and Upper Egypt indicates, however, their swift assimilation. The people buried in the characteristic “pan-graves”—circular pits with low, rubble-ringed tumuli, shallow offering pits, frequently containing bucrania of goats and gazelles painted with red dots149— were identified with the Medjay, an Eastern Desert people150 not related to the C-Group;151 and the Pan-Grave burials in Upper Egypt as remains of the Md Ai.w, Medjay, mercenaries of the Egyptian texts152 (cf. ¯ Chapters IV.2, 3, VI.1, 2). However indirectly, the growing hierarchical differences occurring between the smaller habitation sites and the more complex settlements such as Faras, Areika and Wadi es-Sebua describe a process of social differentiation within the C-Group, which was promoted by the changes in the administration of the land and the permanent Egyptian settlers’ attitude towards the Nubians. As a whole, the culture of the Early, Middle and Late C-Group does not display dramatic changes. Nevertheless, the continuity of C-Group traditions in the mortuary realm and in pottery-making should not conceal the dimensions of the actual historical changes, viz., the swift development of the chiefdoms of Wawat, Irtjet, and Satju; the emergence of the united chiefdom of Wawat; the Egyptian occupation of Wawat and the establishment of a

1941 136 ff.; Kemp 1983 170 f.; Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989 15 ff.; for the burials and for pottery finds, see Meurer 1996 84 f. For the recent Pan-Grave finds from Hierakonpolis, see R. Friedman: Excavations in the Nubian Cemeteries. Sudan & Nubia 5 (2001) 29–38; S. Giuliani: Pottery from the Nubian Cemeteries. ibid. 40–45; ead.: Nubian Evidence in Hierakonpolis. in: Caneva–Roccati (eds) 2006 223–227; for Pan-Grave pottery from Egypt, see J. Bourriau: Nubians in Egypt During the Second Intermediate Period. in: Dorothea Arnold (ed.): Studien zur altägyptischen Keramik. Mainz 1981 25–42. 148 For this dating cf. Bietak 1968 117; Strouhal–Jungwirth 1984 188; Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989 18. 149 Bietak 1987 123 ff. 150 K. Sadr: The Territorial Expanse of the Pan-Grave Culture. ANM 2 (1987) 265– 291; S. Giuliani: Some Cultural Aspects of the Medja of the Eastern Desert. in: Kendall (ed.) 2004 286–290; Yurco 2004. 151 E. Strouhal–J. Jungwirth: Anthropological Problems of the Middle Empire and Late Roman Sayala. Preliminary Report on the First Stage of the Elaboration of the Austrian Anthropological Material from Nubia. Mitteilungen der Anthropoogischen Gesellschaft Wien 101 (1971) 10–23. 152 For the evidence, see Bietak 1966; S. Giuliani: Medja Sources in the Old Kingdom. Discussions in Egyptology 42 (1998) 41–54.


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colonial administration functioning without the participation of the surviving native elite; and, from the advanced Twelfth Dynasty, the direct as well as indirect encouragement of a renewed process of social differentiation within the C-Group population and its admittance to the local levels of the government of Lower Nubia. The Twelfth Dynasty ended with the brief reign of Queen Sobekneferu (1777–1773 BC). Until the reign of Neferhotep I (c. 1740–1729 BC), the Thirteenth Dynasty (1773-after 1650 BC) seems to have maintained its control over Lower Nubia,153 even though a series of extraordinarily high Nile floods in the advanced Twelfth and the early Thirteenth Dynasty154 caused damages in the forts.155 Sealings from the forts attest to an uninterrupted Egyptian supremacy until around 1700 BC. By this time, the Egyptian expatriates running Lower Nubia lived there for about six generations. The last decades of the Middle Kingdom saw the fragmentation of the Egyptian kingdom and the northern expansion of the Classic Kerma (Kerma Classique) state. Our sources are silent about the fate of the garrisons. Perhaps not all of them were systematically withdrawn to Egypt. Be as it may, so much is obvious that a part of the soldiers and professional expatriates stayed on with their families in and around the forts when the Egyptian kingdom collapsed and Lower Nubia came under the supremacy of the ruler of Kush residing in Kerma. The end of effective Egyptian rule around the reign of Neferhotep I seems to have been followed by a curious period of transition. It may be supposed that, concurrently with the last reigns of the Thirteenth Dynasty, Egyptian expatriates or Egyptian dissidents (?) tried to establish an independent Egyptian-style kingdom in Lower Nubia.156 Three


Nile level inscription of Sobekhotep II, second (?) ruler of Dyn. XIII from Kumma: PM VII 150; jewel with the cartouche of Neferhotep I, eighth (?) ruler of Dyn. XIII from Buhen Cemetery K: ibid. 139; for early Thirteenth Dynasty despatches from Semna, see Smither 1945.—I refer to the rulers of the Thirteenth Dynasty on the basis of Shaw (ed.) 2000 480 f., and not to the dynasty as it occurs in Beckerath 1997 137 f. (the rulers from the Thirteenth Dynasty of the Turin Canon who are attested by monuments). Cf. Chapter VII, introduction. 154 Cf. Butzer 1976 29 ff. 155 According to Trigger 1976 82 f., “[t]here is no archaeological evidence that either these… floods or their subsequent recession adversely affected the native inhabitants of Lower Nubia. Likewise, under a strong central government, the Egyptians seem to have adjusted to this cycle of ecological changes”. 156 Kemp 1983 168 f.—According to a suggestion made by the anonymous reviewer of my manuscript, it cannot be excluded that the “kings” in question were pretenders

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royal names not attested in Egypt appear in rock inscriptions157 between Kalabsha and Abu Simbel. Kakare Iny is attested between the Kalabsha region and Abu Simbel (in fifteen rock graffiti),158 Ii-ib-khentRe from Abu Hor to Toshka (three inscriptions),159 and Segerseni in two rock inscriptions at Khor Dehmit.160 Their chronological position is indicated by Ii-ib-khent-Re’s Horus name, which was modelled on Neferhotep I’s Horus name grg-t Awy.161 A contemporary graffito names an official bearing the Middle Kingdom-type titles ı"my-r #hnwty,162 “chamberlain”,163 and hrp skw,164 “leader of the gang (of min¯ ˘ ers)”, and in a graffito there appears a prophet called Khnum-hotep.165 None of these rulers had a complete titulary, but all of them wrote (but not uniformly in all of their inscriptions!) their Throne and/or Son of Re names in cartouches:166 Kakare Iny

1. Horus name: snfr-t Awy-fy, “Who-makes-beautiful-hisTwo-lands” 2. Nebty name: snfr-t Awy-fy 3. Golden Horus name: bjk-nbw nfr 4. Throne name: q Aı"-k A-R # 5. Son of Re name: s A-R # ı"n"ı, Son-of-Re Iny

Ii-ib-khent-Re 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Segerseni

Horus name: grg-t Awj=fj, “Founder-of-his-Two-lands” Nebty name: none Golden Horus name: none Throne name: none Son of Re name: I""ı-"ıb-hnt-R #= fj (?) ˘ 1. Horus name: none 2. Nebty name: none 3. Golden Horus name: bjk-nbw #nh ˘

to the Egyptian throne descending from the line of Mentuhotep IV. For this view, see Zibelius-Chen 2001 25 f. 157 Beckerath 1984 64 dates them to the Eleventh Dynasty period. For their various datings by other earlier writers, see Meurer 1996 77 f.; Morkot 1999b 184. Morkot ibid. 184 ff. does not decide between a late Middle Kingdom or a Second Intermediate Period dating. 158 Säve-Söderbergh 1941 47; Zaba ˇ 1974 No. 141. 159 Säve-Söderbergh 1941 48. 160 Säve-Söderbergh 1941 43 f. 161 Beckerath 1984 70. 162 Zaba ˇ 1974 No. 138. 163 Unknown in the Old Kingdom, rare after the Middle Kingdom, Zaba ˇ 1974 153. 164 Zaba ˇ 1974 No. 138 (identical with the bearer of the title ı"my-r #-hnwty, cited above). 165 Säve-Söderbergh 1941 47; Kemp 1983 168; Morkot 1999b 184 f.¯ 166 Beckerath 1984 64.


chapter six 4. Throne name: mnh-k A-R #, “Re-is-one-whose-ka-is-splendid” 5. Son of Re name: ˘sgrsn"ı

If we are not mistaken when we associate these kings with an independent Lower Nubian polity ruled by persons of Egyptian origins, we also may add that it could not last longer than the two or three decades preceding c. 1650, i.e., the Kerman occupation of Lower Nubia. One of Segerseni’s inscriptions seems to record an armed conflict in the region of the unidentified Pr-snbt.167


For the problematic text, see Säve-Söderbergh 1941 43 f.


[The official Ka] says: “I was a valiant servant of the ruler (h. q A) of Kush. I washed my feet in the waters of Kush in the following of the ruler Nedjeh. I returned safe and sound (and) my family (too)”.1

The c. 120 years of the Thirteenth Dynasty (1173-after 1650 BC) saw the fragmentation of rule in Egypt.2 Kemp classifies thus the some 175 reigns occurring in the Turin king-list3 between the end of the Twelfth and the beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty:4 (1) kings following the Twelfth Dynasty whose authority was, for political reasons which may at times have been quite complex, recognized in Upper Egypt and who continued for the most part, but not necessarily in every case, to rule from and be buried near Memphis, and who may have also exercised a general overlordship, if not total rule, over parts or all of northern Egypt; (2) a line of kings ruling Upper Egypt in succession to them, but now centred at Thebes, and buried there; (3) six ‘foreign kings’, i.e., Hyksos, who replaced group (1) in the north and who ruled at the same time as group (2);

Stela from Buhen, Philadelphia 10984, trans. W.V. Davies in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 100 Cat. 73. Cf. T. Säve-Söderbergh: A Buhen Stela (Khartoum No. 18). JEA 35 (1949) 50–58 52; Smith 1976 55 f.; S.T. Smith 1995 110; D. Redford: Textual Sources for the Hyksos Period. in: Oren (ed.) 1997 1–44 5 No. 15; Valbelle 2004a 177. 2 Beckerath 1965; Kemp 1983 149 ff.; D. Franke: Zur Chronologie des Mittleren Reiches Teil II: Die sogenannte “Zweite Zwischenzeit” Altägyptens. Or 57 (1988) 245– 274. 3 For the Ramesside papyrus called Turin Canon, see A.H. Gardiner: The Royal Canon of Turin. Oxford 1959; Beckerath 1965 20 ff.; D.B. Redford: Pharaonic King-Lists, Annals and Day-Books. A Contribution to the Study of the Egyptian Sense of History. Mississauga 1986 1 ff.; Beckerath 1997 19 ff., 207 ff. 4 Kemp 1983 153 f. 1


chapter seven (4) an uncertain number of client kings, presumably of city states, mostly in the north of Egypt and including some with the title ‘foreign king’, distributed uncertainly in time vis-à-vis the other groups.5

Still quoting Barry Kemp, the Second Intermediate Period emerges as one of great significance in the history of Egypt’s relationships with her neighbours. A time of internal governmental weakness coincided with a period of prosperity and political growth in Palestine and Nubia so that, for once, the Egyptians found themselves the victims of both the political initiative and cultural momentum of others.6

During the Twelfth Dynasty immigrants from Syria-Palestine settled in great numbers in the eastern Delta. By the middle of the seventeenth century BC the Delta and Lower Egypt was ruled by kings of a dynasty of Canaanite origin known as Hyksos7 (Fifteenth Dynasty, 1650–1550 BC). They presented themselves as legitimate pharaohs just like the Theban kings who ruled over Middle and Upper Egypt (Sixteenth Dynasty, 1650–1580 BC; Seventeenth Dynasty, 1580–1550 BC). The frontier between the Hyksos and the Theban kingdom ran at Cusae about 40 km south of Hermopolis, modern el-Ashmunein. The southern frontier of the Theban kingdom was at Elephantine. The area south of Elephantine also changed masters. In the advanced Thirteenth Dynasty Egypt withdrew from Lower Nubia. The withdrawal was determined partly by the decline of the centralized rule in Egypt and partly by the northern advance of the Kerman kingdom which succeeded apparently without much armed conflict.8 Archaeological evidence from the neighbouring cemeteries shows that Kerman garrisons were now stationed in the forts of Buhen and Mirgissa.9 The situation 5 For the reconstruction of the Turin king-list, see K. Ryholt: The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period c. 1800–1500 B.C. Copenhagen 1997, but cf. D. Ben-Tor–S. Allen–J. Allen: Seals and Kings. BASOR 315 (1999) 47–74; Warburton 2001 318. 6 Kemp 1983 172 f. 7 Hyksos is the Greek rendering of hq Aw h Aswt, “rulers of the foreign [lit. mountain. ous] countries”.—For the Hyksos, see J. van ˘Seters: The Hyksos: A New Investigation. New Haven 1966; Kemp 1983 149 ff.; Redford 1992 101 ff.; Oren (ed.) 1997; Bourriau 2000 186 ff., all with further literature; for their capital, Avaris (Tell el-Dab#a), see M. Bietak: Avaris: The Capital of the Hyksos. London 1996 and preliminary reports on the excavations at Tell el-Dab#a published in the periodical Ägypten und Levante. 8 For a history of the Second Intermediate Period, see Bourriau 2000. 9 S.T. Smith 1995 90; for the Kerma cemetery at Mirgissa, see A. Vila: Le cimetière Kerma. in: Vercoutter et al. 1970 223–305; B. Gratien et al. in: Gratien–Le Saout (eds) 149–153.

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changed again around 1550 BC when the army of Kamose, the last ruler of the Theban Seventeenth Dynasty, reconquered Lower Nubia between the First and Second Cataracts. Excavations conducted at Kerma by Charles Bonnet and his team since the late 1970s10 have radically changed the Egyptocentric picture of the Kerma culture presented by George Andrew Reisner, the first scholar to undertake excavations at the site in the early twentieth century.11 Recent survey work also changed the traditional view of the geographical extension of the Kerman polity, yielding Middle and Classic Kerma sites as far south as the Kurgus region below the Fifth Cataract.12 By the middle of the Classic Kerma phase, i.e., at the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period, the kings residing at Kerma controlled c. 1200 km along the Nile from the region of Kurgus in the south to the First Cataract in the north. Recent literature on the site of Kerma in the Ancient Kerma (Kerma Ancien, c. 2500–2050 BC), Middle Kerma (Kerma Moyen, c. 2050–1750 BC) and Classic Kerma (Kerma Classique, c. 1750–1500 BC) periods13 and on the Kerma settlement along the Middle Nile14 was repeatedly cited in the foregoing in order to highlight the role played by Kerma in the history of Lower Nubia. The Kerman culture reached the peak of its development in the century when the rulers of Kush extended their power over Lower Nubia. In For an overview, see Bonnet 2004b. Reisner 1923. 12 Bonnet et al. 2004. For Middle and Classic Kerma finds from the Fourth Cataract region, see, e.g., Z. Borcowski: Gdansk Archaeological Museum Expedition Excavations at Site 239 in the Fourth Cataract Region. Gdansk Archaeological Museum Reports 2 (2003) 53–56; E. Kolosowska–Mahmoud El-Tayeb: Test Excavations at a Cemetery Site Near El Argub in the Fourth Cataract Region. Gdansk Archaeological Museum Reports 2 (2003) 127–133; Mahmoud El-Tayeb–E. Kolosowska: Burial Traditions on the Right Bank of the Nile in the Fourth Cataract Region. Gdansk Archaeological Museum Reports 4 (2005) 51– 74; E. Kolosowska–Mahmoud El-Tayeb–H. Paner: Old Kush in the Fourth Cataract Region. Sudan & Nubia 7 (2003) 21–25; P. Wolf: The SARS Anglo-German Expedition at the Fourth Cataract of the Nile: the 2003/04 Season. Sudan & Nubia 8 (2004) 17-17-26 20 f.; E. Kolosowska–Mahmoud El-Tayeb: A Cemetery Site Near El Arguib in the Fourth Cataract Region: Second Season of Test Excavations. Gdansk Archaeological Museum Reports 3 (2005) 131–144; H. Paner–Z. Borcowski: Gdansk Archaeological Museum Expedition (GAME) Report on the 2002 Season. Gdansk Archaeological Museum Reports 3 (2005) 203–226 206 ff. 13 Bonnet 1986; 1987; Bonnet et al. 2000; Bonnet et al. 2004; Bonnet (ed.) 1990; Bonnet–Valbelle 2005; Kendall 1997a; for the preliminary reports on the excavations at Kerma by C. Bonnet et al., see Genava 28 (1980) 31–72; 30 (1982) 1–59; 32 (1984) 5–42; 34 (1986) 5–45; 36 (1988) 5–35; 39 (1991) 5–41; 41 (1993) 1–33; 43 (1995) 31–64; 45 (1997) 96–123; 47 (1999) 57–86; 49 (2001) 199–234; 51 (2003) 257–300; 53 (2005) 223–269. 14 Cf. Gratien 1978; Gratien 1986; Edwards 2004 75 ff. 10 11


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the following we shall focus on the nature of Kerma presence below the former frontier line at Semna-Kumma, its impact on the developments in Lower Nubia’s social and political structure, and the circumstances of the defeat Kerma suffered from Thebes in Lower Nubia around 1550 BC. The nobleman Ka whose inscription is cited at the head of this chapter was a member of an expatriate officials’ family attested at Buhen for five generations:

Ka’s stela was dedicated by his grandson, Iah-User, who designated himself similarly as official (sr). Ka’s brother Sopedhor describes himself in a stela dedicated by him as valiant commandant at Buhen. Never did any commandant do what I did: I built the temple of Horus, Lord of Buhen, to the satisfaction of the ruler of Kush.15

We learn from the text of another Buhen stela that already Sobekemhab II had contributed to the building of the temple of Horus16 where the stelae of the family were erected. The stela also reveals that Sobekemhab was the priest of the cult of the deified Senusret III: The Perfect God, Lord of Two-Lands, Lord of the Ritual, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Kha-kau-Re, Son of Re, Senusret, given life, beloved of Horus, Lord of Buhen. The nobleman Sobekemhab says: “I made a k A-house17 for my god Horus. I gave him a h. st-vase”. His son: Ka. His daughter: Ta-ibsheki. The priest of the perfect god Senusret […]

15 Khartoum 18, Säve-Söderbergh 1949 55; Smith 1976 41; S.T. Smith 1995 110; Valbelle 2004a 177 f. 16 For the building history of the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period temple of Horus of Buhen (North Temple), see S.T. Smith 1995 118 ff. 17 In the stela text: pr-k A. A term for the cult temple of Horus (the king?). Cf. P. Kaplony: Ka-Haus (h. wt-k A). LÄ IV (1982) 1155–1156; E. Lange: Die Ka-Anlage

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A short text added at the upper left side of the lunette speaks about the offering of “numerous oxen”.18 The family started to work in the administration of the fortress of Buhen under the Thirteenth Dynasty. When Egypt withdrew from Lower Nubia—which occurred apparently in the lifetime of Sobekemhab II—the family stayed on at Buhen and entered the service of the ruler of Kerma. The continuity of Egyptiantype burials at Buhen, Aniba, Mirgissa and elsewhere as well as the uninterrupted archaeological record of the forts19 suggests that the case of Iah-User’s family was the rule rather than the exception. As it seems, the Kerman conqueror’s policy towards the expatriate Egyptians found in the Nubian forts was determined by the consideration that their survival was essential because they had a long experience in the trade with Egypt. They had useful contacts and were literate. Their employment by the Kerman ruler was the more natural that the centralized economic organization of the Classic Kerma period followed the Egyptian model and was partly run by officials in the capital who knew the Egyptian language and writing (and were themselves of Egyptian origin?).20 Exchange with the Theban dynasty throughout the Second Intermediate Period is attested by finds from Kerma21 and Lower Nubia.22 But trade contacts with Lower Egypt were also maintained from the time of the first Hyksos kings onwards, as attested by sealings,23 scarabs24 and pottery25 also including true Tell el-Yahudiya ware juglets26 from Kerma as well as Lower Nubian sites.27 The caravans from and to the centre of the Hyksos kingdom bypassed Middle and Upper Egypt by using the Pepis I. in Bubastis im Kontext königlicher Ka-Anlagen des Alten Reiches. ZÄS 133 (2006) 121–140. 18 Khartoum 5320, Smith 1976 47 f.; Wildung (ed.) 1997 86 Cat. 94; Valbelle 2004a 178. 19 For a survey of the evidence, see S.T. Smith 1995. 20 Gratien 1991; B. Gratien: Nouvelles empreintes de sceaux à Kerma: Aperçus sur l’administration de Kouch au milieu du 2e millénaire av. J.-C. Genava 41 (1993) 27–32; S.T. Smith 1996; S.T. Smith 2001; Gratien 2004 and cf. also B.B. Williams: Aspects of Sealing and Glyptic in Egypt before the New Kingdom. in: M. Gibson–R.D. Biggs (eds): Seals and Sealings in the Ancient Near East. Malibu 1977 135–140. 21 For sealings from Kerma attesting trade with the Theban kingdom: Gratien 1991. 22 Cf. Bourriau 2004. 23 For Hyksos sealings from Kerma, see similarly Gratien 1991. 24 Cf. S.T. Smith 1995 129. 25 Cf. S.T. Smith 1995 90 ff.; Bourriau 2004 11. 26 Cf. R.S. Merrillees: El-Lisht and Tell el-Yahudiya Ware in the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut. Levant 10 (1978) 75–98; M. Kaplan: The Origin and Distribution of Tell el-Yahudieh Ware. Göteborg 1980; Kemp 1986 161. 27 Cf. Bourriau 2000 207.


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Oasis Road through Bahariya, Dakhla, Dush and Dunqul.28 This route reached the Nubian Nile at Tomas in Lower Nubia.29 The monuments of Ka’s family erected in the temple of Horus at Buhen referred to the authority of the ruler (h. q A) of Kush in traditionally formulated Egyptian texts inscribed on Egyptian-style votive stelae. Yet at the same time also a new type of royal monument appeared at Buhen,30 the most interesting example of which was recovered in street debris in one of the habitation quarters in the fort. It is a roundtopped stela with the sunk relief representation of a striding royal figure holding a bow and arrows in his front hand and a mace in his rear hand. He wears the White Crown of Upper Egypt with a uraeus at the forehead and a skirt resembling the traditional royal sˇndwt-kilt ¯ (Pl. 25).31 Despite the utterly simplified, pictogram-like rendering of the figure, the relief displays nevertheless the basic features of the Egyptian canon of figural representation. Even the remote influence of the idiosyncratic idiom of Egyptian Second Intermediate Period art may be recognised in the proportions of the figure. To use W. Stevenson Smith’s expression, “the provincial and somewhat maladroit art of the south [i.e., Upper Egypt] is… in evidence”.32 While the figure could not have been executed without the participation of expatriates who were able to draw a canonically formed royal figure and compose Egyptian texts and inscribe them on Egyptian-style stelae, the absence of an inscription on the stela points towards the influence of a different cultural tradition and reinforces the identification of the royal figure as a ruler of Kush. For lack of royal images from Kerma, the appearance of the insignia of the kings of Kush remains unknown.33 It is highly improbable, however, that the Egyptian White Crown on the Buhen stela would have been one of these insignia: it is more likely that it was a declaration of the Classic Kerma rulers’ claim over kingship in Upper Egypt. Behind 28 For the road, see Kemp 1983 119 f.; J. Darnell–D. Darnell: The Theban Desert Road Survey. ARCE Newsletter 172 (March 1997) 10–15; Yurco 2004 446. 29 Cf. Smith–Smith 1976 fig. 2. 30 Smith 1976 Nos 691, 732; cf. graffito No. 38 on Gebel Turob at Buhen, Smith 1972 fig. 11/3. 31 Khartoum 62/8/17, Smith 1976 11 f. No. 691; W.V. Davies in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 100 f. Cat. 74. 32 W.S. Smith 1981 223. 33 From a terracotta statuette found in the late Classic Kerma royal palace at Kerma, indentified tentatively as a royal figure, only the headless torso is preserved, Bonnet et al. 2004 160, fig. 126.

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the political symbolism of the actual representation we may of course suspect advisers from the expatriate milieu. Great numbers of hardstone, wood, limestone, sandstone, alabaster statuettes and stone vessels originating from temples and tombs at Asyut, Dendera, Coptos, Medamud, Thebes, Tod, Hierakonpolis, Sumenu (in the Theban area) and Elephantine were buried in the tombs of Classic Kerma rulers.34 They range chronologically from Amenemhat I (beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty) to Sobekhotep V (penultimate [?] ruler of the Thirteenth Dynasty).35 All were complete at the time when they were placed in the burials. They were hardly objects acquired through commercial or diplomatic exchange with the Theban kingdom.36 They attest instead the onset of a new period of contacts along the Nile: now the Theban kingdom and Kerma were open enemies. In the second half of the Second Intermediate Period Kushite raiders reached the northern confines of the Theban kingdom. One of their invasions is commemorated in a recently discovered inscription37 in the tomb of Sobeknakht, governor of Nekhen (modern Elkab) under the Seventeenth Dynasty:38 (Vile?) Kush came, aroused along his length, he having stirred up the tribes of Wawat, the oasis-(dwellers?) of Hnt-h. n-nfr [= Nubia south of the ˘ Medjay.40 Second Cataract],39 Pwnt [= Punt] and the

The inscription speaks about the invaders scornfully as #w Ayw, “looters”. Be the above-quoted passage from the record of a military invasion or of a plundering raid, in any case it gives an idea of the dimensions of Kerma power on its zenith, extending over Wawat, i.e., Lower Nubia, and Upper Nubia; controlling tribes of the Medjay and recruiting

34 Reisner 1923; Valbelle 2004a 178 ff.; cf. W.V. Davies in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 101 Cat. 75. 35 Valbelle 2004a 178 ff. 36 Meurer’s view (1996 73 note 6) that “[u]ns sind bisher keine aktiven feindlichen Handlungen Kermas gegen Ägypten bekannt” can no longer be maintained, see below. 37 Davies 2003a; cf. W.V. Davies: Kouch en Égypte: Une nouvelle inscription historique à El-Kab. BSFE 157 (2003) 38–44; id.: Sobeknakht of Elkab and the Coming of Kush. Egyptian Archaeology 23 (2003) 3–6. 38 Elkab Tomb No. 10, PM V 184 f.; W.V. Davies: The Dynastic Tombs at Hierakonpolis: the Lower Group and the Artist Sedjemnetjeru. in: W.V. Davies (ed.): Colour and Painting in Ancient Egypt. London 2001 113–125 120 ff. 39 Cf. Hannig 1995 1374. 40 Davies 2003a 52.


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military forces from as far as Punt.41 It may be added here that a raid starting from the First Cataract region and reaching Asyut more than 500 km farther north required considerable military force and organization which points again to political rather than economic motifs. The wealth of the Classic Kerma rulers is demonstrated by the temples, palaces and royal burials at Kerma too. As pointed out by Vivian Davies, the plundering of royal and private statues and statuettes and luxury vessels from temples and tombs all over the territory controlled by the Seventeenth Dynasty went together with “a consequent disruption of cultic activity, as possibly witnessed… in the case of the cult of Heqaib in Elephantine”42 (for the significance of this cult, see Chapters IV.3, VI.1). The objects brought back from the Theban kingdom were placed in the temples and mortuary cult chapels or buried in the royal and princely tumuli at Kerma43 as symbols of Kerman domination over the great rival.44 The corpse of Seqenenra Ta#a, the penultimate king of the Seventeenth Dynasty (around 1560 BC), was discovered in the cache of royal mummies at Deir el-Bahri.45 The wounds on Ta#a’s body show that he died in battle with the Hyksos: his forehead bears the cut of a special Middle Bronze Age-type axe known from Avaris/Tell el Dab#a.46 Military conflict between Avaris and Thebes in the time of Seqenenra Ta#a is also attested by a campaign palace (the North Palace) and a fortified settlement at Deir el-Ballas north of Thebes.47 At the latter site large quantities of Kerma pottery were recovered which suggests that “the purpose of this settlement, deliberately built in a remote place, was military, perhaps intended for the mustering of an army containing a large contingent of Kerma Nubians”.48 Hostilities between Seqenenra Ta#a and the Hyksos king Apepi (around 1555 BC) were also hinted at in a Nineteenth Dynasty popular tale preserved in Papyrus 41

For the location of Punt in the south-eastern Sudan and/or in Eritrea, see Chapter IV.1. 42 Davies 2003a 54 note 14. 43 Valbelle 2004a. 44 Davies 2003a 54. 45 Cf. A. Niwinski: The Bab el-Gusus Tomb and the Royal Cache in Deir el-Bahri. JEA 70 (1984) 73–81. 46 M. Bietak–E. Strouhal: Die Todesumstände des Pharaos Seqenenre (17. Dynastie). Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien 78 (1974) 29–52; Redford 1992 125 f., Pl. 12. 47 P. Lacovara: Deir el Ballas: Preliminary Report on the Deir el Ballas Expedition 1980–1986. Winona Lake 1990. 48 Bourriau 2000 211.

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Sallier I.49 The Kerma pottery at Deir el-Ballas may indicate that Seqenenra Ta#a decided to destroy Kerman supremacy in Lower Nubia before he would turn against the Hyksos and that the warriors with the Kerma pottery were mercenaries recruited in the newly occupied Lower Nubian territory. Alternatively, it may also be supposed that Kerma was allied with Seqenenra Ta#a in his war against the Hyksos. More likely is the suggestion that it was Seqenenra Ta#a’s successor Kamose who occupied Lower Nubia in order to protect his rear50 before he started the Seventeenth Dynasty’s final campaign against the Hyksos king Apepi (who is known to have reigned for about forty years).51 An inscription dating from Year 3 of Kamose, the last ruler of the Seventeenth Dynasty (1555–1500 BC), records the rebuilding of fortification walls at Buhen. The walls were damaged probably when Kamose’s army attacked the fort and took it from its Kerman garrison.52 Together with rock inscriptions at Arminna53 and Toshka,54 which also attest the subordination of Lower Nubia under the authority of Egyptian officials (cf. Chapter IX.1), the Buhen inscription documents the completion of the Theban conquest of Lower Nubia as far as the Second Cataract. The inscriptions at Arminna and Toshka contain references to two officials, Teti and Djehuty. Both are bearing the title s3 nswt, “King’s Son”, yet this is to be understood as a military title, not yet that of the viceroy of Nubia (cf. Chapter IX.2). Spalinger defines Teti and Djehuty as “protoviceroys”.55 The course of the events before and during the third regnal year of Kamose is recorded on Kamose’s famous Karnak stelae (First and Second Stela)56 and in a stela text known from a hieratic copy preserved on a writing board (Carnarvon Tablet).57 The initial situation is depicted 49 E.A.T.W. Budge: Facsimiles of Egyptian Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum. London 1923; A.H. Gardiner: Late-Egyptian Stories. Bruxelles 1932 xiii, 85–89; H. Goedicke: The Quarrel of Apophis and Seqenenre´. San Antonio 1986. 50 Cf. Smith–Smith 1976. 51 According to the Turin Canon, see Beckerath 1997 136 f. 52 Stela found re-used as a threshold, Smith 1976 8 No. 488; Smith–Smith 1976 66 f. 53 Simpson 1963 32 ff. 54 PM VII 95. 55 Spalinger 2006 346. 56 From the First Stela only fragments are preserved: P. Lacau: Une stèle du roi “Kamosis”. ASAE 39 (1939) 245–271. For the Second Stela, see Habachi 1972; Smith– Smith 1976. 57 Smith–Smith 1976 53 ff., 59 f.


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in Kamose’s speech, which he delivered in his first regnal year to his council of great men. According to the First Stela and the Carnarvon Tablet text, he spoke thus: Why do I (still) contemplate my strength while there is (yet) one Great Man (wr)58 in Avaris and another in Kush, sitting (here idle) united with an #Alam (?) [Asiatic, i.e., Hyksos] and a Negro while each man possesses his slice of Egypt, dividing the land with me? I shall not be able to pass him as far as Memphis (or?) the water of Egypt, for he is in possession of Hermopolis; and no man can alight, shorn (as he is) by the imposts of the Sutu [the Hyksos]. I will close with him that I may slit open his belly; for my desire is to rescue Egypt and to drive out the #Alamu [the Asiatics, i.e., Hyksos].59

Yet before going north against the Asiatics, in Year 2 Kamose occupied Lower Nubia, captured Buhen and attacked the Kerma kingdom.60 A passage of the Second Stela (in the letter of Apepi, see below) reveals that Kamose started his Nubian expedition on receiving the news of the succession of a new king of Kush: always a favourable moment for launching a campaign.61 The Nubian undertaking was completed by the end of the campaign season of Year 2. According to the Second Stela, in the next campaign season Kamose turned against Apepi’s strongholds and vassals north of the Theban-Hyksos frontier at Cusae. He successfully attacked the town of Neferusi in the region of Beni Hasan and took other places north of Neferusi.62 Marching towards Memphis and Avaris (modern Tell el Dab#a), Kamose stopped at Sako, a place identified with modern el-Qes at the mouth of a road leading to Bahriya Oasis, because he received the information that a messenger of Apepi was travelling to the king of Kush on the Oasis Road. He sent a troop to Bahriya to capture the messenger and intercept Apepi’s letter to the king of Kush. As related by Kamose: Before I had yet reached him (i.e., Apepi), he saw my flame, and he sent (a message) as far as Kush to seek his saviour; but I seized it on the road and did not allow it to arrive. Then I caused it to be taken back to him in return… so that my victory should invade his heart and his limbs should 58 For the difference between hq A, “ruler”, reserved for the Pharaoh of Egypt, and . wr, “great man”, used as title of foreign rulers, see Liverani 1990 66 ff. 59 Smith–Smith 1976 59. For the #Amw, Asiatics, see the brief survey presented in Meurer 1996 131 ff. 60 For the dating of Kamose’s campaigns, see the arguments presented in Smith– Smith 1976 66 ff. 61 Cf. Smith–Smith 1976 68. 62 Habachi 1972 48 ff. (Carnarvon Tablet, Second Stela).

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be paralysed when his messenger related to him what I had done to the district of Kynopolis,63 which had been in his possession.64

Then Kamose moved on towards Avaris, which his army blockaded but could not take. He had to withdraw to Thebes before the arrival of the inundation season. The war does not seem to have been continued before Kamose’s death (his highest known regnal date is Year 3) and the accession of the boy pharaoh Ahmose.65 The final destruction of the Hyksos kingdom66 and the reunification of Egypt would be achieved only in the period beginning with Ahmose’s eleventh regnal year (see Chapter IX.1). Returning to the events of Kamose’s reign, we also may read Apepi’s intercepted letter in the text of the Second Stela:67 From the hand of the ruler of Avaris. Aauserra the Son of Re Apepi greets the son of the ruler (h. q A)68 of Kush. Why do you ascend as ruler without letting me know? Do you see what Egypt has done against me? The ruler (wr) who is there, Kamose, the brave, given life, is attacking me upon my territory, although I have not attacked him in the manner of all he has done against you; (for) he chooses these two lands to bring affliction upon them, my land and yours, and he has devastated them. (So) come, journey northward. Do not blench, (for) behold he is here in my grasp and there is no one who will stand up to you in this Egypt. Behold, I will not allow him passage until you have arrived. Then we shall share the towns of Egypt and both our lands shall be replete with joy.69

As we have seen, the letter did not reach its addressee in remote Kerma and as the Theban king begun to establish his rule in Lower Nubia the king of Kush had to face a hostile neighbour standing now much closer to his capital. Before turning to the discussion of the consequences of 63

Kynopolis/Hardai, on the east bank opposite Sako. Smith–Smith 1976 61. 65 Cf. C. Vandersleyen: Ahmose (J #h-ms). LÄ I (1972) 99–101. . 66 Cf. W.G. Dever: ‘Hyksos’, Egyptian Destructions and the End of the Palestinian Middle Bronze Age. Levant 22 (1990) 75–81; J.K. Hoffmeier: Some Thoughts on William G. Dever’s ‘Hyksos’, Egyptian Destructions and the End of the Palestinian Middle Bronze Age. ibid. 83–89. 67 Smith–Smith 1976 61. Cf. R. Stadelmann: Ein Beitrag zum Brief des Hyksos Apophis. MDAIK 20 (1965) 62–69. 68 Here Apepi obviously intends to flatter the ruler of Kush using the same title which he uses for himself, as opposed to the wr, “great man”, “chief ”, which he uses for Kamose. 69 Or, more probably, “Hnti-hn-nfr [= Nubia south of the Second Cataract] shall . ˘ 61. rejoice”, see Smith–Smith 1976 64


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this situation, let us conclude this chapter with some remarks on the society found by the Egyptian conqueror in Lower Nubia. We have seen above that a part of the Egyptian expatriate officials stayed on in Lower Nubia after the withdrawal of the Thirteenth Dynasty, entered the service of the kings of Kush, and continued to work in the local administration and participate in the longdistance trade between Kerma, the Hyksos and the Theban kingdom. The archaeological and epigraphic evidence from Lower Nubian settlements and cemeteries and especially from sites such as the forts of Askut and Buhen, admirably analysed by Stuart Tyson Smith, or the Kerman settlements and cemeteries in the surrounding Saras area70 describe communities in which Egyptian expatriates, C-Group, Pan-Grave and Kerma people lived together.71 Participation in long-distance exchange connecting as remote places “on the edge of the world” as Lower Egypt and Punt via Lower Nubia contributed to the perception of the Lower Nubians’ situation in a “globalized” world. The regions and individual settlements with mixed populations represented spaces of mutual acculturation. A splendid example is a household shrine at Askut built in the late Twelfth or the early Thirteenth Dynasty. It was used by the same family through the Second Intermediate Period and the earlier half of the Eighteenth Dynasty, i.e., for about 300 years.72 In the centre of the cult activities performed in the shrine stood the Second Intermediate Period-type stela of Meryka, the ancestor of the family. The stela was placed on an altar consisting of a sloping channel allowing libations to dissipate into vessels below the shrine (Pl. 26). Among other votives, a Nubian fertility figure of a type known from Kerma73 and from C-Group assemblages74 was found near to the altar.75 Egyptian- and Nubian-type human and animal figurines recovered at Askut in Second Intermediate Period and early

70 Cf. A.J. Mills: The Reconnaissance Survey from Gemai to Dal: A Preliminary Report for 1963–1964. Kush 13 (1965) 1–12; A.J. Mills–H.-Å. Nordström: The Archaeological Survey from Gemai to Dal. Preliminary Report on the Season 1964–1965. Kush 14 (1966) 1–15; Mills 1967–1968. 71 For the Kerma cemetery at Mirgissa, see Vercoutter et al. 1970; Vercoutter et al. 1976; for the Egyptian burials at Aniba, see Steindorff 1937. 72 S.T. Smith 1995 104 ff.; S.T. Smith 2003 127 ff. 73 E.g., C. Maystre: Akasha I. Genève 1980 140, 188, figs 28, 58; N. Ferrero: Miniatures en terre. in: Bonnet (ed.) 1990 133–135 fig. 117. 74 Wenig 1978 123 ff. Cats 13–18. 75 S.T. Smith 1995 Pl. 18.

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New Kingdom contexts show the unfolding of private religious practices in a mixed community. The domestic shrine of the Meryka family was not unique. The Lower Nubian household shrines may be compared typologically to contemporary and later Egyptian domestic cult places.76 Yet at Askut and other places in Kerma-dominated Lower Nubia the private cult places show a syncretistic combination of the influence of Egyptian private religiosity and Nubian fertility cults. The unfolding of private cults of this type may also have been promoted by a decline of “official” religiosity. Though the family of Ka faithfully maintained the sanctuary of Horus at Buhen, the quality of their inscriptions indicates that there remained few, if any, educated priests in this sanctuary or in any other Egyptian cult temple in Lower Nubia. The evidence for acculturation in the realm of religion is summarized thus by Stuart T. Smith: the kinds and distribution of Nubian artifacts point towards the presence and cultural influence of Nubians as an integral part of the frontier community, particularly women, given the evidence for Nubian foodways and personal religion, especially fertility magic. Egyptians associated both of these with women and so they represent a likely avenue for Nubian women to express a Nubian identity upon entering into an Egyptian cultural setting.77

Interaction in the realm of religion fitted in more general societal processes in what we may describe as a period of prosperity and safety. The building of a habitation quarter (also including the Meryka house) outside the walls of the Middle Kingdom fortress at Askut (Pl. 27) is paradigmatic:78 [b]y this time the final central administrative functions of the fortress had ceased, with both the Granary and ‘Storehouses’ abandoned, and the sealing system discontinued. The character of Askut had changed completely to that of a settlement, dependent on its local hinterland and the good will of its Kerman overlords for its prosperity. Its location next to the largest Kerman community founded in Lower Nubia suggests that its inhabitants played a key role in the activities of the new regime, 76 Cf. R.J. Demarée: The #h ı"kr n R#-Stelae: On Ancestor Worship in Ancient Egypt. Leiden . ˘ in Ancient Egypt. Hildesheim 1987; A.H. Bomann: The 1983; A.I. Sadek: Popular Religion Private Chapel in Ancient Egypt. A Study of the Chapels in the Workmen’s Village at el-Amarna with Special Reference to Deir el Medina and Other Sites. London–New York 1991; and see also Pinch 1993; Kemp 1995. 77 S.T. Smith 2003 134 f. 78 S.T. Smith 1995 98 ff.; 2003 97 ff.


chapter seven facilitating trade and contacts between the… Seventeenth Dynasty… and the… Kerman polity.79

Increasing differences in the size, complexity and richness of the burials indicate a dynamic differentiation in wealth and status in the rural communities of the Late (Phase III) C-Group period. The imitation of Kerma mortuary traditions—large tumulus, small offering chapel of stone or mud-brick, vaulted mud-brick chamber, bed burial, burial of rams80—indicates not only the acculturation of the re-emerging CGroup elite but also suggests that members of this elite received functions in the Kerman administration of Lower Nubia. At the same time the Egyptian expatriates married C-Group women. The syncretistic private religiosity of the ethnically mixed milieu of the settlements in/at the Middle Kingdom forts may be interpreted in the terms of a mutual acculturation. It is important to note, however, that this acculturation was not entirely symmetrical. The poor quality of the Egyptian texts written in Lower Nubia in this period such as the Meryka stela from Askut81 indicates the cultural limitations of the “Egyptianness” of the first expatriates’ late descendants. The superficiality of the “Egyptianization” achieved by them was determined by the scarcity of fresh cultural impulses arriving from Egypt and the lack of Egyptian temples that could preserve a better-quality literacy and the knowledge about gods, rites, and magical practices. The C-Group communities of the smaller settlements were reached more effectively by the religiosity and mortuary cult of the Kerman overlords. The Kerma policy in Lower Nubia differed at several points from the Egyptian policy of the Middle Kingdom. While we are unable to discern the actual presence of high-standing Kerma officials in Lower Nubia, be they expatriates or serving only for shorter periods of time, there is sufficient evidence for Egyptian expatriates who worked in the service of the king of Kush. The increasing social and economic differentiation within the C-Group communities (and the assimilated Pan-Grave population) indicates that they were allowed to benefit from the long-distance trade between Kerma and Egypt as well as from the trade of Lower Nubian produces. Theoretically, the growing social inequality and the accumulation of wealth in the mixed milieus of settlements such as Buhen, Askut and Mirgissa or in the C-Group and 79 80 81

S.T. Smith 1995 106. Bietak 1968 150 ff. See S.T. Smith 1995 102, Pl. 17; S.T. Smith 2003 130.

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Pan-Grave village/tribal communities should have led to attempts at the securing of the monopoly of the trade of Lower Nubian produces and a greater profit from the long-distance exchange conducted by Kerma and Egypt via Lower Nubia. That this did not happen was due to external factors rather than the firmness and efficiency of the Kerman government or the strength of Kerman military presence. The relationship between the two neighbours was radically changed with the consolidation of the central power in Egypt. Kamose did what was essential for the completion of Egypt’s consolidation when he drove out the Kerman occupiers from Lower Nubia and secured the access to Nubian gold. His successors introduced a new policy of Egyptianization in Lower Nubia. Yet in this policy also the families descending from the Middle Kingdom expatriates received a role: the new administration recognized the importance of their knowledge of the re-conquered area and its southern neighbour.82


Cf. Trigger 1976 104; S.T. Smith 1995 137 ff.


1. Against Models Any theory is better than none [?]1

Ancient Nubia was discovered by Egyptologists and continued to be considered a special annex to Ancient Egypt well into the 1960s when the traditional image of a cyclically “Egyptianized” Nubia begun to crumble as a result of the discoveries made during the UNESCO Nubian Salvage Campaign.2 Between 1959 and 1969 more than forty archaeological expeditions worked between the First and Second Nile Cataracts. In Egyptian Nubia excavations were conducted at about thirty sites, settlements as well as cemeteries. Albeit in a less concentrated manner,3 an organised survey was undertaken for the first time in Sudanese Lower Nubia too. As a result of the international undertaking, over 1,000 sites were discovered and excavations were carried out in c. one third of them.4 The new evidence demanded radical changes not only in the traditional discourse on the connections between Lower Nubia, Upper Nubia and Egypt but also in the traditional methods and strategies which derived from the methods and 1 Freely after J.J. Janssen, review of Kemp 1989, JEA 78 (1992) 313–317 and Warburton 2001 244.—The question mark is of course mine. 2 For the Campaign see, with further literature, Adams 1977 81 ff.; T. Säve-Söderbergh: Temples and Towns of Ancient Nubia. London 1987; W.Y. Adams: The Nubian Archaeological Campaigns of 1959–1969: Myths and Realities, Success and Failures. in: Bonnet (ed.) 1992 3–27; A.J. Mills: The Archaeological Survey from Gemai to Dal, ibid. 29–31; T. Säve-Söderbergh: The International Nubia Campaign: Two Perspectives, ibid. 33–42; F. Wendorf: The Campaign for Nubian Prehistory, ibid. 43–54. 3 For the limitations of the Salvage Campaign in the Sudan, see J. Vercoutter: The Unesco “Campaign of Nubia” in the Sudan. Success or Failure? DE 33 (1995) 133–140. 4 For preliminary reports on the Survey, see Kush 9 (1961) 17–43; 10 (1962) 10–75; 11 (1963) 10–46; 12 (1964) 216–250; 13 (1965) 145–176; 14 (1966) 1–15; for a list of the excavated sites, see Adams 1977 85 f.


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strategies of Egyptology. The scholars participating in the UNESCO Rescue Campaign or entering the Nubian scene in the course of the 1960s and 1970s arrived from widely different backgrounds such as cultural anthropology, archaeology, art history, Egyptology, ethnography, European medieval studies, classical archaeology, Byzantine studies, African studies etc. The papers of their first international conferences did not leave any doubt that Nubian Studies, the new discipline emerging as a result of their efforts, cannot be considered as an annex to Egyptology. The viewpoint of the leading personalities of the Campaign and the authors of the first post-Campaign synthesises was determined first of all by American cultural anthropology5 and the theory of New Archaeology6 which also explains their rejection of any deliberate Egyptocentrism in historical interpretation. In order to better appreciate the extent of these changes, let us go back some decades and see the traditional image of Nubia as it was reflected in a synthesis published by one of the pioneers of Nubian prehistory. Anthony Arkell wrote thus in 1955: the egyptianized kingdom [of Kush was] running gradually downhill to a miserable and inglorious end. There were interludes of prosperity when contact with the outside world was free and friendly, and new inspiration and energy (the effect of new ideas from outside) were infused into the kingdom.7

The emphasis on contact with the outside world was doubtless meant as an encouragement for the recently liberated Republic of Sudan, yet, in spite of his empathy towards the contemporary Sudanese, Arkell’s vision of a total dependence on ideas borrowed from outside derived from George Andrew Reisner’s views. Reisner8 not only created the methodology for survey and rescue archaeology, brought a new standard to the study of stratification,9 and Adams 1977 8 ff., 665 ff. On the relationship between Trigger 1965 and L. Binford’s work (esp. Archaeology as Anthropology. American Antiquity 28 [1962] 217–225; Archaeological Systematics and the Study of Cultural Process. ibid. 31 [1965] 203–210), see Trigger 1984 passim and esp. 370, 379. 7 Arkell 1955 138. 8 WWW 351 f. 9 Richard Lepsius was the first Egyptologist to make stratified section drawings at his excavation of the “Labyrinth” in the Fayoum in the middle of the 19th century, cf. LD I 47; LD Text II 11 f. A systematic stratigraphic analysis of archaeological sites was introduced by the 1860s at Pompeji and was generally practiced from the 1870s at classical sites in the Mediterranean (cf. Trigger 1989 196 ff.). Petrie regarded strati5 6

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established the framework of the cultural typology of the Middle Nile Region10 on the basis of his Lower Nubian excavations.11 He also presented a suggestive interpretation of the archaeological and textual evidence in the terms of nineteenth-century culture-history. With the support of investigations by physical anthropologists, who were adherents of an extremist Hamitic hypothesis12 Reisner reconstructed the history of the Middle Nile Region in terms of archaeological cultures identified with different peoples. He connected the “progressive” periods to the influx or domination of the superior Hamitic race, while he described the periods interpreted as political and cultural decline as periods of immigrations of Negroid peoples from the south. Reisner formulated thus in 1923: …the tradition of Egypt became fixed as the traditions of [Ai]thiopia.13 This is the basis on which rests the whole history of the culture of [Ai]thiopia. The civilization was Egyptian, not native, and the subsequent history is one of loss, not of gain, of the gradual fading of the traditions of the arts and crafts and of the knowledge of the Egyptian language and the sacred texts.14 graphic sections as of little importance in Egyptian archaeology (ibid.). Somers Clarke’s work at Hierakonpolis in the 1890s, where the significance of vertical stratigraphy was emphasized (cf. WWW 100 f.), remained without influence on most members of the first generation of archaeologists working in the Middle Nile Region. Since Reisner excavated, with the exception of the temples at Gebel Barkal, only burials in the Middle Nile Region, a judgement on his technological achievments can best be formed by the results of his brief work in 1914 at Jebel Moya, cf. O.G.S. Crawford–F. Addison: Abu Geili, Saqadi and Dar el Mek. The Wellcome Excavations in the Sudan III. London 1951 1 ff.; Gerharz 1994 13. 10 The purpose of the work was defined by Reisner as follows: “The Archaeological Survey of Lower Nubia has been undertaken (1) for the purpose of ascertaining the value and extent of the historical material buried under the soil, and (2) for the purpose of making this material available for the construction of the history of Nubia and its relations to Egypt. The questions on which it is hoped to throw light concern the successive races and racial mixtures, the extent of the population in different periods, the economical basis of the existence of these populations, the character of their industrial products and the source and degree of their civilization.” Reisner 1910; quoted by Emery 1965 39. 11 Reisner 1910. After the first season, the Survey was continued by C. Firth, who was trained in Egypt by Petrie (cf. Emery 1965 39 f.). For his work, see Firth 1915, 1927. 12 For the work and views of G.E. Smith (WWW 395 f.), F. Wood-Jones (WWW 451), D.E. Derry (WWW 123) cf. The Archaeological Survey of Nubia Bulletin 3. Cairo 1909; Emery 1965 40; Adams 1977 91 ff.; Trigger 1989 152 f. 13 In the original “Ethiopia”. To avoid any confusion and in conformity with the modern usage, I replace it with the proper Greek name of Kush. 14 G.A. Reisner: The Pyramids of Meroe and the Candaces of Ethiopia. BMFA 21/no. 124 (1923) 12–27 16.


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Walter B. Emery’s Egypt in Nubia, published ten years after Arkell’s above-quoted History of the Sudan. From the Earliest Times to 1821 was even more directly indebted to Reisner’s monumental work in which the creation of modern archaeological methods and the establishment of a comprehensive cultural typology and culture-historical periodization was interwoven with a historical discourse that was based on the evolutionism, biological and ecological determinism of the late colonial period.15 Like most of Reisner’s contemporaries, also the majority of his successors prior to the UNESCO Campaign maintained his Egyptocentrism and accepted his identification of the successive Nubian culture horizons with different populations. His interpretation of the burial sequence of the Kushite rulers as the testimony of a cyclical cultural decline appeared equally acceptable to them, similarly to his suggestion that this decline was determined by the inherent weakness of a native empire and the inability of an African society to imitate a superior model. The last thirty years have seen a shift from this kind of Egyptocentrism to more balanced views. Nevertheless, students of ancient Nubia are still fighting the ghost of Egyptology. Recently we witness attempts at the reinterpretation of the textual (including the Egyptian inscriptions of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and Napatan rulers) and the archaeological evidence for the sake of a “Sudanic model”, i.e., an ancient Nubian variant of Southall’s “segmentary state”.16 Nubia as part of Egypt’s “outside world”, Nubia under Middle and New Kingdom domination, and Nubia in the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty period continue to occupy an obligatory, even if not always generously allotted, place in general histories of Egypt.17 By contrast, Nubian 15

According to Grafton Elliot Smith, an anthropologist working with Reisner, “the smallest infusion of Negro-blood immediately manifests itself in a dulling of initiative and a ‘drag’ on the further development of the arts of civilization”. in: Archaeological Survey of Nubia Bulletin 3. Cairo 1909 25, also quoted by Adams 1977 92. Later physical anthropological investigations (see A. Batrawi: Report on the Human Remains. Cairo 1935; more explicitely also against the theories of Smith, Jones, and Derry: id.: The Racial History of Egypt and Nubia. JRAI 75 (1945) 81–101, 76 (1946) 131–156) failed to verify any significant racial differences in the skeletal material ranging from the prehistoric to the Christian period. Smith’s view of the biological determination of cultural development reinforced, however, Reisner’s prejudice. 16 A. Southall: Alur Society. Cambridge 1956; id.: The Segmentary State in Africa and Asia. Comparative Studies in Society and History 30 (1988) 52–82; id.: The Segmentary State and the Ritual Phase in Political Economy. in: S.K. McIntosh (ed.): Beyond Chiefdoms: Pathways to Complexity in Africa. Cambridge 1999 31–38. Cf. Edwards 2003; Fuller 2003; Morkot 2003. For a more detailed critical discussion of the topic, see Török n.d. 17 See, e.g., Trigger et al. 1983; Shaw 2000; Taylor 2000.

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scholars frequently not only doubt the competence but also the good faith of any also Egyptologically founded investigation of ancient Nubia, suspecting such investigations of aiming at nothing else than to place anew “an emphasis… on cultural innovation coming from a dominant Egyptian culture”.18 We read in a recent paper: The way in which Nubian studies has developed, and the nature of much of the material, means that it is virtually inseparable from Egyptology. There are now, however, many working in the field who are not from a primarily Egyptological background. This is in many ways an asset. However, this lack of Egyptological background has generated problems, through the uncritical acceptance of Egyptological assumptions and their incorporation into new work.19

This is a completely justified criticism. But we also witness another not less biassed, and misleading, practice in recent studies on Nubian history, namely, the uncritical refusal of methods and informations deriving from Egyptology.20 It must be realised, however, that a properly Nubian reading of phenomena that seem to have been inspired by Egyptian conceptions or using Egyptian or Egyptianized means of expression, cannot be established without the knowledge of the original Egyptian reading of these conceptions and expressive means. Aversion towards past and present approaches in Nubian Studies that are considered, justly or unjustly, Egyptocentric rises partly from the rejection of the biassed colonial-style comparison of a “primitive” culture with a “high” culture as it was made again and again in the general histories presented by earlier generations of Nubian scholars. Yet it could hardly be disputed that no history of Lower Nubia can be written without critically collating its cultures with contemporary Egypt and Upper Nubia. In the following we shall focus on Lower Nubia’s interface with Egypt and Upper Nubia in the Late Neolithic, Early and Middle Bronze Age by discussing cases of parallelism, acculturation and retardation in the symbolic and descriptive “representation” of the world and the structure and iconography of rulership and religion.

18 19 20


Edwards 2003 140. Morkot 2003 152.—My Italics. See, e.g., O’Connor–Reid 2003; Edwards 1996, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004; Fuller


chapter eight 2. Unity of the Nile Valley? Egyptian foreign policy… [was] guided by the same principle of territorial expansion which guided domestic policy: the unity of the Nile Valley.21

2.1. Image and Society In Chapters III–VII we have surveyed well-known data relating to the history of Lower Nubia between c. 3700 and 1550 BC. However frequently analysed and commented upon, the last word was not, and probably will never be said about most of these data and they will continue to support widely different historical syntheses. Some of the more recent histories of the Nile Valley present highly attractive models. For the present writer, Barry Kemp’s suggestion concerning the phenomenon of cultural separation seems especially relevant: An important phenomenon to be observed in the ancient cultures of north-east Africa is a process of cultural separation whereby a people settled in some part of the Nile Valley could become involved, for reasons still not properly understood, in a largely spontaneous and selfmultiplying course of cultural enrichment and diversity which separated them from their desert background. In particular, settled life in the Nile Valley seems to have encouraged the appearance of both leaders anxious to extend their control over neighbouring valley groups, and of an elaborate cemetery culture. In Egypt proper this process had given birth to the Predynastic culture from which Pharaonic civilization had grown. But in Nubia the far smaller natural potential of this part of the valley and the aggressive policies adopted by Egypt meant that the process had a limited future and was liable to be arrested while still in an incipient phase, and even reversed.22

Before deciding whether we should subscribe to Kemp’s model or not, a brief discussion of a set of data may help us in assessing in greater detail the similarities and differences between Egypt and Nubia before the New Kingdom. In the following we shall focus on some aspects of the depiction of the world and the presumed functions of these depictions. We have started our survey of Lower Nubian history in a period, when there existed no political frontiers and life in the Nile Valley was 21 22

Warburton 2001 222. Kemp 1983 116.

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not separated from life in the “desert”. It is also important to note that the fifth-millennium mortuary evidence is fairly uniform between the Khartoum region and Middle Egypt.23 Reviewing the archaeological evidence from the Early (c. 4900–3800 BC) and Late Neolithic (c. 3800– 3000 BC), we have identified evidence for the rise of complex society in Upper and Lower Nubia (see Chapters III.1–4). The Early Neolithic settlement at Kerma, dated to c. 4700–4500 BC, contained circular huts enclosed by palisades as well as two rectangular buildings. By the late fourth – early third millennium BC Kerma was an archaic-type walled (?) “urban” settlement in which habitation, religious and administrative functions seem to have been spatially separated. In the course of the fourth millennium BC the processes of social stratification seem to have been similar in the populations living in the region of Kadero and Geili south of modern Khartoum, at el-Kadada in the Shendi Reach, and in A-Group Lower Nubia. The pace of development was, however, not quite the same in the Kerma basin and the regions south and north of it. While in the Kerma basin the growth of the population, the increase of the production and the ensuing development of a large “urban” settlement promoted the rise of complex society and the emergence of more developed forms of power, the semi-nomadic patterns of subsistence in the latter regions did not bring about the development of large permanent settlements and the political processes were slower. The seventeen cemeteries and the c. thirty settlement sites investigated so far in the region of Kadruka visualize the socio-economic processes of the transition from Early to Late Neolithic in the Kerma basin. The most recent (second half of the fifth millennium BC) cemetery KDK 1 was opened with Grave 131, the burial of a man of c. 40 years24 whose grave equipment contained two bucrania and, among other artefacts, nine stone maceheads, palettes, a splendid caliciform pottery beaker (Pl. 12),25 and an anthropomorphic figurine of sandstone (Pl. 11, right).26 The figurine was carved from a sort of veined sandstone found only at a site c. 150 km from Kadruka on the opposite bank of the Nile. While no sexual attributes are indicated, the figurine and its analogue from KDK 1, Grave 200 (see below) doubtless represent Cf. the survey presented by Wengrow 2006 41 ff. For the cemetery and Tomb 131, see J. Reinold: La cimetière néolithique KDK.1 de Kadruka (Nubie soudanaise): Premiers résultats et essai de corrélation avec les sites du Soudan central. in: Bonnet (ed.) 1994 93–100. 25 J. Reinold in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 Cat. 22. 26 J. Reinold in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 Cat. 273. 23 24


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female figures. Grave 131 was the burial of “the head of [a] community of cattle farmers”,27 while in Grave 200 an adolescent was buried whose burial equipment contained solely a sandstone figurine. It is actually on account of the differences between the two burials that we may attribute a religious significance to the sandstone figurines. Caliciform beakers decorated with combed, rocker-stamped, or incised, white-filled geometric decoration on the burnished vessel surface were produced in Upper Nubia exclusively for mortuary rituals.28 Recently, several caliciform vessels were recovered at a site in the Lower Wadi Howar, which yielded carbon dates between 3870 ± 60 cal. BC and 3670 ± cal. BC.29 In Egypt a related beaker type is found in Badarian contexts (from between the Badari region near Asyut in Middle Egypt and Hierakonpolis)30 dating to the period c. 4400–4000 BC.31 Clay and (hippopotamus) ivory female figurines discovered at Badarian sites display successful attempts at the naturalistic representation of the human form.32 Following probably from the symbolic/religious connotations of the figurines placed in tombs, the stylization of the human form also occurs on Badarian and then Amratian (Naqada I, c. 4000– 3500 BC) and Gerzean (Naqada II, c. 3500–3200 BC) clay and ivory figurines, yet it reaches only rarely33 the extreme degree of abstraction displayed by the sandstone statuette from Kadruka KDK 1 Grave 131 (Pl. 11, right) and its analogue from Kadruka Cemetery KDK 21, Grave 200 (Pl. 11, left),34 or by clay figurines from, e.g., Kadruka35 and elKadada.36 A dichotomy of naturalism and abstraction also appears in J. Reinold in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 287.—Cf. also Zibelius-Chen 2001 22. E.g., Kadruka, Cemetery 1, grave 121, J. Reinold in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 Cat. 271; el-Kadada, Cemetery C, grave 3, 3610–3392 cal. BC, ibid. Cat. 240. 29 F. Jesse: Un nouvel aspect du Néolithique au Wadi Howar (Nord du Soudan)— des vases caliciformes. in: Gratien (ed.) 2007 187–196. 30 Cf. Hendrickx–Vermeersch 2000 41 f. 31 Hendrickx–Vermeersch 2000 39 f., cf. R.E. Friedman: Badari Grave Group 569. in: W.V. Davies (ed.): Studies in Egyptian Antiquities. A Tribute to T.G.H. James. London 1999 1–11. 32 See first of all the ivory figurine BM EA 59648, Ucko 1968 No. 3; R. Friedmann in: Phillips (ed.) 1995 Cat. 1.1; and the clay statuette BM EA 5964, Ucko 1968 No. 1; R. Friedmann ibid. Cat. 1.3. 33 See London, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology UC. 9601, Ucko 1968 No. 84; B. Adams in: Phillips (ed.) 1995 Cat. 1.4, Gerzean. 34 J. Reinold in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 Cat. 272. From the same veined sandstone as the figurine from Grave 131. 35 J. Reinold in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 Cat. 25. 36 Wildung (ed.) 1997 Cats 2, 3. 27 28

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Nubia, however, for besides strongly stylized figurines the cemetery of el-Kadada also yielded a female clay statuette on which the arms are treated as abbreviated stumps but the tattoed body and thighs, the skin folds and the stomach of a pregnant woman are naturalistically represented (Pl. 28).37 The combination of stylized head, arms and legs with naturalistic breasts, fat folds and belly suggests that the statuettes of this type were what we (rather vaguely) call fertility figurines. It may be supposed that the figure of the pregnant woman possessed magic/cultic significance in the life of the communities as well as in the mortuary realm. The geographical and chronological context of the type represented by the el-Kadada figurine is very broad: it occurred (infrequently) in Predynastic Egypt38 as well as in A-Group Lower Nubia.39 An A-Group example from Cemetery 277 at Halfa Degheim (Pl. 29)40 was found in a tomb in which an adult woman and a girl were buried. Significantly, the burial equipment also contained the clay figurine of a child. Parallels to the most distinctive product of Naqada I culture, i.e., pottery with painted figural decoration, cannot be found in contemporary Nubia. The paintings executed in white paint on the burnished red surface of the Amratian White Cross-lined Ware (“C-Ware”) represent human and animal figures. The figures of wild and domestic animals: giraffes, gazelles, hippopotami, crocodiles, birds, cattle, and dogs (also dogs with a bell in the neck) presented descriptive “catalogues” of the species observed in the Nile Valley and the desert. The presence of plant motifs indicates that the representations were meant to be “complete” depictions of the Egyptian environment. Initially the human and animal figures were isolated, but from the advanced Naqada I period they appear in interaction, first of all in hunting scenes.41 There also appear dancing figures and figures engaged in other ritual activities.42 Figures of the triumphant warrior and his captive43 present the

Wildung (ed.) 1997 Cat. 4. Ucko 1968 Nos 42, 47, 48. 39 Nordström 1972 Pl. 56/1, 2. 40 Wildung (ed.) 1997 Cat. 31. See also Brooklyn L 78.3, Ucko 1968 No. 166; B.V. Bothmer: Ancient Nubia and the Northern Sudan: A New Field of Art History. Meroitica 5 (1979) 177–180 Pl. XXV. 41 Kantor 1974 230 f., 241 ff., figs 17–19, Nos 200, 201; Midant-Reynes 2000b fig. p. 49. 42 Kantor 1974 241, figs 17a, b. 43 Midant-Reynes 2000b 49. 37 38


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prototype of the image of Pharaoh’s victory.44 The Decorated Ware (“D-Ware”) of the Naqada II period continues the trend of these increasingly complex scenic and narrative representations.45 The road led to the polychrome wall-painting in Tomb 100 (the Painted Tomb) at Hierakonpolis (c. 3400–3300 BC)46 with the representation of riverboats, hunting, war- and triumphal scenes, and from Tomb 100 to the formation of the canons of the “depiction” of man, the king, the gods, the society, the universe and their interrelations. The late fourth millennium BC saw the formation of the unitary state and the kingship in Egypt, the emergence of agricultural towns and of major settlements whose gods were to be closely associated with kingship. The limited productive capacity and small population of the two A-Group chiefdoms did not promote similarly far-reaching processes. The coexistence of small contiguous polities on the same stage of complexity does not mean, however, that this was the terminus of all political development in Lower Nubia and that the formation of kingship was ab ovo excluded in any of these chiefdoms.47 Indeed, the borrowing of royal insignia (Sayala mace, Pl. 14) and iconography (Qustul censer) from Late Predynastic Egypt shows that the Nubian chiefs perceived some complex Egyptian conceptions of rule—and that their Egyptian partners acknowledged certain similarities between rulership in Egypt and in Nubia. In the Naqada IIIa2-Dynasty 0 period, around 3100–3000 BC, colossal stone statues of the fertility-god Min were erected in the area of the late Predynastic shrine at Coptos. According to Kemp’s reconstruction, the colossi were predominant elements in a sacred space that was structured in a manner similar to Neolithic open shrines with standing stones found, e.g., at Nabta Playa (dated c. 5100–4700 BC) and in the Sinai (fourth-third millennia BC).48 While a “stela” was also discovered at Qustul Cemetery L, no sacred space of the Coptos type was identified in A-Group Lower Nubia. It was only half a millennium later that the tradition of the open shrine was imported by the C-Group immigrants arriving from the Western Desert: in the late third millennium Cf. Swan Hall 1986. Cf. Kantor 1974 231 f., 244 f. figs 20, 21, Nos 201–205. 46 Quibell–Green 1902 Pls LXXV–LXXIX; Kemp 1973; Wengrow 2006 109 ff. 47 Cf. Baines 1995b 100 ff.—On the issue, see also N. Yoffee: Myths of the Archaic State. Evolution of the Earliest Cities, States, and Civilizations. Cambridge 2005 and cf. the review feature CAJ 15 (2005) 251–268. 48 Kemp 2000. 44 45

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BC, Lower Nubian elite cemeteries would be guarded by monumental “stelae” (Chapter III.3).49 The A-Group cult places in rock shelters or caves at Sayala/Khor Nashriya, Korosko East and Serra West (Chapter III.6) seem to represent another type of shrine also known from Egypt. The Early Dynastic (First-Second Dynasty) shrine beneath the New Kingdom Satet temple at Elephantine was established in a shelter formed by granite boulders.50 The type of its divine cult is indicated by the find of votive human and animal figures and a fragment of a statuette representing King Djer (early First Dynasty, around 3000–2950 BC). Assemblages of a similar composition, i.e., consisting of private as well as royal votives and deposited in temple compounds within towns51 were also recovered at Abydos and Hierakonpolis (from the latter deposit: Scorpion Macehead, Narmer Palette, Narmer Macehead, Two Dog Palette).52 The cult activities at Sayala/Khor Nashriya, Korosko East and Serra West seem to have included offerings of food (?), but there is no evidence for divine cults. The paintings in the caves and the rock drawings associated with the caves recall the “descriptions” of the natural environment in the decoration of the Amratian White Cross-lined Ware, which suggests that they were made in order to “regulate” the relationship between the community and its natural environment. We shall find (Chapter VIII.2.3) that the wall paintings of the Classic Kerma (c. 1750– 1550 BC) shrine K XI at Kerma possessed a similar meaning. In the thematic repertory of both the A-Group and C-Group paintings on the ceiling of the “Felsmalerei-Höhle” at Sayala/Khor Nashriya predominate representations of cattle; in several “cattle scenes” there also appear herdsmen armed with bows (Pl. 30). One of the A-Group period paintings represents a large lion figure attacking a small cow and a herdsman shooting arrows at the wild beast.53 Abstract signs associated with male figures in the paintings were tentatively identified as property marks.54 Such an interpretation of the signs places the making of For Aniba, see Steindorff 1935 38 ff., Pls 8–15. G. Dreyer: Der Tempel der Satet. Die Funde der Frühzeit und des Alten Reiches. Mainz 1986; Kaiser et al. 1997. 51 Cf. Kemp 1977. 52 Cf. Kemp 2000. 53 Bietak–Engelmayer 1963 Pls XX/1, XXV. 54 Abstract markings in European Upper Paleolithic caves were placed recently in the context of shamanistic rites and interpreted as entopic patterns generated within the mind during an altered state of consciousness induced by drugs, dancing, darkness etc., see D. Lewis-Williams: The Mind in the Cave. London 2002. For an excellent 49 50


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representations possessing a protective power into the context of the actual local community. As to the significance of the cave with rock paintings at Sayala/Khor Nashriya, it is interesting to note that it was reused not only in the C-Group period but also much later: a group of scenes in the cave representing (armed) camel riders55 dates from the Ptolemaic or the Roman period.56 Visual expressions of meaning and the recording of social and economic interactions in an emerging redistributive system met in symbolic images on cylinder seals, a most significant artefact type invented originally in Mesopotamia.57 Alongside other forms of notation and recording, the early seals played a significant role in the invention of writing.58 The production and use of cylinder seals (Pl. 15) and the adoption of symbols of Egyptian Predynastic-Early Dynastic rulership in the centres of the Middle and Late A-Group chiefdoms (c. 3250– 2800 BC) was a consequence of the intense Egyptian-Lower Nubian trade contacts. Borrowings of this kind presuppose a social/economic complexity of the receiver, which is not significantly inferior to that of the model culture. As noted above in Chapter III.6, the designs on the A-Group cylinder seals may have represented the first step towards the development of a Nubian writing system or the adoption of Egyptian writing.59 In some seal designs, such as, e.g., the representation of a male figure standing in front of a double door with one wing open (?) (Pl. 15, bottom),60 or a walking man, a gazelle (?) and a hyena under a

overview, see N. Spivey: How Art Made the World. A Journey to the Origins of Human Creativity. New York 2005 16 ff. 55 Bietak–Engelmayer 1963 33 f., Pls XXI/1, 2, XXII/2, XXXIII. 56 Bietak–Engelmayer 1963 40. 57 Cf. S.T. Smith 1996; Wengrow 2006 187 ff. 58 Cf. C. Renfrew: The Emergence of Civilisation. The Cyclades and the Aegean in the Third Millennium B.C. London 1972 404 ff.; H.J. Nissen–P. Damerow–R.K. Englund: Archaic Bookkeeping: Early Writing and Techniques of Economic Administration in the Ancient Near East. Chicago 1993; Postgate–Wang–Wilkinson 1995. 59 For writing, administration and state in Egypt, see J. Baines: Literacy and Ancient Egyptian Society. Man 18 (1983) 572–599; J. Ray: The Emergence of Writing in Egypt. World Archaeology 17 (1986) 390–398; Postgate–Wang–Wilkinson 1995; Bard 2000 78 ff.; J. Baines: The Earliest Egyptian Writing: Development, Context, Purpose. in: S.D. Houston (ed.): The First Writing: Script Invention as History and Process. Cambridge 2004 150–189; Wengrow 2006 188 ff., 198 ff. 60 Nordström 1972 Pl. 55, object 332/42:9, from Site 332 south of Faras excavated by the Scandinavian Joint Expedition.

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bird (?) (Pl. 15, centre)61 we may perhaps recognize words written in a logographic form. Around 2800 BC social and cultural development in native Lower Nubia was arrested for half a millennium or so by the aggression of Early Dynastic Egypt. The A-Group population was forced to leave its settlements in the Nile Valley and return to a nomadic way of life. In Egypt, the centuries of the Lower Nubian post-A-Group hiatus were the centuries of the formation of the Early Dynastic state and the emergence of Old Kingdom culture. The rapid emergence of chiefdoms in Lower Nubia after its resettlement by the C-Group descendants of the dispersed A-Group population demonstrates that social, economic, and political complexity was determined by the predominantly settled way of life in the Nile Valley, by population growth, increased food surplus from improving agriculture, a general growth of settlement/community size and the development of settlement hierarchy, further by the coexistence of different social roles within the individual settlements as promoted by the participation in long-distance exchange.62 2.2. C-Group Display Speaking about decorated C-Group pottery, Manfred Bietak emphasizes that the own ceramical achievements of the Nubian C-Group culture… are very attractive… and artistically superior to the ceramical production of the contemporary Egyptian civilization. From the paleo-psychological viewpoint this means, that pottery had more meaning for the C-Group people within their restricted material culture than to the population in the Egyptian Nile valley.63

It is extremely difficult, however, to assume what meaning the quality and decoration of pottery had for the C-Group people. What we are usually talking about is the meaning(s) for the modern archaeologist.64 The tradition of decorated Predynastic and Early Dynastic pottery did not continue in the Old Kingdom. Instead, the formal repertory

Nordström 1972 Pl. 55, object 308/63:5, from Site 308 in the same region. For the issue of exchange cf. C. Renfrew: Trade as Action at a Distance: Questions of Integration and Communication. in: J.A. Sabloff–C.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky (eds): Ancient Civilization and Trade. Albuquerque 1975 3–59. 63 Bietak 1979 108 (the Italics are Bietak’s). 64 For the diversity of views, see, e.g., the studies in Conkey–Hastorf (eds) 1990. 61 62


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and the surface treatment of the fine pottery was influenced by luxurious metal and stone models. The high technical quality, elegant forms and decoration of Old Kingdom ceramics indicate the decisive influence of a court culture. It is also important to note that this pottery was produced in specialized manufactures. The changes in the style of Egyptian fine pottery from the Early Dynastic period to the Old Kingdom describe fairly directly the main trend of social and cultural changes occurring in these centuries. What processes do appear in the mirror of C-Group decorated pottery? Thanks to the efforts of Manfred Bietak65 and Hans-Åke Nordström,66 the characteristic types of the Early, Middle and Late C-Group periods are worked out in detail. In the following we shall focus on the incised pottery (Black Incised and Red Incised),67 which represents the most outstanding achievement of C-Group material culture. It displays a very limited range of shapes, from an (early) flat bowl form (sometimes with pointed bottom) to hemispherical and deep globular bowls. In the Late C-Group also footed hemispherical bowls were produced. The decorative patterns incised on the burnished vessel surface and filled with chalk or paint are said to imitate basketwork.68 While the similarity of some of the latticework designs to basketwork cannot be denied, the whole range of patterns does not support a general derivation from basketwork. The chronology of the design structures (Pl. 31)69 occurring in the long time interval between c. 2300 and 1700 BC70 also seems to indicate a more speculative decoration practice:

65 66 67 68 69 70

Bietak 1966, 1979. Nordström 1972; Nordström 1989. For the classification of wares, see Nordström 1989 25 ff. Cf. Bietak 1968; Bietak 1979 121. On the basis of Bietak 1966; Nordström 1989 34 ff. For the chronology of the C-Group, see Chapter IV.2.

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Table A. The Chronology of C-Group Pottery Design Structures design structures C-Group phases

Ia Ib IIa IIb





• •











• •

+ +

+ = resembles basketwork • = no direct resemblance to basketwork A = assymetric structure: not directly related to the vessel shape (e.g., snakes or lunates on a hatched background) B = Bilateral: the decoration is divided into two symmetric parts (identical patterns) C = Trilateral: three equal parts, with identical patterns in each part D = Quadrilateral: four equal parts, with identical patterns in each part E = Lattice structure of small rectilinear parts F = Radial arrangement of patterns G = Patterns arranged concentrically in horizontal bands or panels H = Grid structure: a combination of a radial and a concentric structure with horizontal panels symmetrically divided by vertical bands or lines I = Diamond structure: diagonically arranged square patterns divided by bands K = Diamond structure: “floating” square patterns without dividing bands

Rocker-stamped or incised quasi-geometric designs (forming most frequently herringbone patterns) resembling ornamental basketwork already appeared in the late fifth-fourth millennia BC on a special class of burnished vessels, viz., the Upper Nubian Neolithic caliciform beakers (cf. above in Chapter VIII.2.1). Incised or rocker-stamped, white-filled geometric, lattice, grid and diamond designs belong to the timeless decorative tradition of Nubian pottery. Similarly to the makers of the fine Neolithic caliciform vessels, the C-Group potters succeeded almost always in incising designs which cover harmonically the entire vessel surface in a manner that no element of the complicated structures is distorted, shortened, or omitted: the use of the surface may be called perfect. It is highly improbable that the designs on C-Group pottery would have been created in order to compete with high technical skills developed in another contemporary (?) medium: they represented an own tradition and had an own meaning—even if we are unable to tell what it was. In his above-quoted paper, Bietak sets forth his comparison of Egyptian and C-Group decorated pottery thus: Economically speaking, the pottery fabrication in Pharaonic Egypt was an industry, a massproduction for anonymous consumers, while in Lower


chapter eight Nubia, due to its prehistoric societies, the consumers produced their own pottery according to old traditions. Comparable society models in Nubia and the Sudan today show that pottery production was in the hands of the women in the family, or in more advanced communities village potters were producing for a restricted number of people, whom they knew personally. For the semisedentary early C-Group, organized in families or clans, we can safely assume that the pottery production was in the hands of the family. As the landscape of Lower Nubia is facilitating isolation of communities it is also likely that the production remained the same even after the C-Group became fully settled.71

Indeed, we can find several ethnographic parallels for pottery making and decoration by women72 and children, and the output of this particular type of house industry may be of a remarkable quality.73 High quality of the execution in itself or the inventive use of traditional pattern structures does not exclude the possibility of house-industry. In the case of the C-Group wares it is contradicted by the large size of a pottery corpus the bulk of which is constituted by uniformly good or excellent quality vessels, further by the geographical distribution of stylistically analogous products as well as by the chronology of the designs. It also seems to be contradicted by the wide distribution within the same cemetery of vessels with identical or closely associated decorations: e.g., Aniba Cemetery N presents series which could hardly be interpreted as the home production of the same woman distributed among the graves of her relatives.74 A detailed investigation of the geographical distribution of identical design structure variants or of vessels, which appear to have been produced in the same “workshop” cannot be established here. Some significant examples may be relevant, however. E.g., the unique grid pattern of a remarkably fine Phase Ia shallow bowl from Aniba Cemetery N (Pl. 32)75 occurs only on sherds from Aniba,76 Faras,77 and Debeira Bietak 1979 108–111. For the C-Group, see also Adams 1977 151 f. 73 E.g., see the transfer of designs from adult potters to children at the modern Shipibo-Conibo in the Ucayali Basin, Peru, W.R. DeBoer: Interaction, Imitation and Communication as Expressed in Style: the Ucayali Experience. in: Conkey–Hastorf (eds) 1990 82–104. 74 See, e.g., Steindorff 1935 Pls 35/2 (from N 575), 3 (N 811), 5 (N 498), 6 (N 950), 7 (N 733), 8 (N 804). 75 Grave N 478, Heidenreich 1935 67, 156, Pl. 33/7; Wenig 1978 Cat. 28; Bietak 1979 fig. 3/2. 76 Steindorff 1935 Pl. 64/32. 77 Griffith 1921 Pl. XII/17. 71 72

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Cemetery 65.78 While the small number of the known exemplars could be interpreted in favour of the attribution of this unique type to domestic production, the geographical range of the occurrences from Aniba to Debeira—c. 100 km along the river—does not seem to support such an interpretation. Also other examples may be quoted for the wide geographical distribution of early (Ia and Ib) vessels with identical, or closely related decorations.79 Phase Ia embraces the rise of the C-Group chiefdoms of Wawat, Irtjet, and Satju and the period of their unification, i.e., the times between c. 2400–2300 BC and the reign of Pepy II of the Sixth Dynasty (2278–2184 BC). Before the unification, Aniba was the centre of the chiefdom of Irtjet, Faras the centre of Satju (cf. Chapter IV.2). If we attribute the fineware represented by the aforementioned bowl from Aniba and the sherds from Aniba, Faras and Debeira (or by other fine early vessel types distributed similarly widely) to a potter or a potters’ workshop associated with an Early C-Group chief ’s centre, there are two possible conclusions: the Ia fineware bowls were either items of prestige exchange between chiefs before the unification of Wawat, Irtjet, and Satju or, what is more likely, they were items of some sort of elite exchange after the unification of the chiefdoms. Comparing the designs occurring in Phases Ia and Ib as a whole with the designs occurring in Phase IIa, we may observe a marked difference in style. The designers of Phase Ia and Ib patterns treated the vessel surface as a unit and filled it with one single composite motif (combined with hatched fields, or overlying a geometrically hatched background) such as snake figures, twisted bands, symmetrically organized latticework, concentrically arranged lunates (Pl. 33), further geometric carpet designs or bilateral, trilateral and quadrilateral structures resembling basketwork (Pl. 34). The pattern structures of IIa followed from a markedly different decorative principle. The significance of the stylistic change occurring in Phase IIa becomes obvious if we look at the vessels from the side: their body is decorated with broader or narrower horizontal bands of zig-zags or triangles separated from each other in various manners (by hatched fields, incised lines or bands). Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989 Pl. 2, find 65/0:18a. Steindorff 1935 Pl. 35/1=Firth 1927 Pl. 24/a1, b3; Steindorff 1935 Pl. 36/5=Firth 1927 Pl. 24/a3, b1; Steindorff 1935 Pl. 35/5=Reisner 1910 Pl. 61/b5; Steindorff 1935 Pl. 39/8=Firth 1927 Pl. 24/b6. Examples from Aniba Cemetery N: references to Steindorff 1935; examples from northern Lower Nubia: references to Firth 1927 and Reisner 1910. 78 79


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When seen from below, the vessel surface is decorated thus with radial and/or concentric designs.80 The decoration of the vessel wall with horizontal friezes is coupled with the decoration of the base with separate geometric, checkerboard or rosette motifs inscribed in a circle.81 In this way, the vessel body is divided structurally into base and wall (Pl. 35). That the new decoration principle prescribed the separate treatment of the base and the wall and the decoration of the latter with horizontal friezes is also supported by two exceptional bowls decorated with three superimposed friezes of cattle figures found at Cemetery T at Adindan (Pl. 36).82 The—however rare—occurrence of figural decoration on incised wares coincided with the occurrence of a small (10 to 30 cm in height), fairly coarse necked water (?) jar type decorated with cattle figures (also cows with calfs), birds (frequently ostriches), gazelles, crocodiles, and human figures. While the execution of the figures is poorer than that of contemporary rock drawings, we find on the vessels more complex representations such as a pastoral scene with two cows, a calf and a herdsman on a pot from Aniba.83 On a necked jar from Cemetery 209 at Toshka groups formed by two or three female figures are represented. The figures turn towards each other and touch the head or the shoulder of each other. They are distinguished by the different decoration of their skirts. A ritual significance of the scenes may be indicated by additional designs of symbolic character (e.g, palm branches).84 It is perhaps not quite superfluous to note that these attempts at more complex figural/scenic representations are about one millennium later than the scenic representations on Naqada II “Decorated Ware” vessels. Returning to the finewares, the compositional differences between the design structures marked E, F, G, H are rather small and this is Bietak 1979 figs 4/7, 8, 5/1–5; Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989 Pls 5–12. Emery–Kirwan 1935 Pl. 25/a, b, e, f, i; Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989 40, Pls 5–8. To the earliest examples of the base decoration may belong the bowl on Pl. 4 ibid., from Cemetery 262 (grave 53), which yielded a considerable number of unusual types and decorations, see Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989 234. 82 Grave 230, Wenig 1978 Cat. 31; grave 223, ibid. Cat. 32.—For a bowl decorated with dancer figures from Cemetery TMS-1, see B.B. Lal: Indian Archaeological Expedition to Nubia, 1962. A Preliminary Report. Fouilles en Nubie (1961–1963) 97–118 Pl. 37. 83 Steindorff 1935 Pl. 57/1; Bietak 1979 figs 10–12.—See also the pastoral scene with “individualized” cattle on a bowl from Toshka, Emery–Kirwan 1935 Pl. 24/xxi. 84 Emery–Kirwan 1935 Pl. 24/xxiii.—For a discussion of C-Group period rock sites with drawings representing cattle as “shrines”, see Edwards 2006 56 ff. 80 81

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also true for the variants within the individual structures. More marked differences occur in the base designs referred to above. The association of the individual base patterns registered by Nordström (Pl. 37)85 with individual wall design types or with sites does not seem to display regularities. In the Scandinavian concession area between Faras and Gemai one or two base patterns occurred in the smaller cemeteries, while Cemetery 97 at Ashkeit yielded four, Cemetery 179 between Faras and Serra six different base patterns. One of the patterns (Nordström’s pattern 2) is attested at Cemetery 47 between Serra and Debeira as well as at Cemeteries 262 and 270 at Abka. It cannot be excluded that the base patterns had a symbolic meaning which was independent from social, geographical, or workshop contexts. Anyhow, their unspecified combination with various wall design types and their wide geographical distribution are features that are characteristic for large-scale workshop production rather than house industry. The new style of Phase IIa emerged after the Twelfth Dynasty conquest of Lower Nubia (see Chapter VI.1). Nordström’s design structures E, F, G, and H may all be dated to the c. one-and-half or two centuries between the early Twelfth and the early Thirteeenth Dynasty. The continuity of the production of deep red and black ware bowls decorated with incised and paint-filled designs and of their use in the mortuary realm follows in general terms from the continuity of C-Group culture under Egyptian rule, but what is more important, in more concrete terms it follows from the continuity of C-Group elite display. The stylistic change occurring in the principal medium of elite display after the Egyptian conquest meant the disappearance of the majority of Ia and Ib design structures and patterns and the introduction of a new principle of surface decoration and of new patterns. Such a combination of continuity in technology and discontinuity in iconography and style cannot be easily explained because we do not know the meaning, i.e., the religious and/or social connotations of the patterns used before and after the change. But it seems fairly probable that the abandonment of most Ia and Ib patterns was determined by their conceptual association with something, which did not continue: viz., by the independent native political structure. In turn, the new design principle used in the decoration of the vessel wall in general and the predominance of friezes of zig-zags and triangles filled with


Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989 fig. 18.


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hatching in particular may have been influenced by Twelfth Dynasty pottery wares decorated with incised friezes of wavy lines and triangles filled with hatching or painted bands.86 Such an influence is rather obvious in the case of the aforementioned IIa necked jars.87 Considered as a whole, the corpus of Middle C-Group incised fineware decorations dating from the Twelfth Dynasty period presents a more uniform and standardized picture than the Early C-Group wares with their wider range of designs and design variants. The disappearance of patterns which may well have possessed symbolic meanings and their replacement with what may be defined as a geometric surface decoration which is valued in the context of display on account of the technical quality of its execution seems to have followed from a coincidence: namely, from the coincidence of a change in the structure and ideology of the elite with the introduction of a more industrial form of luxury pottery production and with the influence of good-quality Egyptian pottery arriving now in great quantities to occupied Lower Nubia. All incised finewares of the Late C-Group period belong to Nordström’s design structures I and K. Both design structures include diamond patterns most of which are composed from horizontally elongated lozenges floating over the burnished wall surface. The lozenges display hatched interior designs and there may also occur polished or hatched bands or zigzags below the rim band and/or on the lower part of the wall. The origins of the lozenge motif are in Phase IIa grid patterns,88 yet while the vertical lozenges in the IIa designs are subordinated to a net covering the vessel wall the horizontal lozenges of the IIb design structures are floating in a disconnected manner over the wall between the rim and a base motif (Pl. 38). Though the stylistic change occurring in Phase IIb was less radical than the change that occurred in Phase IIa, it is still marked enough to be connected to more general changes taking place in a broader historical and social context. The design structures I and K were created under the Thirteenth Dynasty, perhaps some time before the Egyptian withdrawal from Lower Nubia and continued to decorate fine bowls well into the Second Intermediate Period, i.e., the period of Kerma rule

86 Cf. Dorothea Arnold: Techniques and Traditions of Manufacture in the Pottery of Ancient Egypt (An Introduction to Ancient Egyptian Pottery I). With Contributions by P. Nicholson, C. Hope, P. Rose. Mainz 1993 89 ff. 87 See, e.g., Steindorff 1935 Pls 54–56. 88 Bietak 1979 fig. 4/9; Nordström 1989 36.

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in Lower Nubia. The fine bowls decorated with I and K-type designs were produced for a Late C-Group elite which lived close to Egyptian expatriates and Pan-Grave and Kerman immigrants and participated in the government of the Kerman ruler’s Lower Nubian province (cf. Chapter VII). The new form of footed bowl (Pl. 39), associated with design type I,89 shows the influence of Egyptian pottery types and Egyptian manners and customs. On the whole, the position of the Late C-Group elite promoted a growing openness towards Egyptian and Kerma culture and a disinterest towards the conservation of distinctive C-Group cultural traditions. 2.3. Excursus: The Paintings of K XI at Kerma and the End of Classic Kerma The expansion of Egypt beyond the Second Cataract and the building of the Lower Nubian forts responded to the spectacular unfolding of the power of the Middle Kerma state (c. 2050–1750 BC). The forts were destined to defend Egypt against aggression from the south, control occupied Lower Nubia, and serve the purposes of long-distance trade. The Nubian forts also could secure a military hinterland for aggression directed against Kerma: the camp built in the reign of Senusret III in the northern part of the island of Sai attests indeed Egyptian penetration into a territory controlled by a native chief and the establishment there of a bridge-head for campaigns into the Kerma heartland. The effort of building the Lower Nubian forts was immense (Chapter VI.1). Their monumentality was natural for a contemporary Egyptian who was used to the architectural landscape of his land, dotted with large, walled towns and who also saw the construction of enormous royal complexes such as the terraced mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II at Deir el-Bahri in western Thebes.90 Still, travelling south on some diplomatic or commercial mission, the same Egyptian must have been overwhelmed when he entered the town of Kerma, approached the large buildings of its walled centre,91 and after passing the exotic 89 From Aniba: Steindorff 1935 Pl. 47/7; from Cemetery 87 at Koshtamna: Firth 1915 Pl. 39/2; Wenig 1978 Cat. 37, and cf. Bietak 1968 111. 90 D. Arnold: Der Tempel des Königs Mentuhotep von Deir el-Bahari I–III. Mainz 1974, 1981. 91 By 2000 BC (early Middle Kerma), the town centre was protected by a rectangular enclosure wall with circular bastions. For the defence walls and ditches, see C. Bonnet et al.: Les fouilles archéologiques de Kerma (Soudan). Genava 41 (1993) 1–33 10; Bonnet 2004b 79. For subsequent enlargements of the walled area, see ibid.


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“round hut”, a mud-brick and wood structure c. 13 m in diameter and functioning as a royal audience hall92 arrived at the religious complex dominated by the central temple, the monumental mud-brick edifice known to-day as Western or Lower Deffufa.93 The architecture of the central temple, whose building history extended over the Middle and Classic Kerma periods, or of the Africantype “round hut” and the mud-brick chapels with circular groundplan94 must have been very unusual for an Egyptian visitor, and, if admitted to the ceremonial palace attached to the central temple95 or to the palace of the last rulers standing west of the religious quarter,96 he also could note the non-Egyptian character of the general architectural context into which occasional Egyptian forms (rectangular rooms, columns, colonnades) were also included. The historical evaluation of the extraordinary wealth of archaeological information collected by Charles Bonnet and his team at Kerma in the course of what we may safely consider as a model for all future archaeological work in the Sudan is only in its beginnings.97 When trying to locate Classic Kerma culture vis-à-vis contemporary Egypt in order to form an idea of the nature of Kerman presence in C-Group Lower Nubia (cf. Chapter VII), we may rely on the excavator’s summary, and in many respects preliminary, statements on the connections between the urban architecture of Kerma, Kerman religion, rulership, and administration. Bonnet writes thus about the town of Kerma in the advanced Middle Kerma and the Classic Kerma periods: The centre of the town was… occupied by a religious quarter that included the main temple and several large chapels, as well as a ceremonial palace. Outside the temenos in the town were the remains of successive residences of the sovereigns. The royal apartments were made of several rooms and courtyards to which were linked a series of contiguous warehouses… The latest residence… was of an unusual type of 92 C. Bonnet: Excavations at the Nubian Royal Town of Kerma, 1975–1991. Antiquity 66 (1992) 611–625 614. 93 For its architectural history, see Bonnet et al. 2004; in the Classic Kerma period: ibid. 28 ff.—It is worth noting that while the walls of Serra East, one of the smaller Second Cataract fortresses, contained c. 15.000 m3 of mud-brick, the Western Deffufa contained c. 25.000 m3 of mud-brick. 94 E.g., Bonnet et al. 2004 fig. 117. 95 Bonnet et al. 2004 60 ff., 120 ff. 96 Bonnet et al. 2004 126, fig. 97; Bonnet 2004b 79 f., fig. 62. 97 Cf. Bonnet 1986, 1987, 2004a, 2004b; Bonnet–Valbelle 2005; Bonnet et al. 2000, 2004; Bonnet (ed.) 1990.

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architecture in which can be seen influences coming both from Egypt and from more southern countries… A large double hall was set aside for the throne. It was preceded by a room for archives with an arrangement for sealing messages or precious produce.98

It appears that the practice of sealing was introduced at Kerma between 1650–1550 BC as a result of contacts with Lower Nubia which was under Kerman rule in this period. In the local administration of Kerma too Egyptian expatriate officials were working (Chapter VII). Both initial seal types appearing in Kerma, viz., seals with magic or heraldic designs which may also be identified as royal symbols, and seals with geometric designs99 are also known from Semna West,100 Mirgissa,101 and Elephantine.102 Beyond the town, passing through a deep ditch, one entered a secondary agglomeration in which the remains of several chapels were excavated. These appear to have been dedicated to an institution dealing with the cult of the departed rulers. Ovens suggest the presence of ateliers reserved for the preparation of offerings.103

Bonnet’s description of this “secondary agglomeration” gives emphasis to features that may indicate an Egyptian-type royal mortuary cult. The comparison seems justified as far as the permanent cult chapels, the workshops producing offerings and votives, or the bakeries preparing offering bread are concerned. Otherwise one may discern features of a rulership and a mortuary cult, which cannot be described in Egyptian terms. The princely and elite necropolis of Kerma used for one thousand years during the Ancient, Middle, and Classic periods lies on the edge of the desert about 3,5 km east of the central temple. It grew from north to south and contained altogether c. 20,000 to 30,000 tombs. The Classic Kerma section of the cemetery contained c. 3000 tombs. Its southern border was constituted by dozens of large tumuli, four among which had a diameter of c. 90 m. Similarly to earlier tumuli, they were covered with white pebbles and surrounded by rows of black stones. They were topped with large, dome-shaped, white dolomitic Bonnet 2004b 79 f. Gratien 2004 80 f. 100 Dunham–Janssen 1960 fig. 7/28-1-399. 101 Gratien 2004 81, fig. 5. 102 C. von Pilgrim: Elephantine XVIII. Untersuchungen zur Stadt Elephantine im Mittleren Reich und der Zweiten Zwischenzeit. Mainz 1995 fig. 105. 103 Bonnet 2004b 80. 98 99


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marble monoliths.104 The royal tumuli were surrounded by groups of smaller graves. The vast mud-brick tomb substructures were built on the cleaned hard desert surface and contained a long corridor running east-west along the entire tumulus diameter, from which a central vaulted chamber with plastered and painted walls opened on the southern side. It housed the royal burial and the most precious items of the royal funerary equipment. The mummified (?) body of the late rulers was buried on a stone bed with ox legs representing the royal variant of the wooden burial beds of the elite.105 The latter were decorated with inlaid ivory106 figures of ibexes, vultures, goats eating the leaves of small trees and variants (?) of the Egyptian hippopotamus-headed protective goddess Taweret who, among other crises of human life, watches over the (re)birth and whose faience figures also appear in Nubian Middle Kingdom contexts.107 Closely set walls perpendicular to the corridor walls extended to the tumulus perimeter and held a sandfill to protect the mound from erosion. In the long corridors the bodies of hundreds of sacrificed retainers were found: In K X [Reisner] counted the bodies of no fewer than 322 individuals, who had all evidently taken their places at a given signal, lay down resolutely on the floor, and allowed themselves to be buried alive. Reisner believed that all had died by suffocation… Some were men who obviously comprised the king’s personal bodyguard; these died with their hands on the hilts of their daggers. Some wore fly pendants,108 symbolic of their bravery, which they certainly exhibited here. Others were adult women, or adolescent girls, dressed in their finest garments and jewels, and others were children. In each tomb, the ruler’s entire household of servants and subordinate wives seems to have buried with him. Most assumed the proper burial orientation—head east, feet west, looking north—and most were buried with their own supplies of fine pottery vessels for eating and drinking. Groups of buried sheep were found among them[.]109 E.g., Kendall 1997a fig. 13. Bed from Grave 1053, Tumulus K X, inlays and modern reconstruction of the bed are now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, cf. Wenig 1978 Cats 45–48, 51; Kendall 1997a figs 21, 22; 94 ff. Cats 18–29. 106 Some of them hippopotamus ivory, see Bonnet (ed.) 1990 Cats 213 f., 265 f., 276 f., 283, 285, 287–291, for the issue cf. Morkot 1998. 107 Cf. P. Lacovara in: S. D’Auria–P. Lacovara–C.H. Roehrig: Mummies & Magic. The Funerary Arts of Ancient Egypt. Boston 1988 127 Cat. 58.—For the goddess cf. A. Behrmann: Das Nilpferd in der Vorstellungswelt der Alten Ägypter. Frankfurt 1989–1996. 108 Such as Kendall 1997a 99 Cat. 31. 109 Kendall 1997a 66. 104 105

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For a period (one generation?) subsidiary tombs were dug into the mounds of the rulers. Many of these were elite burials with sacrificed retainers. It would thus seem that the uppermost strata of the royal clan and the court were not obliged as a whole to be sacrificed at the burial of the king they have served. In the Middle Kerma section of the necropolis the larger tumuli were associated with small N–S oriented rectangular chapels with a doorway on the south front. Instead of small chapels, in the Classic Kerma section110 there were built two large north-south oriented mudbrick shrines: K XI in association with tumulus K X, and K II in association with tumulus K III. The necropolis was connected with the town probably by artificial and/or natural branches of the river. The royal mortuary rites would thus have included the barque voyage of the king’s body from the town centre to the necropolis, the procession from the landing place at the necropolis to the mortuary shrine, the procession to the tomb, and finally the burial rites. K XI was rebuilt several times (Pl. 40). The original shrine measured 25,90 m (including the massive apsis at the north which was similar to the apsis of the Middle Kerma-period Western Deffufa)111 by 17,55/17,65 m and contained one single vaulted room measuring 10,72/10,88 m by 5 m which was approached through an entrance corridor at the south. Such an enormous wall thickness is also characteristic for the Western Deffufa and K II. A staircase opening from the southeastern corner of the interior gave access to a chapel (?) on the roof of the edifice. Similarly to the substructure of the associated burial, the singleroomed shrine was built in the lifetime of the ruler who was to be buried in the tomb and it seems to have served first the cult of the living ruler.112 Subsequently, another longitudinal vaulted room and an entrance corridor were added at the south, increasing the length of the edifice with 12,70 m. In the stone pavement of the southern room depressions were prepared for the posts of a canopy enclosing the royal funerary bed oriented (as in the burials) east-west. In a subsequent

110 For the chronology of the necropolis, cf. Adams 1977 41 ff.; Gratien 1978 224 ff.; Williams 1992 149 ff. 111 C. Bonnet et al.: Les fouilles archéologiques de Kerma (Soudan). Genava 28 (1980) 31–72 44; Bonnet et al. 2004 fig. 17. 112 Bonnet et al. 2000 105.


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building period the structure of the roof of both rooms was altered. The new roof was supported by one row of columns standing along the longitudinal axis of the building. Now the place of the funerary bed was slightly moved according to the position of the columns,113 also indicating that while the original edifice was probably meant to serve the funeral and the mortuary cult of the ruler who erected it, the enlarged shrine was the place of the funeral and mortuary cult of one or more successors of the original builder. In the course of subsequent rebuildings, the walls of the edifice were thickened first with 2,60 m and then again with 1,60 m; the apsis was similarly enlarged. A new facing was also built from dressed sandstone blocks.114 K II followed the ground plan of the enlarged K XI with the difference that the staircase to the roof terrace opened from the first, southern room. Its cult function was similar, too, as indicated by the remains of a funerary bed carved from siltstone found in the southern room.115 The edifice, which measured 51,50 m by 30,90 m, seems to have had a massive apsis similar to the apsis of K XI.116 Both rooms of the original K II were vaulted. In the centre of the roof terrace stood a c. 5– 8 m high stone stela.117 Another stela of similar dimensions was later decorated with the Egyptian motif of the winged sun-disc and reused as lintel of the rebuilt northern entrance.118 Due to the destruction by termites of the original wooden reinforcements of the mud-brick walls, the vaults collapsed after a decade or so and a new roof supported by columns standing along the longitudinal axis was built. Following a conflagration, the staircase leading to the roof terrace went out of use and the cult place on the top of the shrine was approached through an outer ramp or staircase. Bonnet dates119 this conflagration to the time of the first Egyptian attacks against Kerma under Thutmose I. (The data concerning the Egyptian occupation of Kerma will be discussed in Chapter IX.1.)

113 114 115 116 117 118 119

Bonnet et al. 2000 59 f. and cover photo. Bonnet et al. 2000 fig. 48. Bonnet et al. 2000 128. Bonnet et al. 2000 114. Bonnet et al. 2000 117. Bonnet et al. 2000 figs 86, 87. Bonnet et al. 2000 126.

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According to Reisner,120 the painted decoration of K II was modelled closely on the decoration of K XI.121 The disposition of the preserved paintings of K XI, which were splendidly re-published by Charles Bonnet and Dominique Valbelle,122 is indicated in Table B below. Bonnet and Valbelle connect the paintings of K XI to the iconographical programs of Old and Middle Kingdom royal mortuary temples and private mortuary chapels: La parenté entre le décor des temples funéraires royaux et celui des chapelles funéraires privées a déjà été soulignée, ainsi qu’entre cellesci et les temples solaires: notamment à propos de la scène qui montre le défunt… peignant les personnifications féminines des trois saisons… A la fin du Moyen Empire, l’Onomasticon du Ramesséum propose une liste encyclopédique des composantes du monde qui relève de la même tradition et, sous la règne de Thoutmosis III, le Jardin Botanique de l’Akhménou lui a également été assimilée. A partir donc d’une longue tradition iconographique et littéraire égyptienne consistant, sous de formes diverses mais synthétiques, à évoquer le monde proche ou lointain pour affirmer son emprise sur lui, le décor des temples K XI et K II à Kerma conserve les vestiges de cycles originaux adaptés au contexte environmental comme à des pratiques religieuses et funéraires propres à la culture locale[.]123

More recently, Bonnet and Valbelle also suggested that in both K XI and K II [s]ur les parois, correspondant au territoire Égyptien, on decouvre une iconographie bien connue en Égypte, avec les scènes de pêche, le combat des taureaux ou des bateaux. En revanche, vers les terres nubiennes, on retrouve le bestiaire africain, avec des hippopotames, des bovidés et surtout des girafes.124

120 See P. Lacovara: The Funerary Chapels at Kerma. CRIPEL 8 (1986) 49–58; Bonnet et al. 2000 132. 121 Reisner 1923 I–III 263 f., 271. 122 Bonnet et al. 2000 65 ff., figs 51–71. 123 Bonnet et al. 2000 102. 124 Bonnet–Valbelle 2005 26.


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Table B. Kerma, K XI, Paintings, Iconographical Program of the Base Register(s) second (inner) room 20 “Punt scene” on stela (?) fragment ↓ 19 fighting bulls with ↑ herdsman ↓ 18 fighting bulls ↑

9 giraffes ↑ 8 giraffes ↑ entrance corridor leading to second room ↑ 17 giraffes

first (outer) room ↑ 16 boats ↑ 15 boats

7 giraffes ↑ entrance corridor leading to first room 6 cattle ↑

↑ 14 boats

13 2nd register 5 tree

domestic & wild animals 12 bulls at well

4 hippopotami ↑

↑ 11 hippopotami

3 hippopotami ↑

10 Nilotic scenes with fishermen

1, 2 boat ↓ temple

temple front

entrance ⇑

↑ = direction of the movement of the figures | = longitudinal axis of the temple

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While one may indeed discover general conceptual similarities between the base register(s) in K XI and K II and Egyptian “catalogues” of the environment occurring in mortuary contexts, the iconography of the Kerman paintings is rather to be interpreted as an evidence providing further arguments for the view according to which the intellectual influence of Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period Egypt did not penetrate the deeper layers of Kerman religion and kingship ideology. Final conclusions concerning the iconographical program of K XI and K II cannot be drawn, however, for it must be kept in mind that it is only the base register(s) of the decoration that is partly preserved. It may appear that much of what we miss from an “Egyptianized” iconographical program could have existed in the now lost upper register(s). Considering, however, the absence of any monumental representation of gods and rulers125 in Kerman art, it seems rather unlikely that the supposed upper register(s) in K XI and K II would have contained large-size divine and royal figures, be they “Egyptianized” or not. It is obvious at the first sight that the paintings in black, white, ochre red, yellow and blue colours (the same colours were used in the now lost paintings of K II)126 could not have been executed without the participation of a master who possessed some knowledge of the Egyptian traditions of the decoration structure of sanctuary walls and the rendering of human and animal figures, the less so that most of the representations appearing on the walls of K XI have no Kerman antecedents. This would not mean automatically, however, that the master was Egyptian: the coordination of the individual scenes is sometimes quite un-Egyptian (Scenes 12 and 14 partly overlapping; obscure relationship between figures and boat in Scene 1-2) and so is the composition of Scene 3 with the superimposed processions of hippopotami, or the decoration of the inner door jambs with similarly superimposed hippopotamus figures (Scenes 4 and 10). These “lists” of figures were composed on the basis of a Kerman conception ignoring the contemporary Egyptian types of pictorial figure/object “lists”.

125 It was suggested that the terracotta torso of a male figure in Egyptian style from the late Classic period palace at Kerma is fragment of a statuette representing a king of Kerma. Since the head is missing the identification of the figure remains tentative. See C. Bonnet et al.: Les fouilles archéologiques de Kerma (Soudan). Genava 41 (1993) 1–33 8, fig. 13.; Valbelle 2004a 176; Bonnet et al. 2004 160, fig. 126. 126 Bonnet et al. 2000 132.


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The Nilotic landscape (Scene 10) with a fishing scene includes Egyptian motifs but as a whole it is a fairly independent composition, just like Scene 13 with the images of domestic and wild animals. It seems that the charming Scene 12 depicting two bulls at a well is entirely Kerman in inspiration.127 It is not alone the paintings from K XI and K II that indicate the forming of a Kerman style of figural painting in the advanced Classic Kerma period: other significant examples are presented by a necked pot decorated with the representation of a man fighting two lions128 and by vessels from subsidiary burials in tumuli K III, K IV, K VIII, K XIV.129 Bonnet and Valbelle suggest that Scenes 10-20 are on the “Egyptian” side of K XI and depict Egyptian themes, while Scenes 1-9 are on the “African” side and represent the Nubian fauna (Scene 5 referring to the Nubian flora). The actual orientation of the walls does not seem to support this interpretation, however: the “Egyptian” themes are on the east; the “Nubian” themes on the west wall. In the Nubian New Kingdom, Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, Napatan, and Meroitic temples the iconographical programs referred to the geographical associations of the deities always according to the local Nile “north”130 (Egypt or Nubian localities “north” of the actual sanctuary) and “south” (Nubia or Nubian localities “south” of the actual sanctuary).131 At Kerma, local “west” and “east” are roughly identical with magnetic west and east, it is thus improbable that the painter would have regarded the east wall as local “north” and the west wall as local “south”.132 The suggestion of Bonnet and Valbelle is also contradicted by the presence of 127 Cf., e.g., the incised drawing of two antithetical bulls on a grey ware sherd from tumulus K III, Kendall 1997a 91 Cat. 14. 128 MFA 20.1694a–d, Reisner 1923 I–III Pl. 9, IV–V 473, fig. 340; W.S. Smith 1981 fig. 210; Wenig 1978 fig. 17. 129 W.S. Smith 1981 450 note 45.—The impact of the import of fine Egyptian Middle Kingdom faience with figural decoration and of the Kerman manufacture of decorated faience requires further investigation. Cf. Lacovara 1998 and ibid. Cat. 136. 130 Similarly to Egypt, in Nubia the course of the Nile, flowing from south towards the north, defined the cardinal points: downstream=north, upstream=south. In the following north, south, east, and west refer to the cardinal points where Nile north and south approximately correspond with magnetic north and south. “Local north”, “local south”, “local east” and “local west” refer to the cardinal points as they were defined by the Nile, when it does not flow approximately from south towards the north. 131 For the grammar of the Nubian temples of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, Napatan and Meroitic periods, see Török 2002a 40–330. 132 Cf. the cases of the temples of Napata and Sanam, where the Nile flows from north-east to south-west, Török 2002a 54–79, 128–139, 157–172, 205 f.

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hippopotami on both the western and eastern side of the entrance corridor (Scenes 4 and 11) and of giraffes on the “Egyptian” side of the corridor connecting the first room with the second (Scene 17). The indications provided by the iconography of the human figures are similarly ambivalent. In Scene 1-2 there appear two male figures with ochre red body whose connection with the boat is obscure; and the figure of a black member of the crew is shown in activity. The body of the fishermen in Scene 10 is painted in ochre red, similarly to the boatmen in Scenes 14 and 15. In Scene 16 the oarsmen are black. They are also distinguished by a characteristic feather in their hair. Their commander has, however, ochre red skin. Finally the preserved legs of the herdsman in Scene 19 are similarly ochre red. The depiction of black oarsmen and a brown-skinned commander on the boat in Scene 16 could hardly be interpreted as a representation of Kerman oarsmen under an Egyptian commander: this is unlikely because K XI was the scene of the mortuary rites of Kerman rulers. More probably, the commander was meant to be Kerman and the crew recruited from a more southern region controlled by Kerma (Nilotes from the southern Sudan?). Consequently, the brown-skinned figures represent Kerma people in all of the scenes, i.e., they are representations of the “self ” as taken over from the canonical Egyptian representation of the male figure. The ethnic distinction made in the paintings of K XI is similar to the distinction made between brown-skinned Lower Nubians and black-skinned Upper Nubians in the tomb of the Eighteenth Dynasty Lower Nubian prince Djehutyhotep at Debeira133 or in the Theban tomb of Huy, Viceroy of Kush under Tutankhamun,134 and should not be mixed up with the stereotype of the Middle Kingdom models of brown-skinned Egyptian soldiers and black-skinned (Lower) Nubian mercenaries.135 Scene 1-2 is believed to be the only representation referring in a narrative manner to the mortuary rites performed in the necropolis. The boat depicted in this scene is sailing outwards from the shrine, unlike the various boats in Scenes 10, 14, 15 and 16, which are moving towards the interior of the sanctuary. Bonnet and Valbelle suggest that Now in Khartoum, Sudan National Museum, Trigger 1978 fig. 14. Trigger 1978 fig. 12. 135 E.g., Cairo CG 257, Trigger 1978 fig. 10.—In general, see Drenkhahn 1967; J. Vercoutter: L’iconographie du Noir dans l’Égypte ancienne, des origines à la XXVe dynastie. in: J. Vercoutter et al.: L’image du noir dans l’art occidental. Fribourg 1976 33–88. 133 134


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the scene represents the voyage of the royal body to the tomb after the conclusion of the rites performed in K XI.136 The rest of the scenes fits in a more general conceptual framework, viz., the depiction of the Nubian environment. It is perhaps the same framework in which the enigmatic Scene 20 with the fragment of two brown-skinned figures climbing on ladders may be fitted. It received its name on account of the ladders evoking the famous Punt village scenes at Deir el-Bahari137 and it is suggested that the fragment from K XI remained from the representation of a Nilotic village of a similar architecture. Scene 20 was painted on the surface of a sandstone plaque the function of which remains obscure. According to Bonnet and Valbelle, the depiction of the inhabited Nubian world and the “catalogue” of its domestic and wild animals standing for the sources of subsistence and wealth as well as the natural powers of symbolic significance was intended to represent and perpetuate the Kerman king’s authority over his land and his power in the universe. The king’s universal ownership is indicated by means of the canonical Egyptian mode of the representation of offerings: all animals move towards the interior of the sanctuary, where the divine lord of the shrine—in the case of K XI and K II the (deceased) ruler—dwells: all actions depicted on the walls are subordinated to this direction of movement. There can be little doubt that, in this particular respect, the iconographical program was composed in the knowledge of the Egyptian canon. In general terms, the paintings in K XI may be compared to Egyptian representations of natural abundance in the service of a deity or a (deceased) king or a private dead. A comparison with actual examples such as the iconography of Old Kingdom solar temples (e.g., Nyuserra’s Weltkammer at Abu Ghurab),138 or the mortuary cult chapel of Neferu, wife of Mentuhotep II at Deir el-Bahari,139 or the “Botanical Garden” of Thutmose III at Karnak140 may convince, however, that the conceptual similarities between these and the Kerman paintings follow from similarities between general ideas of universal rulership in Bonnet et al. 2000 95. Naville 1898 Pl. LXX. 138 E. Edel–S. Wenig: Die Jahreszeitenreliefs aus dem Sonnenheiligtum des Königs Ne-user-Re. Berlin 1974. 139 Bonnet et al. 2000 102. 140 N. Beaux: Le cabinet de curiosités de Thoutmosis III. Plantes et animaux du “Jardin botanique” de Karnak. Leuven 1990. 136 137

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Egypt and in Kerma rather than from an actual knowledge and adoption of the Egyptian conception and iconography of Pharaoh’s universal regency. Pharaoh’s ownership of the plants and animals of the whole world as it is declared in a section of Thutmose III’s Annals accompanying the reliefs of the “Botanical Garden”141 would have been comprehensible for the designer(s) of the iconographical program of K XI and K II. Nevertheless, the ideas articulated visually in the latter seem to correspond more closely to the “bestiaries” appearing on Early Dynastic palettes, knife- and mace-handles, combs, and ceremonial sickles on which the rows of beasts are controlled by figures symbolising the ruler142 rather than to the ordered natural world depicted in the “Botanical Garden”. Conceptual similarities may also be supposed between the Kerman paintings and the animal figures in the AGroup caves at Sayala/Khor Nashriya, Korosko East and Serra West (see Chapters III.6, VIII.1). The relationship between the conceptions underlying the Kerman paintings and the universal regency of the Middle Kingdom ruler as it is articulated in the visual discourse on (royal) mortuary religion may also be characterized by what is missing from the Kerman or the Egyptian evidence. Most conspicuously, Classic Kerma has no writing and literacy and the divinities themselves—to whom we may also count the living and the deceased king—receiving offerings of various kinds, also including images of offerings such as clay statuettes of animals,143 do not seem to have had cult images remains of which could be identified in the archaeological material. Consequently, the way leading to the understanding of Kerman religion could hardly depart from our perception of Egyptian religion. The general picture of Classic Kerman religion and cults as presented by the remains of the religious quarter around the Western Deffufa, the “secondary agglomeration”, or the burials and the mortuary cult shrines in the southern section of the necropolis is not basically modified by the evidence for a ram cult found at the Western Deffufa and in mortuary contexts. It was Annals of Thutmose III, Year 25, trans. Breasted 1906–1907 II 193 §§ 451 f. Kemp 2000 232 ff.; cf. C.S. Churcher: Zoological Study of the Ivory Knife Handle from Abu Zeidan. in: W. Needler: Predynastic and Archaic Egypt in the Brooklyn Museum. New York 1984 152–168; K.M. Cialowicz: La composition, le sens et la symbolique des scènes zoomorphiques prédynastiques en relief. Les manches de couteaux. in: Friedman–Adams (eds) 1992 247–258. 143 From the Western Deffufa: Bonnet et al. 2004 70; from Chapel XIII in the “secondary agglomeration”: ibid. 147 ff., fig. 115. 141 142


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convincingly argued by Valbelle144 and Bonnet145 that the roots of the cult of the Nubian Amun are to be found in this ram cult: but the Egyptian inspiration in the earliest cult (?) images of a ram god found in Classic Kerma contexts is also obvious.146 What is missing from the contemporary Egyptian royal burials is human sacrifice. The only time when retainers and women from the court were sacrificed to serve the ruler in the afterlife was the First Dynasty, when all of the royal tombs at Abydos had subsidiary burials arranged in separate rows around the royal burial chamber (e.g., there were 338 subsidiary burials in the tomb of King Djer).147 The custom of human sacrifice ceased at the end of the First Dynasty.148 The sacrifices were substituted in the mortuary realm by small statues of servants.149 In Kerma, the trend of development of conceptions connected to the ruler’s ultimate authority was the opposite. In the Middle Kerma period live animals were added to the funerary equipment and increasingly large numbers (up to several thousands) of bucrania were placed around the princely tumuli. The sacrifice of women, children, rarely of men was also introduced in Middle Kerma burials. It is only in the advanced Classic Kerma period, however, that the number of the sacrificed retainers in the royal burials increases to the hundreds: an especially radical growth and at the same time an “improvement” of the methods of sacrifice may be observed from K X to K IV to K III.150 In the case of the First Dynasty human sacrifices, it is hypothesized that [o]nly the king, as a member of the divine sphere, was guaranteed an afterlife in the company of the gods; others might hope for some share in an afterlife by ‘hanging onto the king’s coat-tails’ and following him directly to the next world… Be that as it may, the impetus for such a practice in Early Dynastic Egypt is likely to have come from the

Valbelle 2003. Bonnet et al. 2004 156 ff. 146 Bonnet et al. 2004 figs 124, 125. 147 Hoffman 1980 275 ff.; Wengrow 2006 218 f., 243 ff. 148 Ceremonial executions of criminals or enemy captives occurred in the Early Dynastic period and continued in later times too, but human sacrifice in the mortuary context was completely abandoned. Cf. Wilkinson 1999 265 ff. and see A.R. Schulman: Ceremonial Execution and Public Rewards. Some Historical Scenes on New Kingdom Private Stelae. Freiburg-Göttingen 1988; Ritner 1993 162 f. 149 From the late Fourth Dynasty. Cf. J.H. Breasted Jr.: Egyptian Servant Statues. Washington 1948; A. Tooley: Egyptian Models and Scenes. Aylesbury 1995. 150 Kendall 1997a 60 ff. 144 145

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top downwards: the king required an entourage in the afterlife, and individual servants had little or no choice about following him thence.151

There are no reasons, however, to suppose that in Kerma only the king would have been guaranteed an afterlife. Moreover, in Upper Nubia retainer burials are attested since the Early Neolithic (see Chapter III.2) and human sacrifice would occur, however sporadically, in royal burials of the Meroitic and Post-Meroitic periods too.152 According to Wilkinson,153 the transplantation of the king’s earthly entourage into the next world by killing and burying it together with him was discontinued for practical and economic reasons, and it was substituted by placing the image of servants in the ruler’s tomb. Such a substitution would not have been possible without the creation of conceptions on which the making of images vested with vital power could be based.154 A similar development does not seem to have taken place in Classic Kerma. Before subscribing completely to Wilkinson’s interpretation on the one hand, and to a contrasting of the Egyptian and Kerman conceptions of sacrifice, on the other, it is worth considering David Wengrow’s perspective of First Dynasty human sacrifice: Royal tomb complexes were places where wealth and—for a short period—life were sacrificed on a spectacular scale. Such activities… run counter to basic expectations of what constitutes bureaucratic rationality, such as the maximisation of material interests and investments, including those vested in functioning human bodies and minds. The many objects on which administrative inscriptions appear in early dynastic Egypt formed part of this ‘economy of sacrifice’, a phrase coined … to describe systems of economic action in which political value is generated through the orchestrated riddance or destruction of material goods, not to be confused with ‘waste’… The archaeology of early Egypt stands testimony to an alternative set of possibilities, whereby bureaucracy emerged in the service of a flourishing and expanding ritual economy, and developed in the context of a society where the orchestrated taking of human life lay close to the centre of political culture.155 Wilkinson 1999 227. Cf. P. Lenoble: Les ‘sacrifices humains’ de Méroé, Qustul et Ballana I. Le massacre de nombreaux prisonniers. BzS 6 (1996) 59–87; Lenoble 1999; id.: Le “sacrifice humain” des funérailles impériales de Méroé: un massacre de prisonniers triomphal? Archéo-Nil 10 (2000) 101–110; but see also Török 1999 137 ff. 153 Ibid. 154 Cf. E. Otto: Das altägyptische Mundöffnungsritual. Wiesbaden 1960; Morenz 1973 155 f. 155 Wengrow 2006 269. The notion ‘economy of sacrifice’ appears, as noted by Wengrow, in S. Küchler: Sacrificial Economy and Its Objects: Rethinking Colonial Collecting in Oceania. Journal of Material Culture 2 (1997) 39–60. 151 152


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By the time of the Kerman occupation around 1650 BC, Lower Nubia’s Egyptian administrators, its C-Group elite, and the rulers of Kerma interacted already for a century or so, as it is demonstrated, e.g., by Kerman domestic pottery from early Thirteenth Dynasty contexts at Askut. Kerman presence in Lower Nubia is charaterized thus by Stuart Tyson Smith: A peaceful co-opting of Lower Nubia by the Kermans in a system of hegemonic equilibrium imperialism is cleraly preferable to Emery’s territorial model of violent conquest and equilibrium colonialism.156 Both the Egyptians and the Kermans had everything to gain from cooperation after the collapse of the Egyptian central administration at the end of the 13th Dynasty. The expatriates could read and write and had close contacts with Egypt, particularly the south… As for the Egyptians, they could see that the Kermans could impose their rule by force if necessary. The ruler of Kush also controlled the all-important sources of, or routes to, the luxury goods from the south. In their occupation of Lower Nubia, the Kermans adopted a similar approach to that of the Egyptians in the Levant during the New Kingdom. Substantial settlements were established only at Saras,157 the border between its old and new territories [i.e., in the Second Cataract region, between the forts of Askut and Shalfak], and perhaps… at the mouth of the Wadi Allaqi, … the main route to the rich gold fields of the Eastern Desert. Token garrisons/liaisons were placed at the other sites, leaving the main operation of the imperial infrastructure to the co-opted Egyptian expatriates[.]158

No manifestations of Kerman royal authority in the form of temples, palaces, “urban” settlements, or fortifications can be found in Lower Nubia. The absence of monumental edifices and burials of types encountered in the capital of the Classic Kerma kingdom follows from the actual form of Kerman rule as it is described by Smith: a form of rule which did not require the presence of a substantial Kerman elite stratum. Nevertheless, it is supposed that the C-Group elite did not remain completely untouched by Kerman religion.159 According to Edwards, the vaulted mud-brick mortuary cult chapels attached to the late C-Group elite burials at Aniba (see Chapter VI.2) may indicate an influence arriving from the south. It must be noted, however, that rectangular chapels of simpler architecture, but not necessarily destined for different mortuary rites, had already been associated with earlier 156 157 158 159

Cf. Emery 1965; Emery–Smith–Millard 1979 3, 92. For the finds from the Saras area, see Mills 1967–1968. S.T. Smith 1997 75 f. Edwards 2004 98.

locating the cultures of lower nubia


C-Group tombs at Aniba and elsewhere. As to the Kerma heartland, there may be no doubt that already the Middle Kerma period saw the emergence of religious institutions. The “ceremonial palace” excavated in the religious quarter around the Western Deffufa shows that, by the Classic Kerma period, the divine cult of the central temple was also closely associated with the living ruler. In turn, the Middle and Classic Kerma “secondary agglomeration” demonstrates that institutions and places of royal mortuary cult were established within the town and constituted an organic part of the context of civic life.160 We have only very vague ideas about a solar cult at the Western Deffufa and perhaps at K XI and K II (cult places on their roof terraces) or about other deities such as the hippopotamus-headed goddess deriving (?) from Taweret and known from the ivory inlays of Classic Kerma mortuary beds.161 As already noted above, Egyptian deities and cults do not seem to present direct clues for the understanding of Kerman religious beliefs and institutions. Hardly any conclusion may be drawn from the extremely small number of images that may be associated with Kerman religion: one has the impression that the divinities of Kerma, of whatever nature they were, were not worshipped in the form of human or animal figures. It seems highly relevant that the incised representation of a bucephalic goddess with #nh-signs in front of her on ˘ a Middle Kerma period (c. 2050–1750 BC) pottery comb162 has no contemporary or later parallel from any Kerman context. This sketchy, but iconographically correct representation of Hathor of Memphis163 was probably the work of an Egyptian, or perhaps of a Kerman who went to Egypt where he came into contact with the cult of the powerful fertility goddess. It remains also unknown what kind of priesthood served the cults of the divinities, the living and the deceased kings. Besides the Western Deffufa and the shrines of the secondary agglomeration, a great number of chapels of different architectural types—including circular, “African”-type as well as rectangular buildings—were discovered in the Middle and Classic period town. As opposed to the capital, no shrines of similar types were identified at other Kerman settlements between 160 161 162


Bonnet et al. 2000; Bonnet et al. 2004. C. Bonnet: Les croyances religieuses. in: Bonnet (ed.) 1990 89–91. Bonnet (ed.) 1990 155 Cat. 34; C. Bonnet in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 253 Cat.

163 J. Berlandini: La déesse bucephale: une iconographie particulière de l’Hathor memphite. BIFAO 83 (1983) 33–50.


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the Second Cataract and the southern confines of Classic Kerma culture, or in Lower Nubia under Kerman supremacy. It remains thus unknown whether there was a more or less uniform Classic Kerman religiosity, which was closely associated with Kerman rulership. It is also obscure whether there was a more or less organised priesthood at Kerma; or whether were there local cult shrines with their own local priests, which could have functioned as institutions supporting central religious/political hegemony and as vehicles of culture transfer. For the one century of Kerman rule in Lower Nubia this latter question may probably be answered in the negative: one may equally conclude from the apparent tolerance towards the local religious traditions of Lower Nubia of the C-Group, the Egyptian expatriates and the immigrant Pan-Grave people that, on the whole, Kerman religiosity was the religiosity of many regions or that there was no professional priestly class which would have appeared in Lower Nubia in the quality of representatives of Kerman authority and missionaries of Kerman culture.

chapter nine NEW KINGDOM EGYPT IN NUBIA (C. 1550–1069 BC)

Turning my face to the south I did a wonder for you, I made the chiefs of wretched Kush surround you, Carrying all their tribute on their backs. Turning my face to the north I did a wonder for you, I made the countries of the ends of Asia come to you, Carrying all their tribute on their backs. They offer you their persons and their children, Beseeching you to grant them breath of life.1

1. The Conquest In this chapter we shall discuss the history of the re-conquest of Lower Nubia and the conquest of the territory controlled by the kingdom of Kerma as one and the same process. As a result of this process the limit of Egypt was extended as far south as the region of the Fourth Cataract. Egypt’s Nubian province was divided into two administrative districts, viz., the Lower Nubian Wawat between the First Cataract and Semna, and the Upper Nubian Kush between Semna and the Fourth Cataract region. In the following also the evidence relating to Kush will be surveyed, for Egypt’s policy in Lower Nubia cannot be investigated independently from her policy in Upper Nubia (Pl. 41). In Chapter VII we have followed the course of the war fought by the Theban Seventeenth Dynasty against the Hyksos and for the reunification of Egypt up to the accession in c. 1550 BC of the boy-king Ahmose, the first ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The final phase of the war against the Hyksos started in Ahmose’s (?) eleventh year with the occupation of Heliopolis.2 The occupation of Heliopolis was followed by the 1 Amun’s blessing to Amenhotep III, stela from the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III in Western Thebes, Lichtheim 1976 46 f. 2 Our source, the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, refers to Year 11 of an unknown king who may equally be identified with Ahmose and the Hyksos ruler Khamudi, see Bourriau 2000 212.—For the reign of Ahmose, see Vandersleyen 1971.


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siege and occupation of Avaris. Ahmose’s victory resulted in a mass exodus of the Hyksos from Egypt.3 After the expulsion of the Hyksos a campaign was directed to Palestine in order to secure Egypt’s northern frontier and establish trade contacts with Lebanon and Phoenicia. The biography of the admiral Ahmose son of Ibana4 gives a chronological account of the expulsion of the Hyksos, the Palestinian campaign under Ahmose, and the subsequent Nubian campaigns of Ahmose and his sucessors Amenhotep I (1525–1504 BC) and Thutmose I (1504–1492 BC). The traditional topoi of the establishment of universal regency in the account of Ahmose son of Ibana conceal the differences between the forms of imperialism in the north and the south. While Egyptian presence in the Levant was economic,5 in Nubia the aim was more complex, i.e., economic, political, and military at the same time. According to Ahmose son of Ibana’s biography, [w]hen His Majesty [King Ahmose] had slain the nomads of Asia, he sailed south to Khenet-hen-nefer,6 to destroy the Nubian Bowmen. His Majesty made a great slaughter among them.

Military control over Lower Nubia was established without delay. The inscription of a door jamb from Buhen with the representation of Ahmose and his mother Ahhotep offering to Horus of Buhen (cf. Chapter VII) and Min also commemorates Turoy, commander (tsw) ¯ of Buhen and “king’s son”7 (for the title, see Chapter IX.2). A rock drawing in the form of the Son-of-Re name of Ahmose discovered recently at Gebel Kajbar at the northern end of the Third Cataract8 seems to indicate the southern limit of the occupation established by the end (?) of the second decade of Ahmose’s reign. Ahmose founded Bourriau 2000 210 ff. In his tomb at Elkab, Urk. IV 1–11.14; Lichtheim 1976 13 f.; cf. Spalinger 1982 129 ff. 5 For Egypt in the Levant, see Kemp 1978; D. Valbelle: Les Neuf Arcs. Paris 1990; Redford 1992; Shaw 2000. 6 According to A.H. Gardiner in: Davies–Gardiner 1926 11: place in Upper Nubia; Vercoutter 1959 132 and S.T. Smith 1995 181 note 54: general term for Lower Nubia; Vandersleyen 1971 64 ff.: Nubia south of the Second Cataract; Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 6: general term for Nubia. In the view of Spalinger (2006 347 ff.), “we can assume it to be quite far south of the Second Cataract… At this time… I would assume Khenethen-nefer to refer to the kingdom of Kush and its immediate environs; its later uses can be seen always to refer to an undefined extent of land upstream and out of Egyptian control, ready to be attacked if need be”. The meaning of the term obviously changed in the course of the time. 7 PM VII 130; Smith 1976 206; S.T. Smith 1995 120. 8 Edwards 2006 58 f., Pl. 4. 3 4

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a fortified town at Sai9 from the early phase of which fragments of a sandstone statue of the king,10 fine temple relief fragments, further a statue head (?),11 and inscriptions of his wife Ahmose-Nefertari are preserved.12 The consolidation of Egyptian rule in Lower Nubia was the prelude to the destruction of the kingdom of Kush, the formidable enemy beyond the Third Cataract. Ahmose son of Ibana conveyed King Djeserkara [Amenhotep I], the justified, when he sailed south to Kush, to enlarge the borders of Egypt. His Majesty smote that Nubian Bowman in the midst of his army. They were carried off in fetters, none missing, the fleeing destroyed as if they had never been.

This campaign may perhaps be dated to Amenhotep I’s eighth regnal year (c. 1517 BC).13 It is also mentioned in the biogaphy of Ahmose Pennekhbet, another participant of the expedition.14 The kingdom of Kerma survived Amenhotep I’s campaign, but it suffered serious losses. The royal cemetery at Kerma was closed with tumulus K III (associated with the Eastern Deffufa, see Chapter VIII.2.3) apparently not long before Amenhotep I’s campaign. A new royal and elite necropolis was opened close to the river, c. 1 km to the south of the Western Deffufa where recently a circular royal tomb with a truncated conical pit was discovered.15 The burial pit was lined with blocks of Tombos granite. The superstructure seems to have been built in the form of a tall cylindrical stone structure with a mortuary cult chapel attached at the east. The unique structure indicates the wealth as well as the cultural innovativeness of the Kerman kingdom shortly before its fall. The destruction of the tomb and the damages in the surrounding cemetery reflect the brutality of the invading Egyptian army. In the temple built by Ahmose at Sai a lifesize sandstone statue of Amenhotep I was erected to duplicate his predecessor’s statue.16 The 9

See recently A. Minault-Gout: Les installations du début du Nouvel Empire à Sai: un état de la question. in: Gratien (ed.) 2007 275–293. 10 Khartoum 3828+63/4/4; Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 fig. 79. 11 Geus 2004a fig. 88. 12 Vercoutter 1972 25 ff. For the New Kingdom finds from Sai, see also M. Azim: Quatre campagnes de fouilles sur la Forteresse de Sai, 1970–1973, 1ère partie: l’installation pharaonique. CRIPEL 3 (1975) 91–125; Geus 2004a, with further literature. 13 Bryan 2000 224.—For Amenhotep I’s Qasr Ibrim stela from Year 8, BM EA 1835, Klug 2002 52 ff. 14 In his tomb at Elkab, Breasted 1906–1907 II 18 § 41. 15 Bonnet et al. 2000 144 ff. 16 Khartoum 63/4/5, W.V. Davies in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 102 f. Cat. 76.


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campaigns of Ahmose and Amenhotep I greatly contributed to the consolidation of Egypt’s economy. Travelling through Lower Nubia, Amenhotep I received gold and other produces from the Lower Nubians and the inhabitants of the Eastern Desert.17 After Amenhotep I’s death (1504 BC) Amenhotep son of Ibana conveyed King Aakheperkara [Thutmose I], the justified, when he sailed south to Khenet-hen-nefer, to crush rebellion throughout the lands, to repel the intruders from the desert region… Then His Majesty was informed that the Nubian [- - - - - -] At this His Majesty became enraged like a leopard. His Majesty shot, and his first arrow pierced the chest of that foe. Then those [enemies turned to flee], helpless before his Uraeus. A slaughter was made among them; their dependents were carried off as living captives.18 His Majesty journeyed north, all foreign lands in his grasp, and that wretched Nubian Bowman head downward at the bow of His Majesty’s ship “Falcon”. They landed at Ipet-sut [Karnak].

Thutmose I’s campaign took place in his second19 and third regnal years (c. 1500–1501 BC). A rock inscription at Tombos from Year 3 records the conquest of Nubia to the Third Cataract.20 The inscription also defines Tombos as an internal boundary: Tombos on the east bank controlled the only navigable channel in the Third Cataract region. The army of Thutmose I also crossed the Third Cataract and attacked the town of Kerma where the Western Deffufa was burned and pillaged. The Egyptian army advanced as far south as the region above the Fourth Cataract where Thutmose I left behind a boundary stela in the form of an inscription engraved in the rock of the Hagr el-Merwa at Kurgus21 (Pl. 7, for its text, see Chapter II.4). The inscription fixed the southern limit of his empire. Its northern limit would be fixed in Year 5 or 6 with the erection of a victory stela on the banks of the Euphrates.22 Both boundary inscriptions indicate the initiative of permanent conquest,23 but a permanent conquest would be established only in the

Bryan 2000 224. Or “bound captives”. 19 Cf. the Tangur inscription, Hintze–Reineke et al. 1989 172. 20 Urk. IV 82,3–86; cf. L. Bradbury: The Tombos Inscription: A New Interpretation. Serapis 8 (1984–1985) 1–20; Klug 2002 71 ff. 21 Klug 2002 79 ff. 22 Referred to in the Annals of Thutmose III, Urk. IV 697.3–5, 698.15–699.1. 23 Redford 1992 153 ff. 17 18

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south, and only under a later reign.24 Though Ahmose son of Ibana’s biography as well as the Hagr el-Merwa inscription may give the impression of Kerma’s final defeat, Thutmose I’s army reached Kurgus along the desert route connecting the region of the Third Cataract with the Fourth Cataract region because the Kerma basin and the great bend of the river were still under Kerman control. In the town of Kerma, the central temple (i.e., the Western Deffufa) burned by the Egyptian army was restored.25 In turn, Egyptian construction work in Lower Nubia under Thutmose I is attested by stelae and inscribed architectural elements at Kuban,26 Semna West,27 Semna East,28 and Sai.29 On his return to the north, Thutmose I left behind three inscriptions at Sehel,30 one of them mentioning the Nile canal built there by his Middle Kingdom predecessor Senusret III (cf. Chapter VI): Year 3, first month of sˇmw (= Summer), twenty-second day. His Majesty went through this canal as he was coming back, victorious and powerful, after having slain Kush-the-vanquished. The Viceroy Turoy.31

Nubian fortresses built (or restored) by Thutmose I are also hinted at in a rock inscription of Thutmose II on the road from Aswan to Philae. It records another event of the long process of conquest, viz., an attack directed after Thutmose I’s death (1492 BC) against the Egyptian forces stationed in Lower Nubia: One came to report to His Majesty that wretched Kush was rising in rebellion, those who were the servants of the Lord of Two-Lands planning a plot and the rebels going to plunder the subjects of Egypt and to steal the cattle from behind the fortresses built by your father… to ward off the rebellious foreign countries of Nubia.32

The revolt was led by a Nubian prince (wr): either the ruler of Kerma, or, less probably, a Lower Nubian chief,

For the little impact of Thutmose I’s invasion to western Asia, see Redford 1992 154 ff. 25 Bonnet et al. 2004 79 ff. 26 PM VII 84. 27 PM VII 145. 28 PM VII 152. 29 PM VII 165. 30 Urk. IV 88.6–90.8. 31 Urk. IV 89 f., trans. Gasse–Rondot 2003 41. 32 Urk. IV 138 f., trans. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 209 f. 24


chapter nine together with two Nubian Iwnty among the children of the prince (wr) of wretched Kush who had fled from the Lord of Two-Lands [Thutmose I] on the day of the massacre by the Good God33

and it was put down by the army of Thutmose II (1492–1479 BC).34 One of the sons of the leader of the revolt was brought alive as a prisoner together with their (sic!) people [relatives or subjects?] to the place of His Majesty and placed under the feet of the Good God.35

The prisoner may well have been the first of the Nubian princes taken to Egypt to be (re)educated in pharao’s court before he would be sent back to Kush to hold office in the colonial government. Thutmose II’s inscription quoted in the foregoing also speaks about Upper Nubia as being subdivided into districts, which were governed by Egypt indirectly through native princes who were left in charge in their territories (cf. Chapter XI). In Lower Nubia the office of the viceroy was already established in the first decade of Amenhotep I’s reign. Lower Nubia was governed along the same lines as the nomes within Egypt.36 Remains of sanctuaries built under Thutmose II are known from Semna West37 and Semna East (temple of Khnum).38 Thutmose II’s successor Hatshepsut (1473–1458 BC) sent at least four expeditions to Nubia during her co-regency with Thutmose III ([1479]–1457–1425 BC).39 The first may be dated to Hatshepsut’s early reign and is mentioned

Urk. IV 139; Säve-Söderbergh 1941 150 ff., trans. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 210. Beckerath 1997 121 ff.—K.A. Kitchen: Review of Beckerath 1997, in: JEA 85 (1999) 245–248 247. L. Gabolde: La chronologie du règne de Thoutmosis II, ses conséquences sur la datation des momies royales et leurs répercutions sur l’histoire du développement de la Vallée des Rois. SAK 14 (1987) 61–87; id.: La “Cour des fêtes” de Thoutmosis II à Karnak. Karnak 9 (1993) 1–82 and Bryan 2000 235 ff. argue for a brief (no more than three years) reign of Thutmose II, whose highest preserved regnal year date is indeed Year 1. Curiously, in the chronology of Shaw (ed.) 2000, where Bryan 2000 is published, Thutmose II has the regnal years 1492–1479 BC according to Beckerath (see Shaw [ed.] 2000 481). For the arguments for a longer reign, at least ten years, see Beckerath 1997 loc. cit. 35 Urk. IV 140, trans. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 210. 36 Cf. Spalinger 2006 351 ff. 37 Block with relief representing the king before Dedwen, PM VII 149. 38 PM VII 152 ff. Cf. the graffito of Seni (Snj), viceroy of Kush under Ahmose, Thutmose I and II in the first court of the temple, PM VII 152; Habachi 1979 629. 39 D.B. Redford: History and Chronology of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Toronto 1967 57 ff. 33 34

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in rock inscriptions on the island of Sehel.40 An expedition in Year 12 is recorded in a rock inscription at Tangur West (south of the Second Cataract). A third expedition in Year 20 of Thutmose III is recorded on a stela from Tombos. Before the death of the queen, a fourth expedition was sent to Nubia during which Thutmose III killed a rhinoceros41 as a demonstration of his prowess as a hunter.42 The first three expeditions seem to have been sent to Nubia in order to fight rebels in a region that had already been controlled by Ahmose and Thutmose I. Two of the expeditions seem to have coincided with the appearance of new viceroys,43 indicating the viceroy’s responsibility for the maintenance of peace in Nubia. We learn from the king’s Armant stela44 that Thutmose III fixed the northern boundary of his empire in the Syrian state of Naharin by erecting a triumphal stela on the banks of the Euphrates. According to Thutmose III’s Karnak Annals,45 the stela stood next to the aforementioned victory stela of Thutmose I.46 The fourth Nubian expedition of Thutmose III reached the land of M"ıw, which may be identified with the region of Kurgus in the Abu Hamed Reach.47 Some time after Year 33 (in Year 35?) Thutmose III as sole regent duplicated at Kurgus the boundary inscription of Thutmose I (Chapter II.4 and Pl. 7). Openly contradicting the neighbouring monument of Thutmose I, another inscription on the rock of Hagr elMerwa accompanying the representation of Thutmose III in the form of a lion (following a similar representation of Thutmose I) announces that [n]ot any king has reached the southernmost limit from Naharin to Kush except for my person […] since the primeval time, since that my person Cf. Gasse–Rondot 2003 41 f., fig. 3. For the evidence of the four expeditions, see W.F. Reineke: Ein Nubienfeldzug unter Königin Hatschepsut. in: Endesfelder–Priese et al. (eds) 1977 369–376; T. SäveSöderbergh in Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 3; Davies 2001 52. 42 For the hunting of kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty after victorious battles in Asia, see Redford 1995 167. 43 The uncertain In[…], not listed below, and Nehy. See Dziobek 1993 31 f. 44 Urk. IV. 1245.18–20, 1246.1–5. 45 Urk. IV 647–672 (Stück I), 684–734 (Stücke V–VI); cf. A. Spalinger: A Critical Analysis of the “Annals” of Thutmose III (Stücke V–VI). JARCE 14 (1977) 41–54; Spalinger 1982 134 ff. 46 Urk. IV 697.3–5, 698.15–699.1; 1232.10 f., and cf. the mentions made in mortuary inscriptions of soldiers of Thutmose III, e.g., Urk. IV1448 13. See also Galán 1995 148 ff.; Bryan 2000 245 ff. 47 Störk 1977 257 ff.—Spalinger 2006 354 suggests that Miu was outside of Egyptian control. 40 41


chapter nine travelled (?) to the boundary of the north (and) the south, to M"ıw in […]48

Reliefs and texts in Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bahari49 record an expedition to Punt (cf. Chapter IV.1), which introduced a most significant turn in the trade relations between Egypt and the interior of Africa. Though the texts speak about “the tribute ("ınw) of the chief of Punt”, what actually took place was an exchange of goods50 even though the transaction occurred in a space where [e]ach partner evaluates differently the worth of his own products and of the marchandises he receives, and each partner is convinced to have gotten an extraordinary profit.51

For the Egyptian audience the exchange of goods was of course formulated in ideological terms. In exchange for their produces the Puntites were said to ask merely for being granted life by the king of Egypt: is there any way to His Majesty, that we may live by the breath he gives?52

After Hatshepsut’s expedition to Punt the visual and textual reports listing goods arriving from the areas south of Egypt became important parts of royal ideology.53 Goods from Nubia and the African regions south of Nubia were presented together as tribute to Pharaoh, yet terminologically they were distinguished from each other: Presentation of the marvels (b"ı At) of Punt, the treasures of the God’s land, together with the supplies ("ınw) of the countries of the South, with the impost (b Ak) of wretched Kush.54

In his analysis of the New Kingdom use of the term ı"nw, Mario Liverani emphasizes that all the contexts underscore the fact that the outer countries are led to bring their supplies to Egypt because of their lower status, their status of real or possible submission, because of military defeat, or fear, or the renown of Pharaoh… The political connotation is strong… But it is in fact just a connotation: it is not a reason to translate ı"nw as “tribute”, nor Davies 2001 52. Naville 1898 Pls LXIX–LXXVI; Urk. IV 322–354. 50 Liverani 1990 240 ff. 51 Liverani 1990 241. 52 Urk. IV 324.13 f., trans. Liverani 1990 245. 53 For the evidence cf. L. Manniche: City of the Dead: Thebes in Egypt. Chicago 1987 30 ff.; S.T. Smith 1997 83 ff.; Phillips 1997 429 ff. 54 Urk. IV 334.5–8, trans. Liverani 1990 245. 48 49

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to consider the ı"nw-supplying countries as juridically tributaries of Egypt … external supplies that were in fact the result of trade or gift-exchange are recorded and presented as tribute for the sake of control over the inner Egyptian populace.55

This also holds true for the Old Kingdom evidence discussed in Chapter IV.3. Construction works carried out in Nubia under Hatshepsut and Thutmose III are attested at many places between the First Cataract and Napata. The transformation of Middle Kingdom fortresses into fortified towns, which were increasingly losing their military significance started in their period. Sanctuaries were built at several places between Kuban and Gebel Dosha south of Sai (see Chapter IX.2.3). By the late reign of Thutmose III full Egyptian domination was established as far south as the Fourth Cataract. As southernmost centre of Egyptian authority Thutmose III founded a fortress at the Gebel Barkal. In Year 47 (c. 1432 BC) he erected there a triumphal stela56 the text of which placed Nubia in the framework of universal regency. The ideological unity of the empire would also be visualized in a threateningly dramatic manner by Thutmose III’s successor Amenhotep II (1427–1400 BC) when he sent to Napata the body of one of the seven defeated chiefs captured in Year 7 in the region of Takhsy in Syria to be hanged on the city wall to demonstrate the victories of His Majesty for eternity to all inhabitants of the low lands and high lands in the Nubian country.57

The bodies of the other six chiefs were hung upon the wall of Thebes. The text of Thutmose III’s Napatan stela would be read and commented for the people by the priests of Amun of Napata during the centuries of the New Kingdom domination and beyond: its intellectual and political impact on the emerging Twenty-Fifth Dynasty is also obvious.58 The stela would remain an important part of the iconographical and textual program of the forecourt of the great Amun temple during the Napatan and early Meroitic periods.59

Liverani 1990 261 f. MFA 23.733, Urk. IV 1227–1243,8; Klug 2002 193 ff.; cf. Redford 2003 103 ff. 57 Amada Stela, Urk. IV 1287 ff., trans. T. Säve-Söderbergh in: Säve-Söderbergh– Troy 1991 3. 58 FHN I No. (5). 59 Török 2002a 297 ff. 55 56


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An inscription of Minmose, “hereditary prince, count, grandee of the king of Upper Egypt… Lord of Thebes” speaks about an important aspect of permanent Egyptian presence in Nubia: I set the tax quota for the chiefs of the land of Nubia in electron in oreform, in gold, ivory and ebony, and numerous ships of dome-palm wood, as a tax-quota of each year, like dependents of his palace.60

Until the late New Kingdom the areas of Napata and Karoy (Kry)61— the latter the Nilotic region between the Fourth and Fifth Cataracts— remain the rather vaguely defined southern limit of Egyptian authority. Karoy was one of the important sources of Kushite gold.62 It was very scarcely inhabited. The regions to the south and east were inhabited by pastoralists. From Year 34 of Thutmose III onwards, when four sons of the chief of Irem were taken as prisoners to Egypt,63 we repeatedly hear about raids to the land of Irem. O’Connor and others identify the Irem of the New Kingdom sources with a region south of the Fifth Cataract.64 Irem repeatedly occurs, however, in connection with the control of gold-mining areas and also in association with Akita (J-k Atj) located in the region of the Wadi Allaqi. Störk identifies Irem with an area to the east of Miu (the region of Hagr el-Merwa) and assumes that it extended at the north to Abu Hamed and at the south to the Fifth Cataract.65 By the time when Thutmose III’s great stela was erected at Napata the kingdom of Kerma was extinct. Tribute from Kush, the occupied kingdom of Kerma between the Third and Fourth Cataracts, arrived in Egypt from Year 31 of Thutmose III.66 Together with the last royal burial situated close to the riverbank,67 the army of Thutmose III destroyed the town of Kerma. The native inhabitants abandoned the

Urk. IV 1441–1442, Bryan 1991 46 ff.; Redford 2003 173 f., trans. D.B. Redford. For the possible derivation of the placename el Kurru from Karoy, see Chapter XIII.1. 62 Zibelius-Chen 1988 76 ff. 63 Urk. IV 708. 64 O’Connor 1987 122 ff.; Morkot 2000 73. For other identifications, see ZibeliusChen 1988 77 f. 65 Störk 1977 257 ff. See, however, p. 18. note 61 above. 66 Karnak, Annals of Thutmose III, Breasted 1906–1907 II 208 f. § 502; Urk. IV 695 ff.; for the values recorded in the Annals, see S.T. Smith 1997 76 f. 67 For radiocarbon dates associated with the destruction of the burial supporting the traditional dating of the final occupation of the town of Kerma to c. 1450 BC, see Bonnet et al. 2000 147, 160 note 280. 60 61

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ruined town. At Dokki Gel 1 km to the north of the abandoned town the Egyptian conquerors started to build a fortified settlement.68 Military actions in the south continued to be recorded in the reigns of Thutmose III’s successors. The aim of these actions was no longer the expansion of the empire or the re-conquest of lost territories. They were directed against local rebellions, which usually followed the death of a king. While Thutmose IV’s journey in the Egyptian Eastern Desert recorded in his Konosso Stela69 was not a Nubian war but a desert police action necessitated by Nubian interference with gold transports,70 the two Nubian campaigns71 of Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC)—the first in Year 5, the second some time after Year 30—were of more substance.72 The campaign in Year 573 was directed to Karoy.74 The king’s Aswan stela75 records that 30.000 people were seized as prisoners; but then he [Amenhotep III] left them go (free), according to his desire that the wretched seed of Kush be not destroyed.76

Which was a pragmatic decision indeed. In spite of the cruel tenor of most Egyptian records of Nubian campaigns, the Egyptian presence in Nubia did not lead to the periodical decimation or the final extermination of the Nubian population. In New Kingdom Egypt there was no overpopulation, and manpower was also needed in occupied Nubia.77 Prior to the withdrawal of the viceregal administration in the eleventh century BC, armed interventions were recorded in the region of Akita east of Kuban, i.e., in a gold-mining area in Year 10–12 (?) of Akhenaten (c. 1342–1340 BC).78 A rebellion in Irem was put down under Bonnet–Valbelle 2004; for blocks from a temple of Thutmose III, see Valbelle 2006 432. 69 Urk. IV 1545–1548; trans. Bryan 1991 333–336; Bryan 1998 54 ff. 70 Säve-Söderbergh 1941 157; Bryan 1991 335; Bryan 1998 56 f.; Bryan 2000 258. 71 Earlier it was believed that there was only one minor campaign, cf. O’Connor 1998b. 72 O’Connor 1998b 264 ff.; for the second campaign cf. Z. Topozada: Les deux campagnes d’Amenhotep III en Nubie. BIFAO 88 (1988) 153–165. 73 Recorded on a stela on the road from Aswan to Philae, Urk. IV 1666.3–16; on the Konosso Stela, Urk. IV 1662.7–11; and on the Semna stela of the viceroy Merimes: Urk. IV 1659.5–1661.5. For a new translation of the latter, see Goedicke 1992 38 f. 74 Zibelius 1972 162 f. 75 Urk. IV 1665,5–1666, Klug 2002 422 ff. 76 Urk. IV 1666.10–12, trans. Liverani 1990 138. 77 Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 12. 78 Stela from Buhen, Smith 1976 124 ff. 68


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Sety I (1294–1279 BC).79 In c. 1235 BC, Year 44 of Rameses II (1279– 1213 BC), conflict with Irem and Akita recurred. The campaign was led by the viceroy Setau, who recorded that the strong arm of Pharaoh, my Lord, captured the land of vile Irem. [He captured] the prince (wr) of Akita together with his wife, his child and all his relatives. I marshalled the troops, leading the way in front of his army. [This land] of [vile] Kush could not hide. Who would walk walked (?), captured all together and brought to one place. I let it be known among them, when they were dragged to Egypt.80

The last record of a Lower Nubian rebellion dates from Year 5 of Merenptah (c. 1208 BC). It seems to have started when news arrived in Nubia of a major Libyan attack against Egypt:81 His Majesty came to overthrow the despicable ruler of the Libu… The wild lion sent the hot blast of his mouth against the land of Wawat. They were destroyed at once. There is no heir to their land, (all) having been brought to Egypt altogether. Their chiefs have been set fire to, in the presence of their relatives (?). As for the rest, the hands of some were cut off because of their crimes; others, their ears and eyes were removed, taken back to Kush and made into heaps in their settlements. Never again will Kush repeat rebellion.82

When explaining the Egyptian successes in Nubia it would of course be imprudent to accept the propagandistic Egyptian discourse on the inferiority of the conquered or to assess the process of conquest as swift and always glorious. After all, the process of occupation and the establishment of the institutions of domination took a whole century. Resistance against the invaders was probably different in Lower Nubia and south of the Third Cataract. The Egyptian reconquest of Lower Nubia may have been facilitated by several factors such as the insufficiency of the Kerman garrisons,83 the absence of a centralized Kerman administration and the presence of an administration in which the key positions were occupied by Egyptian expatriates who probably changed their allegiance in the moment of the arrival of the invaders.84 The absence of Kerman religious institutions which could have promoted 79 Stelae from Amara and Sai, KRI I 102 ff. For the Amara West stela (Brooklyn 39.424), see also Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 fig. 80. 80 Helck 1975, trans. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 5 f. 81 Cf. Van Dijk 2000 302 f. 82 Kitchen 1977 221 ff., trans. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 6. 83 Cf. S.T. Smith 1995 81 ff. 84 As suggested by Trigger 1976 104; S.T. Smith 1995 137 ff.

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the “acculturation” and loyalty of the local C-Group and Pan-Grave population and the integration of Kerman, C-Group and Pan-Grave elites may also be regarded as a weakness of the Kerman regime (cf. Chapter VIII.2.3). An important factor in the invader’s success in Lower Nubia was the self-preservation of the native polities (see Chapter XI): the invading Egyptians could co-opt the native elite, who lacked sufficient cohesion and/or will for resistance. The expatriates would have provided the needed infrastructure to make acculturation colonialism more appealing than simple occupation.85

The defeat of the kingdom of Kerma may, at least partly, be explained by its less centralized political and societal structure and by the limitations of an administation without literacy: but here the evidence is too scarce to form a clear idea of the actual process of the conquest. 2. Managing Chaos: The Viceregal Administration 2.1. Order and Chaos Some aspects of the Egyptian discourse on the relationship with foreign countries, also including the traditional portrayal of conquered foreign peoples, among them the inhabitants of “wretched Kush”, were already touched upon in Chapters II.3–4 and VI.1–2. Topoi such as “wretched Kush” depicted a world divided into two radically different halves, with the ordered world of Egypt on the one side and the chaos of the foreign countries on the other.86 Foreign countries represented ı"sft, Iniquity, in constant revolt against m A #t (Ma#at), Equity. They did not know the god(s) (hmw ntr) and were enemies of the order of the world. Egypt’s ¯ Nubian˘ expansion was determined as well as justified by the concept of universal regency, which made it the duty of the ruler to extend Equity and destroy Chaos. Universal regency was, however, an “open” concept: its actual direction was decided on the basis of political and economic considerations.87 The discourse on the royal office of annihilating Chaos was interwoven in the early Eighteenth Dynasty with images of 85 86 87

S.T. Smith 1997 71. Loprieno 1988 22 ff. Zibelius-Chen 1988 204 ff.


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independent royal decision and action, personal bravery and strength.88 The re-formulated topoi of Chaos, foreigner, conquest, as well as the eulogies of the virtually independent warrior-king reflect one and the same thing, namely, the tragic experience of the Second Intermediate Period and may be understood in the knowledge of the actual origins and achievments of the Seventeenth Dynasty (see Chapter VII). Egyptian imperial presence in Asia and beyond the First Cataract had two levels. The aggressive New Kingdom topoi directed against the foreign peoples and polities of the northern—Asiatic—and southern— Nubian—extensions of the empire were part of a political theology which defined and justified the expansion by ruthless force as well as the maintenance of colonial dominion by soldiers and officials working without any sentimentality (cf. the Areika inscription of Khuisobek quoted in Chapter VI.2). The imperial perspective of civil government is splendidly suggested in the letter directed by Amenhotep II to his new viceroy, Usersatet: You have taken up residence [in Nubia], a brave who made captures in all foreign countries and a chariot warrior who fought on behalf of His Majesty, Amenhotep [II]. O you possessor of a woman from Babylon, a maidservant from Byblos, a young maiden from Alalakh, and an old woman from Araphka, the people of Takshy [in Syria] are all of no account. Of what use are they anyway? Don’t be at all lenient with Nubians! Beware their people and their sorcerers!89

In the daily practice we find less aggressive attitudes and policies. As noted by Ian Shaw, there is the continuation, throughout the Middle and New [K]ingdoms of the essentially xenophobic ideology… whereby stereotypical barbaric Nubians were portrayed in official art and literature as worthless representatives of chaos. This has to be contrasted, however, with two important factors: first, that many foreigners (including Nubians and Asiatics) were living happily alongside native Egyptians in many of the towns in Egypt proper, and, second, that there is good evidence of a deliberate New Kingdom policy of acculturation both in Nubia and the Levant[.]90

In the following we shall turn to the evidence that may be relevant when we want to form an idea of the ways of acculturation in New Kingdom (Lower) Nubia. Our principal aim will be to discern the 88 89 90

Cf. Spalinger 1982 120 ff., 193 ff.; Redford 1995 166 ff. Wente 1990 27 f., also quoted by S.T. Smith 2003 201 f. Shaw 2000 326.

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changing patterns of interaction between Egyptians and natives during the Nubian domination of the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties. 2.2. The Viceroy and His Realm It was noted in Chapter VI.1 that Lower Nubia was governed as part of Middle Kingdom Egypt after the establishment of the Second Cataract fortress system. The New Kingdom administration of Nubia was organized similarly in unity with the government of Egypt. The ancient office of the ı"my-r h Aswt rswt, “overseer of the southern (foreign) lands” (cf. Chapter IV.3),˘ was revived in the reign of Kamose in the form of what the literature traditionally calls “viceroy of Nubia”, i.e., the office of the “king’s son”, later “king’s son of Kush”.91 Before commenting upon the office, I present here a list of the so far identified viceroys.92 193 Ahmose Turoy (Twrj). Career: “temple scribe” (of ?), then “father of the god, overseer of cattle, mayor (of ?), first prophet (of ?)”, then “commander of Buhen and king’s son”, reign of Ahmose; then “overseer of the Southern Lands”, reigns of Amenhotep I (1525–1504 BC) and Thutmose I (1504–1492 BC).94—Epigraphic evidence: Silsila West, Sehel, Buhen, Uronarti, Semna.—Burial: Western Thebes (?).95 2 Seni (Snj). Career: “overseer of ?”,96 reign of Ahmose, then “overseer of the granary of Amun to direct construction work at Karnak”, “major of Thebes”, reign of Amenhotep I; then “overseer of the Southern Lands”, “king’s son”, reigns of Thutmose I (1504–

Cf. Habachi 1979 630 ff.; Kemp 1983 174. Sequence (with additions): Habachi 1979; Gasse–Rondot 2003 Table 1. 93 The list of the attested viceroys is incomplete and their chronology is not always certain. I do not include the first three king’s sons of Habachi 1979, viz., Teti, Djehuty, and Satayit, because their title covers a different function. For Teti (Ttj), King’s Son, reign of Kamose (1555–1550 BC), epigraphic evidence: Arminna West (for references to the publications of the individual texts, see henceforth Reisner 1920a; Habachi 1979; Mahfouz 2005). For Djehuty (Dh. wtj), King’s Son, reign of Ahmose (1550–1525 BC), see Habachi 1979 630. For Satayit¯ (Z A-t A-jjt), King’s Son, Overseer of the Southern Lands, temp. Ahmose, see ibid.—I do not include, either, the enigmatic P A-R #-m-h. b attested on a door lintel from Dorginarti, see Knudstad 1966 182 f., Pl. XXIII. 94 Reisner 1920a 29; Habachi 1979 631; Gasse–Rondot 2003 42. 95 Funerary cone from Western Thebes: Davies–Macadam 1957 575; Bács 2002 61. 96 Urk. IV 40.3 f. 91 92


3 4


6 7


chapter nine 1492 BC), II (1492–1479), until after Year 2 of Hatshepsut/Thutmose III.97—Epigraphic evidence: Arminna East, Semna, Kumma.—Burial ? " Amenemnekhu (Imn-n-m hw), “king’s son”, “overseer of the South˘ ern Lands”, reign of Hatshepsut (1473–1458 BC).98—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel, Shalfak, Tangur.—Burial ? Nehy (Nh. j). Career: “herald” (wh. mw), “overseer of the guard, who accompanied his lord to Syria”; then king’s son, reign of Thutmose III (1479–1425 BC).99—Epigraphic evidence: Qasr Ibrim, Buhen, Semna, Kumma, Sai, Tombos.—Burial: Western Thebes.100 Penre (P[ A]nr #), “first king’s son”, “overseer of the Southern Lands”, under the reign of Hatshepsut (1473–1458 BC) and Thutmose III (1479–1425 BC), or Amenhotep II (1427–1400 BC, preceding or following Usersatet), or Thutmose IV (1400–1390 BC).— Epigraphic evidence: none from Nubia.—Burial: Western Thebes.101 Se (S), “king’s son”, first half of the Eighteenth Dynasty.102—Epigraphic evidence: Arminna West.—Burial: ? Usersatet (Wsr-stt), “king’s son”, “overseer of the Southern Lands”, reign of Amenhotep II (1427–1400 BC).103—Epigraphic evidence: Gebel Tingar (on the west bank c. 5 km south of the First Cataract), Sehel, Qasr Ibrim, Wadi Halfa, Buhen, Semna.— Burial: Western Thebes, or Aswan, or Meidum (?).104 " h. tp), “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of the cattle Amenhotep (Imnof Amun”, “overseer of the works in Upper and Lower Egypt”, “chief of the stables of His Majesty”, “royal scribe”, reign of

Seni’s biographical inscription at Semna: Urk. IV 39 ff.; Reisner 1920a 29; Habachi 1979 631. For the end of the office of Seni, see P. Pamminger: Nochmals zum Problem der Vizekönige von Kusch unter Hatschepsut. GM 131 (1992) 97–100 99; Dziobek 1993. 98 Sehel inscription: Gasse–Rondot 2003 43, fig. 4; Shalfak inscriptions: Hintze– Reineke et al. 1989 Nos 365, 366; Tangur inscriptions: ibid. Nos 558, 564. 99 Reisner 1920a 30 f.; Habachi 1979 631 f. 100 Cf. Bács 2002 59 note 41. 101 For his funerary cone from Western Thebes, see Bács 2002. For a fragment of a statue of the same (?) Penre from Dokki Gel, see D. Valbelle: Penrê et les directeurs des pays étrangers méridionaux dans la première moitié de la XVIIIe dynastie. RdE 58 (2007) 157–186. 102 Arminna West graffito: Simpson 1963 33 f., Pl. XVII/a.; cf. B. Schmitz: Untersuchungen zum Titel s A-njswt “Königssohn”. Diss. Bonn 1976 270. 103 Reisner 1920a 32; Habachi 1979 632; Wente 1990 27 f.; Gasse–Rondot 2003 43 f. 104 Bács 2002 61. 97

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Thutmose IV (1400–1390 BC).105—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel.— Burial: ? Merimes (Mrj-msw), “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of the Southern Lands”, “overseer of the Deserts of Gold of Amun”,106 reign of Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC).107—Epigraphic evidence: Wadi Abbad (Redesiyeh), Aswan, Biggeh, Gebel Silsila, Wadi Allaqi, Ellesiya, Semna, Tombos.—Burial: Western Thebes.108 Djehutymes (Dh. wtj-msw), “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of ma¯ sons”,109 reign of Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten (1352–1336 BC): attested between Years 10–12.110—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel, Buhen (?), Gebel Barkal.111—Burial: ? Amenhotep Huy (Jmn-h. tp Hwj). Career: “letter-writer of the . King’s Son Merimes”, reign of Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC); “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of the Southern Lands”, “overseer of the Deserts of Gold of Amun”,112 reign of Tutankhamun (1336– 1327 BC). His wife T A-m-w Ad-sj was “member of the harim of the ¯ deified Tutankhamun at Faras”; one of his sons “driver of the king’s chariot” and “messenger of the king”, the other “overseer of the chariot-troops”.113—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel, Biggeh, Ellesiya, Faras.—Burial: Western Thebes.114 Paser (P A-sr) I, “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of the Southern Lands”, “overseer of the Deserts of Gold of Amun”,115 reigns of Ay (1327–1323 BC) and Horemheb (1323–1295 BC).116—Epigraphic evidence: Gebel el-Shams, road from Aswan to Philae, Sehel.— Burial: ? Amenemipet (Jmn-m-jpt), son of the viceroy Paser I. Career: “first driver of the king’s chariot”; then “king’s son of Kush”, “over-

Reisner 1920a 32 f.; Habachi 1979 632; Gasse–Rondot 2003 44. Mahfouz 2005 58 f. 107 Reisner 1920a 33 f.; Habachi 1979 632 f. 108 TT 383, Kampp 1996 602. 109 According to Habachi 1979 633 this latter title indicates Djehutymes’ control over the construction of the temple of Sesebi. 110 Reisner 1920a 34 f.; Habachi 1979 633; Gasse–Rondot 2003 42. 111 For his statue from Temple B 500 at Gebel Barkal, see PM VII 220. 112 Mahfouz 2005 59 f. 113 Reisner 1920a 35 f.; Habachi 1979 633. 114 Davies–Gardiner 1926. 115 Mahfouz 2005 60 f. 116 Reisner 1920a 36 ff.; Habachi 1979 633. 105 106




16 17


117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131

chapter nine seer of the Deserts of Gold of Amun”,117 reign of Sety I (1294– 1279 BC).118—Epigraphic evidence: road from Aswan to Philae, Sehel, Beit el-Wali, Qasr Ibrim, Buhen, Gebel Dosha.—Burial: ? Iuny (Jwnj) I. Career: “superintendent of the stable of His Majesty [Sety I]”; then “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of the Southern Lands”,119 “chief of building operations in the temple of Amun” in Karnak (?), reigns of Sety I (1294–1279 BC)120 and Rameses II (1279–1213 BC), Years 1–3.121—Epigraphic evidence: Wadi Abbad (Redesiyeh), Abu Simbel.—Burial: ? Heqanakht (Hq . A-nht), “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of the Des˘ 122 erts of Gold of Amun”, c. Years 3–20 of Rameses II, c. 1276–1259 123 BC. —Epigraphic evidence: road from Aswan to Philae, Sehel, Kuban, Amada, Arminna East, Abu Simbel, Kumma.—Burial: ? Paser (P A-sr) II, “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of the Deserts of Gold of Amun”,124 to c. Year 34 of Rameses II, c. 1245 BC.125— Epigraphic evidence: Sehel, Abu Simbel, Sai.—Burial: ? Huy (Hwj) II, “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of the Southern . Lands”, “overseer of the Deserts of Gold of Amun”,126 Years 34– 38 of Rameses II, c. 1245–1241 BC.127—Epigraphic evidence: road from Aswan to Philae, Sehel.—Burial: ? Setau (St Aw), “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of the Southern Lands”, “overseer of the Deserts of Gold of Amun”,128 c. between Years 38–63 of Rameses II, c. 1241–1216 BC.129 Dated evidence from Year 44.130—Epigraphic evidence: Abydos, Elkab, road from Aswan to Philae, Sehel, Wadi es-Sebua, Gerf Husein, Amada, Tomas, Qasr Ibrim, Ellesiya, Abu Simbel, Tonqola (?), Faras, Buhen.—Burial: Western Thebes.131 Mahfouz 2005 62. Reisner 1920a 38 f.; Habachi 1979 633. Mahfouz 2005 62. Reisner 1920a 39 f.; Habachi 1979 634. Rock stela at Abu Simbel, KRI III 68 No. 34; Hein 1991 34, 93. Mahfouz 2005 61. Reisner 1920a 40 f.; Habachi 1979 634; Hein 1991 94. Mahfouz 2005 66 f. Reisner 1920a 41; Habachi 1979 634. Mahfouz 2005 61. Habachi 1979 634; Hein 1991 94; Gasse–Rondot 2003 44. Mahfouz 2005 63 ff. Hein 1991 94 ff. Reisner 1920a 41 ff.; Habachi 1979 634; Gasse–Rondot 2003 44. TT 288/289, Kampp 1996 558 ff.

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19 Iuny (Jwnj) II, “king’s son of Kush”, later reign of Rameses II (1279–1213 BC).132—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel, Sai.—Burial: ? 20 Mernedjem (Mr-ndm), “king’s son of Kush”, later reign of Rame¯ ses II (1279–1213 BC).133—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel, Abu Simbel.—Burial: ? 21 Anhotep ( #n-h. tp), “king’s son of Kush”, later reign of Rameses II (1279–1213 BC).134—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel.—Burial: Western Thebes.135 22 Hori (Hrj) . I, “king’s son of Kush”, late reign of Rameses II (1279– 1213 BC).136—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel, Sai.—Burial: ? 23 Mesui (Mswj), “king’s son of Kush”, reign of Merenptah (1213– 1203 BC).137—Epigraphic evidence: road from Aswan to Philae, Biggeh, Sehel, Beit el-Wali, Amada, Aksha, Buhen.—Burial: Aniba (?).138 24 Khaemtery (H#-m-trj). Career: “king’s son of Kush”, reign of Me˘ renptah (1213–1203 BC), then removed from the office; appointed vizier in the reign of Amenmessu (1203–1200 BC?).139—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel, Amada, Buhen.—Burial: ? 25 ?, “king’s son of Kush”, reign of Sety II (1200–1194 BC).140—Epigraphic evidence: Biggeh, Sehel.—Burial: ? 26 Sethy (Sthj). Career: “first great one of the stable”, “letterwriter ¯ of Pharaoh”, “supreme overseer of the domain of Amun”; then “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of the Deserts of Gold of Amun”,141 reign of Saptah (1194–1188 BC).142—Epigraphic evidence: road from Aswan to Philae, Sehel, Abu Simbel, Buhen.— Burial: ? 27 Hori (Hrj) II son of Kama (K Am #). Career: “first driver of His . Majesty”, “king’s messenger”, Year 3 of Saptah (c. 1191 BC); then Habachi 1979 634. Habachi 1979 634. 134 Habachi 1979 634. 135 TT 300, Kampp 1996 568 f. 136 The Hori I of Reisner 1920a 48 ff. is identical with Hori II below, see Habachi 1979 634. 137 Reisner 1920a 47; Habachi 1979 634. 138 Shabti of Mesui from Wadi es-Sebua: Emery–Kirwan 1935 103 f. Door jamb from tomb SA 36 at Aniba: Steindorff 1937 58, Pl. 34/6; KRI IV 96 No. 57.7. 139 Habachi 1979 634. 140 Habachi 1979 635. 141 Mahfouz 2005 67. 142 Reisner 1920a 48; Habachi 1979 635. 132 133



29 30


32 33

chapter nine “king’s son of Kush”, reigns of Saptah (1194–1188 BC) and Setnakht (1186–1184 BC), and the early reign of Rameses III (1184– 1153 BC).143—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel, Buhen.—Burial: Bubastis.144 Hori (Hrj) . III son of Hori II, “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of the Deserts of Gold of Amun”,145 reign of Rameses III (1184–1153 BC): dated evidence from Year 5; and reign of Rameses IV (1153– 1147 BC).146—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel, Buhen, Semna, Amara West.—Burial: Bubastis.147 Saiset (Z A-Jst), “king’s son of Kush”, reign of Rameses VI (1143– 1136 BC).148—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel, Amara West.—Burial: ? Naherha (N A-h. r-h. A). Career: “overseer of the domains of the Ramesseum”; then “king’s son of Kush”, reign of Rameses IX (1126–1108 BC).149—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel; also mentioned in the Semna West stela of his successor Wentawat.—Burial: ? Wentawat (Wn-t A-w At), “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of the Deserts of Gold of Amun”,150 reign of Rameses IX (1126–1108 BC).151 —Epigraphic evidence: Karnak, Sehel, Abu Simbel, Buhen, Semna West.—Burial: ? Ramesesnakht (R #-ms-sw-nht), “king’s son of Kush”, reign of Ra˘ —Epigraphic evidence: Sehel, Buhen, meses IX (1126–1108 BC).152 Amara West, Soleb.153—Burial: ? Setmose (?), “king’s son of Kush”, “overseer of the double granary”, supposedly late reign of Rameses IX to Year 8 of Rameses XI (1099–1069 BC).154—Epigraphic evidence: Buhen.—Burial: ?

Habachi 1979 635; Pamminger 1993 80 note 19. Gauthier 1928. 145 Mahfouz 2005 67. 146 Reisner 1920a 50 (as Hori II, son of Hori I); Habachi 1979 635. 147 Gauthier 1928. 148 Habachi 1979 635. 149 Habachi 1979 635. 150 Mahfouz 2005 68. 151 Reisner 1920a 50 f.; Habachi 1979 635. 152 Reisner 1920a 51; Habachi 1979 635. 153 For the attribution of a graffito in the approach to the first hypostyle of Soleb temple, see Pamminger 1993 84 f. 154 Bohleke 1985 14 ff. 143 144

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34 Panehesy (P A-nh. sj), “king’s son of Kush”, from Year 9 of Rameses XI (1099–1069 BC).155—Epigraphic evidence: Sehel, Buhen.— Burial: Aniba.156 35 Herihor (Hrj. Hr), . “high priest of Amun of Thebes”, took the titles of “king’s son of Kush” and “overseer of the Deserts of Gold of Amun”157 in the reign of Rameses XI (1099–1069 BC).158— Epigraphic evidence: Karnak. 36 Paiankh (P Aj- #nh), “king’s son of Kush”, reign of Rameses XI (1099–1069 BC).˘ 159—Epigraphic evidence: Abydos. 37 Nesikhons (Ns-Hnsw), daughter of Smendes II (992–990 BC?) and ˘ II, bears the title “king’s son of Kush” in the wife of Pinodjem reign of Pinodjem II (990–969 BC).160 38 Nemrut (?), “king’s son of Kush”, reign of Osorkon II (874–850 BC).161—Epigraphic evidence: Elephantine. 39 Osorkon-Ankh, “king’s son of Kush”,162 reign of Osorkon II (874– 850 BC)163 or Takelot III (754–734 BC).164—Epigraphic evidence: ?165 40 Pamiu, “king’s son of Kush”, consort of a daughter of Takelot III (754–734 BC), attested around 775–750 BC.166 Under the Eighteenth Dynasty up to Amenhotep II (1427–1400 BC) the viceroys appear with the title s A-njswt, “king’s son”; from Thutmose IV to the Twentieth Dynasty with the title s A-nsw(t) n Kˇs, “king’s son of Kush”. The earlier form of the title reveals that the civil office had its origins in the military occupation of Lower Nubia. In the reign of King Ahmose the Commander of Buhen, Turoy, also bore the title Reisner 1920a 51; Habachi 1979 635; Bohleke 1985. Steindorff 1937 240 f. 157 Mahfouz 2005 68. 158 Reisner 1920a 51 f.; D.B. Redford: Herihor. LÄ II (1977) 1129–1133; Habachi 1979 635; Kitchen 1986 16 f.; Römer 1994 37. 159 Römer 1994 46. 160 Reisner 1920a 53 ff.; Habachi 1979 635; A. Niwinski: Some Remarks on Rank and Titles of Women in the Twenty-First Dynasty Theban ‘State of Amun’. DE 14 (1989) 79–89 87 f. 161 Stela from Elephantine, S. Seidlmayer, MDAIK 38 (1982) 329 ff. 162 PM V 25. 163 Zibelius-Chen 1989 340. 164 A. Leahy: Abydos in the Libyan Period. in: Leahy (ed.) 1990 155–200 171 f. 165 Cairo JE 91300, H. Gauthier: Les “Fils royaux de Kouch” et le personnel administratif de l’Éthiopie. RecTrav 39 (1921) 179–238. 166 L. Bell, Oriental Institute News and Notes 90 (1983) 48; Aston–Taylor 1990 147 f. 155 156


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“king’s son” (cf. Chapter IX.1). Turoy lost the title of Commander of Buhen at the organization of the Nubian administration by Amenhotep I (1525–1504 BC) and was thenceforth Overseer of the Southern Lands (graffiti from Years 7 and 8).167 Turoy was buried at Thebes similarly to his successors under Thutmose I, Thutmose III, Hatshepsut, Amenhotep III and Tutankhamun (1336–1327 BC). Some Ramesside viceroys were also buried at Thebes.168 It would seem that until the mid-Nineteenth Dynasty the permanent residence of all viceroys was at Thebes and that all of them fulfilled their viceregal duties in the course of inspection tours. Their period of office seems to have been about 10–20 years, which means that it was not tenured and ended at their death. Nubia was treated administratively and—in a manner to which we shall return later—also culturally as a part of Egypt. Under Thutmose III Viceroy Nehy controlled the first and second nomes of Upper Egypt169 as well. We learn from scene legends in his Theban tomb TT 40 that Amenhotep Huy, viceroy under Tutankhamun, lived in Thebes170 and he too possessed administrative authority in Upper Egypt between Nekhen (Hierakonpolis) and the First Cataract having been appointed in the presence of the Perfect God [Tutankhamun] to be King’s Son, Overseer of the Southern Lands; Khenet-henˇ Aw) being entrusted to him and comnefer171 and Upper Egypt (T A-Sm bined under his supervision, in order to administer it for the Lord of Two-Lands, like[wise] all the people of His Majesty.172

The combination of authority in Nubia with authority in Upper Egypt also served the better management of the gold-mining areas of the Upper Egyptian and Lower Nubian eastern desert regions. Scene legends in Huy’s tomb inform us that the viceroy was appointed by and reported to the ruler but received his authority from the Vizier and the Overseer of the Treasury (lit. “overseer of the seal”).173 The first viceroys were appointed from the circle of the officials who started the organization of the newly conquered areas. By the reign of Graffiti on the island of Uronarti and at Semna, respectively, Habachi 1979 631. At Qurnet Murai, Western Thebes, cf. PM I. 169 “Beginning from Nekhen (Hierakonpolis)”, Urk. IV 988; S.T. Smith 1995 181. 170 Davies–Gardiner 1926 Pl. XXXIX/11, trans. S.T. Smith 1995 180. 171 Here referring to the whole of Nubia. 172 Davies–Gardiner 1926 Pl. VI, trans. S.T. Smith 1995 181. 173 A.H. Gardiner in Davies–Gardiner 1926 11 note 2; ibid. Pl. VI; cf. Davies 1943 Pls XVI–XXIII. 167 168

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Amenhotep I they were already selected from the royal bureaucracy within Egypt. Their elite origins, education and previous careers are in harmony with the high status of an official who reports directly to the ruler. Setau, viceroy under Rameses II, records in his autobiography that he was [a servant] brought up by the Majesty of the Court and one who grew up in the Royal House [= the state administration].174

The administrative and ideological relationship between the king and the viceroy175 was carefully designed to secure the king’s control over the government of a vast province. In the Nineteenth and earlier Twentieth Dynasties several viceroys were drawn from the royal chariotry176 or the royal stable-administration, probably due to the importance of desert campaigning developed in that period.177 From the early Ramesside period onwards we also encounter viceroys who succeed their fathers in the office. Relatives of viceroys are known to have served in the Nubian administration for several generations.178 A significant process of change seems to have started in the second half of the Nineteenth Dynasty period. Merenptah’s (1213–1203) first viceroy, Mesui, was probably buried at Aniba (see above), discontinuing (at least for one generation) the traditional Theban burial of the viceroys. The only certain viceregal burial at Aniba is, however, that of Panehesy in the late Twentieth Dynasty (cf. Chapters IX.2.3.6, XII.2). The viceroy was responsible for the civil government of both provinces of Nubia. His principal responsibilities were the collection and delivery of the tribute and taxes and the control of the gold-mining areas. The title of “overseer of the Deserts of Gold of Amun”, occurring first in a viceregal curriculum in the titulary of Merimes under Amenhotep III, is not a honorific title: it covers a precisely defined complex of duties.179 When the duties of the viceroy and his officials are normatively formulated, they are always reduced to the issue of income from Nubia with an obvious bias that was determined by the ideology of conquest. As we read in the fictive letter of a Ramesside viceroy directed to a Nubian prince (cf. Chapter XI.1): 174 175 176 177 178 179

Stela from Wadi es-Sebua, Helck 1975; trans. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 6. Cf. O’Connor 1983 262 f. Cf. Helck 1975 108. O’Connor 1983 262. For the family of Paser II, see Reisner 1920a 45 ff. Cf. Mahfouz 2005.


chapter nine When my letter reaches you, prepare the ı"nw in every respect… Exceed your obligations every year… Think about the day when the tribute ("ınw) is sent, and you are brought into the presence (of His Majesty).180

The dualism of Egyptian administration is also clearly reflected in the government of Nubia.181 From the reign of Thutmose III or even earlier Nubia was divided into two territorial administrative units, viz., Wawat (Lower Nubia between the First Cataract and Semna) and Kush (Upper Nubia between Semna and the Fourth Cataract).182 From the later Eighteenth Dynasty they were each administered by a “deputy of the king’s son” ("ıdnw n s A-nsw) appointed by the viceroy. The deputies resided at Aniba (Wawat) and Soleb, later Amara West (Kush), respectively.183 The earliest preserved occurrence of the title “deputy of the king’s son” qualified as “of Kush” ("ıdnw n Kˇs) dates from the reign of Tutankhamun; as “of Wawat” ("ıdnw n W Aw At), from the reign of Sety II.184 The deputies were appointed by the viceroy from the ranks of the Nubian administration185 and they frequently seem to have been of native extraction.186 A case in point is Pennut, Deputy of Wawat, Overseer of the Quarry-service, Steward of Horus Lord of Miam (Aniba) under the reign of Rameses VI (1143–1136 BC).187 Pennut was buried at Aniba188 and inscriptions in his tomb mention members of his family who held offices such as the Royal Treasurer in Miam and Mayor of Miam.189 180 Papyrus Koller 3.3 ff., Caminos 1954 437 ff., slightly different trans.: Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 211; S.T. Smith 2003 185. 181 I did not have access to the unpublished dissertation of I. Müller: Die Verwaltung der nubischen Provinz im Neuen Reich. Berlin 1979, the results of which are briefly referred to in Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 6 f. 182 Cf. Reisner 1920a 85. 183 Burials of deputies were discovered at Aniba and Soleb. Pennut, Deputy of Wawat under Rameses VI was buried at Aniba, PM VII 76 f.; Steindorff 1937 242 ff. Door jambs inscribed for the Deputies of Kush Paser (under Rameses III) and Sebakhau were found at Amara West, see Fairman 1948 9, Pls V/1, VI/4. 184 Reisner 1920a 85. 185 E.g., for Amenemopet (under the viceroys Merimes and Huy), see Reisner 1920a 35 document 8/f. 186 Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 7. 187 Reisner 1920a 85. 188 Steindorff 1937 242 ff.; Heykal–Abou-Bakr 1961; KRI VI 350–357; Fitzenreiter 2004. 189 Steindorff 1937 246 f.—Castiglioni–Castiglioni 2006 405, fig. 8 present a preliminary publication of a rock graffito of “the prince Harnakht, son of Pennut, the commander of the troups of Miam, his father […]” found in the Wadi Tonaidba approached from the Korosko-Abu Hamed road (no closer location is provided).

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The towns were under the authority of a mayor (h. Aty- #); military settlements under that of military officials called tsw or ı"my-r htm.190 ¯ ˘ While the military stationed in the Middle Nile Region was placed under the h. ry pdt, “bataillon-commander (of Kush)”, the viceroy too ¯ acted occasionally as commander of the Nubian troops (as Merimes under Amenhotep III or Panehesy under Rameses XI). The “batailloncommanders” were appointed by the king. Many of them also had the title “overseer of the Southern Lands” and their main residence seems to have been in Egypt, similarly to the viceroys. The mayors were, similarly to the “overseer of the treasure-house” (mr pr-h. d), appointed by the ¯ viceroy.191 Scribes and accountants subordinate to the viceroy and his deputies were responsible for the daily routine of the administration.192 The functions of the “overseers of the Southern Lands” were similar to those of the “overseers of the Northern Lands” in the Levant, but the degree of the integration of the “Southern Lands” into the Egyptian political, economic, social and cultural structure was different. While subject states in the Levant were taxed and controlled but not colonized and their control was exercised through local “ambassadors” and supported by small garrisons,193 Nubia was thoroughly reorganized along Egyptian lines and the highest posts in its administration were filled by Egyptians. Yet it would be a great mistake to underestimate (as it had been done in the earlier literature) the role assigned to the native elite and the surviving native polities. The contrast with the Levant where the local rulers—if loyal—were allowed to rule over their lands, whose gods were included into the Egyptian pantheon and whose language (the Akkadian) was used in the diplomatic contact was less radical than it is usually postulated. The Egyptian institutions of viceregal Nubia will be discussed in Chapter IX.2.3. Then in Chapters X and XI our focus will shift to the Egyptian-Nubian interaction in Lower Nubia.194 O’Connor 1983 262 f. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 7. 192 Reisner 1920a 84 ff.; Säve-Söderbergh 1941 175 ff. 193 Redford 1992; Shaw 2000. 194 We are far from being able to present a detailed map of the Nubian society in the New Kingdom. To name only one aspect thereof, the role of the Egyptian officials’ wives remains largely unknown. Macadam suggested that the lady Tamwadji, “mistress of the house, matron of the Harem of Amun Lord of the Thrones of Two-lands” and “matron of the Harem of Nebkheperure (Tutankhamun)”, sister of Viceroy Huy, known from a relief block from Faras (Griffith 1921 8, Pl. XXVIII/1) and a double statue from Kawa (Macadam 1949 3 f.) “was the most important woman of the time in the social 190 191


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2.3. Settlement and Economy 2.3.1. Before Thutmose III (1555–1479 BC) The re-conquest of Lower Nubia by Kamose, Ahmose, and Amenhotep I was part of the reunification of Egypt and the consolidation of the royal power. The subsequent conquest of Kerma annihilated a dangerous rival. The occupation of Lower Nubia and the vast area controlled by the kingdom of Kerma between the Third and Fourth Cataracts also secured the access to a number of produces, above all gold,195 as well as a direct control over the trade with the interior of Africa, the source of exotic goods.196 The material reason of the southward extension of Egypt’s frontier to the outermost manageable point was the acquisition of special produces, which were essential for the overall economy of Egypt rather than the obtaining of a general profit.197 With the exception of Barry Kemp,198 the Egyptological literature generally assumes that Egyptian imperialism was economically successful, while some writers suggest that the profit did not considerably exceed the expenses.199 I prefer to accept Stuart Tyson Smith’s view according to whom [t]he income in gold and cattle alone from Nubia was clearly enough to provide a real economic return. Gold in particular was important not only in reinforcing the king’s position in displays of wealth and as a reward to key bureaucrats, but also played a major role in foreign policy in the Near East, cementing Egypt’s relationship to its vassals in the Levant and with the great powers of the day in Anatolia and Mesopotamia and official life of the Egyptian Nubia”. Unfortunately, we have no idea of the actual role played by Tamwadji and her equals. 195 For a comparison of the output of the Nubian sources of gold with the larger output of the Egyptian mines, see Janssen 1975 154 f. But see also E. Graefe: Über die Goldmenge im Alten Ägypten und die Beraubung der thebanischen Königsgräber. ZÄS 126 (1999) 19–40. 196 Zibelius-Chen 1988 69 ff., 136 ff.; Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 10 ff. 197 For the ongoing debate on the economic aspects of New Kingdom imperialism, see Frandsen 1979; Adams 1984; E. Bleiberg: The King’s Privy Purse during the New Kingdom: An Examination of inw. JARCE 21 (1984) 155–168; id.: The Redistributive Economy in New Kingdom Egypt: An Examination of b Akw(t). JARCE 25 (1988) 157– 168; J.P. Frandsen: Trade and Cult. Boreas 20 (1989) 95–108; Liverani 1990; S.T. Smith 1991a, 1991b, 1995, 1997; Morkot 1995a; Kemp 1997; Warburton 2001 181 ff.; S.T. Smith 2003.—For the issue of profit from long-distance exchange, see Liverani 1990 214 ff.; S.T. Smith 1997 78 ff. 198 Kemp 1978. 199 Cf. S.T. Smith 1995 6.

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… When combined with the tangible and intangible value of the secure flow of exotic trade goods from the south, Nubia clearly represented an important source of wealth and prestige to the central government, providing ample return for any investments in staff or construction needed to establish and maintain the colonial system.200

Smith explains the structure of the Nubian economy with the help of a remote, but apparently highly relevant example: D’Altroy and Earle201 have proposed a model for understanding the economic dynamics of the Inka Empire that may provide us with an explanation… [T]hey make a distinction between wealth and staple finance. The former consists of high value goods with low spoilage, really anything that would justify the costs of transport… Staple finance depends on the collection of subsistence goods, like grain and cattle, which could then be redistributed locally… Staple finance would serve to support the local administration, while wealth finance could be employed to support centralized state functions, both locally and inter-regionally… State control over the local redistribution of luxury and subsistence goods would ensure that the local elite had a vested interest in the maintenance of the imperial system… while even the general populace might benefit from the state storage of staples… [In Nubia s]urpluses created by the intensification of pastoral and agricultural activity were reinvested in a local temple and estate system modelled on Egypt’s… [I]n Nubia the New Kingdom acculturation policy was not meant to produce an agricultural surplus for the direct profit of the state, but rather to finance state activities, like mineral exploitation and the control and facilitation of the trade in luxury goods from the south.202

At the earliest stage of the re-conquest, Ahmose occupied, and probably garrisoned, Buhen (Egyptian Bhn)203 and started the building of a fortified settlement at Sai (Egyptian SˇA #t,204 Chapter IX.1). Both military settlements were intended to secure Lower Nubia from Kerman attacks. Sai also functioned as a bridgehead for campaigns directed to Kerman territory beyond the Third Cataract. The expatriate Egyptian officials whose family started to serve in the administration of Lower Nubia under the late Thirteenth Dynasty and continued between c. 1650–1550 BC to serve the Kerman rulers at Buhen (see Chapter VII) disappear now from the record. But the S.T. Smith 1995 173 f. T.N. D’Altroy–T.K. Earle: Staple Finance, Wealth Finance, and Storage in the Inka Political Economy. Current Anthropology 26 (1985) 187–206. 202 S.T. Smith 1991a 93 f. 203 Zibelius 1972 109 f. 204 Zibelius 1972 154 f. 200 201


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case of the descendants of Ka cannot be generalized. At other centres the expatriates remained in place. In the early Eighteenth Dynasty the remarkable Meryka family still inhabited the house built by their ancestor outside the Middle Kingdom fortress of Askut some three hundred years earlier (cf. Chapter VII).205 The Kerman administration run mainly by Egyptian expatriates was nevertheless gradually replaced all over Lower Nubia with a viceregal administration, which would be further expanded and improved in the course of Egypt’s southward expansion. The C-Group polities that continued to exist in some form or other under Kerman rule constituted an important element of the emerging viceregal administration, as it is indicated by the evidence relating to the three Lower Nubian chiefdoms centred around Kuban (= B Akt),206 Aniba-Toshka (= M"ı #m),207 and Debeira (= Th. -ht)208 which ˘ will be discussed in greater detail in Chapter XI.1. Before the advanced Thutmoside period the Egyptian administration of Lower Nubia functioned without an Egyptanized settlement structure. A number of larger settlements in and around the Middle Kingdom fortresses—such as Kuban, Buhen, Mirgissa, Askut, Semna209—survived the re-conquest similarly to the large C-Group settlements—such as Aniba—and continued to function as centres of administration. Accordingly, epigraphic monuments of early viceroys (reigns of Ahmose through Thutmose II) are known from Kuban, Buhen, Uronarti, Semna and Kumma, on the one hand, and the Arminna region,210 on the other. 2.3.2. Wawat and Kush from Thutmose III to Thutmose IV (1479– 1390 BC) The transformation (termed traditionally Egyptianization) of the Nubian social, economic and settlement structure started only after the conquest of Upper Nubia. The reigns of Thutmose III (1479–1425 BC) and Hatshepsut (1473–1458 BC) witnessed the execution of a complex program of organization from the First to the Fourth Cataract, including the development of the viceregal bureaucracy and the building of 205 206 207 208 209 210

S.T. Smith 1995 104 ff.; 2003 127 ff. Zibelius 1972 112. Zibelius 1972 120 ff. Zibelius 1972 180 f. For an illuminating case study, see S.T. Smith 1995 137 ff. on Askut. For the C-Group settlements in the Arminna-Toshka area, see Junker 1926.

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cult temples, which also were to constitute local centres of economic administration. Sanctuaries were built at Kurte,211 Kuban,212 Amada,213 Aniba,214 Ellesiya,215 Qasr Ibrim,216 Faras,217 Buhen,218 Uronarti,219 Semna West and Semna East,220 i.e., in the fertile regions around Dakka, Aniba, and Faras. Most Second Cataract forts built originally in the Middle Kingdom lost their function with the consolidation of the control over Upper Nubia and were abandoned. Though Ikkur and Serra East were rebuilt, they too were soon abandoned. Near Ikkur an open settlement was founded at Dakka (around a temple of Thutmose III?).221 Semna remained the most important garrisoned fortress in Lower Nubia. Uronarti and Kumma became settlements of priestly communities.222 Due to its importance as the guardian of the route leading to the goldmining regions of the Wadis Allaqi and Gabgaba, Kuban was rebuilt and an open settlement grew up around the fortress. At Buhen and Aniba new towns grew up first within walls—which, similarly to the walls surrounding contemporary Egyptian settlements, had no defensive functions—and later beyond these walls.223 The development of the settlement chain along the Nile was also influenced by the demands of river travel and transport. Riverine movement required landing-places and places of supply at reasonable distances.224 The organization of Egyptian authority in Upper Nubia is attested at Sai, Tabo, Pnubs and Napata. At Tabo on the island of Argo, c. 20 km to the south of Kerma, blocks from a Thutmoside temple were found reused in Taharqo’s temple. Remains of a New Kingdom settlement were discovered south-west of the Taharqo shrine.225 The earlier PM VII 50 f. PM VII 82 f., cf. ibid. 41. 213 PM VII 65 ff.; Van Siclen 1987; Hein 1991 20 ff. 214 PM VII 81; Hein 1991 27 ff. 215 Rock temple, PM VII 90 f.; El-Achirie et al. 1968; Hein 1991 26 f. 216 Rock shrines, PM VII 93; Caminos 1968; Hein 1991 30 f. 217 Rock temple of Isis of Ibshek, PM VII 126. 218 PM VII 131 ff.; Emery–Smith–Millard 1979 13 ff.; Caminos 1974. 219 PM VII 143. 220 PM VII 145 ff.; 152 ff.; Caminos 1998a, 1998b. 221 Säve-Söderbergh 1941 189 ff. 222 Säve-Söderbergh 1941 193. 223 Cf. Trigger 1965 106 ff. 224 Cf. Hein 1991 129 f. 225 H. Jacquet-Gordon–C. Bonnet–J. Jacquet: Pnubs and the Temple of Tabo on Argo Island. JEA 55 (1969) 103–111 110. 211 212


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mud-brick temple standing in the fortified town of Sai was replaced with a stone temple dedicated to Amun.226 Together with the rock sanctuaries of Ellesiya, Qasr Ibrim and Faras, a rock chapel built at Gebel Dosha south of Sai227 represents a new type of shrine, the most splendid examples of which would be Rameses II’s rock temples. Some time in the Thutmoside period an Egyptian settlement was established at the internal boundary of Tombos (see Chapters IX.1, XI). Construction work at the Egyptian settlement of Dokki Gel to the north of Kerma was started perhaps as early as under Thutmose I. A lintel from the interior of the settlement with the name of Amenhotep II228 may be associated with some mud-brick building. An even earlier construction period seems to be indicated by faience plaques with the Son of Re-name of Thutmose III coming from a foundation deposit of Thutmose IV229 and by a number of small relief fragments.230 The first sandstone temple of Amun of Pnubs (Kerma) was erected by Thutmose IV (1400–1390 BC).231 At Gebel Barkal Thutmose III built a fortress called sm A h Aswt, ˘ “Slaughter-of-the-Desert-Dwellers”,232 at the site233 of a Classic Kerma settlement of unknown size.234 This is the only occurrence of this fortress name, however. Some decades later the southernmost Egyptian settlement at the Gebel Barkal, the sacred mountain of Amun, is called Np.t, Napata.235 Thutmose III’s magnificent stela from Year 47 (c. 1432 BC)236 found in the great Twenty-Fifth Dynasty Amun temple at Gebel Barkal was erected originally in an Amun shrine within the fortress called sm A hswt (Chapter IX.1).237 So far, however, epigraphic evidence ˘ authority was not found south of the Third Cataract for viceregal region: Seni is attested at Arminna and Semna, Amenemnekhu at PM VII 164 f. PM VII 167. 228 Valbelle 2006 fig. 3. 229 C. Bonnet in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 112 Cat. 83. 230 Valbelle 2006 432. 231 D. Valbelle–C. Bonnet: Amon-rê à Kerma. in: Hommage à Fayza Haikal (BdE 138). Le Caire 2003 289–304; Bonnet–Valbelle 2004 109 f. 232 Urk. IV 1228; trans. Cumming 1982 1. 233 The Thutmoside fortress remains archaeologically unidentified. 234 T. Kendall: Kings of the Sacred Mountain: Napata and the Kushite Twenty-Fifth Dynasty of Egypt. in: Wildung (ed.) 1997 161–171 note 1 (on p. 419). 235 In Amenhotep II’s Amada Stela, Urk. IV 1297.15; cf. S. Wenig: Napata. LÄ IV (1980) 342–344. 236 MFA 23.733; Reisner–Reisner 1933; Urk. IV 1227–1242, Cumming 1982 1–6. 237 Urk. IV 1228; trans. Cumming 1982 1. 226 227

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Sehel, Shalfak, and Tangur (in the Batn el Hagar region); Nehy at Aniba, Qasr Ibrim, Buhen, Semna, Kumma, Sai, and Tombos (cf. Chapter IX.2.2). During the mostly peaceful reign of Amenhotep II (1427–1400 BC)238 construction work was carried out at Amada,239 Qasr Ibrim,240 Buhen,241 Uronarti,242 Sai,243 Tabo244 and Dokki Gel.245 The period is also characterized by the building activity of the viceroy Usersatet at Qasr Ibrim, Wadi Halfa, Buhen and Semna. In the reign of Thutmose IV (1400– 1390 BC)246 the first sandstone temple-ceremonial palace complex was built at Dokki Gel.247 Further construction works were carried out at Amada,248 Faras (?), and Buhen.249 2.3.3. Wawat and Kush from Amenhotep III to Horemheb (1390– 1295 BC) Thutmose IV’s successor Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC) was deified in Nubia during his lifetime:250 he erected a splendid temple dedicated to his own cult at Soleb between the Second and Third Cataracts. The temple and town at Soleb,251 the temple dedicated to Queen Tiye and associated goddesses252 and the town at Sedeinga, further the construction of new shrines at Kuban253 and Wadi es-Sebua;254 the

P. der Manuelian: Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II. San Antonio 1982. Van Siclen 1987. 240 Caminos 1968 59 ff. 241 Isis temple, PM VII 129 ff. 242 For the statue of the viceroy Usersatet see PM VII 143. 243 PM VII 165. 244 Cf. C. Maystre: Tabo I. Statue en bronze d’un roi méroitique Musée National de Khartoum, Inv. 24705. Genève 1986 11 ff. 245 For the lintel with his name, see Valbelle 2004b 96, fig. 72. 246 Bryan 1991. 247 C. Bonnet: Les fouilles archéologiques de Kerma (Soudan). Genava 49 (2001) 197– 234 209 f.; id.: Kerma. Rapport préliminaire sur les campagnes sur les campagnes de 2001–2002 et 2002–2003. Genava 51 (2003) 257–280 270 ff.; Bonnet–Valbelle 2004 109. 248 Van Siclen 1987. 249 PM VII 131. 250 Bryan 2000 260 ff. 251 For evidence for the foundation of Soleb before (?) Year 7 of Amenhotep III (c. 1383 BC), see Morkot 1987 34. 252 PM VII 166 f. 253 PM VII 83. 254 Hein 1991 17. 238 239


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building works at the earlier temples of Amada,255 Aniba,256 Buhen (?),257 Mirgissa258 and Tabo (?)259 were all part of a monumental ideological program extending over the whole of Egypt and Nubia (see Chapter X.1.3).260 In Nubia this program also meant the completion of the work of administrative, societal and economic transformation started in earlier reigns. The shrines built, rebuilt and extended in Nubia in the time of Thutmose III, Hatshepsut, Amenhotep II, Thutmose IV and Amenhotep III were institutions provided with properties. Temple property bestowed on the gods a status which corresponded to power and importance on a strictly material scale. The gods were given the status of landed nobility, which suited some of the Egyptians’ concrete conceptions of divinity… The riches bestowed on the gods seem to have been drawn from the full diversity of Egyptian financial resources, both durable forms of wealth (precious substances as well as sacred vessels in valuable materials), and permanent sources of revenue. Foremost among the latter was cultivable grain land, not necessarily in the vicinity of the temple itself, but possibly [far] away, or even in the conquered territories of Nubia.261

The structure of land-holding was changed from community and kinship ownership to government/temple ownership already well before the early Nineteenth Dynasty, when, as recorded in the Nauri Decree (see below), Sety I would donate cultivated land in the vicinity of the Third Cataract to the cenotaph of Osiris at Abydos. The integration of the native elite into the provincial administration (Chapter XI) went together with the endowment of the Nubian princes and other highstanding officials of the provincial administration with Egyptian-type estates. Though the new form of land ownership is only indirectly reflected in the increasingly domineering presence of the temples in the Nubian landscape or in the text of the Nauri Decree, Trigger’s suggestion seems nevertheless highly probable: Although pastoralism and hunting remained important, especially in poorer localities, a portion of the herd or catch was now likely owed For the kiosk to the south-west of the temple, see Hein 1991 21. Hein 1991 27. 257 Cf. PM VII 137 (stelae). 258 Hein 1991 49. 259 Hein 1991 63. 260 For the reign of Amenhotep III, see Kozloff–Bryan–Berman 1992; Cline–O’Connor (eds) 1998; Bryan 2000 260 ff. 261 Kemp 1989 190 f. 255 256

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to the government or to a local temple… Most, if not all, of the Nubians must eventually have found themselves as peasant farmers on land that was owned by the crown, local princes, government administrators, and by the temples[.]262

The Egyptianization of land-holding and production is manifested in the foundation of temple-towns,263 i.e., walled urban settlements associated with religious institutions and functioning as local centres of specialized production, administration and redistribution. The expansion of earlier settlements at Middle Kingdom fortresses was also part of the same process. A highly valuable illustration to commercial activities involving Nubian farmers is presented by one of the fine reliefs decorating the Theban tomb TT 57 of Khaemhat, overseer of the granaries of Upper and Lower Egypt under Amenhotep III.264 The relief represents a market scene: ships of the royal fleet transporting grain to Kush in exchange for Nubian and African produces and as a payment for Egyptians working in the Nubian province are moored at some place in Nubia. Sailors leaving the ships or still on board are shown negotiating with Nubian villagers who are standing before their market stalls on the riverbank. As it seems, the sailors are shown privately bartering a part of their grain supplies for Nubian foodstuffs. The scene unites thus the pictorial “description” of the official—state-level—exchange with that of the private trade.265 Unfortunately, the urban structure, social stratification and culture of the new towns established in the advanced Eighteenth Dynasty between the Second and Third Cataracts, viz., Amara West, Soleb, Sedeinga and Sesebi, remain largely unknown. Amenhotep III or Akhenaten (?) settled Asiatics “in the cities of Kush”.266 The autobiography of the viceroy Setau, dated to Year 44 of Rameses II (c. 1235 BC), records that Setau captured Libyan Tjemehu (already encountered in Harkhuf ’s report, see Chapter IV.3) in the Western Desert for the building of the temple of Wadi es-Sebua.267 Nevertheless, the moving of populations from outside Nubia does not seem to have been a 262 263 264 265 266

50 ff.

Trigger 1976 129. Kemp 1978 23 ff.; Frandsen 1979; Morkot 1995a 176 f. PM I.1 115 (9); Pino 2005 figs 1–3. Pino 2005 passim and esp. 102 f. D. Edzard et al.: Kamid el-Loz-Kumidi. Schriftdokumente aus Kamid el-Loz. Bonn 1970

267 J. Yoyotte: Un document relatif aux rapports de la Libye et de la Nubie. BSFE 6 (1951) 9–14.


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general practice. Since an overpopulation in Egypt is more than doubtful, we must suppose that, apart from professionals such as literate priests and artesans introducing industries that were new in Nubia (including the expert workmen who built and decorated the temples and other constructions in stone in a country where monumental stone architecture had no native tradition), the bulk of the population of the towns was Nubian: a population moving from the neighbouring small rural settlements to the towns.268 On the whole, the settlement structure taking shape in Nubia and the material culture of the individual settlements and the cemeteries suggest alike an organic integration with the economic life in Egypt. The predominance of Egyptian and Egyptianstyle artefacts depict Nubia as part of the same structure of redistribution.269 The Nubian Nile Valley with its walled towns resembling “on a much smaller scale the layout of large Egyptian centers like Thebes”270 and with the small farming settlements surrounding the towns did not greatly differ from the less densely settled, narrower parts of the Egyptian river valley. As shown by the development of the settlement structure, the Egyptianization of Nubian production and redistribution also continued in the reigns of Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten (1352–1336 BC) and Tutankhamun (1336–1327 BC). Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten built a walled town at Sesebi271 and shrines at Dokki Gel272 and Gebel Barkal;273 Tutankhamun a walled town at Faras which became the centre of the administration of Wawat.274 Tutankhamun built furthermore at Soleb275 and Kawa.276 The importance of Soleb is also indicated by the representation of the Mayor of Soleb in the tomb of Viceroy Huy where he is shown paying hommage to the viceroy together with the Deputies of Wawat and Cf. Kemp 1978 39 ff. Cf. J.J. Janssen: Die Struktur der pharaonischen Wirtschaft. GM 48 (1981) 59–77; M. Gutgesell: Die Struktur der pharaonischen Wirtschaft—eine Erwiderung. GM 56 (1982) 95–109; M. Römer: Einige Anmerkungen zur Diskussion über die Ökonomie im Alten Ägypten. GM 108 (1989) 7–20; Kemp 1989 232 ff. 270 Trigger 1965 109. 271 Fairman 1938; Morkot 1988. 272 Valbelle 1999 84 f.; Valbelle 2001 230 ff.; Bonnet–Valbelle 2004 109 f.; Valbelle 2006 431 ff., fig. 4. 273 Kendall 2002. 274 T. Säve-Söderbergh: Preliminary Report of the Scandinavian Joint Expedition. Archaeological Investigations between Faras and Gamai, November 1963-March 1964. Kush 15 (1967–1968) 211–251; Karkowski 1981 71, 115 ff. 275 Cf. I.E.S. Edwards: The Prudhoe Lions. LAAA 26 (1939) 3–9. 276 For Kawa Temple A, see Macadam 1955 28 ff. 268 269

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Kush.277 Little building work is known from the decades of Horemheb’s reign (1323–1295 BC). The small rock temple at Abu Hoda on the east bank opposite Abu Simbel278 continued the tradition of the Thutmoside rock sanctuaries (cf. Chapter X.1.2.1–2). It is difficult to imagine that the temples built and/or extended at Dokki Gel, Kawa and Gebel Barkal in Upper Nubia would have been standing and functioning in uninhabited surroundings. It is more probable that these shrines were part of a governmental program, which extended now the economic and settlement structure established in Wawat to the territory of Kush as well. The decline in the welfare of the community buried in the cemetery of Fadrus in the Faras-Debeira region in the course of the last century of the Eighteenth Dynasty is explained by Säve-Söderbergh and Troy as a consequence of the shift of the political focus from Lower to Upper Nubia. According to them, the emergence of the temple towns between the Second and Third Cataracts caused the limitation of the market for which communities like that of Fadrus were producing during the first half of the Dynasty.279 2.3.4. Wawat and Kush under the Nineteenth Dynasty (1295–1186 BC) Sety I (1294–1279 BC) started the building of temple-towns at Aksha (Serra West)280 c. 15 km south of Faras in Wawat and Amara West281 some 50 km north of Soleb in Kush. Since the temples of both Aksha and Amara were dedicated to the cult of the living ruler it may be supposed that Aksha was intended to replace Faras as the centre of Wawat and Amara to replace Soleb as centre of Kush. The intended change of the seat of the Deputy of Wawat is supposed to have been motivated by the situation of Aksha at the starting-point of a route leading to a gold-mining area.282 The earliest preserved evidence for Amara West as the seat of the Deputy of Kush dates from the reign of Rameses III (1184–1153 BC).283 Sety I not only restored the temples of Egypt affected by the changes introduced by Akhenaten Säve-Söderbergh 1941 194. PM VII 119 ff. 279 Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 13, 249 ff. 280 Säve-Söderbergh 1941 196 f.; PM VII 127 f.; Hein 1991 38. 281 Hein 1991 51 ff.; P. Spencer: Amara West: Capital of Egyptian Kush. Sudan & Nubia 1 (1997) 34–39; Spencer 1997; 2002. 282 Hein 1991 39 f. 283 Fairman 1948 9. 277 278


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but also enlarged existing shrines and built new ones, among them a splendid cenotaph for Osiris at Abydos. The land donated to this latter shrine284 lay partly in Nubia. The donation was protected in a royal decree inscribed on a rock stela at Nauri in the vicinity of the Third Cataract.285 The donation also included a privilege to wash gold. The Nauri Decree indicates a wide range of well-developed productive activities such as wine growing, gardening, bee keeping and the maintenance of fish pools. The full range of economic activities performed on a temple estate also included the participation in long-distance trade (see below the quotation from the Decree). By the early Twentieth Dynasty, one-third of Egypt’s arable land was owned by the temples.286 At the time of the writing of the Wilbour Papyrus (c. 1143 BC, reign of Rameses V, 1147–1143 BC), the temples were the largest landowners in the region surveyed in the papyrus.287 The land ownership of an Egyptian temple in Nubia was doubtless part of a general Nubian pattern and it is also highly probable that the trend of the growing of temple land was also characteristic for Nubia in the course of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties. Limits to the exploitation of the agricultural and pastoral potential were set, however, by the scarcity of arable land in Nubia where, consequently, land prices were higher than in Egypt.288 The Wilbour Papyrus describes an interpenetration of civil and temple administration which would make it unlikely that the temples could become effective economic and political counterweights to the kingship. Here, as in other documents, secular officials are shown as having responsibility for and some power over temple lands (unless they were specifically exempted).289

Such an exemption was decreed in the text of the Nauri stela, too, which was to forcefully protect the estates of the temple in question from other institutions, which might demand tax from them. The text For the identification of the temple, see Kemp 1978 30. Morkot 1988 hypothesizes that the temple in question was not in Egypt but it may have been identical with the temple of Sesebi which would have been rededicated by Sety I. 285 KRI I 45–58.—F.Ll. Griffith: The Abydos Decree of Seti I at Nauri. JEA 13 (1927) 193–206; W.F. Edgerton: The Nauri Decree of Seti I. A Translation and Analysis of the Legal Portion. JNES 6 (1947) 219–230; A.H. Gardiner: Some Reflections on the Nauri Decree. JEA 38 (1952) 24–33; Kemp 1989 237 f. 286 For the testimony of the Harris Papyrus (Rameses IV, 1153–1147 BC), see O’Connor 1983 227. 287 A.H. Gardiner–R.O. Faulkner: The Wilbour Papyrus I–IV. Brooklyn 1941–1952. 288 Cf. Trigger 1976 130. 289 O’Connor 1983 227. 284

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does not leave any doubt that such institutions might also have included the local fortress in the neighbourhood of Nauri, although it was meant to protect rather than tax the temple properties: As for any commander of the [local] fortress, and scribe of the fortress, any inspector belonging to the fortress who shall… take gold… leopard and other animal skins, giraffes’ hides, etc., any goods of Kush which are brought as revenue to the Temple, punishment shall be meted out to him in the form of one hundred blows, and he shall be fined on behalf of the Temple in terms of the value of the goods at the rate of eighty to one.290

Similarities between the forms of land holding and production in Egypt and Nubia are also indicated by two texts recording the donation of land to cult statues in the reign of Rameses II.291 About a century later, Pennut, Rameses VI’s Deputy of Wawat, Overseer of the Quarryservice, Steward of Horus Lord of Miam records in his tomb that he had donated land for the benefit of the cult of the statue of the king in the temple of Aniba.292 Significantly, the donation consisted of different plots of fairly small size (between 1 1/3 and 5 1/3 acres) at Derr, Abu Simbel, Faras, and Serra,293 i.e., distributed over such a large area as the valley stretch between the Aniba region and Buhen. The neighbouring landowners were also recorded. Among them figure the king, Pennut’s office, a herdsman called Bahu and statue cult foundations including that of Queen Nefertari, wife of Rameses II. Constructions of Sety I were identified in Lower Nubia—the towns of Aksha and Amara; works at Kuban, Amada, and Buhen—as well as in Upper Nubia.294 At Sesebi the king restored Amenhotep IV’s temple and perhaps the Aten temple as well;295 built or restored a temple at Quoted after Kemp 1989 238. H. Gauthier: Une fondation pieuse en Nubie. ASAE 36 (1936) 49–71; Säve-Söderbergh 1941 199. 292 Helck 1986; M. Fitzenreiter: Konzepte vom Tod und dem Toten im späten Neuen Reich—Notizen zum Grab des Pennut (Teil II). in: M. Fitzenreiter–C. Loeben (eds): Die ägyptische Mumie. Berlin 1998 27–71; id.: Innere Bezüge und äussere Funktion eines ramessidischen Felsengrabes in Nubien—Notizen zum Grab des Pennut (Teil I). in: C.B. Arnst–I. Hafemann–A. Lohwasser (eds): Begegnungen. Antike Kulturen im Niltal, Festgabe für Erika Endesfelder, Karl-Heinz Priese, Walter Friedrich Reineke, Steffen Wenig. Leipzig 2001 131–159; id.: Ahnen an der Ostwand. Notizen zum Grab des Pennut Teil III. in: J. Thiesbonenkamp–H. Cochois (eds): Umwege und Weggefährten. Festschrift für Heinrich Balz zum 65. Geburtstag. Erlangen 2003 294–317; Fitzenreiter 2004. 293 Helck 1986 24 f. 294 Hein 1991 81 ff. 295 PM VII 172 f. 290 291


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Dokki Gel;296 and, judging by the fragment of a stela from Gebel Barkal dated to his Year 11 (c. 1283 BC), Sety I also built (?) at Napata.297 The nearly sixty-seven years of Rameses II’s reign298 are attested by almost ninety monuments of various kinds from twenty-seven sites. The king founded eight monumental temples in Nubia, viz., the rock temples of Beit el-Wali, Gerf Hussein, Wadi es-Sebua, Derr, Abu Simbel (two temples) and the freestanding temples of Aksha and Amara (see Chapter X.1.5). He extended the Gebel Barkal temple of Amun. In the second half of his regency the viceroy Setau carried out restoration works299 at Kuban (?), Aniba (?), Wadi es-Sebua, Amada, Ellesiya, and Sesebi.300 Blocks of Rameses II found at Faras were transferred there from Aksha.301 Ramesses III (?) was active at Dokki Gel.302 In the late Nineteenth Dynasty Amenmessu (1203–1200 BC?) carried out restorations at Abu Simbel and Buhen.303 In the Amara West temple niches were prepared for his twt-image.304 It has been suggested that Amenmessu who ascended to the throne under obscure circumstances after Merenptah’s305 death was nobody else than Viceroy Mesui.306 This identification is contradicted, however, by Mesui’s probable burial at Aniba (see Chapter IX.2.2). Sety II (1200–1194 BC) erased or usurped Amenmessu’s cartouches in Egypt as well as in Nubia.307 Sety II built a gate in the South Temple at Buhen308 and erected a chapel at Debod.309

Valbelle 2006 433, fig. 5. Khartoum 1856, Reisner–Reisner 1933 73 ff., KRI I 75 f. (38). 298 K.A. Kitchen: Pharaoh Triumphant: The Life and Times of Ramesses II, King of Egypt. 3rd edn. Warminster 1985. 299 The inscription on the frame of the pylon gate at Amada records “the renovation (sm Awi) of the monument”, KRI III 101 No. 50; Hein 1991 22. For the term, see L.A. Christophe: Le vocabulaire d’architecture monumentale. Le Caire 1961 20. 300 Hein 1991 90 f. 301 Karkowski 1981 63. 302 Valbelle 2006 433. 303 Hein 1991 99. 304 KRI IV 203 No. 5.—For the term cf. Grimal 1986 137 ff. 305 H. Sorouzian: Les monuments du roi Merenptah. Mainz 1989. 306 Cf. Hein 1991 99. 307 Hein 1991 100. 308 Smith 1976 95, 120, 134, 155, 254. 309 LD Text V. 3; M. Marciniak, Fouilles en Nubie (1959–1961) 7, Pl. IV/8, V/9; Hein 1991 5. 296 297

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2.3.5. The Last Century of New Kingdom Domination in Wawat and Kush (1186–1069 BC) The record of building activities during the 117 years of the Twentieth Dynasty is very meagre. Construction works are indicated by inscribed blocks of Rameses III310 (1184–1153 BC) from Buhen311 and a fragment of an inscribed door frame of Rameses IV312 (1153–1147 BC) from Dorginarti.313 Rameses IX (1126–1108 BC) seems to have built a temple or a chapel at Kuban314 and a building of unknown type at Buhen.315 The latest attested Ramesside building was erected in the reign of Rameses X (1108–1099 BC) at Aniba.316 The dramatic diminution of construction activity may be interpreted as one of the signs for the decline of Egyptian authority in Nubia. After the town and temple building activity of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties, Egyptianized Nubia reached the limits of her economic potential with the town foundations and the intense temple building of the second half of Rameses II’s reign. Rameses II’s successors had to deal with the problem of the maintenance of the existing socioeconomic structure, administration, settlements and temples of Nubia. In view of the increasing instability in Egypt, foreign trade and access to Nubia’s special produces (first of all gold) remained vital interests the vindication of which became difficult, however. Nubian gold continued to arrive in Egypt until the end of the dynasty, but the economic power of the kingship was declining (cf. Chapter IX.2.3.6). It was supposed in the earlier literature that the Egyptian domination meant an immigration of Egyptian settlers and an exodus of the native population. It was already noted in the foregoing (Chapters IX.1, IX.2.3.3) that there was no overpopulation in Egypt that would have rendered any Egyptian immigration of a larger scale necessary and possible. The disappearance of the native population proved to be an optical illusion of archaeology. A more careful analysis of the mortuary evidence, which seemed to provide the best arguments for the swift disappearance of the native Nubian population, has shown that what

310 311 312 313 314 315 316

P. Grandet: Ramses III: Histoire d’un règne. Paris 1993. KRI IV 346 No. 139; V 346 No. 39 C, 381. A.J. Peden: The Reign of Ramesses IV. Warminster 1994. Hein 1991 48. Emery–Kirwan 1935 56 ff., figs 38, 44. Smith 1976 97. Steindorff 1937 240 f.; KRI VI 842 No. 35.


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appears as the purely Egyptian culture of Egyptian immigrants was in fact a strongly, but not completely, Egyptianized native culture (see Chapter XI).317 The Nubian archaeological evidence from the late New Kingdom and the early Third Intermediate Period is insufficient (and at the same time insufficiently published) for a detailed picture of the developments after Rameses II’s reign. The hypothesis of a rapid decline of the settlements and a gradual Egyptian withdrawal starting as early as the early reigns of the Twentieth Dynasty is contradicted by the data relating to the life of the settlements and the maintenance of the cults. Documents of viceregal administration are preserved from most of the reigns up to Rameses XI (1099–1069 BC), as it is visible in Table C in which the epigraphically dated settlement historical evidence is summarized according to the kings of the Twentieth Dynasty and in geographical order from north to south. In the table, Setn. = Setnakht; R. III, IV etc. = Rameses III, IV etc.; R = royal monument, V = monument of a viceroy, P = private monument.318 Table C. Twentieth Dynasty Archaeological Complexes and Epigraphic Documents of Rulers and Viceroys Reigns Setn. R. III







Site Aswan cemetery 7319 Debod cemetery 24320 Siali cemetery 40321 Bogga cemeteries 47, 48322 R323

Kalabsha Gerf Hussein


Cf. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 7 ff.; Török 1997a 97 f. Based on Hein 1991 5 ff.; Williams 1993 143–145 Table 19; Török 1997a 86 ff. Table C. 319 Reisner 1910 60 ff. 320 Reisner 1910 figs 302–327. 321 East bank, opposite Dabod/Abisko, Reisner 1910 244 f. 322 South of Siali, Reisner 1910 281 f.; Firth 1912 189 f. 323 Block with fgm. of cartouche of Rameses XI (?) from town site, PM VII 20 bottom. 324 Statue base from hemispeos of Rameses II, PM VII 37. 317 318

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Table C continued Reigns Setn. R. III







Site Awam cemeteries 110, 111, 120325 Koshtamna cemetery326 R327

Kuban Dakka cemeteries 94, 96,


98329 R331

Wadi es-Sebua to Adindan, cemeteries330


R335 R336

Wadi es-Sebua tpl. Wadi es-Sebua

R333 V334


Amada settlement, cemeteries338 Aniba, settlement, cemetery339 R340

Aniba tpl. Qasr Ibrim



Toshka, Ramesside secondary inscriptions in rock tombs343

Firth 1915 77–97, 111, 153 f. Firth 1912 22 ff.; Firth 1927. 327 Fgm. of door lintel from temple of Amenemhat III, LD Text V 60. 328 Door lintel from temple of Amenemhat III with Rennofer, priest of Horus, adoring the cartouche of Rameses IX, KRI VI 527 f.; fgms of reliefs from chapel (?) of Rameses IX, KRI VI 527. 329 Firth 1915 142–155. 330 See Emery–Kirwan 1935 passim. 331 Stela fgm. from fortress (?), KRI VI 63 No. 49. 332 Biography of Pennut recording land donation to a cult statue of Rameses VI in Aniba, KRI VI 350–354. 333 Pillar fgm. with name of Rameses X from Horus temple, Steindorff 1937 240 f.; KRI VI 842 No. 35. 334 Tomb of Viceroy Panehesy, Steindorff 1937 240 f.; KRI VI 679 No. 4. 335 Hein 1991 103. 336 Hein 1991 103. 337 Hein 1991 17. 338 Hein 1991 20 ff. 339 Steindorff 1937; Hein 1991 27. 340 Relief or stela fragment, Steindorff 1937 24 No. 41; KRI VI 63 No. 49. 341 Land donation to the cult statue of Rameses VI in the temple of Aniba, recorded in Pennut’s biography, KRI VI 350–354. 342 Fgm. of royal statue from fortress, J.M. Plumley et al.: Qasr Ibrim 1976. JEA 63 (1977) 29–47 43, Pl. VI/4. 343 PM VII 95; Hein 1991 31. 325 326


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Table C continued Reigns Setn. R. III Site Abu Simbel Qustul/Adindan









cemeteries346 R347



Serra E Buhen


RV350 R351



Buhen cemeteries354 R355

Dorginarti Semna W Saras




Ginis West cemetery359


157. 345 346 347


Graffito of a Ramesesnakht in the Hypostyle of the Great Temple, LD Text V Graffito of the scribe Wentawat in Room III of Great Temple, KRI VI 526. Williams 1992. Block from secondary use, perhaps from Buhen (?), Karkowski 1981 64 No. 431,

Door lintels inscribed for the official Hornakht from fortress, KRI VI 526. Remains of South Temple, Caminos 1974 37 ff., Pls 46 ff., KRI IV 346 No. 139, V 346 No. 39 C; fgm. of door lintel inscribed for Viceroy Hori II, KRI V 381. 350 Remains of South Temple, Caminos 1974 43 f., Pl. 55, KRI VI 63, 80 f., 225; dedication of Viceroy Hori II from the South Temple, Caminos 1974 23, Pl. 23. 351 South Temple, column, Caminos 1974 23, Pl. 23. 352 Fgm. of door jamb and fgms of columns from fortress, Smith 1976 97, Pl. XIII/ 2. 353 North Temple, pillar No. 7, representation of Viceroy, Setmose adoring the cartouches of Rameses XI, Caminos 1974 109 f., Pl. 89; KRI VI 842 (with disputed reading of the viceroy’s name), cf. Hein 1991 47 with note 228. 354 Randall-MacIver–Woolley 1911 137–179. 355 Block from door frame with fgm. of inscription of Rameses IV; lintel fgm. inscribed for P A-R #-m-h. b, Knudstad 1966 182 f., Pl. XXIII. 356 Fgms of door jambs etc. inscribed for Viceroy Hori II, Dunham–Janssen 1960 22, Pl. 85; inscription accompying the representation of an official adoring the cartouches of Rameses III, name lost, on façade of the temple of Dedwen and Senusret III, Grapow 1940 25. 357 Fgm. of relief of Viceroy Ramesesnakht, Cairo JE 50207, Hein 1991 51. 358 Dunham 1967 183 ff. 359 A. Vila: Le District de Ginis, Est et Ouest (PASCAD 5). Paris 1977 145–159. 348 349

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Table C continued Reigns Setn. R. III







Site Amara W

V360 RVP361 R362



Amara West cemetery365 VP366

Sai Sai

cemeteries367 P (?)368

Soleb Soleb



Kawa Gebel Barkal


P372 V373

Stela of Viceroy Hori I from Hypostyle of temple, KRI V 2. Cartouches of Rameses III in Hypostyle, Fairman 1939 141; stelae of Viceroy Hori II, Khartoum 3061, KRI V 302 No. 2; and BM 1784 KRI V 382 No. 3 from Hypostyle; lintel inscribed for the ı"dnw of Kush Paser from the Governor’s Palace, Fairman 1948 9 ff., Pl. VI. 362 Fgm. of stela from Hypostyle, KRI VI 63 No. 51. 363 Inscr. of Viceroy Ramesesnakht on outer face of door to Peristyle of temple, Fairman 1938 Pl. X. 364 Inscr. of Rameses IX from Year 6 (c. 1120/19 BC) in Peristyle of temple, KRI VI 461 No. 12; relief of Viceroy Wentawat from Hypostyle, PM VII 161 (22); inscription of Deputy Governor of Kush Usirmaatrenakht on shrine of Amenmesse also bearing inscriptions of Viceroys Saiset and Wentawat, PM VII 161 (35). 365 A. Vila: Le District d’Amara Ouest (PASCAD 7). Paris 1977 28 ff. 366 Usurped Eighteenth Dynasty door lintel with inscription of the Deputy Usirmaatrenakht, J. Vercoutter: Excavations at Saï, 1955–1957. Kush 6 (1958) 144–169; KRI VI 527. 367 A. Minault–F. Thill: Tombes du Nouvel-Empire à Sai. CRIPEL 2 (1974) 76– 102. 368 Votive inscription of the official Ramessu (?) on door jamb in Inner Court of temple, LD Text V 237; Schiff Giorgini 1965 No. 37; KRI V 372 f. 369 KRI V 372 f. is attributed by Pamminger 1993 84 f. to Viceroy Ramesesnakht. 370 Schiff Giorgini 1971. 371 Temple A, Second Court, graffito of the official Ramesesnakht adoring the cartouches of Rameses IV, Macadam 1949 84 Inscr. XXIII. 372 Four graffiti of Nebmaatrenakht, “Fan-Bearer on the King’s Right Hand, the Chief Bowman of Kush, the Overseer of the Southern Lands”, adoring the cartouches of Rameses VI, Macadam 1949 84 ff. Inscr. XXIV–XXVII, graffito of Ramesesnakht, “overseer of the garrison”, ibid. Inscr. XXIII. 373 Khartoum 1847, fgms of statue of the official Bakenwer from debris in temples B 500 and B 700, Dunham 1970 29, 32, Pl. 28/c–f; KRI VI 528. 360 361


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2.3.6. The End of the Egyptian Domination The Twentieth Dynasty is traditionally viewed as a period of economic and demographic decline in Nubia.374 This view was based on the decline in number of the datable burials and on the assumption that all Egyptian temple-towns became uninhabited by the end of the Twentieth Dynasty.375 The population decline was explained as the consequence of conscription for the wars of Rameses II376 and, mainly, ascribed to low flood levels. The latter hypothesis proved, however, wrong.377 It was pointed out that the virtual lack of Twentieth Dynasty period burials follows from two changes occurring in the burial customs in the late New Kingdom: firstly, the building of family vaults378 and, secondly, the burial of (undatable) small amulets with the dead instead of multitudes of (datable) household items.379 It should also be realized that extensive late New Kingdom settlement sites such as, e.g., Wadi esSebua380 were left unexcavated, and little or no attention was paid to the late- and post-New Kingdom layers during the investigation of the New Kingdom temple-towns.381 Also the suggestion that the Egyptian domination ended with an organized evacuation of Nubia after which the Egyptian temple-towns and fortresses remained uninhabited382 seems to follow from the bias of the (mostly unpublished) archaeological work or from the idea that these sites were inhabited mainly by immigrant W.Y. Adams: Post-Pharaonic Nubia in the Light of Archaeology I. JEA 50 (1964) 102–120 106; Trigger 1965; Adams 1977 225. 375 Adams 1977 241 f. 376 Firth 1912 29. 377 K.W. Butzer: Studien zum vor- und frühgeschichtlichen Landschaftswandel der Sahara III. Mainz 1959 113; R. Fairbridge: Nile Sedimentation above Wadi Halfa in the Last 20,000 Years. Kush 11 (1963) 96–107; B.G. Trigger: The Cultural Ecology of Christian Nubia. in: Dinkler (ed.) 1970 347–379 355; H. Jacquet-Gordon: Review of Adams et al. 1976. OLZ 77 (1982) 451–454; for the Nile level records, see J. v. Beckerath: The Nile Level Records at Karnak and their Importance for the History of the Libyan Period (Dynasties XXII and XXIII). JARCE 5 (1966) 43–55. 378 In the two chambers of a (late) New Kingdom tomb at Shellal 135 bodies were found; at Soleb from 49 vaults 733 bodies were obtained, see Reisner 1910 69; Schiff Giorgini 1971. For similar burials in Egypt, see Leahy 1990 160 f. 379 Kemp 1978 39 ff. 380 Weigall 1907 98; F. Daumas: Ce que l’on peut entrevoir de l’histoire de Ouadi es Sebuâ en Nubie. in: Nubie par divers archéologues et historiens (Cahiers d’Histoire Égyptienne 10). Le Caire 1967 23–49 28; Kemp 1978 42 f. 381 See, e.g., Fairman 1938. 382 P.L. Shinnie: Urbanism in the Ancient Sudan. in: J. Ruffle–G.A. Gaballa–K.A. Kitchen (eds): Glimpses of Ancient Egypt. Studies in Honour of H.W. Fairman. Warminster 1979 123–126 124; see also O’Connor 1983 268 f. 374

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Egyptians. It can be disputed on the basis of references to late or postNew Kingdom finds e.g. from Amara West.383 A further misapprehension of late New Kingdom settlement in Nubia arises from the difficulty of identifying and dating the burials of the non-Egyptianized population.384 The decline of sedentary population may also have been interrelated with a conversion to pastoral economy. The identification of the archaeological record of a sparse semi-nomadic population may well have been impossible under the circumstances of the Lower Nubian surveys.385 Last but not least, the chronology of Egyptian material culture from the late New Kingdom to the Saite period is only imperfectly understood.386 According to Karola Zibelius-Chen, at the latest under Rameses III (1184–1153 BC) the southern limit of Egyptian domination was withdrawn to Kawa and shortly after Rameses VI’s reign (1143–1136 BC) the limit of Egyptian control moved farther north from Kawa.387 This suggestion is contradicted, however, by the evidence of viceregal activities (Table C) indicating that Napata was under viceregal control under Rameses IX (1125–1107 BC). The donation of Pennut, Rameses VI’s Deputy of Wawat, of estates between Derr and Serra to a royal cult statue (Ch. IX.2.3.4) precedes Rameses IX’s reign only with some twenty years or so. The evidence gives nevertheless the impression that Twentieth Dynasty Egyptian administration south of the Third Cataract was fairly weak. The viceregal government of Lower Nubia remained intact until the reign of Rameses XI (1098–1069 BC), when, however, it is attested to only as far south as Buhen. It remains obscure whether the withdrawal of the Egyptian administation from Upper Nubia was accelerated by indigenous aggression or was carried out concurrently with the conclusion of contracts made with some native 383 For stone arrowheads of types also occurring at el Kurru see Fairman 1948 10; P.L. Shinnie: Preliminary Report on the Excavations at Amarah West, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1948–1949 and 1949–1950. JEA 37 (1951) 5–11. 384 T. Säve-Söderbergh: The Egyptianization and Depopulation of Lower Nubia. Kush 15 (1967–1968) 237–242; Williams 1992 4 ff. 385 B.G. Trigger: Land and Trade as Patterns in Sudanese History. in: M. Liverani– A. Palmieri–R. Peroni (eds): Studi di Paletnologia in Onore di Salvatore M. Puglisi. Roma 1985 465–475; id.: Review of Davies (ed.) 1991, BiOr 50 (1993) 378–385; D.Q. Fuller: Chiefdom, State or Checklist? A Review Article [of O’Connor 1993]. Archaeological Review from Cambridge 13 (1994) 113–122 115 f. 386 For the pottery cf. Bourriau 1981 72 f.; C. Hope: Pottery of the Egyptian New Kingdom (Victoria College Occasional Paper 2). Melbourne 1989 48 f. 387 Zibelius-Chen 1994a.


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polities in the abandoned regions. Be that as it may, the process in Nubia occurred in parallel with the withdrawal from Palestine:388 it was part of the same complex process of decline of the political and economic power of the later Ramessides. The weakening of central government was brought about and accelerated partly by the uncontrollable migration of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea Peoples starting in Merenre’s reign389 and partly by Libyan pressure. While the consequences of the migration of the Sea Peoples, started probably by famine in the eastern and northern Mediterranean, were catastrophal for the Middle East, the Sea Peoples did not succeed in settling in Egypt.390 They attacked Egypt first as allies of the Libyans whose successful large-scale immigration started in the reigns of Merenptah and Rameses III when well-organized military communities started to emerge in the Cyrenaica.391 The weakening of royal power under the last Ramessides and after the end of the Twentieth Dynasty was accompanied by profound changes in the traditional intellectual outlook which accelerated the disintegration of Egypt’s political unity ideologically as well as practically. By the mid-tenth century BC there were important settlements in the western Delta (a part of which went back to mercenary colonies founded by Rameses II and III)392 inhabited by infiltrating Libyans whose acculturation to Egyptian life promoted their growing political cohesion. Men of Libyan origins had attained high offices in the Egyptian government already as early as the second half of the eleventh century BC. The most important of them included Herihor, the first High Priest of Amun of Thebes to write his name in a royal cartouche. Herihor combined his high priesthood with military power and assumed full royal titulary at the zenith of his career.393 The rise to power of Redford 1992 289 ff. Redford 1992 243 ff.; Van Dijk 2000 303 ff. 390 N. Sandars: The Sea Peoples. New York 1985; T. Dothan–M. Dothan: People of the Sea: The Search for the Philistines. New York 1992; Redford 1992 285 ff.; E.D. Oren (ed.): The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment. Philadelphia 2000; K. Jansen-Winkeln: Ägyptische Geschichte im Zeitalter der Wanderungen von Seevölkern und Libyern. in: E.-A. Braun-Holzinger (ed.): Die nahöstlichen Kulturen und Griechenland an der Wende vom 2. zum 1. Jahrtausend v. Chr. Kontinuität und Wandel von Strukturen und Mechanismen kultureller Interaktion. Kolloquium des Sonderforschungsbereiches 295 “Kulturelle und sprachliche Kontakte” Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, 11.-12. Dezember 1998. Möhnesee 2002 123–142. 391 Leahy (ed.) 1990. 392 Kitchen 1986 243 ff. 393 The Epigraphic Survey. The Temple of Khonsu 1. Scenes of King Herihor in the Court (Oriental 388 389

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a dynasty of Libyan chiefs as rulers of the Twenty-Second Dynasty (945–715 BC) introduced important changes in the life and outlook of considerable parts of the Egyptian society. Though the administrative structure of the Twenty-First Dynasty was not altered, the social consciousness of the Libyans394 in which the aristocratic notions of ancestry, descent and clan coherence played a central role decisively stimulated the process of decentralization which became “institutionalised as a recognized mode of government”395 during the course of the next two centuries. In the course of the Twentieth Dynasty period economic problems in Egypt seem to have brought about a rapidly increasing disbalance of financial, economic, and military input into Nubia on the one side and a diminishing output of the province in taxes and foreign trade, on the other. As a consequence, the maintenance of the Nubian government became disproportionately expensive, while the administrative hierarchy underwent a process of decomposition396 thus preparing the way for the return to what had survived from indigenous socio-political structures (cf. Chapter XI).397 The later reign of Rameses IX (1126–1108 BC) and the reign of Rameses X (1108–1099 BC) were characterized by a constant threat of violence from Libyan marauders and by a permanent economic crisis. The situation is best recorded in the papers of the workmen of Institute Publications 100). Chicago 1979; see especially E.F. Wente’s introductory essay, pp. ix–xvii. 394 For the history of Libyan-Egyptian relations in the late New Kingdom, the development of the nomadic Libyan society towards a nomadic state; Libyan raids, infiltration and settlement in the western Delta in Lower Egypt see Yoyotte 1961; O’Connor 1983 235 ff., 271 ff.; D. O’Connor: The Nature of Tjemhu (Libyan) Society in the Later New Kingdom. in: Leahy (ed.) 1990 29–113 and cf. F. Gomaà: Die libyschen Fürstentümer des Deltas vom Tod Osorkons II. bis zur Wiedervereinigung Ägyptens durch Psametik I. Wiesbaden 1974; J. Osing: Libyen, Libyer. LÄ III (1979) 1015–1033; K.A. Kitchen: The Arrival of the Libyans in Late New Kingdom Egypt. in: Leahy (ed.) 1990 15–27; Redford 1992 315 ff. 395 A. Leahy: The Libyan Period in Egypt: An Essay in Interpretation. Libyan Studies 16 (1985) 51–65 58; cf. also Baines 1995a 35 f. 396 For the archaeological evidence of impoverishment in the area south of the Dal Cataract see A. Vila: PASCAD IX. L’île d’Arnyatta, le district de Abri (Est et Ouest), le district de Tabaj (Est et Ouest). Paris 1978 42, 50; X. Le district de Koyekka (rive droite), les districts de Morka et de Hamid (rive gauche), l’île de Nilwatti. Paris 1978 86, 93, 95. For the poorly understood process of economic decline in Lower Nubia cf. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 passim; S.T. Smith 1995 154 ff. 397 Zibelius-Chen 1994a; for the process in general: J.A. Tainter: The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambridge 1988 42 ff.


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the Theban necropolis398 describing the great tomb robberies of the terminal Twentieth Dynasty period.399 Gold mines continued to be operated in the Eastern Desert under Rameses IX.400 Around his Year 12 Rameses XI ordered the viceroy Panehesy to restore mormal life in the Thebaid and put him—in an unusual way— into the command of the military stationed in the viceregal domain, also including Nubian contingents.401 Panehesy was also appointed to or usurped the office of the Overseer of the Ganaries of the Domain of Amun ("ımy-r sˇnw.ty),402 which seems to have been one of the reasons403 for his conflict with Amenhotep, the High Priest of Amun of Thebes. The conflict escalated when Panehesy’s troops, which were stationed in the Thebaid in order to protect the city of Thebes from the attacks of marauders, became themselves involved in temple robberies404 and created the circumstances for a military occupation in Upper and Middle Egypt.405 By Year 17 (c. 1082 BC) Amenhotep won the protection of Rameses XI against Panehesy: the King ordered the Viceroy to evacuate Thebes.406 In answer, Panehesy revolted.407 Years 18 and 19 of Rameses XI were times of suffering in the Theban region, with war, famine,408 plunderings and shocking atrocities.

398 G. Botti–T.E. Peet: Il giornale della Necropoli di Tebe. Torino 1928; D. Valbelle: Les ouvriers de la Tombe. Deir el-Médineh à l’époque ramesside (BdE 96). Le Caire 1985; JansenWinkeln 1992; Niwinski 1995 330 f. 399 See T.E. Peet: The Mayer Papyri A & B, Nos M.11162 and M.11186 of the Free Public Museum, Liverpool. London 1920; id.: The Great Tomb-Robberies of the Twentieth Egyptian Dynasty. Hildesheim–New York 1977; P. Vernus: Affaires et scandales sous les Ramsès. La crise des valeurs dans l’Égypte du Nouvel Empire. Paris 1993 17 ff. 400 Wente 1990 38 f. No. 38. 401 For the Nubian troops termed A ##w, “jabberers”, see E.F. Wente: On the Supression of the High-Priest Amenhotep. JNES 25 (1966) 73–87; L. Bell: Once More the ‘w’: ‘Interpreters’ or ‘Foreigners’? Newsletter of the American Research Center in Egypt 87 (1973) 33. 402 Helck 1958 341; attested in the same function in Year 17: ibid. 342. 403 For the differing views, see O’Connor 1983 231; Kitchen 1986 247 f.; JansenWinkeln 1992; A. Niwinski: Bürgerkrieg, militärischer Staatsstreich und Ausnahmezustand in Ägypten unter Ramses XI. Ein Versuch neuer Interpretation der alten Quellen. in: Gegengabe. Festschrift für Emma Brunner-Traut. Tübingen 1992 235–262; Niwinski 1995. 404 KRI VI 803–828; Vernus 1993 36 ff.; Niwinski 1995 334. 405 On the fate of Amenhotep, see KRI VI 537 No. 16. 406 KRI VI 734 f. 407 For the evidence, see Jansen-Winkeln 1992 27. 408 For the “year of the Hyenas”, see the retrospective complaints in Papyrus BM 10052; Kitchen 1986 247 with note 26.

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In Year 19 Panehesy was forced by the king’s army, led probably by the general Paiankh,409 to retreat with his Nubian forces to Lower Nubia after his soldiers heavily plundered the royal necropolis at Western Thebes.410 His withdrawal was achieved under the circumstances of a general change in the political situation in Egypt marked by the emergence of three powerful men, Paiankh, Smendes411 and Herihor. The first, who would become the father-in-law of the second, was appointed viceroy of Kush to succeed the rebellious Panehesy and also took the title of vizier. Smendes412 and Herihor acted as supreme executives in Egypt, Smendes in the north and Herihor in the south. The division of the kingdom into two entities stands in the background of the Report of Wenamun,413 a splendid literary work written in the last decade of Rameses XI’s reign or in the Twenty-First Dynasty period (?). The Report speaks about Amun-Re of Thebes, King of the Gods as lord of the south and Smendes and his wife Tentamun as “the pillars414 Amun has set up for the north of this land” while it refers to Rameses XI only once, and without name. Paiankh arrived in Thebes as Generalissimo, army-leader, and he also would become the successor of Herihor in the high priesthood of Amun of Thebes by Year 7 of the “renaissance era”.415 His arrival coincided with the introduction in Year 19 of a new, “renaissance era”, the “repeating the births” (wh. m msw.t) by Rameses XI which declared the political program for the renovation of the country after the years of chaos.416 During the “renaissance era” (wh. m msw.t 1–11 = 1080–

Wente 1967 25; Jansen-Winkeln 1992 25. Jansen-Winkeln 1992 31. 411 Egyptian Nesubanebdjed (Nj-sw-B A-nb-Ddt). In conformity with the rather unfortunate, but generally followed, Egyptological¯ tradition, the names of the Twenty-First through Twenty-Fourth and Twenty-Sixth through Thirtieth Dynasty rulers will be used here in the Grecisized forms as recorded by Manetho (W.G. Waddell: Manetho [Loeb Cl. Library]. Cambridge/Mass.-London 1940). 412 His origin is unknown; Niwinski 1995 339 note 43 speculates that he might have been a son-in-law of Herihor or Paiankh. Cf. also J. v. Beckerath: Smendes. LÄ V (1983) 991 f. 413 Papyrus Moscow 120, Lichtheim 1976 224 ff. 414 Cf. Yoyotte 1989. 415 Kitchen 1986 252 ff.; Niwinski 1995 341 f. 416 Rameses XI’s “renaissance” era consciously imitates the similar eras of Amenemhat I after the First Intermediate Period and especially of Seti I after the Amarna period, cf. Römer 1994 31. 409 410


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1069 BC, i.e., Year 19 to 29 of Rameses XI)417 Herihor418 consolidated Upper Egypt and developed what would become the regency of the Theban High Priest as “co-regent” of Amun with the reign of his son Pinodjem I (1070–1055 HPA; 1054–1032 BC king). In Years 10–11 of the “renaissance era”, i.e., c. 1071–1070 BC, Paiankh tried to annihilate Panehesy in Lower Nubia.419 Panehesy survived Paiankh’s campaign, however. He remained master of Lower Nubia until his death and was buried in a pyramidal vaulted tomb at Aniba.420 With the appointment by Rameses XI of a new viceroy in place of the rebellious Panehesy, Egypt announced the continuity of her claim on the viceregal domain in Nubia. This domain extended at this time theoretically as far south as the Second Cataract, yet practically it was completely or partly controlled until his death by the rebel Panehesy. Panehesy’s burial at Aniba is a telling document of his authority in Lower Nubia. It was of course an authority the nature of which we cannot describe in any detail. According to a recent hypothesis,421 Paiankh’s Nubian campaign would have ended with a treaty between Paiankh and Panehesy that secured Theban authority in the northern part of the region between the First and Second Cataracts and “Nubian independence” south of the Egyptian-controlled area. For lack of evidence it cannot be decided, however, whether Panehesy controlled Lower Nubian territories with Theban consent (what is improbable) or remained loyal to the ruler in Lower Egypt (what would have been difficult) or, what is perhaps the most likely, established, even if only for a brief period before his death, an independent Lower Nubian polity. If so, it was a polity seceded from Egypt and ruled by a secessionist Egyptian official rather than a native polity which gained independence—in

Kitchen 1986 465 Table 1. For the respective realms of Herihor and Paiankh cf. Römer 1994 46 ff. Their chronology is, however, obscure. With others, Kitchen (1986 248 ff., 465 Table 1) regards Paiankh as Herihor’s successor in the high priesthood; Niwinski 1979 52 and JansenWinkeln 1992 suggest a contrary sequence according to which Herihor became HPA after Paiankh’s death but still in the lifetime of Rameses XI (but see now Niwinski 1995 346 f.: Paiankh as Herihor’s successor). Römer’s (see above) assumption that they acted largely contemporaneously presents an attractive, but similarly unprovable compromise. 419 For Paiankh’s letters to Tjuroy, see Wente 1967 9 ff., No. 21; J.J. Janssen: Late Ramesside Letters and Communications (Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum VI). London 1991 11 ff. 420 PM VII 79. 421 Niwinski 1995 347 f. 417 418

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spite of the name of Panehesy, “the Nubian”, which was a frequent personal name in contemporary Egypt. After Panehesy’s death the Theban rulers seem to have regained control over the whole of the Nile Valley between the First and Second Cataracts.422 In the course of the following centuries Lower Egypt, with the centre at Tanis, was reigned by Smendes’; Middle and Upper Egypt north of el Hibe, with the centre at Thebes (Karnak), by Herihor’s descendants and successors, i.e., the Twenty-First (1069–945 BC), Twenty-Second (945–715 BC) and Twenty-Third (c. 820–718 BC) Dynasties.423

Zibelius-Chen 1989. For their history and (largely hypothetical) family relations (including their supposed relationship with the last Rameses) see Kitchen 1986 255 ff.; M.L. Bierbrier: The Late New Kingdom in Egypt (c. 1300–664 B.C.). A Genealogical and Chronological Investigation. Warminster 1975; Römer 1994; and see the corrections, amendments, and alternatives presented by Priese 1970 20 with note 23; K. Baer: The Libyan and Nubian Kings of Egypt: Notes on the Chronology of Dynasties XXII to XXVI. JNES 32 (1973) 4–25; J. Yoyotte: Notes et documents pour servir à l’histoire de Tanis. Kêmi 21 (1971) 35–45; id.: Osorkon fils de Mehytouskhé, un pharaon oublié. BSFE 77–78 (1976–1977) 39–54; A. Niwinski: Problems in the Chronology and Genealogy of the XXIst Dynasty: New Proposals for Their Interpretation. JARCE 16 (1979) 49–68; K.R. Weeks in: The Epigraphic Survey. The Temple of Khonsu. Scenes and Inscriptions in the Court and the First Hypostyle Hall (Oriental Institute Publications 103). Chicago 1981 xvii–xxi; Spencer–Spencer 1986; A. Dodson: The Takhats and Some Other Royal Ladies of the Ramesside Period. JEA 73 (1987) 224–229; id.: Psusennes II. RdE 38 (1987) 49–54; D.A. Aston: Takeloth II–A King of the ‘Theban Twenty-Third Dynasty’? JEA 75 (1989) 139–153; Aston–Taylor 1990; Leahy 1990; P. James in: James et al. 1991 220–259; A. Dodson: Psusennes II and Shoshenq I. JEA 79 (1993) 267 f.; N. Dautzenberg: Die Stellung Pinutems I. und die Nachfolge des Smendes. GM 142 (1994) 61–66; K. Jansen-Winkeln: Historische Probleme der 3. Zwischenzeit. JEA 81 (1995) 129–149; J. v. Beckerath: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Libyerzeit. GM 144 (1995) 7–13; Niwinski 1995; etc. 422 423

chapter ten RELIGION AND SOCIETY IN NEW KINGDOM NUBIA The crown placed firmly on his head, He counts the land as his possession, Sky, earth are under his command, Mankind is entrusted to him, Commoners, nobles, sunfolk, Egypt and the far-off lands.1

1. Gods and Temples 1.1. The State and the Gods The temples built, extended, and restored in the course of the nearly five hundred years of New Kingdom domination, especially in the c. two and a half centuries between the reigns of Thutmose III and Rameses II, were “the focal points, at physical, symbolic, and spiritual levels”2 of the Nubian Nile valley. On the “physical” or “practical” level they were institutions of the civil and economic administration and centres of redistribution and jurisdiction. They influenced the development of the agricultural production and the forms of landholding and were involved in industrial production. The temples constituted the centres of settlements the existence and development of which largely depended on them. Being determined initially by the settlement pattern found in Nubia by the Eighteenth-Dynasty conqueror, their planned distribution was subsequently a tool of the shaping of Nubia’s political/economic map as an extension of Egypt. On the “symbolic” or “political” level the temples manifested the power of Pharaoh. On the “spiritual” level they were the dwelling places of the gods who established and perpetuated the royal power and sustained mankind in return for the worship and offerings they received from the ruler and 1 From the Osiris hymn on the Eighteenth Dynasty stela of Amenmose, Lichtheim 1976 84. “Sunfolk”: the Egyptians and the whole mankind. 2 Kemp 1978 23.


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the people. The idea of mankind including the peoples of the far-off lands as it appears in the hymn quoted at the head of this chapter also occurs in the illustration of the fifth hour in the New Kingdom Book of the Gates in which Horus stands before the four races of mankind: the Egyptians, Asiatics, Nubians and Libyans, who are all under the protection of the gods in the next world.3 It is equally obvious on the practical, political and religious levels that the temples were means of, and manifested the unity of Nubia with Egypt. The task of the temples and their learned priesthood was to formulate and profess the divine origins of kingship in rite, visual image, written and spoken word and to present a discourse on the m A #tdetermined4 functioning of reciprocity and solidarity between the gods and the king, the king and the people. It is frequently suggested that the ethical principles formulated in the Egyptian myth of the state—i.e., the myth on the legitimacy and functions of kingship5—were not perceived beyond an extremely small audience, viz., the literate upper classes.6 A similar restriction of knowledge7 is also supposed in the case of Nubia, where literacy was limited to a small number of specialized priests who composed administrative documents and temple inscriptions of a monumental character8 and some exceptional members of the native elite who received a high-level Egyptian education (Chapter XI.1). It may be objected, however, that not only were the basic concepts of kingship ideology, especially the god-king relationship, proclaimed in the form of powerful images on the temple walls, which were visible to all people, but also many “politically” relevant inscriptions were erected in the forecourts of the temples. These texts functioned as “national archives” and the priests recited their text to the illiterate providing thus 3 E. Hornung: Die Unterweltsbücher der Ägypter. Zürich–München 1992 233 f.; also quoted by Zibelius-Chen 1988 218 f. Cf. K. Jansen-Winkeln: Zur Charakterisierung der Nachbarvölker der Ägypter im “Pfortenbuch”. AoF 25 (1998) 374–379. 4 On the concept of m A #t, “order”, “Equity”, in the world view of New Kingdom Egypt, see Assmann 1990. 5 For the term embracing the less comprehensive terms of “kingship ideology” and “ideology of the state” cf. J. Bergman: Zum “Mythus vom Staat” im Alten Ägypten. in: H. Biezais (ed.): The Myth of the State. Stockholm 1972 80–102; Assmann 1990 passim and esp. 54, 200 ff. 6 Baines 1995a 46. 7 J. Baines: Restricted Knowledge, Hierarchy, and Decorum: Modern Perceptions and Ancient Institutions. JARCE 27 (1990) 1–23. 8 Cf. J. Assmann: Die ägyptische Schriftkultur. in: H. Günther–O. Ludwig (eds): Schrift und Schriftlichkeit. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch internationaler Forschung I. Berlin–New York 1994 472–491.

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the bases for an oral tradition. The “archives” function of the temple forecourts, which were accessible to the people, is exemplified, e.g., by the extensive series of inscriptions of Nubian viceroys and other Nubian dignitaries of the Thutmoside and Ramesside periods exhibited in the forecourts of the Khnum temple at Kumma9 and the South Temple at Buhen10 and in the outer court of Rameses II’s temple at Amara West.11 Basic ideas of vertical solidarity were conveyed by the system of redistribution as well as by the daily functioning of a clericalized administration and jurisdiction. The divinity of the ruler could be experienced through the cult of the colossal royal statues, which were considered helpers and intermediaries during times of need. The function of the deified ruler and his shrine is manifested in the name of Amenhotep III’s Soleb temple above the main gate: “The gateway of Amenhotep the Ruler of Thebes, Nb-M A #t-R #-Who-Hears-Prayers”.12 1.2. The Adoption of the Traditional Local Cults 1.2.1. The Beginnings At an early stage of the conquest, Ahmose’s viceroy Ahmose Turoy erected a gate at the North Temple at Buhen. From his construction work a doorjamb is preserved with the representation of the king and his mother Ahhotep offering to Horus of Buhen and Amun-Min,13 the ithyphallic manifestation of Amun of Thebes. The original temple was built by Sobekemhab II and his son Sopedhor, members of the Egyptian expatriate family of Ka, in the Second Intermediate Period while they were in the service of the ruler of Kerma.14 One of the stelae erected by Ka’s family in this temple reveals that Sobekemhab II was priest of the deified Senusret III15 (cf. Chapter VII). As shown by an Early Dynastic rock-cut inscription invoking Horus and Isis on the south face of a hill at the Old Kingdom town, the PM VII 152, 155. PM VII 133 ff. 11 PM VII 159 (1)–(3). 12 Schiff Giorgini 1961 186, fig. 3.—Nb-M A #t-R, “The-lord-of-Ma#at-is-Re”: Amenhotep III’s throne name. 13 Smith 1976 206. 14 PM VII 129 ff.; Caminos 1974. For the building history of the North Temple at Buhen, see S.T. Smith 1995 118 ff. 15 For a survey of the monuments of the cult of the deified Senusret III, see recently K. El-Enany: Le “dieu” nubien Sésostris III. BIFAO 104 (2004) 207–213. 9



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origins of the Horus cult at Buhen go back to the times when Egypt made her first attempts at the control of Lower Nubia16 (Chapter IV.1). After the Middle Kingdom conquest the cult of Horus, patron of foreign lands, was introduced in the forts built in the Second Cataract region. In the course of the Middle Kingdom occupation local cults of the “Horus gods of T A-sty (Nubia)”—as they would be called in the text of the Kuban Stela of Rameses II17—emerged from the original cult of Horus, “Lord of T A-sty (Nubia)”. From the early Eighteenth Dynasty onwards we meet the cults of Horus “Lord of B Akj (Kuban)”, Horus “Lord of M"ı #m (Aniba)”, Horus “Lord of Bhn (Buhen)”, and, somewhat later, of Horus “Lord of M-h. A (Abu Simbel)”.18 The example of Sobekemhab II’s and Sopedhor’s pious building activity shows that the cult of the local Horus of Buhen survived the end of the Middle Kingdom occupation and continued to be maintained by the Egyptian expatriates (and perhaps by acculturated Nubians). We have reasons to suppose that the case was similar at Kuban and Aniba. Sobekemhab II’s priesthood in the cult of the deified Senusret III—the place of which was probably the Horus temple built by his family—might be interpreted as an evidence for the Egyptian expatriates’ intellectual opposition against their Kerman overlords. In Egypt, Senusret III was remembered indeed as the conqueror of Nubia (for his actual achievement, see Chapter VI.1). In Nubia, his boundary stela of Year 16 erected at Semna19 and, in a duplicate, at Uronarti20 formulated his image as builder of the Egyptian Empire21 (cf. Chapters II.3, VI.1, 2). Since Thutmose III built temples at both Semna West and Uronarti in which the deified Senusret III was worshipped, and since the Uronarti stela was found in front of the Thutmose III temple dedicated to the cult of Dedwen, Montu and Senusret III,22 it may also be supposed that the aforementioned boundary stelae remained standing at their original place and were visible until they were reverently re-erected in Thutmose III’s shrines. Senusret III’s cult in the North Smith 1972; Wilkinson 1999 180 f. KRI II 353 ff., line 24. 18 Cf. Säve-Söderbergh 1941 201 f. 19 Berlin 1157, from Semna West. Exact provenance unknown. 20 Khartoum 451, for the provenance, see PM VII 143. 21 Cf. C.J. Eyre: The Semna Stelae: Quotation, Genre, and Functions of Literature. in: S. Israelit-Groll (ed.): Studies in Egyptology Presented to Miriam Lichtheim. Jerusalem 1990 134–165. 22 PM VII 143; C. Van Siclen III: The Chapel of Sesostris III at Uronarti. San Antonio 1982. 16 17

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Temple at Buhen was probably less “politically” motivated than in Egypt: it may rather be interpreted as the survival of a local divine cult in one of those Middle Kingdom forts in which Egyptian expatriates continued to function as officials in the service of the ruler of Kerma. The popular cult, or rather a cult cultivated by an elite of mixed ethnic origins, of the deified Senusret III is also attested in the Eighteenth Dynasty rock shrine at Gebel Agg c. 5 km north of Toshka where Humay, “Medjay of His Majesty”,23 i.e., a soldier, commissioned a relief representing five members of his family—among them his brother Seninefer, “Herdsman of the Cattle of Horus, Lord of Aniba”—adoring Horus of Aniba, the deified Senusret III and the Syrian warrior god Reshep24 (for the Medjay, see Chapter VI.2). Bruce Williams suggested recently that the use of caves as shrines was a Nubian tradition “which led… to the colossal rock-cut temple at Abu Simbel and the templecomplexes at Gebel Barkal”25 (see, however, Chapters III.6, VIII.2.1). A rich ceramic deposit associated with the shrine at Gebel Agg, also containing sherds of Pan-Grave, i.e., Medjay, vessels, indicates that it was (also) a place of “inofficial” worship where the local population had direct access to the gods who accepted their offerings and listened to their prayers. Places of popular religiosity, yet sponsored by the conqueror and provided with representations conveying a clear political message, may also be identified in rock shrines at Qasr Ibrim dating from the reign of Thutmose III as sole ruler (after c. 1453 BC). On the lintel of the entrance to No. 2 of Porter–Moss,26 the cartouche of Thutmose III is flanked by Horus of Aniba and the cataract goddess Satet.27 In the naos of the same shrine there stood two double statues, one representing Thutmose III with Horus of Aniba, the other Thutmose III with Satet. In No. 4, decorated by Nehy, viceroy of Thutmose III, on the south wall Horus of Aniba, Horus of Buhen, Hathor of Faras (?), Horus of Kuban, Khnum, Satet, and Anuket were shown before Amun-Re (!). On the north wall Nehy was depicted in the company of other officials Weigall 1907 Pl. 66, cf. Säve-Söderbergh 1941 203. Simpson 1963 36 ff., Pl. XXII.—Reshep had a sanctuary in the Delta where he formed a triad with Min and the Syrian goddess Qadesha, cf. Redford 1992 232 f. For the god, see W. Fulco: The Canaanite God Reshep. New Haven 1976. 25 Williams 2007 399, and see B.B. Williams: The Cave Shrine and the Gebel. in: Czerny–Hein et al. (eds) 2006 149–158. 26 PM VII 93. 27 For the cataract goddesses, see Valbelle 1981. 23 24


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presenting tribute to Thutmose III. On the same wall also Min of Coptos and Isis were represented.28 A tribute scene was shown in No. 1 too, a shrine sponsored by Amenhotep II’s viceroy, Usersatet. Here the tribute received by the king, who appears in the protection of Satet, comes from the exotic south. On the other wall the king, protected by Horus of Buhen, offers to Khnum, Satet, Anuket, Sopdu and Hathor, further to Nekhbet, the goddess of the crown of Upper Egypt.29 It should be noted here that Satet and Anuket were apparently of Nubian origin.30 It would thus seem that the early New Kingdom temple cults of the deified Senusret III established (or rather re-established) at the Second Cataract forts of Kumma (Thutmose II)31 and Semna (Thutmose III) as well as the cults of other regional deities32 may be regarded as revivals of local cults33 that continued to exist under Kerman rule too. The reestablishment of Senusret III’s local cults was of course also supported by the Eighteenth Dynasty’s deep affinity toward the Twelfth Dynasty and its model rulers Senusret I, Senusret III and Amenemhat III. At Kumma the great Middle Kingdom ruler would still be worshipped in the reign of Rameses II, when the viceroy Heqanakht (between c. 1276– 1259 BC) acted as priest of the deified Senusret III in the temple of Khnum and Senusret III.34 One cannot fail to notice the ambivalence inherent in the decision of the Egyptian designers of Nubian religious policy to support Middle Kingdom regional cults such as those of Senusret III and Khnum: the first was also remembered as the conqueror of Lower Nubia, while one of the current epithets of the latter was jtnw pdwt, “Opponent of the ¯ Bows”35 (see below).

PM VII 93. PM VII 92; Caminos 1968.—Sopdu, “Lord of the East”, was worshipped together with Hathor in the rock shrines at Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai, cf. PM VII 347 ff.; D. Valbelle–C. Bonnet: Le sanctuaire d’Hathor maîtresse de la turquoise. Paris 1996 38 f. 30 Säve-Söderbergh 1941 200 f., with note 5. 31 PM VII 152. 32 PM VII 145 ff. 33 Cf. Säve-Söderbergh 1941 203. 34 Stela of Heqanakht from the fort, Dunham–Janssen 1960 124. 35 Cf. Wb I 146. 28 29

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1.2.2. From Ahmose to Thutmose III The composition of the cults in the temples built, extended and restored in the course of the reigns of Ahmose, Amenhotep I, Thutmose I, Thutmose II, Thutmose III, and Hatshepsut indicates a cleverly calculated, conciliatory and at the same time imperialistic religious policy the pillars of which were the renewal of local and regional cults established under the Middle Kingdom domination, the introduction of the cult of Amun-Re, “King of the Gods”, and the adoption of the ruler as Amun-Re’s representative on earth into the community of the gods.36 Thutmose III’s throne name Mn-hpr-R#, “Enduring are the manifestations of Re” (?), declared the king’s˘ assimilation to Amun-Re, which was propagated on thousands and thousands of scarabs manufactured during the next centuries: Mn-hpr-R# was a cryptogram of “Amun”, while the scarab itself a symbol of˘ the sun-god Re.37 As shown by a stela dedicated by Djehutyhotep, Prince of Teh-khet,38 the deified Menkheperre (throne name of Thutmose III) was worshipped already in his lifetime as local god of Teh-khet (see also Chapter XI.1). The first moments of this policy’s unfolding are evidenced by two monuments found in the shrine built by Ahmose in a fortified town founded by him on the island of Sai (cf. Chapter IX.1). The shrine was dedicated to Amun-Re and Horus “Lord of Nubia”, indicating that the conquest was achieved with the help of, and protected by, the supreme gods of both Egypt and Nubia. While a Middle Kingdom-style seated sandstone statue of the founder wearing the jubilee (h. b-sd) cloak39 bears a dedication only to the Egyptian Amun Re, an iconographically and stylistically closely associated statue of his successor, Amenhotep I,40 was already dedicated to an Egyptian and a Nubian deity, viz., to the " Theban Imn-R # nb ns.wt t A.wj, “Amun-Re Lord of the Thrones of Two36 On religion in the Eighteenth Dynasty, see J. Assmann: Re und Amun: Die Krise des polytheistischen Weltbilds im Ägypten der 18.-20. Dynastie. Göttingen 1983 (English trans. by A. Alcock: Egyptian Solar Religion in the New Kingdom: Re, Amun, and the Crisis of Polytheism. London–New York 1995); id.: Ägypten: Theologie und Frömmigkeit einer frühen Hochkultur. Stuttgart–Berlin 1984 221 ff. 37 E. Hornung–E. Staehelin: Skarabäen und andere Siegelamulette aus Basler Sammlungen. Mainz 1976 174 ff.; B. Jaeger: Essai de classification et datation des scarabées Menkheperrê. Göttingen 1982; Baines 1995a 25. 38 Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 196 f. C2. 39 Khartoum 3823 and 63/4/4, Lindblad 1984 20 f., Pls 7, 8/a, b; Sourouzian 1994 514 No. 23; Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 fig. 79. 40 Khartoum 63/4/5, Lindblad 1984 27 f., Pls 7/a, b, 12; Sourouzian 1994 514 No. 24; W.V. Davies in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 102 f. Cat. 76.


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lands” and Dedwen, “Lord of T A-sty (Nubia)”.41 Dedwen appears as “Lord of T A-sty” ever since the Pyramid Texts and it is supposed that the Nubian Horus gods derived from him.42 On Thutmose III’s Seventh Pylon at Karnak it would be Dedwen who presents the king with the Southern Foreign Lands. Similarly, Dedwen would destroy the evilminded (h Akw ı"b) among the Nubians ("ıwnt"ıw sty) in Hatshepsut’s temple ¯ at Deir el-Bahari.43 The invocation of Dedwen at Sai after the first successful phase of Lower Nubia’s reconquest and en route to the conquest of the kingdom of Kerma seems to have been motivated by this particular pro-Egyptian interpretation of Dedwen, “Lord of T A-sty”. Nevertheless, the possibility should not be left out of consideration, either, that the native Nubians worshipped Dedwen as a native deity under the Middle Kingdom and the Kerman domination and that the religious policy conceived in the early Eighteenth Dynasty was aware of this and made political use of the Nubians’ devotion towards gods whom they regarded their own. Such a “use” of gods traditionally associated with Lower Nubia is prevalent in the temples founded in the reigns of Thutmose II, Thutmose III and Hatshepsut, and Thutmose III as sole ruler. Let us start our survey with the temple standing in the Middle Kingdom fortress of Kumma (Semna East, Egyptian Jtnw pdwt, “Opponent ¯ of the Bows”).44 With the re-conquest the fortress lost its military significance and became a small civil settlement.45 Thutmose II (1492– 1479 BC) rebuilt, extended and (re?)-decorated there a Middle Kingdom sanctuary.46 The decoration was continued by Hatshepsut and

For Dedwen’s Nubian origin, see E. Otto: Dedun. LÄ I (1974) 1003–1004. Säve-Söderbergh 1941 201. 43 Naville 1898 11; Urk. IV 315 f., also quoted by Säve-Söderbergh 1951 152 and Zibelius-Chen 1988 210. 44 Cf. stela Khartoum 2482 from Kumma temple, Dunham–Janssen 1960 124 f. 45 Dunham–Janssen 1960 114. 46 Dunham–Janssen 1960 116 ff.; Hein 1991 51.—The rebuilding, extension, and (re?)decoration of an earlier sanctuary also seems to be indicated by the irregular ground plan and the chronology of the names in the court and the hypostyle. In the court, there is a graffito of Viceroy Seni who was in office under the reigns of Amenhotep I, Thutmose I and II and is attested until c. Year 2 of Thutmose IIIHatshepsut. The door to the hypostyle is inscribed for Thutmose II, similarly to the outer lintel and jambs of the door leading from the hypostyle to the hall of the offering tables (?, Room III of Porter–Moss) where the name of Seni also appears. The inner face of the same door was inscribed, however, already for Hatshepsut, and a side door connecting the hypostyle and Room III for Thutmose III. 41 42

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Thutmose III and completed by Amenhotep II (1427–1400 BC).47 As indicated by the reliefs of the hypostyle started under Thutmose II and finished under Thutmose III-Hatshepsut, the temple was dedicated originally to two deities, viz., Khnum, the god of the First Cataract, " pdwt, bringer of the inundation,48 and his hypostasis, Khnum of Itnw ¯ i.e., Kumma.49 The duality of the cult in the temple is also obvious from the assymmetrically placed twin sanctuaries opening from a transversal pronaos, which opens, in turn, from a curious hall with one single column standing off-centre. The reliefs of the northern one of the twin sanctuaries show Amenhotep II before Khnum50 and the enthroned Khnum-Re, who was the dweller of the northern sanctuary.51 In the reliefs of the southern sanctuary the king appears before Khnum.52 In the Middle Kingdom predecessor temple one of these two sanctuaries, perhaps the northern one,53 was the dwelling place of Khnum of Kumma, for whom Amenhotep II separated now a small new sanctuary from the north end of the hall of the offering tables. The main wall scene of this small (local)54 N– S oriented naos represents the king between Khnum of Kumma and Khnum.55 As to the unusually situated room with one single column standing off-centre, a relief on its (local) west wall representing Amenhotep II before Re-Harakhte56 suggests that it was a partly unroofed room57 in which rites for Re-Harakhte were performed. Re-Harakhte was the sun-god in his morning- and day aspects, solar manifestation of Amun, a deity associated with regency, light, and time.58 The PM VII 152 ff.; Dunham–Janssen 1960. E. Otto: Chnum. LÄ I (1974) 950–954; Valbelle 1981 145. 49 PM VII 153 (15).—The iconography of Khnum, Khnum-Re, and Khnum of Kumma is identical in the temple. 50 PM VII 154 (35). 51 PM VII 154 (34), (36); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 76. 52 PM VII 154 (38)–(40); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pls 77–80. 53 The other representation of Khnum of Kumma, carved under Hatshepsut or Thutmose III, is in the centre of the north wall of the hypostile: PM VII 152 (3); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 51. 54 I.e., Nile north and south, not magnetic north and south. 55 PM VII 153 (15). 56 PM VII 154 (20)–(21); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 66, left. 57 According to Dunham–Janssen 1960 121, the (local) north half was found still roofed, “and although the eastern [local southern] has lost its roofing slabs and part of the east [local south] wall, it appears also to have been roofed at a somewhat lower level”. Given the architrave supported by the single off-centre standing column, such an architectural reconstruction seems highly unlikely. 58 Assmann 1976–1977. 47 48


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orientation of the aforementioned relief toward the rising sun also supports this identification, which implies that the hall at Kumma represents a predecessor of the Re-Harakhte chapels of the Nubian TwentyFifth Dynasty Amun temples.59 The cult of Khnum of the First Cataract and the goddesses Satet and Anuket, who formed a triad with him, would also be prominent in other Thutmoside sanctuaries. A local Khnum appears, however, only at Kumma. The uniqueness of Khnum of Kumma as well as the unimportance of the goddesses of the First Cataract in the Kumma reliefs as opposed to other programs including the First Cataract triad support the observation that it was the renewed local and regional cults introduced under the Middle Kingdom domination that constituted the strongest pillar of the early Eighteenth Dynasty’s religious policy in Nubia.60 The creation of Lower Nubia’s new religious landscape started from the communities and sites, which preserved some basic elements of their Egyptianized culture during the times of Kerman occupation. The accent laid on the king’s legitimation by the gods who were worshipped in Middle Kingdom Lower Nubia is particulary strong at Kumma. On the main wall of the hypostyle Thutmose III is conducted by Dedwen into Khnum’s presence;61 on the (local) north wall of the chapel that was separated from the hall of the offering tables Amenhotep II is protected by Khnum of Kumma and Khnum.62 On the main wall of the same hall the king (Thutmose III or Amenhotep II) is shown performing offerings before Khnum, the deified Senusret III and Dedwen;63 on the (local) west wall Thutmose III is represented seated between Khnum and the deified Senusret III.64 From the preserved thirty-seven identifiable divine images, Khnum and his hypostases figure twenty-three times in the reliefs; the deified Senusret III five, Dedwen three times. The importance of Dedwen and the deified Senusret III as guests in the temple is especially obvious from their representation (both shown facing an altar) on the pronaos wall between the doors opening into the twin Khnum sanctuaries.65 It is signalled Cf. Török 2002a 54 f., contra Arnold 1999 60, 277. Cf. M. Schade-Busch: Bemerkungen zum Königsbild Thutmosis’ III. in Nubien. in: Gundlach–Raedler (eds) 1997 211–223. 61 PM VII 152 (5); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 52. 62 PM VII 153 (15). 63 PM VII 153 (16)–(17); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pls 61–64. 64 PM VII 153 (12); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 58. 65 PM VII 154 (32); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 74, right. 59 60

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by the three main wall scenes in the hall of the offering tables too. These show the king (Thutmose III/Amenhotep II) offering to Khnum and Senusret III, to Senusret III alone, and to Khnum and Dedwen, respectively.66 By contrast, the “new” Egyptian deities appearing in the iconographical program play a subordinate role. In the hypostyle Thoth writes the years of Hatshepsut while she stands before Khnum;67 in the hall of the offering tables Thutmose III runs with staves and a bird to Hathor.68 The (local) south wall of the Re-Harakhte (?) chapel is badly damaged, thus its program remains only partly understood. Yet the appearance of Re conducting Amenhotep II to Khnum in what appears to be an election- and investiture cycle on the south wall of this chapel69 as well as the replacement of Khnum of Kumma with KhnumRe in the north sanctuary indicate that, at least in the later phases of the decoration (later reign of Thutmose III—Amenhotep II), Khnum received solar features under the influence of the unfolding Re cult of the early Eighteenth Dynasty.70 Thutmose I restored the Middle Kingdom temple in the fortress of Semna West, situated opposite Kumma, (Egyptian shm H#-k Aw-R # ˘ In˘ the early m A # hrw, “King-Kakaure [Senusret III]-is-Powerful”; Shmt). ˘ of Thutmose III’s co-regency with Hatshepsut it˘ was replaced by years a stone temple,71 which was rebuilt again in the late years of Thutmose III.72 The biography of the viceroy Seni inscribed on its front73 indicates the important role, which was played by this official in the work of restoration under Thutmose I (his name also appears in the forecurt of the temple at Kumma). In its present state of preservation the decoration program appears homogeneous, but some significant changes occurring during the co-regency of Thutmose III and Hatshepsut and Thutmose III’s sole rule are noticed in the decoration of the (local) south front. The reliefs and inscriptions of this front represent PM VII 153 (16)–(17); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pls 61–64. PM VII 152 f. (7); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 54. Hatshepsut’s figure was erased. 68 PM VII 153 (14); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 60. 69 PM VII 154 (22); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 67. 70 For cult places of Re in the form of open courts associated with Eighteenth Dynasty “Houses of Million Years”, see R. Stadelmann: sˇwt-R #w als Kultstätte des Sonnengottes im Neuen Reich. MDAIK 25 (1969) 159–178 165 ff.; id.: Sonnenschatten. LÄ V (1984) 1103–1104 1103; id.: Totentempel III. LÄ VI (1985) 706–711. 71 Dunham–Janssen 1960 8 ff. 72 Cf. Laskowski 2006 213 f. 73 PM VII 145 (1)–(2); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 15A. 66 67


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the investiture of Thutmose III by Dedwen and consist of the following episodes: 1. Thutmose III is crowned by Dedwen,74 2. Thutmose III receives life from Satet,75 3. Thutmose III is received by the Iunmutefpriest (personification of a son-god who is, similarly to Amun-Kamutef, husband/bull of his mother)76 and crowned by Dedwen in the presence of Wadjet, the goddess of the Lower Egyptian crown,77 4. Thutmose III offers a pectoral to Dedwen78 as a symbol of the fulfilment of the chief responsibilities of the ruling king.79 The relief representing episode 1. was first altered to Thutmose III elected by the deified Senusret III in the presence of Satet, then to Hatshepsut receiving life from Satet, finally (at the beginning of Thutmose III’s sole rule) Hatshepsut’s figure and the scene legend were erased and Satet’s figure was recarved.80 Similarly to the (local) south front Thutmose III is also legitimated by Dedwen and the deified Senusret III in the interior reliefs.81 On the local south and north interior walls the statue of Senusret III appears four times in his processional bark.82 One of these scenes to the left of the temple door depicts the emergence of the processional bark from the temple.83 The Egyptianization of the local cults of Dedwen and Senusret III is manifested not only by the investiture cycle or the bark scenes of the interior but also by the appearance of the personification of Thutmose III’s royal ka, i.e., vital force, the most divine aspect of the royal person,84 on the (local) east front (the king accompanied by his ka receives life from Dedwen)85 and in the interior (the king performs an offering before the deified Senusret III).86 The inclusion of AmunRe into the iconographical program is also telling. In the interior, the (local) south side scene of the election of the king by Dedwen87 PM VII 148 (17); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl 26A; cf. Laskowski 2006 213 f. PM VII 148 (18)–(19); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pls 26B, 27. 76 H. te Velde: Iunmutef. LÄ III (1978) 212–213. 77 PM VII 148 (20)–(21); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 28. 78 PM VII 148 (22); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 29. 79 Cf. A. Lohwasser: Die Darstellung der kuschitischen Krönung. in: D. Kurth (ed.): 3. Ägyptologische Tempeltagung. Systeme und Programme der ägyptischen Tempeldekoration. Wiesbaden 1995 163–185 170 ff. 80 Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 26B. 81 PM VII 147 (9), (11), (15); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pls. 20, 25, respectively. 82 PM VII 147 (8), (10), (12), (14). 83 Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 16. 84 Cf. Bell 1985a. 85 PM VII 145 (1); Dunham–Janssen 1960 Pl. 13, top left. 86 PM VII 147 (10), (12). 87 PM VII 147 (9). 74 75

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corresponds with the scene of his election by Amun-Re on the (local) north side.88 The main wall relief of the sanctuary represents the king before Amun-Re,89 as though the actual lord of the temple would be this god. The (local) north front also displays an investiture cycle in which 1. Thutmose III is elected by the deified Senusret III;90 2. his name is written by Thoth;91 3. the king stands before Amun-Re;92 but 4. Montu and Isis conduct him into the presence of Dedwen.93 During the Second Intermediate Period two temples functioned at Buhen, viz., the North Temple in the outer fort, a Middle Kingdom temple rebuilt by Sopedhor (see Chapter X.1.2.1) and restored (?) by Ahmose’s viceroy Ahmose Turoy; and the South Temple in the inner fort.94 The monuments of the family of Ka and Sopedhor and the lintel of Turoy do not leave any doubt that the North Temple was dedicated originally to Horus of Buhen. By the reign of Thutmose I (?), in the area occupied earlier by the North Temple there stood a workshop and granary complex,95 which would then be replaced in the reign of Amenhotep II with a temple dedicated to Isis (Chapter X.1.2.3). On the place of the Middle Kingdom South Temple Hatshepsut built a shrine dedicated to Horus of Buhen. It is a fine example of the Thutmoside peripteral temple type.96 Another peripteral temple was built at Amada in the later reign of Thutmose III (see below). The architecture of both the South Temple at Buhen and the Amada temple was influenced by Hatshepsut’s peripteral Satet sanctuary at Elephantine.97 The original peripteral temple at Buhen was enlarged by Thutmose III in Year 23 (i.e., shortly after the beginning of the king’s sole rule)98 with a monumental forecourt with decorated columns and pillars. Horus of Buhen was worshipped by the Egyptianized Nubian princes of Teh-khet whose

PM VII 147 (13). PM VII 147 (16). 90 PM VII 148 (23). 91 PM VII 148 (24). 92 PM VII 148 (25). 93 PM VII 148 (26). 94 Cf. S.T. Smith 1995 116 ff. 95 S.T. Smith 120. 96 Arnold 1992 fig. p. 77 repeats the reconstruction of the temple front presented by Borchardt 1938 35 ff., figs 11, 16, Bl. 11, 12. For an improved reconstruction, see G. Haeny: Basilikale Anlagen in der ägyptischen Baukunst des Neuen Reiches. Wiesbaden 1970 11, 84 f. notes 21, 22, fig. 5/d. 97 Borchardt 1938 44 ff. 98 Caminos 1974 Pl. 10; Laskowski 2006 212. 88 89


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centre was situated c. 25–30 km to the north of the fortress of Buhen (cf. Chapter XI.1). The iconographical program of the original temple was designed for Hatshepsut, but her figure was altered to Thutmose III in several scenes in the last years of the latter’s sole rule, when also her names were replaced with names of Thutmose II and III in the scene legends. In the preserved decoration Horus of Buhen appears on the walls of the room behind the sanctuary,99 on the south wall of the northern side chapel100 and on the south front where Satet, Horus, and Neith are also represented.101 On the south front Hatshepsut is followed by her royal ka into the presence of Horus of Buhen, Horus, and Neith.102 On the north front she appears before Horus, Anuket, Seshat (?), and Satet.103 The divine aspect of the ruler is emphasized by the appearance of the royal ka in several scenes, further by the representation of Hatshepsut’s investiture by Amun and her presentation by the Iunmutef-priest104 and a scene on the north wall of the sanctuary representing the bark of Thutmose III.105 The devotion of the indigenous elite is exemplified by two statues and two stelae offered to Horus of Buhen by Amenemhet, Prince of Teh-khet.106 The temple of Thutmose III and Hatshepsut107 at Kuban is not preserved and it remains obscure whether it was built on the place of a Middle Kingdom shrine. According to secondarily used inscribed blocks,108 it was dedicated to the local Horus god, i.e., Horus, “Lord of B Ak (Kuban)”. The temples dating from the sole rule of Thutmose III display a shift toward the cult of Egyptian deities, a change that is more radical at a traditional centre like Amada in one of Lower Nubia’s fertile zones (for the C-Group settlement of Areika near Amada, see Chapter VI.2) than in rock shrines like those at Qasr Ibrim (see Chapter X.1.2.1) or Ellesiya. PM VII 137 (36), (39). PM VII 136 (18). 101 PM VII 137 (40)–(41). 102 PM VII 137 (40)–(41). 103 PM VII 137 (42)–(43). 104 PM VII 136 (15). 105 PM VII 136 (24)–(25). 106 Statues: Khartoum 92, Pennsylvania 10980: PM VII 138; Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 193 f. B1, B2; stelae: Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 194 ff. B3, B4. 107 For a Hatshepsut block, see PM VII 41. 108 PM VII 82 f.; S. Donadoni: Quban. LÄ V (1983) 52–53; Hein 1991 11 ff. 99


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The fine, small temple at Amada109 was started under the co-regency of Thutmose III with Amenhotep II (c. 1427–1425 BC)110 and completed by Amenhotep II as also indicated by the stela of Amenhotep II dated to his Year 3 on the main wall of the sanctuary.111 Rebuilding the forecourt of Amenhotep II, Thutmose IV added a hypostyle. The original temple belonged to the Thutmoside type of peripteral temple. It replaced probably a Middle Kingdom shrine whose cult remains unknown. The temple was dedicated to Amun-Re and ReHarakhte,112 who are present in both the local northern and southern temple halves.113 The temple was called, however, h. wt n h. h rnpwt, “Mansion of Millions of Years”, indicating the uniting of king and god.114 Though the well-composed iconographical program of the interior was conceived in the joint regency of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II, it was executed in its entirety under Amenhotep II.115 It presents the legitimation of the builders by Amun-Re and Re-Harakhte in a balanced manner, but it secures very little place to other Egyptian deities and hardly any to a “Nubian” god or the cataract gods. In the investiture cycle of the vestibule Amenhotep is shown being purified by Thoth and Horus.116 Hathor and Horus of Edfu appear on the local south (!) wall of the local south side room,117 yet Horus of Edfu embraces Amen109 H. Gauthier: Le temple d’Amada. Le Caire 1913; P. Barguet–H. El-Achirie–M. Dewachter et al.: Le temple d’Amada. Le Caire 1967. 110 For the joint rule, see recently P. der Manuelian: The End of the Reign and the Accession of Amenhotep II. in: Cline–O’Connor (eds) 2006 413–429 420 ff. 111 C. Kuentz: Deux stèles d’Amenophis II. Le Caire 1925 15 ff.; Laskowski 2006 221 ff. 112 Sanctuary, main wall, upper register: Amenhotep II in bark offers wine to ReHarakhte and Amun-Re, PM VII 70 f. (49); south (local north!) side chapel, local south wall, upper register: Thutmose III performs the rites of the foundation, construction, inauguration of the temple before Amun; lower register: same rites before Re-Harakhte. For the Egyptian rite of the rdj pr n nb=f, “presenting the house to its owner”, see P. Montet: Le rituel de fondation des temples égyptiens. Kêmi 17 (1964) 74–100; K. Zibelius-Chen: Tempelgründung. LÄ VI (1985) 385–386. 113 The actual appearances of the two deities clearly contradict Laskowski’s statement (2006 223) that the northern part “is devoted to Re-Harakhte”, while “the southern part of the temple is decorated with representations of Amun-Re”. Laskowski does not seem to realize, either, that at Amada magnetic north=Nile south, magnetic south=Nile north. 114 Cf. G. Haeny: Zur Funktion der “Häuser für Millionen Jahre”. in: Gundlach– Rochholz (eds) 1994 101–106; Haeny 1997; Leblanc 1997. 115 Cf. Laskowski 2006 224 f. 116 PM VII 70 (34); for the scene cf. A. Gardiner: The Baptism of the Pharao. JEA 36 (1950) 3–12. 117 PM VII 71 (54).


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hotep II also on the local north wall of the local north side chapel.118 As to the “Nubian” cults, on the local north wall of the vestibule Thutmose III is accompanied into the presence of Re-Harakhte by Horus of Aniba,119 and in a scene on the local north wall of the sanctuary Amenhotep II is conducted by Satet into Amun-Re’s presence.120 While the reliefs of the original front present Re-Harakhte and Amun-Re as the lords of the temple, the “Nubian” gods and the cataract gods receive in them a far greater role. The three scenes on the right (local north) half of the façade show (from the outer end of the wall to the door) Thutmose III 1. before Khnum, 2. embraced by Re-Harakhte, 3. standing before Amun.121 The two scenes on the local south half of the façade represent (from the outer end of the wall to the door) 1. Thutmose III conducted by two unidentifiable gods to the sanctuary, 2. the king, followed by Anuket, being embraced by ReHarakhte.122 The sanctuary scene in which Amenhotep II is conducted by Satet into the presence of Amun-Re and the association of Amun and ReHarakhte with Khnum and of Re-Harakhte with Anuket on the temple front reflect a process of merging of Khnum and Amun. Under Thutmose III a feast of Amun was celebrated at Elephantine,123 where a chapel dedicated to Amun is also attested, in which the god was accompanied by Satet and Anuket.124 The assimilation of Khnum and Amun was promoted probably by the establishment of the cult of the ram-headed Amun-Re in Thebes, whose sanctuary at Luxor corresponded as “Theban Napata” to the remote southern sanctuary of the ram-headed Nubian Amun. The image of the enthroned ramheaded Nubian Amun appeared first in Thutmose I’s monument at Hagr el-Merwa (see Chapter II.4). His first cult temple was erected by Thutmose III at Napata. Both Amun of Napata and Amun of Luxor were bringers of the inundation, similarly to Amun of Kawa (cf. Chapter IX.2.3.3). From the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty period Amun of Kawa

118 119 120 121 122 123 124

PM VII 72 f. (71)–(72). PM VII 70 (39). PM VII 70 (47). PM VII 69 (26)–(27). PM VII 69 (24)–(25). Urk. IV 824.6, 10; Pamminger 1992 101. Urk. IV 825.10–12; 826.3; Valbelle 1981 14 f.; Kormysheva 2004 112.

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would appear with iconographical features of Khnum and be worshipped in Nubia together with Satet and Anuket.125 The temple in the enlarged fort of Aniba was dedicated to Horus, “Lord of M"ı #m (Aniba)”. It renewed the cult of its Middle Kingdom predecessor.126 The decorated and inscribed blocks preserved from the temple present no detailed information about its iconographical program or the identity of the deities worshipped there at the side of the local Horus. Steindorff published the blocks as remains of a sanctuary built by Thutmose III. More recently, it was found that the name and epithet fragments preserved on the inscribed blocks may be reconstructed as those of Thutmose I and Thutmose IV.127 Horus of Aniba was also worshipped in the rock chapel at Ellesiya executed towards the end of Thutmose III’s sole rule.128 Here we may also notice signs for the assimilation of Amun with Khnum. Despite its small dimensions, the walls of the shrine display a complex iconographical program articulating in a subtle manner the unity and equilibrium of the gods traditionally worshipped in Nubia on the one hand, and those introduced after the reconquest, on the other. In the naos stood the statues of Satet, Thutmose III and Horus of Aniba. The iconographical program is summarized in Table D: Table D. The Iconographical Program of the Rock Shrine at Ellesiya (entrance at the bottom of the table) local north half

local south half

in the naos sculptures of Horus of Aniba + T. III. + Satet 129 naos local north wall

naos local south wall

T. III. offers wine to Satet T. III. offers incense to Amun-Re T. III. offers wine to Horus of Aniba

T. III. offers bread to Thoth T. III. offers milk to Horus of Aniba T. III. before Horus

Cf. Török 2002a 80 ff., 173 ff., 187 ff. Steindorff 1937 20 ff.; PM VII 81. 127 Laskowski 2006 211 f. 128 El-Achirie et al. 1968; PM VII 90 f.; for the stela dated to Year 52 (c. 1427 BC) of Thutmose III at the entrance, see LD Text V 115, top; Weigall 1907 114. 129 Probably under Rameses II, the figure of Satet was altered into Horus of Aniba and the figure of Horus of Aniba into Amun of Karnak. The alterations were connected to the re-dedication of the temple to Amun of Karnak, see Klug 2002 175. 125 126


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Table D continued hall local east wall T. III. offers to seated Amun-Re T. III. embraced by Anuket (?) local north wall T. III. embraced by Montu T. III. offers wine to Min T. III. offers libation to Amun-Re T. III. offers milk to Khnum local west wall T. III. embraced by Satet and Anuket T. III. before Horus of Aniba T. III. receives life from Horus

T. III. offers to Horus of Aniba T. III. embraced by Satet T. III. receives life from Satet T. III. offers wine to Horus of Aniba T. III. enthroned between Mut and Wadjet T. III. receives life from Horus of Buhen T. III. offers wine to Hathor T. III. before deified Senusret III T. III. embraced by Dedwen T. III. offers incense to Sopdu

When compared with the iconographical program of the nearly contemporary temple of Amada, the Ellesiya program appears rather conservative with its accents that are similar to the early Thutmoside programs at Semna, Kumma, and Buhen. Yet the statue of Thutmose III appearing between the local Horus of nearby Aniba, seat of the Deputy of Wawat, and Satet, Lady of Elephantine, a goddess associated with the inundation130 indicates the ruler’s complete adoption into the community of the gods. More precisely, into the community of the gods of Lower Nubia between the First and the Second Cataracts: for Horus of Aniba is one of the ancient Horus gods of Lower Nubia, while the triad of Elephantine, i.e., Khnum, Satet and Anuket represent the area of the First Cataract, which was considered traditionally as the border between Egypt and Nubia (cf. Chapters II.1–3). Significantly, the scene representing the king offering to Khnum on the local north wall of the hall corresponds with a scene on the local south wall showing the king receiving life from Horus of Buhen. This symmetry was meant to suggest the identification of the two cataract regions and establish a relationship between their gods. Indeed, Satet and Anuket are called “Mistresses of the southern Elephantine”, i.e., of Buhen, at both Faras131 and Buhen.132 The prominence in the relief program of these deities and the Nubian local Horus gods may be explained with the strength of the religious traditions of the Aniba-Qasr Ibrim region. 130 131 132

Cf. Valbelle 1981. Karkowski 1981 25 ff., 59 f. Säve-Söderbergh 1941 201.

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The rock shrines of Qasr Ibrim date from a fairly long period of time and were executed by viceroys of Thutmose III, Amenhotep II and Rameses II. The composition of the deities represented in them shows, however, similar preferences. It is important to note that stelae and secondary inscriptions at the entrance of the Ellesiya shrine attest the devotion of several high officials of the Lower Nubian administration from the reign of Thutmose III to Rameses II.133 As we have seen in Chapter X.1.2.2, the first temple founded at Sai south of the Second Cataract was dedicated to Amun of Thebes and Horus Lord of Nubia. The enthroned ram-headed Amun-Re wearing a sun-disc and a feathered headdress with an uraeus at the front appears first on Thutmose I’s Hagr el-Merwa monument,134 but the earliest mention of a shrine dedicated to this god appears only in Thutmose III’s Gebel Barkal stela from Year 47 (c. 1432 BC).135 According " to the recent literature, the image and the cult of Imn-R # nb nswt t A.wj, " “Amun-Re Lord of the Thrones of Two-lands”, also called Imn-R # nb nswt t A.wj h. rj-"ıb dw w #b, “Amun-Re Lord of the Thrones of Two-lands ¯ who resides in Pure-mountain [= Gebel Barkal]”, a god who adopted the epithet of Amun of Thebes designating the god as king of the gods of Egypt, emerged from the unification of the Egyptian Amun-Re with a native ram136 god specially associated with the Gebel Barkal. There existed close ties between the cults of Amun-Re of Luxor and AmunRe of Napata. It is also suggested that the cult of Amun-Re of Luxor originated in the cult of Amun-Re of Napata and that the Luxor temple was originally erected for the cult of the ram-headed Amun dwelling in Pure-mountain. In this reconstruction, the Opet festival of Amun also visualized the integration of Amun of Karnak with Amun of Napata.137 Since so far no traces of Thutmose III’s Napatan shrine have been found, the identity of the deities appearing in its iconographical program remains unknown. Turning to the region north of Napata, there can be little doubt that the temple founded by Thutmose III at Dokki Gel next to the abandoned town of Kerma was dedicated to AmunRe of Pnubs, another deity emerging from the fusion of a native local deity with Amun-Re. The iconography of the early temple(s) at Dokki PM VII 91 (a)-(f). Davies 2001 figs 3, 4. 135 Urk. IV 1228; trans. Cumming 1982 1. 136 For the Nubian origin of the ram species occurring in the iconography of Amun of Luxor: Behrens 1986. 137 For the connections, see Pamminger 1992. For the cult of the Luxor temple, see also Bell 1985a. 133 134


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Gel remains unknown, however (cf. Chapter IX.2.3.2). An Eighteenth Dynasty private stela from Kerma depicts the enthroned humanheaded Amun of Pnubs wearing a double-feather headdress.138 The remains of another Upper Nubian shrine from Thutmose III’s reign, viz., the small rock chapel at Gebel Dosha south of Sedeinga on the west bank, are somewhat more informative.139 The identity of the three seated statues in its sanctuary niche cannot be established, though it is likely that the one in the centre represented the king140 whose image was probably flanked by Horus and Hathor, since Horus appears on the main wall of the chapel south of the niche,141 Hathor on the other side.142 A scene preserved in the interior to the right of the chapel entrance represents Thutmose III offering to the deified Senusret III.143 A stela in the rock above the chapel144 depicts Sety I before Khnum, Satet and Anuket, further the kneeling figure of Amenemipet, viceroy of Sety I (1294–1279 BC). The stela was commissioned by Amenemipet and it shows that the cataract gods—who may have been among the now destroyed representations in the chapel—still enjoyed popular worship in this region two centuries after Thutmose III’s reign. Another, undated, stela depicts a scribe worshipping Amun-Re (?) and Satet.145 Though the evidence from Upper Nubia is unsatisfactory, the preliminary conclusion may perhaps be drawn that the religious policy in Lower Nubia did not basically differ from that in Upper Nubia as to its three main principles indicated in the introduction of this chapter. The cults of “Nubian” deities such as Dedwen or the deified Senusret III were renewed in Lower Nubia and introduced in Upper Nubia. The case of the cataract gods was the same. As a tendency, the impact of the cult of Amun-Re does not seem to have been radically different in the reconquered and the newly conquered areas, either. However, while in Lower Nubia associations were made between Amun and “Nubian” deities of Egyptian origins, in Upper Nubia the expert priests, who also participated in the creation of the theology of Amun-Re of Luxor, appear to have studied ancient native deities some of whose intriguing 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145

Valbelle 2003 202, fig. 7, Pl. XII. PM VII 167. PM VII 167 (5). PM VII 167 (4). PM VII 167 (3). PM VII 167 (1)–(2). PM VII 167. PM VII 167.

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features were adopted in the cults of the Amuns of Napata, Sanam, Kawa, and Pnubs (Kerma). 1.2.3. Amenhotep II and Thutmose IV The temple decoration work executed at Amada and Kumma in the reign of Amenhotep II (1427–1400 BC) was discussed in the previous chapter as a completion of iconographical programs designed in the reigns of Thutmose III and Hatshepsut. It was in this period that Hatshepsut’s figure and names were erased and/or replaced in many temples in Egypt and Nubia. On the site of the Horus temple of Buhen built in the Second Intermediate Period and restored in the reign of Ahmose (Chapter X.1.2.2) Amenhotep II erected a sanctuary dedicated " sk,147 i.e., Faras (North Temple).148 In the to Isis146 and/or Hathor of Ibˇ temple several stelae were found. Two stelae of Deduantef, Commander of Recruits of Senusret I were found placed at the side walls of the main sanctuary.149 A stela bearing an inscription commemorating the Nubian campaign of Year 18 of Senusret I150 stood originally in the centre of the main wall of the sanctuary. Stelae of Rameses I from Year 2, dedicated by Sety I, and of Sety I from Year 1 were standing in niches flanking the inner side of the temple entrance.151 A votive graffito made by Setmose, viceroy between the late reign of Rameses IX and c. Year 8 of Rameses XI and found on one of the pillars of the forecourt, attests to the long use of a temple, which was associated with traditional local cults. A similar case is represented by the South Temple at Buhen.152 Thutmose IV (1400–1390 BC) rebuilt the forecourt of the temple of Amada (Thutmose III and Amenhotep II, see Chapter X.1.2.2) in the form of an elegant pillared hypostyle the decoration of which conformed to the iconographical program of the original temple.153 In Upper Nubia, the first sandstone temple of the Egyptian settlement at Kerma, Dokki Gel, dedicated to Amun-Re of Pnubs, was erected in

146 Inscriptions on lintel from the door to the hall of the offering tables and on the outer jambs of the south side chapel, PM VII 130 (6), 131 (10). 147 Karkowski 1981 69 note 309. 148 Zibelius 1972 75 ff. 149 PM VII 130 (7), (8). 150 PM VII 130 f. (9). 151 PM VII 129 f. (3), (4). 152 Cf. Hein 1991 41 ff. 153 PM VII 67 f. (9)–(19), pillars I–VI; cf. Van Siclen 1987; Arnold 1992 21.


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Thutmose IV’s reign. The temple consisting of a pylon,154 a porticoed court, a hypostyle, a hall of the offering tables and a tripartite sanctuary was surrounded by bakeries and storerooms and connected to a ceremonial palace. The iconographical program of the temple, demolished half a century later by Akhenaten, remains unknown.155 Blocks of Thutmose IV also indicate building activity at Gebel Barkal.156 1.3. Amenhotep III’s Royal Cult The religious policy of the first century of New Kingdom rule was dominated by the establishment of cults uniting Nubia with Egypt, as it is documented in more or less sufficient detail by the monuments discussed in the previous chapter. The unification of the sacred landscape of the land of the conquered with the land of the conqueror, employing the powerful assistance of the gods, meant the renewal of both the cults of deities of Egyptian origins who became Nubian in the course of the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period and deities of Nubian origins who were Egyptianized in the course of the times but continued to be worshipped in Nubia in their Egyptianized form just because their Nubian origin was not forgotten. A new mode of unification of Nubia with Egypt in the realm of theology, religion and cults emerged with the immense building program157 of Amenhotep III’s reign (1390–1352 BC). While it seems that in Egypt the king was not deified in his lifetime,158 in Nubia he built at Soleb a vast temple159 for the cults of Amun-Re and himself.160 The temple was 154

The only part of the temple which was built from mud-brick. See C. Bonnet’s preliminary excavation reports, Genava 49 (2001) 197–234 209 f.; 51 (2003) 257–280 270 ff.; Valbelle 2003; Bonnet–Valbelle 2004 109. 156 Reisner 1931 76 f. 157 Kozloff–Bryan–Berman 1992; Johnson 1998; A.P. Kozloff: The Decorative and Funerary Arts during the Reign of Amenhotep III. in: O’Connor–Cline (eds) 1998 95– 123; O’Connor 1998a. 158 Bryan 2000 261 ff. contra W.R. Johnson: The Deified Amenhotep III as the Living Re-Horakhty: Stylistic and Iconographic Considerations. International Association of Egyptologists, Congress 6: Atti II. Torino 1993 231–236.—For the problem cf. Habachi 1969 48 ff.; Aldred 1988 151 f.; R.G. Morkot: Nb-M A #t-R #-United-with-Ptah. JNES 49 (1990) 323–337 325 ff. 159 M. Schiff Giorgini–C. Robichon–J. Leclant–N. Beaux: Soleb III. Le temple. Description. Le Caire 2002; M. Schiff Giorgini–C. Robichon–J. Leclant–N. Beaux: Soleb IV. Le temple. Plans et photographies. Le Caire 2003. 160 In the view of Johnson 1998 87 f., “Amenhotep III had united with the sun god while still alive, as a consequence of his first jubilee rites in year 30. It is now possible 155

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called h. wt n h. h rnpwt, “Mansion of Millions of Years”.161 As an inscription in the temple specifies, He [the king] made [the temple] as his monument for his statue “living on the earth Nb-m A #t-R #, Lord of Nubia, the ntr nfr (perfect god)”.162 ¯

The deified king receives the worship of the living pharaoh in a number of scenes preserved from the decoration of the badly ruined building.163 According to Hans Goedicke, Amenhotep III’s hnty #nh, “living ¯ image”,164 embodied the king’s special aspect as nb T A-sty, ˘“Lord of Nubia”.165 Nb-M A #t-R # nb T A-sty h. rj-"ıb H#-m-M A #t, “The Lord of Equity ˘ is Re [= Amenhotep III], Lord of Nubia in Appearing-in-Equity [= Soleb]” was patron god of whole Nubia, not a local deity. Soleb166 and the temple built for the cult of the deified Queen Tiye at nearby Sedeinga167 constituted part of a theological program embracing Egypt from the Delta (i.e., the sanctuaries of Horus-khenty-khety at Athribis and Bastet at Bubastis) to Nubia (Soleb and Sedeinga). In Betsy M. Bryan’s words, [Amenhotep III] consistently identified himself with the national deities, not his deceased predecessors, and he represented himself as the substitute for major gods in a few instances… his buildings document an unparalleled emphasis on solar theology, such that the cults of Nekhbet, Amun, Thoth, and Horus-khenty-khety… were heavily solarized… Trends apparent in 18th Dynasty funerary literature reveal that the sun’s cyclicity and its potential for fertility and famine were manifest in the world and in the ruler[.]168 to say that this theological event was the underlying principle behind Amenhotep III’s deification while alive. Additional criteria indicate that from year 30 until the end of his life, the deified Amenhotep III was considered to be a living manifestation of all deity, with an emphasis on the sun god Ra-Horakhty”. 161 Cf. Haeny 1997; Leblanc 1997. 162 Alternatives: “good god”: H. Frankfort: Kingship and the Gods. Chicago 1955 36; “präsenter Gott”: Blumenthal 1970 24. 163 PM VII 170 (4), 171 (17), (21), (22); Goedicke 1992 18.—See also the stela fragment Khartoum 31216 from Sedeinga showing Amenhotep III offering to Amun of Soleb and his own deified image, C. Berger-El Naggar in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 106 f. Cat. 80. 164 Cf. Grimal 1986 128 ff., esp. 149. 165 Goedicke 1992 18 f. 166 Schiff Giorgini 1965. 167 For preliminary reports on the excavations conducted at Sedeinga in the 1960s, see M. Schiff Giorgini: Kush 9 (1961) 182–209; 10 (1962) 152–169; 12 (1964) 87–95; 13 (1965) 112–130; 14 (1966) 244–261; 15 (1973) 251–268.—For the cult of Tiye, see Morkot 1986. 168 Bryan 2000 264.


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At Soleb the king appears as a moon god,169 one of the eyes of Horus, the lunar eye; while Amon-Ra of Karnak visits the temple as the solar eye.170

Tiye is presented at Sedeinga as Re’s eye that has fled Egypt for Nubia: at Soleb and Sedeinga, pacificatory rites were performed as a result of which each eye was transformed to its benevolent form. The eye of Re joined the deity Nebmaatra [Nb-m A #t-R #] to return to Egypt and restore order (‘Maat’ [Equity]) to the world.171

In O’Connor’s view, the locational patterning of the monuments throughout Egypt [and Nubia] is suggestive. If Athribis/Bubastis and Soleb/Sedeinga are the map’s northern and southern extremes, then Thebes is clearly its approximate … center, as one might expect given… its symbolic role as the center of cults focused on Amon-Ra and the kingship… other monuments seem intentionally placed as spatially intermediate, maybe even mediatory, locations. Thus temples at Hebenu and Hermopolis are about halfway between Athribis/Bubastis and Thebes, and a cluster of Nubian cult structures at [K]uban, Wadi es-Sebua, and maybe Aniba are similarly about halfway between Thebes and Soleb/Sedeinga… At the mythic level, the Athribis/Bubastis-Soleb/Sedeinga axis corresponds to the departure southward of the solar and lunar eyes, their pacification, and their ultimate return, with the deities of Athribis, Bubastis, Soleb, and Sedeinga… Distributed in a spatially regular way along this axis are other cult centers that can be interpreted as mediators within this process. [K]uban and Aniba (?) temples were dedicated to Horus deities, predisposed to facilitate the reunion of both Ra and Horus with their eyes. Thebes was the home of Amon-Ra, a solar deity, and his son Khonsu, a moon god actually identified as a deity who brings the eyes back… Thebes… was cultically linked to Soleb/Sedeinga, on the one hand, and, on the other… to important northern centers like Memphis and Heliopolis… Thebes was also a place of intersection for two cycles of cultic activity, embracing respectively the northern and southern halves of Egypt and Nubia combined. The northern set, focused on the Theban Opet and Valley Festivals and involving Amon-Ra and a solarized ruler, were heavily solar in emphasis, but the southern cycle, while solar in part, also manifested lunar elements… in the lunar aspects of 169 See also J. Leclant: Egypt in Nubia during the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. in: Africa in Antiquity I 63–73 71; B.M. Bryan in: Kozloff–Bryan–Berman 1992 109 f. 170 Cf. B.M. Bryan in: Kozloff–Bryan–Berman 1992 104 ff. 171 Bryan 2000 267.—For the eye of Re cf. also J.F. Quack: A Goddess Rising 10.000 Cubits into the Air… or Only One Cubit, One Finger? in: J. Steele–A. Imhausen (eds): Under One Sky. Mathematics and Astronomy in the Ancient Near East. Münster 2002 283–294.

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Amenhotep III and Khonsu, represented in both Thebes and Soleb[.] …172 The strongly solar northern half of Egypt and the associated half of the year might be seen as corresponding with the daily progress of the sun through heaven… while the more subdued, lunar-like half of Egypt [with Nubia] and the half of the year associated with it may equate with the sun’s nightly passage through Duat, its light dimmed as it forces its way through those cold depths to find union with Osiris, then regeneration… and finally triumph through rebirth and reascension.173

Though at points hypothetical, O’Connor’s fascinating reconstruction of the place of Soleb and Sedeinga in a theological/political program, which embraced the whole of Amenhotep III’s realm is quoted here in extenso because it may present a possible answer on the question, why were the two temples founded at formerly uninhabited sites without any local religious traditions. The Soleb temple was founded probably before Year 7 (c. 1383 BC).174 The original shrine was an east-west oriented peripteral building, which underwent highly significant changes under the direction of Amenhotep son of Hapu175 until the temple reached its final form before Year 30, Amenhotep III’s h. b-sd jubilee.176 To the original small peripteral temple first annex rooms were added at the south, west, and north and at the same time a niched temenos wall enclosing an area of 105 × 120 m was built around it. A terrace in front of the main gate of the temenos was connected with the Nile via a long, narrow canal. As a next phase, at the east a hall with twenty-four palmiform columns, a colonnaded court and a pylon were added. Then before this pylon another colonnaded court and a second pylon were added; the new pylon was part of a new butressed temenos wall enclosing an area of 140 × 170 m. The original canal connecting the temple with the river was abandoned and a harbour was built instead, which was overlooked by a terrace in the axis of the pylon gate. On this terrace a shrine prepared for three visiting deities (?) was standing. In the last phase a monumental Contra Goedicke 1992 19 f. O’Connor 1998a 149 ff. 174 Morkot 1987 34. 175 Cf. C. Robichon–A. Varille: Le temple du scribe royal Amenhotep fils de Hapou. Le Caire 1936; A. Varille: Inscriptions concernant l’architecte Amenhotep, fils de Hapou. Le Caire 1968 125 ff.; D. Wildung: Imhotep und Amenhotep. Gottwerdung im alten Ägypten. München–Berlin 1977 292 ff. §§ 192 f.; W.S. Smith 1981 271. 176 Reliefs representing hb-sd jubilee ceremonies on the inner face of the second pylon . and on the first pylon, PM VII 170 (5)–(7); cf. C. Van Siclen III: The Accession Date of Amenhotep III and the Jubilee. JNES 32 (1973) 290–300. 172 173


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kiosk with four 11.8 m high columns was erected in front of the second pylon, which was connected with a new, third pylon through an alley of sphinxes. The third pylon was now part of an even larger butressed temenos wall measuring 210 × 240 m. In its final form the length of the temlpe measured some 170 m, more than Amenhotep III’s Luxor temple. The harbour was refilled and the temple was now connected with the Nile by a processional road leading to a terrace overlooking the river.177 Since only very little is preserved from the decoration,178 we know next to nothing about the pantheon represented at Soleb. The deified king’s synnaos was doubtless Amun-Re179 who appears on the lintel of the door leading to the second court as Amun-Re of H #-m-M A #t ˘ (“Appearing-in-Equity”180=Soleb).181 Little is known about other shrines built, extended, or restored in Amenhotep III’s reign. The preserved evidence is connected mostly to the Nubian Horus gods. As noted in Chapter X.1.2.2, the temple built by Thutmose III and Hatshepsut and restored (?) by Amenhotep III at Kuban is not preserved. According to secondarily used inscribed blocks,182 it was dedicated to the local Horus god, i.e., Horus, “Lord of B Ak (Kuban)”. At the entrance of the Wadi Allaqi, i.e., the road leading to the gold-mining areas of the Eastern Desert, a chapel was dedicated to the cult of the jackal-god Wepwawet, “the opener of the ways”, a deity worshipped at Asyut in Egypt and associated with Osiris. It is presumed to have been a peripteral temple, the decoration of which remains unknown, however.183 Somewhat more is known about the iconography of Amenhotep III’s rock shrine at Wadi es-Sebua, which was restored after c. 1241 BC by Setau,184 viceroy of Rameses II since it had suffered damages in the Amarna period. In the preserved painted 177 For the building chronology, see M. Schiff Giorgini: Evoluzione architettonico del tempio di Soleb. Levante 7 (1960) 13–21 and her preliminary report in Kush 10 (1962) 152–169; and see also Arnold 1992 73 f. 178 Cf. LD Text V; LD III 83, 84; Breasted photos listed in PM VII 169 ff.; and see Schiff Giorgini 1965. For statuary originating from Soleb, see PM VII 202, 212, 216, 219. 179 PM VII 169 f. (2), (4), outer and inner jamb of the second pylon door. 180 Amenhotep III’s throne name. 181 PM VII 171 (17). 182 PM VII 82 f.; S. Donadoni: Quban. LÄ V (1983) 52–53; Hein 1991 11 ff. 183 LD Text V 60 f.; Borchardt 1938 98 f., Blatt 22, top. 184 Biographical Stela of Setau (Stela VII) from the great rock temple of Rameses II at Wadi es-Sebua, KRI III 91 ff.; cf. Hein 1991 19.

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decoration185 of the hall Amenhotep III appears before a statue;186 on the south and north side walls of the sanctuary before Amun; on the main wall before Amun-Re, Mut as vulture above a lotus, and a ram’s head on pedestal.187 The Amun figures date, however, from Rameses II’s time, and they replace figures of a Nubian Horus god to whom the shrine was originally dedicated.188 From the temple of Aniba, another shrine dedicated to a Nubian Horus god, viz., to Horus of M"ı #m (Aniba), come blocks with relief scenes189 representing Amenhotep III, among them in an investiture scene showing the king running, indicating a building or restoration work of some consequence. Two stelae from the South Temple at Buhen190 may be interpreted as attesting to the attention paid to the traditional Nubian local cults, which constituted a, however modest, part of the monumental sacred landscape sketched in the passage quoted above from David O’Connor’s study. Two finds from Kawa, viz. the fragment of a red granite lion or ram (?) statue191 and a large steatite scarab192 may come from a shrine of Amenhotep III, the existence of which is also hinted at in an inscription in Tutankhamun’s Temple A at Kawa (see Chapter X.1.4). In his later (?) reign, Amenhotep III also erected a peripteral temple on Elephantine to the cataract god Khnum.193 On an everyday level, the meaning of the built elements of this landscape was interpreted for the Nubian population through their role as centres of administration, jurisdiction, land ownership, production, taxation, redistribution; on a more elevated level through the temple festivals, divine processions on land and river and personal religiosity turning toward certain features of the accessible parts of the temples such as the statues of the processional avenues (e.g., at Soleb), the reliefs of the fronts and the gates. The name of Amenhotep III’s Soleb temple inscribed above the main gate was already quoted above at the end Firth 1915 235 ff., Pls 31–34. PM VII 63. 187 PM VII 63, Firth 1915 Pl. 34. 188 Cf. Firth 1915 236; Hein 1991 19. 189 PM VII 81. 190 Randall-MacIver–Woolley 1911 80 f. (11), (13). 191 Khartoum 5690, found outside the pylon of Taharqo’s Temple T, Macadam 1949 82 f. No. XVIII, Pl. 37; 1955 10. 192 Found in the Second Court of Temple B, one meter below the western wall, Macadam 1949 83 No. XIX. 193 Description de l’Égypte, Antiquités: Mémoires I. Paris 1809 Pls 34–38.—Built in the early reign: Kozloff–Bryan–Bergman 1992 75; in the later reign: Johnson 1998 79, 85. 185 186


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of Chapter X.1.1: “The gateway of Amenhotep the Ruler of Thebes, Nb-M A #t-R #-Who-Hears-Prayers”. 1.4. From Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten to Horemheb In his early reign, Amenhotep IV (1352–1336 BC) started a building program at Karnak, which was centred around the cult of a new form of the sun-god, “the living one, Re-Horus of the horizon who rejoices in the horizon in his identity of light, which is in the sun-disc”; in a shorter form, “the living sun-disc” or “the sun-disc”, in Egyptian Jtn, Aten. Already Amenhotep III called his deified self during his jubilees (sed-festivals) “the dazzling Aten”,194 yet besides his own solarization he also paid great attention to the cult of the traditional deities. In the new Karnak shrines Amenhotep IV and Queen Nefertiti occupied the place of the twins Shu and Tefnut, the first pair of divinities who issued from the primeval god Atum: but they appeared now in a triad formed by the Aten and his children, the living king and queen. Curiously, it is not this triad but that of the Theban Amun-Re, Mut and Khonsu that the triple temple built before Year 6 by Amenhotep IV at Sesebi north of the Third Cataract was still dedicated to.195 In the crypt of the temple Amenhotep IV and Nefertiti were shown offering, among other gods, to the deified Amenhotep III.196 Amenhotep III’s cult was also maintained at Soleb, as it is indicated by the reliefs of the first pylon carved in Amenhotep IV’s reign.197 A stela fragment of Viceroy Djehutymes (temp. Akhenaten), found beneath the floor of the forecourt of the North Temple at Buhen,198 indicates activities at this temple the nature of which seems to be revealed by the stelae erected some sixty years later by Rameses I and Sety I in the same forecourt and reporting the reestablishment and endowment of the cult of Amun-Min h. rj-"ıb Bhn, “dwelling in Buhen”.199 194 For the religion of the Amarna period and its eventual roots in developments in Amenhotep III’s reign, cf. D. Redford: Akhenaten: The Heretic King. Princeton 1984; Aldred 1988; M. Eaton-Krauss: Akhenaten versus Akhenaten. BiOr 47 (1990) 541–559; E. Hornung: Echnaton: Die Religion des Lichtes. Zürich 1995; W.J. Murnane: Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt. Atlanta 1995; J. Baines: The Dawn of the Amarna Age. in: O’Connor–Cline (eds) 1998 271–312; Van Dijk 2000. 195 See the column reliefs in the vestibule of the central temple, PM VII 172 f. 196 PM VII 173. 197 PM VII 169 f. 198 Pennsylvania E 16022, Randall-MacIver–Woolley 1911 91 f.; PM VII 130. 199 Louvre C 57, KRI I 2 f.; BM 1189, KRI I 37 f.; Hein 1991 41 f.

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Later in Akhenaten’s reign, an Aten temple was erected in the northern part of the by now well-developed fortified town of Sesebi.200 The temple was built in the form of an open court of altars (measuring 11.7 × 11.7 m) on a 2 m high platform201 so that the offering rites performed at the altars were visible. Though the original form of the entire edifice remains unknown, its typological correspondences with the Aten temples at Amarna are obvious.202 Amarna-style talatat blocks found in secondary use indicate that considerable temple construction work was undertaken at Dokki Gel too where Thutmose IV’s Amun temple was replaced by an Aten temple.203 Talatat-size blocks rebuilt into the walls of Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and Napatan period temples at Gebel Barkal and the erasure of Amun’s name on Thutmose III’s great stela from Year 47 also indicate Akhenaten’s temple building activity at the sacred mountain of Amun of Napata.204 The Egyptian name of Kawa, Gematen, is similarly indicative of the existence of some temple edifice of the Amarna period at this site too. For lack of evidence, the broader impact of Akhenaten’s new religion and kingship ideology on the culture of Nubia remains unknown. There is evidence from Egypt, which attests the continuity of several local cults. The situation seems to have been the same in Nubia. As also indicated by the above survey, the traditional cults were not everywhere abolished and while the cult and priesthood of Amun may have suffered radical restrictions, the god’s name and images were not systematically destroyed. However, if, like in Egypt, the festivals of the gods were discontinued in Nubia,205 the consequence was there too a weakening of the conscience of a wider unity on the one side, and the strengthening of local identity, on the other—even though the Amarna period did not last longer than two decades.

Fairman 1938; Morkot 1988. A.M. Blackman: Preliminary Report on the Excavations at Sesebi. JEA 23 (1937) 145–151; PM VII 173 f.; Arnold 1992 72. 202 Cf. Kemp 1989 276 ff. 203 C. Bonnet, Genava 47 (1999) 74; Valbelle ibid. 84; C. Bonnet, Genava 49 (2001) 205 ff.; D. Valbelle ibid. 230 ff.; D. Valbelle, Genava 51 (2003) 291 ff.; Valbelle 2004b 98; D. Valbelle in: Welsby–Anderson (eds) 2004 113 Cats 84, 85. 204 Cf. Kendall 2002. 205 Cf. E.F. Wente: Tutankhamun and His World. in: Treasures of Tutankhamun. New York 1976 23 f. 200 201


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The Restoration Inscription written in Tutanhamun’s (1336–1327 BC) name206 presents the desperate image of a land abandoned by its gods whose temples became ruins, who do not give advice and do not answer the people’s prayers. It describes the failure of the Egyptian army sent to Syria as a consequence of the gods’ absence—the latter moment doubtless indicating the army’s refusal to further support the new religion. Tutankhamun then claims to have revived the cults, restored and extended the temples, increased their endowment and appointed new priests. In Lower Nubia the restoration of the religious institutions and damaged monuments continued until the early Nineteenth Dynasty. New foundations of Tutankhamun are attested at Faras and Kawa. At the first site, a walled settlement with a small stone temple was founded.207 The fragment of a granite statue group representing Tutankhamun between Amun-Re of Thebes and Mut (?)208 is perhaps relevant as to the cult of this temple the building of which was directed by the viceroy Huy who was represented in it adoring the cartouches of Tutankhamun.209 Though rebuilt and extended in the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, the temple at Kawa, known as Kawa Temple A, dedicated to Amun-Re, “the Lion over the South Country”, i.e., a fusion of Amun of Thebes with a native lion god, is much better known. The relief decoration of the sandstone inner portion (naos and pronaos)210 as well as the four sandstone columns of the second court date from the reign of Tutankhamun. An earlier predecessor building is referred to in the inscription on column 4 of the second court in which it is said that “(Tutankhamun) set up again what had been in ruins with lasting work in good sandstone”.211 The pronaos shows alterations resulting from a change in the plan during construction. The north entrance to the pronaos was opened only after the reliefs of the north wall were finished: the directions of the figures of the king and Amun reveal that originally a sanctuary to the west of the pronaos had been planned. This plan was abandoned after the completion of the north wall reliefs. The west 206 W. Helck: Urkunden der 18. Dynastie. Übersetzungen zu den Heften 17–22. Berlin 1961 365 ff. 207 Griffith 1921 65–104. 208 Khartoum 3766, 5192, PM VII 124. 209 Khartoum 3745, PM VII 124. 210 Macadam 1955 13 with note 1. 211 Macadam 1955 34, fig. 8.

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wall reliefs had already been carved to conform to a sanctuary opening from the south side of the pronaos.212 The Tutankhamun columns were usurped by Ramesses II and later the cartouches of Ramesses VI were carved on them by Nebmaatrenakht, “overseer of the Southern Lands”,213 and Ramesesnakht, “overseer of the garrison”.214 They were re-erected by Taharqo215 and the naos-pronaos complex was, with the alteration of the entrance into the pronaos216 and the reuse of the four columns of Tutankhamun,217 incorporated into a rectangular brick temple with sandstone doorways. The four fluted columns bear a column of raised inscription running from the top to the base on a flat vertical band facing the main temple " axis. All inscription bands conclude with the epithet mry Imn-R # m Aj h. rj " hnt h. rj-"ıb Gm p A Itn, “beloved of Amun-Re, Lord of the Thrones of Two˘lands, the Lion over the South Country who is in Kawa”.218 The pronaos reliefs at the two sides of the entrance (north wall) remain from an abandoned first plan. They originally represented Tutankhamun receiving life from the human-headed Amun of Kawa (west side)219 and Tutankhamun before Amun-Re, Lord of the Thrones of Two-lands (Amun of Thebes?) on the east side.220 The west wall relief 221 represents the king wearing the Red Crown and offering incense to ReHarakhte and Atum.222 The scene refers to Tutankhamun’s legitimation by the creator gods of Heliopolis. Being legitimated by Harakhte, who Macadam 1955 36. Macadam 1949 84 Inscr. XXIII. 214 Macadam 1949 84 ff. Inscr. XXIV–XXVII. 215 For the re-erection cf. Macadam 1955 32. 216 The outer W jamb was also covered with plaster on which a hieroglyphic inscription was painted. According to Macadam 1955 35 note 1 the plastering and the unrecorded inscription postdate Taharqo’s reign. 217 Macadam 1955 32 ff. 218 Macadam 1949 Pl. 3; Macadam 1955 31 ff., figs 5–8. 219 Macadam 1955 36, Pls II/c, XL/d. 220 Macadam 1955 36, Pls III/a, XL/e. The god’s figure is missing, but his name is preserved in the royal legend. 221 Macadam 1955 36 f., Pl. II/d. 222 Legends: “The King of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Lord of Two-lands, the Lord of achievement, the Lord of Might, Nb-hprw-R#, the Son of Re, the Ruler of the ˘ Nine Bows, Tutankhamun, beloved of Amun-Re, Lord of the Thrones of Two-lands, granted life like Re for ever and ever” (above the king); “Spoken by Re-Harakhte: ‘My beloved son Nb-hprw-R#, I give thee life and welfare, thy total years being hundreds of ˘ Re-Harakhte); “Spoken by Atum, Lord of Two-lands of Heliopolis: thousands’ ” (above ‘I place for thee every foreign land beneath thy sandals like Re for ever and ever’ ”. Cf. Macadam 1955 37. 212 213


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is also the day aspect, and by Atum who is the evening aspect of the sun god Re, the king receives universal power. By fulfilling his royal duties, he maintains the cosmic processes.223 Behind Tutankhamun we see two standards: an open ostrich feather fan, the symbol of the divine shade, and the hwi-fan. The first indicates the divinity of the king ˘ of Re,224 the second hints at the cult of the divine as an incarnation ruler.225 Behind Atum stands a fecundity figure turning towards the south, i.e., the interior of the sanctuary. According to the legend,226 the scene symbolizes the presentation of “all fresh things to […] the lord (?) Amun-Re [of Kawa]”. The figure corresponds to a similar fecundity figure on the opposite wall.227 Though there is no direct hint that the fecundity figures should be identified with the ruler,228 such a kind of assimilation is indicated nevertheless by the size and the direction of the figures as well as by their function.229 When Taharqo widened the naos door, the scenes at its two sides were greatly damaged. To the west of the door, Tutankhamun is represented before a male deity, probably Amun of Kawa.230 On the east, an annex room could be entered through a doorway framed by two inscription columns on each side..231 The lintel is decorated with a symmetrical double scene showing the king making offerings before the couchant criosphinx of Amun-Re of Kawa.232 Above the two criosphinx figures are again placed the standards of the king described above, viz., the open ostrich fan (left or north side) and the hwi-fan (right or south side) indicating that in Temple A Tutankhamun˘ as a deified ruler was assimilated with Amun of Kawa. The east wall of the naos is decorated with one scene showing the king offering four calves to Min of Koptos and Isis.233 The opposite west wall shows Tutankhamun offering dismembered bulls to the enthroned For Re-Harakhte and his association with Amun cf. also Assmann 1976–1977 959 f. Bell 1985b 32 ff. 225 Bell 1985b 37. 226 Macadam 1955 Pl. II/d. 227 Macadam 1955 37 f., Pl. IV. 228 Baines 1985 322. 229 Cf. Baines 1985 323. 230 Macadam 1955 39, Pl. III/b. From the divine legend the epithets “chief of the gods” and “Lord of the Thrones of Two-lands” are preserved. 231 Macadam 1955 37 f. 232 Macadam 1955 37 f., Pl. IV. For this form of Amun of Kawa cf. Bell 1985b 31 ff. 233 Macadam 1955 39 f., Pl. V/b. The scene of driving the calves in Taharqo’s Temple T, Room H is called “driving calves in the temple” (ibid. Pl. XXII/a). 223 224

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Thoth of Hermopolis who “places all lands and all foreign countries” under the king’s sandals and Amun-Re (of Kawa?) who grants him “very numerous jubilee festivals upon the throne of Re”.234 The principal, south, wall is occupied by a double scene showing the king making an offering to the human-headed Amun wearing a tall plumed crown. According to the vertical inscription bands dividing the two scenes, the god in both scenes is Amun-Re, “the Lion over the South Country [who is in Kawa]”. It is interesting to note that while the divine legends name in both scenes Amun “the Lion over the South Country who is in Kawa”, in the royal legends the king is “beloved of Amun-Re, Lord of the Thrones of Two-lands” (and in the left scene also “chieftain of all gods”!) without special epithets referring to Kawa. Thus, it cannot be excluded that the royal legends (also) associated the king with Amun of Thebes.235 The east wall scene shows the king offering four calves to Min(Kamutef, “Bull-of-His-Mother”),236 and his mother and wife Isis.237 In this way a concentrated pictorial discourse on the ruler as son of the sun god and his mother/wife is presented.238 The scene recalls the cult in the rock temple of Min in Akhmim built on behalf of Ay by the High Priest of Min, Nakhtmin.239 In the west wall scene, Tutankhamun receives universal regency from Thoth of Hermopolis and jubilees from Amun-Re (of Kawa?). The two deities would be associated with each other in a similar sense in Horemhab’s rock sanctuary at Abu Hoda in Lower Nubia (see below).240 Besides their general conceptual

Macadam 1955 40, Pl. III/d. I was probably wrong when I assumed (Török 1997a 307) that the left-hand scene represents Amun of Thebes. Nevertheless, the differences in the legends within the symmetry of the two scenes may be interpreted as a hint at the dualism of the Nubian Amun cult. 236 Legend: “[Spoken by Min, Lord of] Coptos: ‘My beloved son [Nb-hprw-R#], I give ˘ the throne of thee [all] health, [all happiness and] all victory, and the appearance upon thy father Wenennofer (= Osiris)”. Macadam 1955 39. 237 For the association of Isis with Min-Kamutef cf., e.g., the Hypostyle of Karnak Temple, J. Bergman: Isis. LÄ III (1978) 186–203 197 with note 140. 238 In her legend Isis refers thus to the king: “[my] beloved [son], the opener of my womb”, Macadam 1955 40. Cf. Bergman 1968 146 ff. 239 Ay was the vizier (and later the successor on the throne) of Tutankhamun and he played an important role in the restoration of the Amun cult after Akhenaten’s reign. For the evidence, see J. v. Beckerath: Eje. LÄ I (1975) 1211–1212. For the rock temple see PM V 17 f. 240 PM VII 119 ff.; J. Cerny–E. ˇ Edel: Abou-Oda. Le Caire 1963. 234 235


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parallelism, the two walls are also interconnected through the diagonal associations of Isis with Thoth241 and Min-Kamutef with Amun-Re. The Nubian evidence of Tutankhamun’s successor Ay (1327–1323 BC) is very modest. On a stela erected by the viceroy Paser I at Gebel el-Shams242 near Abu Hoda (see below) the king is visible adoring Amun-Re, Re-Harakhte, Ptah, Montu, Horus, and Satet while the viceroy himself kneels before Anubis, Sobek-Re, the deified Senusret III and Anuket. The distribution of “Egyptian” and “Nubian” deities is remarkable. With the accession of Ay, a high official of Akhenaten, the dynastic continuity broke off. Ay’s successor Horemheb (1323–1295 BC), another commoner, styled himself son of the Horus of his hometown. According to his Coronation Text,243 it was this Horus of Hutnesu who presented him to Amun of Thebes who declared himself Horemheb’s father in an oracle as a result of the rites of the Opet Feast, which constituted the framework of Horemheb’s investiture.244 While in Egypt Horemheb started monumental building projects such as the great hypostyle at Karnak, his Nubian record is less extensive. Viceroy Paser I erected a stela showing him adoring Horemheb’s cartouches in the temple of Horus of Miam at Aniba.245 The sphinx inscribed for Horemheb (?) and found at Kuban246 may have been erected in connection with the cult of Horus of B Ak (Kuban). Hor, Deputy of Wawat under Horemheb (?) commissioned a rock stela dedicated to Anuket next to the aforementioned Gebel el-Shams stela of the viceroy Paser I.247 It was probably Horemheb who started the building of Temple B 500, i.e., the temple of Amun of Napata at Gebel Barkal, but this building remains unknown.248 Horemheb’s most significant preserved Nubian monument is the rock shrine at Abu Hoda dedicated to the cult of Thoth and Amun-Re of Thebes. The name Thutmose, “Thothis-born”, was traditional in the dynasty of the Thutmosides. The solarization of Thoth, a moon god frequently identified with Khonsu, son of Amun-Re and Mut, in whose writing is traditionally inscribed since the 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248

For the connection cf. Bergman 1968 155, 172 ff. PM VII 122. A.H. Gardiner: The Coronation of King Haremhab. JEA 39 (1953) 13–31. Cf. Murnane 1995 188 f. PM VII 81. PM VII 83. PM VII 122. Cf. Reisner 1917 219 ff., Pl. XLIII; Reisner–Reisner 1933 76 ff.

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Twelfth Dynasty the new king’s name on the leaves of the holy ı"sˇd-tree in Heliopolis, begun in the reign of Amenhotep III,249 who enriched the temple of Thoth at Hermopolis250 which he included into the sacred map of Egypt (discussed above in Chapter X.1.3). While it is the legitimation of Horemheb by two principal Egyptian deities, Amun-Re of Thebes251 and Thoth of Hermopolis, further by Horus and Seth,252 that is placed in the centre of the iconographical program of Abu Hoda, two scenes in the north half of the hall (placed thus geographically more or less correctly) show that proper attention was paid to Horemheb’s legitimation by the gods of Lower Nubia as well. Next to the entrance the king is shown suckled by Anuket in the presence of Khnum;253 on the neighbouring north side wall he stands before Thoth and four Nubian Horus gods: Horus of Aniba, Horus of Buhen, Horus of Kuban, and Horus of M-h A, i.e., Abu Simbel.254 1.5. The Sacred Landscape of Ramesside Nubia 1.5.1. Creating a New Sacred Landscape Horemheb elected a non-royal heir in the person of his vizier Paramessu,255 scion of a family from Avaris (cf. Chapter VII). Paramessu succeeded Horemheb as Rameses I (1295–1294 BC) and became the founder of the Nineteenth Dynasty whose kings considered Seth of Avaris to be their divine ancestor. Rameses I’s son Sety I (1294–1279 BC) continued the work of restoring pre-Amarna religion. At Pr Wsr M A #tR # Stp-n-R #, “House of Re-is-One-whose-Order-is-strong, Chosen-ofRe”, modern Aksha/Serra West, and Pr Mn-M A #t-R #, “House of Re-isOne-whose-Order-endures”, modern Amara West, he founded templetowns which were further developed in the reign of Rameses II (cf. Chapter IX.2.3.4). At Aksha remains of five mud-brick chapels, with sandstone doorframes, date from Sety I’s reign. According to the Bryan 2000 264. Johnson 1998 65 f. 251 Abu Hoda is the earliest Nubian rock temple with the representation of the processional bark of Amun-Re in the sanctuary, PM VII 121 (9); cf. Hein 1991 127. 252 Hall, north wall, PM VII 121 (5).—From the Nineteenth Dynasty, the principal temples of Seth were at Avaris and Piramesse. In Hein’s view, in the relation of Nubia Seth was not a god of the foreign countries, see Hein 1991 120 f. 253 PM VII 121 (2). 254 PM VII 121 (3). 255 On Paramessu, see Murnane 1995 192 ff. 249 250


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inscriptions on the preserved doorframes, the chapels were built to Atum, Thoth, Ptah, Horus of Buhen and an unidentified deity.256 The cult of a completely destroyed shrine at Amara West remains unknown.257 At Gebel Barkal the building of Temple B 500 of Amun of Napata was continued, as indicated by the fragment of a stela dated to Year 11 of Sety I. According to the stela, Sety I erected there a “hall of appearance” (wsht-h #w).258 This hall is probably identical with ˘ room B 503 of the great˘ Amun temple B 500,259 which functioned as the hypostyle of the New Kingdom shrine and became then the “hall of the offering tables” in the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty Amun temple, restored and monumentally extended by Piankhy.260 Rameses II (1279–1213 BC) appears at the beginning of his reign as triumphant conqueror of Nubian rebels in the forecourt reliefs of his rock temple at Beit el-Wali (see below).261 A complex restructuring of the inherited sacred landscape started in his first-second regnal years or possibly already in the co-regency of Sety I and Rameses II with the construction of a fine rock temple at Beit el-Wali. It was followed by the construction of five other rock sanctuaries and two freestanding temples. The restoration of the damages of the Amarna period continued throughout Rameses II’s reign. In Amenhotep III’s small rock shrine at Wadi es-Sebua the paintings that had partly been damaged under Akhenaten were repainted, but Horus, the original dweller of the shrine, was replaced with Amun-Re.262 Restoration works were still being carried out between Years 38–63 by Viceroy Setau in temples which suffered damages during the Amarna period, so at Amada and Ellesiya (Chapter X.1.2.2). In the latter shrine the cult image of Satet was recarved in the figure of Amun-Re.263 Works started by Sety I at Gebel Barkal were also continued,264 yet not on a scale that could be favourably compared with the Lower Nubian rock temples.

256 J. Vercoutter–A. Rosenwasser: Preliminary Report of the Excavations at Aksha. Kush 10 (1962) 109–114; 11 (1963) 131–134; 12 (1964) 96–99; Hein 1991 38. 257 Fairman 1948 5, 9, Pl. VI/2; PM VII 163. 258 Khartoum 1856. Found reused in a late Napatan (?) or Meroitic (?) pavement of B 503, see Reisner 1931 77; Reisner–Reisner 1933 73 ff., Pl. VIII; KRI I 75 f. 259 Reisner–Reisner 1933. 260 Török 2002a 65 ff. 261 Forecourt, south wall, PM VII 23 (6)–(7). 262 Firth 1915 236, Pl. 34. 263 El-Achirie et al. 1968 II Pl. XXXIX; Hein 1991 26. 264 Hein 1991 66.

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The rock temples of Rameses II were extraordinary manifestations of the material and immaterial power of the king. Their contrast with the enormous fortresses of the Middle Kingdom is worth emphasizing: while the fortresses visualized and perpetuated the power of a foreign conqueror and warned against disobedience, the rock temples manifested the integration of the land and people of Nubia into Egypt. Studying the topography of the rock temples built by Rameses II at Beit el-Wali,265 Gerf Hussein,266 Wadi es-Sebua,267 Derr,268 and Abu Simbel,269 Irmgard Hein analyzed the factors influencing the foundation/use of the settlements of New Kingdom Nubia.270 Such factors may be the maintenance of traditional centres (e.g., Kuban, Aniba, Buhen, Semna, Sai, Kerma); the situation of the fertile areas (centred around Kuban, Amada/Derr, Aniba, Toshka, Abu Simbel, Faras); the distance done per day by a ship upstream: c. 30–35 km (c. 3 ı"trw) and downstream: c. 60–80 km; the presence/absence of good natural landing-places; the properties of the river bed (different possibilities of navigation between the cataracts and in the cataract zones). Accordingly, one may argue for the following Nile itinerary of the Ramesside period:271 Bogga (35 km), Beit el-Wali (50 km), Gerf Hussein (99 km), Kuban (110 km), Sayala (? 130 km), Wadi es-Sebua (150 km), Amada (200 km) Derr (202 km), Aniba (222 km), Toshka (265 km), Abu Simbel (300 km), Aksha (330 km), Faras (335 km), Buhen (360 km), Dorginarti (9 km), Mirgissa (15 km), Semna (60 km), Amara (145 km). For lack of adequate evidence, the itinerary from Amara to Napata cannot be reconstructed. It seems that the rock temples of Rameses II fit into the “practical” itinerary of river travel. Evidently, they became centres of estates and administration and were associated with settlements. Yet, as suggested by Hein, they constituted at the same time the stations of a special 265 PM VII 23 ff.; Roeder 1938; H. Ricke–G.R. Hughes–E.F. Wente: The Beit el-Wali Temple of Ramesses II. Chicago 1967; Hein 1991 6 ff. 266 PM VII 33 ff.; Jacquet et al. 1974–1978; Hein 1991 9 ff. 267 PM VII 57 ff.; Gauthier 1912; Hein 1991 17 ff. 268 PM VII 84 ff.; Blackman 1913; H. El-Achirie–J. Jacquet et al.: Le temple de Derr I. Le Caire 1980; Hein 1991 23 ff. 269 PM VII 95 ff.; E. Otto: Abu Simbel. LÄ I (1972) 25–27. 270 Hein 1991 129 ff.; I. Hein: Überlegungen zur Lage der Felstempel Ramses’ II in Nubien. in: R. Gundlach–M. Rochholz (eds): Ägyptische Tempel–Struktur, Funktion und Programm. Akten der Ägyptologischen Tempeltagungen in Gosen 1990 und Mainz 1992. Hildesheim 1994 131–135. 271 Up to Buhen: distances measured from Aswan. From Dorginarti distances measured from Wadi Halfa. Sites of rock temples are in Italics.


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religious/political itinerary in which the individual shrines were separated from each other by one day’s downstream boat journeys (distances: Abu Simbel-Derr 81 km, Derr-Wadi es-Sebua: 53 km, Wadi esSebua-Gerf Hussein: 65 km, Gerf-Hussein-Beit el-Wali: 35 km). Their political significance is obvious from their dedication to the principal gods of Ramesside Egypt, first of all the deified Rameses II himself. The uniform conception of the chain of the rock sanctuaries is also indicated by their chronology. Beit el-Wali, the northernmost one, was built first. Usually dated to Year 1 or 2 of Rameses II (c. 1279– 1278 BC),272 the building work started probably before his accession during the co-regency with Sety I.273 It was followed by the southernmost pair of temples at Abu Simbel: beginning of the works between Years 5–10, c. 1274–1269 BC, completion c. between Years 25–30, c. 1254– 1249 BC;274 and then by the remaining shrines at Derr: beginning of the works c. Years 15–20, c. 1264–1259 BC, completion c. Years 25–30, 1254– 1249 BC;275 Wadi es-Sebua and Gerf Hussein: beginning of works after Year 38, c. 1241 BC, completion around Years 55–60, c. 1224–1219 BC.276 Hein noted that during the tenure of the viceroy Heqanakht (c. Years 3– 20) the most important centres of viceregal administration were Kuban, Aksha and Amara. Under the viceroy Setau (c. Years 38–63) the centres shifted to Wadi es-Sebua and Buhen.277 The shift may have been influenced partly by the works at the rock temples: Setau was directly responsible for the building of the shrine at Wadi es-Sebua and probably also for the building of Gerf Hussein. 1.5.2. Beit el-Wali and Aksha The earliest rock temple was built at Beit el-Wali to Amun-Re of Thebes.278 Its architectural type and iconographical program shows the impact of Egyptian rock temples constructed in the reigns of Horemheb (e.g., Gebel Silsile)279 and Sety I (e.g., Wadi Mia/Kanais).280 In a

272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280

Roeder 1938 154 ff. Hein 1991 107 ff. Hein 1991 109. Hein 1991 110. Hein 1991 112. Hein 1991 96. Hein 1991 126 f. R.A. Caminos–T.G.H. James: Gebel Es-Silsilah I. The Shrines. London 1963. H. Gauthier: Le temple de l’Ouâdi Mîyah (el-Kanais). BIFAO 17 (1920) 1–38;

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monumental version, the forecourt decoration of Beit el-Wali follows Wadi Mia (scene of the “smiting of the enemies”) with the depiction of a (partly or completely fictitious?) Nubian campaign on the south and the conquest of Asiatics, Syrians and Libyans on the north wall.281 The “secondary triads” of gods in the niches of the side rooms, viz., Rameses II between Horus of Kuban and Isis in the south; Rameses II between Khnum and Anuket in the north side room, similarly follow the model of Wadi Mia. The legitimation of the ruler by his victories in the forecourt is followed by his legitimation by Horus of Aniba, Horus of Buhen, Isis, Hathor and Amun-Re in the south half of the vestibule282 and by Atum, Khnum, Satet, Anuket and Amun-Re in its north half.283 On the sanctuary walls the investiture is concluded: in the south half the young Rameses II is suckled by Isis and offers to Horus of Kuban and AmunRe; in the north half he is suckled by Anuket, conducted by Satet and Khnum and offers to Amun-Re. The three cult statues of the sanctuary represented Amun-Min-Kamutef (?), the deified Rameses II and Ptah (?).284 The freestanding temple at Aksha (Serra West) similarly dates from Rameses II’s early reign, probably c. between Years 5–15 (c. 1272– 1262 BC).285 The temple was built to jrj.n.f m mnw n hntj.f #nh(w) tp T A stj, i.e., the living image of Rameses II in Nubia.286 ˘ Reliefs˘ from the badly ruined building depict the king offering flowers to the deified Rameses II (from the south jamb of the door of the first pylon)287 and offering Ma#at to “Amun-Re of the House of Rameses” (from the north jamb of the door of the second pylon).288

S. Schott: Der Tempel Sethos I. im Wâdi Mia. Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften Göttingen. Göttingen 1961 No. 6 123–189. 281 PM VII 23 f. (6)–(9). 282 PM VII 25 (24), (25), (26), (28). 283 PM VII 25 (23), (29), (30), (32). 284 Hein 1991 166. 285 Hein 1991 109. 286 Hein 1992 39. 287 PM VII 127 (1). 288 PM VII 127 (14).


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1.5.3. Abu Simbel The role assigned at Beit el-Wali to the Horus gods of Lower Nubia in the south temple half and the cataract gods in the north half is significant, being in line with earlier attitudes toward Nubian regional/local cults. By the end of the first decade of Rameses II’s regency, however, new dimensions of the royal cult were manifested by colossal statues of the king set up at the pylons and gates of the temples in Egypt. They were given names such as “Re-of-the-Rulers” or “Rameses-thegod”289 and functioned as objects of regular temple- and popular cult. In the course of the two decades of construction and decoration work at the Great Temple at Abu Simbel, the divinity of Rameses II took a clear shape. In the dedication inscription Amun-Re (south temple half) and Re-Harakhte (north temple half) are named, yet the four colossi of the front representing the deified Rameses290 set different accents: their names are “Rameses-Re-of-the-Rulers”, “Ruler-of-Two-lands” (south), “Beloved-of-Amun”, and “Beloved of Atum” (north). The statue of ReHarakhte over the temple entrance291 carries in his hands the hieroglyphs wsr and m A #t. The sun god wearing the sun-disc and the two signs represent Rameses II’s throne name Wsr-m A #t-R #, and the image proclaims thus the king’s identification with the sun-god. A careful analysis of the progress of the decoration292 shows that in the inner parts of the temple the place of Re-Harakhte was gradually taken over by the deified king, whose bark is represented being worshipped by Rameses II on the south wall of the second hall293 and the sanctuary,294 opposite to representations of Amun-Re’s bark.295 The king is also represented adoring his own deified image at significant points of the iconographical program in the great hall,296 south side chapel I,297 north side chapels V,298 VI299 and VIII;300 in the second hall301 and 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301

Cf. Habachi 1969 18 ff. PM VII 100 (24)–(27). PM VII 101. Hein 1991 119 f. PM VII 109 (95). PM VII 110 (113). PM VII 109 (98), 110 (114), respectively. PM VII 105 Osiride pillar I (a). PM VII 106 (48). PM VII 107 (67)–(68). PM VII 107 (75)–(76). PM VII 108 (84)–(86). PM VII 109 (100)–(102).

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the pronaos.302 The four cult statues of the sanctuary represent Ptah, Amun-Re, the deified Rameses II and Re-Harakhte.303 In the sophisticated theological and political program also “Nubian” gods appear as participants in Rameses II’s legitimation. A highly remarkable scene in the upper relief register on the south wall of the great hall shows Rameses II censing an anthropomorphic Amun-Re with a huge uraeus in front of him:304 the god was identified by Timothy Kendall as Amun of Napata enthroned in the Gebel Barkal.305 Amun of Napata is also shown receiving Ma#at from the king on the west (main) wall of the South Chapel south of the temple terrace. In the text in front of the god he is called “Lord of the Thrones of Twolands, who resides in the Pure Mountain of Napata, Great God, Lord of Heaven”.306 Egyptian discourses on the life-bringing Nile flood combined geographical reality with religious concepts in a remarkable manner. As shown by Marc Gabolde,307 the “local” inundation at Thebes issued from “beneath the soles” of the enthroned Amun of Thebes,308 who was represented in a relief of Ramesses II at Karnak wearing a combination of the hemhem-crown supported by ram’s horns and the god’s usual tall feathers.309 In the relief the god gazes from the south to the north, indicating that the inundation arrives from the south. Another contemporary representation of Amun wearing this unique crown superstructure and receiving offerings from Ramesses II may be found in the Entrance of the Great Temple at Abu Simbel.310 According to Christian

PM VII 110 (109)–(110). PM VII 110 (115). 304 PM VII 102 (39)–(40). 305 Kendall 1997b. 306 C. Desroches-Noblecourt et al.: Abou Simbel. Chapelle meridionale. Le Caire n.d. Y 11; Kormysheva 2004 121, fig. 13. 307 Gabolde 1995. 308 According to Gabolde 1995 this, and related notions (e.g., the inundation issuing from a deity’s footsteps) originate from the actual experience of the process of inundation in the convex floodplain of the Nile, where the first (local) stage of the inundation was marked by the rising of the groundwater to the surface in the lower-lying plains between the higher river banks and the desert margins. Cf. also Butzer 1976 12 ff., fig. 1. 309 Karnak, Hypostyle, on the inner side of the Second Pylon, S half, PM II 46 (157 IV/2); H.H. Nelson–W. Murnane: The Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak I/1. The Wall Reliefs. OIP 106. Chicago 1981 Pl. 36; copied by Ramesses III in his Karnak temple: ibid. Pl. 44 E. 310 PM VII 101 (30)–(32). 302 303


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Loeben,311 its dominant position indicates that the presence of the gods of Egypt—particularly of Amun—and of the king performing the rites of their cult in Nubia, i.e., the land where the inundation originates, was also intended to secure the fortunate arrival of the flood in Egypt.312 The overall structure of Nubia’s sacred geography was defined by the Nile. On the one hand, the Nile made it evident that Nubia was a natural prolongation of Egypt. On the other, the conquest of the Middle Nile also made it necessary to create a discourse on the inundation in which not only the unity of Egypt and Nubia is demonstrated but also the Nubian origin of the flood is adequately interpreted.313 In this discourse, it was the course of the river and, more meaningfully, its flood that created a synthesis of natural environment, artificial landscape, and movement in space and in time. The aforementioned Ramesside reliefs at Karnak and Abu Simbel clearly indicate that the interaction between Amun of Thebes and the ruler, who also appears in the New Kingdom as the image of Hapy, i.e., the inundation,314 was of a central importance in securing a good flood. As already mentioned, Amun was shown in both reliefs wearing a crown with ram’s horns. This special detail points towards the ramheaded Amun worshipped in Luxor Temple rather than to Amun of Thebes. Amun of Luxor acted in the course of the Opet Festival as guarantor of the annual regeneration of both the pharaoh and Amun of Thebes.315 Leclant,316 Pamminger,317 and Zibelius-Chen318 equally argue that the Loeben 1995 153 f., fig. 1. Loeben 1995 154. 313 Herodotus’ (2.28) account of the Egyptian priestly report, according to which the bottomless sources of the Nile from which the water flowed towards the north to Egypt and towards the south to Aithiopia, were situated in the mountains of Krophi and Mophi between Syene and Elephantine does not mean that the Egyptian tradition would have localised the source of the Nile in Egypt. Herodotus’ report is a misunderstanding of the Egyptian belief that there were sources at several sacred sites (at the First Cataract between Syene and Elephantine, at Gebel es-Silsileh, at Old Cairo/Babylon, and at Roda) which contributed to the flood, cf. J. Yoyotte: Nil. in: G. Posener et al.: Knaurs Lexikon der Ägyptischen Kultur. München–Zürich 1960 181–184 184; K.W. Butzer: Nilquellen. LÄ IV (1981) 506–507. In general see D. Bonneau: La crue du Nil, divinité égyptienne à travers mille ans d’histoire (Études et commentaires 52). Paris 1964. 314 D. van der Plas: L’Hymne à la crue du Nil I. Leiden 1983 105 f.; Grimal 1986 269 f.; Gabolde 1995 237. 315 See Bell 1985a. 316 Leclant 1965 241 ff. 317 Pamminger 1992 113 ff. 318 Zibelius-Chen 1994a 5, 1996 198 f. 311 312

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special association of Amun of Luxor with the inundation319 derived from the association of Amun of Napata with the Nile flood and fertility. In turn, Amun of Napata must have inherited this feature from his native predecessor.320 We read in a Nineteenth or Twentieth Dynasty hieratic ostracon from Deir el Medine that “the water that comes forth, there is Amun in it in the land of Kush”.321 The significance of Amun of Napata in the structure of Nubia’s sacred landscape is also demonstrated by Amun’s association with the southern half of the Ramesside rock temples. This is especially meaningful in the South Chapel of the Great Temple at Abu Simbel, where Amun of Napata appears in the southern half of the double scene decorating the main wall (for the representation, see above). In the other half of the scene the king offers wine to Re-Harakhte, the deity worshipped in the Great Temple together with Amun and the deified Ramesses II. The “geographical” significance of the double scene is underlined by the arrangement of the scenes on the sidewalls. On the south wall the king appears with offerings before the bark of Thoth on a bark stand and Re-Harakhte; on the north wall before the bark of Re-Harakhte on a bark stand and Ma#at. Thoth, who comes in his bark from his sanctuary constructed by Horemheb at Abu Hoda south of Abu Simbel (see Chapter X.1.4), is received thus by Re-Harakhte in the South Chapel, which is apparently Re-Harakhte’s bark repository.322 The Nubian Horus gods occupy a similarly significant position in the iconographical program. On the pillars of the second hall the king is shown being elected by Horus of Aniba, Horus of Abu Simbel, Horus of Kuban and Horus of Buhen,323 and the same deities also appear in both the north and south side chapels.324 Pamminger 1992 105 ff. For the presumed origins of the ram form of the Egyptian Amun in native Nubian ram cults of the C-Group and Kerma cultures: G. Maspero: Histoire ancienne des peuples de l’orient classique III. Paris 1899 169; D. Wildung: Der widdergestaltige Amun– Ikonographie eines Götterbildes. Unpubl. paper, International Congress of Orientalists Paris 1973; id.: Sesostris und Amenemhet. Ägypten im Mittleren Reich. München 1984 182; Behrens 1986; Onasch 1990 49 f.; Pamminger 1992. 321 Ostracon DeM 1072. G. Posener: Catalogue des ostraca hiératiques litteraires de Deir el Médineh I. Le Caire 1938 No. 1072; Zibelius-Chen 1994a 4 f.; 1996 198 f.—Cf. also the evidence cited by Pamminger 1992 136 note 280. 322 See PM VII 98 (3)–(5) where, however, instead of the Re-Harakhte barque, the barque of Amun-Re is mentioned; for a corrected description and a detailed discussion of the relief program and its significance, see Hein 1991 114 ff., 119 f. 323 PM VII 109 pillars IX–XI. 324 PM VII 107 (59)–(60), (63)–(64), (69)–(70). 319 320


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The Small Temple325 north of the Great Temple at Abu Simbel was dedicated to Queen Nefertari326 who was worshipped there together " sk, i.e., Faras,327 with whom she was assimilated also in with Hathor of Ibˇ the cult statue of the sanctuary representing the Hathor cow protecting Rameses II. The niche containing the statue is flanked by Hathorpillars with the king offering flowers at each side.328 The six colossi of the temple front warn, however, that the temple housed actually three cults, for two of the statues represent Nefertari wearing the Hathor crown, two Rameses II, and two the cult statue of the deified king.329 The deified Rameses II also receives offerings from Rameses II and Nefertari on the north wall of the sanctuary.330 Similarly to the Great Temple, the Nubian Horus gods and the cataract gods participate in the legitimation of the king and his consort. On the south half of the main wall of the pronaos the king is shown offering to the Horuses of Aniba, Kuban, and Buhen;331 on the north half the Queen offers to Khnum, Satet and Anuket.332 1.5.4. Amara West and Derr Building work at the freestanding temple of Amara West, called Pr" R #-ms-sw-mrj-Imn, “House of Rameses-beloved-of-Amun”,333 was started probably before Year 15 (c. 1264 BC) and completed before or around Year 30 (c. 1249 BC). The works at Amara and Abu Simbel ran thus more or less concurrently.334 From the decoration of the monumental complex only little is preserved. The temple was built to Amun-Re whose bark was represented in the central sanctuary.335 In the centre of the program of both the inner court336 and the hypostyle337 stands Desroches-Noblecourt–Kuentz 1968. For the cult, cf. Morkot 1986. 327 Zibelius 1972 75 ff. 328 PM VII 116 f. (41). 329 PM VII 111 f. (1)–(6). 330 PM VII 116 (40). 331 PM VII 116 (33). 332 PM VII 116 (36). 333 According to W. Helck: Materialien zur Wirtschaftsgeschichte des Neuen Reiches I–VI. Mainz 1961–1969 933 No. 8, the name defines the temple as standing on the territory of the king’s private estate. 334 Hein 1991 112. 335 PM VII 162 (50). 336 PM VII 159 (13), (14). 337 PM VII 161 (24)–(25), (26)–(27), (30)–(31), (32)–(33). 325 326

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the king as triumphant warrior. Among the recorded reliefs no representation of the Lower Nubian Horus gods or the cataract gods may be found. The construction of the hemispeos of Derr338 was started about one decade later than the temples of Abu Simbel, but it was completed at the same time. In the sanctuary two divine barks were represented:339 the bark of the deified Rameses II in the local north340 and of ReHarakhte in the local south half.341 Behind Rameses II’s bark, in which his ka is resting, stands the king wearing the sun-disc on his head and holding the signs wsr and m A #t, representing thus his own throne name (cf. the statue of Re-Harakhte above the entrance of the Great Temple at Abu Simbel). The four cult statues of the sanctuary represent, from local north to south, Ptah, Amun-Re, the deified Rameses II and ReHarakhte.342 Carefully observing the geographical situation of Derr halfway between Kuban in the north and Buhen in the south are placed the scenes showing the king before Horus of Buhen343 and Horus of Kuban344 in the first pillared hall and before Horus of Kuban at the entrances to the local north345 and local south346 side chapels. As it seems, the Horuses of Kuban and Buhen stand for whole Lower Nubia from its northern to its southern end.347 1.5.5. Wadi es-Sebua and Gerf Hussein The rock temples of Wadi es-Sebua348 and Gerf Hussein were completed about three decades after the temples of Abu Simbel and Derr. At Wadi es-Sebua the splendid architecture and iconographical program, which also includes an imposing series of monumental statuary, is coupled with a fairly mediocre execution of the reliefs. The works were directed by the viceroy Setau who must have had problems with manpower for in Year 44 (c. 1235 BC) he was forced to 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348

Cf. Lurson 2007. Cf. Habachi 1969 13 ff. PM VII 88 f. (27). PM VII 89 (28). PM VII 89 (29). PM VII 86 IX (c), XII (c). PM VII 86 IX (b), upper register. PM VII 89 (31). PM VII 89 (38). See PM VII 86 IX (b), upper and lower register. Cf. Lurson 2007.


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lead a military expedition to the southern lands of Irem and Akita and acquire slaves for the construction work at the temple (see Chapters II.4, IX.1).349 In the forecourt twelve stelae erected by him were discovered, among them a biographical inscription recounting his career including his achievement as director of temple construction works throughout Lower Nubia.350 The 109 m long complex of Wadi es-Sebua351 was approached from a landing place through a long processional alley flanked by eight pairs of royal sphinxes. The temple consisted of an outer gate (first pylon) with two colossi and two sphinxes of Rameses II,352 an outer court with two pairs of sphinxes,353 a brick pylon (second pylon) with a pair of sphinxes,354 a second court with two pairs of hawk-headed sphinxes representing the Horuses of Abu Simbel, Aniba (local south),355 Kuban, and Edfu (local north).356 From the second court a ramp led up to a terrace and to a sandstone pylon (third pylon) with four colossi of Rameses II,357 two of which represented the king carrying a divine stave associated with Amun.358 The door of this pylon gave access to an inner court with five pairs of Osiride pillars, a vestibule with three pairs of Osiride pillars; then a pronaos from which three sanctuaries and two side rooms opened. In the central sanctuary there were the statues of Amun-Re, the deified Rameses II and Re-Harakhte.359 The main wall reliefs of the inner court represent the king being elected by Thoth and Re-Harakhte and offering Ma#at to Amun-Re and the deified Rameses II on the local south half;360 on the local north half being accompanied by his own deified self into the presence of Amun and Mut and offering to Re-Harakhte and the deified Rameses II.361 In the pronaos the deified king appears in three scenes as receiver of offerings;362 on 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358

18. 359 360 361 362

KRI III 91–94 (25); Hein 1991 19, 93. KRI III 87–96. Gauthier 1912. PM VII 55 (1)–(4). PM VII 55 I, II, IV, V. PM VII 55 III, VI. PM VII 57 VII, VIII. PM VII 57 IX, X. PM VII 57 f. (28), (29); two lost. C. Chaudefaud: Les statues portes-enseignes de l’Égypte ancienne. Paris 1982; Hein 1991 PM PM PM PM

VII 62 (122). VII 59 (57)–(58). VII 59 (59)–(60). VII 60 f. (84), (88), (91).

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the lintel of the central sanctuary door he is running before Amun and his deified self (local south) and Montu and his deified self (local south).363 The bark of the deified king (with the falcon head emblem taken over from Re-Harakhte)364 is represented on the local north wall of the central sanctuary.365 Legitimation by the traditional gods of the Lower Nubian region is not omitted, either. In the pronaos the king receives life from Horus of Aniba,366 Horus of Buhen367 (local south half), Horus of Kuban,368 and Khnum369 (local north half: the Horus gods of the pronaos are geographically correctly placed). On a wall of the local south side-room Rameses performs offerings before Ptah, the deified Rameses II, Hathor, and the Horuses of Kuban, Aniba, and Buhen, further before Atum.370 On the local north wall of the local south chapel the king offers jubilees to Horus of Kuban and feather to Khnum;371 on the local south thickness of the north chapel door receives life from Horus of Kuban.372 Another construction program directed by Setau was the hemispeos to Ptah and the deified Rameses II at Gerf Hussein.373 It consists of a freestanding forecourt with pylon front, a hypostyle hall, pronaos, sanctuary, two side chapels and two side-rooms. Along the north and south sides of the peripteral forecourt there are Osiride pillars, the east side columns. The hypostyle roof is supported by six Osiride pillars. The four cult statues of the sanctuary represent (N–S) Ptah, Rameses II, Ptah-Tatenen and Hathor.374 An extraordinary feature of the hypostyle is represented by the four statue niches in each longitudinal wall. Each niche contained three cult statues. No detailed analysis of the program of the hall375 can be presented here: as in the case of the other Ramesside temples

363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375

PM VII 61 (110)–(111). Habachi 1969 6; Hein 1991 115, 119. PM VII 62 (119). PM VII 60 (85). PM VII 60 (86). PM VII 61 (89). PM VII 61 (90). PM VII 61 (97)–(99). PM VII 62 (128)–(130). PM VII 63 (132). Jacquet et al. 1974–1978. Hein 1991 166. PM VII 34 f. (8)–(15).


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surveyed in this chapter, a more complete discussion of its theological implications would require more space. The following table must suffice here. Table E. The Iconographical Program of the Hypostyle of the Rock Temple at Gerf Hussein south

pronaos door

wall: king before Ptah, deified Rameses II,376 Khnum 3. lion-headed Sekhmet 2. deified Rameses II 1. Ptah osiride pillar → 3. cow-headed Hathor 2. deified Rameses II 1. Ptah osiride pillar → 3. Horus of Buhen 2. deified Rameses II 1. Horus of Kuban osiride pillar → 3. Mut 2. deified Rameses II 1. Amun-Re wall: king before Amun-Re, Mut, Khonsu

↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑

north wall: king before Ptah, deified Rameses II, Sekhmet

3. Iusaas 2. deified Rameses II 1. Re-Harakhte ← osiride pillar 3. Isis 2. deified Rameses II 1. Horus of Aniba ← osiride pillar 3. Satet 2. deified Rameses II 1. Nefertum ← osiride pillar 3. Anuket 2. deified Rameses II 1. Khnum wall: king before Re-Harakhte, deified Rameses II, Ma#at


The two series of triads along the walls constitute a conceptual unit with the Osiride pillars, which represent the king wearing the Double Crown and the ceremonial kilt.377 With the exception of the second triad on the south side, the triads present the deified Rameses II as son and heir of divine couples. The triads associate the deified king with Egypt’s principal cults and sanctuaries as well as the traditional gods of the Lower Nubian region.

376 PM VII 35 f. (11), (12), (15) has erroneously Rameses I; corrected to Rameses II by Hein 1991 10 note 20. 377 Cf. Hein 1991 116 f.

religion and society in new kingdom nubia


The triads on the south and north side also correspond with each other: the Theban triad with the cataract gods Khnum and Anuket; the Nubian Horuses of Kuban and Buhen with the Memphite couple of Nefertum and Satet (the latter also with Khnum-Anuket); the Memphite Ptah and Hathor with the Nubian Horus of Aniba and Isis; the Memphite Ptah and Sekhmet with the Heliopolitan Re-Harakhte and Iusaas. More concrete theological connections with Rameses II’s Ptah temple at Memphis378 and his building activity at the Re-Harakhte sanctuary at Heliopolis379 may also be presumed. Sekhmet, the lioness brought back from the south specially corresponds with Iusaas, who also may appear lion-headed and who is Re-Harakhte’s consort also at Abu Simbel,380 Derr,381 and Wadi esSebua.382 Yet Iusaas also appears as consort of Atum, and it is possible that the triad Re-Harakhte-Rameses II-Iusaas also represents here the principal temple dedicated to Amun-Re-Harakhte-Atum383 in Rameses II’s new residence at Piramesse in the Delta. “Nubian” gods also appear in the pillared pronaos: on the south side Horus of Aniba and Horus of Buhen;384 on the north Horus of Kuban and Khnum.385 The symmetrical placing of Horus of Buhen, a god associated with the Second Cataract, and Khnum, god of the First Cataract, recalls a similar symmetry observed in the rock shrine of Ellesiya (Chapter X.1.2.2). 1.5.6. The “Nubian” Gods in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties The complexity of the iconographical programs warns against undue generalizations. So much seems obvious, however, that in six from the eight temples surveyed above, the traditional “Lower Nubian” deities, i.e., the Horus gods of Kuban, Aniba, Abu Simbel and Buhen and the cataract gods Khnum, Satet, and Anuket, occupy places that do not

Cf. J. Malek: The Monuments Recorded at Memphis. JEA 72 (1986) 101–112. Cf. L. Kákosy: Heliopolis. LÄ II (1977) 1111–1113. 380 PM VII 104 (44), main wall of the hypostyle. 381 PM VII 87 (10), Rameses II conducted by Atum and Harsiese into the presence of Re-Harakhte and Iusaas. 382 PM VII 59 (51)–(52), 61 (91). 383 E. Uphill: The Temples of Per Ramesses. Warminster 1984. 384 PM VII 35 (22), (23). 385 PM VII 35 f. (26), (27). 378 379


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significantly differ in theological/political importance from the “Egyptian” deities. A notable difference is, however, that their role is “restricted” to the theological/political legitimation of the ruler and the “representation” of Lower Nubia’s unity with Egypt on the level of the myth of the state. All great temples constructed in Nubia in the reign of Rameses II were built to the cult of the deified king and besides this to one, two, or three further “Reichsgötter” of the Nineteenth Dynasty period: viz., Amun-Re, Ptah, Re-Harakhte, Amun-Min-Kamutef, or Hathor. Yet it is important to note that there are bark representations only of Rameses II (Abu Simbel Great Temple, Derr, Wadi es-Sebua, Gerf Hussein), Amun-Re (Abu Simbel, Amara West, Wadi es-Sebua) and Ptah (Gerf Hussein); and we know that the Great Temple at Abu Simbel was regularly visited by Thoth who journeyed in his river bark from his temple at Abu Hoda on the opposit bank and was carried in his processional bark to the South Chapel.386 The iconographical program of the Great Temple of Abu Simbel also shows the integration of Amun of Napata as bringer of the inundation into the sacred landscape of Nubia-united-with-Egypt. The reliefs of the temple at Amara West between the Second and Third Cataracts, the town founded to replace Soleb as the seat of the Deputy of Kush (cf. Chapter IX.2.3.4), display another, more traditional aspect of AmunRe, viz., the guarantor of Rameses II’s military achievements in Nubia and the Levant. The king appears as conqueror in the temple in the forecourt of which important royal inscriptions were exhibited, among them copies of the Ptah Decree (“Blessing of Ptah”)387 (in a niche to the east of the temple door) and the Marriage Stela388 (in a niche to the west of the temple door). The polarity of Nubia’s cult topography—i.e., the cults of the “Lower Nubian” gods maintained north of the Second Cataract and the autocracy of Amun south of the Second Cataract—took shape in the late Eighteenth – early Nineteenth Dynasty. It should not be overlooked, however, that the Upper Nubian Amun cults (Napata, Kawa, Pnubs/Kerma) presented an Egyptian theological framework for the assimilation of native local cults and, as we have seen in Chapter X.1.5.3, there were significant attempts at their integration into the united sacred landscape of Egypt and Nubia. 386 387 388

Cf. PM VII 98 (3). KRI II 258–281. KRI II 233–256; cf. Hein 1991 94.

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Rameses II’s great cult foundations in Lower Nubia may give the impression that the temple cults of the deified ruler and the great “Reichsgötter” Amun-Re, Re-Harakhte and Ptah eclipsed all other temple cults, so first of all the temple cults of the “Lower Nubian” gods. Yet we have already seen above (Chapter X.1.2.1) that the viceroy Heqanakht (attested in Years 3–20 of Rameses II, c. 1276–1259 BC) was priest of the deified Senusret III at Kumma and erected a stela in this function in the temple built by Amenhotep III to Khnum, Senusret III, Anuket and Dedwen.389 The Thutmoside temple dedicated at Semna West (i.e., on the opposite bank) to Dedwen and the deified Senusret III would be restored in the seventh century BC by Taharqo.390 Taharqo also would sponsor a stand for the bark of the deified Senusret III.391 Dedwen would already appear, however, in the abacus inscriptions of Piankhy’s hypostyle B 502 in the great Amun temple at Gebel Barkal where the king would adopt the epithet mry-Ddwn hnty T A-sty, ˘ century “beloved of Dedwen, foremost of Nubia”.392 In the early sixth BC Aspelta Election Stela Dedwen would be invoked as hnty T A-sty ntr ¯ ˘ pw n Kˇs, “foremost of Nubia, he is the god of Kush” and compete even with Amun of Napata: His Majesty’s [Aspelta] entire army was in the town named Pure-mountain [Gebel Barkal], the god in which is Dedwen[.]393

The long survival of the cult of the Nubian Horus gods is also attested by Taharqo’s restoration of the South Temple at Buhen, where the king was represented as “beloved of Horus, Lord of Buhen” and “beloved of Isis, Mistress of Buhen”394 (cf. Chapters XIII.4.3, 4.4). In order to form an idea of the actual dimensions of the survival of the “Lower Nubian” cults, it may suffice to run through volume VII of Porter–Moss, combining the evidence presented there with Irmgard Hein’s list of Ramesside documents:

389 390 391 392 393 394

PM VII 155; Dunham–Janssen 1960 124. Dunham–Janssen 1960 12 f., 32 ff.; Wolf 1990 31 ff., 112 ff. PM VII 149. For the abacus inscriptions, see Dunham 1970 fig. 40; Török 2002a 59 ff. FHN I No. 37 line 2. Randall-MacIver–Woolley 1911 17, 50; Caminos 1974 57 f., 85.


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Table F. Worship of “Nubian” Deities in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties reign



Merenptah (1213–1203 BC)

Buhen South Tpl.

1. triumphal stela (Libyan victory)395 2. votive inscr. of Viceroy Khaemtery396

Sety II (1200–1194 BC)

Buhen South Tpl.

1. inscr. door frame fragments397 2. stela with king before Horus of Buhen398

Siptah (1194–1188 BC)

Derr, rock stela

Amenemheb, troop commander adores Horus of Aniba399 inscribed door frames400

Buhen South Tpl. Buhen South Tpl.

pillar 14, king offers Ma#at to Horus of Buhen401

Semna, DedwenSenusret III Tpl.

inscribed blocks402

Amara W. Tpl.

1. stela Khartoum 3061 of Viceroy Hori II with R. III adoring Horus of Aniba, Year 5 2. stela BM 1784 of Viceroy Hori II with R. III adoring Horus of Aniba, Year 11403

Buhen South Tpl.

1. votive inscr. of Hori II404 2. stela BM 66 668 with R. IV before Horus of Buhen405


door lintel with invocation of Horus of Buhen406

Rameses V (1147–1143 BC)

Buhen South Tpl.

inscribed column407

Rameses VI (1143–1136 BC)


inscriptions in the tomb of Pennut, Deputy of Wawat, Steward of Horus Lord of Aniba, mention of Chantresses of Horus, Lord of Aniba408

Rameses III (1184–1153 BC)

Rameses IV (1153–1147 BC)

395 396 397 398 399 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408

Smith 1976 143. KRI IV 97 Nos 1, 2/b. Smith 1976 95, 117, 134, 155, 254. Smith 1976 150 ff.; KRI IV 282. PM VII 89; KRI VI 166. Hein 1991 44 f. Caminos 1974 40; KRI V 346 No. 139. Hein 1991 50. PM VII 162. Caminos 1974 23; KRI VI 80 No. 2. Smith 1976 Pl. LXXIX; KRI VI 80 f. Dating uncertain, Hein 1991 48. Caminos 1974 23. Steindorff 1937 242 ff.; Heykal–Abou-Bakr 1961.

religion and society in new kingdom nubia


Table F continued reign



Rameses IX (1126–1108 BC)

Kuban Tpl.409

door lintel with representation of Renofer, priest of Horus of Kuban adoring the name of R. IX410

Buhen South Tpl.

forecourt, column 26E, votive inscr. of Viceroy Ramesesnakht411

Semna, DedwenSenusret III Tpl. (?)

Cairo JdE 50207, unpubl. stela of Viceroy, Ramesesnakht and his son Wentawat412

Rameses X (1108–1099 BC)

Aniba, Horus Tpl.

pillar fgm. with cartouche of R. X413

Rameses XI (1099–1069 BC)

Buhen North Tpl. of Isis and/or Hathor " sk of Ibˇ

ex voto of Viceroy Setmose adoring names of R. XI, on pillar 7414

undated late New Kingdom

Buhen South Tpl.

adorations of prophets of Horus of Buhen on pillars 27W, 28W of the forecourt415

Horus of Kuban continued thus to be worshipped until Rameses IX in an unidentified temple at Kuban; the worship of Horus of Aniba is attested in the reigns of Siptah in a rock stela at Derr, of Rameses III in the Amun temple at Amara West in Upper Nubia (!), and of Rameses X in Horus of Aniba’s own sanctuary at Aniba. Dedwen and the deified Senusret III were worshipped in their temple at Semna in the reigns of Rameses III and Rameses IX; and Hathor of Ibshek was worshipped as late as in the reign of Rameses XI in her ancient North Temple at Buhen. Many of the data refer to the cult of Horus of Buhen in the South Temple at Buhen, which was maintained continuously during the Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties. Horus of Buhen was also worshipped at Dorginarti under Rameses IV. The bulk of the evidence listed in Table F comes from seven temples in Lower Nubia, situated in the more densely populated fertile zones (Kuban, Derr, Aniba) and in the Second Cataract region (Buhen, Dorginarti, Semna), the ancient centre of “Nubian” cults. There is 409 410 411 412 413 414 415

Remains not identified, cf. Hein 1991 12 ff. Emery–Kirwan 1935 56 ff., fig. 38; KRI VI 527 f. PM VII 135. Hein 1991 51. Steindorff 1937 240 f.; KRI VI 842 No. 35. Caminos 1974 109 f.; Bohleke 1985. PM VII 135.


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evidence for the worship of a Lower Nubian Horus god from a temple in Upper Nubia, viz., Amara, the centre of the Egyptian government of Kush in the Ramesside period, too. A good part of the monuments is connected to viceroys and reflects thus the homogeneity of the “official” religious policy ranging from the theological/political programs designed for the major temples founded by the rulers to the cults maintained in the local centres of “Egyptianized” religiosity.


There is a prince (wr) in the north of vile Kush who is starting enmity together with two Nubian Iwnty among the children of the prince of vile Kush who had fled from the lord of Twolands on the day of the massacre by the Good God, when this country was divided into three parts, each of them [i.e., the prince in the north of vile Kush and the two Iwnty] in charge of his part.1

1. Wawat We have surveyed in Chapter X the monuments of “official” religion and the handful of data relating to the piety of the highest echelons of the Egyptian administration whose religiosity can of course not be considered independently from their offices. Regrettably enough, the religiosity of the inhabitants of the towns and villages of Lower Nubia, be they members of an immigrant Egyptian minority or descendants of the C-Group and Pan-Grave population, remains almost completely invisible. Though we may speculate that, like in Egypt, personal access to the gods dwelling in the sanctuaries was granted for, and could be practiced by everybody through the mediation of the statues standing in front of the temples and in their forecourts, the personal piety of the lower strata of society did not leave behind written documents. Its actual material testimonies, if existed, were discarded unnoticed by the archaeologists excavating Nubia’s sanctuaries prior to the second half

1 Urk. IV 139, Year 1 of Thutmose II (c. 1492 BC), trans. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 210.


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of the twentieth century.2 The recording of a deposit of offering vessels at the rock shrine of Gebel Agg is exceptional (see Chapter X.1.2.1). Mortuary archaeology may compensate us to a considerable extent for what we cannot learn about acculturation in general and the relationship between the temples and the communities living in their surroundings and serving them in one way or another, in particular. The apparently rapid disappearance of native burial customs in Lower Nubia after the New Kingdom conquest was interpreted as one of the best indicators for the complete Egyptianization of Nubian society. More recently, doubts were expressed concerning the reality of this view.3 In the following we shall discuss the problem of the various degrees of Egyptianization in a somewhat broader political and cultural context. The passage quoted at the head of this chapter is from an inscription of Thutmose II4 relating the suppression of a revolt led by the king of Kerma (?) and two Nubian princes. It records the first case of taking a child of a Nubian prince to Egypt in order to be educated and schooled there; the text also relates that Nubia had been divided by Thutmose I into parts which were “in charge” of native chiefs. There is evidence for native wrw, “chiefs” or “princes” (the literature prefers the latter translation) from the reign of Thutmose I to the very end of the New Kingdom domination. In general, the term wr defined in the New Kingdom a native ruler who was in a contractually defined political relationship with the Egyptian ruler.5 The indigenous Nubian term kwr, an early form of the Meroitic word qore, “ruler”,6 occurs first in the late New Kingdom Onomasticon of Amenemope.7 The evidence for Nubian wrw is not continuous in time, however. The lacunae may indicate discontinuities as well as alterations in the administrative structure in which native chiefs played a role as collectors of tribute and guardians of order in their communities.8 It seems that in Lower Nubia, Egyptian Wawat, the number and territory of the chiefdoms did not change in the course of the times. The chiefdom territories remained For the Egyptian evidence cf. G. Pinch: Votive Offerings to Hathor. Oxford 1993; Kemp 1995. 3 Cf. Smith 1962 56; Bietak 1987; Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989; Säve-Söderbergh– Troy 1991 8 ff. 4 Urk. IV 138–141; cf. G. Posener: Urk. IV, 139, 2–7. RdE 10 (1955) 92–94. 5 For the evidence: Lorton 1974 60 ff. 6 Griffith 1912 72 (Index s.v.). 7 Gardiner 1947 I 209 284*, 285*. 8 For the collection and delivery of the tribute, see, e.g., the inscription of Minmose from Medamud, Urk. IV 1442. 2

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identical with the more densely populated fertile zones around Kuban, Aniba, and Faras. Beyond its existence, we know very little about the chiefdom of Kuban. The chiefdoms of M"ı #m (Miam=Aniba) and Th¯ htj, Teh-khet, are somewhat better documented. A tribute scene in the ˘Theban tomb of Viceroy Amenhotep Huy (see below) depicts three Princes of Wawat and six Princes of Kush, i.e., Upper Nubia. As we shall see below, the office of the Prince of Teh-khet was hereditary, and this may well have been the case of the other princedoms as well. The chiefdom or princedom of Teh-khet extended from the northern end of the Second Cataract region to the region of Faras or Abu Simbel (?). Three princes of Teh-khet of the Thutmoside period are known from inscriptions. The tombs of two of them, Djehuty-hotep and Amenemhet, were also discovered. A fourth prince from the reign of Rameses II is attested in an inscription from Serra (see below). It is supposed that four tombs at Serra East of a type showing a transition from tumulus to pyramid represent the burials of the direct ancestors of Djehuty-hotep’s dynasty in the pre/early Eighteenth Dynasty period.9 The tomb of Prince Djehuty-hotep was cut in the rock of a hill on the east bank, overlooking the Debeira plain, c. 5 km to the south of the fortress of Serra and 10 km of Faras. The tomb of Prince Amenemhet, younger brother and successor of Djehuty-hotep, was constructed on the west bank. It was oriented exactly toward the tomb of Djehutyhotep.10 Djehuty-hotep inherited his chiefdom from his father. Their family is known for three generations:11

Two stelae erected in the memory of Teti were acquired in the nineteenth century on Elephantine, one of them recording offerings to Horus of Buhen and the cataract gods,12 the other offerings to “Satet, 9 10 11 12

Williams 1991a 74; Williams 1993; S.T. Smith 1995 152 ff. See the map of Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 Pl. 61. For the dossier of the family, see Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 190 ff. Moscow GM III 1.a.5628, Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 191.


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Lady of Elephantine, Anuket who is in front of T A-sty [Nubia or the first nome of Upper Egypt], (Khnum Lord of) the Cool Waters, Lord of Biggeh, Osiris, foremost (of the Westerners)”.13 Teti’s only title is s Ab, “dignitary”. The family relations of Ruiu (Rwiw) are documented in Senmose’s tomb at Qubbet el-Hawa.14 Though he bears no title in his tomb, it may be supposed that Senmose served his king north of the First Cataract. Ruiu appears on the second stela of Teti as “Prince of Tehkhet, Scribe”. While the latter title indicates an education received in Egypt, the provenance of Teti’s stelae and the location of Senmose’s tomb raise the question whether the family originated in the Aswan region or in Teh-khet. For the latter option speak the Nubian names D Ai-wi- # and P A-itsy15 as well as the family’s devotion to Horus of Buhen. ¯ Since Ruiu and his sons bear the title “Scribe” we may safely assume that they were schooled in Egypt. They do not bear the title hrdw n ¯ k Ap, “Children of the Nursery”, however; thus they do not seem to have been educated at the royal court16—although Amenehmet’s title rh-nswt m A #, “True Royal Acquaintance of His Lord”, may indicate that ˘ spent there a period of time.17 he Besides the stelae of Teti erected on Elephantine, Ruiu also left behind a rock inscription at Gebel Tingar opposite Aswan.18 In the documents he appears with the titles s #h. ı"k. r, “excellent noble”,19 “Prince of Teh-khet”,20 “Valiant Prince of Teh-khet”.21 The titularies and epithets of his sons and successors are more complex and describe more advanced stages of the family’s integration into the hierarchy of Egyptian officialdom.

Moscow GM III 1.a.5629, Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 191. Säve-Söderbergh 1963 171 ff. 15 See Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 205 f. 16 Frandsen 1979 169 ff. 17 Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 206. 18 J. de Morgan: Catalogue des monuments et inscriptions de l’Égypte antique I. Wien 1894 128 No. 4.—Castiglioni–Castiglioni 2006 404, fig. 5 present a preliminary publication of a name inscription of “the prince of Teh-khet, Ruiu” found in a cave in the Wadi Tonaidba approached from the Korosko-Abu Hamed road (no closer location is given). 19 Debeira East, tomb of Djehuty-hotep, Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 197. 20 Khartoum 92, statue of Amenemhet, Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 193 f. 21 Fragment of door jamb from Buhen, Smith 1976 154; Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 196. 13 14

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Djehuty-hotep was “Royal Scribe”,22 hrp k. n n nbt t Awy, “Able Leader ˘ for the Lady of Two-lands”, “True Servant (?) of the Lord of Twolands”, “Prince, Son of a Prince, Excellent Heir” and “Prince of Tehkhet”.23 Amenemhat appears in his documents as “Scribe”, hrp rs-tp n nbt t Awy, “Vigilant Leader for the Lady of Two-lands”, hrp˘ rs-tp n h. mt-nswt, “Vigilant Leader for the King’s Wife”, hrp rs-tp ˘n s At-nswt, “Vigilant Leader for the King’s Daughter”, hrp k. n n˘ nswt, “The King’s ˘ Valiant Leader”, hrp k. n m W Aw At, “The Valiant Leader in Wawat”, ˘ rh-nswt m A #, “True Royal Acquaintance of His Lord”, “Prince of Teh˘ khet”, “Prince”, “Who Knows the Laws”, “Who Concentrates Himself against Crime”.24 References to the “King’s Wife”, “Lady of Twolands”, “King’s Daughter” on the one hand, and to Menkheperre,25 on the other, date the office of the brothers to the co-regency of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. The death and burial of Amenemhet occurred before the beginning of Thutmose III’s sole reign (c. 1453 BC), for the name of his wife occurring in the inscriptions of his tomb did not fall victim to the erasures connected to Queen Hatshepsut’s damnatio memoriae. The three-chambered tomb (chamber, statue chapel, burial chamber) of Djehuty-hotep was decorated with paintings of average quality executed by (an) Egyptian artist(s).26 The prince is represented with the traditional reddish skin colour of Egyptian men, which distinguishes him from brown and black skinned figures in the same paintings, i.e., the Nubians working in the master’s household or on his plantations.27 Djehuty-hotep is depicted in activities characterizing the life of the Egyptian elite of his age. At the same time, these activities carried messages that were to be perceived in the terms of Egyptian mortuary religion:28 Djehuty-hotep was shown hunting with a chariot in the desert, presiding over a banquet and being entertained by Nubian dancers and musicians; inspecting his plantations and gardens and receiving


Probably denoting Djehuty-hotep’s membership in the state administration rather than an actual period of service, cf. Murnane 1998 184 f. 23 Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 206. 24 Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 206 f. 25 Inscription fragment from Serra East, Säve-Söderbegh 1960 27 f., Pl. XV; SäveSöderbergh–Troy 1991 196 f. 26 T. Säve-Söderbergh: The Paintings in the Tomb of Djehuty-hetep at Debeira. Kush 8 (1960) 24–44. 27 Cf. Säve-Söderbergh 1991 187; Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 Pl. I. 28 Cf. Assmann 2001.


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the produces of his subjects.29 The jambs of the outer entrance and the frame of the statue chapel door were inscribed with standard formulae.30 The plastered and painted statues of the statue chapel represented the tomb owner and his wife, Tent-nub, and Djehuty-hotep’s parents Ruiu and Runa (Rwn A). The tomb of Amenemhet excavated by Torgny Säve-Söderbergh at Debeira East visualizes even more comprehensively the religious aspect of the native princes’ Egyptianization. The tomb was partly rock-cut and partly built of mud-brick. It consisted of a lower courtyard from which a rock-cut statue chapel opened. From the lower court a ramp led up to an upper courtyard in which a mud-brick pyramid stood surrounded by a mud-brick outer wall with an entrance at the east. The pyramid encased a room above a 12 m deep shaft from which a corridor leading to a sarcophagus chamber opened. The subterranean rooms, though plundered in the antiquity, still contained at the time of the excavation a large pottery assemblage dating from the co-regency of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. Similar pyramid superstructures dating from the reigns of Thutmose III and Amenhotep III were also identified at Soleb.31 Since not only objects inscribed for Djehuty-hotep were found in Amenemhet’s tomb but also four canopic jars in the name of P A-itws("ı)-h. r,32 a variant of Djehuty-hotep’s Nubian name, it may be supposed that Amenemhet moved the burial of his elder brother and predecessor from the east bank where the traditional cemeteries were situated (for Fadrus, see below) to the west bank, i.e., the “Beautiful West” of Egyptian mortuary religion.33 Finds from the tomb—coffin fragments, canopic vessels, masks, scarabs, amulets, tweezers, metal, faience, and pottery vessels, an offering basin, personal adornments34— indicate burials entirely in accordance with Egyptian mortuary religion, similarly to the excellent-quality granite mortuary stela of Amenemhet found in the statue chapel.35 The statues of the statue chapel were left unfinished, which suggests, together with the complete lack of evidence

Säve-Söderbergh 1960; 1991 187. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 197 ff. 31 Schiff Giorgini 1971 82 ff. 32 Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 188, Pls 31, 59. 33 Säve-Söderbergh 1991 188. 34 Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 188 ff. 35 Khartoum, inv. no. not known, Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 201 ff., fig. 52/D3, Pls 48/2, 50, 51. 29 30

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concerning eventual descendants of Djehuty-hotep and Amenemhet that Amenemhet died without heirs. Two statues, two stelae and the fragment of a doorjamb attest Amenemhet’s connections with the temple of Horus of Buhen.36 The statues and stelae were donated by Amenemhet before he would have succeded Djehuty-hotep. In the better-preserved, excellent quality stela, now in the Pennsylvania University Museum, Amenemhet invokes “Horus, Lord of Buhen, the Great God, Lord of the Southern Land (T A sˇm #, " sk (Faras),37 Mistress of Heaven “Upper Egypt”) and Hathor, Lady of Ibˇ and all gods and goddesses who are in the South”. A fine granite naos statue of Amenemhet as Prince of Teh-khet was found at Qasr Ibrim; its original provenance remains unknown.38 All monuments surveyed above could have been sponsored by welleducated members of the Egyptian official elite as well: the family’s Nubianness is revealed only by the two Nubian names occurring in the second and third generations and by the special devotion to Horus of Buhen displayed by Ruiu and his sons. The increase of Egyptian titles and epithets from generation to generation visualizes the family’s swift emergence and is at the same time paradigmatic for the general process of the native elite’s integration into the Egyptian administrative elite, i.e., the process of its Egyptianization. While Djehuty-hotep and Amenemhet were represented on their Nubian monuments as Egyptians according to the Egyptian canon and were shown dressed as the Egyptian elite of their period, the Nubian princes depicted in the Theban tomb of Rekhmire, Vizier of Thutmose III were shown wearing skin loinclothes.39 Such a duality is a recurrent feature of the iconography of Nubian princes and dignitaries:40 in Nubia they have an Egyptian rather than Nubian, in Egypt a Nubian rather than Egyptian appearance. Their iconographical duality follows from their double identity one or the other side of which is, 36 Khartoum 92, Pennsylvania 10980 (statues), Randall-MacIver–Woolley 1911 112, Pennsylvania 10982 (stelae), Smith 1976 154, Pl. XLII/5 (door jamb fragment). See Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 193 ff. 37 Karkowski 1981 21 ff.: “the part of Faras lying around the Hathor rock”. 38 J.M. Plumley: Qasr Ibrim 1974. JEA 61 (1975) 5–27 16, Pl. X/2; Säve-Söderbergh– Troy 1991 203, fig. 52, Pl. 60. 39 Davies 1943 Pl. 18; Drenkhahn 1967 22. 40 For the issue, see A. Lohwasser’s unpublished paper submitted at the Tenth International Conference of Nubian Studies, Paris 2004 and cf. also Fitzenreiter 2004; A. Lohwasser: Fremde Heimat. Selektive Akkulturation in Kusch. in: Czerny–Hein et al (eds) 2006 123–138.


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however, not as completely suppressed to the north or to the south of the First Cataract as it would appear at the first sight. The princes of Teh-khet, while depicted as Egyptians, bore Nubian names and displayed their special devotion to “Nubian” deities. In turn, the Nubian princes and princesses occurring in tribute scenes in Eighteenth Dynasty and later tombs in Egypt wear hybrid dresses and accessories containing both Egyptian and Nubian elements (the Nubian appearance of the princes receives more emphasis; the princesses and the young princes appear more Egyptianized). The most significant Nubian costume details are the animal tails suspended on their elbows and/or tied to their ornamental belts.41 These exotic accessories were magical signs associated with the power of animals and the power over animals and belonged, as it seems, to the ancient symbols of the Nubian chiefs’ authority. This is also indicated by the representation of two cult statues of Amenhotep II in the Theban tomb (TT 93) of Kenamun where the king wears a Nubian costume and animal tails tied to his elbows.42 Transformed into ribbons, the animal tails fastened to the Nubian princes’ elbows would re-appear much later in the iconography of the Meroitic hunter-warrior god Apedemak.43 Besides the Princes of Teh-khet and the anonymous Lower Nubian princes represented in Rekhmire’s tomb, also men bearing the title wr n Md Ayw, “Prince of the Medjay” are attested. Neferkhat, who ¯ served under Thutmose III, was “Prince of the Medjay, Follower of His Lord on His Campaigns in the Southern and Northern Countries”. Though depicted as an Egyptian, he was of Nubian extraction. He was shown offering desert animals to Amun,44 which may be interpreted as an actual indication of his authority over the Eastern Desert and its dwellers (cf. Chapters IV.2, 3, VI.1, 2, X.1.2.1). His son Menkheperre-sonb (“Menkheperre-is-healthy”) was educated at the court and appointed to high offices in Egypt and in Nubia. He was “overseer of the Deserts of the Good God” and “overseer of the hunters” and followed his father as Prince of the Medjay.45 A man called Neby, Prince of the Medjay under Thutmose IV, was also educated at the court. He started his Nubian career as ı"my-r htm n t A n ˘ 41 42 43 44 45

Drenkhahn 1967 27, with literature. Drenkhahn 1967 27 with note 40. Török 1990 171 ff. Urk. IV 989 ff.; Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 208. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 208.

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W Aw At, “overseer of the Fortress of Wawat”.46 The office of the Prince of the Medjay continues to be attested in the Ramesside period,47 but it seems to have been performed by Egyptians too. In any case, it indicates that the Medjay of the Eastern Desert lived, at least partly, in a sort of organized polity and accepted the authority of the Egyptian ruler and his Lower Nubian viceroy. Heqanefer (“Good-is-the-Master”), descendant of an Egyptianized Nubian family, was brought up at the court, received the title “Page”, then acted in the reigns of Amenhotep III, Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten and Tutankhamun as “chief of oarsmen”, then Prince of M"ı #m, the administrative unit centred around Aniba, further tbw nswt, “king’s san¯ dalmaker” and t Ay ı"sbt nt nb t Awy, “bearer of the folding chair of the ¯ Lord of Two-lands”. His name, like many other names of Egyptianized Nubians containing the word h. q A, “master”, “ruler”, displayed his family’s loyalty toward the king. About his activities as Prince of Aniba we have a little more information than the stereotype of the delivering of the tribute to the king, in which context he is actually depicted kneeling before Tutankhamun in the Theban tomb of Viceroy Amenhotep Huy. Namely, we know that he accompanied the viceroy on his inspection tours in the gold-mining regions of the Eastern Desert.48 His other titles listed above also indicate that he was responsible for the river transport of Nubian goods to Egypt, including the fine artefacts of leather and wood (e.g., sandals and folding chairs), which were traditional products of the princedom of M"ı #m.49 The upper register of the much-illustrated scene in Amenhotep Huy’s tomb50 shows the three prostrate native Princes of Wawat, among them Heqanefer, as representatives of the canonical Nubian type in Egyptian art wearing feathers in their headband,51 earrings, torques, animal skin, sashes and chest bands.52 Some time after the event eternalized in a paradigmatic form in Huy’s tomb, Heqanefer would be 46 Stela Leiden, Urk. IV 1634 f.; inscription at Serabit el-Khadim on the Sinai, Urk. IV 1634; Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 208. 47 KRI III 265 and additions presented by Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 208. 48 For the name inscription of Heqanefer in the Wadi Hamid, see M. DamianoAppia: Inscriptions Along the Tracks from Kubban, Buhen and Kumma to “Berenice Panchrysos” and to the South. in: Wenig (ed.) 1999 511–542 513 ff. No. 1. 49 Helck 1958 254; Simpson 1963 26; E. Feucht: The hrdw n k Ap Reconsidered. in: ¯ Jerusalem 1985 38–47. S. Israelit-Groll (ed.): Pharaonic Egypt, The Bible, and Christianity. 50 Davies 1926 Pl. XXVII.—Cf. also Zibelius-Chen 2001 30 f. 51 For the feathers as symbols of the chief ’s authority, see Drenkhahn 1967 28. 52 For the costumes, see Drenkhahn 1967 26 ff.


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buried in a tomb at Toshka, modelled after Huy’s much more grandiose tomb, but where he would appear as an Egyptian.53 Wrw n Kˇsj, Princes of Kush, are represented with African features in Theban Tomb 78 (temp. Thutmose IV-Amenhotep III). They wear feathers in their hair. This is the earliest example of southern princes distinguished from their attendants by their ornate costume.54 In the lower register of the aforementioned scene in Amenhotep Huy’s tomb there are three Princes (wrw) of Kush, represented with African facial features and hairstyle, wearing feather in the hair, cowrie necklace, large earrings and sashes similar to those of the Lower Nubians. Heqaem-sasen, “overseer of the Southern Lands” in the reign of Amenhotep II,55 and Kha"y, “overseer of the Southern Lands”, represented on a relief block from the first court of Tutankhamun’s Kawa temple (Temple A),56 are also supposed to have been Princes of Kush.57 Princes " of Irm, i.e., the region of Kerma (for the location of Irem, see Chapter II.4) are represented in Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bahri. In " were sent to the king Year 34 of Thutmose III sons of the Prince of Irm 58 as part of the Nubian tribute. Princes of regions at the southern limits of Egyptian control also occur in the sources: viz., princes of M"ıw (the region of Kurgus in the Abu Hamed Reach) are depicted in the Theban tomb of Amunedjeh, temp. Thutmose III, bringing gold, minerals, ebony and panthers.59 There is evidence for Nubian princes of later periods as well. Rahotep, Prince of M"ı #m, i.e. Aniba (temp. Amenhotep III?) is mentioned at Toshka.60 A stela fragment from Serra (?) preserves a part of the document of a transaction between Heqanakht, viceroy between Years " 3–20 of Rameses II, c. 1276–1259 BC, and Ipy, Prince of Teh-khet, " and its leasing namely, the donation of a field by Heqanakht to Ipy 61 out by the latter to a third party. Nebmaatrenakht, “overseer of the Southern Lands”, shown kneeling before the cartouches of Rameses VI Simpson 1963. Wreszinski 1923 247; Drenkhahn 1967 22 f. 55 M. Dewachter: Un fonctionnaire préposé aux marches meridionales à l’époque d’Amenophis II: (Pa)-Hekaemsasen. CRIPEL 4 (1976) 53–60. 56 Oxford 1931.552, PM VII 181 (11); Macadam 1955 10, Pl. I/a. 57 Morkot 1991a 299. 58 Annals of Thutmose III, Urk. IV 709. 59 Urk. IV 947 ff.; N. Davies: Nubians in the Tomb of Amunnedjeh. JEA 28 (1942) 50–52. 60 Simpson 1963 25. 61 Säve-Söderbergh 1963 174; Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 204. 53 54

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on the columns of the second court of Temple A at Kawa,62 was perhaps a Prince of Kush. As late as in the reign of Rameses XI, a Nubian tribute scene is painted on the wall of Imiseba’s Theban tomb:63 it may be supposed that the scene corresponded to an existing practice and was not merely an iconographical commonplace, yet we cannot be quite certain of this.64 After the reconquest of Lower Nubia the early Thutmosids elected a cautious policy, which seems to have been aware of the traditions of the governmental practice followed in the area during the Second Intermediate Period (Chapter VII). As the text quoted at the head of this chapter shows, the existing local polities were first intimidated, then the native chiefs and elite were allowed to keep their place in case if they displayed readiness for cooperation and proved subsequently to fulfill the tasks they were trusted with by their new overlords. The traditional territories of the native princes constituted units of the Nubian territorial government. The authority of the territorial princes was limited, however, to special tasks such as the maintenance of the order in the native communities, the collection and delivery of the tribute, and perhaps the maintenance of the cults of “Nubian” gods. The princes were regarded as vassals of the pharaoh, but did not report directly to him. They only appeared before him at the annual delivery of the tribute in the escort of the viceroy, to whom they were directly subordinated. It may occur to us that the annual delivery of the tribute was a regularly returning dramatic celebration of a conqueror’s colonial power and a reenactment of his humiliated vassals’ submission. The political realities may indeed have been clear to the Nubian princes, yet this was not all about these events. Stuart Tyson Smith correctly argues65 that they were feasts celebrated by, albeit inequal, partners within the same intricate redistributive structure in which they mutually legitimated each other both materially and ideologically. In support of this, Smith also refers to a model letter pretended to be addressed to a Nubian prince by an “intendant of the foreign land of Kush”:

PM VII 181; Macadam 1949 Inscr. XXIV–XXVII, Pl. 39/2. Theban Tomb 65, Wreszinski 1923 224. 64 PM I 94. The scene belongs to the decoration executed for Imiseba and not to the earlier original decoration of the reused tomb, as was assumed by Säve-Söderbergh 1941 184 (pers. comm. of Prof. T. Bács who is currently excavating the tomb and documenting its decoration). 65 S.T. Smith 2003 184 ff. 62 63


chapter eleven Think about the day when the tribute ("ınw) is sent, and you are brought into the presence (of His Majesty) under the window [of appearances], the nobles to either side in front of His Majesty, the princes and envoys of every foreign land standing, looking at the tribute… Tall Terek-people in their leather garments (?), with fans of gold, high, feathered hairstyles, their jewelry of ivory (?), and numerous Nubians of all kinds.66

The involvement of the native elite in the government of the conquered regions decreased rather than increased the costs of domination and supported the legitimacy of the Egyptian ruler in Nubia. Yet elite cooperation with the new overlord was equally in the interest of the conqueror, the native princes and the native communities in their charge—and it promoted Janus-faced acculturation processes. Evidently, if they wanted to preserve their status, the highest echelons of the elite exploited the chances presented by Egypt’s Nubian policy and hastened to become assimilated to the Egyptian elite in education, religion and behaviour. Let us quote a paradigmatic case: Djehuty-hotep, Prince of Teh-khet erected a stela at Serra (?) on which he is shown performing an offering before the living “Menkheperre [i.e., Thutmose III], the Great God who is in Teh-khet”.67 The other side of the Janus-faced cultural processes was that the mediatory position of the native princes between the Egyptian government and the local communities secured the possibility for the latter to preserve much of their internal structure and traditions. A relevant example for the Nubian side of the coin seems to be provided by what one may define as the deliberately incomplete Egyptianization of native mortuary customs. The patterns of Egyptianization occurring in the mortuary evidence of the communities governed by the princes of Teh-khet significantly differ from what we see in the monuments of the princely family. The most valuable evidence for this is provided by the cemetery of Fadrus c. 5 km to the south of Amenemhet’s pyramid tomb. At the time of its excavation, the Fadrus cemetery lay on the east bank, but in the New Kingdom the Nile flowed to the east of the site, thus the cemetery was opened in the early Eighteenth Dynasty according to Egyptian mortuary religion on the west bank. Säve-Söderbergh and Troy introduce their analysis of the archaeological evidence from Fadrus with the remark:

66 67

Papyrus Koller 3.3 ff.; trans. S.T. Smith 2003 185 (slightly altered). Säve-Söderbergh 1960 27 f., Pl. XV; Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 196 f.

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In Lower Nubia after the Egyptian reconquest… [t]he overall picture is that sites and cemeteries show a Pharaonic culture. Here we meet… [a] long-discussed problem. Are these cemeteries of Pharaonic character the burial grounds of immigrated Egyptians or of Egyptianized Nubians? … At first sight nothing seems to betray a non-Egyptian element. The burial customs are Pharaonic, and so is practically everything found on the site with the exception of a very restricted number of Middle Nubian vessels.68

The explanation for the rapid decline of local pottery production is rather self-evident. The Egyptian and Egyptianized material culture dominating the Lower Nubian archaeological record from the early Eighteenth Dynasty onwards or the rapid spread of Egyptian types in the mortuary evidence, the architecture of the individual dwellings and the settlements are all consequences of the swift integration of Nubia in a structure of administration, production and redistribution that united Egypt with the re-conquered and with the newly conquered areas between the First and Fourth Cataracts. As observed by SäveSöderbergh and Troy, at Fadrus and many other cemeteries [t]he form taken by the burial, the rectangular shaft, the extended body and Egyptian grave goods, indicates an access to both the burial customs and goods of the Egyptians. These elements are, however, superficial in their character… What is lacking is any indication of adherence to Egyptian religious ritual. There is no attempt to preserve the individual identity, through preservation of the name or the inclusion of a likeness in some form. Preservation of the body through mummification, a necessity for the life of the individual after death… does not appear to have been practiced… Nor does there appear to have been any arrangement for the perpetuation of the cult, through the erection of e.g. stelae[.]69

It was also observed in the Faras-Debeira area that, besides Egyptianized cemeteries, there were also smaller burial grounds dating to the Eighteenth and early (?) Nineteenth Dynasties, which do not show any similar Egyptianization of burial customs.70 The superficiality of Egyptianization at Fadrus was questioned recently by Stuart Tyson Smith who found in the contemporary nonelite cemeteries of Harageh, Qau, and Gurob in the Theban region a similar rarity of specialized grave goods such as coffins, canopic jars and chests attesting proper mummification, shabtis or inscribed funerary 68 69 70

Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 8 f. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 248. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 8.


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figurines, heart scarabs, Book of the Dead papyri.71 Smith concluded that “the presence of communal and coffined burials at… Fadrus… implies more than a superficial imitation of Egyptian practice. The orientation of the burials provides further indication of Egyptian religious beliefs”.72 The large cemetery of Fadrus (originally about 900 units, from which 715 units were uncovered)73 extends over the entire Eighteenth Dynasty period and may be divided into three phases.74 The first, early Eighteenth Dynasty (pre-Hatshepsut, c. 1550–1479 BC), phase (Fadrus Ia, Ib) is characterized by a relatively even distribution of wealth in the community, the presence of locally made pottery besides imports, and the slight preference of placing the body on its side (presumably a variant of the contracted position of C-Group burials). The second phase (including subphases IIa, IIb, IIc) is dated to the period Hatshepsut/Thutmose III-Thutmose IV (c. 1479–1390 BC). The reigns of Djehuty-hotep and Amenemhet, the sons and successors of Ruiu, fall in this period, probably in its first half. The burials of the phase display a significant change in the distribution of wealth: the proportion of “lower class” burials increases from 35.2 % to 70.6 % (IIa), then falls to 53.5 % (IIb), and is finally 63.4 % (IIc), while the higher status tombs become typologically more complex. It is in the latter where Egyptian imports of value are concentrated. The features of Fadrus II are also characteristic for other cemeteries of the period. According to Säve-Söderbergh and Troy, [t]he changes which take place during this phase from a community where there is evidence of a wide distribution of wealth and a developing local hierarchy to a community of an essentially homogeneous working class may be related to the role played by the Nubian Princes. The brothers Djehuty-hotep and Amenemhet functioned, as their father [Ruiu] before them, as a link between the Egyptian authorities and the native communities… The decline of the native representation during the sole reign of Thutmosis III can… have had two effects. Initially the vacuum may have been filled through a build-up of the local hierarchy, perhaps evidenced by e.g. the large chamber with ramp unit 185/511 (Fadrus IIb). The final outcome however appears to have been the dissolution of local

71 S.T. Smith: Intact Theban Tombs and the New Kingdom Burial Assemblage. MDAIK 48 (1992) 193–231. 72 S.T. Smith 2003 159. 73 Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 212 ff. 74 For the dating evidence, see L. Troy in: Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 220 ff.

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wealth as the community represented by this cemetery is increasingly confined to local production and evidence of access to imported goods declines.75

Phase III (from Amenhotep III to the late Eighteenth Dynasty, c. 1390– 1295 BC) is characterized by the high proportion of “lower class” burials: 90.7 % of the total; while the remaining 9.3 % consist of mediumrank burials only. Even in these latter the imported goods become increasingly rare until they completely disappear. The history of the Fadrus community cannot be generalized, however, and its end does not seem to have been the end of the native chiefdom of Teh-khet, either. The explanation presented by Säve-Söderbergh and Troy for the material decline of the community as the consequence of the decline of native representation during the sole reign of Thutmose III is hypothetical. The large tombs 185/59976 (phase IIa), 185/511, and 185/51277 (phase IIb) may signal the emergence of rival families rather than a “build-up of the local hierarchy”. Tomb 185/511 was reopened several times and used at least for two, possibly for more generations. With the development of the temple-town of Faras founded by Tutankhamun as seat of the Deputy of Wawat (see Chapter IX.2.3.3) there occurred changes in the settlement hierarchy and the centre of the princes of Teh-khet shifted from the Serra region to Faras. An important factor may also have been the extinction of Ruiu’s family before the beginning of Thutmose III’s sole reign. Returning to the issue of the degree of Egyptianization at Fadrus, let us consider some statistical data. From the 715 units, contracted burials were found in 46 cases, of which 27 were adult burials, among them only 4 with full contraction. One of these latter could be dated to the late Eighteenth Dynasty. This burial, as well as several post-Eighteenth Dynasty intrusive burials in the cemetery show a long, but socially very limited survival of a diagnostic native burial custom. By contrast, there were 628 extended burials (326 on the back, 142 on the right, 113 on the left side, 47 on face). While the side position occurred more frequently in the earlier cemetery sections, the face-down position is explained by the excessive wrapping of the body in shrouds causing errors in its placement in the tomb.78 Significantly, the extended burials as a 75 76 77 78

Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 250 f. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 288. Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 281 ff. L. Troy in: Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 213.


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whole do not display a clear preference for the orientation of the face, thus the Egyptian tradition of mortuary religion according to which the deceased faces the rising sun was far from being consequently observed. Remains of coffins79 were found in 128 units, i.e., 17.9 % of the total; the number of coffin burials increases in the later sections of the cemetery. Funerary masks or fragments of masks made of stucco, of types also found at Buhen80 and other Lower Nubian cemetery sites,81 were found in 27 units; their majority dated to the earlier sections of the cemetery. Amulets or “figurative pendants” were recovered from 35 units classified mostly as “middle class”. The large chamber tomb 185/511 already mentioned above contained the largest assemblage, including the only occurrences of amulets representing Amun-Re and Ptah.82 185/511 is the find place of the only heart scarab from Fadrus. By contrast, at Aniba, the seat of the Deputy of Wawat and the Prince of M"ı #m, 29 exemplars were recovered.83 At Fadrus, the name of the owner is missing from the standard scarab inscription.84 The “figurative pendants” indicate the elite’s increasing knowledge of conceptions of Egyptian personal religiosity. The development of the Fadrus cemetery displays thus a gradual Egyptianization of not only the burial customs but also the personal religiosity of the upper social strata. It is worth noting that, in contrast to the tendency of general impoverishment of the Fadrus community, the majority of the 128 coffin burials date from the second half of the Eighteenth Dynasty. In effect, the increasing Egyptianization of the cemetery meant the increasing use of expensive specialized funerary goods such as coffins, masks and shrouds by an elite that decreased in numbers if not in wealth. Therefore, Smith’s confrontation of Fadrus with the cemeteries of the Theban region from which inscriptions and other specialized goods are “similarly” missing cannot be fully accepted. While in the case of the Egyptian cemeteries

For coffins from Qustul, see Williams 1992 90 ff. Randall-MacIver–Woolley 1911 142, 166. 81 Cf. A. Vila: Les masques funéraires. in: Vercoutter et al. 1976 151–268; L. Troy in: Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 64 ff.; Williams 1992 90. 82 L. Troy in: Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 119 ff. 83 Steindorff 1937 86 ff., Pls 47–50. 84 L. Troy in: Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 144 f., cf. E. Hornung–E. Staehelin: Skarabäen und Siegelamulette aus Baseler Sammlungen. Ägyptische Denkmäler in der Schweiz I. Mainz 1976 184 ff. 79 80

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the lack of inscriptions, shabtis, canopic equipments was determined by the social/financial status of the dead, this could not have been the case of the Fadrus dead who were buried in coffins, or with masks, wrapped in expensive shrouds and in the possession of Egyptian-type amulets, but who were at the same time lacking other specialized grave goods required by Egyptian mortuary religion. It seems that SäveSöderbergh’s and Troy’s observations concerning the superficiality of Egyptianization at Fadrus are realistic indeed. But let us formulate differently: the incomplete Egyptianization in the wealthier sections of the Fadrus community means that certain basic conceptions of Egyptian mortuary religion were deliberately neglected. For such behaviour the term “selectivity” would be more appropriate than “superficiality”: for it is difficult to imagine that the “textual” aspect of the burial was disregarded only because there were no priests available who could write. As we have seen in Chapter X.1.2–4, literate priests were available in the temples of Lower Nubia. The actual question is, how far were these priests engaged at all at the burials— or was the Egyptianization of the native mortuary religion deliberately restricted, because some of its basic original conceptions were deliberately maintained. For the time being, however, we have no other clues for the nature of these conceptions than the absence of such basic features of Egyptian mortuary religion as stelae, name inscriptions, or shabti figures. It was suggested at the end of Chapter IX.1 that the reconquest of Lower Nubia was facilitated by the insufficiency of the Kerman garrisons, the absence of a centralized Kerman administration and the presence of a government in which the key positions were occupied by Egyptian expatriates who probably changed their allegiance in the moment of the arrival of the invaders; furthermore by the absence of Kerman religious institutions. The cemeteries of Lower Nubia dating from the centuries of the Eighteenth Dynasty present the general picture of a swift Egyptianization. At a closer inspection, however, this picture becomes more complex. Egyptianization did not have the same pace and intensity in the different social strata: the same degree of the Egyptianization of the mortuary religion of the highest echelons (e.g., the princes of Teh-khet and Aniba) was not reached by the rest of the society. Yet even the seemingly complete Egyptianization of the princes is only one of the faces of a double, Egyptian/Nubian identity, the Nubian face of which was precisely reproduced in the Nubian princes’ portraits in Egypt. The curious incompleteness of Egyptianization in


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the upper and middle strata of the Fadrus community may best be explained by an inner-directed adherence to native religious traditions. 2. Wawat and Kush The pyramid burials at Aniba, Debeira, or Soleb displayed the power of the king and his local officials independently from the ethnic origins of their actual owners, and, just like the temples of the land, they visualized the material and immaterial order of the world. The so far known largest pyramid tomb built for an Eighteenth Dynasty official was discovered recently in a cemetery at Tombos at the Third Cataract, in a region which was considered an inner frontier between Lower Nubia (Wawat) and the Upper Nubian territory that had been ruled earlier by the kings of Kerma (Kush). The earliest burials in the cemetery date from the reign of Amenhotep II.85 The cemetery was the burial place of high-ranking officials responsible for the administration of taxes collected south of the Third Cataract. Inscribed funerary cones from the aforementioned pyramid name the tomb owner and his wife as “Master of the Divine Pavilion, the Scribe of the Treasury, Overseer of Foreign Lands, Siamun, [and] his wife the Mistress of the House, Weren”.86 Both Siamun and Weren were of Egyptian descent. Yet, according to S.T. Smith, the excavator of the pyramid and the associated cemetery, the [a]rchitecture, material culture, extended burial position, evidence for mummification, and signs of funeral feasts around the pyramid reflect a strong adherence to Egyptian funerary rituals at Tombos… At the end of the first season of excavation, the evidence for burial practice was entirely Egyptian, but the second season produced four burials of women in a Nubian position and orientation that contrasts with the extended burials that characterize the cemetery.87

Smith also found that Nubian pottery, though in a very small quantity, was present in the assemblages from the court of the pyramid complex and in deposits of offerings at other burials. He concluded that 85 S.T. Smith 2003 136 ff. For a preliminary report on the skeletal remains, see M.R. Buzon: Life in New Kingdom Nubia: A Bioarchaeological Analysis of Ethnicity, Biological Affinities and Health. in: Caneva–Roccati (eds) 2006 213–218. 86 For the tomb of Siamun and Weren, see S.T. Smith 2003 138 ff. 87 S.T. Smith 2003 155, 162.

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[t]he evidence from Tombos… points to a less frequent but similar ethnic complexity as within households at Askut. Nubian women entered into colonial society, maintaining some Nubian practices within an otherwise Egyptian context.88

At Askut, Nubian cookpots increase steadily… starting at around 20 percent in the early Middle Kingdom, rising to a half by the end of the Middle Kingdom, and accounting for over two-thirds in the New Kingdom, up to 90 percent in some contexts… the increase and then decrease in Nubian service and storage vessels contrasts with the steady increase in Nubian cookpots before and after the Egyptian New Kingdom reconquest… The initial relatively high level of Nubian cookpots and gradual rise over the occupation of Askut may reflect an initial diversity and gradual acceptance of Nubian foodways at the household level, particularly if Nubian women intermarried with Egyptian soldiers and bureaucrats.89

In Chapter VII the household shrine of the family of Meryka at Askut, built in the late Thirteeenth Dynasty or the early Second Intermediate Period and used by the same family of Egyptian expatriates well into the first half of the Eighteenth Dynasty, was described in more detail and does not need to be described here again. Instead, I quote Smith’s summary conclusion drawn from the Tombos and Askut evidence: Colonists like Siamun reinforced their vulnerable position by establishing primordial ancestral ties with Egypt through the construction of a strong symbolic ethnic contrast with their more numerous [Nubian]90 counterparts, although whether or not their domestic situation reflects the same degree of ethnic emphasis must await further fieldwork. Yet even here some women made a public assertion of their Nubian ethnic identity by insisting on a Nubian-style burial that stood in marked contrast to Siamun’s dramatic projection of an Egyptian identity through his monumental pyramid tomb, reflecting the important role that individuals play in the negotiation of ethnic identities. The use of Nubian cuisine, pottery, jewelry, and figurines at Askut reflects a more subtle assertion of ethnic identity within the household. Nubian women ultimately transformed colonial society through a process of transculturation that synthetized Egyptian and Nubian features in a far more profound way than the more transitory and public instrumental manipulations of male ideologues, bureaucrats, and community leaders.91

88 89 90 91

S.T. Smith 2003 166. S.T. Smith 2003 190, 192. Smith has here “Kerman”. S.T. Smith 2003 206.


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One may of course disagree with the judgement passed here on male community leaders: we should not underestimate the impact they made displaying, certainly not with childish indiscrimination concerning their actual audiences, both sides of their double identity. Or are we mistaken when we consider the maintenance of ancestral fashions and symbols of authority as part of the same traditional identity, which determined the restrictiveness in the Egyptianization of Nubian mortuary religion? Arguing with reference to the lack of evidence for Egyptian activity between Kawa and Gebel Barkal, Robert Morkot suggested in an influential paper in 1987 that Upper Nubia south of the Third Cataract may have been “largely controlled by indigenous [K]ushite princes”.92 Indeed, little relevant evidence is known from the Dongola Reach, but the archaeological exploration of this region is still at its beginnings.93 This may serve as an explanation for the lack of evidence concerning, e.g., viceregal activity between Kawa and Napata as opposed to the rich evidence from Wawat (see the geographical distribution of the viceroys’ documents listed in Chapter IX.2.2, and see also Table C). However, the recent discovery of the cemetery at Tombos with the pyramid of Siamun and the New Kingdom temples at Kerma-Dokki Gel has changed the general impression of a “curious” Egyptian presence in Kush that would have been restricted to Kawa and Napata, i.e., to two purely (?) religious centres. Two considerations pointed out recently by Welsby and Welsby-Sjöström may also alter the traditional view of Kush as largely un-Egyptianized and basically different from the government of Wawat. The first is the considerable change in settlement density starting in the Classic Kerma period and caused by the increasing aridity of the climate, which by the first half of the first millennium BC became similar to to-day’s climate.94 The second consideration sounds thus: in the Dongola Reach, until very recently, sites dating to the New Kingdom through into the early Kushite period were difficult to locate on the ground. What is now becoming clear is that this is partly the result of fieldworkers looking for the wrong kind of evidence. There is a realisation that the Kerma culture did not end when the first Kingdom of Kush was destroyed as a military and political force by the armies of Thutmose I and his immediate successors. Hence sites which in the past may

92 93 94

Morkot 1987 41; see also Morkot 1991a; Morkot 2000 69 ff. Cf. now Welsby–Welsby-Sjöström 2007 . Welsby–Welsby-Sjöström 2007 383 f.

nubians and egyptians in new kingdom nubia


have been pushed back by scholars into the Kerma Classique period, traditionally dated to the period 1750–1550 BC, actually may have continued to be occupied much later.95

The data relating to settlement history surveyed in Chapter IX.2.3 as well as the evidence for the development of the cult topography of New Kingdom Nubia discussed in Chapter X and the documents of the native princes presented in this chapter equally weaken the impression of basic differences between the policies followed in Wawat and Kush. The image presented in Amenhotep Huy’s tomb of the princes of Wawat and Kush is paradigmatic: though different in ethnic type, they are identical in status and resembling in costume and symbols of authority. The authority of Pharaoh, the divinity of the ruling king as formulated in, and supported and communicated by the cult temples was the same in Wawat and Kush. Differences in accents followed from differences in traditions, which were clearly perceived and cleverly exploited by the Egyptian overlords. While the traditional “Nubian” cults of Lower Nubia continued to be integrated in the temple cults of the Egyptian gods from the reconquest till the Ramesside period, in Upper Nubia ancient local cults were fused at Napata, Kerma, and Kawa with the cult of Amun of Thebes.


Welsby–Welsby-Sjöström 2007 384.


Behold, it is good for Amun… although it is not his place.1

1. The Archaeological Record The apparent emptiness of Lower Nubia’s archaeological map between the end of the Twentieth Dynasty and the eighth century BC (and beyond), combined with the negative connotations of the unfortunate term “Third Intermediate Period”,2 resulted in the view that with the end of the viceregal administration all political and social institutions disintegrated between the First and Third Cataracts, the more so that, after a gradual population decline starting in the Nineteenth Dynasty, by the end of the New Kingdom the region became almost completely uninhabited and it remained so for the next millennium or even longer. Confronted with the tiny number of burials that were securely dated to the New Kingdom on the one hand, and the dimensions of temple building, on the other, Firth suggested rather absurdly that the temples in Lower Nubia were used only by visitors from Egypt.3 Firth also argued that the dramatic population decline was caused by losses through conscription suffered in Rameses II’s wars and mass migration to the south.4 In the view of William Y. Adams, by the early Ramesside period only Semna, Kadimalo Inscription, col. 8, FHN I No. 1, trans. R.H. Pierce. For its chronology, see recently K. Jansen-Winkeln: Relative Chronology of Dyn. 21. in: Hornung–Krauss–Warburton (eds) 2006 218–233; id.: The Chronology of the Third Intermediate Period: Dyns. 22–24. ibid. 234–264. 3 Firth 1927 25 ff. 4 Firth 1912 29. 1 2


chapter twelve small numbers of Egyptians remained on frontier duty for another two centuries, building monuments to proclaim the glory and sovereignty of their pharaoh over a deserted land.5

It was also suggested by Firth6 and maintained by later writers that a radical decline in the average Nile level from the mid-Eighteenth Dynasty was also responsible for the depopulation of Lower Nubia.7 Such a “hydrological crisis” in this period is, however, clearly contradicted by flood level records from Egypt.8 Säve-Söderbergh and Trigger suggested that the native population’s disappearance is largely an optical illusion caused by its material and religious acculturation and then by subsequent material impoverishment.9 From the late 1970s, Kemp10 and Morkot11 argued against the radical depopulation hypothesis on the basis of a broader set of textual and archaeological data. In effect, the settlement historical data reviewed in Chapter IX.2.3—in agreement with what we know about the changes in the land’s cult topography (Chapter X.1.2–5)—clearly contradict the contention according to which New Kingdom Lower Nubia was, as a general historical tendency, characterized by the disappearance of the native population and, from the early Twentieth Dynasty onwards, the gradual withdrawal of the Egyptian administration. While Bruce Williams’ reassessment of the mortuary evidence12 increased the number of identified later New Kingdom period burials, he also pointed out two important factors. Namely, a similar decrease in the number of later New Kingdom burials in Egypt on the one hand, and, on the other, the adoption in Lower Nubia of the contemporary 5 W.Y. Adams: Post-Pharaonic Nubia in the Light of Archaeology I. JEA 50 (1964) 102–120 103 ff. 6 Firth 1912 21 ff. 7 Adams in Adams et al. 1976 12 ff.; Adams 1977 242; see also Griffith 1924 115 ff.; Trigger 1965 112 ff.; K.W. Butzer: Nil. LÄ IV (1981) 480–483 482. 8 K.W. Butzer: Studien zum vor- und frühgeschichtlichen Landschaftswandel der Sahara III. Mainz 1959 113; R. Fairbridge: Nile Sedimentation above Wadi Halfa in the Last 20,000 Years. Kush 11 (1963) 96–107; B.G. Trigger: The Cultural Ecology of Christian Nubia. in: Dinkler (ed.) 1970 347–379 355; H. Jacquet-Gordon: Review of Adams et al. 1976. OLZ 77 (1982) 451–454.—For the Nile level records, see J. v. Beckerath: The Nile Level Records at Karnak and their Importance for the History of the Libyan Period (Dynasties XXII and XXIII). JARCE 5 (1966) 43–55. 9 T. Säve-Söderbergh: Die Akkulturation der Nubischen C-Gruppe im Neuen Reich. ZDMG Suppl. I (1969) 12–20; Trigger 1976 131 ff. 10 Kemp 1978 39 ff. 11 Morkot 1987 38 f. 12 Williams 1992.

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Egyptian fashion of multiple burials in family vaults.13 E.g., in the two chambers of a late New Kingdom tomb at Shellal 135 bodies were found; at Soleb from 49 vaults 733 bodies were obtained.14 The burial of small amulets with the dead instead of multitudes of better-datable household items also greatly impeded the realistic assessment of the population size in New Kingdom Nubia.15 Moreover, extensive late New Kingdom settlement mounds such as Wadi es-Sebua16 were left unexcavated. No attention at all seems to have been paid to the lateand post-New Kingdom layers during the investigation of the New Kingdom temple-towns. However, Ramesside burials were identified at Aniba and Buhen. It is likely that a considerable number of later Twentieth Dynasty burials could be added to the record if Ramesside pottery could be dated with more precision.17 The unidentified burials of the post-New Kingdom population of Lower Nubia are hidden in the mass of evidence from which the late New Kingdom burials have just started to be sorted out. The post-New Kingdom landscape of Upper Nubia is not as bleak as it used to be supposed, either. The impression that there are also pre-Twenty-Fifth Dynasty burials18 in the large Twenty-Fifth Dynasty-Napatan cemetery of Sanam19 is now corroborated by the cemetery excavated by Irene Vincentelli at Hillat el-Arab about 3 km to the south of Gebel Barkal.20 Burials in this elite cemetery started in the Nineteenth Dynasty period21 in family tombs, which were used by several generations and were also repeatedly reused in later periods. The painted decoration of Tomb 1, 13 14

160 f.

Williams 1992 3 ff., 256 ff. Reisner 1910 69; Schiff Giorgini 1971. For similar burials in Egypt, see Leahy 1990

Kemp 1978 39 ff. Weigall 1907 98; F. Daumas: Ce que l’on peut entrevoir de l’histoire de Ouadi es Sebuâ en Nubie. in: Nubie par divers archéologues et historiens (Cahiers d’Histoire Égyptienne 10). Le Caire 1967 23–49 28; Kemp 1978 42 f. 17 Williams 1993 141 ff.; S.T. Smith 1995 155 f. However, see also D. Aston: Egyptian Pottery of the Late New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (Twelfth-Seventh Centuries BC). Tentative Footsteps in a Forbidding Terrain. Heidelberg 1996. 18 Williams 1990 31 ff.; Williams 1992 146 f.; and see Morkot 2000 138. 19 Griffith 1923. 20 Irene Vincentelli publishes under the names I. Vincentelli and I. Liverani.–I. Vincentelli: Recent Excavations in the Napatan Cemetery of Hillat el Arab. CRIPEL 17 (1997) 119–127; ead.: Two New Kingdom Tombs at Napata. Sudan & Nubia 3 (1999) 30–38; ead.: An Early Napatan Cemetery in the Jebel Barkal Region. in: Bács (ed.) 2002 487–492; Liverani 2004; Vincentelli 2006a; 2006b; I. Vincentelli: Tomb 19 in the Cemetery of Hillat el Arab. ANM 10 (2006) 221–232. 21 Cf. Liverani 2004 141 Cats 108, 109. 15 16


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one of the earliest family tombs,22 reveals a kind of Egyptianization of the native mortuary religion the conceptual limitations of which closely resemble the cemetery of Fadrus in Lower Nubia (Chapter XI.1). In the Hillat el-Arab cemetery also tombs and secondary burials of the late New Kingdom,23 the post-New Kingdom and the early (?) Twenty-Fifth Dynasty periods were discovered.24 Irene Liverani emphasizes the prosperity of the elite families buried at Hillat el-Arab between the eleventh and eighth centuries. She also suggests that around the end of the Egyptian domination [t]he tombs… reflect only the positive effects of this political situation and are, if possible, even richer [than the earlier burials]. Commerce with Egypt still appears to have been flourishing, and is represented by … large containers for grain made of a whitish marl clay from the region of Thebes, pilgrim flasks, and the wine and oil amphorae found in large numbers in all the tombs.25

The question thus emerges: if Lower Nubia was not completely depopulated or “abandoned to the nomads of the Eastern Desert” and Upper Nubia not sinking completely into the impoverishment of a Dark Age, then what kind of world could it have been from which Kashta and Piankhy emerged in the quality of “saviours from the south”? 2. The Remains of the Viceregal Administration Egyptian domination in Lower Nubia—by this time restricted on the region between the First and Second Cataracts—was only interrupted but not finished by Panehesy’s revolt (Chapter IX.2.3.6, end). Declaring Egypt’s unaltered claim on the viceregal domain, Rameses XI appointed at once Paiankh as new viceroy. Panehesy continued to hold the southern half of the region between the First and Second Cataracts until his death—maybe he could do so thanks to a treaty concluded with Paiankh. Yet Panehesy’s domain was a polity seceded from Egypt and not a native polity gaining independence.26

Liverani 2004 figs 105, 106, 108. Liverani 2004 142 f. Cats 110–116. 24 Liverani 2004 144 ff. Cats 117–126. 25 Liverani 2004 139 f. 26 Niwinski’s suggestion (1995 337) that Panehesy may have decided to “liberate the Nubians from Egyptian domination” sounds quite unlikely. 22 23

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After Panehesy’s death the Theban rulers, Herihor’s descendants, regained control over the whole of the Nile valley between the First and Second Cataracts27 and thus probably also over the gold-minig areas, which could be reached via the Wadis Allaqi and Gabgaba. The surviving evidence gives the impression that they appointed members of their family into the office of the Viceroy of Kush (cf. Chapter IX.2.2). The last known viceroy, Pamiu, a man whose son married a daughter of King Takelot III (754–734 BC)28 of the Twenty-Third Dynasty, is attested to around 775–750 BC.29 His office terminated probably as a consequence of the establishment of Kushite control as far north as the First Cataract region (Chapter XIII.2). The shrunken viceregal domain seems to have become identical with the administration of some temples and temple domains (for similar developments in later periods, see Chapter XV). The female viceroy Nesikhons, wife of King Pinodjem II (c. 990–969 BC), had a remarkable titulary.30 Besides being ı"my(.t)-r h As.wt rsy.wt, “overseer of the Southern ˘ son of Kush”, she was hryt sˇpswt, Lands” and s A.t-nsw.t n Kˇs, “king’s . “leader of the sˇpswt” (a title signifying her status in the Harem),31 h. ryt " wrt hnr tpt n Imn-R # nsw ntrw, “great one of the hnr-harem of Amun-Re ¯ ˘ ˘ king of the gods”, h. mt-ntr n Nbt-h. tpt n Srdt, “priestess of Nebet-Hetepet ¯ of Srdt” (unidentified Lower Nubian [?] toponym), h. mt-ntr n Hnm nb ¯ ¯ Kbh. w, “priestess of Khnum, lord of the cataract”.32 The titles connected Zibelius-Chen 1989. Regnal dates of the Twenty-First Dynasty after Kitchen 1986 465 Table 1; TwentySecond and Twenty-Third Dynasties ibid. 588 Table *3 Revised. 29 Aston–Taylor 1990 147 f.; cf. J. Yoyotte, RdE 39 (1988) 169 f.; D.A. Aston, JEA 77 (1991) 99 f. 30 Kitchen 1986 275 f.; A. Niwinski, DE 14 (1989) 87 f.; Niwinski 1995 348. 31 Troy 1986 185 f. 32 Kitchen 1986 275 ff.; Troy 1986 174 2l.24. A complete list of the priestly titles held by the wives of Pinodjem II, Nesikhons A and Istemkheb D, is given by A. Niwinski: Some Remarks on Rank and Titles of Women in the Twenty-First Dynasty Theban “State of Amun”. DE 14 (1989) 79–89 87 f. Niwinski suggests on the basis of the analysis of the two sets of coffins made for Istemkheb D—the earlier one of which was usurped for Nesikhons A—that the two queens held successively identical titularies, except for the title “Viceroy of Kush” which was confined on Nesikhons A. In addition to the titles registered by Troy, Niwinski also lists the following: “prophetess of the funerary temple of Ramesses II in Western Thebes; priestess of Mut in Karnak and of Chonsu in Karnak; priestess of Onuris-Shu, of Min, of Horus, and of Apis in Apu (ninth Upper Egyptian nome), of Nekhbet in Nekheb (third nome), of Osiris, Horus, and Isis in Abydos; priestess of Hathor, Lady of Kis (fourteenth Upper Egyptian nome), of AmunRe Lord of Iu-red (sixteenth Upper Egyptian nome); of Hathor, Lady of Agana (third Upper Egyptian nome)”. In Niwinski’s view these titles indicate that the wife of the 27 28


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with the cults of Nebet-Hetepet and Khnum suggest the existence of an actual administration. This is further supported by data attesting to contemporary viceregal officials as a certain Khons-em-renep, sˇs sh. n (a financial office), and a nameless sˇs sh. n #A n pr n p A s A-nswt n Kˇs.33 It remains unknown, however, where the estates of the temples in question may have lain.34 Kitchen and others supposed that Sheshonq I (Twenty-Second Dynasty, c. 945–924) directed a military campaign to Nubia.35 It seems, however, that the evidence quoted by Kitchen is connected entirely to the major campaign against Israel and Judah (see also 1 Kgs. 14. 25 f., 2 Chr. 12. 2–9),36 and its association with relief blocks from Karnak representing the offering of Nubian products to Amun is also erroneous.37 Nevertheless, trade contacts with African areas are hinted at in Egyptian38 and Assyrian39 texts by mentions of special tributes and wares. Trade contacts are also attested by containers of expensive Egyptian commodities from the Hillat el-Arab cemetery and various Egyptian imports recovered in the cemetery of el Kurru (see below).

HPA had a similar supreme authority over the female priesthood of the entire Theban Gottesstaat as was the authority of the HPA over the male priesthood. 33 Zibelius-Chen 1989 336. 34 Darnell 2006 56 supposes that “the surviving viceregal holdings [lay] north of Aswan”. 35 Kitchen 1986 293, with reference to a relief of the Bubastide Portal at Karnak, cf. The Epigraphic Survey. Reliefs and Inscriptions at Karnak III. The Bubastide Portal (OIP 74). Chicago 1954 Pls 3–5; Kendall 1999a 51; Török 1997a 109 note 193. 36 Redford 1992 312 ff.; Taylor 2000 335 f. 37 P. Vernus: Inscriptions de la Troisième Periode Intermédiaire (I). BIFAO 75 (1975) 1–66 26 ff. has shown that the reliefs were carved under Taharqo. See also K.A. Kitchen in the Supplement to Kitchen 1986 575 f.; Morkot 1999a 143 f. 38 African wares donated by Osorkon I: E. Naville: Bubastis. London 1891 Pl. 51. Nubian gold and African wares donated to Amun of Thebes by Osorkon HPA (840– 785 BC): inscription of Prince Osorkon, son of Takelot II (c. 850–825 BC) on the Bubastide Portal at Karnak, R.A. Caminos: The Chronicle of Prince Osorkon. Rome 1958 125 f. 39 Assurnasirpal II (c. 884–859 BC) received African ebony and ivory: ANET 275 f. African wares in tribute sent by Takelot II (850–825 BC) to Shalmaneser III: H. Tadmor IEJ 11 (1961) 146–148. Tiglath-Pileser III (744–727 BC) received ivory and elephant hides: ANET 282 ff.

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3. Native Polities The period discussed in Chapter XII starts with the withdrawal of the viceregal administration from Upper Nubia and the secession of Lower Nubia under the command of Panehesy. It ends with the emergence of a vast indigenous kingdom extending from the Butana to the First Cataract. The developments between the mid-eleventh and mid-eighth centuries are obscure as to their details but the tendencies are rather evident.40 The viceregal administration did not establish a colonial system excluding mutual benefit.41 Nubia was incorporated into the Egyptian redistributive system in such a way that the native territorial political structures were also integrated into the political and economic administration of the province. While the governmental structure was built on the network of the temple-towns with Egyptian and Nubian cults at their centres, the substructure of production and local redistribution seems to have been based to a considerable extent on the social structure of the indigenous chiefdoms. The survival of indigenous structures can best be measured on the various degrees of Egyptianization of elite, middle- and lower class burial customs (cf. Chapter XI).42 Due to the preservation of basic elements of the native social structure, the collapse of the viceregal government and the emigration of the Egyptian professional class brought about the collapse of the temple-towns as elements of the Egyptian political and economic structure but as a rule did not cause the depopulation of the settlements themselves.43 This is also clearly indicated by the fact that during as well as after the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty period the majority of Kushite urban centres would develop around temples at the sites of Egyptian New Kingdom temple-towns.44

40 The period is also discussed in Redford 2004 58 ff. For a critical discussion of Redford’s views, see D. Edwards, CdE 81 (2006) 194–197. 41 Cf. R.J. Horvath: A Definition of Colonialism. Current Anthropology 1969 1–7; Frandsen 1979; T. Säve-Söderbergh in: Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 10 ff. 42 Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 9, 248; L. Török: The Emergence of the Kingdom of Kush and Her Myth of the State in the First Millennium BC. Actes Lille I 203–228 206. 43 As it would have done in the case of purely Egyptian temple-towns where the disruption of the cult would necessarily cause the disestablishment of the settlement, cf. Frandsen 1979 173. 44 See Qasr Ibrim, Aniba, Faras, Buhen, Semna West, Sedeinga, Kawa, and Napata, cf. PM VII 149 f., 184 ff., 208 ff.; Török 1995a 39 ff.


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With the Egyptian withdrawal, the centralised political and economic structure disappeared and the former viceregal domain inevitably disintegrated into smaller polities. These may well have been mainly identical with the subordinate territorial units of viceregal Nubia, which, in turn, had been organized on the bases of former native political units. The survival of the indigenous elite of these units and the experience, which this elite acquired through its participation in the government of viceregal Nubia facilitated the emergence of native successor states. Nevertheless, there can be little doubt that these relapsed into less developed social/economic structures. They had to rely on radically limited local resources and without an imperial background they were delivered to their rivals and enemies. Literacy also disappeared45 with the disappearance of the Egyptian professionals, which inevitably caused changes in the political and economic administration. The re-integration of the Middle Nile Region into one political entity seems to have been determined from the very outset by the disfunctions of the fragmented successor states and facilitated by the new-old elite’s experience of imperial administration. The successor states also inherited the fragments of a socio-economic structure that functioned properly only on an imperial scale. The re-integration process was also stimulated by the necessity of re-integrating the entire region into international redistribution. The process was finally pushed ahead by inequality caused by differences in natural resources (including the limited availability of arable land in many of the successor states)46 so that the successor polities in Upper Nubia were given a time advantage. The el Kurru chiefdom (see below) owed its central role in the process to its direct access to gold-producing areas in the region between the Fourth and Fifth Cataracts and its geographical situation, which secured control over the caravan route between Abu Hamed and Lower Nubia and the roads leading across the Butana to the interior of Africa. Robert Morkot47 and, following him, Timothy Kendall48 suggested that a native kingdom whose kings used for their monuments Egyptian hieroglyphic writing and iconography and adopted Egyptian-style royal titularies emerged in Upper Nubia some time in the ninth or eighth 45 For seemingly isolated cases, see, however, the papyrus amulet published by P. Rose: Evidence for Early Settlement at Qasr Ibrim. Egyptian Archaeology 17 (2000) 3–4. 46 For the issue cf. K.A. Bard–R.L. Carneiro: Patterns of Predynastic Settlement Location, Social Evolution, and the Circumscription Theory. CRIPEL 11 (1989) 15–23. 47 Morkot 1991a; 1991b 204–219 216 f.; 1995b 234; 2000 149 f. 48 Kendall 1999a 63 f.; 2002 66.

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(?) century. They have identified as rulers of this kingdom five kings of Kush with “Neo-Ramesside” titularies attested in hieroglyphic inscriptions from Kawa and Gebel Barkal, viz., G At"ısn/Aktisanes,49 Aryamani,50 Kash(…),51 Irike-Piye-qo,52 and Sabrakamani.53 They also identified king Aryamani with Alara, the predecessor of King Kashta, who would appear in Taharqo’s inscriptions as the founder of his dynasty (Chapter XIII.2). Morkot and Kendall argue that the titles of these five rulers were modelled on Third Intermediate Period, more closely preTwenty-Fifth Dynasty titles.54 This dating would imply that the emergence of the post-New Kingdom Kushite kingdom cannot be associated solely with the line of princes buried at el Kurru, for it was other local princes who “were initially the most powerful Kushite rulers and perhaps had Kawa as their base”55 and who assumed complete Egyptian royal titularies several generations before Kashta. It must be pointed out once more,56 however, that the Third Intermediate Period-type titles occurring in the titularies of these five kings are only elements of carefully composed, politically meaningful title complexes in which they appear in the company of such titles as may be identified as creations of the early Ptolemaic period. Besides these, also titles of a Twenty-Fifth Dynasty flavour are present in these “Neo-Ramesside” titularies.57 The dating of the five “Neo-Ramesside” rulers to the period between the end of the fourth century BC and the middle of the third century BC is strongly supported by the language and the palaeography58 as well as the contents59 of their monuments too. 49

FHN II Nos (86)-88. FHN II Nos (89)-92. 51 FHN II No. (93). 52 FHN II No. (94). 53 FHN II Nos (95)-96. 54 First suggested by H. Goedicke: Review of Dunham 1970, AJA 76 (1972) 89. 55 Morkot 2000 155. 56 On the titularies in question, see my comments in FHN II loc. cit. 57 See FHN II 511 ff., 521, 534 and cf. Török 1997a 394 f.—For the titularies of the kings and queens of Kush and their interpretation as “political programs”, see in detail FHN I–III passim, FHN IV 1281 ff.; Török 1997a 198 ff.; Lohwasser 2001 192 ff. 58 Cf. Macadam 1949 78; K.-H. Priese: Eine verschollene Bauinschrift des frühmeroitischen Königs Aktisanes (?) vom Gebel Barkal. in: Endesfelder–Priese et al. (eds) 1977 343–367 350; A.K. Vinogradov: “[…] Their Brother, the Chieftain, the Son of Re#, Alara […]”? CRIPEL 20 (1999) 81–94 84 note 6. For the Kawa stela of Aryamani (FHN II No. 91), see Peust 1999 passim. 59 In more detail about these documents, see my comments in FHN II Nos (86)-96 and Török 1997a 394 f.—Morkot’s and Kendall’s early dating of the “Neo-Ramesside” kings is not accepted by Zibelius-Chen 2006a 295 f., either. 50


chapter twelve 4. Queen Kadimalo

The much-discussed relief and inscription of Queen K Atyml(u)/K Aryml, Katimala/Karimala, or in the “re-Meroiticized” form60 Kadimalo, which is preferred in this study, was carved on the front of the temple of Dedwen and the deified Senusret III at Semna West61 (for the temple, see Chapter X.1.2.2) to the left of the main entrance. The relief and the text are superimposed over Eighteenth and Twentieth Dynasty texts and figures. While the good quality of the relief was noted by most earlier writers, the text was judged to be of a poor quality by Grapow,62 Pierce63 and Caminos,64 the three philologists who examined it before the publication of Darnell’s recent study (see below). The monument is interpreted generally in a native Nubian context. In 1999 C. Bennet65 suggested, however, that Kadimalo was the daughter of Osochor (c. 984–978 BC) and wife of Siamun (c. 978–959 BC) of the Twenty-First Dynasty and that her Semna text is the document of an Egyptian incursion into Lower Nubia. Bennet’s idea was accepted by Kendall,66 and Edwards.67 Zibelius-Chen similarly argues for an Egyptian origin.68 Grapow dated the monument to the TwentyFirst or Twenty-Second Dynasty;69 this writer, in accordance with the editors of FHN, to the second half of the eighth century BC.70 Caminos dated it to the eighth century BC;71 Morkot to the ninth-eighth centuries BC. According to Morkot, Kadimalo might have been the wife of one of the Upper Nubian kings with “Neo-Ramesside” titularies (see Chapter XII.3) “or perhaps the wife of one of the Kurru rulers; [or] she 60 Similarly to Rilly (see below), I accept Macadam’s view that the name is Meroitic. For a different opinion, see the arguments presented in Zibelius-Chen 2007 379 ff. 61 PM VII 145 (1)–(2); Grapow 1940; Dunham–Janssen 1960 10; R.A. Caminos: Notes on Queen Katimala’s Inscribed Panel in the Temple of Semna. in: Berger– Clerc–Grimal (eds) 1994 73–80; FHN I No. 1; Caminos 1998a 20 ff., Pls 14–17; Darnell 2006. 62 Grapow 1940. 63 R.H. Pierce in: FHN I 35–39 (Darnell 2006 passim attributes my comments ibid. 39 ff. similarly to Professor Pierce). 64 Caminos 1998a 20 ff. 65 C. Bennet: Queen Karimala, Daughter of Osochor? GN 173 (1999) 7–8. 66 Kendall 1999a 59 ff.—Kendall 2002: perhaps a pre-Kurru queen. 67 Edwards 2004 117. 68 Zibelius-Chen 2007. 69 Grapow 1940 28. 70 FHN I 39 ff.; Török 1995a 45 ff.; 1997a 40, 127. 71 Caminos 1998a 20 ff.

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may have ruled in her own right”, while “Semna marked the northern (or perhaps, although less likely, southern) frontier of the domain, which she ruled”.72 More recently, J.C. Darnell assigned an early Third Intermediate Period date to the monument: “roughly the time of the Twenty-First Dynasty in Egypt—or perhaps even as late as the Twenty-Second Dynasty”.73 While such a broad dating may indeed liberally enclose all datings listed above, in fact Darnell argues against any dating later than the Twenty-First Dynasty (1069–945 BC) on the basis of historical conjectures and the grammar and paleography of the text.74 He rejects as a principle all previous datings and interpretations of the monument without presenting detailed arguments against individual statements or hypotheses but provides a new transliteration and a complete translation of the text, which he considers remarkable for “the purity of its Late Egyptian grammar and the complexity of its composition… an innovative inscription, making new use of older literary forms”,75 among them the Königsnovelle. We shall return in a moment to Darnell’s study. Although Queen Kadimalo and the anonymous king of the text cannot be identified with any historical person attested in independent sources, the style and certain details of the text doubtless indicate a Third Intermediate Period date; and it is also obvious that the Meroitic name of the Queen (kdi-mlo= “good lady”)76 associates the document with the internal history of the Middle Nile Region rather than with Third Intermediate Period Egypt. The well-executed relief scene represents Kadimalo and another, much smaller, female figure standing before the goddess Isis. The smaller figure was identified as a princess by Caminos as well as by the present writer; Darnell suggests that she represents an early example of a sˇms.t Mwt, a “Devotee of Mut”, “a priestly function well attested in Late Period Egypt”.77 The h. mt-nswt wrt n nswt-bjt s At-nsw K Atyml m A # hrw, ˘ “great King’s Wife of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt and king’s Morkot 2000 153. Darnell 2006 49 and passim. 74 See esp. Darnell 2006 48. 75 Darnell 2006 50. 76 M.F.L. Macadam in: Dunham–Janssen 1960 10; Rilly 2007 19 f. Rilly also quotes later occurrences of the name in Meroitic incriptions: REM 0841, around 100 BC; REM 0094, first half-middle of the AD fifth century. 77 Darnell 2006 10. 72 73


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daughter” Kadimalo sports a vulture headdress surmounted by a tall plumed superstructure with sundisc and with ribbons hanging down at the back; she wears a transparent double robe with short sleeves, broad collar necklace and armlets. In her right hand she holds an ı"m At or h. ts scepter; in her left a flail. Similarly to the smaller figure behind her, she also wears a steloform ear pendant of a type known from representations of Kushite queens of the post-Twenty-Fifth Dynasty period.78 Her figure is protected by the vulture goddess Nekhbet. The goddess wears the atef crown and extends her wings over the Queen’s head. Between the figures of the goddess and the Queen are represented three offering stands of which two are turned towards the Queen and one is turned towards Isis. Thus, while offering a lotus to the goddess, the Queen too is a beneficiary of offerings.79 It also leaps to the eye that the figure of Isis is slightly smaller than the Queen and the offering stand with offerings turned toward the goddess is lower than the two stands turned toward the Queen. The latter receives thus divine features: I tried to explain the curiosity of this representation of a queen whose name is not written in a cartouche by supposing that she was deceased at the time when the relief was carved.80 Darnell completely eludes the problem raised by these remarkable iconographical details of what he describes as a monument composed on the basis of a profound knowledge of Egyptian religion and kingship ideology. The text starts with a dating to the 14th regnal year, 2nd month of the winter, day 9 of an anonymous king who refers to himself as His Majesty (col. 1) and Pharaoh (col. 5) and records his speech directed to the “great king’s wife (and) king’s daughter” Kadimalo. Describing conflicts connected with rebel chieftains, gold mines, and Amun’s hrp˘ cattle, the king seems to seek the aid of Kadimalo referring to her powerful magic.81 Grapow compared the language of the inscription to that of the Nesikhons Papyrus,82 a decree for Amun in which Pinodjem II, 78 Török 1987 Nos 31, 59, 64 f., 75 f., 87a, 89, 91, 109.—The ear pendants appear in the drawings of the Lepsius expedition (see the illustration of Grapow 1940) but do not appear in Caminos’ copy of the relief, probably because they were not preserved by the time when Caminos made his documentation. 79 Also noted by Zibelius-Chen 2007 379. 80 FHN I 40. 81 The passage in question is read and translated by Pierce as hr-"ı."ır="ı m Am m t A rnpt ˘ ı"y nht.tw h. k Ay [ - - ] ı"n h. mt wrt, “Then I know in this year, O powerful of magic [ - - ] by the˘ great wife”; by Darnell 2006 66 f. as hr ı"."ır="ı #m t A rnpt ı" Ay nht h. k Ay p A ntr, “For it was ¯ ˘ ˘ that year I achieved the understanding—then powerful is the magic of god”. 82 Papyrus Cairo 58032, B. Gunn, JEA 41 (1955) 83–105.

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Nesikhons’ surviving husband (cf. Chapter XIII.2), tried to secure that his deceased wife did him no harm from the Netherworld. Though the affairs are obviously different, the two texts refer to similar interpretations of magic. Although the relief depicts Kadimalo being protected by the vulture goddess of Upper Egypt and in possession of the traditional royal regalia of late New Kingdom queens and also dressed in their style,83 her name is nevertheless not written in a royal cartouche, even though her titles are royal. This ambiguity reflects a milieu, which was intellectually under the influence of Upper Egypt, particularly the Theban Amun temple, but it also indicates a certain isolation. It is worth noting, however, that the unnamed king of the text hints at his legitimation through an oracle received from Amun: I having not called to mind the event that happened to me in this year, when Amun nodded his approval (in an oracle) for (my) accession [.]84

In his study of the monument Darnell suggests that the inscription is a remarkable and thus far unique glimpse at the birth of the Napatan state, or at least the birth of one of the predecessors— perhaps the most important—of the Napatan state. Katimala defended the faith of Amun apparently a short time after the sad events at the end of the Ramesside Period.85 … The location of Katimala’s inscription at the southern end of the Second Cataract, and her reference to fighting an enemy in the mountains of gold together suggest that Katimala was interested in securing control of both Nilotic and Eastern Desert routes86 … the struggles in the mountains of gold may have been centered north of Abu Hamed and east of Amara, in the region of the “Gold of Wawat”, perhaps in and around the Wadi Gabgaba and the Wadi Allaqi in the Eastern Desert… In the end Katimala asked if it were not right to make a land for Amun, where there was not formerly his place. The implication of the queen’s question is that the outcome of her war would be the “Amunization” of the Eastern Desert, the conversion of the tribes there and their subsequent inclusion in the nascent Napatan realm.87

Darnell’s somewhat garbled geographical identification of the scene of the actions is, however, hypothetical, as is also his dating of the monument to “short time” after the end of the Twentieth Dynasty. 83 Cf., e.g., Nefertari, wife of Rameses II, at Abu Simbel, Desroches-Noblecourt– Kuentz 1968 Pl. 33. 84 FHN I No. 1, col. 3, trans. R.H. Pierce. 85 Darnell 2006 55. 86 Darnell 2006 58. 87 Darnell 2006 60 f.


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I have suggested in earlier studies88 that Kadimalo’s monument may be brought into connection with the northward advance of the young Kushite kingdom that prepared Kashta’s appearance in Upper Egypt, but had to leave undecided whether Kadimalo was the wife of one of Kashta’s immediate predecessors or a descendant of the Kushite royal family and wife of a Lower Nubian local ruler. In either hypothesis, the creation of a monument at Semna may be considered a natural gesture: ever since the Middle Kingdom, Semna at the Second Cataract was an important military and administrative centre of the alternating native and Egyptian governments, a place where the cults of Dedwen and the deified Senusret III were maintained more or less continuously from the Middle Kingdom to the Meroitic period89 (cf. Chapter X.1.5.6). The monument of Kadimalo displays the kind of dualism we already have encountered in earlier monuments employing Egyptian writing and/or iconography but created in periods of relative isolation from contemporary Egypt, such as the documents of the Sepedhor family, the representations of rulers wearing the Upper Egyptian crown carved in the period of Kerman domination, or the Meryka stela from Askut (Chapter VII). The relief of Kadimalo is carved in a good style and with a knowledge of New Kingdom iconography, which may even mislead the modern viewer as to its perfection: the representaton of the individual figures, their dress and attributes corresponds indeed with the Egyptian canon, but this is not the case of the inverse relation between the sizes of the goddess and the queen. The text shows similar limitations: it displays a certain knowledge of Egyptian royal monuments but was written by somebody who received only a fairly lowlevel, second-hand education in Egyptian language and writing—even if he had access to some contemporary (?) magical manuscripts. 5. The el Kurru Chiefs and Their Chronologies However thought provoking the Kadimalo monument is, it does not provide a firm enough basis on which the history of Lower Nubia in the Third Intermediate Period could be built. Despite the lack of consensus even after the last fifteen or so years’ dispute about its chronology, it FHN I 41; Török 1995a 45 ff. For an incomplete cartouche of Amanislo (mid-3rd century BC) on a column drum from Semna, see Dunham–Janssen 1960 fig. 4, Pl. 88/b. 88 89

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still remains the cemetery of el Kurru90 to which one has to turn in order to form an idea of the processes leading to the emergence of the native kingdom of Kush. Since there can be no doubt that el Kurru was the burial place of the ancestors of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, it seems fairly self-evident that it describes the emergence of the kingdom of Kush as concretely as it may be expected from any anepigraphic elite mortuary complex. Scholarly interpretations of this historical process greatly differ, however, which follows from the changing ideological outlook of the subsequent generations of the students of Nubian history. What is even more apparent in the studies published in the last few years, it is determined by the radical differences in the chronological assessment of the cemetery in general, and its individual tombs in particular.91 Since its first preliminary publication by the excavator,92 a series of hypotheses have been built on this necropolis. It may suffice to recapitulate here that Reisner regarded el Kurru as an ancestral cemetery used without interruption until the generation of Shebitqo, and, after an interruption under Taharqo, for one more generation under Tanwetamani. Reisner excavated sixteen burials in the main section of the cemetery, which certainly predate Piankhy’s93 pyramid burial (Ku. 17). On the basis of the six different evolutionary types identified among these sixteen tombs, he suggested that they belonged not to sixteen successive generations of Piankhy’s ancestors but to six generations of rulers, their wives, and members of family. Reisner also speculated that the burials started around 860–840 BC.94 On the basis of stone, faience and pottery vessels from Reisner’s pre-Piankhy burials, Timothy Kendall suggested in 1982 that the necropolis may have been used over a much longer period of time extending from the end of the New Kingdom to the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty.95 In 1991, Robert Morkot suggested three alternatives, firstly, that the cemetery has a longer chronology than supposed by Reisner, i.e., in its early sections there may have Dunham 1950. The discussion of the el Kurru chronologies follows Török n.d. 92 Reisner 1919; 1920b. For a more detailed publication of Reisner’s finds and documents, see Dunham 1950. 93 For the “rehabilitated” traditional reading of the name, see Rilly 2001. According to Zibelius 2006b, however, “the problem posed by the orthographies of the king’s name is not resolved” (ibid. 133). 94 Reisner 1919; 1920b; Dunham 1950. 95 T. Kendall: Kush Lost Kingdom of the Nile. [Catalogue of] A Loan Exhibition from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston]. Brockton 1982 21 ff. 90 91


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been buried more than six ruler generations;96 secondly, that there may have been two separate tomb groups, one belonging to a New Kingdom period princely family, the other to ancestors of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty. As a third alternative, he suggested an independent solution according to which the end of the New Kingom should be lowered by about two centuries.97 The third alternative would vindicate Reisner’s original tomb sequence, since in its terms the time gap is eliminated between the end of the New Kingdom domination of Nubia and the earliest el Kurru burial. The cemetery would thus start around 860 BC, which date would now correspond directly with the end of the Twentieth Dynasty.98 Arguing that the evolutionary process represented by Reisner’s six tomb types might have taken a longer time than six ruler generations and assuming that only males were buried in the main section of el Kurru, Ahmed Ali Hakem proposed a long chronology in 1988.99 Ignoring Ali Hakem’s suggestion, but being inspired by Kendall’s 1982 hypothesis and trying to see whether the evidence from el Kurru supports or disproves Morkot’s lowering of the end of the New Kingdom, in 1992 I put forward my version of a long el Kurru chronology.100 At the same time, my long chronology also represented a reaction on an erudite study by Timothy Kendall101 in which he presented a detailed reaffirmation and amendment of Reisner’s original short typochronology as corrected by Dows Dunham.102 Kendall proposed a date range between c. 885–835 BC (Ku. Tum 1/Ku. Tum. 5) and Piankhy’s 96 One speaks about ruler generation and not human generation because of the (probably concurrent) existence of the patrilinear and collateral succession orders. 97 Morkot 1991b; see also the other studies published in James et al. 1991.—The idea of the compression of the Third Intermediate Period received support (with a less radical lowering of absolute dates, however) from, e.g., J. Goldberg: The 23rd Dynasty Problem Revisited: Where, When and Who? Discussions in Egyptology 29 (1994) 55–85; id.: Centuries of Darkness and Egyptian Chronology: Another Look. Discussions in Egyptology 33 (1995) 11–32. For the critical response, see K.A. Kitchen, B.[J.] Kemp, N. Postgate, A. Snodgrass, A. and S. Sherratt in: CAJ 2 (1992) 235–251; D.A. Aston, in: Discussions in Egyptology 27 (1993) 101–104. 98 Morkot 1991b 213 ff. 99 Ahmed M. Ali Hakem: Meroitic Architecture. A Background of An African Civilization. Khartoum 1988 241 ff. Ali Hakem’s book is the printed version of his 1971 Ph.D. dissertation. 100 Török 1999a (a preprint of the paper was presented in 1992 at the Seventh International Conference for Meroitic Studies, Gosen bei Berlin). 101 Kendall 1999a (main paper, Seventh International Conference for Meroitic Studies, Gosen bei Berlin 1992; a preprint of the paper was distributed before the conference). 102 Dunham 1950.

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burial (Ku. 17).103 In his study Kendall also explained the beginnings of the Egyptianization process at el Kurru with the supposed arrival of rebellious Amun priests fleeing from Thebes to Nubia in order to escape persecution from Crown Prince Osorkon, who was appointed High Priest of Amun of Thebes around 840 BC104 (cf. Chapter XII.6). In my original contribution to Kendall’s paper105 and in subsequent, more detailed, contributions,106 I have presented a cemetery analysis in which I tried to explain the changes in tomb and burial types by political and religious factors. I considered the sixteen tombs of the central cemetery section as a cemetery of ruling males and suggested for it a date range between c. 1020–1000 BC (Ku. Tum. 1) and Piankhy (Ku. 17).107 Doing so, I partly relied on new evidence published by Lisa Heidorn in connection with Kendall’s 1992 paper.108 Besides a discussion of finds published earlier by Dunham,109 Heidorn also presented an analysis of so far unpublished imported stone, faience and pottery vessels from the tombs of Reisner’s and Kendall’s first six ruler generations. On the basis of analogues from datable Egyptian and Levantine contexts, she placed this material into an eleventh through eighth century BC, i.e., late New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, chronological spectrum. Reisner’s, Dunham’s, and Kendall’s short chronology is excellently supported by these analogues, provided that they always receive a dating closer to the lower end of the chronological range in which they occur in datable contexts.110 At the same time, however, a Henceforth referred to as short chronology. Kendall 1999a 97 Tomb Chart B. Kendall 1999a 5, 57.—For the chronology of Prince Osorkon and the events of his period, see R.A. Caminos: The Chronicle of Prince Osorkon. Rome 1958; Kitchen 1986 330 ff.; M.A. Leahy (ed.): Libya and Egypt, c. 1300–750 BC. London 1990. 105 Török 1999a. 106 Török 1995a 29 ff.; 1997a 88 ff., 112 ff. 107 Henceforth I shall refer to my corrected long chronology. Corrections in the long chronology of Török 1997a were made necessary by the new chronology of the TwentyFifth Dynasty, cf. Chapter XIII.3. 108 L. Heidorn: Preliminary Analysis of Selected Vessels from the Earliest Tombs at el-Kurru (Generations A–F). Preprint of paper presented at the Seventh International Conference for Meroitic Studies, Gosen bei Berlin 1992; Heidorn 1994. 109 Dunham 1950. 110 This tendency is also noted by Morkot 2003 164.—I have quoted in Török 1997a 114 note 208 cases such as the marl jar sherds from Ku. Tum. 4 (Heidorn 1994 119, fig. 1/i, j), analogues from Twentieth to Twenty-Sixth Dynasty contexts, burial nevertheless dated by Heidorn and Kendall to c. 865–825 BC; Phoenician storejars from Ku. 19 (Heidorn 1994 124, figs 3/k, 4/a-f), analogues from contexts dated to c. 1050– 850 BC, burial nevertheless dated to c. 845–815 BC (the approximative dates are from Kendall’s short chronology, Kendall 1999a 97 Tomb Chart B). 103 104


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number of faience and stone vessels received an earlier New Kingdom date or were described as “Ramesside” in style. Consequently, Kendall interpreted them as “heirlooms”, reused objects, or objects produced in a New Kingdom style for conservative customers.111 It is worth noting that, turning to the finds from Ku. 8, i.e., from Kashta’s tomb, Kendall observes that [w]hereas in the earlier tombs the stone vessels appeared to be of more antique Egyptian form, [those from Kashta’s tomb] were Egyptian vessels of contemporary type, suggesting the immediacy of Kashta’s relations with Thebes.112

Inconsistently with this, other finds from Ku. 8, such as fragments of faience vessels,113 were classified by Kendall as belonging to the “reused” or “conservative” category. In a separate study appended to the proceedings of the 1992 Meroitic Conference,114 Timothy Kendall responded to my long chronology.115 He justly pointed out inconsistencies in my tomb sequence around Ku. 21 and Ku. 8.116 With reference to an anthropological examination carried out by Lane Beck, Kendall also argued that Ku. Tum. 4117 was the burial of a young adult woman and not a man as I have suggested with reference to the stone arrowheads118 recovered from the tomb. Kendall attached great importance to the anthropological evidence when he defended Reisner’s view of pre-Twenty-Fifth Dynasty el Kurru as a family necropolis. We learn from Lane Beck’s anthropological report,119 however, that in the cemetery section under discussion skeletal material was retained only from three burials, viz., Ku. Tum. 2, Ku. Tum. 4, and Ku. 11. According to Beck, from Ku. Tum. 2 come the skeletal remains of an adult male, from Ku. Tum. 4 the remains of the Kendall 1999a 15 ff., 32. Kendall 1999a 37. 113 Kendall 1999a 37. 114 Wenig (ed.) 1999. 115 Kendall 1999b. 116 Short chronology: c. 760–747 BC; these tombs are not included in the corrected long chronology. 117 Short chronology: c. 865–825 BC; corrected long chronology: c. 975–955 BC. 118 For analogues from late New Kingdom (?) to Twenty-Fifth Dynasty Nubian contexts, see Heidorn 1994 115 note 2; for exemplars from a Qasr Ibrim context dated by 14C dates to 1040–850 BC and 920–800 BC (cf. M. Horton: Africa in Egypt: New Evidence from Qasr Ibrim. in: Davies (ed.) 1991 265–277 264 ff.), see Kendall 1999a 18. 119 L.A. Beck: Demographic Data for Human Skeletons Recovered from El Kurru. in: Wenig (ed.) 1999 160–163. For Beck’s analysis cf. also Kendall 1999b 172. 111 112

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above-mentioned young adult female,120 while from Ku. 11 the remains of two male and three (?) female adults. It may thus be concluded that, from the particular aspect of anthropological remains, the rest of Reisner’s and Kendall’s attributions of burials to male or female tomb owners is completely hypothetical and, in the case of Ku. 19, it is also contradicted by the find of arrowheads.121 It is interesting to note that, while attributing Ku. 11 to a prince, Kendall makes the following most disencouraging remark to explain the identification of Ku. 11 as the find place of several skeletons instead of one: “this must lead one to believe either that the analysis [of Beck] is incorrect, or that the bones belonged partly or wholly to intrusive burials, or that the bone samples were accidentally mixed with others in the field”.122 Kendall also considered the possibility that certain imports described usually as “New Kingdom-type” may be dated to the early Third Intermediate Period.123 He insisted, however, that stone vessels of a “diagnostic New Kingdom shape” still occur in burials as late as Ku. 10 dated c. 805–795 BC by him124 and c. 840–820 BC by me. He concluded that [o]bviously such material can in no way be used as an accurate indicator of the date of the early tombs any more than it can be used as an indicator of the later. The objects can really tell us nothing except that at the time when these tombs were built such Egyptian objects were in circulation and available for use and burial.125

Given the still incomplete publication of Reisner’s finds and field notes and, as a result of this, our blurred view of what may, or may not be regarded as closed object assemblages discovered in and around plundered burials, one cannot help drawing a nihilistic conclusion from our debate. Namely, given our present knowledge, the find material 120 According to Kendall, “a significant collection [of bones] was retrieved from Ku. Tum. 4”. Lane Beck “declared the skeleton” [from which the ‘significant collection’ originates?] “to be ‘that of a female’ on the basis of the sharp orbits of a skull fragment”. Kendall 1999a 16. 121 Kendall 1999a 97 Tomb Chart B presumes that the owners of Ku. Tum. 5, Ku. 19, 13, 10, 23, 21, 7 and 20 (listed in chronological order) were female, but there are no skeletal remains recorded from these burials. Stone arrowheads from Ku. 19: Dunham 1950 Pl. LI. Kendall argues that arrowheads may also appear in female burials. Though not particularly likely, this possibility cannot be excluded, either. 122 Kendall 1999a 30 f. note 37. 123 Kendall 1999b 167. 124 For the estimated absolute dates of Kendall, see 1999a 97. 125 Kendall 1999b 168.


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from el Kurru serves whichever chronology one prefers. Clarity in this matter is not promoted by the important observation, either, according to which Twentieth Dynasty and ninth century BC pottery assemblages from stratified sites at Karnak and Elephantine may be very similar.126 Table G. The Alternative El Kurru Sequences Kendall 1999a, 1999b

Török 1997a (corrected)





estimated dates

Ku. Tum. 1

“prince A” c. 890–840 BC

Ku. Tum. 1


c. 995–975 BC

Ku. Tum. 5

wife of “prince A”

Ku. Tum. 4


c. 975–955 BC

Ku. Tum. 4

wife of “prince A”

Ku. Tum. 5


c. 955–935 BC

Ku. Tum. 2


c. 935–915 BC

Ku. Tum. 6 “prince B” c. 845–825 BC Ku. Tum. 2

son of “prince B”

Ku. Tum. 6 prince

c. 915–895 BC

Ku. 19

wife of “prince B”

Ku. 19


c. 895–875 BC

Ku. 14

“prince C”c. 825–805 B

Ku. 14


c. 875–855 BC

Ku. 13

wife of “prince C”

Ku. 13

prince (?)

c. 855–835 BC

Ku. 11

“prince D” c. 805–785 BC

Ku. 11


c. 835–815 BC

Ku. 10

wife of “prince D”

Ku. 10


c. 815–795 BC ?

Ku. 9

Alara c. 760

Ku. 9


c. 795–775 BC

Ku. 23

Queen Kasaqa

Ku. 8


c. 775–755 BC

Ku. 21

Kashta’s mother (?) c. 747 BC Ku. 17


c. 755–721 BC

Ku. 8


Ku. 7

Queen Pebatma

Ku. 20


Ku. 17


6. Egyptianization at el Kurru Interpreting el Kurru, the archaeologist attempts to write history. The different el Kurru chronologies describe and at the same time create 126 J. Bourriau: Umm el-Ga"ab. Pottery from the Nile Valley before the Arab Conquest. Cambridge 1981 80 f.; D.A. Aston in: Discussions in Egyptology 27 (1993) 101 f.—According to Zibelius-Chen 2006a 284 note 1, after Kendall 1999b my “long chronology” seems no longer tenable, but she does not say why.

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different images of political and religious processes. Kendall’s short chronology and my long chronology represent two extremes. The first builds a theory of the origin of the Kurru chiefdom that attributes its rapid metamorphosis in character from native Nubian to Egyptian, and its sudden adherence to the Amun cult, to the influence at Kurru of native Egyptians… some of these individuals may have been anti-Tanite clerical refugees from Karnak.127

In a more recent study, Kendall formulates his thesis of direct Egyptianization in an even more radical form: The Egyptianizing kingdom of Kush was almost certainly a continuum of Egyptian history…the Kushite state was a deliberate creation of the Amun priesthood of Thebes, partly to seek security from Tanite or Herakleopolitan interference and partly to regain religious control over Nubia and to restore the long lost symbiosis of cult and kingship that had typified the New Kingdom and which gave the Theban establishment its raison d’être.128

By contrast, the long chronology depicts a much slower, more innerdirected process of transformation from (complex) chiefdom to kingdom. It would be a misleading simplification to describe this process, which started several generations before Kashta’s contact with Egypt, as a direct Egyptianization of native mortuary religion, burial- and tomb types. In reality, it was a more comprehensive process in which native conceptions were continuously amalgamated with, rather than replaced by Egyptian ideas. Before recalling some of the more significant developments at el Kurru, I advance here that, as I see it, this process was gradual and it was not determined by concentrated Egyptian interventions. Moreover, given the vagueness of its absolute chronology, the individual typological stages of the el Kurru cemetery cannot be associated with concrete historical dates, except for the immediately pre-Twenty-Fifth Dynasty burials.129 It must also be remarked that, when accepting the short chronology, one has to accept Reisner’s postulate too that every single generation created a new tomb type. Though comparisons in cemetery analysis must be made with great caution, a confrontation of the supposed rapidity of changes at el Kurru Kendall 1999a 5. Kendall 2002 5. 129 For recent investigations concerning the absolute chronology of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, see L. Depuydt: The Date of Piye’s Egyptian Campaign and the Chronology of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. JEA 79 (1993) 269–274; Morkot 1999b 202 ff.; Frame 1999; Redford 1999; Kahn 2001; 2004. 127 128


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with the gradualness of developments at better-known necropoleis such as Qustul and Ballana130 may be useful, even in spite of the great distance in time. The first significant development occurred early in the history of the necropolis. It was the introduction of the rite of “killing the pots”, i.e., the smashing of vessels at the funeral. The vessels were native wheel-turned wares decorated with Egyptian-style paintings representing mourners and other funerary figures.131 Janice Yellin argued132 that the paintings on the vessels indicate nothing more than the presence of Egyptian craftsmen at el Kurru.133 She also assumes that the Egyptian rite of “breaking the red pots” did not survive the New Kingdom. It must be objected, however, that it was not the rite itself but only its representation in tombs that did not survive the eleventh century BC: but we know that the architecture and decoration of post-New Kingdom royal and elite tombs was in no way the continuation of New Kingdom tomb architecture and decoration. Still according to Yellin, the only post-New Kingdom example of the “breaking the red pots” would have been recorded from the mortuary chapel of the God’s Wife of Amun Shepenwepet I (c. 761–714? BC),134 daughter of Osorkon III (c. 777–749 BC) of the Twenty-Third Dynasty,135 who was buried by her Kushite successor Amenirdis I.136 Consequently, the smashed vessels at el Kurru would testify to an indigenous Nubian, and not an Egyptian tradition.137 The existence of a Kushite tradition of breaking the pots is indeed obvious, and there may be little doubt that the introduction of the rite at Kurru could not have been independent from this tradition. It is difficult to imagine, however, that the actual association of 130

For a detailed internal chronology of the cemeteries of Qustul and Ballana, see Török 1988b 75–173; and cf. Williams 1991c. 131 Ku. Tum. 2, 6, Ku. 19; Kendall 1999a figs 10, 11. 132 Yellin 1995 246 ff. 133 Even if we accept this suggestion, it remains still unexplained, why did these craftsmen decorate the vessels with correctly executed scenes taken from the iconography of Egyptian mortuary rites. The Kushite mortuary rite of the killing of the vessels did not require vessels decorated with figural scenes. 134 Kitchen 1986 Table 13B suggests 754–714 (?) BC, but she was appointed in all probability around 761 BC, i.e., before the end of Kashta’s reign in c. 755 BC, cf. Chapter XIII.3. 135 Kitchen 1986 356 f. 136 T. Hölscher: The Excavations at Medinet Habu V. Post-Ramesside Remains. Chicago 1954 20 and Pl. 11/D. 137 For its occurrence in Meroitic burials, see Yellin 1995 248 note 30; J.W. Yellin: Meroitic Funerary Religion. in: ANRW II.18.5 (1995) 2869–2892 2879.

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this tradition with a consciously selected figural decoration, taken, as it happens, from the iconography of Egyptian funerary rites, would in no way have been influenced by the Egyptian rite in which the vessels of the funerary banquet were destroyed. While it is no longer represented in tomb decorations, the traditional rite of the “breaking the red pots” also occurs in Late Period Egypt in an altered form which is strikingly reminiscent of the el Kurru rite. Namely, in Memphite tomb chapels sherds were found which were painted with mortuary cult scenes after the undecorated original vessels had been broken.138 The presence at Kurru of people familiar with Egyptian mortuary conceptions and Egyptian writing is also indicated by the appearance of the name of the deceased in Egyptian hieroglyphs in Ku. Tum. 2139 and Ku. Tum. 6.140 The name from Tum. 6 was read by Priese as K"ıwmr[.],141 by Abdalla142 as K Aml[y]. Abdalla as well as Rilly143 argue that it contains the Meroitic adjective mlo, “good”144 and represents an early form of the Meroitic name Aqomloye (Aqomaloye).145 The recording of the name of the tomb owner, be it associated merely with items of funerary equipment or mortuary offerings, represents another step towards the adoption of Egyptian conceptions of mortuary religion and, evidently, a higher degree of political organization. As a second significant innovation, the tombs were complemented from Ku. Tum. 6 onwards with an offering niche or a mortuary cult chapel, and enclosed within a walled precinct. This innovation and the subsequent introduction of the pyramid-on-mastaba superstructure 138 G.T. Martin: The Tomb Chapels of Paser and Ra #ia at Saqqara. London 1985 20 ff., 47 f., Pl. 33. 139 Short chronology: c. 865–825 BC, corrected long chronology: c. 935–915 BC. According to Kendall 1999a 24, Reisner recovered from the enclosure debris a small corner fragment of a hieroglyphic name plaque of faience. This find is not mentioned in Dunham 1950. In the burial also a gold nugget was found which is inscribed in " nb #nh nfr di.f Imn " nb[…], “Amun, lord of life, Egyptian hieroglyphs with the formula Imn ˘ see Dunham 1950 fig. 2d, Pl. LII/A. that which he gives is beautiful, Amun lord […]”, 140 Short chronology: c. 845–825 BC, corrected long chronology: c. 915–895 BC. For the inscription on a faience label, see Kendall 1999a fig. 13. 141 In: Kendall 1999a 23. 142 Abdelgadir Mahmoud Abdalla: AQO-; LO-[Y(E, I)]; The ‘Meroitic’ Name on El Kurru Plaque 19-3-704. in: Wenig (ed.) 1999 428–456. 143 Rilly 2007 19. 144 For the occurrence of mlo in Nubian names from the Eighteenth Dynasty onwards, see Rilly 2007 22 ff. 145 REM 1049.


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in Ku. 13146 (after the transitional tumulus-on-mastaba [?] type of Ku. 14),147 i.e., the replacement of the round tomb superstructure with rightangled monumental architectural forms, mark profound changes in mortuary religion and the ideology of power. From the aspect of cult practices, the erection of funerary cult chapels signals the knowledge and acceptance of some concepts of Egyptian mortuary religion. The enclosure wall indicates, in turn, that the tomb was now regarded as a sanctuary proper: the enclosed chapel was the scene of the rites of a funerary cult, which was, evidently, also a form of ancestor cult. The mixed Kushite-Egyptian character of the mortuary cult of this phase is indicated by the fact that the chapels were attached to burials from which essential features of Egyptian mortuary religion were still missing: namely, the bodies were not mummified, they were not buried in coffins, and there were no shawabti figures. In the process of state formation a significant stage is reached when the demand for a coherent power ideology and its perpetuation arises. An ideology of power cannot be formulated without creating a concept of continuity with the past on which a civilization would build up its concepts of legitimacy and unity.148 Egyptian mortuary religion offered an elementary view of political continuity even if it was only incompletely perceived and accepted in Kush.149 The mortuary cult of the ruling ancestors opened the way to the creation of a Kushite kingship ideology, which demanded some sort of “readable” verbal and visual perpetuation as well. The new pyramid-on-mastaba superstructure type was unknown in contemporary Egyptian tomb architecture. Yet it was not a recent Kushite invention, either. It seems to have been modelled on the Eighteenth Dynasty period pyramid tombs of the indigenous princes of Tehkhet (Chapter XI.1). A close typological relationship with the pyramid tomb of Prince Amenemhet is also indicated by the tomb substructures, which prevail from Kashta’s burial (Ku. 8) onwards, insofar as the burial pits seem to have opened from vaulted chambers encased partly within the pyramid superstructure.150 The Kurru necropolis had other connections too with the region of Debeira. At Cemetery 176

146 147 148 149 150

Short chronology: c. 825–805 BC; corrected long chronology: c. 855–835 BC. Short chronology: c. 825–805 BC; corrected long chronology: c. 875–855 BC. Kemp 1989 20 ff. Assmann 1996 25 ff., 32 ff. Cf. Kendall 1999a 36.

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at Debeira East151 tumulus graves with offering niches were excavated. Some niches contained ritually killed vessels. The superstructures were related typologically to the early tumulus graves at Kurru. The bodies were contracted like in the early tombs at el Kurru. The grave inventories contained Egyptian stone and faience vessels and amulets of types closely related to the material from el Kurru. Besides a similarly composed Egyptian find corpus, Cemetery 176 also produced a special type of decorated Nubian pottery incense burner (?),152 which also occurs in the earliest Kurru Tumuli 1, 4 and 5.153 The similarities between Debeira East and el Kurru, two cemeteries, which are otherwise without parallels, indicate connections, which we are unable to explain for the time being. Do these connections signal the expansion of the authority of the el Kurru princes to the Second Cataract region in Queen Kadimalo’s times (Chapter XII.4)? So much is obvious that the Debeira East population maintained contacts with Egypt as well as with the el Kurru chiefdom during the entire period of time covered by its burial ground. It is similarly obvious that, on the whole, el Kurru and Debeira East Cemetery 176 were contemporary. It is tempting to consider Cemetery 176 as an argument for the long chronology of el Kurru: but here again, we are in want of a less ambiguous dating of the Egyptian objects recovered in these necropoleis.

Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989. Säve-Söderbergh (ed.) 1989 200 ff., Pls 36, 38/1–4. 153 Dunham 1950 fig. 4b; Heidorn 1994 fig. 1/a-b; Kendall 1999a 17 f.—Short chronology: c. 885–825 BC; corrected long chronology: c. 995–935 BC. 151 152


(And from that time on) the southerners have been sailing northwards, the northerners southward, to the place where His Majesty is, with every good thing of South-land and every (kind of) provision of North-land[.]1

1. Introduction: The Emergence of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty The el Kurru necropolis had originally been associated with an unexcavated and unpublished settlement site beneath the present-day village of el Kurru. Reisner discovered sections of several hundred metres lengths of its rubble-filled, stone-faced enclosure walls together with a rounded bastion-like structure and a gateway facing the river.2 It must remain a conjecture that this walled settlement was the ancestral (?) seat of the princes buried at el Kurru, which took over the functions of Napata 15 km upstream from Kurru after the withdrawal of the viceregal administration. The placename Kurru may actually derive from the Karoy (K Ar Ay, K Ary, K Ar, Kry) of New Kingdom Egyptian texts occurring as the name of the southernmost area under Egyptian control as well as a placename (cf. Chapter IX.1).3 The earliest el Kurru burials, viz., Ku. Tum. 1, 4, 5, and 2 (for the sequence, see Table G), display purely un-Egyptianized features as to tomb type and burial rite and attest thus to the survival of indigenous mortuary traditions during the centuries of Egyptian domination and their re-emergence some time after the final withdrawal of the viceregal government in the eleventh century BC. The circular stone superstructure, if correctly reconstructed, resembles the characteristic tomb type of the Nubian C-Group culture (Chapter IV.3), although its 1 2 3

Dream Stela of Tanwetamani, FHN I No. 29, lines 41 f., trans. R.H. Pierce. G.A. Reisner, field notes 1919, mentioned by Kendall 1999a 48 f. Zibelius 1972 162 f.; Kendall 1999a 49.


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continuous survival could so far not be documented. The position of the contracted body similarly recalls a C-Group tradition. The burial on a bed, introduced with Ku. Tum. 6, had been practiced in the Kerma culture from the end of Ancient Kerma and, on Kerma influence, also in the final stage of the C-Group culture.4 The lateral niche or pit-and-side-chamber substructure type occurs with the earliest burials and may thus be regarded as characteristic for the el Kurru population. The changes in tomb types and mortuary religion at el Kurru reflect a political process during the course of which a local princely family of apparently limited resources established its power over a territory which was significantly expanded within a rather short period of time. The borders of the original nuclear territory (the size of which may be estimated on the basis of the size of the tombs as not larger than perhaps the wider Napata region) were expanded to the First Cataract in the north and the Butana in the south in c. one century according to the short, and in c. two and a half centuries according to the long chronology. We are ignorant of the actual course of this integration process. Certain details of the Kushite myth of the state (first of all the multiple coronations) may be interpreted as a conceptualized memory of the federation of polities centred around Napata, Kawa, and Pnubs/Kerma,5 while the form in which the Butana region is included into the myth of the state as well as the absence of the mention of the region north of the Third Cataract in the discourse on the myth of the Kushite state indicate that these latter regions were acquired by conquest. Artefacts made of ivory indicate contacts of the el Kurru chiefdom with more southern regions from Ku. Tum. 1, i.e., the first generation. A large, unworked chunk of obsidian from Ku. 11 signals trade with the Ethiopian highlands, while the lapis lazuli artefacts from Ku. 14 may have come from Afghanistan (via Egypt?) as well as from Ethiopia. In Ptolemaic texts lapis lazuli would also be mentioned as a product of the First Cataract region and of Meroe.6 The political annexation of the Butana region, which secured complete control of the trade routes, was, however, not accomplished before the middle of the eighth century BC. This region was not conquered by Egypt in the New Kingdom. 4 5 6

Geus 1991 59 ff. Török 1992; 1997a 215 ff. Zibelius-Chen 1988 87 f.

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Due to the lack of archaeological data, its history and cultures remain unknown before the emergence of the united kingdom of Kush. The accomplishment of the southward expansion of the el Kurru dynasty is demonstrated by the earliest burials in the elite cemeteries at Meroe City. The highest parts of the hills on which the Begarawiya West and South Cemeteries (Beg. W. and Beg. S.) are situated, i.e., the areas where the interments commenced, were occupied by simple pit graves covered with mound superstructures (now completely eroded). There were two different burial forms observed: a) contracted bodies (on the left side, head to east, or on the right side, head to west) supposedly buried on beds;7 b) coffin burials of mummified bodies provided as a rule with the characteristic Egyptian Third Intermediate Period-Late Period type bead net.8 Initially—for a maximum of two generations—there occurred only burials with contracted bodies at Beg. W., after which concurrent coffin burials began. Beg. S. was started later than Beg. W., for it has no contracted body burials: the earliest coffin burials are dated to the second half of the eighth century, at the earliest, by a faience seal with the cartouches of Kashta and his daughter the God’s Wife of Amun Amenirdis I9 and a golden statuette of Bastet incribed for Pemui, Chief of the Ma10 vanquished by Piankhy in c. 735 BC (for the chronology, see Chapter XIII.3). The earliest contracted body burials may thus slightly predate Kashta’s reign (c. before 775 BC) and are dated here in general terms to the first half of the eighth century BC. Both the contracted body burials and the coffin burials contained Egyptian (and/or Egyptian-type) artefacts. In view of the topographical continuity of the cemeteries and the short time distance between the

See Dunham 1963 5 (Beg. W. 611), 28 (Beg. W. 609), 55 (Beg. W. 502), 298 (Beg. W. 619), 305 (Beg. W. 663). No clear evidence of an actual bed was found, however, in any of these tombs. 8 Dunham 1963 10 (Beg. W. 620), 11 (Beg. W. 662), 12 (Beg. W. 861?), 44 ff. (Beg. W. 671), 49 (Beg. W. 585) etc.—The earliest examples of the bead net in Egypt are dated by D.A. Aston: Tomb Groups from the End of the New Kingdom to the Beginning of the Saite Period. Birmingham 1987 519 ff.; J.H. Taylor in: D’Auria et al. 1988 175 to around 700 BC. However, bead nets were found in the burial of Sheshonq II (around 890 BC) at Tanis (P. Rigault in: T. Phillips [ed.]: Africa. The Art of a Continent. London–Munich–New York 1995 Cat. 1.66) and in graves of Piankhy’s wives one of which (Ku. 53, Tabiry) dates from Piankhy’s lifetime, i.e., before c. 721 BC, Dunham 1950 81 (Ku. 52), 86 f. (Ku. 53), 91, Pl. XXVI/A (Ku. 54). 9 Beg. W. 685, Dunham 1963 304. 10 Beg. W. 816, Dunham 1963 8. 7


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occurence of the two different burial customs, both Beg. W. and Beg. S. can be interpreted as burial grounds opened in conjunction with the foundation of a new settlement, viz., Meroe City, as the political centre of the Butana region after its conquest by the el Kurru dynasty, and not as cemeteries started shortly before the conquest. The contracted burials reflect the traditions of a local elite which was, however, accultured within a few generations to the Egyptianized burial customs imported by the new rulers of the region. The local centre and motor of such an acculturation was an Egyptian-type cult temple:11 only such a temple and its priesthood could provide for mummification, adequate funerary equipment, the performance of the funerary rites and the proper maintenance of an Egyptian-type mortuary cult. Remains of monumental buildings (“Structure 1000”) and defensive walls partly excavated at Qasr Ibrim may be regarded as archaeological testimonies to the expansion of the Kushite kingdom north of the Second Cataract. A radiocarbon date from the fill of “Structure 1000” produced a calibrated date of 920–800 BC. As the carbon dating was obtained from the dung of domesticated camel, it attests at the same time to trade contacts with the South, for the camel (which was otherwise not known in the Nubian Nile valley before the Ptolemaic period) could only have been introduced from the region of modern Ethiopia or from southern Arabia across the Red Sea.12 2. Alara’s Memory Ku. 9, a pyramid-on-mastaba tomb at el Kurru, is identified as the burial of Alara, the direct predecessor of King Kashta.13 Ku. 9 appears to have been the first tomb provided with a mortuary stela and an

11 For the archaeological finds connected to an early Amun temple at Meroe City, see Török 1997b 25 ff., 153 ff., 235 ff. 12 P. Rowley-Conwy: The Camel in the Nile Valley: New Radiocarbon Accelerator (AMS) Dates from Qasr Ibrim. JEA 74 (1988) 245–248; cf. also D.W. Phillipson: The Excavations at the Gobedra Rock-Shelter, Axum. Azania 12 (1977) 50–82. 13 Kendall 1999a 34. The identification follows from the archaeologically fairly certain tomb sequence Ku. 9—Ku. 8—Ku. 17. From Ku. 17 come shawabti figures of Piankhy, it is thus rather likely that this tomb belonged to Piankhy; Ku. 8 to his predecessor Kashta; and Ku. 9 to Kashta’s predecessor Alara. For the evidence concerning the family relationships on the basis of which the sequence of the rulers is suggested, see D. Dunham–M.F.L. Macadam: Names and Relationships of the Royal Family of

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offering table (?).14 As already indicated above in Chapter XII.3, Alara is mentioned in two inscriptions of King Taharqo, his fifth successor, as the source of the legitimacy and power of Taharqo and his dynasty.15 He was mentioned in the same sense again by King Irike-Amannote in the second half of the fifth century BC,16 and by King Nastasene in the last third of the fourth century BC.17 Taharqo’s inscriptions present two slightly different versions of what we may define as a dynastic legend. Among other things, the preserved variants of the legend record in a mythologized form that Alara “committed” or “ordained” his sister to Amun of Kawa, i.e., he installed her as priestess of the god.18 In return, the god granted kingship to her descendants. In theological terms, this is a covenant between a god and a ruler. The epithets given to Amun in Taharqo’s inscriptions clearly indicate the conceptual setting of the legend in the Third Intermediate Period Theology of Will19 and, more Napata. JEA 35 (1949) 139–149; Kitchen 1973/1986 § 120 ff.; FHN I passim; Morkot 1999b 188 ff.; Lohwasser 2001 242 ff. 14 For Reisner’s observations, see Kendall 1999a 31 f. 15 Kawa IV=FHN I No. 21; Kawa VI=FHN I No. 24. 16 Kawa IX line 54, FHN II No. 71. 17 Nastasene Stela line 16, FHN II No. 84.—Jansen-Winkeln 2003 156 suggests that Alara’s mentions in Irike-Amannote’s and Nastasen’s inscriptions did not follow from a “Legitimationsbedürfnis”: “Man kann ihnen zunächst entnehmen, dass Alara auch nach Jahrhunderten berühmt und ein Vorbild für andere Könige war”. Jansen-Winkeln disregards the contexts of Alara’s mentions. In Kawa IX it is part of Irike-Amannote’s prayer to Amun of Kawa during his (oracular) investiture by the god: “Then this god said to him [the king], ‘This bow is given to you (to be) with you to every place where you go.’ His [Majesty] said to [him], ‘May you give me a long life on earth, after you have given to me as you did for king Alara, [justified].’ Then [he] [the god] saif [to him], ‘I have (already) done for you everything that is in your heart.’ ” The context is analogous in the case of Nastasene, but Alara appears in his dialogue with Amun of Napata. 18 Vinogradov 1999 84 note 7 observes that while in Kawa IV and VI the word hn, . h. wn, “order”, “commit” is used, the Enthronement Stela of Anlamani (late 7th cent. BC, Kawa VIII=FHN I No. 34 lines 24 f.) and the Nitocris Adoption Stela (656 BC) use the verb rdj, “give”. Both inscriptions record consecrations of princesses into priestly positions in a more explicit form. On this basis, Vinogradov doubts that Alara’s sister would have been installed as a priestess, yet such a meaning of h. n, h. wn, “order”, cannot be excluded, either. According to Lohwasser 2001 257 f. Alara’s sister was consecrated as a priestess, yet she declines the association of the act with an institution created under the influence of the God’s Wife of Amun, perhaps because she does not consider the case of Alara’s sister in the context of the priestly offices of other Kushite royal princesses or the list of Aspelta’s female ancestors (see below). 19 Cf. J. Assmann: State and Religion in New Kingdom Egypt. In: Religion and Philosophy in Ancient Egypt. in: Religion and Philosophy in Ancient Egypt. Yale Egyptological Studies 3. New Haven 1989 55–88 72 ff.


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closely, in Theban concepts associated with the legitimating power of the God’s Wife of Amun.20 The “commitment to Amun” of a female member of the royal family may be understood in the sense of the concept of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period God’s Wife as a legitimating force and a mediator between the god and the king. The queen as priestess of Amun and of the royal cult played an essential role in the renewal and maintenance of royal power in both Egypt and Kush.21 Yet the most important feature of Alara’s “giving” his sister to Amun of Kawa, which was established in the course of an oracular procedure,22 is that he did so in order to secure the kingship of her descendants in this, and not any other way.23 FHN I No. 21 lines 19 f.; No. 24 line 23. For Egypt, see Troy 1986 53 ff., 70, 99 ff.; see also C.E. Sander-Hansen: Das Gottesweib des Amun. Copenhagen 1940; Zeissl 1955; M. Gitton: L’épouse du dieu Ahmes Néfertari. Documents sur sa vie et son culte posthume. Paris 1975; M. Gitton-J. Leclant: Gottesgemahlin. LÄ II (1977) 792–812.—For the evidence from Kush, see Török 1997a 224 ff., 234 ff., 254, 288 ff.; Lohwasser 2001 193 ff., 226 ff., 257 ff., 290 ff., 304 ff. 22 As suggested by Jansen-Winkeln 2003 145 ff. 23 Jansen-Winkeln 2003 152 ff. does not attach any special importance to the “ordainment” of Alara’s sister, although he states that it was a second oracular procedure following a first one in which Alara himself received royal power from Amun. He declines the possibility that the (hypothetical) matrilinear legitimacy would have been introduced in this way by Alara. While this seems indeed likely, I find Jansen-Winkeln’s supercilious imputation rather inappropriate (ibid. 154 f.) that my reconstruction of the line of the female ancestors listed in the Election Stela of Aspelta (FHN I No. 37, turn of the 7th century BC) and of the structure(s) in the background of such a list of female members of the dynasty is “offenbar nur von dem Bestreben getragen, die Schwester des Alara an die Spitze des Stammbaums setzen zu können”. As it seems, Jansen-Winkeln read my arguments in FHN I 248 ff. with little attention. Lohwasser 2001 253 f. similarly suggests that the genealogy in the Aspelta Stela starts with Alara’s sister; while Jansen-Winkeln also declines Lohwasser’s view, he also acknowledges her “zutreffende Bemerkung, dass die Vorfahrinnen des Aspelta alle nur sn(t) njswt, nicht aber mwt njswt genannt werden”, but does not recognize that this is an essential feature of a genealogy which lists relationships that are as a principle adoptive. While dismissing the significance of the genealogy, Jansen-Winkeln also leaves unmentioned that the second “ancestress” of Aspelta listed in it bears the titles “King’s Sister, Divine Adoratrix of Amun-Re, king of the gods of Dominion (Thebes)” (FHN I No. 37, line 20).— Lohwasser distinguishes (ibid. 249 note 378) between epithets and actual priestly titles in the titularies of Kushite queens. Stating that several queens in the Aspelta list have only epitheta but no explicitely priestly titles, she declines my suggestion that the queens of the list adopted each other into priestly offices and functioned thus as additional vehicles of royal legitimacy in a system that was partly modelled on the Theban God’s Wife of Amun. She doubly contradicts herself, however, remarking (ibid.) first that “Auch eine nachweislich im Tempeldienst eingesetzte Königin (Matiqen auf der Adoptionsstele aus dem Jahr 3. des Aspelta [= FHN I No. 39]…) trägt keinen Kulttitel” and that “nach einer ersten Einsetzung von Priesterinnen durch den König… das Amt durch Adoption nach ägyptischem Vorbild weitergegeben wurde” (ibid. 261). 20 21

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Taharqo’s Kawa inscriptions refer to Alara from the viewpoint of his sister and her descendants. In my contributions I accepted Macadam’s and Pierce’s reading of the actual passages as “The (fore)mothers of my mother were ordained for him [i.e., Amun of Kawa] by their brother, the Chief, Son-of-Re, Alara” (Kawa IV, lines 16 f.) and “His [i.e., Taharqo’s] mother’s mother was committed to him [i.e., Amun of Kawa] by her brother, the Chief,24 the Son-of-Re, Alara” (Kawa VI, cols 22 f.), respectively. Consequently, I suggested that Alara is viewed in the Kawa texts from a double perspective: viz., from the perspective of his actual rank as chieftain of a tribal state on the one hand, and from the perspective of Taharqo who derived his kingship from Alara and bestowed upon him a cartouche and the Son-of-Re title posthumously, on the other.25 Alexey Vinogradov vindicated recently J.J. Clère’s suggestion26 that the correct reading of the references to Alara is “Their27/her28 elder brother, the Son-of-Re, Alara”.29 Clère’s and Vinogradov’s reading is also repeated by Karl Jansen-Winkeln, who speculates that Alara was not the founder of the dynasty but only the first member of a line which replaced another (elder) line and from which Taharqo descended.30 David Edwards draws the following conclusion from the corrected reading of Alara’s title:

24 Here Pierce also adds, however, the alternative “or: by her elder brother” without further comments, FHN I 173. 25 FHN I 42; Török 1995a 43. 26 Review of Macadam 1949, BiOr 5 (1951) 179, quoted in Vinogradov 1999 86 f. but ignored in FHN I. 27 Kawa IV, FHN I No. 21. 28 Kawa VI, FHN I No. 24. 29 Vinogradov 1999 passim and esp. 91; A.K. Vinogradov: Epitet, imya, titul v pismennuh pamyatnikah Kusha. Moscow 2006 16 ff. 30 Jansen-Winkeln 2003. This is a hypothesis based on a passage of the “covenant legend” in Kawa VI=FHN I No. 24, lines 23 f., according to which Amun “put a stop to him that plotted evil against me after you set me up as king”. The hypothesis is meant to support the principal thesis of the article, according to which Taharqo’s legitimacy was weak and required special arguments—even the possibility is raised that “Taharka tatsächlich ein Usurpator und Königsmörder war (wenn das auch keineswegs erwiesen ist)” (ibid. 154). But even if we suppose that the evil plotters are identical with another branch of the dynasty, how can we tell whether was it Alara, scion of a younger line, who usurped the throne of the elder line, or was it a scion of a younger line, who attempted to usurp the throne of Alara, the scion of the elder line? The text speaks only about a conspiracy after Alara’s enthronement, to which a stop was put by Amun of Kawa.


chapter thirteen Attempts to track the historical development of the Kushite state have made much of [Alara’s] apparent portrayal in texts… as a ‘chieftain’ as opposed to a ‘king’. However, these debates now appear to be based largely on a series of philological misunderstandings and this distinction is illusory.31

This is somewhat rash. In the text of his daughter’s mortuary stela, Alara’s name is written in a cartouche, but he has no title at all.32 This case is paralleled33 by the inscription of a scarab of Amenirdis I in which the name of her father, Kashta, appears in a cartouche but without any title.34 Contrary to Edwards’ conclusion, also Vinogradov maintained that Alara’s royal title in the Kawa inscriptions “could be fictitious and his actual… rank may not have been equivalent to that of kings from the Egyptian perspective of the time of his great nephew Taharq[o]” and that it is likely that “he would have been accorded royal rank retrospectively”.35 Remaining at the issue of Alara’s retrospective royal title, also another passage of Taharqo’s stela Kawa VI deserves our attention. Alara turns in it to Amun of Kawa asking from the god that he may: […] look upon my sister for me… Act for her (even) as you acted for him [i.e., Alara] that acted for you, as a wonder, unpremeditated […] For you put a stop to him that plotted evil against me after you set me up as king.36

The expression “wonder”, b"ı At, defines with sufficient clarity the origin of Alara’s royal power as it was conceived by Taharqo: for in New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period texts b"ı At refers to an oracular decision given by Amun at his processional appearance in which the god “elects”, i.e., legitimates a king and bestows upon him the royal power.37 The hint at plotters may also belong to the historical layer of the legend relating the foundation of the Kushite royal dynasty. Edwards 2004 114. FHN I No. 11. 33 As it is also pointed out by Vinogradov 1999 93 note 58. 34 W.M.F. Petrie: Historical Scarabs. London 1889 58 No. 1830. 35 Vinogradov 1999 93.—Even ignoring the date and circumstances of the transition from chiefdom to kingdom or the person of the prince involved, it would be rather extravagant to suggest that the distinction between chieftain and king is illusory or superfluous. 36 Col. 23, FHN I No. 24. 37 E. Graefe: Untersuchungen zur Wortfamilie b"ı A-. Köln 1971 137 ff.; Römer 1994 142 ff.; see also K. Jansen-Winkeln: Die Wahl des Köngs durch Orakel in der 20. Dynastie. BSEG 23 (1999) 51–61; Jansen-Winkeln 2003.—Kendall 2002 66 suggests that, accord31 32

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3. Kashta and Piankhy in Egypt Under circumstances that remain obscure to us,38 Kashta, successor of Alara, king of the emergent kigdom of Kush, installed his daughter Amenirdis I at Thebes as God’s Wife of Amun Elect some time before c. 755 BC.39 By this means, he established and/or reinforced his legitimacy as king according to the prevalent Theban tradition not only as far north as the First Cataract region but, at least for some time, also in Upper Egypt where he also assumed an Egyptian royal titulary. As to the conditions of his success, it is highly significant that his Egyptian titulary indicates a Theban authorship by its contents as well as by its writing.40 It remains unknown whether the stela fragment from Elephantine41 on which Kashta—whose name contains Qes, the Meroitic form of Kush42—appears as nsw-b"ıty (Ny)-M A #t-R # s A-R # nb-t Awy, “The King of ing to the “covenant legend”, “Alara and his sisters were identified as having the god’s paternity”. Kawa IV and VI are, however, absolutely clear as to the concept of Taharqo’s divine sonship; but do not indicate in any form the divine paternity of Alara or his sister(s). 38 Jansen-Winkeln 2003 157 f. puts forward the suggestion that Kush became actively involved in Upper Egyptian matters during the war-like conflicts which started in Year 11 of Takelot II (c. 850–825 BC) and introduced the reign of Osorkon III. JansenWinkeln also supposes that some sort of Kushite presence in Upper Egypt was already established by Alara (c. 780–760 BC). He dismisses (ibid. 158 note 51) as not compelling the evidence concerning Pamiu, the last Viceroy of Kush, a son-in-law of King Takelot III (c. 754–734), who is attested to around 775–750 BC. In Jansen-Winkeln’s view there was no actual competence behind Pamiu’s title—but he does not offer an explanation, why should it have been so. If we dismiss Pamiu’s evidence, it becomes of course irrelevant that the end of his office coincides with the reign of Kashta and thus with the first clear evidence of Kushite presence in Thebes.—For Pamiu and the character of the office of the Viceroy of Kush in the eighth century BC, see Aston–Taylor 1990 147 f.; Török 1997a 108 f. 39 Though Kitchen 1986 151 still maintains the assumption that Amenirdis I was installed by her brother Piankhy, the majority of the more recent writers on the God’s Wives of Amun suggest that she was installed by her father, see, e.g., M.L. Bierbrier: The Late New Kingdom in Egypt (c. 1300–664 B.C.). A Genealogical and Chronological Investigation. Liverpool 1975 102; G. Robins: Women in Ancient Egypt. London 1993 154; L. Török in: FHN I 44 ff., 245 ff.; Morkot 1999b 196; Lohwasser 2001 298 etc. 40 See FHN I Nos (3), 4.—It seems unlikely to me that, as suggested by Goedicke 1998 23, the Elephantine stela would have been a votive dedicated “by a visitor from the Kushite realm” and not a “true royal stela”. 41 Cairo JE 41013, FHN I No. 4. 42 M. Hainsworth: Les noms de personnes méroitiques. Unpubl. doctoral thesis, Paris– Sorbonne 1979 343; A.M. Abdalla: K A-ML-[Y]: *AQO-MLO-[Y(E, I)]; The “Meroitic” Name on El Kurru Plaque 19-3-704. in: Wenig (ed.) 1999 428–456 445; Rilly 2007 21.


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Upper and Lower Egypt, He-who-belongs-to-Re’s-Order (or: Possessor of Truth/Equity is Re), Son of Re, Lord of Two-lands” comes from a monument erected before, at the time of, or some time after Amenirdis I’s installation at Thebes. The stela was dedicated to Khnum, Lord of Cold-water, i.e., the First Cataract, and Satet, Lady of Elephantine. Kashta also appears as king of Egypt on an aegis of Mut of unknown Egyptian provenance.43 The appearance of a ruler of Kush as “King of Upper and Lower Egypt” in an inscription at Elephantine, dated in an indirect manner to after c. 775 BC and more closely to around 755 BC by the date of the extinction of the title “king’s son of Kush” (preceding the death [?] of its last known holder, Pamiu), not only indicates the end of the rule of the Egyptian Twenty-Third Dynasty in Lower Nubia. It also marks the beginnings of the political process that led to Egypt’s reunification. From the reign of Sheshonq III (825–773 BC), an increasing number of local rulers, first of all in Lower Egypt, became autonomous and adopted the title of king. By the middle of the eighth century BC Egypt was politically in a state of extreme fragmentation as a result of a process that had started with the bifurcation of pharaonic kingship under the Twenty-First Dynasty, the formal recognition of Smendes’ dynasty throughout Egypt, and the effective regency of Herihor’s descendants in Middle and Upper Egypt. Although both the kings in Tanis and the High Priests of Amun of Thebes appeared for more than one century with royal titularies, the essentially important political fiction of an undivided kingdom was nevertheless maintained with the help of the ideology of Amun’s direct regency.44 The western Delta was dominated by the “great chiefs” of the Libyan Libu, who were the overlords of several local chiefs. Around 800 BC, the region of Mendes lay under the rule of the hereditary “great chiefs and armyleaders” of the Libyan Ma. At the same time, the eastern Delta with centres at Tanis and Bubastis as well as the regions of Buto and Sais, Busiris, Athribis and Heliopolis were in the possession of two branches of the Twenty-Second Dynasty.45 As to further details, the changes in the political map of Egypt remain unknown for the next J. Leclant: Kashta, Pharaon, en Égypte. ZÄS 90 (1963) 74–81 78 ff., figs 2–5. For a discussion of the three principal features of Twenty-First Dynasty kingship: the association of the title of the High Priest of Amun of Thebes with the royal titulary; the contemporaneity of kings in Tanis and Thebes with full royal titularies; the peaceful coexistence of these latter, see Römer 1994 78 ff. 45 Kitchen 1986 346 fig. 4. 43 44

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seventy years or so, before the Great Triumphal Stela of Piankhy would then present us with an overview of the situation prevailing around 735 BC.46 The political fragmentation of Egypt before the Twenty-Third Dynasty was, unlike the First and Second Intermediate Periods, not experienced and not described as a fall into Chaos, and posteriority remembered the subsequent times as a period of polyarchy based on dynastic relationships and concordats (cf. Herodotus 2.147 on the “dodecarchy”).47 This seems to have been the result of a successful economicgovernmental functioning of the smaller units, which resolved the collapsed central administration of the late New Kingdom. On the level of the world-view it followed from the acceptance of an ideology of national unity that was supported by the theology of Amun’s direct kingship. The intricate ideology of the god’s co-regency with the king and the High Priest provided an excellent support to the coexistence and dynastic integrity of the two power centres at Tanis and Thebes. Integrity was also secured practically as well as ideologically by the institution of the Divine Adoratrice or God’s Wife of Amun of Thebes, which emerged from the function of the New Kingdom great royal wife as priestess of the royal cult and vehicle of legitimate succession in her double quality as mother and wife of the king, who, in turn, was regarded son of the god and at the same time son of his bodily father.48 From the early Twenty-First Dynasty onwards, the God’s Wife of Amun of Thebes was a royal princess who was regarded as the sole wife of the god, acted as chief of his female priesthood and secured thus the legitimacy of the royal dynasty in Thebes and the control over the entire Theban realm.49 With the civil war starting in Year 15 of Takelot II (c. 836 BC), however, the political disintegration of Egypt took a decisive turn.50 The war resulted in the expulsion of the Twenty-Second Dynasty from Thebes and the emergence of the Theban Twenty-Third Dynasty51 (c. 818– Cf. Grimal 1981 fig. pp. 221–222. Assmann 1996 319 ff. 48 See, with literature, Troy 1986 103 ff. 49 Cf. also Kahn 2005 151. 50 Cf. H. Jacquet-Gordon, review of the 1st edn. of Kitchen 1986. BiOr 32 (1975) 358–360. 51 The Theban Twenty-Third Dynasty is to be distinguished from Manetho’s Twenty-Third Dynasty which as successor of the Twenty-Second Dynasty ruled from Tanis. Aston–Taylor 1990; Leahy 1990 186 ff. 46 47


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715 BC), which included the successive kings Pedubast I, Osorkon III, Takelot III and Rudamun (the latter from c. 754 BC).52 The Theban kings seem to have been sole masters of Upper Egypt, i.e., of the “estate” of Amun,53 holding Hermopolis and Herakleopolis under their control as well.54 Their legitimacy in Thebes was secured through the installation of the virgin daughter of Osorkon III, Shepenwepet I, as God’s Wife of Amun around 761 BC (?).55 The Divine Adoratrice governed the domain of Amun, which was practically identical with Upper Egypt with the help of an administration of her own.56 While her successors continued to adopt cartouche names, it was Shepenwepet I the only Divine Adoratrice to be styled as “ruler”: i.e., nbt t Awy and nbt h #w, “mistress of Two-Lands” and “mistress of appearances” instead ˘of adopting the titulary of a non-ruling queen. Also her throne name referring to Amun remains exceptional: her successors would adopt throne names referring to Mut.57 Some time after her appointment, Shepenwepet I adopted Amenirdis I. As already indicated in the foregoing, the installation of Kashta’s daughter as presumptive Divine Adoratrice was the key moment in the process of the extension of Kushite power over Egyptian territories. There is no contemporary or later indication of a violent prelude to Kashta’s appearance as King of Upper and Lower Egypt. On the contrary, a peaceful overture is suggested by the fact that the descendants 52 Leahy 1990 181 ff.; the Dynasty is, however, very poorly documented and its history and chronology continue to be debated. The absolute dates suggested by Kitchen 1986 Table *3 are: Pedubast I 818–793, Osorkon III 787–759, Takelot III 764– 757, Rudamun 757–754, Iuput II 754–720 BC. 53 For the extension of the domain of Amun and the wealth of the Amun temple in the late New Kingdom and the TIP cf. W. Erichsen: Papyrus Harris I. Bruxelles 1933; Redford 1992 288. 54 For Osorkon III in Hermopolis and Tehneh and Takelot III in Abydos and Heracleopolis, see Leahy 1990 184. 55 Her appointment in conjunction with the co-regency of Takelot III with his father Osorkon III: Kitchen 1986 356. This is, however, hypothetical and the actual date remains unknown. Shepenwepet’s chronology also depends on the chronology of her father Osorkon III who is regarded now (cf. Leahy 1990 192) to have been identical with the HPA Osorkon attested as HPA from Y. 11 of Takelot II (c. 840 BC) to Y. 39 of Shoshenq III (c. 784 BC), when he began a reign of c. 28 years. If so, he must have died as an octagenarian (cf. Leahy 1990 192 f.) and at the time of his death Shepenwepet I could not have been young, either. She was still alive in c. 736 BC (cf. Aston–Taylor 1990 144 ff.). 56 E. Graefe: Untersuchungen zur Verwaltung und Geschichte der Institution der Gottesgemahlin des Amun vom Beginn des Neuen Reiches bis zur Spätzeit. Wiesbaden 1981. 57 Zeissl 1955 64.

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of Osorkon III, Takelot III, and Rudamun continued to enjoy a high social status in Thebes in the second half of the eighth and in the first half of the seventh century BC and were buried there.58 The continued flowering of members of the Theban Twenty-Third Dynasty under Kushite rule may be explained as the consequence of the withdrawal of Rudamun and his son-in-law and successor Peftjauawybast59 from Thebes to Herakleopolis, which was under Theban control during the rule of Takelot III. In fact, Rudamun’s reign in Thebes was, as indicated by the scarcity of his monuments, very brief and his successor is attested to only in Herakleopolis. The date of the withdrawal can best be placed in the years before 754 BC,60 the supposed end of Takelot III’s reign and thus within Kashta’s later reign (for the chronology of Kashta and his successors, see below). Kashta’s peaceful takeover of power is also clearly indicated by the joint activity and double dating61 of the Divine Adoratrice Shepenwepet I, daughter of Osorkon III, and the God’s Wife of Amun Elect Amenirdis I, daughter of Kashta, during the course of the third quarter of the eighth century BC.62 According to the most recent chronology of the regencies between Kashta and Shebitqo, Kashta’s successor Piankhy ascended the throne of the kingdom of Kush around 755 BC. This is not the place to discuss the problems connected with this chronology about the details of which there is still no consensus.63 It may suffice to confront it here with the traditional chronology, adding that in this book I prefer the new chronology suggested by Dan"el Kahn64 after the reassessment of the Tang-i Var inscription.65 Kahn also convincingly argues against the various hypotheses of co-regencies in this period.66

58 59 60 61 62 63


For the evidence, see Aston–Taylor 1990. Kitchen 1986 356 ff. Spencer–Spencer 1986 201. For the Wadi Gasus graffito see Leclant 1965 383; Kitchen 1986 175 ff. Cf. Leclant 1965 354 ff. See recently Zibelius-Chen 2006a 289 ff.; Hornung–Krauss–Warburton (eds) 2006

Kahn 2001. G. Frame: The Inscription of Sargon II at Tang-i Var. Or 68 (1999) 31–57; D.B. Redford: A Note on the Chronology of Dynasty 25 and the Inscription of Sargon II at Tang-i Var. ibid. 58–60. 66 I am grateful to Dan"el Kahn for the knowledge of his manuscript “Divided Kingdom, Co-regency or Sole Rule in the Kingdom(s) of Egypt-and-Kush?” (now published in Ägypten und Levante 16 [2006] 275–291). See also D. Kahn: Was There a Co-Regency in the 25th Dynasty? MittSAG 17 (2006) 135–141. 64 65


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Table H. Alternative Chronologies, Kashta to Taharqo traditional Alara Kashta Piankhy Shabaqo Shebitqo Taharqo

c. 780–760 BC c. 760–747 BC c. 747–716 BC c. 716–702 BC c. 702–690 BC 690–664 BC

Kahn’s suggestion

755 (?)-721 BC 722/721–707 BC 707/706–690 BC 690–664 BC

addition to Kahn’s suggestion c. 795–775 BC c. 775–755 BC

At his ascent to the throne of Kush, Piankhy assumed a five-part Egyptian-style titulary modelled partly upon the titles of Thutmose III as they appeared on his Gebel Barkal stela of Year 47 in which the Egyptian conqueror announced his victories in Asia and declared Nubia’s surrender (cf. Chapters II.4, IX.1, 2.3.2). The titulary and the more manifestly formulated text of Piankhy’s early Sandstone Stela (see below) declared the Nubian king’s claim over the kingship of Egypt. He adopted Thutmose III’s Nebty name “Whose-kingship-endures-likeRe’s-in-Heaven” and Golden Horus name “Whose-appearances-areholy, Whose-might-is-powerful” in an unaltered form. Thutmose’s Horus name “Strong-Bull, Appearing [= Crowned]-in-Thebes” was changed, however, into “Strong-Bull, Appearing [= Crowned]-in-Napata” in order to announce a momentous reversal of history. As the title powerfully manifests, the place of Thebes, where the Egyptian conqueror of Kush had been crowned, was now taken by Napata, where the Kushite ruler of Egypt is crowned. Furthermore, Piankhy also adopted the throne name Wsr-M A #t-R #, “Re-is-One-whose-Orderis-strong”,67 suggesting a program of the restoration of traditional order and also indicating that Piankhy regarded himself as a legitimate successor of the Theban Twenty-Third Dynasty kings Pedubast I, Osorkon III and Takelot III whose throne names he thus imitated.68

67 On the columns of Inner Court B 502 of Temple B 500 at Napata built in Piankhy’s early reign; on the Sandstone Stela (?), and on a statuette of unknown provenance, FHN I No. (5) 1d, 2d, 13d. 68 Bonhême 1987 s. v. The direct model was Takelot III’s titulary, in which WsrM A #t-R # stood similarly without an epithet, cf. ibid. 127.—For the changes introduced subsequently in Piankhy’s titulary cf. FHN I No. (5).

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The incompletely preserved text of Piankhy’s Sandstone Stela contains a speech of the king about his double kingship in Egypt and Nubia. It reads as follows:69 Amun of Napata has granted me to be ruler (h. k. A) of every foreign country. He to whom I say, ‘You are chief !’, he is to be chief (wr). He to whom I say, ‘You are not king!’, he is not king (wr). Amun in Thebes has granted me to be ruler of Black-land (h. k. A n Kmt). He to whom I say ‘Make (your formal) appearance (as king)!’, he shall make (his) appearance. He to whom I say ‘Do not make (your formal) appearance (as king)!’, he does not make (his) appearance. […] Gods make a king (nsw), men make a king, (but) it is Amun that has made me.

In the speech Piankhy announces his Egyptian policy.70 First he indicates his ambition to achieve supremacy over the Libyan chieftains, then over the kings of the Twenty-Second and Twenty-Third Dynasties in Middle and Lower Egypt. His seemingly non-exclusive view of kingship is part of a double perspective: on the one hand, he declares himself legitimate ruler of Egypt; on the other, he accepts Egypt’s political map as it is and promises its preservation.71 The Sandstone Stela was erected in Piankhy’s early reign, probably in his Year 3 (c. 752 BC). However fragmentarily preserved, the quality of the text is obvious. Its sophisticated discourse on Egyptian kingship demonstrates the author’s imposing knowledge of the Egyptian myth of the state, also including traditional conceptions of the imperialistic ideology of the New Kingdom. The thorough knowledge of the actual political situation in Egypt is also apparent. On the whole, Piankhy’s titulary, the Sandstone Stela, and the building works started in his early FHN I No. 7, lines 1–7, trans. R.H. Pierce. In the lunette, the ram-headed Amun holds out the Red Crown and the Kushite scullcap-crown to Piankhy with the words: “I said of you (while you were still) in your mother’s womb that you were to be ruler of Black(-land) (Egypt). I knew you in the semen, while you were in the egg, that you were to be lord. I made you receive the Great (Double) Crown which Re caused to appear on the first good occasion. (Inasmuch as) a father makes his son excellent, it is I who decreed (the kingship) to you. (So) who shall share it with you? For I am the Lord of Heaven. (As) I give to Re, (so) he gives to his children, from gods to men. It is I that gives you the (royal) charter. (So) who shall share it with you? No other (can) decree (who is to be) a king. It is I that grants [kingship] to whomever I will.” 71 K.-H. Priese: Der Beginn der kuschitischen Herrschaft in Ägypten. ZÄS 98 (1970) 16–32. 69 70


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reign at the great Amun temple at Napata (Temple B 500) all indicate the existence of intellectual as well as more practical political/material contacts with Thebes—contacts, which may best be explained by the Kushite presence in Thebes since Amenirdis I’s installation as God’s Wife of Amun Elect. The discourse on Piankhy’s kingship seems to have been consistent with the form of decentralization of Egypt, which was not only accepted but institutionalized as a form of government. The political picture that emerges as the Third Intermediate Period progresses is one of a federation of semi-autonomous rulers, nominally subject (and often related) to an overlord-king. This is perhaps an example of the impact of the Libyan presence on the administration, since such a system can be seen as consistent with the patterns of rule in a seminomadic society such as theirs.72

Amenirdis I’s Theban residence implied a more substantial Kushite military presence as well. Fragments of a monumental granite stela from Gebel Barkal73 record a journey of Piankhy in his Year 4 (c. 751 BC) to Thebes where he attended the Opet Festival. The annual Opet Festival was closely associated with the royal investiture and the ritual renewal of the divine kingship. The king was accompanied by his army and the stela text also refers to the (m)ˇs # n p( A) T A mh. w, “army of the Land of the North”, indicating some military conflict with (a) Delta power(s). This is also suggested by the war reliefs in the inner court of the great Amun temple at Napata, which date from Piankhy’s early reign.74 It remains unknown if, and to what extent, Piankhy realized the threat represented by the advance of the Assyrians towards Lower Egypt. In 745 BC the throne of Assyria was usurped by Tiglath-Pileser III who “proved to be an organizational genius and a master strategist, worthy of comparison with Hannibal or Scipio”.75 In the course of the subsequent decade Tiglath-Pileser III destroyed Damascus and reduced Israel; in 732 BC conquered Gaza where he appointed the chief of an Taylor 2000 345.—Cf. also K. Zibelius-Chen: Theorie und Realität im Königtum der 25. Dynastie. in: Gundlach–Raedler (eds) 1997 81–95. 73 Berlin 1068, now lost, Urk. III 78 f. and Cairo JE 47085, FHN I No. 10. 74 Kendall 1986 figs 9, 10.—Morkot 2000 173 ff. presents the unlikely hypothesis that the military actions referred to in the Sandstone Stela and the stela fragments referred to above (FHN I No. 10) are all part of the great Egyptian expedition recorded in the Great Triumphal Stela from Year 21 (FHN I No. 9) and that the Triumphal Stela “might be a second record of the [same] campaign” which the king erected at the completion of the temple around Year 21. 75 Redford 1992 341. 72

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Arab tribe as “vassal gatekeeper over Egypt”.76 Sitting in Egypt, Tefnakht, “chief of the Me(shwesh)” (c. 740–735 BC), later77 king of Sais (c. 735–720 BC),78 viewed the Assyrian advance from a closer distance. He must have recognized it as a parallel to the Kushite advance from the south and thus as one of the principal factors that determined his own policy of inevitable expansion.79 Tefnakht extended his control first over the western Delta and the area of Memphis, then made advances towards Upper Egypt. In his Year 19 (c. 736 BC) Piankhy received the news at Napata that Tefnakht and his allies besieged Herakleopolis, the city of Piankhy’s ally Peftjauawybast; and then he also learnt that another ally of his, Nimlot (or Nimrod) of Hermopolis defected to Tefnakht.80 The ensuing events are recorded in Piankhy’s Great Triumphal Stela81 erected in Year 21 (c. 734 BC) in the great Amun Temple at Napata. First the king sent north his troops stationed in Upper Egypt to recapture Hermopolis and also dispatched an army from Kush; then, after defeats suffered at Herakleopolis, he decided to lead an army to Egypt himself. He left Napata after the celebration of the rites of the New Year in his Year 20 (c. 735 BC) and arrived three months later at Thebes to celebrate there the Opet Festival. As a result of the subsequent military campaign, the local rulers accepted Piankhy’s authority over Egypt. The narrative of the Great Triumphal stela—which is doubtless one of the most splendid royal inscriptions ever composed in hieroglyphic Egyptian—was repeatedly analysed and commented upon as an historical source82 as well as a literary work.83 Thus it may suffice here to stress that Piankhy returned after the conquest to his southern kingdom from where he controlled the semi-autonomous Egyptian princes. The maintenance of the power structure formulated first in the Sandstone Stela was, however, not without serious risks. Inevitably, Piankhy’s successor Shabaqo (c. 721–707 BC) had to face

H.-U. Onasch 1994 5 f. Only after the end of the campaign of Piankhy, cf. Kahn 2006a 60. 78 For Tefnakht cf. Kitchen 1986 362 ff. 79 Redford 1992 346 ff. 80 Cf. Kahn 1998. 81 Cairo JE 48862, 47086–47089, FHN I No. 9. 82 See first of all N.-C. Grimal: La stèle triomphale de Pi(‘ankh)y au Musée du Caire JE 48862 et 47086–47089. Le Caire 1981; cf. also D. Kessler: Zu den Feldzügen des Tefnachte, Namlot und Pije in Mittelägypten. SAK 9 (1981) 227–251; Goedicke 1998; Kahn 2003; 2006a. 83 Grimal 1981; Török 2002a 368–395. 76 77


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the renewed expansionism of Tefnakht84 and his successor Bakenranef (Chapter XIII.5). 4. Lower Nubia in the Double Kingdom of Egypt and Kush (c. 755–656 BC) 4.1. The Archaeological Map Thanks to a re-examination of the mortuary evidence by Bruce Williams,85 the archaeological map of Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and Napatan Lower Nubia is no longer as empty as it was before the 1990s. Williams identified about forty Twenty-Fifth Dynasty-Napatan period sites between Aswan and Semna. The distribution of the sites indicates changes in the settlement pattern caused by the increasing aridity of the climate (cf. Chapter XI.2). The aridity caused a diminishing of arable land, a decrease of the permanently settled population, and an increase of people returning to semi-nomadic patterns of subsistence. Concentrations of permanent settlement sites could be identified at the traditional Egyptian/Nubian border in the First Cataract region (Shellal), at the strategic point of the entrance to the gold-mines of the Wadi Allaqi, in the region of Aniba-Qasr Ibrim, in the Qustul-Faras region, in the region of the Second Cataract, and in the Amara region. According to Williams, [t]he several different types of burial indicate that cultural differences existed in the Nile Valley during this period. The bed burial and other Kushite features… occur in the form seen in the Kushite homeland. Other types, such as the cleft/boulder burial, occur in Lower Nubia, the [Second] Cataract Region, and Upper Nubia at least as far south as Sai (tombs of this kind probably vary widely in date). The circular and sand-pit grave types occur less often in the northern areas (Qustul… Argin, and Abri) and at Sanam.86

Noting that “the character of the grave goods does not always show the same clear distinctions as seen in the burial practices”, Williams supposes that this was due to “the close geographical proximity of the various traditions”.87 84 85 86 87

Cf. Kahn 2006a. Williams 1990. Williams 1990 44 f. Ibid. 45.

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4.2. The Limits of Egyptianization While geographical proximity may indeed have played a role in the transformation of the traditional contexts of burial type/grave inventory, the “atypical” contexts observed by Williams seem to have been determined by a more comprehensive acculturation process starting from the royal and religious centres of Twenty-Fifth Dynasty Kush and coupled with the process of the organization of centralized administration, production and redistribution. Between the reigns of Piankhy (c. 755–721 BC) and Taharqo (690–664 BC) the kings of Kush were also rulers of Egypt for almost a whole century. The organization of their native kingdom, a young state, which came into existence not long before Piankhy’s time, had to be coordinated with the establishment and maintenance of their authority in Egypt. The cultural consequences of the political unification with Egypt were enormous. The seemingly pure Egyptianness of the cults, state ideology, architecture, arts and material culture emerging in Kush over the course of the second half of the eighth and the first half of the seventh century BC completely misled the pioneers in Nubian studies as to the actual nature of the Egyptianization of Kush. The earlier generations of writers on the history of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty maintained that the Egyptianization of Nubia was part of a political-ideological playacting by which the Kushite rulers tried to legitimate their kingship in Egypt. The denial of the inner-directedness of the acculturation of Kush also implied that in the view of these scholars it amounted to no more than an import of ready-made ideas, experts, and objects: an import that had been rendered possible only by Piankhy’s access to the riches of Egypt after his military expedition in Year 20. From Reisner in the 1910s to Emery in the 1960s, writers on ancient Nubia viewed the Kushite culture of the eighth to fifth centuries BC as an elite pretension that was condemned to decline and aberration from the very moment when contact with the model was interrupted.88 It was only in the 1960s that this strongly prejudiced vision of acculturation was replaced by new research paradigms.89

88 For the trends of historical interpretation in Nubian studies, see B.G. Trigger: Paradigms in Sudan Archaeology. The International Journal of African Historical Studies 27 (1994) 323–345 and cf. Török 1995d. 89 For the process, see Adams 1977 65–98.


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It was suggested in the foregoing (Chapter XIII.3) that the appearance of Kashta on the scene of Egyptian politics was encouraged by Thebes. The impact of Thebes is obvious in the development of Twenty-Fifth Dynasty kingship ideology, religion, arts, and material culture. Thebes, however, was not the sole font of the knowledge necessary for the creation of a political power that was able to govern the double kingdom of Kush and Egypt. Acquainting the Kushites with the cultural behaviour of “archaism” emerging after the fall of the New Kingdom, the Theban priests presented the Kushites with a precious tool for creating a double identity, i.e., a mutually relevant interpretation, propagation and practice of regency in each half of the double kingdom. Within this context, the trend of archaism meant the revival of the imperial concepts of kingship in Egypt;90 in Kush it meant the acquisition of Egyptian media of self-articulation and cultural codification and the integration of Egyptian kingship ideology and religion into indigenous kingship traditions and cults. Archaism was in both Kush and Egypt a normative procedure in which the historical past was mythologized and at the same time pragmatically included into the context of the historical present.91 In a highly remarkable manner, the creation of the Egyptianized self-identity of the kingdom of Kush also generated an archaising interest in the past of the Nubian region itself. Monuments of the Egyptian domination were re-used, copied, excerpted and fitted into seemingly eclectic contexts with the aim of articulating the present as the embodiment of the ideal continuity with an ideal past that was created from a selection of normative elements. Though we almost completely ignore the decoration of the New Kingdom temples at Napata, it is certain

90 For the “Memphite Theology” composed under Shabaqo as one of the most complex monuments of Kushite archaism attempting to resurrect Old Kingdom Memphis as an intellectual, religious, and political capital, see Assmann 1996 382 ff. See also recently A. v. Lieven: Grundriss des Laufes der Sterne. Copenhagen 2007 255 ff.—For the text, see A. Erman: Ein Denkmal memphitischer Theologie. Berlin 1911; H. Junker: Die Götterlehre von Memphis. Berlin 1940. For its dating see F. Junge: Zur Fehldatierung des sog. Denkmals memphitischer Theologie oder Der Beitrag der ägyptischen Theologie zur Geistesgeschichte der Spätzeit. MDAIK 29 (1973) 195–204; and cf. R.B. Finnestad: Ptah, Creator of the Gods. Reconsideration of the Ptah Section of the Denkmal. Numen 23 (1976) 81–113. 91 Cf. Assmann 1996 375 ff. and esp. 379.—Cf. also S. Neureiter: Eine neue Interpretation des Archaismus. SAK 21 (1994) 219–254; Török 1997a 189 ff.; J. Kahl: Siut-Theben. Zur Wertschätzung von Traditionen im Alten Ägypten. Leiden–Boston-Köln 1999.

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that at least three of them, namely, the great Amun temple B 500,92 the hemispeos of Mut B 300,93 and the hemispeos of Hathor-Tefnut B 20094 were restored by the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty to their original cults. This also presupposes the study and interpretation of their reliefs and texts. Besides signs of the re-interpretation of the theology of the deities worshipped in these temples, we also find obvious correspondences between the New Kingdom and Kushite iconographical formulations and epithets of these deities, suggesting that the “antiquarian” studies were also supported by surviving religious traditions in the local population.95 As repeatedly indicated in the foregoing, the temple cults of Amun in New Kingdom Nubia integrated local native cults: at Napata it was the cult of a ram god dwelling in Pure-mountain and associated with water in general and the Nile flood in particular (cf. Chapter X). 4.3. The Great Amun Temple at Napata and the Sacred Geography of Piankhy’s Realm Piankhy initiated construction works at the great Amun temple (B 500) of Napata in the early years of his regency. Though little was preserved, and could be documented, from the decoration program of the Piankhy edifice by the time when Reisner started its excavations,96 it is worth repeating here what we know about it.97 The reliefs recorded from the interior of the early forecourt+hypostyle B 502 may be placed in two different iconographical contexts. The “local west”98 half of the court was decorated with battle- and triumphal scenes, the “local east” half with bark procession(s) and cult scenes. I connect the battle scenes on the inner faces of the Second Pylon and the “local western” end of the Dunham 1970 41 ff.; with the more recent literature: Török 2002a 54 ff. Dunham 1970 12; with the more recent literature: Török 2002a 75 ff. 94 Dunham 1970 10 f.; PM VII 208 (as temple of Amun); for the actual cult see Kendall 1990 7; Wolf 1990 81 ff. and see Török 2002a 73 ff. 95 Cf. Török 2002a 54 ff., 73 ff. 96 For the finds of Reisner, see Dunham 1970. 97 Cf. Török 2002a 56 ff. 98 The temple is oriented towards the Nile which flows at Napata approximately from north to south. Accordingly, in the discussion of its iconographical program I refer instead of magnetic north, south, east and west to Nile north, south, east and west as “local north”, “local south”, “local east”, and “local west”, because the program was originally conceived with an ideal Nile in the mind which flows always from south to north independently from the actual geographical reality. 92 93


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“local south” wall of the court99 with the expedition of Piankhy against (a) Delta power(s) in his fourth regnal year, i.e., around 751 BC (see Chapter XIII.3).100 While greatly relying upon New Kingdom iconographical models available in Lower Nubia, these reliefs also include forms of fighting (e.g., spearing of the enemy with a spear entering the foe’s body almost vertically; mounted cavalrymen), which are unknown in New Kingdom war representations.101 The interior face of the towers of the Second Pylon and the “local western” end of the “local south” wall were decorated with scenes in several relief registers (originally to a total height of c. 9–10 m; with the roof at a height of c. 11 m).102 The inner face of the “local south” pylon tower was decorated with the figure of the king with a prisoner and with scenes in five registers. The two top registers depicted battle scenes; in the register below, boats (presumably of the army sailing to Egypt) were represented. A broader relief band below these contained horse figures led by grooms; the bottom register shows figures of sacrificial oxen and offering stands.103 The register showing horses led by grooms continued on the “local south” wall.104 From the “local north” pylon tower two registers of battle scenes were recorded. Similarly to the inner face of the “local south” tower, a monumental figure of Piankhy holding a captive was represented at the outer end of the wall.105 It may thus be inferred that the “local western” half (as far east as the transversal axis marked by the “local north” and “south” doors) of B 502 was decorated, according to the tradition originating in the

99 Recorded by Linant de Bellefonds, Wilkinson, Bankes and Lepsius in the nineteenth century (cf. Spalinger 1981 figs 3–5) and in J.H. Breasted’s photographs taken in 1907 (now in the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, cf. Spalinger 1981 fig. 2). The fragments surviving Reisner’s excavation, who left the walls exposed to erosion by wind-blown sand, were documented by Kendall 1986 figs 9, 10. 100 Though accepting Reisner’s dating of the reliefs to Piankhy’s early reign, Spalinger 1981 49 ff. cannot decide whether the reliefs refer to the great expedition or to other military expeditions before or after (!) that date. He also sees a similarity between the helmet of the vanquished enemy in the B 502 reliefs and the helmet type worn by the Assyrian army between Tiglath-Pileser III (744–727 BC) and Sennacherib (705–681 BC). Though also repeated by Redford 1992 356 f. note 185, this similarity is far from being obvious. 101 Cf. Spalinger 1981 49. 102 Kendall 1986 fig. 9; 1990 20. 103 Kendall 1986 fig. 9. 104 Kendall 1986 14. 105 Spalinger 1971 50 f., figs 3–5; Kendall 1986 fig. 10.

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iconographical program of Ramesside forecourts,106 with historic battle scenes and symbolic images of the king as conqueror and universal ruler. Remarkably enough, Piankhy’s triumphant army is shown moving from the outer ends of the walls towards the door. The monumental figures of the king smiting his enemies stand close to the outer wall ends and turn, accordingly, towards the door. The unusual direction of the ruler and his soldiers emphasize the divine aspect of Piankhy in a similar manner as it would be indicated in the lunette scene of the Great Triumphal Stela recording the campaign of Year 20, in which Amun, Mut and the king look in the same direction and receive together the submission of the Egyptian princes.107 In the temple the sacrificial oxen represented in the bottom register, when moving towards the interior of the temple, move not only towards the gods but also towards the king. The “local eastern” half of B 502 was decorated with ritual scenes108 and the “local eastern” half of the “local south” wall with a scene representing the emergence of the bark procession of Amun of Napata from the sanctuary and its adoration by a thurifying priest. The priest was followed in this scene by Piankhy as High Priest, his wife,109 and attendants.110 The cult scene on the “eastern” wall as well as the bark procession belong to the canonical repertory of the hypostyle hall decoration. The relief program of the two halves of B 502 and the arrangement of its columns similarly indicate that it united a forecourt with a hypostyle.111 This fusion of functions points towards the inner halls of Rameses II’s Nubian rock temples (Chapters X.1.5.1–1.5.5) as likely models, something, which may well be relevant for the iconographical program too.112 Accordingly, it seems probable that the “eastern” half Arnold 1962 110. Grimal 1981 Pl. V. 108 Piankhy before Amun and Mut, PM VII 220 (36); Kendall 1999a 75. 109 For the figures of the king and the queen see Kendall 1999a fig. 19.—K.-H. Priese: Nichtägyptische Namen und Wörter in den ägyptischen Inschriften der Könige von Kusch. Meroitische Lehnwörter in den ägyptischen Texten. MIO 14 (1968) 165–191 and Lohwasser 2001 175 suggest that the name of the queen could have written both as Peksater and Pekereslo. The two names belong, however, to two different queens, see Rilly 2001 358 ff.; Zibelius-Chen 2006b 132. 110 PM VII 219 (32)–(33). 111 For the complex function of New Kingdom hypostyle halls uniting features of the forecourt with those of the hall of appearances cf. Refai 2000 passim and esp. 215–219. 112 Cf. Arnold 1962 110. 106 107


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of the “local north” wall was decorated with another bark procession. As to the probable sources for the iconography of B 502, it is especially interesting to note that the war scenes penetrated the interior of the rock temple of Beit el-Wali as far as the columned hall preceding the naos where they alternate with offering- and jubilee scenes113 (cf. Chapter X.1.5.2). Monumental constructions of Piankhy in Kush are known only from Upper Nubia,114 viz., from Napata (great Amun temple, palace B 1200, pyramid tomb Ku. 17 at el Kurru) and Sanam where he built an enormous magazine, which was part of an administrative centre. The large quantity of raw elephant tusks, faience and alabaster objects, gemstones, copper alloy, and clay sealings (with names of Piankhy, Shabaqo, Taharqo, Senkamanisken, Anlamani and Aspelta) recovered from the magazines indicate that revenues and commercial wares arrived here from great distances and were stored under the supervision of the royal administration.115 The magazines were associated with a monumental palace building and with the temple of Amun of Sanam. The raw elephant tusks attest the continuity of the trade of African elephant ivory along the Nile.116 Shabaqo built a shrine at Kawa from which only column drums reused in Temple B are preserved.117 Both Shabaqo and his successor Shebitqo sponsored several buildings in Egypt, such as the Sed Festival gate at the Ptah temple in Karnak,118 a kiosk in front of Luxor temple,119 a forecourt added to the Small Temple at Medinet Habu,120 porches

PM VII 23 ff. (6)–(9), (23)–(32); Arnold 1962 110 note 2. The provenance of the obelisk fragment Khartoum 426 (FHN I No. 7) found at Kadakol in the Letti Basin is uncertain: it may be supposed that it comes from a so far unidentified temple near the find spot. 115 For the excavations at the so-called “Treasury” of Sanam, see Griffith 1922; for more recent field work and finds, see I. Vincentelli: Some Clay Sealings from Sanam Abu Dom. in: Gratien (ed.) 2007 371–378. 116 Cf. Burstein 1996; Morkot 1998. 117 Macadam 1955 46, Pl. XLII/d; Török 2002a 140 ff. 118 PM II 197. 119 For the surviving blocks and the hypothetical reconstruction of the building as a portico, see C.C. Van Sieclen: Amenhotep II, Shabako, and the Roman Camp at Luxor (Review Article) [on: Mohammed el-Saghir et al.: Le Camp romain de Louqsor. Le Caire 1986]. VA 3 (1987) 157–165; for a reconstruction of the kiosk: C. Loeben: A New Kiosk of the 25th Dynasty at Thebes. Unpubl. paper, Eighth International Conference for Meroitic Studies, 8–13 September 1996, London. 120 PM II 464 f.; Arnold 1999 47 ff. 113 114

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and a chapel in the Ptah temple at Memphis121 (Shabaqo); and additions to the Osiris-Heqadjet chapel at Karnak122 (Shebitqo). According to Dieter Arnold, these buildings introduced three new forms into Egyptian temple architecture, viz., the freestanding kiosk in the forecourt of the temple or in some distance from it; the kiosk adjoining the temple front with its rear wall; and the porch constituted by several rows of columns, similarly adjoining the temple front but with a completely open front.123 All these forms seem to have been determined functionally by the increasing importance of the meeting of the people with the deities emerging from their sanctuaries. So far no royal monuments of Piankhy, Shabaqo, and Shebitqo are known from Lower Nubia. The firm Kushite control of the area is indicated, albeit indirectly, yet clearly enough by Kashta’s appearance in Upper Egypt and then his successors’ authority in Egypt. The ideological integration of the land and its population into the kingdom of Kush as well as the double kingdom of Kush and Egypt is attested by a particularly interesting monument, viz., the complex of the abacus inscriptions in Piankhy’s aforementioned forecourt+hypostyle B 502 in the great Amun temple at Napata. The sophisticated program of the royal and divine names and epithets inscribed on the four sides of the abaci in B 502 was reconstructed elsewhere.124 Here it may suffice to say in general that the abaci presented monumental “litanies” structured by the royal titulary, first on the level of movement from the exterior world towards the god’s dwelling and, secondly, on a more special level that was defined by the ritual and symbolic significance of the two halves of B 502. The actual “litany” texts starting from the temple entrance and from the temple interior, respectively, consisted of lists of epithets of the type “beloved of god/goddess NN”, which visualized the king as sustainer of the cults of the land on the one hand, and, on the other, described in a concentrated form his legitimation by these deities. Inscribed on the abaci supporting the roof of the temple, the central theme of these texts was 121 J. Leclant: Schabaka. LÄ V (1983) 499–513 501 ff.—Donations for the temple of Bastet at Bubastis, Horus and Wadjet at Buto, and Hormerti at Horbeit/Pharbaitos indicate building works at these sites too, cf. D. Meeks: Les donations aux temples dans l’Égypte du Ier millénaire avant J.-C. in: Lipinski (ed.) 1979 605–687 672 f. Nos. 25.4.3, 6, and 2, respectively. 122 Leclant 1965 47 ff. 123 Arnold 1999 44. 124 Török 2002a 58 ff.


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the reciprocity between the gods and the ruler as the builder of their temples.125 The abacus program of B 502, as concerns the role of the royal titulary, recalls, e.g., Rameses II’s temple at Derr (Chapter X.1.5.4) where in the Second Pillared Hall (i.e., the hypostyle) the side faces of the architraves were inscribed with the king’s extended titulary concluding with the temple dedication formula while the soffits were inscribed with his Horus-, Nebty-, Throne- and Son of Re names. All these texts start from the architrave end, which is closer to the naos. They thus present the titulary developing from the naos end of the hall towards its entrance.126 The same direction of the titulary is prevalent in the symmetrical building inscriptions in the Hall of Offerings (room B 303) in Taharqo’s Mut and Hathor-Tefnut temple at Gebel Barkal.127 The theonyms and divine epithets on the abacus sides parallel with the longitudinal axis of B 502 present a concise description of the sacred geography of the double kingdom of Kush and Egypt. On the preserved abaci of the “south” half of the hypostyle, deities associated especially with Nubia appear, on those of the “north” half deities associated with Egypt. In the “southern” half 128 we find the following epithets: [mry] Jnj-h. rt h. ry-"ıb T A-Sty, “[beloved-of]-Onuris, residingin-Nubia” (abacus A “south”);129 mry […]nt (?) s At-R # h. ry-"ıb T A-Sty, “beloved-of-[…]nt,130 daughter-of-Re, residing-in-Nubia” (abacus A “north”); mry-Ddwn hnty T A-Sty, “beloved-of-Dedwen, foremost-of-Nu˘ " bia” (abacus F “south”); mry-Imn-R # Gm-"ıtn, “beloved-of-Amun-Re-of" Gematon [Kawa]” (abacus E “north”);131 mry-Imn-R # nb P A-nbs, “beloved-of-Amun-Re-lord-of-Pnubs [Kerma]” (abacus E “south”); [mry] Ast […]132 hnt-T A-Sty, “[beloved-of]-Isis-the-great(?)133-Mistress-of-Nu˘ D “south”); further [mry]-Sw ˇ s A-R #, “[beloved-of]-Shu, bia” (abacus Cf. Grimal 1986 519 ff. Blackman 1913 66 ff., 73 f. 127 FHN I No. 20. 128 On abacus H only the beginning of the “southern” side inscription is preserved: Sw[…], which I cannot interpret. 129 Reference to the preserved abaci according to Dunham 1970 fig. 40; Török 2002a Pl. II. 130 Tefnut? cf. abacus C, below. 131 Due probably to the sculptor’s error, this is the only abacus inscription which is reading from the inner (naos) end of the hall towards the outer (pylon) end. 132 wrt, “the great”? 133 For Isis wrt as divine mother of the king, an aspect probably emphasized within the context of the abacus inscriptions of B 502, cf. Bergman 1968 155 ff. 125 126

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son-of-Re” (abacus C “north”) and [mry]-Tfnt s At-R #, “[beloved-of]-Tefnut, daughter-of-Re” (abacus C “south”). The following epithet was recorded in the “northern” half: mry Hr . nd-it=f, “beloved-of-Horus-aveng¯ er-of-his-father” (abacus G “south”). Three abaci the original position of which is not known were also recorded by Lepsius. One of them was inscribed with the cartouche " (“west”/“front”) and Wsr-M A #t-R # (“east”/ names P-( #nh)y s A-Bstt mry-Imn ˘ " “back”) and the epithets mry Tmw nb Iwnw, “beloved-of-Atum, lord-ofHeliopolis” (“south”) and [mry] Mntw-R# nb W Ast, “[beloved-of]-Montu¯ Re, lord-of-Thebes” (“north”).134 Accordingly, this abacus seems to have belonged to the “northern” half of the court (either in row 3 of the “forecourt” half or in row 5 of the “hypostyle” half). Another abacus bearing the inscriptions #nh Hr-n . ht (“west”/“front”) and [mry] Jnj-h. rt ˘ ˘ residing-in-Nubia”135 (“north”, the h. ry-"ıb T A-Sty, “[beloved-of]-Onuris, other sides of the abacus were destroyed) belonged to row 2 in the “southern” half of the front part of the Hypostyle. Finally, a partly destroyed abacus bore the epithet [mry] Pth. hnty T A-Sty, “[beloved-of]˘ 136 It belonged probably Ptah, foremost-of-Nubia” on the “north” face. to the “northern” part of the court, and was one of the abaci the epithets on which established equilibrium through “cross-reference” between the two halves of the room by placing a northern deity who is called “king of Two-lands” in Egypt137 into the role of the divine ruler of Nubia. The principal message in the abacus texts is obvious: they convey the discourse on the role of the king in the maintenance of the cults and the legitimation he receives from the deities in return. However, knowledge of the location and texts of eight—in part, badly damaged—abaci from the forty-six columns of the hall does not allow much more than to state that the abacus inscriptions displayed a north-south symmetry in conformity with the general rules of the grammar of temple iconography. It may also be assumed that they were formulated to establish equilibrium between the two halves of the columned hall. Further conceptual interconnections between the individual abacus inscriptions inevitably remain obscure. We have a glimpse of the nature of such

134 135 136 137

LD V 14a–d; Dunham 1970 fig. 40 abacus I. LD V 14e,f; Dunham 1970 fig. 40 abacus J. LD Text V 271; Dunham 1970 fig. 40 abacus K. Cf. H. te Velde: Ptah. LÄ IV (1982) 1177–1180 1179.


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correspondences from the association of Amun of Pnubs with Amun of Kawa on abacus E and of Tefnut with her brother-consort Shu on abacus C (and perhaps with Onuris on abacus A). It is also rather likely that Shu and Tefnut appear on abacus C in the “south-eastern” corner of the Hypostyle because they were deities who, in other contexts, “support the sky”, i.e., the four corners of the temple roof.138 It is interesting to note that, notwithstanding the vaguaries of preservation, the recorded abacus inscriptions refer with apparent consistency to deities who would be among the principal figures of the Kushite pantheon as represented in the more completely preserved monuments of Taharqo, Piankhy’s third successor. Besides the highly significant presence of Amun of Pnubs (Kerma) and Amun of Kawa in the temple, which was the residence of Amun of Napata, also Onuris, the saviour from the south appears on two abaci as “residing in Nubia”. On another abacus, Piankhy is legitimated by Shu and his sister-spouse, Tefnut. The twin children of Atum were associated with the kingship in a cosmological sense. In the New Kingdom, the Heliopolitan myth of Shu was developed in similitude to the Onuris legend, making the god bring back Tefnut, the sun-eye from Nubia to Egypt. The Kushite reemphasis of Shu and Tefnut as gods of kingship would be reflected in the name of Taharqo’s son Nes-Shu-Tefnut, which refers to his parents as a divine brother-sister couple.139 The presence of Dedwen (and perhaps of Horus-avenger-of-his-father) in the abacus program indicates the integration of Lower Nubia into the sacred geography of Piankhy’s lands. On the lost abaci there also may have appeared names of other deities associated traditionally with Lower Nubia, such as, e.g., Hathor. The cult of Dedwen survived the end of the New Kingdom in the temple of Dedwen and the deified Senusret III at Semna (Chapter X.1.2.2): this temple was in use in the time when the Kadimalo monument was made (Chapter XII.4). Some time between 690 and 664 BC Taharqo built a brick temple south of it, with a bark stand dedicated to the deified Senusret III.140 Similarly to Taharqo’s other Nubian temples, the Semna temple of Senusret III was enriched with an ancient statue (viz., a seated Osiride statue of

138 Cf. D. Kurth: Den Himmel Stützen. Die “Tw A pt”-Szenen in den ägyptischen Tempeln der griechisch-römischen Epoche. Bruxelles 1975 79 f. 139 Cf. Török 1997a 256. 140 Dunham–Janssen 1960 12 f., 32 ff.; Wolf 1990 26 ff.

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King Wegaf Khutawyra, Thirteenth Dynasty)141 functioning probably as mediator of prayers in the public area of the temple. While in Piankhy’s abacus inscriptions as well as in Taharqo’s Mut temple B 300, where he was associated with Onuris,142 Dedwen probably occurred as a deity of Lower Nubia, in Napatan times the god also had a cult in Napata. In Aspelta’s Election Stela (end of the seventh century BC) Napata is described as “the town named Pure-mountain, the god in which is Dedwen, the foremost in Bow-land (Nubia), he is a god of Kush”.143 4.4. Lower Nubia under Taharqo In its accents, Taharqo’s Lower Nubian building activity recalls the Eighteenth Dynasty period of the (re-)creation of Nubia’s sacred geography (Chapter X.1.2–4). Similarly to the New Kingdom antecedents, it is to be seen in the context of the formulation, demonstration, and explanation of royal authority and at the same time as part of the comprehensive organization of military defence, civil administration, production, and redistribution. Taharqo’s splendid Nubian building activity started at Kawa with the temple of Amun of Kawa,144 a deity whose cult emerged from a pre-New Kingdom native local cult and who incorporated features of Khnum, Lord of the [First] Cataract, also worshipped in the Second Cataract Region (cf. Chapters IX.2.3.3, X.1.2.2). Works at Napata started with the extension of the Amun temple B 500, the restoration of the New Kingdom hemispeos of Hathor-Tefnut (B 200), and the erection of the Mut temple B 300;145 and then with the building of Sanam temple on the opposite bank of the Nile. Taharqo’s building activity at Napata represents an ambitious continuation of Piankhy’s program of developing the town into a monumental complex of sanctuaries centered theologically and spatially around the great temple of the ram-headed Amun of Napata. The conceptual similarity of Napata to Khartoum 65–67, PM VII 149. Robisek 1989 46 f.; Török 2002a 78, Pl. III.—In Ptolemaic Philae Dedwen would be represented as a form of Arensnuphis, i.e., the Nubian form of Onuris, see E. Otto: Dedun. LÄ I (1974) 1003–1004. 143 FHN No. 37, line 2. 144 Macadam 1949; 1955; for the iconographical programme and the cult, see Török 2002a 80–128, 282 ff. 145 Cf. the building inscription in B 300, FHN I No. 20. 141 142


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Karnak seems to have been central to the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty builders, but of course it did not mean a physical copying of actual buildings or building ensembles. The great Amun temple was theologically connected to the Sanam temple of Amun, Bull of Bow-land (apparently a hypostasis of Amun-Re-Kamutef of Medinet Habu) and the royal cemetery opened by Taharqo at Nuri in a manner that resembles the relationship between Luxor Temple, the Small Temple at Medinet Habu, and the royal tombs of Thebes West.146 Amun-Re of Sanam called “Bull of Bow-land (Nubia)” was represented as a human-bodied and human-headed god wearing the doublefeather crown and perhaps also as a colossal cobra.147 He displays features of Amun-Kamutef worshipped in the Small Temple at Medinet Habu. The identification of Kamutef, “Bull-of-His-Mother”, with the Bull of Nubia is apparently also supported by an incompletely preserved inscription on a New Kingdom statue re-erected in the Sanam temple, viz., the fragment of a royal epithet, which read originally “beloved of Kamutef ” and was recarved in the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty Period (or later?) into “beloved of the Bull of Nubia”.148 Emphasizing the fact that Shabaqo149 as well as Taharqo150 carried out works in the Small Temple and that the latter also erected a granite statue of AmunRe Kamutef in the form of a cobra in the Luxor temple,151 it may suffice to mention here only one or two relevant features of the Amun cult at Medinet Habu. The Amun of the Small Temple was identified with the Kamutef serpent, who was the forefather of the eight primeval creator gods of Hermopolis and the father of the “Earth-Maker” serpent, the actual creator of the world, who, in turn, was also identified with Amun of Luxor. During the course of the Decade Festival, into which also Taharqo’s Edifice by the Sacred Lake of Karnak was

Török 2002a 34 ff.—In his remarkable discussion of the theological connections between the holy mountain of Napata and Nuri Kendall notes (a less important part of) my association of Sanam with Nuri but avoids the associations between Sanam and the great Amun temple of Gebel Barkal, see T. Kendall: Why Did Taharqa Build his Tomb at Nuri? Preprint of paper presented at the Eleventh International Conference of Nubian Studies Warsaw, August 27—September 2, 2006. 147 Cf. the fragments of two granite cobra statues found by Griffith (1922 87, Pl. XIV) in a secondary position. 148 Griffith 1922 87, Pl. XVI/3, 4. 149 Pylon, PM VII 464 f.; Leclant 1965 145 ff. 150 Leclant 1965 145 ff. 151 M. el Saghir: Das Statuenversteck im Luxortempel. Mainz 1992 (2nd edn. 1996) 52 ff. 146

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integrated,152 Amun of Luxor visited every ten days the Small Temple as the mythological tomb of Kamutef and the Ogdoad. During the course of these visits Amun “was regenerated by merging with his own primordial form, the chthonic Amun manifest in the Kamutef ”.153 Subsequently, by performing mortuary services, he was assimilated into the Ogdoad and appeared as “Amun of Luxor the second” also called “Horus son of Isis” who resided at Medinet Habu apparently to initiate the cycle again and again. Thus, the Medinet Habu cult not only integrated Amun into the mortuary religion of Western Thebes: during the Decade Festival Amun of Luxor was also regenerated and the king received new creative powers.154 South of Napata Taharqo probably built a temple of Amun of Napata at Meroe City;155 in Upper Nubia north of Kawa the monumental temples at Tabo and Kerma-Dokki Gel—this latter started perhaps by Shabaqo156—may be dated to his reign and regarded as sanctuaries of Amun (the Dokki Gel temple was the temple of Amun of Pnubs/Kerma).157 The Upper Nubian temples were thus dedicated primarily to local forms of Amun whose cults go back on pre-New Kingdom native cults and the New Kingdom reinterpretation of the same. The special dualism of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and Napatan period Nubian Amun cult—viz., every Nubian Amun god shared his temple with Amun of Thebes—recalls in general terms the Nubian Amun cult of the New Kingdom period. More concretely, the cult dualism of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty Amun temples derived from a duality of the Amun cult in New Kingdom Nubia as it is attested to in Tutankhamun’s Temple A at Kawa where, in the symmetrical central scene of the naos, the king makes offering to Amun of Thebes and


R.A. Parker–J. Leclant–J.-Cl. Goyon: The Edifice of Taharqa by the Sacred Lake of Karnak. Providence-London 1979 82 ff. 153 Bell 1997 177 f. 154 In this summary description I followed W.J. Murnane: United with Eternity: A Concise Guide to the Monuments at Medinet Habu. Chicago 1980 76 f. and Bell 1997 177 f. For Kamutef and the king see H. Jacobsohn: Die dogmatische Stellung des Königs in der Theologie der alten Ägypter. Glückstadt 1939 (2nd edn. 1955).—For Amun of Opet, see M. Doresse: Le dieu voile dans sa chasse et la fête du début de la decade. RdE 23 (1971) 113–136; 25 (1973) 92–135; 31 (1979) 36–65; F.-R. Herbin: Une liturgie des rites décadaires de Djême. Papyrus Vienne 3865. RdE 54 (1984) 105–126; id.: La renaissance d’Osiris au temple d’Opet. RdE 54 (2003) 67–129. 155 Cf. Török 1997b 25 f. 156 Blocks with Shabaqo’s cartouches: Valbelle 1999 84 f. 157 See Valbelle 2003.


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Amun of Kawa and it is the latter from whom he receives rule over “all countries and every foreign land”,158 Amun of Thebes being obviously connected to his regency in Egypt (cf. Chapter X.1.4). A similar conception occurs on Piankhy’s Sandstone Stela in both the text (Chapter XIII.3) and the lunette scene. Besides fulfilling the royal duty of erecting and restoring temples and caring for the cult of the gods, Taharqo’s constructions in Upper Nubia served the creation of local centres of government, production and redistribution in the form of temple-towns, i.e., urban settlements, which in all probability were intended to perform a similar socioeconomic role as certain temple-towns of post-New Kingdom Egypt.159 A confrontation of the distribution of the Nubian buildings of his predecessors with the geographical pattern of Taharqo’s constructions reveals the systematic development of already existing settlements, the revival of abandoned or impoverished ones, and the creation of new settlements. The geographical density of the settlement chain thus created was determined by the political significance, economic capacity and strategic importance of the individual territorial units of Nubia in which they were situated. The Amun temples of Meroe City, Sanam, Napata, Kawa, Tabo (?) and Kerma-Dokki Gel were erected in centres of territories, which seem to have been independent polities before they were integrated within the el Kurru chiefdom.160 Building activities north of the Third Cataract, besides strategic considerations, were determined primarily by the existing settlement patterns and the traditions of the still inhabited larger centres; yet the sacred geography re-established under

Macadam 1955 40, Pl. V/a. Cf. B.J. Kemp: Temple and Town in Ancient Egypt. in: P. Ucko–R. Tringham– G.W. Dimbleby (eds): Man, Settlement and Urbanism. London 1972 657–680; M. Bietak: Urban Archaeology and the Town Problem in Ancient Egypt. in: K.R. Weeks (ed.): Egyptology and the Social Sciences. Cairo 1979 97–144; id.: Stadt(anlage). LÄ V (1984) 1233– 1249 1243 ff. and also see J.J. Janssen: The Role of the Temple in the Egyptian Economy during the New Kingdom. in: Lipinski (ed.) 1979 505–515. 160 Török 1992. I have based this hypothesis on the texts relating the multiple coronations of the Napatan kings, cf. Török 1997a 215 ff. A careful lecture of the texts may convince us that the distinction made by Steffen Wenig between the rites at Napata as a “real” coronation and at Kawa and Pnubs as “symbolic” investitures misses the point. Cf. S. Wenig: Kommentar zu Török: Ambulatory Kingship and Settlement History [= Török 1992]. in: Bonnet (ed.) 1992 137–140 and contra Török n.d. (What is “symbolic” in such a context?) 158 159

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Taharqo constitutes an organic, albeit special, part of the overall Nubian scheme. As already mentioned before, a new sanctuary of the deified Senusret III was erected in the neighbourhood of the Thutmoside temple of Dedwen and Senusret III at Semna. In the inner fort of Buhen the temple of Horus of Buhen (South Temple, cf. Chapter X.1.2.2) was restored and extended,161 maintaining thus the continuity of the cult of an ancient “Nubian” Horus god (cf. Chapters IV.1, VII, IX.1, X.1.2.1). At Qasr Ibrim a small temple was dedicated to Amun.162 The wall painting on the northeast, main, wall of its sanctuary represents Taharqo before Amun-Re; the painting on the north-west wall shows the king before Amun and Horus of Aniba.163 With the latter scene another traditional Horus cult received reemphasis at a civil, military, and religious centre the importance of which would be maintained and even increased through the Napatan, Meroitic, Post-Meroitic, Christian and Ottoman periods. It may thus seem that in Lower Nubia the associations between Amun, royal legitimacy and authority and the governmental structure were not placed in the foreground to the same extent as in Upper Nubia. The predominance of Amun is nevertheless obvious. Taharqo also dedicated a shrine to Amun of Takompso (Greek Hiera Sycaminos, modern Maharraqa) on the island of Philae,164 i.e., in the region of the traditional border between Egypt and Nubia. This dedication indicates the existence (or rather the foundation by Taharqo) of the cult of a local Amun at Takompso, who was worshipped as lord of the Lower Nubian region south of the First Cataract. It is worth noting that Taharqo’s construction(s) was (were) the earliest building(s) on the island of Philae.165 4.5. The Fortresses in Lower Nubia and the Wadi Howar The mud-brick fortress on the island of Dorginarti at the northern end of the Second Cataract, c. halfway between Wadi Halfa and Randall-Maciver–Woolley 1911 17, 50; Wolf 1990 26 ff. Reused relief blocks from the temple represent Taharqo embraced (elected) by Amun-Re and a ram-headed Amun, cf. E. Miller–P. Rose–D. Singleton: The Taharqo Wall Painting Program. Sudan & Nubia 11 (2007) 72–88 Pls XXVIII, XXIX. 163 J.M. Plumley: Qasr Ibrim 1974. JEA 61 (1975) 5–27 16, 19 f., 26; Wolf 1990 20 ff. 164 For a barque stand and blocks with Taharqo’s names, see Wolf 1990 17 ff. 165 See also the reused blocks from a gate of Taharqo, found during the dismantling of the temples of Philae, Arnold 1992 91. 161 162


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Mirgissa, though dated traditionally to the Middle and/or the New Kingdom,166 was usually left unmentioned in the discussion of Egyptian military presence in Nubia. Reluctance to classify Dorginarti with its irregular triangular ground plan and rectangular gate towers and bastions as a Middle/New Kingdom fortress was fully justified by Lisa Heidorn’s reexamination of the archaeological evidence from the salvage excavation conducted at the site by Richard Holton Pierce in 1964. Heidorn argued that the pottery and small finds from Dorginarti belong to Egyptian and Nubian types occurring in Third Intermediate Period through Twenty-Seventh Dynasty (first Persian Period, 525– 404 BC) assemblages. She concluded that “the fortress was occupied from the mid-seventh century BC to the end of the fifth; however, a late eighth-century to early seventh-century BC date for the original occupation… is not precluded”.167 Albeit identifying various finds datable to the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty period, Heidorn nevertheless discusses Dorginarti only within the context of an “at least nominal northern control [of Lower Nubia] from the beginning of the Saite period down through sometime in the fifth century”.168 Considering the earliest finds from Dorginarti, the original fortress may as well be dated to the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, most likely to the first half of Taharqo’s reign (cf. Chapter XIII.4.4). It may be best interpreted in the context of the Taharqo chapel at Buhen, the restoration works directed by Montuemhat, Mayor of Thebes at Semna fort,169 the construction(s) associated with the cult of Amun of Takompso in northern Lower Nubia, and the fortress of Gebel es-Sahaba c. 8 km north of Wadi Halfa, another fortress with irregular ground plan, rectangular gate towers and bastions.170 Within this context Dorginarti may be viewed as a member of a chain of military posts intended to control the desert nomads as well as the inhabitants of the region between the First and Second Cataracts and protect the commercial route along the Nile. Montuemhat’s appearance as director of constructions at Semna S. Clarke: Ancient Egyptian Frontier Fortresses. JEA 3 (1916) 164 f.; Dunham 1967 177 f.; A.J. Hoerth: The Oriental Institute Report 1963–1964. Chicago 1964 15 f.; J. Knudstad: Serra East and Dorginarti: A Preliminary Report on the 1963–1964 Excavations of the University of Chicago Oriental Institute Sudan Expedition. Kush 14 (1966) 165–186; Heidorn 1991 205.—Reused blocks of Rameses I and IV were transferred probably from Buhen. 167 Heidorn 1991 205. 168 Heidorn 1991 206. 169 Recorded on stela MFA 29.2230 from Semna, see Dunham–Janssen 1960 59 f. 170 Säve-Söderbergh in: Säve-Söderbergh–Troy 1991 319–323; Jesse 2006b 143. 166

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indicates that, at least in this particular aspect, Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia were treated as a single unit. Also a third fortress with an irregular ground plan and rectangular gate towers and bastions, but this time built of dry-stone masonry, may be added to the list of fortresses erected probably in the TwentyFifth Dynasty period. It was discovered in 1984 at Gala Abu Ahmed c. 110 km to the west of the Nile in the Lower Wadi Howar. Recent sondages at the site171 produced objects datable to the period between the ninth and fourth centuries BC,172 among them a rather unusual quantity of fragments of faience New Year flasks, a type dated traditionally to the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty (664–525 BC) but produced possibly already before the Saite period as well. Surface finds included sherds of ribbed Egyptian amphorae with a pink to red fabric and a green exterior surface, typical of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty.173 Four calibrated radiocarbon dates range c. between 700–400 BC.174 The military importance of the fortress, which was built on a low terrace instead of the highest point of the area was not especially great, it is thus rather likely that, similarly to the aforementioned fortresses, Gala Abu Ahmed combined the function of a military post from where the inhabitants of the Western Desert were controlled with a caravan station along the more than 1.000 km long Wadi Howar, one of the most important routes leading to the regions of Kordofan and Darfur and the interior of Africa. We shall return to Gala Abu Ahmed as a trading station in Chapter XIII.6. 4.6. North and South: Similarities and Differences Although the apparently homogeneous program of the development of the local units of the centralised government must have unfolded under radically different preconditions in Egypt and Nubia, the structural and cultural integration of the two halves of the double kingdom reached a point in the first half of Taharqo’s reign from where there was no way back into a “de-Egyptianization” in the moment when Kush was separated from Egypt (see below). The process of adaptation 171 F. Jesse–R. Kuper: Gala Abu Ahmed—eine Festung am Wadi Howar. MittSAG 15 (2004) 137–142; Jesse 2006b. 172 Lohwasser 2004. 173 Jesse 2006b 139. 174 Jesse 2006b 143.


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of the Kushite governmental and socio-economic structure to Egyptian norms, started by Alara and Kashta, was intertwined with, and dependent on the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty’s attempt at reunifying Egypt. In the first quarter of the seventh century BC this process reached an apparently optimal stage with the development of the urban settlements centered around the great Amun sanctuaries south of the Third Cataract and the organization of Lower Nubia north of it. The actual form of the government of Lower Nubia in the TwentyFifth Dynasty period remains unknown. The scarce habitation- and mortuary evidence does not necessarily indicate a different type of government than in the south of the kingdom, especially since we do not know what kind of temples and royal/administrative buildings, magazines etc. remained buried forever under the unexcavated layers of settlement sites such as Faras and Qasr Ibrim. Some sixty burial sites dating from the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and Napatan periods were recorded between Soleb and the First Cataract.175 The estimated total of burials in them is about 450, which is greater than the number of Neolithic but far smaller than the number of Meroitic burials.176 The parallel occurrence of Egyptianized burials, with wrapped body, face mask, and bead net, as well as amulets and libation table but without embalming, canopic jars and shawabti figures and of traditional burial forms such as bed burial first with the body in contracted, then in extended position, burials of contracted bodies in shallow pits or round depressions, and burials in clefts in the cliffs above the Nile valley indicates a socially stratified population the mortuary religion of which displays features that may be compared to the mortuary evidence from the New Kingdom period (see Chapter XI.1). Significantly, a similar dichotomy of acculturation and traditionalism can also be observed in the cemeteries of the south, especially in the large necropolis of Sanam. Similarly to Tabo and Kerma,177 also at Sanam178—where burials probably started before the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty (see Chapter XII.1)—there were tombs with descending passages and inhumations in coffins and burials of bodies in flexed, contracted or extended position in simple rectangular shafts.179 While these Williams 1990 37 ff. Williams 1990 44. 177 C. Bonnet: The Funerary Traditions of Middle Nubia. in: Welsby (ed.) 1999 2–18. 178 Griffith 1923. 179 The two main types were regarded by Griffith 1923 84 erroneously as chronologically distinct: he dated the Egyptian-type burials to the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty period, 175 176

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two main burial types clearly reflect the coexistence of the (partial) adoption of Egyptian mortuary religion with the maintenance of traditional mortuary concepts, the burials of both types share an identical complex of Egyptian-type funerary amulets. The lack in the Egyptianized burials of shawabti figures, inscribed stelae and offering tables indicates a selective acculturation on the one hand; on the other, the use of funerary amulets and the adoption of the extended position in traditional burials mark the limits between which Egyptian concepts and customs penetrated into the conservative native mortuary religion (see also Chapter XI.1). The royal and administrative centres of Upper Nubia developed around Amun temple-royal residence compounds. Such a special, in many respects exclusive, association of royal authority with Amun of Thebes, Amun of Napata, and other (local) forms of Amun cannot be observed in Lower Nubia, where Taharqo reinforced the cults of two of the ancient “Nubian” Horus gods, viz., Horus of Buhen and Horus of Aniba, while he established the cult of Amun of Takompso in the region south of the traditional border between Nubia and Egypt. Yet this difference in accents does not mean general differences in theology and cult or in the social role of the priesthood. A marked difference strikes the eye, however, in a special area, viz., the cult of the colossal royal images. This is a cult form, which is strongly present in Upper Nubia and, as it seems, completely absent in Lower Nubia. Colossal royal statues in front of the temples or in their forecourts functioned traditionally as intermediaries, channeled popular religiosity and pious contact between men and the gods. The religious significance of the statuary erected in the temple courts is highlighted by the votive sculptures of feet discovered in front of one of the two granite ram statues guarding the door of the Hypostyle of Temple T at Kawa,180 and representing Taharqo in the protection of the Amun the burials of contracted bodies in shafts to the period following the collapse of the double kingdom when “Ethiopia lost the skill in arts and … reverted to a more barbarous condition”. 180 In front of the ram (for the ram statue see the next note) at the northern side of the door, Khartoum 2691 (Macadam 1955 56, 71, 139, Pl. L/b) and Pitt-Rivers Museum B IV 168 (ibid. 56, 71, 139, Pl. L/b). Their Twenty-Fifth Dynasty or early Napatan date is suggested on the basis of Macadam 1955 Pl. L/b which gives the impression that they were found standing on the original court floor.—On Third Intermediate Period graffiti representing pairs of feet on the roof of the Khonsu Temple at Karnak, see H. JacquetGordon: Deux graffiti de l’époque libyenne sur le toit du temple de Khonsou à Karnak. in: Hommages à la mémoire de Serge Sauneron 1927–1976 I. Égypte pharaonique. Le Caire 1979


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ram.181 These votives indicate that private persons were allowed to perpetuate their adoring presence before a cult statue erected for popular worship in the temple court.182 It is not accidental that the actual cult statue represents the god of the temple protecting the king. The image of the king is a cult image, and at the same time an intermediary: the believer is protected by the deified king in the same way as the king is protected by the god.183 The Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and Napatan hardstone royal statues resurrected an Eighteenth-Nineteenth Dynasty cult form in which the cult statue of the deified ruler served as the intermediary of the personal piety of wider societal circles.184 The function of the royal statues as intermediary cult images is especially clearly indicated by statues of Senkamanisken from Napata and Dokki Gel in which the king appears as the High Priest who would make offerings before Amun on behalf of those who prayed to him. Similarly relevant is the inclusion of a queen mother into the cult program of the court of the Amun temple at Napata (see below). The queen in her similarity to Isis, mother of Horus, mediated between the people, her son the divine king and High Priest and the gods. In the inscription of the back pillar of the statue of Aramatelqo from Napata the king is called “beloved of Amun-Re-Harakhte”. The epithet associated Aramatelqo with Amun-Re-Harakhte “who hears petitions”, a god worshipped in a temple of Rameses II at Karnak185 to which Taharqo added a colonnade.186 The return of hardstone187 royal sculpture of large or colossal size was one of the major feats of Kushite archaizing (cf. Chapter XIII.4.2).

167–183. On Egyptian and Nubian graffiti with feet in a broader religious historical perspective, see Castiglione 1970 and cf. below Chapter XV.2.1. 181 OAM 1931.553. Carved from the Tumbos granite gneiss, cf. Harrell 1999 245. The other ram statue: BM EA 1779. 182 For an illuminating discussion of personal devotion in New Kingdom Egypt, see Kemp 1995. 183 In the Meroitic period the function of the colossal royal statues was inherited by monumental statues of the gods Arensnuphis and Sebiumeker guarding the temple entrance, e.g., at Tabo, Musawwarat es Sufra Temple 300, Meroe City temples M 600 and KC 102. 184 For the New Kingdom cult of royal statues cf. D. Wildung: Göttlichkeitsstufen des Pharao. OL 68 (1973) 549–565. 185 PM II 208–215. 186 Ibid. 209. 187 For the significance of hardstone, see J. Assmann: Stein und Zeit. Mensch und Gesellschaft im alten Ägypten. München 1991.

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Complexes of monumental hardstone sculptures of kings and divinities are preserved from the Amun temples of Napata (B 500), Sanam, Kawa, and Kerma-Dokki Gel. In a highly significant manner, all of these complexes include reused Egyptian Middle and New Kingdom hardstone statuary.188 The inclusion of ancient statues and royal inscriptions into a new temple building program started with Piankhy who transferred colossal granite images of the hawk gods Sopdu189 and “Nekheny in Soleb”,190 a colossal uraeus191 and ten grey granite criosphinx statues192 from Amenhotep III’s Soleb temple to the great Amun temple at Napata where he also re-erected Thutmose III’s great stela from Year 47. The Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and Napatan hardstone statue complexes from the great Amun temple at Napata and Kerma-Dokki Gel show a rather similar composition. In both temples the same rulers, viz., Taharqo, Tanwetamani, Senkamanisken, Anlamani and Aspelta erected large-size, in several cases colossal, granite statues of the striding type. Tanwetamani had two statues at Kerma and at least two at Napata, Senkamanisken two at Kerma and at least three at Napata; Anlamani one at Kerma and at least two at Napata. Aspelta erected one statue at Kerma and at least one at Napata. (The number of statues from Napata remains uncertain on account of the many un-attributed sculpture fragments from this site.)193 At Napata, there also stood a striding statue of Queen Amanimalol194 holding a statuette of Horus, and two sphinx statues of Senkamanisken.195 While at Kerma the series closes with Aspelta, at Napata also a small seated statue of Aspelta’s successor

188 For Napata (temple B 500) and Sanam, see the literature in Török 2002a 282 ff.; for Kawa, see Macadam 1955 Pl. LXXII; for Kerma-Dokki Gel, see Valbelle 1999 83 f., 86; ead.: Kerma, les inscriptions et la statuaire. Genava 51 (2003) 291–300; Bonnet– Valbelle 2005. 189 PM VII 219 (34); Dunham 1970 25. 190 MFA 23.1470, Dunham 1970 25, fig. 20, Pls XXIV/C, XXV. 191 MFA 21.11699, Dunham 1970 28, fig. 21, Pl. XXVI. 192 Four of them were erected in front of Pylon II, i.e., Piankhi’s earlier pylon and six in front of the later Pylon I. One criosphinx is still standing in front of Pylon II, four are standing in front of Pylon I. PM VII 216 (1)–(6), 219 (22)–(25). 193 The unidentified fragments include fragments of at least four heads. In Reisner’s view they indicate the existence of another 10–12 royal statues, cf. Reisner 1931 83. 194 Khartoum 1843, preserved height 1.43 m, Dunham 1970 21, Pls XVII f. 195 Khartoum inv. no. unknown, Dunham 1970 33; Khartoum 1852, ibid. 33, fig. 28, Pl. XXXII.


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Aramatelqo wearing the heb-sed mantle196 and a striding figure of the mid-fourth century BC king Akhratane197 were erected. At Sanam, Taharqo or one of his successors re-erected a black basalt seated statue of Piankhy wearing the heb-sed robe.198 The rest of the preserved hardstone statuary from this temple consists of reused Egyptian divine images and Twenty-Fifth Dynasty divine statuary.199 Taharqo erected hardstone statuary in the Amun temple at Kawa in the Re-Harakhte chapel200 and in the forecourt, and ram statues flanked the processional avenue of the temple. The statuary from the Re-Harakhte chapel consisted of a standing figure of the king holding an offering table,201 a portrait sphinx of Taharqo,202 and two baboons represented in the gesture of greeting the rising sun.203 So far, no large-size statue of a Twenty-Fifth Dynasty or Napatan ruler has been found in Lower Nubia. It seems thus that this particularly impressive form of royal display and of the cult of the living ruler was not introduced there. The display of ancient statues, which supported the function of the temples as (symbolic) archives of self-identity and served as mediators of prayers was, however, not entirely unknown in Lower Nubia, either: the statue of the Thirteenth Dynasty King Wegaf re-erected in Taharqo’s Semna chapel was already mentioned in Chapter XIII.4.3. 5. The End of the Double Kingdom Though the achievements of Taharqo’s reign may be ascribed to the intellectual and material resources set free by an efficient central gov196 Berlin 2249, preserved height 0.75 m, K.-H. Priese: Die Statue des napatanischen Königs Aramatelqo (Amtelqa) Berlin, Ägyptisches Museum Inv.-Nr. 2249. in: Festschrift zum 150jährigen Bestehen des Berliner Ägyptischen Museums. Berlin 1974 211–232. 197 MFA 23.735, height 0.855 m with head and crown missing. Dunham 1970 23, fig. 16, Pl. XXIII/A,B. 198 Griffith 1922 87, Pls XIII/3, XV, XVI/1,2. 199 An outstanding piece is the quartzite head of Amun of Sanam, Oxford 1922.157, which bears a title of Tanwetamani and shows similar features as the basalt sphinx head Brooklyn 05.316, E.R. Russmann: Two Royal Heads of the Late Period in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Museum Annual 10 (1968–1969) 101–104; K. Mysliwiec: Royal Portraiture of the Dynasties XXI–XXX. Mainz 1988 44. 200 Cf. Török 2002 109 ff. 201 Copenhagen 1706, Macadam 1955 Pl. LXXIII. 202 BM 1770, Macadam 1955 Pl. LXXIV; Wenig 1978 Cat. 77. 203 Kh. 2689, Macadam 1955 Pl. LXX/a,b; Copenhagen 1705, ibid. 97.

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ernment, the balance between the governmental hierarchy operated by the ruler of the double kingdom and the local princes, which had remained largely intact ever since Piankhy’s great campaign was nevertheless delicate. In Thebes, Taharqo installed his daughter Amenirdis II as God’s Wife of Amun Elect early in his reign, and while the office of the High Priest of Amun was occupied by Shabaqo’s son Haremakhet Taharqo appointed his own son Nesi-Shu-Tefnut to the office of the Second Prophet of Amun.204 The key administrative offices in Upper Egypt were held by descendants of the great Theban families.205 In Lower Egypt the local dynasties continued to control their ancestral territories, and while it is likely that they were allowed to do so as delegates of the central government, the forms of their dependence remain unknown. The empire of the New Kingdom could not be resurrected. The conquest of Samaria around 720 BC206 and subsequent interventions in Transjordania represented a momentous step in the Assyrian advance towards the Egyptian Delta. In 716 BC Osorkon IV of Tanis was forced to employ the diplomacy of gifts (significantly, of “twelve great horses” probably of Kushite breed) sent to Sargon II of Assyria (722–705 BC) whose army was standing 120 miles from Tanis.207 As a reaction to Osorkon’s move, Shabaqo deposed him. The Assyrian advance as well as the continuation of Tefnakht’s ambitious policy by his successor Bakenranef/Bocchoris at Sais208 made it an imperative necessity, to transfer the capital and royal residence of the double kingdom of Kush and Egypt from Napata to Memphis. To judge by his titulary,209 Piankhy’s successor Shabaqo (c. 721–707/706 BC) decided at his accession on an Egypto-centric policy and set up his court at Memphis.210 In his early 204 Leclant 1954 171; H. Kees: Das Priestertum im ägyptischen Staat. Leiden 1953 276; Kitchen 1986 390. 205 Kitchen 1986 390 f. 206 The diverging interpretations and datings of the evidence relating to the events of the period and especially to the role of Osorkon IV of Dyn. 22 and his disputed identification with So of 2 Kings 17.4 cannot be discussed here. For an overview, see H.-U. Onasch 1994 5 ff. 207 Assur prisma fgm. Berlin VA 8424=Assur 16582, H. Tadmor, JCS 12 (1958) 77 f. 208 Kitchen 1986 376 f.; Redford 1992 346 ff. 209 Horus-, Nebty- and Golden Horus names uniformly Sb( A)q-t Awy, “He-Who-blessesTwo-lands”, in the style of Old- and Middle Kingdom titularies (for the TIP revival of the x+t Awy type, see Bonhême 1987 282); Throne name Nfr-k A-R #, “Re-is-One-whoseka-is-beautiful” (cf. Pepy II, Dyn. 6; Rameses IX, Dyn. 20; and Amenemnisu, Dyn. 21). FHN I No. (12). 210 His earliest Egyptian monument is from Year 2: Memphis, Serapeum, Vercoutter


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reign he crushed and executed Bakenranef and between Years 2 and 6211 gained control over the former domain of Sais as well as the region of Pharbaitos.212 He also restored border security in the Sinai.213 The local dynasties were, however, not annihilated. Their rule was superimposed by a centralised government and in cases such as e.g. Tefnakht’s and Bakenranef ’s Princedom of the West the formerly independent polities were put under the authority of a governor. Under Shebitqo and Taharqo these reverted, however, to their original dynasties. Though it would be ahistorical to suppose that the Kushites would also have had the option of a brutally consequent unification of Egypt with the removal of all local rulers, the inherent dangers of the political fragmentation became manifest in Taharqo’s reign when the integrity of the central government received the first blows from the Assyrians. In 712 BC Iamani of Ashdod revolted against Sargon II, but had to flee. He sought to take refuge with Shabaqo whose asylum he enjoyed until 707 BC. Shortly after Shabaqo’s death Shebitqo extradited him to the Assyrian ruler.214 The titulary assumed by Shebitqo bears the stamp of the dynasty’s ties with Memphis: his Horus name Dd-h #w, “Whose¯ ˘ appearances-endure” revives the Horus name of a Memphite king of 215 the Fifth Dynasty. He also adopted the Son of Re name epithet mryPth. , “Beloved-of-Ptah” referring to the creator god of Memphis. He used this epithet alternately with “Beloved-of-Amun”,216 which accentuated his divine sonship and reinforced his Horus name, which indicated that he was (also) crowned in Thebes.217 The rest of the archaizing titulary conveys an aggressive message announcing the ruler’s preparations for the unavoidable clash with Assyria.218 As recounted in two 1960 65 ff. The adoption of the Throne name of Pepy II may, however, indicate that Shabaqo’s titulary was composed in Memphis, what would mean that he was crowned there. 211 For donation stelae from Bubastis (Y. 3) and Buto (Y. 6) see Kitchen 1986 379. 212 Donation stela (Y. 2), Kitchen 1986 379. 213 Commemorative scarab ROM 910.28.1, FHN I No. 14. 214 See recently Kahn 2001; 2004. 215 Isesi/Djedkara, Beckerath 1984 55 V.8 H. 216 Epithet with Ptah: statue from Memphis; with Amun: Karnak Nile level record, Y. 3, FHN I No. (15) 1, 3/e. 217 K A nht H#-m-Wst, “Mighty-Bull-who-appears-[is crowned]-in-Thebes”, Karnak ˘ Y. 3. Nile level ˘record 218 Multiple Nebty- and Golden Horus names modelled on titularies of Tuthmose III (cf. Beckerath 1984 XVIII.6): Nebty #A-ˇsfjt-m-t Aw-nb(w), “Whose-renown-is-great-in-alllands”; Sh#y-M A #t mry-T Awy, “Manifesting-Equity, Beloved-of-Two-lands” and Golden Horus #A-˘hpˇs h. wj-pdt-9, “Whose-strength-is-great, Who-smites-the-Nine-Bows” [i.e., the ¯ ˘

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Kawa inscriptions of his successor Taharqo from c. 685 BC,219 after Sargon II’s death Shebitqo summoned an army-force from Kush, which was placed under the command of Taharqo. Due presumably to the lack of a male heir and in view of the aggressive policy decided by the new ruler of the double kingdom, Taharqo was at the same time declared heir apparent. This also conformed, in turn, with the Egyptian tradition of the appointment of the crown prince as commanderin-chief of an expeditionary force.220 In support of Judah and an antiAssyrian coalition of Phoenician and Philistine cities formed in 704– 703 BC, Shebitqo decided to meet the army of Sennacherib. Though in 701 BC the Egyptian-Kushite army commanded by Taharqo was beaten by Sennacherib’s forces at Eltekeh,221 Sennacherib nevertheless retreated to Philistia and subsequently to Assyria, while Taharqo’s units returned to Egypt. The battle at Eltekeh could thus be interpreted as a victory for the double kingdom.222 The remaining years of Shebitqo’s reign seem to have passed without further conflicts. Taharqo’s donation lists223 record the arrival of precious Asiatic goods at Kawa in Years 8 and 10, which attests to trade contacts and possibly military undertakings in the Levant around 683–681 BC. The first blow that shattered the image of imperial prosperity arrived in Year 17, 674 BC with the first attempt of Esarhaddon of Assyria (681– 669 BC) at the conquest of Egypt as an answer on active Kushite foreign policy. It was prepared by a systematic advance in the coastal region allied with Taharqo, culminating in the destruction of Sidon and the surrender of Tyre and resulting in Assyrian control over Palestine.224 foreign lands]; Hrw-h. r-nhtw, “Satisfied-with-victory”. Karnak Nile level inscr., Beckerath 1966 53 No. 33, FHN I ˘No. (15) 1/b,c; No. 17. 219 Kawa IV lines 7 ff., FHN I No. 21; Kawa V, lines 13 ff., FHN I No. 22. 220 In Taharqo’s words (Kawa IV, line 9 and V, line 14, trans. R.H. Pierce) Shebitqo summoned him “that I might be with him because he loved me more than all his (other) brothers and more than all his children”. These are traditional phrases of the election of a king by a god. 221 Kitchen 1986 385 note 815; Redford 1992 353, 356. 222 A war relief of the inner Court B 502 (on the Second Pylon, local north wall), known from 19th cent. drawings, cf. Kendall 1986 fig. 10, is supposed to commemorate this conflict, as the helmet of the vanquished enemy was identified as an Assyrian type emerging under the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III (744–727 BC) and continuing into the 7th cent. BC by Spalinger 1981 49; Redford 1992 356 f. note 185. The inner court war reliefs can, however, more probably be brought into connection with a conflict in Piankhy’s early reign, see Chapter XIII.4.3. 223 Macadam 1949 Nos Kawa III, VI (= FHN I No. 24). 224 Babylonian Chronicle No. 1, col. IV.6, Grayson 1975 14 ff., 69 ff.; H.-U. Onasch


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Esarhaddon’s first invasion could be fended off, however, in March 673 BC at the northeastern frontier and Taharqo regained control over Philistia.225 A new Assyrian invasion force arrived in March/April 671 BC.226 After three battles fought in June/July at the frontier (?) in which, according to the Senjirli Stela,227 Taharqo was also wounded, the Assyrians took Memphis from where Taharqo fled, probably to the south. Memphis was apparently weakly defended and taken without a siege, for the Assyrians were able to capture several members of the royal family, including royal wives and the prince Nes-Anhuret. The latter is identified in the Senjirli Stela as “Taharqo’s crown-prince”. Adopting the title of king of Egypt,228 Esarhaddon also appointed local “kings, deputies and plenipotentiaries”, in part Assyrian and in part Egyptian, in the occupied Lower Egyptian area who resided in cities the Egyptian names of which he changed into Assyrian ones.229 The Assyrian vassals included almost all of the Lower Egyptian local dynasts.230 The subsequent years would enter Egyptian historical remembrance as “that evil time”, the period of “the raging of the foreign lands”.231 Tragically, Egypt had to experience the unconquerable force of the Assyrian army and the weakness of her own arms, then both the fatal alienness of the Assyrian rule and the chaos brought about by its egoistic Egyptian vassals, and, above all, the impotence of the same king who had ruled not so long ago over a prosperous and united Egypt. The first momentous changes in the international Umwelt caused a deep cultural shock which is documented in a most impressive manner by an inscription of Taharqo engraved after 674 BC in the Karnak temple.232 1994 18, 23. On the localization of the Assyrian defeat at the eastern Delta frontier, see Kitchen 1986 391 note 870. 225 For the evidence, see Kahn 2004. 226 Asarhaddon Chronicle No. 14, Grayson 1975 30 ff., 125 ff.; H.-U. Onasch 1994 21. 227 Berlin Vorderasiatisches Museum VA 2708, D.D. Luckenbill: Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia II. Chicago 1927 224 ff. 228 EN.KUR.KUR = nb t Awy, for the evidence see H.-U. Onasch 1994 35. 229 Tablet BM 121029, H.-U. Onasch 1994 34. See also the Ashurbanipal Annals, Prism E III.6 ff.; H.-U. Onasch 1994 94 f. 230 Preserved in the Annals of Ashurbanipal, Prisms A and C, H.-U. Onasch 1994 36 ff.: the “kings” of Sais, Pelusium, Natho (? at Tell el Yahudiyeh and at Leontopolis), Spd (Saft el-Henneh), Athribis, Herakleopolis, Tanis, Sebennytos (Samanhûd), Mendes, Busiris, Pr-jnbw (?), I"hnw (?), Terenuthis, Pr-Spdw-m-j A.tj (?), Hermopolis. ˘ 231 P. Rylands IX.vi.16 ff.; J. Leclant: Montouemhat, quatrième prophéte d’Amon, prince de la Ville. Le Caire 1961 83; Redford 1992 360. 232 P. Vernus: Inscriptions de la Troisième Periode Intermédiaire (I). BIFAO 75 (1975) 1–66; FHN I No. 26; Kahn 2004.

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It presents a magnificent summary of the Theban theology of Amun’s direct kingship, which is followed by a monumental prayer in which the king asks the god for reversing the direction of the events. In his supplication Taharqo goes to the theological extreme of reproaching the god233 for acting inconsistently and offending thus the rules of the universe. Both the reproach to god, which recalls the famous “Qadesh Poem” of Ramesses II234 and the relapse to a touchingly helpless form of the Theology of Will—the King speaks about himself in terms like “it is the master who causes his servant to live”, referring to Amun as the master and the ruler as his servant—reveal not only a sudden embarrassment at the unexpected threat from beyond the borders of the empire but also indicate the deep roots of the personal piety of the Third Intermediate Period and its survival behind the imperial concepts of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty. As a whole the inscription represented a monumental effort to force the deity to cause the return of Equity. Esarhaddon set out with his army for Egypt again in 669 BC,235 but he died en route.236 He was probably going to react to the eventual reestablishment of Taharqo in Lower Egypt and Memphis.237 The suggestion is less likely that Taharqo reoccupied Lower Egypt only after the death of Esarhaddon.238 Esarhaddon’s successor Ashurbanipal (669–627 BC) invaded Egypt in 667/666 BC with devastating results.239 Taharqo’s Egypto-Kushite army was defeated in a battle at Pelusium in the eastern Delta,240 whereupon the king, abandoning his troops and fleet, fled from Memphis to Thebes. The Assyrians pursued him to Thebes in a march of one month and ten days. By then the Assyrians were probably joined by contingents from the Delta kingdoms. The Assyrians did not encounter serious resistance and Taharqo was forced to retreat still farther south. Subsequently, Ashurbanipal received the Cf. E. Otto: Der Vorwurf an Gott. Vorträge der orientalistischen Tagung in Marburg 1951. Hildesheim 1951; G. Fecht: Der Vorwurf an Gott in den Mahnworten des Ipuwer. Heidelberg 1972; R. Grieshammer: Gott und das Negative nach Quellen der ägyptischen Spätzeit. in: W. Westendorf (ed.): Aspekte der spätägyptischen Religion. Wiesbaden 1979 79–92. 234 Cf. paragraphs 92–94, Lichtheim 1976 65; KRI II 32 ff. 235 For the events from 673 BC, see Kahn 2006b. 236 Babylonian Chronicle No. 1, col. IV.30 f., H.-U. Onasch 1994 18. 237 We know only that Taharqo’s authority was acknowledged in Memphis in 667 BC, see Kahn 2006b 257 f. 238 H.-U. Onasch 1994 148. 239 For the complex evidence of the Ashurbanipal Annals see H.-U. Onasch 1994 61 ff. 240 H.-U. Onasch 1994 38, 149. 233


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formal submission of the local dynasts and dignitaries of the Delta, Middle and Upper Egypt headed by Nekau of Sais and including the Mayor of Thebes, Montuemhat as well as Nespamedu of Aswan. Returning to Niniveh, Ashurbanipal left behind his vassals under the supervision of strong Assyrian army contingents. It may have been the manner in which they were handled by the Assyrian troops that made the vassal rulers of Sais, Mendes and Pelusium (and perhaps further dynasts)241 to change their opportunistic mind. In 665 BC they made new overtures to Taharqo who remained, however, in Kush where he died in 664 BC without being able to regain control over the Egyptian half of his double kingdom. After receiving an oracular decree announcing his divine birth as son of Amun and his legitimate kingship in Kush and Egypt in the course of a temple incubatio,242 Taharqo’s successor Tanwetamani (664–656 BC) sailed north with his army. After passing Elephantine, where Khnum acknowledged his power in Lower Nubia, he was ritually installed as king of Egypt in the great Amun temple of Thebes. Receiving the legitimation from Amun of Karnak, he began the reconquest of Egypt from the Assyrians and their vassals. His progress is described in his Dream Stela243 as a restoration of the land from the condition of Chaos in which the royal duty of maintaining the temples and cults was not being performed by anybody. Tanwetamani reached Memphis without meeting opposition in Upper Egypt, which seems to reflect the strong support he received from the Divine Adoratrice and the Kushite dignitaries installed in Thebes by his predecessors. The seizure of Memphis and then the defeat of Sais crushed the resistance of some of the Delta dynasts while others withdrew into their fortresses, which apparently had been left unattacked by Tanwetamani. Receiving the formal surrender of a fraction of the local dynasts, Tanwetamani reinstalled them in their ancestral territories under the condition that his overlordship remained acknowledged. In addition to the incompleteness of the reoccupation of the Delta and the centrifugal force necessarily inherent in the structure, which had been maintained ever since Piankhy, the 241 The evidence is clear only in relation to the first three polities, cf. H.-U. Onasch 1994 151 f. 242 Tanwetamani assumed the Horus name W Ah-mrwt, “Whose-love-endures” mod. elled on the Horus- and Golden Horus names of the great Eighteenth Dynasty kings Amenhotep I, Tuthmose III and Amenhotep III, cf. Leclant 1965 351 note 1; Beckerath 1984 83 XVIII.2 G, 84 XVIII.6 N 1,2, 85 XVIII.9 H 3; FHN I No. (27). 243 FHN I No. 29.

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escape of Nekau’s son Psamtek to Assyria also contributed indirectly to Tanwetamani’s failure, while his decision to rule his double kingship from the south, i.e., Thebes (?) and Napata and not from the northern capital of Memphis had a direct effect. In 664/663 BC the news of Tanwetamani’s reoccupation of Memphis and the death of the Assyrian regent Nekau prompted Ashurbanipal to start an expedition to Egypt.244 On his arrival at the Egyptian border Tanwetamani, who must have judged his armed forces insufficient and his position in the Delta in any case weak, fled to Thebes. The Delta dynasts hastened to renew their status as Assyrian vassals. Ashurbanipal’s army pursued Tanwetamani and laid siege to Thebes, from where Tanwetamani fled to Kush. This time Thebes was not saved. The inconceivable happened:245 the city of Amun was sacked and burnt. The temple treasuries collected over the course of fourteen centuries were looted. The enormous shock caused by the experience of the vulnerability of Thebes greatly contributed to the eclipse of the ideology of Amun’s direct kingship in Egypt.246 In this respect, developments after the sack of Thebes went different ways in the Egyptian and the Kushite world-view: in Kush, Amun-Re remained central to the ideology of cosmic and terrestrial order. As indicated by the restoration of the line of Nimlot in Hermopolis and Peftjauawybast in Herakleopolis, the government established by the Assyrians after the sack of Thebes was built on the basis of the power distribution prevailing in Piankhy’s reign.247 With Assyrian support, Athribis was incorporated into the kingdom of Sais. Psamtek I of Sais was recognised by the Assyrians as sole king of Egypt. While as a political reality Psamtek’s title as ruler of Egypt was initially restricted on the western Delta, Athribis, and Heliopolis, during the course of the next nine years he was able to enforce the definitive submission of the rest of the northern dynasts and expulse the Assyrian troops stationed in Egypt with the help of Gyges of Lydia.248 In 656 BC finally he was able to arrange for the adoption of his daughter Neith-iqeret (Nitocris) as God’s Wife of Amun Elect by the then reigning Kushite

For the evidence, see H.-U. Onasch 1994 120 ff., 156 ff.; Kahn 2006b 264 f. Nahum 1–3. 246 Assmann 1996 373. 247 For the political geography of Egypt following Tanwetamani’s withdrawal, see Kitchen 1986 395 ff. 248 For the evidence, see H.-U. Onasch 1994 158. 244 245


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Divine Adoratrice Shepenwepet II (Piankhy’s daughter) and God’s Wife of Amun Elect Amenirdis II (Taharqo’s daughter).249 Before the installation of Psamtek’s daughter at Thebes, however, Upper Egypt kept allegiance to Tanwetamani in spite of his failure to prevent the sack of Thebes. Though it is doubtful whether he ever returned to Upper Egypt, the legitimacy of Tanwetamani’s kingship in the Amun domain had been preserved through the continuity of the office of the Divine Adoratrice. It appears that the actual political and economic power was exercised by the Fourth Prophet of Amun and Mayor of Thebes, Montuemhat.250 Montuemhat was related to the Kushite royal family, which may explain his nominal acknowledgement of Tanwetamani’s legitimacy: from 663 to 656 BC official documents continued to be dated at Thebes with Tanwetamani’s regnal years.251 With the establishment of close political ties between Sais and the ruler of Heracleopolis in Middle Egypt the position of the Amun domain radically changed, however.252 By 656 BC, Amenirdis II, Taharqo’s daughter, completed her thirtieth year in the office of the God’s Wife of Amun Elect253 and the time came that her successor be appointed. There could be little doubt in Thebes that an attempt to further vindicate the legitimacy of the Kushite dynasty by the appointment of a Kushite princess would call forth a Saite military action, against which no effective support could be expected from Tanwetamani. Negotiations conducted between Psamtek I and the pragmatic Montuemhat254 secured the immunity of Shepenwepet II and Amenirdis II, who, in return, adopted Neithiqeret (Nitocris), daughter of Psamtek I, as God’s Wife of Amun Elect and relegated therewith definitively and according to traditional law the

Caminos 1964; for a new translation, see Manuelian 1994 297 ff. Montuemhat’s name occurred earlier with the designation sˇar Ne" “Prince of Thebes” as the highest Theban political authority in the absence of the defeated Taharqo in the list of the Egyptian dynasts appointed in 667/666 BC as vassal rulers of their original territories under Ashurbanipal. See Ashurbanipal Annals, Prisms A and C, H.-U. Onasch 1994 118 f. 251 For the evidence, see Kahn 2006b 266, notes 90, 91. 252 Kitchen 1986 402 f. 253 For the presumed 30-years rhythm of the appointments, see FHN I 249; Török 1997a 149 f. My estimated dates must of course be adjusted to the new chronology of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, see Table H. 254 Cf. the indirect evidence of the Nitocris Adoption Stela, Caminos 1964, and the relief representation of Nitocris’ arrival in Thebes from the Mut temple (so-called “Piankhy blocks”), cf. Leclant 1965 115; PM II 257 f. (9); Kitchen 1986 236 ff. 249 250

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legitimate kingship of Egypt from the dynasty of Kashta to the dynasty of Psamtek I.255 In Kahn’s words, March 656, the date of Nitocris’ arrival in Thebes… [which] coincides with the eve of the Opet feast… might have the same connotations and intentions of Piankhy’s arrival in Thebes on the same date some eighty years earlier.256

6. Lower Nubia after the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty257 6.1. Egypt in Lower Nubia (From the Campaign of Psamtek II to the Early Fourth Century BC) Psamtek I, the Assyrian vassal ruler of Sais, who counted his regnal years from 664 BC, i.e., from Taharqo’s death, had successfully imposed his primacy over the entire Delta by his Year 8 (657 BC)258 and, having his daughter Neith-iqeret adopted as Divine Adoratrice Elect in 656 BC, he extended his legitimate authority over Upper Egypt too. The reunification of Egypt and the consolidation of Psamtek’s rule was carried out largely through alliances with the local dynasts.259 In Thebes Montuemhat as well as Tanwetamani’s nephew Harkhebi, High Priest of Amun, retained their offices even after 656 BC. Contacts between the Theban and Napatan Amun temples were maintained during the later reign of Psamtek I and under his successor Nekau II (610–595 BC). The character of these contacts is demonstrated by the inscriptions on the granite sarcophagi of Anlamani260 (late seventh century BC) and Aspelta261 (late seventh – early sixth century BC) using spells from the Pyramid texts, the Coffin texts and the Book of the 255

Political and cult continuity in Thebes was secured by the continuity of Montuemhat’s office as well as by the High Priesthood of Harkhebi, grandson of Shabaqo (still attested in 651 BC): Kitchen 1986 404.—The length of Tanwetamani’s reign in Kush remains unknown. He was the last ruler to be buried in the ancestral necropolis of el Kurru (Ku. 16, Dunham 1950 60 ff.) where his chariot horses were also interred (Ku. 219, 220, Dunham 1950 115 f.). 256 Kahn 2006b 267. 257 The sweeping summary of Nubian history after the end of the Egyptian rule of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty by Redford (Redford 2004 139 ff.) was written in a surprisingly guileless ignorance of the literature produced on the subject in the last decades. 258 Kitchen 1986 401 f. 259 Kitchen 1986 402 f. 260 Khartoum 1868, from Nu. 6, Dunham 1955 58; Doll 1978. 261 MFA 23.729, from Nu. 8, Dunham 1955 figs 58–68; Doll 1978; 1982; R.J. Lep-


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Dead as well as a wide selection of texts from Eighteenth Dynasty royal- and Twenty-Fifth and Twenty-Sixth Dynasty Theban priestly sarcophagi.262 The selection suggests the presence at Napata of a continuously enriched collection of Egyptian mortuary texts with versions for a number of basic texts or passages. Herodotus (2.30)263 speaks about a mutiny of Psamtek I’s frontier garrison stationed at Elephantine and its subsequent defection to a place at a distance of 56 travel days from Meroe City in the southern part of Aithiopia. The fabulous descendants of these deserters appear under various names in the classical tradition.264 As opposed to the common opinion, Herodotus’ story does not preserve the memory of the withdrawal of Tanwetamani’s Kushite forces from Upper Egypt.265 Relations between Egypt and Kush were structured in the interest of the international trade greatly encouraged by Psamtek I266 and his successor Nekau II whose Red Sea canal was intended, however, to facilitate commercial contacts with Punt avoiding the route along the Nubian Nile.267 Yet Nekau II also sent a riverine expedition from Elephantine against the nomadic Trogodytes,268 inhabitants of the desert between the Lower Nubian Nile and the Red Sea, which indicates efforts aimed at the control of the commercial road along the Nile too. The inscription commemorating this undertaking is too fragmentary to give a precise idea of the geographical range of the campaign, in which also vessels transporting horses (for maneuvres on land) were sent

rohon: Stelae II. The New Kingdom to the Coptic Period. (CAA, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Department of Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern Art fasc. 3). Mainz 1991 119 f. 262 Doll 1978 371 and 1982 279 considers the two sarcophagi the most complete royal sarcophagi known. 263 FHN I No. 56. 264 Herodotus: Asmach; Pomponius Mela 3.85: Automoles; Strabo, 16.4.8, 17.1.2 and Pliny, Nat. hist. 6.191: Sembritae; Hesychius: Machloiones, cf. Lloyd 1976 128. 265 Cf. H. de Meulenaere: Herodotos over de 26ste Dynastie. Louvain 1951 43.—On the basis of an anecdote in the AD second century compilation of Polyaenus and a remark in the Hellenistic Jewish “Letter of Aristeas” (Ps.-Aristeas), S. Sauneron–J. Yoyotte: Sur la politique palestinienne des rois saïtes. Vetus Testamentum 2 (1952) 131–135 suggest that Tanwetamani suffered his decisive defeat at the hands of Psamtek I and not the Assyrians and that Tanwetamani and his successors maintained their claim to the throne of Egypt. Consequently, the Saite-Kushite relationship was throughout tense. S.M. Burstein: Psamtek I and the End of Nubian Domination in Egypt. in: Burstein 1995 147–154 argues for the correctness of Ps.-Aristeas’ source. 266 Diodorus 1.66.8, 67.9; Lloyd 1983 282 ff., 329. 267 Lloyd 1983 284 f., 346. 268 Redford 1993 462 translates “Nubian bowmen”.

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upstream; yet it would seem that it could not go farther upstream than the Second Cataract.269 While we have no information about Nubian exports to Egypt, a picture of the character and quality of the imports and/or diplomatic gifts from Egypt can be formed on the basis of the metal,270 calcite271 and faience272 luxury vessels and faience amulets273 recovered from the tombs of Nuri, Begarawiya West and South. Egyptian policy turned hostile in the early reign of Psamtek II (595– 589 BC) whose army attacked the kingdom of Kush in Year 3, i.e., 593 BC. The campaign was commemorated in stelae erected at Tanis in Lower Egypt, Karnak in Upper Egypt, and Shellal close to the traditional border between Kush and Egypt.274 The Karnak and Shellal stelae name h Ast Pr-nbs, the “hill-country of Pnubs (Kerma)” as the place ˘ where the Egyptian army won its final victory over the army of the king of Kush. According to the Tanis stela, the Egyptian army reached Trgb where “the residence of the kwr (i.e., the king of Kush) is situated”, then marched to the town of T A dhnt where the Kushite army was massacred. Most writers on the campaign locate these placenames in the region of Napata-Sanam primarily because they associate the damaged royal statues found in two cachettes at the great Amun temple of Napata (Chapter XIII.4.5) with a destruction of Napata by Psamtek’s army. The reign of King Aspelta is dated to this period maintaining that the series of royal images buried at Napata closes with him. I have argued earlier that Psamtek’s army reached only Sai (Tanis stela) or Kerma (Shellal/Karnak stelae),275 while Bonnet and Valbelle see in the recently discovered Dokki Gel statue cachette (which, unlike the Napata series, closes in fact with Aspelta, cf. Chapter XIII.4.5) an argument for the Egyptian destruction of both the Dokki Gel and Gebel Barkal 269 C. Müller: Drei Stelenfragmente. in: W. Kaiser et al.: Stadt und Tempel von Elephantine. Fünfter Grabungsbericht. MDAIK 31 (1975) 80–84 83 f.; F. Junge: Elephantine XI. Funde und Bauteile. Mainz 1987 66 f.; K. Jansen-Winkeln: Zur Schiffsliste aus Elephantine. GM 109 (1989) 31. 270 E.g., Dunham 1963 figs 18/e (Beg. W. 832); Dunham 1955 fig. 55, Wenig 1978 Cat. 111 (gold vase inscribed for Aspelta’s funerary equipment, from Nu. 8). 271 Griffith 1923 Pl. XVI; Dunham 1963 fig. Q. 272 E.g., Griffith 1923 Pls XXXI–XXXII. 273 See especially the pataikos types associated with the cult of Horus-the-Saviour and the Memphite cult of Ptah-Sokaris, Griffith 1923 Pl. XXVI/33; Dunham 1955, 1963 passim and cf. C. Andrews: Amulets of Ancient Egypt. London 1994 38 f. 274 Tanis: Cairo JE 67095, Karnak: PM II 37 (135), S. Sauneron–J. Yoyotte: La campagne nubienne de Psammétique II et sa signification historique. BIFAO 50 (1952) 157–207; Shellal: FHN I No. 41. Cf. Manuelian 1994 333 ff. 275 FHN I 284 ff.


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sanctuaries.276 In any case, Psamtek’s army, if it reached in fact Napata, must have taken the desert road leading from the Third Cataract region to the Fourth Cataract region since the temples of Kawa escaped damages unlike Dokki Gel and Napata. Lower Nubia inevitably suffered serious damages during the conflict. The negative change in the Egyptian attitude towards Kush as a part of Egyptian history and as a neighbour was demonstrated not only by the military action but also by the subsequent destruction of the names and special royal insignia of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty kings in their inscriptions and representations in Egypt. The systematic damnatio memoriae intended not only the erasure of the political memory of the Kushite rulers of Egypt, but with an utmost severity also the destruction of their existence in the other world. In general terms, it was a manifestation of a complete dissociation as well as a declaration of a state of hostility. It also may have been directed against the political ambitions of the Theban Amun priesthood, which preserved a positive memory of the Kushites.277 Yet such a damnatio memoriae was directed not so much towards the past, but rather against an existing enemy, which could, apparently, be destroyed only magically since its physical destruction in war has failed or was not complete. The fortress of Dorginarti at the Second Cataract and Gala Abu Ahmed in the Lower Wadi Howar yielded rich assemblages of pottery and other artifacts produced in Saite Egypt. Consequently, Heidorn identified Dorginarti as a Saite fortress and the southernmost outpost of the Persian Empire (see Chapter XIII.4.5). It would seem likely indeed that Psamtek II’s expedition resulted in the Egyptian military control of Lower Nubia. One could even hypothesize that the valuable Twenty-Sixth Dynasty finds from Gala Abu Ahmed indicate the Egyptian control of the trade route along the Nile far beyond the Third Cataract and of the Wadi Howar at least as far as Gala Abu Ahmed. As to the owner of Gala Abu Ahmed, however, it must be noted that Psamtek II’s army hardly used the route along the Nile when marching to Napata. The Kushite control of the river between the Third and Fourth Cataracts, including the entrance of the Wadi Howar, is clearly indicated by Aspelta’s kiosk built after the campaign in Temple T at Kawa278 and the votive cartouche of Aspelta’s second successor 276 277 278

Bonnet–Valbelle 2005 164 ff. For the background cf. Kienitz 1953 49 ff.; Lloyd 1982. Now Oxford 1936.662, Macadam 1955 Pl. LI; Török 2002a 124 ff.

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Malonaqene from the same sanctuary.279 The faience New Year flasks discovered at Gala Abu Ahmed belong to an object type traded or sent to remote lands as part of elite gift exchange. It is not irrelevant from the aspect of the function and status of both Gala Abu Ahmed and Dorginarti that, besides these two sites, analogous New Year flasks (or fragments thereof) were also recovered at Kawa (from the temple inventory) and Missiminia (from a tomb).280 Yet while the Aspelta kiosk at Kawa, the careful burial of the damaged royal statues and the restoration of the temple at Dokki Gel,281 and the Malonaqene votive from Kawa attest the Kushite control of the land south of the Third (or possibly the Second) Cataract after Psamtek II’s expedition, the lack of evidence indicating Kushite supremacy between the First and Second Cataracts in the times after 593 BC represents a powerful argument for the Egyptian occupation of Lower Nubia and the presence of Egyptian military at Dorginarti. The Egyptian control of the trade route north, and its Kushite control south of the Second Cataract deprived the inhabitants of Lower Nubia of the possibility to participate in, and profit from, long-distance trade between Egypt, Kush, and the interior of Africa. The exclusion of the Lower Nubian communities from the mediation of produces must have contributed to their impoverishment, population decrease and negative changes in the proportion of the settled/semi-nomadic/nomadic segments of the population. Exotic goods from the south arrived in Egypt in the framework of a trade organized on “state level”, similarly to the import of Egyptian luxury wares to Kush. The majority of the luxury wares arrived in Kush as diplomatic gifts rather than items of commercial exchange. The contemporary Kushite royal and elite burials (e.g., at Sanam) sufficiently attest to imports of this sort, also including the arrival of luxury commodities (see, e.g., the Egyptian amphora from the burial of the mid-sixth century King Analma#aye).282 A convoy is known to have travelled south on the Nile under the protection of a military escort in Year 41 of Amasis (529 BC).283 Macadam 1949 89 No. XLIII. For a list, see Lohwasser 2004 156. 281 Cf. Bonnet–Valbelle 2005. 282 Nu. 18, Dunham 1955 fig. 114. 283 W. Erichsen: Erwähnung eines Zuges nach Nubien unter Amasis in einem demotischen Text. Klio 34 (1941–1942) 56–61; K.-Th. Zauzich: Ein Zug nach Nubien unter Amasis. in: J.H. Johnson (ed.): Life in a Multi-Cultural Society: Egypt from Cambyses to Constantine and Beyond (Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 51). Chicago 1992 361–364. 279 280


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6.2. Kush in Lower Nubia 6.2.1. The First Half of the Fourth Century BC Except for names and titularies, no textual evidence is known from the reigns of the ten rulers who followed Aspelta on the throne of Kush.284 Yet neither their archaeological evidence from Napata, Meroe City285 and the royal necropolis of Nuri,286 nor their tituaries give the impression of isolation or economic, political and cultural decline. Their pyramid tombs display an adherence to early post-Twenty-Fifth Dynasty (Napatan) mortuary religion and burial customs. Political continuity is indicated by the homogeneity of the royal necropolis. The concept of dynastic continuity from the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty was emphasized in the royal titularies.287 The general lack of Horus,288 Nebty, and Golden Horus names represents the influence of the reduced Egyptian titularies occurring with Psamtek III, the last Twenty-Sixth Dynasty king, and with most Persian kings in the Twenty-Seventh Dynasty289 rather than an independent departure from the five-part titulary in an attempt to create a non-Egyptian type of titularies and introduce titles indicating native traditions of rulership. King Amaniastabarqo’s exceptional Horus name (Swtj, “being mighty/great”)290 represents an isolated attempt at such a departure, which would, however, not be accomplished before the Meroitic period. Behind the legend of Cambyses’ (525–522 BC) disastrous invasion of Nubia291—also reflected in the later classical tradition, according to which the Persian ruler also conquered Meroe and gave the city its name292—we may suppose the memory of Psamtek II’s Nubian expedition.293 The king of Kush sent ivory for the construction of Darius I’s 284

For the evidence, see FHN I Nos (44)–(47), (49), (52)–(55); FHN II No. (67). Cf. Török 1997a 375; 1997b 25 ff., 235 ff. 286 Dunham 1955. 287 See the throne names of Analma#aye, FHN I No. (46), Amaniastabarqo, ibid. No. (52), Si’aspiqo, ibid. No. (53). 288 Except for Amaniastabarqo, FHN I No. (52). 289 Beckerath 1984 112 ff. 290 Cf. Wb IV 77 (9). 291 Herodotus 3.17.1–25.7. 292 FGrH 3C1, 673 F 63; add Lucius Ampelius, Liber memorialis 13: Burstein 1995 163 note 20. 293 Burstein 1995 155 ff.—The possibility of a military conflict in Cambyses’ reign is suggested by Morkot 1991c 327. 285

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(522–486 BC) palace at Susa and was listed as his southernmost subject. According to Herodotus (3.97.3), the Kushites presented the Persians with twenty large elephant tusks every third year. Besides Dareios I’s “list of peoples”, Kush also figures in Xerxes I’s (486–465 BC) lists as a people ruled by the kings of Persia.294 While the Persian evidence depicts a vassal obliged to pay tribute, the reality was probably commercial/gift exchange, coloured of course by the actual Persian domination in Lower Nubia. The passage of Herodotus (7.69) where the historian presents a realistic description of Aithiopian warriors originating from the southern confines of Kush fighting in Xerxes I’s army295 may be interpreted in the same sense. For the Persian side of the gift exchange stands the fine Attic plastic rhyton made and signed around 470 BC by the potter Sotades and found under pyramid Beg. S. 24.296 The rhyton, similarly to other vessels by Sotades, was produced for a Persian clientèle297 and may be interpreted as a diplomatic gift sent to the king of Kush by Xerxes I’s Egyptian satrap.298 While Kush does not seem to have exploited the Egyptian revolt occurring between Cambyses’ death and 519/8 BC, the subsequent anti-Persian revolts under Xerxes I (between c. 486–484 BC), Artaxerxes I (between c. 463/2–449 BC: the revolt of Inaros) and Darius II (between c. 414/3–404 BC) already considerably changed the perspectives of Kushite contacts with Egypt.299 The conflicts in Egypt were considered a chance for the Kushite reoccupation of the region between

294 G. Posener: La première domination perse en Égypte. Le Caire 1936 70, 187; J. Yoyotte: Une statue de Darius découverte à Suse: les inscriptions hieroglyphiques. Darius et l’Égypte. Journal Asiatique 260 (1972) 259. For Kushites as throne-bearers of the Persian king: G. Walser: Die Völkerschaften auf den Reliefs von Persepolis. Berlin 1966 51 ff.; Kushite tribute-bringers before Xerxes: ibid. 100 ff., Pls 30, 81, 82. 295 D. Zahan: Couleurs et peintures corporelles en Afrique Noire. Le problème du “half-man”. Diogène 90 (1975) 115–135; Desanges 1978 233 note 98; FHN I No. 58. 296 MFA 21.2286; Dunham 1963 383, figs 212–215. For its dating to around 470, as opposed to earlier datings to around 400 BC, see K. de Vries: Attic Pottery in the Achaemenid Empire. AJA 81 (1977) 544–548 546; J.-Gy. Szilágyi in Török 1989a 118 Cat. 1. 297 L. Kahil: Un nouveau vase plastique du potier Sotades au Musée du Louvre. RA 1972 271–284. It is decorated with scenes of battles between Greeks and Persians in which it is the latter that are victorious. 298 For the First Persian Period (525–404 BC) in Egypt, see G. Posener: La première domination perse en Égypte. Le Caire 1936; Kienitz 1953; J. Ray: Egypt: 525–404 BC. in: CAH IV 254–286. 299 For the Kushite-Egyptian contacts in the fifth and fourth centuries BC, see Morkot 1991c.


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the First and Second Cataracts. In Herodotus’ great historical work written around 450–430 BC300 two lands of Aithiopia, i.e., Kush, are described: an Utopian Aithiopia, which “extends toward the setting sun, the furthest inhabited country”, and the real kingdom of Kush extending from Elephantine, the southernmost city of Egypt, to the city of Meroe. According to Herodotus, As one goes further up river from the city of Elephantine the country rises, so there it is necessary to proceed with the boat securely bound on both sides just like an ox.301 If the boat is torn away, it rushes off borne by the force of the current. It takes four days to sail through this region, and the Nile is here sinuous like the Meander. The distance one has to sail in this way is twelve schoinoi.302 Thereupon you will arrive at a smooth plain, where the Nile flows around an island; its name is Takompso. From Elephantine on, the country is inhabited by Aithiopians, and so is half of the island, while the other half is inhabited by Egyptians. Next to the island there is a great lake around which nomad Aithiopians live. When you have sailed through this lake you reach the course of the Nile which flows into it. Then you disembark and travel along the river for forty days, for sharp rocks emerge in the Nile and there are many sunken rocks through which it is impossible to sail. After you have completed the journey through this region during these forty days, you embark onto another boat and sail for twelve days. Thereupon you arrive at a great city with the name of Meroe. This city is said to be the capital of all the other Aithiopians.303

Though the description of the First Cataract region contains errors, which point towards a source of general nature such as a traveller’s itinerary excerpted for Herodotus orally and in a superficial manner at some point of his stay in Lower Egypt, the distance of twelve miles between Elephantine and Takompso (the Nile valley stretch that would appear in later sources as Δωδεκσχοινος, “The Land of Twelve Miles”),304 is correct.305 The text may be interpreted as a poorly informed description of Lower Nubia returned under Kushite supremacy; of a land partly inhabited by nomads. The Kushite reoccupation 300 For Herodotus, see Lloyd 1975, 1976, 1988 and cf. D. Fehling: Herodotus and His ‘Sources’. Citation, Invention and Narrative Art. Leeds 1989 (original edn. Die Quellenangaben bei Herodot: Studien zur Erzählkunst Herodots. Berlin 1971). 301 I.e. by hauling the boat by ropes from each riverbank, as one leads an unmanageable ox by ropes from two sides. 302 Ca. 126 km. 303 Herodotus 2.29.2–5, FHN I 56, trans. T. Eide. 304 Cf. Locher 1999 230 ff. 305 Contra my overcriticism in FHN I 310.

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was accomplished already during the revolt of Inaros between c. 463/2– 449 BC, which also seems to conform with the archaeological evidence dating the withdrawal of the Egyptian forces from the fortress of Dorginarti to this period (cf. Chapter XIII.4.5). The Egyptian revolts seem to have stimulated even greater ambitions than the reoccupation of Lower Nubia, if we interpret correctly the titulary of King Irike-Amannote, who ascended the throne of Kush in the time of the third revolt (between c. 414/3–404 BC). The personal or Son of Re name of Irike-Amannote probably means “Begotten-of-Amunof-Nô (Thebes)”.306 Giving expression to the traditional concept of the ruler’s divine sonship, the name was probably assumed at his ascent to the throne and was not identical with Irike-Amannote’s original personal name. Similarly to his Son of Re name, Irike-Amannote’s Horus name K A nht H #-m-W Ast, “Mighty-Bull Appearing-in-Thebes”, modelled ˘ ˘ name assumed by Piankhy after his Egyptian campaign on the Horus and by Shebitqo at his ascent, declares a claim to regency in Egypt. The assumption of such a claim is also supported by the imperialistic tenor of Irike-Amannote’s Nebty name Jt-t Aw-nb, “Seizer-of-every-land”307 and ¯ Golden Horus name W #f-h Aswt-nb(wt), “Subduer-of-every-land”.308 Such ˘ an intention seems also to have been indicated by the unusual throne name Nfr-"ıb.R #, “Re-is-One-whose-heart-is-beautiful”, which occurred before Irike-Amannote only in the titulary of Psamtek II.309 The adoption of the throne name of a memorable enemy of Kush cannot have been accidental or a consequence of ignorance. It was an act of the magical reversal of history. Even though the political program announced in Irike-Amannote’s titulary was never carried out and the intention of the restoration of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty’s double kingdom could hardly have been more than a vainglorious pretension, Irike-Amannote’s inscriptions, especially his Kawa inscription from Years 1–2 containing his enthronement record,310 are remarkable documents of a re-formulation of the

Macadam 1949 52 f. Repeating the Nebty name adopted by Tuthmose I on the obelisks erected in front of the Fourth Pylon at Karnak, Urk. IV 93 (south side). 308 Based on one of the Golden Horus names of Rameses II in the inscription on his (east) obelisk at Luxor, KRI II 599; Beckerath 1984 XIX 3 G 9. 309 Beckerath 1984 XXVI 3 T 1; Nfr-"ıb-R# as the name of an obscure king of the Fourteenth Dynasty is disregarded here, ibid. XIV 23. 310 FHN II No. 71. 306 307


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traditional Kushite myth of the state.311 No Lower Nubian affairs are mentioned in these texts, however. Kushite royal activity north of the Third Cataract is first recorded in the first half of the fourth century BC in the Annals of King Harsiyotef, Irike-Amannote’s second successor.312 According to Harsiyoyef ’s Annals,313 the legitimacy of his reign314 and Amun’s favour was demonstrated by nine victorious military undertakings during the first thirty-five years of his regency. The annalistic sections of the stela record donations, building activities, military campaigns and festivals celebrated in various shrines of the land. In the case of the majority of the recorded events, the author(s) of the text relied on royal daybooks, war diaries, and temple journals.315 Table I presents an overview of Harsiyotef ’s wars: Table I. Harsiyotef ’s Wars conflict starts


scene of the conflict

type of description

Year 2 III prt 23 Year 3 II prt 4 Year 5 II sˇmw 12 Year 6 II sˇmw 4 Year 11 I prt 4 Year 16 I Aht 15 ˘ 13 Year 18 I prt Year 23 III sˇmw 29 Year 35 I prt 5

Rhrhs Mddt Mddt Mddt “rebels” Mh"ıwf ˘ Rhrhs Rhrhs Mh"ıwf ˘

Northern Butana (?) Eastern Desert (?) " Ar.t (?) at Inrw Eastern Desert (?) #qn A.t (probably = Mirgissa) Lower Nubia at Meroe City at Meroe City Lower Nubia

stereotype stereotype detailed detailed detailed stereotype detailed detailed detailed

Five campaigns started in the season of prt and these were directed mostly against the nomads in the Northern Butana (Rhrhs) or east of the Nile in the Kawa region (Mddt=Medjay, cf. Chapter IV.2); one Cf. Török 1997a 216 ff.; 2002a 356 ff., 439 ff. His Son of Re name Hr-s . A-jt.f, “Horus-son-of-his-father”, was obviously adopted on his ascent to the throne, and while it gives expression to the concept of the king as incarnation of Horus, thus indicating that its owner was a king’s son, the deviation from the canonical Nubian Son of Re name-type which proclaims that the king is Amun’s son, shows that he was not a king’s son who had been predestined as heir. 313 Granite stela from the first court of the Amun temple at Napata, Cairo JE 48864, FHN II No. 78; cf. also Török 2002a 342 ff., 445 ff. 314 Cf. FHN II Nos (76), (77). 315 Török 2002a 358 ff.; Török in: FHN II 457 ff.—For the genres of daybook and war diary, see A.J. Spalinger: Aspects of the Military Documents of the Ancient Egyptians. New Haven–London 1982 and D.B. Redford: Pharaonic King-Lists, Annals and Day-Books. A Contribution to the Study of the Egyptian Sense of History. Mississauga 1986. 311 312

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expedition, however, went in I prt to Lower Nubia. Three campaigns started in the season of sˇmw, two of them against the Medjay and one against the Rehrehes, while only one campaign started against rebels in Lower Nubia in the early part of Aht. It would thus seem that some campaigns were deliberately initiated˘ in a season better suited for warfare, and it may perhaps also be suggested (on the assumption that in the early fourth century BC there was a discrepancy of c. nine months between the calendrical and the natural years) that the majority of the expeditions started after the season of the inundation. This is especially interesting in the case of the campaigns to Lower Nubia (Years 11, 16, 35), which were thus carried out at the time of low Nile. As to the significance of the calendrical dates, the campaign in early Aht ˘ in Year 16 against the Mddt may also be interpreted as a “ritual war” after New Year. The last column of Table I refers to the type of the eventual comments added to the basic annalistic data. The different extents of detail may indicate that the royal archives contained yearly records of varying meticulousness but may also indirectly indicate that some campaigns were minor, and perhaps less successful, affairs and therefore recorded retrospectively only in a stereotypical manner while other campaigns were on a larger scale and recorded in more detail. In some of the reports the details are embellished with traditional formulae of great antiquity. E.g., in Year 6 the vanquished chief of the Mddt seeks for peace with the words: “I am a woman”, recalling Piankhy’s Great Triumphal Stela.316 It is difficult to decide whether, and when, the King led an expedition in person, unless it is stated clearly, as in the case of the Lower Nubian campaign of Year 11 when the King sent his “servant” Gasau against the rebels. The wording of the reports on the campaigns in Years 5 and 6 against the Mddt, in Year 11 against the rebels laying siege to the town of #qn A.t, and in Years 16 and 35 against rebels in Lower Nubia is also rather clear as to the absence of Harsiyotef from the fighting. The conflicts of Years 11 and 16 are particularly interesting as regards Kushite presence in Lower Nubia: Eleventh regnal year, first month of Winter, 4th day. I sent my army against Aqne ( #qn A.t) on account of my servant Gasau, Specification, their names: Braga and Sa-Amani-sa. (When) Aswan was reached, 316

FHN I No. 9, lines 149 f.


chapter thirteen he did battle with it he slaughtered Braga and Saamanisa, their lords! Your (Amun) awsomeness is good. You (yourself) it was that acted for me. Sixteenth regnal year, first month of Inundation, 15th day. I sent my army and cavalry against the rebels of Mh"ıwf. ˘ Battle was done with my army, It slaughtered it. They captured their cattle.317

The possession of the town of #qn A.t, i.e., Mirgissa, indicates the possession of the Nile valley as far north as the Second Cataract. Yet also an attempt at the control over the region between the First and Second Cataracts is indicated: the rebels were followed as far as Swn.t (Aswan), i.e., to Egyptian territory, where they were annihilated. This may indicate Egyptian participation in, or support for, their attempt to destroy Harsiyotef ’s position at #qn A.t. The theophoric name of one of " the rebels, Sa-Amani-sa (S-Imn-s) indicates an Egyptianized or Kushiticized cultural background and royal pretensions. The conflicts also describe another recurrent problem of internal politics, namely, the powerful presence of wealthy cattle-breeding nomads on the fringes (the Mddt) and within the borders of the kingdom (the Rehrehes). In Years 18 and 23 the Rehrehes had to be fought directly at the city of Meroe, and, remembering that they had to be pacified by Irike-Amannote before he could start his coronation journey to Napata,318 there can be no doubt that they had been living for a long time on the Island of Meroe north of Meroe City and were thus Kushite subjects. The recurrent conflicts not only show that they were difficult subjects, but also indicate that their wealth in cattle represented a source of (prestige) income for the Kushite ruler also beyond the—presumably—legally established tributes or taxes. Cattle were also captured from the vanquished Lower Nubian rebels of Mh"ıwf. The territorial extension of the kingdom of Kush in the first ˘ half of the fourth century BC and the existence of settlements supporting cult temples—beyond the great Amun sanctuaries of the earlier periods known from the textual and archaeological evidence and also mentioned in the Annals as scenes of independent coronation ceremonies— is also indicated by a list of festivals celebrated by Harsiyotef during 317 318

FHN II No. 78, lines 92–99, trans. R.H. Pierce. FHN II No. 71, lines 5 f.

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the first thirty-five years of his reign. Table J gives the festivals in the sequence as they are recorded in the stela. It is far from certain, however, that the list was arranged in a chronological order. Table J. Harsiyotef ’s Festivals location

settlement " ı.y.t / Sedeinga319 [It]t"



B A-r A-w A-t / Meroe City


Khartoum area

M-r A-t"ı-t /

not known

G A-r-r-t / ?

not known

S-h-r A-s A-t / ?

Osiris, Isis, Horus

junction of the Nile and Atbara

S-k A-r A-g A-t /

Osiris, Amaniabti (?)

not known

K A-r A-t"ı-t / ?


between the First and Second Cataracts

M-h. A-t / Abu Simbel322


not known

" A-t"ı-n A-y-t / ? I-r


Fourth Cataract region

Npt / Napata (Gebel Barkal)


on the island of Sai (?) or downstream from Napata, left bank (?)

N-h A-n A-t / Sai or Korti

2 Osiris gods (or 2 festivals)

between the Third and Fourth Cataracts

Pr-gm-t / Kawa

Osiris, Isis

between the Third and Fourth Cataracts

Pr-nbs / Kerma

3 Osiris gods (or 3 festivals)

between the Second and Third Cataracts



Osiris, Isis 4 Osiris gods (or 4 festivals), Isis


It is worth adding that Harsiyotef also donated timber originating from " Ar.t, probably a district of Punt,323 to the great temple of Amun at Irk Napata, which gives an idea of the range of trade contacts in his reign. The list includes a shrine at Abu Simbel where a festival of Re was celebrated—one wonders whether this cult had anything to do with the Zibelius 1972 97. Zibelius 1972 125.—For a sphinx from Defeia, inscribed for Aspelta, see J. Vercoutter: Le sphinx d’Aspelta de Defeia (Khartoum Museum No. 11777). in: Mélanges Mariette (BdE 32). Le Caire 1961 97–104. 321 The itinerary of Juba, FHN III No. 186. 322 Zibelius 1972 126 f. 323 Zibelius 1972 87, s.v. jrkrk. 319 320


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Ramesside Re-Harakhte cult and with the Great Temple; and if yes, who was it who resurrected this cult: Harsiyotef or rather the Lower Nubians? The pretentious name of the rebel Sa-Amani-sa and his possible contact with Egypt, the repetition of the revolts in Years 11, 16 and 35 all indicate that there could have existed some complex polity or polities in Lower Nubia, which tried to preserve its/their independence from Kush. As we learn from the text of a remarkable stela erected in the eighth regnal year of Harsiyotef ’s third successor Nastasene,324 Lower Nubians revolted anew against Kushite supremacy in the second half of the fourth century.325 6.2.2. The Second Half of the Fourth Century BC In 404 BC, after the death of Darius II, Egypt regained her independence as a result of the successful revolt led by Amyrtaeus (Egyp" ır-d"ı-s(w)),326 the only pharaoh of the Twenty-Eighth Dynasty tian Imn-" (404–399 BC). For more than sixty years Egypt was ruled by the native kings of the Twenty-Eighth, Twenty-Ninth (399–380 BC) and Thirtieth Dynasties (380–343 BC).327 The Twenty-Ninth Dynasty entered the scene with violence, however,328 and ruled over a country that was suffering from a constant struggle for power.329 In turn, the period of the Thirtieth Dynasty was overshadowed initially by internal opposition, and then by the threat of the Persian reoccupation. Egypt escaped Persian invasion in 373 BC,330 and the next thirty years represent a brief, yet highly remarkable renaissance of traditional pharaonic culture. 324 For Nastasene’s documents, see FHN II Nos (82)-84; E. McCann: The Offering Table of Nastasen: A Glimpse into the Royal Funerary Cult of Ancient Sudan. BzS 8 (2003) 59–84. See also J.F. Quack: Beiträge zum Peripherdemotischen. in: Bács (ed.) 2002 393–403. 325 Berlin 2268, probably from the great Amun temple at Napata, FHN II No. 84. 326 Cf. H. de Meulenaere: Amyrtaios. LÄ I (1973) 252–253. 327 A.B. Lloyd: Egypt, 404–332 B.C. in: CAH VI 337–360. 328 Kienitz 1953 78 f. 329 For the period, see the pseudo-prophetic Demotic Chronicle, cf. J.H. Johnson: The Demotic Chronicle as an Historical Source. Enchoria 4 (1974) 1–17; ead.: Is the Demotic Chronicle an Anti-Greek Tract? in: H.J. Thyssen–K.-T. Zauzich (eds): Grammata Demotika. Festschrift Erich Lüddeckens zum 15. Juni 1983. Würzburg 1984 107–124; J.F. Quack: Einführung in die altägyptische Literaturgeschichte III. Die demotische und gräko-ägyptische Literatur (Einführungen und Quellentexte zur Ägyptologie 3). Münster 2005 155–159. For its German translation, see F. Hoffmann–J.F. Quack: Anthologie der demotischen Literatur (Einführungen und Quellentexte zur Ägyptologie 4). Berlin 2007 183–191. 330 For the Egyptian policy, see Lloyd 2000 387 f.

lower nubia under the twenty-fifth dynasty


In 343/2 BC Persia successfully invaded Egypt and Nectanebos II, the last ruler of the Thirtieth Dynasty, fled to Upper Egypt where he managed to maintain his rule for about ten months. According to Ephorus’ account of the Persian occupation, King Nectanebos… who spent his time in Memphis watching the cities’ eagerness to surrender, did not dare risk a battle for his supremacy. Renouncing his kingship, he took the greatest part of his possessions and fled to Aithiopia.331

Since Ephorus wrote his universal history around 340 BC,332 his remark on Nectanebos’ flight to the land south of the First Cataract after his Upper Egyptian power collapsed may have rested on a reliable source. In the view of Kienitz,333 Nectanebos received the protection of Lower Nubian princes rather than the king of Kush. Kienitz connects Nectanebos’ flight with an event occurring some time before Year 8 (Year 1?) of Nastasene, namely, the campaign directed against the rebel Kambasawden. The latter was identified by Kienitz, Hintze334 and others335 with Khababash, king of Egypt around 337–336 BC. Accordingly, 336/5 BC, the last year of Khababash’s brief rule,336 was equated with Year 1 of Nastasene.337 Grimal suggested that Khababash was a Lower Nubian prince who “would have eventually come into conflict with Nastase[ne] by espousing the interests of Nectanebos II and then having himself proclaimed pharaoh”.338

Ephorus of Cyme in Diodorus 16.51.1 (FHN II No. 84a), trans. T. Eide. M. Sordi: Diodori Siculi Bibliothecae liber sextus decimus. Firenze 1969 xii–xxx; for Ephorus’ trustworthiness cf. also Burstein 1989 225 f. 333 Kienitz 1953 107. 334 Hintze 1959 17 ff. 335 Also including Török 1988a 165. 336 For the evidence, see Kienitz 1953 135, 188; for an improbable dating of Khababash to 333–331 BC, see C.B. Welles: The Role of the Egyptians under the First Ptolemies. Proceedings of the Twelfth International Congress of Papyrology. Toronto 1970 505– 510. A. Spalinger: The Reign of King Chabbash: An Interpretation. ZÄS 105 (1978) 142–154 suggests a somewhat longer regency. See also H. Goedicke: Comments on the Satrap Stela. BES 6 (1984) 33–54; W. Huss: Der rätselhafte Pharao Chababasch. SEL 11 (1994) 97–112; D. Devauchelle: Réflexions sur les documents égyptiens datés de la Deuxième Domination perse. Transeuphratène 10 (1995) 35–43 40 ff. 337 Hintze 1959 17 ff. Contra see I.S. Katznelson: Kambesweden et Khababash. ZÄS 93 (1966) 89–93. 338 N. Grimal: A History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford 1992 381. 331 332


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Grimal’s ingenious reconstruction of the context is shattered, however, by the probable Libyan origin339 and Lower Egyptian background340 of Khababash as well as by the improbability of his identification with Kambasawden.341 An alternative was recently presented by I.A. Ladynin, who, while leaving undecided whether the identification can be maintained or not, considers Khababash to have come from Nubia in any case.342 The laconic account given in the Nastasene Stela of the conflict between Nastasene and Kambasawden runs thus: Kambasawden – came. (I) had a force of bowmen go from Tshare (D A-r A-t). ¯ A great slaughter. (I) seized all his — (I) captured all the transport ships of the chief. I inflicted a slaughter on him. (I) seized all his lands, all domestic animals, all long-horned cattle, all herds, all that sustained eyes (i.e. people), from Kuratape to Tarawdie. I gave him/it to that which — since slaughter was in it; in order to let live the people in it I made rescue for - — I gave it in Taramnue (T A-r A-m-nw-t), (to wit) protected long-horned cattle: 12 (head), the property of Amun of Napata, which they brought down from Napata. Fourth month (of Inundation), day 26, the birthday of the Son-of-Re: Nastasene: (I) gave it in Sakusakudie (S A-k A-s A-k A-dy-t), (to wit) — long-horned cattle: 6 (head), the property of Amun of Napata, my good father, coming from Napata. Fourth month of Inundation, last day (of the month), the day (of) giving it, (to wit) the seh-crown, to the Son-of-Re: Nastasene. I had made (over) to you, Amun of Napata… [here follows the list of donations, including the occupied lands].343

Cf. Spalinger 1978 147. Cf. the Satrap Stela, Urk. II 15, 12–17. 341 Morkot 1991c 330 f. 342 I.A. Ladynin: Nectanebo in Ethiopia: A Commentary to Diod. XVI. 51.1. Unpubl. paper presented at the Eleventh International Conference of Nubian Studies, Warsaw 27 August – 2 September 2006. I am grateful to Dr. Ladynin for granting me access to the manuscript of his paper. 343 FHN II No. 84, lines 39–43, trans. R.H. Pierce. 339 340

lower nubia under the twenty-fifth dynasty


It emerges from the text that Kambasawden possessed a fleet, which was captured after his men were slaughtered by Nastasene’s army. The army had been dispatched from Tshare (D A-r A-t), a place in Lower ¯ Nubia identified with ed-Dirr on the right bank between Aniba and Amada.344 After Kambasawden’s defeat Nastasene took his land and cattle and made donations to temples (?) or communities (?) in the unidentified Taramnue (T A-r A-m-nw-t) and Sakusakudie (S A-k A-s A-k A-dyt) from the properties of Amun of Napata (a Lower Nubian temple of Amun of Napata?) perhaps as a recompensation for damages or as a reward for cooperation. While the assumed Egyptian connections remain obscure, the general impression given by the text is of a revolt led by a powerful Lower Nubian (Kambasawden has no title in the text) against the supremacy of the king of Kush. If so, it was a revolt the reasons and outcome of which do not seem to basically differ from earlier or later revolts. This is also reinforced by the chronicle of Nastasene’s other victories gained during the subsequent years of his regency. After the campaign against Kambasawden he sent expeditions against the territories of Mhndqnntt, ˘ (Med" " Mhˇsrhrt"ı, the M A-y- o -k A-t and the Mdd and Irrs, R A-b A-rw, Ikrkr, ˘ ˘ jay) nomads who were living east of the Nile and who invaded, similarly to their ancestors, the area of Kawa. The text gives the names of the vanquished chiefs (wrw) as well as detailed lists of the booty taken, which is always of irrealistic dimensions. E.g., in the case of Mhndqnntt: ˘ I had the archers go against the rebels of Mekhindekennete (Mhndqnntt). ˘ They did battle with him; the slaughter was great. " o -k A). (I) captured its chief, Ayonku (I-y(I) took all the women, all the cattle, much gold: long-horned cattle: 209,659 (head); livestock: 505,349 (head); women: 2,236; sesame of Kutardie: 322 hekat -measures.345

In the other cases the king takes “long-horned oxen: 300 (head), livestock: 300 (head), men: 200” (Kambasawden); “long-horned oxen: 203,216 (head), livestock: 603,107 (head), all the women, all that by " “gold, deben-weight: 1,212, which a person is kept alive” (R A-b A-rw, Ikrkr); long-horned oxen: 22,120 (head), all the women, and livestock: 55,200 (head)” (region of Abu Simbel); “the chief and all that by which he sustains people and all the women, long-horned oxen: 203,146 (head), 344 345

Priese 1984 488. FHN II No. 84, lines 46–51, trans. R.H. Pierce.


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livestock: 33,050 (head)” (Mhˇsrhrt"ı), “all their women, all the domestic ˘ ˘ long-horned oxen: 35,330 (head), liveanimals, gold: 2000 deben-weight, stock: 55,526 (head), in short, all that by which people are sustained” (M A-y- o -k A-t). " During the course of the campaign against Ikrkr also Abs o , the wr (“chief ”, “prince”) of Mh. t, i.e., Abu Simbel, was taken prisoner and given as slave to a temple of Amun: " I had the chief of Mahae (M A-h. A-t), Abs o (I-b-so ) seized. (I) captured all the women, all the domestic animals, gold, deben-weight: 1,212, long-horned cattle: 22,120 (head); all the women, and livestock: 55,200 (head). I gave it, (to wit) the chief and his property, to Amun of Napata, my good father.346

The stereotyped descriptions of the campaigns against Kambasawden and the chief of Abu Simbel give the impression that the campaigns differed only in small details. A more significant difference is that Kambasawden is not described as chief or prince (wr) of a “rebel country”: he simply “came”; he had nevertheless lands and people in Lower Nubia that could be seized by Nastasene. Otherwise the text gives the impression as if the individual rebels whose names are also given were of an identical political status: viz., they were local chiefs who had certain authority over their people, but who all owed allegiance to the king of Kush who had the power to dispose over their lands and people. There is little, if any, political/legal difference indicated in the text between the semi-nomadic and nomadic peoples living on the eastern and southern fringes of the kingdom and the polity or polities in Lower Nubia. While the limits of their internal autonomy were strictly drawn, their traditional societal structure could nevertheless be maintained to the extent that they were induced again and again to make attempts at their separation from the kingdom of Kush.


FHN II No. 84, lines 53 f., trans. R.H. Pierce.

chapter fourteen THE NEIGHBOUR OF PTOLEMAIC EGYPT (C. 332–30 BC)

From the earliest times down to Ptolemy surnamed Philadelphus not only had no Greeks penetrated into Aithiopia, they had not even come as far as to Egypt’s borders, so inhospitable in every way were these regions and so downright dangerous. But the above-mentioned king, with a Greek army, was the first who made an expedition into Aithiopia; and from that time knowledge about this country has been more accurate.1

1. Egypt in Lower Nubia before the Upper Egyptian Revolt (c. 332–205 BC) 1.1. The First Contacts Agatharchides, the author of the note quoted at the head of this chapter on the expedition sent by Ptolemy II in 275 or 274 BC2 to Nubia, may well have ignored the participation of Greek mercenaries3 in Psamtek II’s Nubian campaign in 593 BC (Chapter XIII.5.1) when he repeated the propagandistic topos about a great king who adds new lands to his empire. It is less likely that he did not hear at all about the punitive expedition sent to Lower Nubia between 319/8 and 311 BC (see below).

Agatharchides in Diodorus 1.37.5, FHN II No. 144, trans. T. Eide. For the dating of the expedition, see Theocritus, Id. 17.87; Athenaeus, Deipn. 197 ff.; Rice 1983; yet cf. also V. Foertmeyer: The Dating of the Pomp of Ptolemy II Philadelphus. Historia 37 (1988) 94–104 (i.e., the triumphal procession following the campaign dated to 275 BC). 3 For their Nubian inscriptions, see FHN I Nos 41–43. 1 2


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Ptolemy II’s military undertaking may have been a precaution but also a reaction on eventual incursions made by Nubians into Upper Egypt during the difficult decades that followed the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great (pharaoh of Egypt 332–323 BC) in the last months of 332 BC.4 Frontier squirmishes of the kind hinted at in a Greek letter from the first half of the third century BC5 may in fact have started in the very moment when the Lower Nubians and then the king of Kush have first learnt about the changes in Egypt. There existed a tradition in Hellenistic literature according to which Alexander was active in Aithiopia,6 and Arrian (Anab., 7.15.4) writes about an Aithiopian embassy to Alexander in 324 BC. Hence Stanley Burstein suggested that Callisthenes led an expedition to Aithiopia in Alexander’s reign.7 This suggestion remains, however, far too hypothetical.8 Only so much seems certain that another data of Arrian (Anab., 3.2.7) concerning the early stationing of an Egyptian frontier force at Elephantine corresponds with reality.9 The predecessor garrison, viz., the Jewish military colony of Elephantine established under the First Persian Occupation, is well known from Aramaic papyri found on the island.10 It may also be explained by the existence of a frontier garrison at Elephantine that Alexander banished there the leaders of a revolt on Chios.11 According to the Satrap Stela, the people of Jrm had to be punished some time between 319/8 and 311 BC because they committed a crime against Egypt.12 If the Jrmmr were inhabitants of Lower Nubia, as suggested by Gauthier13 and Huss14 or of the Eastern Desert as suggested by Zibelius-Chen,15 their crime may have been

For the conquest, see Hölbl 2001 9 ff.; Huss 2001 57 ff. W. Schubart in: E. Sachau: Aramäische Papyrus und Ostraka aus einer jüdischen MilitärKolonie zu Elephantine. Leipzig 1911 No. 48; FHN II No. 97. 6 Lucanus, Phars., 10.272 ff., Johannes Lydus, De mens., 4.107. 7 S.M. Burstein: Alexander, Callisthenes and the Sources of the Nile. GRBS 17 (1976) 135–146. 8 Cf. Desanges 1978 247; Desanges 1992 367; Burstein 1993 41. 9 Winnicki 1978 88. 10 For their list, see B.B. Porten: Egyptian Aramaic Texts. in: E. Meyers (ed.): The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East V. Appendix 1. Oxford 1997 393–410. 11 Arr., Anab., 2.1, 3.2. 12 Satrap Stela line 6. 13 Gauthier 1925–1931 I 93 f. 14 Huss 2001 136. 15 Zibelius-Chen 1994b 415. 4 5

the neighbour of ptolemaic egypt


committed against the Elephantine garrison and the Egyptian territory protected by it.16 While neither the embassy sent by the king of Kush to Alexander nor the diplomatic contacts between the Macedonian conqueror and the fabled “queen Candace” of Meroe17 can be verified, the informations about the land beyond the First Cataract occurring from c. 300 BC in the Hellenistic literature, especially in works on geography and ethnography, reflect the curiosity of actual embassies, traders and other travellers exploring the Middle Nile region for political, commercial and scientific purposes.18 The impact of early diplomatic contacts with Ptolemaic Egypt is demonstrated by the, however fragmentarily preserved, evidence concerning King G At"ısn of Kush (cf. Chapter XII.3). G At"ısn is probably identical with the Aktisanes of Hecataeus of Abdera19 who wrote his (lost) work between c. 320–305 BC.20 After centuries, Aktisanes’ titulary not only contains again an imitation of a contemporary Egyptian Horus21 and throne name22 but also attests to the revival of Kushite interest in Egyptian kingship as well as Kushite access to written information about it. Aktisanes’ titulary preserved on stray blocks from a temple at Napata dedicated to Amun of Thebes and Amun of Napata23 has survived from the beginning of a period in which the renewed contact with Egyptian literacy was coupled with an archaizing tendency manifested by titularies mixing Egyptian Third Intermediate Period inspirations with copies of early Ptolemaic titles.24 In Hecataeus’ story Aktisanes appears in a fictive context as the opponent of Amasis, 16 Locher 1999 235 note 30 reads, however, M AAmr or Mrmr, “Marmarica” instead of Jrmmr or Jrm (Zibelius-Chen 1994b) and connects the passage of the Satrap Stela to a campaign directed in c. 312 BC against Cyrene. 17 Ps.-Callisthenes, Alexander Romance 3.18, 3.21.1–3, 3.22.2–5, 7–8, FHN II No. 85. Candace (Meroitic kdke, ktke) was a title and not a name, see Hofmann 1977b. 18 For the earliest Hellenistic writers on Aithiopia, see Pliny, Nat. hist. 6.183, FHN II No. 100. For Hellenistic literature on Nubia in general, see S.M. Burstein: The Origins of the Napatan State in Classical Sources. in: Burstein 1995 29–39. 19 In Diodorus 1.60–61.1, FHN II No. 88. 20 F. Jacoby: Hekataios aus Abdera. RE 7 (1912) 2750–2769; O. Murray: The Date of Hecataeus’ Work on Egypt. JEA 59 (1973) 163–168. 21 Philippus Arrhidaeus (323 – early 316 BC), Beckerath 1984 Argeaden 2. 22 Ptolemy I Soter (306/4–283/2 BC), Beckerath 1984 Ptolemäer 1. 23 K.-H. Priese: Eine verschollene Bauinschrift des frühmeroitischen Königs Aktisanes (?) vom Gebel Barkal. in: Endesfelder–Priese et al. (eds) 1977 343–367; FHN II Nos (86), 87. 24 For the titles of Aryamani in Kawa XIV, Kash(…) on a gold leaf from Kawa Temple A, Irike-Piye-qo and Sabrakamani in Kawa XIII, see FHN II Nos (89), (93)– (95).


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the penultimate king of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty. He is adorned with the features of the utopian “blameless Aithiopian” of the Greek literature. Hecataeus used the name of a contemporary Kushite ruler in order to underline for his readers the (fictional) historicity of his story in which he blames Amasis as unlawful king. Yet the positive features of Aktisanes served not only the literary contrast between the opponents. The sympathetic presentation of an Aithiopian ruler to the Egyptian public was also meant to put the contacts of the Ptolemaic court with Kush in a positive context that markedly differed from the traditional image of Egypt’s vile neighbour, “wretched Kush”. 1.2. The Distribution of Settlement in Lower Nubia Among the Hellenistic sources concerning the Middle Nile Valley the itinerary of Bion of Soloi (preserved in Pliny, NH, 6.177–178, 180–181, 191, 193)25 is of special importance. It was compiled in the late fourth or early third century BC. According to Pliny (NH, 6.183), the compiler Bion visited Nubia and was the author of a lost Aithiopika. Alongside other early Hellenistic sources, Bion’s itinerary was also used by Juba who composed his work in the early first century AD (preserved in Pliny, NH, 6.179).26 Bion’s and Juba’s itineraries present an invaluable source for the settlement history of Lower Nubia and support the view according to which the region was not uninhabited between the fourth century BC and the AD first century.27 Thanks to the investigations of Karl-Heinz Priese,28 most toponyms occurring in the lists of Bion, Juba and other Greek and Roman authors can be identified with placenames in hieroglyphic, Demotic, Meroitic, Coptic and Arabic sources as well as with modern toponyms. Since the itineraries were composed for the practical purposes of anybody who undertook the task of travelling to the interior of Kush, be it with peaceful or hostile intentions, there may have been very different kinds of inhabited places behind the individual toponyms, ranging from military posts through caravanserais FHN II No. 108. FHN III No. 186a. 27 Uninhabited: W.Y. Adams in: Adams et al. 1976 12 ff.; contra: Fernandez 1984; 1985; Williams 1985; Török 1987b; 1987c. 28 K.-H. Priese: Articula. ÉtTrav 7 (1973) 155–162; id.: Zur Ortsliste der römischen Meroe-Expeditionen unter Nero. Meroitica 1 (1973) 123–126; id.: Studien zur Topographie des ‘äthiopischen’ Niltales im Altertum und zur meroitischen Sprache. EAZ 16 (1976) 315–329; Priese 1984. 25 26

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to villages and urban settlements such as Qasr Ibrim, Karanog and Faras. Not all toponyms can be associated with actual archaeological evidence, and since Lower Nubia is buried forever under the water of Lake Nasser it is also unlikely that a consensus may be attained about the (probably fluctuating) size of its population during the centuries of the Meroitic period (see below). Tables K and L present the Lower and Middle Nubian toponyms of Bion and Juba, respectively, in a northsouth order. Table K. The Lower and Middle Nubian Toponyms of Bion with Their Egyptian, Meroitic and Modern Equivalents E bank

W bank




Between the First Cataract and Maharraqa Catadupians; Syenites Tacompson Thaticen


Swnw T3-q-m3-p-s

Aswan Maharraqa Maharraqa

Between Maharraqa and the Second Cataract Mogore S(a)ea Aramam Sesamos/ Sesamum

M- #-h-r ˘ " A-m-"ı I-

Sedosa (?) Plen Ariae (?) or Sapele (?)


" A- Aw I-s-p " I-n-r-w A-r"

Ariae (?) Pindis Magassa Andumana(s) I(n)doma Curambeta/ come Arabeta (?) Bogghi Analeu (?) Phitor[..?] Tantarene

#A-d-w-mn ¯ #d-m.t ¯

Phrs ¯ B(w)hn " A-n-tm (I)-

Ikhmindi Mediq Wadi el Arab/ ˇ Saturma


Wadi el Arab/ es-Sebua

Sapele (?) Adere/Dor Nlote

Shablul (?) ed Dirr Aniba/ Karanog Qasr Ibrim Masmas (?) Arminna Abu Simbel


M-h. A (?)

Buma (A)lintuma


Adomn Qrbe Beqe/Boqh Amoda ˘ Phrse ¯ Tketore

Abu Hoda (?) Ballana Qustul Faras Buhen Abka W


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Table K continued E bank

W bank





Semna region? Sonqi region? Firka Ginnis Amara W





Between the Second and Third Cataracts Spintum Sidopt Emeae

M"ı-w/M A-w A- #A

Gensoe Pindi(mis?) Chiindita Noa/Ataea Golpoa/Goploa Citior/Citora Gistate Megada Gale

Hw.t-Ty . H A-b-"ı.t ˘



Table L. The Lower and Middle Nubian Toponyms of Juba With Their Correspondences with The Bion List and Meroitic and Modern Placenames Juba

Bion E

Bion W



Between the First Cataract and Maharraqa Tacompson

Tacompson Thaticen


Maharraqa Maharraqa

Between Maharraqa and the Second Cataract




Sesamos/ Sesamum

Mogore S(a)ea


Sedosa (?)


Wadi el Arab/ es-Sebua

Simlo (?) Adere/Dor Nlote

Shablul (?) ed Dirr Aniba/ Karanog Qasr Ibrim Masmas (?) Arminna Abu Simbel

Plen Ariae (?) or Sapele (?) Andura Ariae (?) Pidema (A)muda (C)orambim Amoda Tapros Daparen

Pindis Magassa Andumana(s) I(n)doma Curambeta/ come Arabeta (?) Bogghi Analeu (?) Phitor[..?] Tantarene

Pedeme Adomn Qrbe Beqe/Bogh Amoda ˘ Phrse ¯ Tketore

Ikhmindi Mediq Wadi el Arab/ ˇ Saturma

Abu Hoda (?) Ballana Qustul Faras

the neighbour of ptolemaic egypt


Table L continued Juba

Bion E

Bion W





Dabarosa Buhen Abka W Abka (?)

Buma (A)lintuma Tessata Between the Second and Third Cataracts Spintum


Semna region (?) Atiri (?)/ Gelli island (?) Ambikol (?) Sonki region (?)/ Dal region (?) Akasha (?)/ Kulb (?) Firka Ginnis Amara W



Gallas Zoton Sidopt Graucomen Emeum



Pindi(mis?) Chiindit(a)


Endondacometas (inhabitants of Endonda come) Nomads who live in tents Noa/Ataea Cistapaen Mada(ga)/ (Magada) Galen

Citior/ C(i)tora

Golpoa/Goploa Gistate Megada Gale



In 1965 Trigger calculated the size of Lower Nubia’s population on the basis of the settlement and cemetery sites published by then:29 period


terminal A-Group Old Kingdom New Kingdom Ptolemaic/Roman/Meroitic Post-Meroitic Christian

8,000 2,600 17,500 60,000 44,000 50,000

Trigger relied, however, mostly on the evidence of the excavated cemeteries, while the overwhelming majority of the settlements of Lower 29

Trigger 1965 156 ff.


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Nubia remained unexcavated. Recent studies on the population size of ancient Near Eastern settlements30 demonstrate that realistic estimations can be made only in the knowledge of the chronological periods of completely excavated settlements and their functional and structural layout. The strikingly low population estimate argued for by David Edwards on the basis of the mortuary evidence from Meroitic Lower Nubia31 is also irrealistic, since the overwhelming majority of the recovered Meroitic burials belong to the elite and the middle strata of the society, while the burials of the lower strata remain unexplored. The population size suggested by Edwards implies a “special province” where “most settlements were primarily outposts or way stations concerned with managing and controlling communications and trade along the Nile”.32 Indeed, it may seem that behind a part of Bion’s and Juba’s toponyms there were outposts and way stations, but this is hardly the case of such toponyms as Wadi es-Sebua, Qasr Ibrim, Arminna, Faras, or Buhen. 1.3. The Egyptian Conquest of Lower Nubia in 275/4 BC In 275 or 274 BC Ptolemy II Philadelphos (285–246 BC) sent an army to Lower Nubia. As a result of the campaign, the region between the First and Second Cataracts—the area, which would occur in the Greek sources under the name Τριακοντσχοινος, Triakontaschoinos, “Land of Thirty [Greek] Miles”,33 was annexed to Egypt. The pacification of the frontier area after a century of Kushite expansion (see Chapter XIII.6.2) appeared opportune and may also have been intended to curb the tendency of Upper Egyptian “nationalists”, to avail themselves of Kushite aid against the Ptolemaic rule. The intimidation of the king of Kush34 seems to have been motivated by the need to have secure access to African war elephants. Being cut off from India, so far the source of war elephants, their supply became critical in the course of the first third of the third century, because by then the beasts Ptolemy II inherited from his father were too old. The Kushites, masters of the territories south of the Fifth Cataract where 30 E.g., J.R. Zorn: Estimating the Population Size of Ancient Settlements: Methods, Problems, Solutions and a Case Study. BASOR 295 (August 1994) 31–48. 31 Edwards 1996; 2004 156 ff. 32 Edwards 2004 156. 33 Cf. Locher 1999 252 ff. 34 Török 1987b 153; Burstein 1993 46.

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the African elephants lived, were ignorant of their training and were certainly unprepared for their long-distance transport. The elephant supply could thus be secured only if Egyptian experts could travel and practice unhindered their profession of capturing the animals in Aithiopia and if the enormous task of the transport could be based on Ptolemaic trading stations to be established along the Red Sea coast within, or close to, Aithiopian territory.35 Accordingly, the intimidation of Kush was required from the very outset. From the early 260s BC, the port of Ptolemais Theron, “Ptolemais of the Hunt[ing]s”, c. 80 km south of modern Port Sudan would serve the elephant transport as well as the transport of other trade goods.36 However, while the trade of war elephants would lose its significance after the battle of Raphia in 217 BC (Chapter XIV.2), the trade or rather exchange of the ivory of the African elephant continued to be equally important for both partners.37 Already in the great triumphal procession mounted in Alexandria after the Nubian campaign38 Nubian gift bearers carried 600 elephant tusks. Demotic tax receipts attest to the import of ivory via Elephantine, i.e., on the river way during Ptolemy II’s reign.39 As pointed out by Stanley Burstein, the large-scale elephant trade and hunting of the third century BC would badly decimate the elephant population of the Red Sea hinterland and cause thus increasing losses to the economy of the Meroitic kingdom. This trend changed only after the end of organized Ptolemaic elephant hunting. Peace in the Egyptian/Kushite frontier area could best be maintained by the annexation of Lower Nubia as far south as the Second Cataract.40 The principal reason for the conquest of Lower Nubia was, however, the acquisition of the gold mines in the Eastern Desert.41 This 35 For the organization of elephant transport, see Fraser 1972 I 179 f.; H.H. Scullard: The Elephant in the Greek and Roman World. London 1974 123 ff.; Hofmann 1975 53 ff.; Huss 2001 288 f. 36 Cf. Phillips 1997 445 ff. 37 Its organization was originally part of the organization of the elephant hunting, see P. Petrie III 114.5, 9, 16, 20, B. Hemmerdinger: Comptes de chasseurs d’éléphants (P. Petrie III, 114). APF 20 (1970) 25–28; Burstein 1996 805. 38 Kallixeinos, FGrH 3C 627 F 2.32; Athenaeus, Deipn. 197 ff.; Rice 1983. 39 S.V. Wängstedt: Demotische Steuerquittungen aus ptolemäischer Zeit. Orientalia Suecana 17 (1968) 29–34; Burstein 1996 804. 40 For Theocritus, Id., 17.86 f. on Ptolemy II “cutting off a part of Black Aithiopia”, see Burstein 1993 42. 41 Agatharchides in Diodorus 3.12 places his description of the methods of prospecting and mining that were characteristic rather for his own time than the previous century nevertheless in the reign of Ptolemy II. Cf. FHN II No. 146.—Curiously, Locher


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is also indicated by Agatharchides’ remark, according to which Ptolemy sent 500 specially trained Greek equestrian soldiers with the expedition: they were needed in warfare against nomads.42 The importance of the mines for the Ptolemies is obvious from Agatharchides’ muchquoted description.43 While the description was meant to give expression to Agatharchides’ disappointment in the contemporary regime of Ptolemy VI Philometor (180–145 BC), he placed the description in the reign of Ptolemy II (285–246 BC). The conquest of Lower Nubia is commemorated, though in an indirect manner, by the list of the Lower and Upper Nubian nomes bringing tribute to Isis inscribed after c. 275–274 BC in the temple of the goddess at Philae.44 The cult of Isis as “Mistress of Philae” appeared on the island of Philae first under the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty.45 From Psamtek II’s and Amasis’ buildings only reused blocks are known.46 The building program of the Isis temple complex was formed in the reign of Nectanebos I (380–362 BC) and continued by Ptolemy II and Ptolemy III Euergetes I (246–221 BC).47 The temple of Isis received a donation of land already from Alexander IV (317–310 BC, nominal ruler 310–305 BC), the son of Alexander the Great.48 From the list of the tribute-bringing nomes the following names are preserved: Senmut (Biggeh), Hwt. hnt, “Nearer-compound” (Philae), ˘ Pr-mrt, “House-of- the-margin-of-the-desert ”, B Akt, “Taxer” (Kuban), " (= Itf " At) (Sedeinga), T A-w Ad “ Green (about six nomes missing), Itfy ¯ land” (Dongola region?),49 P A-nbst, “House-of the-zizyphus-tree” (Pnubs " (Kawa), N"ıpt (Nap=Kerma), P-t-tn- Hr . /P-t-n- A, probably for Pr-gm-Itn ata), M"ı-r-w A-"ı (City of Meroe), Ph. (w)-Kns(t) (Farthest Upper-Nubia).

1999 236 with note 34 denies that there would have been gold mining in the Wadi Allaqi between the New Kingdom and the early Islamic period. 42 Agatharchides, De m. R. 1,20 = FGrHist 673,162, FHN II No. 145; refers to Ptolemy II and not Ptolemy V: Burstein 1995 97 ff. Cf. Burstein 1989 52; Locher 1999 235. 43 Agatharchides in Diodorus 3.12. 44 Urk. II 12.27; FHN II No. 112. 45 Giammarusti–Roccati 1980 58 ff. 46 Cf. S. Farag–S. Wahba–A. Farid: Notizie su File I. Oriens Antiquus 16 (1977) 315– 324; Haeny 1985 202. 47 E. Winter: Philae. LÄ IV (1982) 1022–1027; Haeny 1985; Vassilika 1989 19 ff.; Hölbl 2004 41 ff. 48 Unpublished stela fragment mentioned by Locher 1999 133 with note 63. 49 Hofmann 1975 71.

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Unfortunately, about six names are missing south of Kuban, a good part of which may have been in Ptolemaic Lower Nubia north of Buhen. There may be little doubt that Buhen was included in the list. The Greek graffiti of Pasimenes and Jason, both of Cyrene,50 and Melanippos son of Numenius from Barke51 in Taharqo’s South Temple of Buhen (cf. Chapter XIII.4.4) were written by soldiers participating in the conquest in 275 or 274 BC or belonging to a detachment stationed subsequently at Buhen: Buhen served probably as a frontier fortress until c. 205 BC.52 The graffiti also indicate that the temple was in use at the time of Ptolemy II’s campaign. An early Meroitic graffito attests to its use in the second century BC.53 All places in the list following Sedeinga were on the territory of the kingdom of Kush. They were listed to demonstrate Ptolemy’s universal regency in a traditional form and sense. Pnubs/Kerma, Kawa, Napata, Meroe were the actual major centres of the kingdom during the centuries before, and after Ptolemy II’s time. The term Ph. -Knst (Kns.t, Kenset) in New Kingdom texts usually signified the territory south of Egypt, i.e., Nubia in general terms, while in Ptolemaic and Roman texts it denoted a “nome” south of Meroe, i.e., it had the meaning of the “farthermost part” of the kingdom of Kush. There are no indications that it would have been exactly equivalent to an administrative unit of Meroe. In the inscriptions of the late third century BC Apedemak temple at Musawwarat es Sufra it occurs with the general meaning “Nubia”.54 It would thus seem that, although it also consists of traditional names without an actual settlement historical relevance, the nome list mainly contained names of existing Lower and Upper Nubian settlements of some importance. Two provisions of the Ptolemaic government of Lower Nubia are known to some extent. The first is the association of the production, taxation and redistribution in the region with the Isis temple at Philae. Ptolemy II donated all incomes from the region between the First Cataract and Maharraqa, i.e., the Dodekaschoinos (“Land of the

FHN II No. 98. FHN II No. 99. 52 Cf. Burstein 1993 43. 53 REM 0086; cf. Rilly 2007 76. 54 Hintze 1962 27 f.; Hintze et al. 1993 81; for Kenset see L.V. Zabkar: ˇ Kenset. LÄ III (1978) 391–392. 50 51


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Twelve [Greek] Miles”)55 of the Greek sources, to the goddess Isis.56 The donation was confirmed by Ptolemy IV,57 and again by Ptolemy VI Philometor (180–145 BC) in his 24th regnal year on 29 July 157 BC.58 As another important part of the Ptolemaic organization of the conquered region between the First and Second Cataracts, Ptolemy IV started the building of temples dedicated to Thoth of Pnubs at Pselkis/Dakka,59 and Mandulis at Talmis/Kalabsha.60 The Arensnuphis temple at Philae is also considered a building erected by Ptolemy IV.61 A votive stela representing Ptolemy II before Arensnuphis “Lord of Abaton” (the island of Biggeh west of Philae), reerected later on Augustus’ terrace in front of the Khnum temple at Elephantine,62 indicates either that Ptolemy IV’s Arensnuphis temple represented an enlargement of a building started by Ptolemy II or that it replaced a smaller original shrine erected by this king.63 While Arensnuphis64 and Mandulis65 were Nubian deities—the first was worshipped in the south of the kingdom of Kush, the second in the north and by the inhabitants of the Eastern Desert—, the god of Dakka was a local form of the Egyptian Thoth. Such a prudent kind of Egyptianization would be characteristic for future Ptolemaic policy in Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia as well. The special status of the region is indicated anyhow by its definition in Ptolemy IV’s donation text with the term t Asˇ, “borderland”, instead of sht, “land” ˘ Philae (cf. Chapter II.1).66 The Egyptian inhabitants of Elephantine and also received privileges (perhaps on the occasion of a visit of Ptolemy III Cf. Locher 1999 230. Urk. II 116.9–13; Hölbl 2001 86. 57 Inscription (usurped by Arqamani) in the temple of Dakka, see J. Locher: Die Schenkung des Zwölfmeilenlandes in der Ergameneskapelle von Dakke. CdE 144 (1997) 242–268 253 ff. 58 Dodekaschoinos Stela at the second pylon of the Isis temple at Philae, LD IV 27/b; transcription and German translation: Locher 1999 341 f. 59 PM VII 46 f.; Winter 1981. 60 M. Dewachter: La chapelle ptolémaique de Kalabcha. Le Caire 1970; Henfling 1980. 61 PM VI 210 f.; Haeny 1985 220. 62 Jaritz 1980 26 f. 63 Locher 1999 129 f. 64 Wenig 1974; Onasch 1993 246 ff.; Wenig 1993 82 f.; J. Hallof: Zur Charakterisierung des Gottes Arensnuphis nach Zeugnissen aus Nubien und Ägypten. in: D. Kuhn–H. Stahl (eds): Die Gegenwart des Altertums. Formen und Funktionen des Altertumsbezuges in den Hochkulturen der Alten Welt. Heidelberg 2001 147–160; and cf. Török 1990. 65 Henfling 1980. 66 Ptolemy VI’s Dodekaschoinos Stela (see Chapter XIV.3.1) would use the term sht, ˘ “land”. 55 56

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in his early reign):67 the central government tried to secure the loyality of the population living at the border by granting it an especially advantageous tax status.68 It is worth noting that “men of Elephantine” and “men of Philae” living in the Arsinoite nome also enjoyed a special privilege in so far as they were given the tax status of the Hellenes and not the Egyptians.69 The intimidation of Kush prepared the way to the establishment of large-scale trade contacts between Egypt and the Middle Nile Region. In Kush, the impact of these contacts was decisive. The Egyptian occupation of Lower Nubia and the organization of the trade route along the Nile contributed to the development of the settlement chain in the Nile Valley both north and south of the Second Cataract, while the unfolding of the trade with exotic animals and goods originating from the southern territories of Kush or acquired from African territories south of Kush brought about a rapid development of the political and socioeconomic structure of the Kushite South, i.e., the Butana and Gezira regions.70 The maintenance