Understanding the Kush
Assignment to hand in: Creating Archeology Magazine Cover (See Below)
Step 1: The Reading: Read the article: Overview of the History of Kush
Step 2: Visuals: Look at the pictures that correspond to the above article and read the corresponding text:
Map of Egypt and Kush
Map of Egypt and Kush between 2000 B.C.E. and 350 C.E.
The land of Kush was located southeast of ancient Egypt, in what is known today as Sudan. The Egyptians called Kush Nubia, from the Egyptian word for gold, which was prevalent in the region. The Greeks and Romans called it Aethiopia, "land of the burned faces," because the people of Kush were black. The Kushites were seminomadic people who settled in the region as early as 4,000 B.C.E. One of the first large settlements in Kush was at Kerma. There, archeologists have discovered the remains of brilliantly painted tombs filled with gold, bronze, and ivory.
Temple Built by Ramesses II in Nubia
This is a copy of a wall painting found in a temple built by Ramesses II in Nubia. Enthroned at right, Ramesses II receives Nubian emissaries, goods, and slaves. The goods pictured in the upper half of the painting include ebony logs, ivroy tusks, feathers, ostrich egges, fans, shields, furniture, leopard skins, rings of gold, and jars of incense. In the lower half, Nubians bring the pharaoh slaves, a giraffe, a gazelle, a leopard, and monkeys.
During Egypt's Middle Kingdom period (1991 - 1786 B.C.E.), Kush became a vital trading center between Egypt and Central Africa. Kush had a wealth of natural resources that were unavailable in Egypt, such as gold, iron, and leather. To obtain these goods, Egyptians traded items such as grain, beer, and linen. Kush also served as a stopping-off point for goods sent from Central Africa to Egypt, such as ivory, timber, and slaves. During the New Kingdom period, Egyptian pharaohs conquered Kush several times in order to protect their trade routes. They also forced Kushites to pay them a tribute of valuable items each year as a sign of continuing loyalty.
Egyptians Paying Homage to King Piye
Vanquished Egyptian princes paying homage to King Piye and offering horses as tribute.
Once the New Kingdom period ended, conditions in Egypt changed. The new pharaohs were unable to maintain control over parts of the Egyptian Empire, and the Kushites took advantage of the situation. Around 750 B.C.E., a Kushite ruler named Piye took control of the empire. Piye and his descendants ruled Egypt from the Kush capital of Napata for about 100 years. They build and reparired monuments and temples, and supported artists and craftpeople who created great works of art. Around 654 B.C.E., the Assyrians defeated the Kushites and ended their control of Egypt.
Kushite Pyramids at Meroe
Kushite pyramids at Meroe in Sudan. These stone pyramids differ from Egyptian pyramids in that they are steeper and smaller, averaging 20 to 30 square feet at the base and 60 to 90 feet high. In addition, the burial chambers are cut into the rock underneath the pyramids instead of being located inside, as Egyptian burial chambers were. However, both Egyptians and Kushites filled the passageway leading to the burial chamber with rubble to protect the contents of the tomb.
Around 593 B.C.E., the Kushites established a new capital at Meroe, which soon became the center of Kushite culture and a vital trade location. Meroe's craftspeople created some of the finest pottery of the ancient world, as well as magnificent silver and gold jewelry. After the Kushites left Egypt, they continued to be influenced by Egyptian culture. Eventually Egyptian influence lessened, and the Kushites developed their own writing system. Meroe floursished for nearly 1,000 years, until it was conquered by Axum, a neighboring African kingdom. Much information about Meroe remains a mystery today because scholars still have not been able to decipher the Meroitic writing system.
Step 3: Magazine Cover - Create a cover for an issue of Archeology Magazine - Use words and visuals that highlight the glory of ancient Kush.
Your cover MUST include the following:
1. Creative subtitle
2. Visuals representing three aspects of Kushite culture
3. Brief captions that explain the importance of these aspects.
An example of the REAL Archeology Magazine (click on the picture for Archeology Magazine's website)
Back to Ancient Egypt and Near East Main Page