Author: Ibrahim Omer
Death Mask, Napatan-Meroitic period,
at Monterey Bay
Art History: Observations
on the Deffufas of Kerma , Remarks
on Kushite Temples Dated to the Napatan-Meroitic Period, Remarks
on Palace Architectures, and Drawing Reconstructions
This drawing is an attempt at reconstructing the face of Kushite
king Taharqa as derived from a wide variety of statues and ...
New article added to the Burials section:
New article added to the History section:
Questions from Readers
Ancient History of Western Sudan
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Where is Nubia?
Nubia is located
in Northeastern Africa within the political boundaries of modern Sudan.
Alternative Names for Nubia:
Three terms were used in ancient sources to refer to the land of
ancient Nubians; these are Ethiopia, Kush, Nubia, and recently Sudan. Click here for more
on each name.
Who are the Nubians?
Nubians are the ancestors of modern Northern Sudanese people. According
to the Biblical Table of Nations, the Nubians/ Kushites are the
descendants of Ham, the son of Noah. According to the system of
linguistic classification, the modern Nubian language is identified
as a member of the Nilo-Saharan language group.
The ancient Nubians practiced agriculture along the Nile valley,
building one of the very early world civilizations. On the eastern
and western deserts of the Nile, certain Nubian groups adopted nomadic
lifestyles together with subsistent agriculture. The nomads of Eastern Sudan
were known to the ancient Egyptians as the "Medjay-Nubians", to the
Romans as the "Blemmies", and later to the Arabs as the "Beja".
Nubian nomads also lived and herded in the western deserts of Sudan,
side by side, with the "Libyans". After the Arab migrations into
Nubia following the Arab invasions of the fourteenth century CE,
many Arabs settled and intermarried with the local population. As
most of the immigrants were men, and since Arabs follow a patreliniar
tradition (i.e., the children take the identity of their fathers),
most Sudanese today define themselves as Arabs.
However, some minorities did not intermarry with the Arabs and
preserved their Nubian identity. This resulted in an ethnic division
of Arab identity and Nubian identity. Intermarriages with other
foreigners took place at different times and in other parts of Sudan,
which caused the Nubian identity to wither greatly. For example,
in Western Sudan, few of the Nubian nomads, who inhabited those
regions since ancient times, had intermixed with West- African immigrants
from the Sub-Sahara, as well as with Arab settlers.
Today, the language and culture of the bulk of Sudanese people
is obviously an Arabic one. Yet, the physical features of today
Sudanese proved to be mainly of a Nubian heritage. The Anthropological
studies of mummies from Nubia and the sharp and clear colored drawings
of people found inside Nubian burials that go back as far as 3000
years, prove that these ancient Nubians looked typically like the
modern people of Northern Sudan with their dark-red complexion and
curly or wavy hair.