Author: Ibrahim Omer

Death Mask, Napatan-Meroitic period,
Nuri, Sudan.
Ancient Sudan Nubia
Meroe gallery

The Sudan Day,
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 ... (Read more)

New article added to the Burials section: The Pyramids (of Sudan)

New article added to the History section: Pre-Kerma

Questions from Readers

Ancient History of Western Sudan
by Ibrahim.B.Musa

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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, and recently Sudan. Click here for more on each name.

Who are the Nubians?

The ancient Nubians/Kushites are the ancestors of modern North Sudanese people. According to the Biblical Table of Nations, the ancient Nubians are the descendants of Ham, the son of Noah. According to the system of linguistic classification, the modern Nubian language is identified as part of the Eastern Sudanic language group. The classification of the ancient Nubian language is not determined and is still debated.

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 Sudan, 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, a minority did not intermarry with the Arabs and preserved a 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 ancient 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 native. The Anthropological studies of mummies from ancient 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 North Sudan with their dark-red complexion and curly or wavy hair.

The primary material of the website is authored by Ibrahim Omer © 2008.