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Napatan Meroitic Periods: Definitions

Napatan Period (900- 270 BC):

During this period, Kush reached its peak in territorial expansion to the north, conquering the whole of Egypt and as far north as Palestine. The Napatan period is best studied through the archeological excavations at el-Kurru, which date to 900 BC the latest. The first known by name Napatan king was Alara (785-60 BC),1 who also had inscriptions in the Amun temple at Kawa. After his reign, Napata became the royal capital of Kush. During his reign, Jebel Barkal (Arabic for Holly Mountain),2 near Napata, came to be the most sacred site in Kush. (Although Jebel Barkal already had a significant religious importance before this period).

Due to lack of material evidence and sufficient fieldwork, the political nature of the Kushite kingdom is not well understood. Nevertheless, simple analysis linking between various pieces of evidence help provide a broad idea about the nature of governship in Kush during the Napatan period.

Meroitic period (270 BC- 400 CE):

The Meroitic period is named after the establishment of Meroe as the capital of the Kushite kingdom in roughly 270 BC. The beginning of this period is contemporary with the reign of Pharaoh Arkamani-qo, who owns the earliest dated pyramid in Meroe. During the Meroitic period, Kush experienced cultural, linguistic, artistic, and architectural revival. New writing, called Meroitic,3 replaced the older Kushite script. This period is considered to end with the last known Meroitic Pharaoh Teqerideamani, who reigned in the fifth century CE.


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