Thursday, October 22, 2009

Book Review: Not out of Africa



Although Lefkowitz teaches classical studies her research methods leave a lot to be desired. She declares in Not Out of Africa that , "there is no archaeological data to support the notion that Egyptians migrated to Greece during the second millennium B.C. (or before that)" .

This statement is untrue. There is an abundance of evidence that the Egyptians had long settled many parts of ancient Greece.

In the ancient writings of the Greeks, the Egyptians were called Melampodes or "blackfeet". The Egyptians were also called Danaans in Greek history.

According to Hyainus in Fabula , and Appollonius, when the Danaans came to Greece they were called 'blackfeet'. This view is supported by the discovery of an inscribed stone in the Peloponnese that had Egyptian writing on it dating to the 5th Dynasty.

This short review of the Classical literature relating to the African identity of the Egyptians suggest that the views held by Lefkowitz in relation to an Egyptian presence in Egypt may not be correct.Numerous archaeologist have found abundant evidence of Egyptians settled in Greece long before the coming of the Indo-European-Aryans to Anatolia.

Cecil Torr in Memphis and Mycenae , discussed the inscriptions of Amemhotep found in a Mycenaean tomb at Ialysos in Rhodes and an 18th Dynasty scarab dating to the same period. As a result of the discovery of these artifacts Torr speculated that there were relations between Egypt and Greece between 1271 and 850 B.C.

The discovery of Torr was only the tip of the iceberg. Since the discovery of these artifacts in the 19th Century, archaeological evidence of Egyptians in Greece during the 2nd millennium has also been reported by J.D.S. Pendlebury, William A. Ward, and S.W. Manning .

Pendlebury provides a detailed discussion of the Egyptian material found at Laconia, Argolid, Thebes in Boeotia, and Athens. Pendlebury like Torr, believes that there were close relations between Greece and Egypt between the 12th and 7th centuries B.C.

Pendlebury's Aegyptiaca, has been excellently followed up by N. J. Skon Jedele, in her recent dissertation on Egyptian artifacts found in Greece. This dissertation provides even more examples of Egyptian artifacts found in Greece than those recorded by Pendlebury over sixty years ago.

Manning gives a well balanced discussion of the Egyptian material found in the Aegean area dating between the Old Kingdom and Dynasties 10 and ll. The work of Hankey and Warren indicate that there is archaeological evidence for Egyptians in ancient Greece, contrary to the false claims of Lefkowitz in Not Out of Africa.

The question must be asked, if there is this abundance of literature relating to an Egyptian role in ancient Greece, Why does Lefkowitz fail to discuss this literature? This question must be answered by Lefkowitz.

The failure of Lefkowitz to discuss this relevant knowledge base is inexcusable given her position at a prestigious Eastern University. The existence of a rich literature on the presence of Egyptians in ancient Greece makes Lefkowitz's claims about the ancient Greeks patently false.



End Notes

1. Lefkowitz, Not out of Africa, p.157.

2.Cecil Torr, Memphis and Mycenae, (London: Cambridge University Press, 1896) p.61.

3.Ibid., pp.64-65.

4. J.D.S. Pendlebury, Aegyptica: A catalogue of Egyptian objects in the Aegean Area, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1930.

5. William W. Ward, Egypt and the Mediterranean World 2200- 1900 B.C., Beirut: American University of Beirut. 1971.

6. S.W. Manning, The absolute chronology of the Aegean Early Bronze Age, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.

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1 comment:

David J. West said...

Excellent post, I whole-heartedly agree with you. I know I have seen some artifacts in a museum near Mycenae that had some interesting connections to Egypt and the Exodus, of course though the carved stones looked like obvious representations of the familiar bible story that curators proclaimed the red sea scene merely a fanciful tombstone from the correct era? I don't believe in coincedence.