Saturday, December 30, 2017

Who are the Kushites

Who are the Kushites? This is a great question because many nations and tribes called themselves
Kushites, that may have had different names for their own tribe and contemporary nations.

As early as 6000 BC the Kushites had already settled much of the Levant. These Kushites took millet cultivation and cattle from Nabta Playa  into Eurasia after 6000 BC.

Narmer was one the first ruler to expand the Kushites into the Levant and Anatolia. Narmer is attested in  Egypt and Canaan. Many serekhs of Narmer have been found Tel Erani, Arad, 'En Besor, Halif Terrace/Nahal Tillah .

We know that Narmer was probably a Kushite because of a Clay bulla (reg. no. G-67.95, Locus 102, B. 1308) from Nahal Tillah. The inscriptions on the  Clay bulla can be read as ḫЗts.t Kush,  ḫ "he who belongs to Kush" or Kushite.

Kushite was just a generic name applied to the people who belonged to "Kush". But it appears that the Kushites spoke related but different languages that's why they created lingua franca(s) so the people would have smooth and consistent means of communication. During the late Kushite Empire the Kushites in Africa spoke the lingua franca: Meroitic. In Anatolia the Kushite lingua franca was Nesite.And in Sumer the language of the Kushites  was Sumerian.

As a result, the ancient historians recognized that Kushites lived in Africa and Asia. Around 800 BC, the Greek poet Homer mentions the Aethiopians, or Kushites, in the Iliad and the Odyssey. Homer said that the Kushites were “the most just of men, the favorites of the Gods”.

To the Greeks and Romans there were two Kush empires, one in Africa and the other in Asia. Homer alluded to the two Kushite empires when he wrote in the Odyssey i.23: “a race divided, whom the sloping rays; the rising and the setting sun surveys”. In the Iliad. i.423, Homer wrote that Zeus went to Kush to banquet with the blameless Ethiopians .

In 64 BC, the Greek geographer and historian Strabo stated in Chapter 1 of Geography that there were two Kush empires - one in Asia and another in Africa. In addition to Kush in Nubia and Upper Egypt, some Greco-Roman authors considered their presence in southern Phoenicia up to Mount Amanus in Syria. Strabo adds that “if the moderns have confined the appellation Ethiopians to those only who dwell near Egypt, this must not be allowed to interfere with the meaning of the ancients.”
The key to knowing who the Kushites were may be explained by Homer when he wrote in the Odyssey i.23: “a race divided, whom the sloping rays; the rising and the setting sun surveys”. This suggest that the Kushites recognized themselves as a “race”.

The Greek word for race is genea (  γενεά, ᾶς, ἡ  ): race, family, generation. Thusly, a Kushite was considered people who belong to same family--men of the same stock. The idea of the Kushites belonging to the same race implied that metaphorically, the Kushites in Africa and Asia were  like each other in character, endowments, and pursuits. They were especially identified as great “bowmen” and adventurers.

Ephorus a Greek historian wrote a general history of the known world. In his histories Ephorus wrote about the Kushites in 405 BC. Ephorus said that: “The Ethiopians were considered as occupying all the south coasts of both Asia and Africa,” and adds that “this is an ancient opinion of the of the Greeks.”

William Chambers, in Information for the People, wrote: “Ephorus ,too (405B.C.)seems to have had a great impression of the power of the Ethiopians, since he names in the east, the Indians—in the south the Ethiopians—in the west, the Celts—in the north, the Scythians, as the most mighty and numerous people of the known earth. Already in Strabo’s time, however, their ancient power had gone for an indefinite period, and the Negro states found themselves, after Meroe had ceased to be a religious capital …(p.66)”

Ephorus  made a Map of the Ethiopian [Kushite]  nations. The Ephorus map, the Classical authors and writers familiar with the Classics like Rawlinson saw the people living in Scythia and Ethiopia (lands below Egypt) as nations founded by Kushites.

As a result, when Strabo wrote:”The north[ern border of Ethiopia/Kush] extends to the remote confines of Scythia and Celtica, and the south to the remote confines of Ethiopia, and the difference between these two extremes is very great ... indeed, they are, in a sense, the antipodes of each other." He was using antipodes as a geographical descriptor, not anthropological identifier of ethnic groups. Strabo’s mention of Ephorus makes it clear he was talking about Kushites who belonged to the same ethnicity, not Black and White ethnic groups.

Strabo also wrote: "[Ephoros] says that if we divide the regions of the heavens and of the earth into four parts, the Indians will occupy that part from which Apeliotes blows, the Ethiopians the part from which Notos blows, the Celts the part on the west, and the Scythians the part from which the north wind blows”. This again alludes to the widespread nature of Kushites around the world in ancient times.

Ephorus’s map of the Kushite nations and dicussion of the Kushites indicates that while there was a geographical antipodes, the people belonged to the “same nationality”.



William Chambers,  Information for the People, lts&f=false

1 comment:

Maryann Bethel said...

The more I learn about Egypt and the Middle East . The more I realize. Ancient Isreal. and Africa is one