|Nubia and Meroë World History/Napp
“Nubia lay south of Egypt between the first cataract of the Nile, an area of churning rapids, and the division of the river into the Blue Nile and the White Nile. Despite several cataracts around which boats had to be carried, the Nile provided the best north-south trade route. Several Nubian kingdoms, including Kush, served as a trade corridor. They linked Egypt and the Mediterranean world to the interior of Africa and to the Red Sea. Goods and ideas flowed back and forth along the river for centuries. The first Nubian kingdom, Kerma, arose shortly after 2000 B.C.
With Egypt’s revival during the New Kingdom, pharaohs forced Egyptian rule on Kush. Egyptian governors, priests, soldiers, and artists strongly influenced the Nubians. Indeed, Kush’s capital, Napata, became the center for the spread of Egyptian culture to Kush’s other African trading partners. Kushite princes went to Egypt. They learned the Egyptian language and worshiped Egyptian gods. They adopted the customs and clothing styles of the Egyptian upper class. When they returned home, the Kushite nobles brought back royal rituals and hieroglyphic writing.
With Egypt’s decline, beginning about 1200 B.C., Kush regained its independence. The Kushites viewed themselves as more suitable guardians of Egyptian values than the Libyans. They sought to guard these values by conquering Egypt and ousting its Libyan rulers. In 751 B.C., a Kushite king named Piankhi overthrew the Libyan dynasty that had ruled Egypt for over 200 years. He united the entire Nile Valley from the delta in the north to Napata in the south. Piankhi and his descendants became Egypt’s 25th Dynasty. After his victory, Piankhi erected a monument in his homeland of Kush. On the monument, he had words inscribed that celebrated his victory. However, Piankhi’s dynasty proved short-lived. In 671 B.C., the Assyrians, a warlike people from Southwest Asia, conquered Egypt. The Kushites fought bravely, but they were forced to retreat south along the Nile. There the Kushites would experience a golden age, despite their loss of Egypt.” ~ World History
Identify and explain the following terms:
Napata Influence of Egypt on Kush Piankhi Assyrians
Where was Nubia located?
How did Nubia’s location affect its history and culture?
Why did Egypt and Nubia have great locations for trade?
The Golden Age of Meroë
“After their defeat by the Assyrians, the Kushite royal family eventually moved south to Meroë. Meroë lay closer to the Red Sea than Napata did, and so became active in the flourishing trade among Africa, Arabia, and India.
Kush used the natural resources around Meroë and thrived for several hundred years. Unlike Egyptian cities along the Nile, Meroë enjoyed significant rainfall. And, unlike Egypt, Meroë boasted abundant supplies of iron ore. As a result, Meroë became a major center for the manufacture of iron weapons and tools.
In Meroë, ambitious merchants loaded iron bars, tools, and spearheads onto their donkeys. They then transported the goods to the Red Sea, where they exchanged these goods for jewelry, fine cotton cloth, silver lamps, and glass bottles. As the mineral wealth of the central Nile Valley flowed out of Meroë, luxury goods from India and Arabia flowed in.
After four centuries of prosperity, from about 250 B.C. to A.D. 150, Meroë began to decline. Aksum, another kingdom located 400 miles to the southeast, contributed to Meroë’s fall. With a seaport on the Red Sea, Aksum came to dominate North African trade. Aksum defeated Meroë around A.D. 350. Centuries earlier, around the time the Kushite pharaoh sat on the Egyptian throne, a new empire – Assyria – had risen in the north. Like Kush, Assyria came to dominate Egypt.” ~ World History
Identify and explain the following terms:
Location of Meroë Geography of Meroë
Trade and Meroë Iron and Meroë
- What cultural aspects of Egyptian civilization did the Kushites adopt?
- Why was Kush able to thrive after losing Egypt to the Assyrians?
- What role did geography play in Egypt’s rise and fall?
- How did trade help both Egypt and Nubia maintain their dominance in the Nile region?
- What might have happened if the Kushites had imposed their own culture on Egypt?
- How did Egypt and Nubia strengthen each other at various times in their histories?
- Cultural diffusion is the exchange of cultural ideas and objects from one culture group to another.
Cultural diffusion can occur through trade.
Cultural diffusion can occur through conquest.
The One-Hundred Percent American
By Ralph Linton
“Our solid American citizen awakens in a bed built on a pattern which originated in the Near East but which was modified in Northern Europe before it was transmitted to America. He throws back his covers made of cotton (domesticated in India), linen (domesticated in the Near East) or silk (discovered in China). All of these materials have been spun and woven by processes invented in the Near East. He puts on his slippers (adapted from moccasins invented by Indians in the Eastern woodlands) and goes to his bathroom, whose fixtures are a mixture of European and American inventions, both of recent date. He takes off his pajamas (a garment invented in India) and washes with soap (invented by the ancient Gauls).
He puts on garments whose form was derived originally from the skin clothing of the nomads of the Asiatic steppes. His shoes are made from skins tanned by a process invented in ancient Egypt and cut into a pattern derived from classical civilizations of the Mediterranean. He ties a strip of brightly colored cloth around his neck, which is a survival from the shoulder shawls worn by 17th-century Croatians. Before going out to breakfast, he glances through his window (made of glass invented in Egypt). If it is raining, he puts on overshoes (made of rubber discovered by the Central American Indians) and takes an umbrella (invented in southeastern Asia). On his head, he puts a hat made of felt (a material invented in the Asiatic steppes).
On his way to breakfast, he stops to buy a paper, paying for it with coins (an ancient Lydian invention). At the restaurant, a whole new series of borrowed elements confronts him. His plate is made from a type of pottery invented in China. His knife is of steel (an alloy first made in southern India). His fork is a medieval Italian invention, and his spoon is a derivative of a Roman original. He begins his breakfast with an orange (originally from the eastern Mediterranean), a cantaloupe (from Persia), or perhaps a piece of African watermelon. With this, he has coffee (from an Abyssinian plant) with cream and sugar. (Both the domestication of cows and the idea of milking them originated in the Near East, while sugar was first made in India.) After his fruit and first coffee, he goes on to waffles (cakes made by a Scandinavian technique from wheat domesticated first in Asia Minor). Over these he pours maple syrup (invented by Indians of the eastern woodlands). As a side dish, he may have an egg (from a species of bird first domesticated in Indo-China) or thin strips of bacon (flesh of an animal domesticated in Eastern Asia which has been salted and smoked by a process developed in Northern Europe).
When our friend has finished eating, he settles back to smoke (an American Indian habit). Tobacco was domesticated in Brazil. Indians from Virginia smoked it in a pipe, while the cigarette was derived from Mexico. The cigar was transmitted to us from the Antilles by way of Spain. While smoking, he reads the news of the day (printed in characters invented by ancient Semites on material invented in China by a process invented in Germany). As he absorbs the accounts of foreign troubles, he will (if he is a good conservative citizen) thank a Hebrew deity in an Indo-European language that he is ‘100% American.’”
After having read the essay, identify the known or presumed place of origin or the earliest known place where evidence of each item has been found.
The design of modern shoes
The table fork
- What have you learned about the every-day objects in this list?
- What do you think was the author’s purpose in writing this essay?
- What do the many different items mentioned in this essay tells us about American society and culture?
- What do they tell us about the state of the world today?
- Can a person be 100% American? Explain your answer.