Women in Ancient Nubia

Authored by: Jacke Phillips

Women in Antiquity

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138808362
eBook ISBN: 9781315621425
Adobe ISBN: 9781317219910


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Ancient Nubia encompasses a loosely geographical and cultural region along the Nile Valley between somewhere south of modern Khartoum (at its farthest south) and its traditional border with Egypt at the First Cataract (Figure 20.1). A succession of highly developed indigenous civilisations rose and fell in the valley throughout antiquity and beyond, with clear cultural continuity throughout. Their power and strength was based mainly on their role as ‘middleman’ between Egypt and the extensive resources it coveted farther south and in the deserts. Their fortunes waxed and waned relative to those of Egypt, the high point being Dynasty 25 when Egypt itself was ruled by the Napatan kings, the so-called ‘Black Pharaohs’ who viewed themselves not as conquerors but the legitimate heirs to the Egyptian throne. ‘Lower Nubia’, between the Second and First Cataracts, is well recorded both through extensive modern archaeological fieldwork and numerous ancient Egyptian and Classical records. ‘Upper Nubia’, south of the Second Cataract, is only beginning to be investigated in depth mainly through fieldwork, but its character often is recognisably distinct from Lower Nubia as it was less directly affected by Egypt and the other civilisations that controlled Egypt at different times.

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