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Nubia Earliest site of human sacrifice?!

 
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:15 am    Post subject: Nubia Earliest site of human sacrifice?! Reply with quote

Maybe the rest of you are already familiar with this article and information but though i had read passing reference to such a practice, i was rather shocked to find this article. I am gonna try to provide the link i am not sure how to do it... So hope i get this right http://news.softpedia.com/news/The-Oldest-Human-Sacrifice-5-500-Years-Old-79014.shtm
Well i hope that works for all of you. As i said, i was rather shocked by the early dates. Though it seems often sacrifices happened in a funeral context. I am not sure how to put this... So bear with me a moment please while i try to say it in the most effective way possible. Comparatively speaking, it seems a very strange context for human sacrifices to have taken place, in that other parts of the world that practiced such.... (By modern standards) distasteful practices, usually believed they would get something in return for what it was that they sacrificed. Sacrifice of a human life being the ultimate sacrifice. Often when such practices seem to have been performed it was in desperate circumstances or in situations in which it was very ceremonial and again very much a gift to extract a gift for the people. It was something all of society would benefit from, in a sense. Sacrifice for a good harvest or for rain that would make it possible for many to live. I am curious about several things... You see sacrifice of sometimes hundreds of people when a specific person or important person died, strikes me as odd in that i don´t know how to place it by comparison to those other cultures and their usage of such practices. It just seems a kind of strange context... The only way to think about it that i have come up with is that the sacrifices were offerings to the important dead person. It still strikes me as sort of weird because it just seems there should be some sort of benefit for the rest of society. I can not wrap my brain around this.... Any other thoughts on this? Or possible ways it is being viewed? Also, if this was such a practice in the Sudan, was it practiced in Egypt too? What might it indicate about thier value systems and perspective and ways of life? If the Egyptians were not into such sacrifices, it strikes me as odd that they wouldn´t be horrified or atleast troubled by such practices performed by their neighbors. It might even stand to reason that they would want to keep a distance from such a practice. (I know i sure would!) In which case, it brings up interesting thoughts and various questions about trade and political relations.... What might have surprised me most, is how far back the practice evidently goes. Now that this is typed up... I am gonna go pick my jaw up off the floor....
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Nubia Earliest site of human sacrifice?! Reply with quote

Mandi wrote:
Also, if this was such a practice in the Sudan, was it practiced in Egypt too?


I did research on this once. This is what I came up with.

Archaeologists Dig Up Oldest Human Sacrifice Site

Location: El Kadada, Sudan, northeast of the sixth cataract of the Nile on the east side of the river.

February 15, 2008

El Kadada, Sudan - French archaeologists in Sudan say they have uncovered the oldest proof of human sacrifice in Africa, hailing the discovery as the biggest Neolithic find on the continent for years. The tomb of a 5,500-year-old man surrounded by three sacrificed humans, two dogs and exquisite ceramics were exhumed north of Khartoum by Neolithic expert Jacques Reinhold and his 66-year-old Austrian wife.

"This is the oldest proof of human sacrifice in Sudan, in Egypt, in Africa," Reinhold told reporters next to the remains in El Kadada village, a three-hour drive north of the Sudanese capital. "I don't know of another example in Africa at this level. . . We don't have anything as strong in other excavations in other countries," said Reinhold, as villagers in traditional white robes carefully scrapped earth into buckets. The archaeologist, who has led the excavation for several months, described the tomb as the most important Neolithic find in Africa since the 1990s. That period - which Reinhold calls the first global revolution - marks the period when man evolved from hunter gatherers into farmers and producers, forever changing the structure of human society. He says the find is nearly 1,000 years older what many consider Sudan's most spectacular discoveries of human sacrifice - scores of bodies buried together. Close to the Nile and highly fertile, the El Kadada area north of the modern town of Shendi would have been highly favourable for Neolithic settlers.

Reinhold and wife Ulla met in Khartoum and lived in Sudan for 25 years where he was director of the Section Francaise de la Direction des Antiquities. The French team said that urns, materials used to grind wheat into flour, beeds and bracelets also uncovered at the site will be donated to the National Museum in Khartoum. ( Reference)



Sir. Leonard Woolley's excavation during the 1920s and '30s at Ur in modern-day Iraq revealed hundreds of sacrificial graves dating back to 2500 B.C. and related to the burial of Mesopotamian kings and queens. Evidence for sacrifice has also been seen in Nubian, Mesoamerican, and several other ancient cultures. It now seems clear that human sacrifice was practiced in early Egypt as was true in other parts of the ancient world. Archaeologists have been sifting through the dry sands of Abydos, Egypt for more than a century. Now they have found compelling evidence that ancient Egyptians indeed engaged in human sacrifice, shedding new—and not always welcome—light on one of the ancient world's great civilizations.
(read full article here)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The link didn't work for me, Mandi, and I am not well versed on the subject of the earliest human sacrifices in Nubia, but it certainly took place. In fact, the nature of certain sacrificial burials for Nubian royals suggests the retainers were buried alive.

I am more familiar with the subject as it pertains to early Egypt at the beginning of state formation, and the practice may have spread to there from prehistoric Nubia. Toby Wilkinson writes: "In common with other unusual aspects of Early Dynastic religion...human sacrifice may have belonged to an ancient African substratum of Egyptian culture" (2000: 266). That's not so hard to understand. The first kings of Egypt came from deep in Upper Egypt, in the area of Hierakonpolis, and the people there had had extensive interactions with the A Group culture of Lower Nubia.

The post wysingm contributed contained that interesting snippet about the tomb of King Aha and the retainers buried for him. It should be noted that most of the Dynasty 1 kings of Egypt, not just Aha, included this practice for their own burials.

It should also be noted that the number of sacrificial burials for Aha did not number just six, but thirty-four (in three parallel rows spreading east from that king,s Abydos tomb). It's arguable whether Aha was actually the first king of a unified Egypt--the scholarly consensus still seems to be Narmer--but he was the first king to include human sacrifice for this tomb.

Aha's successor was King Djer, and his tomb included the greatest number of subsidiary graves: 318! Many of the subsidiary graves associated with the tomb of the next king, Djet, even contained simple stela to record the names of the people buried there.

Later in Dynasty 1, the tomb of King Semerkhet revealed an unusual feature for these sacrificial burials. These burials adjoin the king's burial chamber and form a single structure; therefore, the superstructure of the tomb enclosed not just Semerkhet's burial chamber but all of the subsidiary graves at the same time. This leaves no doubt whatsoever that the retainers buried in these little graves had to be interred at the same time their king was.

Sacrificial burials ceased at the end of Dynasty 1 in Egypt, but I should stop before my tangent gets any more out of hand. Razz To cut it short, this practice probably originated in Nubia and was for a short time popular for the burials of royals in Egypt, but died out at the very beginning of the dynastic period. The Egyptians never seemed too keen on the idea of killing or sacrificing their own people, although we know from later periods they didn't hesitate to do it to foreigners on occasion.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 7:03 am    Post subject: Hardly a tangent Reply with quote

Do keep going if you like., it is both fascinating and apreciated, also no one else seems interested hehehe, which is just fine.... Yes, it does seem that the kings or atleast the important ppl had sacrifices buried with them.... I realize their importance to the community in so far as they played a critical roll and also were equated to some degree with the gods.I wasn't particularly aware of human sacrifice in egypt... All very interesting....

These, sacrifices, in no way do they make sense in such a context. How are they to be viewed??? Sacrifices typically (Examples, the non celtic tribes, and the inka and maya) to be not exactly 'sacrifices.' As for the two examoles, they had their ceremonies in which 'sacrifice' was made.... But i guess it is more of an exhange, or 'trade.' The gift of a human life is given to the deity and the blood of the sacrifice is spilled with pomp and festival for the deity's entertainment or something.... The people making the 'trade' expect to receive something in return. In this sense it seems critically different from the human sacrifice performed by other ancient cultures. Infact, it seems almost... irrational, in a sense., or that life as part of their system of values is very different than our own. Is there some way to hmmm.... interpret Nubian and early egyptian sacrifice in such a context of the burial of the elite or king as an exchange or trade of a similar variety, in that everyone benefits from giving the gift and somehow is supposed to get something back? If any of this makes any sense at all....
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
The link didn't work for me, Mandi, and I am not well versed on the subject of the earliest human sacrifices in Nubia, but it certainly took place. In fact, the nature of certain sacrificial burials for Nubian royals suggests the retainers were buried alive.

I am more familiar with the subject as it pertains to early Egypt at the beginning of state formation, and the practice may have spread to there from prehistoric Nubia. Toby Wilkinson writes: "In common with other unusual aspects of Early Dynastic religion...human sacrifice may have belonged to an ancient African substratum of Egyptian culture" (2000: 266). That's not so hard to understand. The first kings of Egypt came from deep in Upper Egypt, in the area of Hierakonpolis, and the people there had had extensive interactions with the A Group culture of Lower Nubia.

The post wysingm contributed contained that interesting snippet about the tomb of King Aha and the retainers buried for him. It should be noted that most of the Dynasty 1 kings of Egypt, not just Aha, included this practice for their own burials.

It should also be noted that the number of sacrificial burials for Aha did not number just six, but thirty-four (in three parallel rows spreading east from that king,s Abydos tomb). It's arguable whether Aha was actually the first king of a unified Egypt--the scholarly consensus still seems to be Narmer--but he was the first king to include human sacrifice for this tomb.

Aha's successor was King Djer, and his tomb included the greatest number of subsidiary graves: 318! Many of the subsidiary graves associated with the tomb of the next king, Djet, even contained simple stela to record the names of the people buried there.

Later in Dynasty 1, the tomb of King Semerkhet revealed an unusual feature for these sacrificial burials. These burials adjoin the king's burial chamber and form a single structure; therefore, the superstructure of the tomb enclosed not just Semerkhet's burial chamber but all of the subsidiary graves at the same time. This leaves no doubt whatsoever that the retainers buried in these little graves had to be interred at the same time their king was.

Sacrificial burials ceased at the end of Dynasty 1 in Egypt, but I should stop before my tangent gets any more out of hand. Razz To cut it short, this practice probably originated in Nubia and was for a short time popular for the burials of royals in Egypt, but died out at the very beginning of the dynastic period. The Egyptians never seemed too keen on the idea of killing or sacrificing their own people, although we know from later periods they didn't hesitate to do it to foreigners on occasion.


That's some good info you gave on royal human sacrifice in egypt. And I don't think that the idea for burying servants with the king necessarily came from Nubia, it's clear both egypt and nubia arose from the same cultural base, and that they shared similiar cultural practices and habits, especially in the early period Very Happy .
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mandi wrote:
These, sacrifices, in no way do they make sense in such a context. How are they to be viewed???


Diodorus Siculus (90 - 21 BC)

On the Ethiopians who dwell beyond Libya and their antiquities (Book III, chap. 7):

"7. As for the custom touching the friends of the king, strange as it is, it persists, they said, down to our own time. For the Ethiopians have the custom, they say, that if their king has been maimed in some part of his body through any cause whatever, all his companions suffer the same loss of their own choice; because they consider that it would be a disgraceful thing if, when the king had been maimed in his leg, his friends should be sound of limb, and if in their goings forth from the palace they should not all follow the king limping as he did; for it would be strange that steadfast friendship should share sorrow and grief and bear equally all other things both good and evil, but should have no part in the suffering of the body. They say also that it is customary for the comrades of the kings even to die with them of their own accord and that such a death is an honourable one and a proof of true friendship. And it is for this reason, they add, that a conspiracy against the king is not easily raised among the Ethiopians, all his friends being equally concerned both for his safety and their own. These, then, are the customs which prevail among the Ethiopians who dwell in their capital (Napata) and those who inhabit both the island of Meroe and the land adjoining Egypt."


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 10:45 pm    Post subject: Oh! Thanx!!! Reply with quote

That is still wholy cracked.... and not in a good way.... Its maybe even a bit.... Sociopathic if one has to maime one'sself or kill one's se,lf in some.... very odd empathy ritual, which in my opinion can not possibly serve a positive purpose for pretty much anyone.... the king is still maimed or dead, His buddies have managed to manifest some form of..... psychological issues into a physical ailment, and the society as a whole is down a number of people that could otherwise have been useful in a whole host of various ways.....Question, would logic be an expression of Maat? If so, maybe Nubians tossed out this concept? Or so it would seem to me... how truly.... nuts....
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Question, would logic be an expression of Maat? If so, maybe Nubians tossed out this concept? Or so it would seem to me... how truly.... nuts....


LOL Sure seems nuts from our point of view, but we're a very different people nowadays. One must always exercise caution when reading Classical writers like Diodorus Siculus and Herodotus, although it's safe to say much of what they wrote came from some kernel of truth. Ethnoarchaeologists have argued that the Sudanese tribal practice of killing an aged or infirm leader who could no longer effectively rule, goes back to very ancient times. It may even have been practiced in prehistoric Egypt, where some scholars have used the argument to explain the origins of the iconic but mysterious "divine booth" that would later be tied to the epithets of the god Anubis.

These ancient kings presented themselves as divine, and therefore more than human. Sacrifice of one form or another was a given, although how widely it was practiced is another argument. And a retainer's surrendering of his own life for his ruler would ensure that he would obtain eternal life, for he would go on to serve that ruler forever in the afterlife.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 3:41 am    Post subject: I see i still say it's cracked though Reply with quote

They are not the only culture that had issues with a king who was for whatever reason compromised. The irish too had a problem with it. They wouldn't suffer men who were 'unwhole' on the throne. And as they are not called the 'fighting irish' for nothin... I'll let you do the math.

In egypt, it would seem interesting if they did kill the elderly king as well along with his 'special ones.' I must say that is alot of trust to put in someone else, human or divine. Because if their heart is too heavy then you are in trouble as it would seem you would be serving them in oblivion.

I am also sort of troubled by the effect such practices have on society. As societies were small and there is evidence atleast in Nubia of hudreds of people being killed for sacrifice apparently to the king at a time. Which depletes a society of people living in a time when survival is difficult enough. All these other wise able bodied people who could be doing their share to continue the race by continueing to reproduce, orrrr building mega monuments or hunting and fishing, or fighting off threats.... etc...

A practice that entails such an expense could not in my mind have started without some sort of a pay off, even if it was just a matter of faith in the minds of the society in which it started. No sane logical society would otherwise enact such a practice that involves such a massive amount of waste, leaving them more vulnerable rather than in a better position. Atleast that is my thought process.... Not based on modern ideals just based on the reality of the difficulty of survival back then.
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