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Books on Nubia - why the propaganda?
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Paddy
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:44 pm    Post subject: Books on Nubia - why the propaganda? Reply with quote

There is a great rant below. For the curious, read on! For the others, my actual questions are:
What reliable sources of information do you know of, for the student of Nubian history (as in books, documentaries, etc)?
Who are the principle archeologists/authors who are working on it?



I'm so thrilled that a forum exists where we can talk openly about Nubia's ancient history and not be burdened by the modern-day passionate discussions on racism and who-came-before-who/who's-cleverer-than-who/who's-white-who's-black crap.
Honestly, I've been bouncing around from history book to documentary to article to history book, and all the time people tell me, "Oh don't read that one. It's utter propaganda. They keep putting the Nubian culture down; you see, they wrote all those 500 pages with all the meticulous details and theories SOLELY to mislead you gradually and make you believe Nubia isn't that great; Nubia is inferior, the glory and wisdom was inspired by Egyptians... Oh! Don't read that one either. It's full of racist implications. And I'm sure, seeing as you absolutely can't think for yourself, that you'll start going along with them."

I take as an example "Daily Life of the Nubians" by Bianchi. So sure, there are moments where he says fine works of pottery are probably of egyptian origin. Sure, he says their language developped quite late. But is there any proof to found the counter-arguments? I'd say, anything is possible. You can't confirm a vital point of cultural history just because your opposition reflex kicks in every time someone says the Egyptians came out tops. You should rather sit back and think about the context, and be logical. This is centuries we're talking about; this is the beginning of civilization. Without proof, we just can't allow ourselves to paint over perfectly logical theories with our overwhelming, MODERN sense of morality and justice. I'm waiting to find out the proof of Nubian origins and how they inspired Egyptians instead of believing they did because their culture was unjustly ignored and therefore we want revenge on those who put Egypt in the limelight. A theory is a theory; only "confirmed" until an antithesis comes along or a discovered fact contradicts it. Therefore, always uncertain.

And also, in all the outrage about racism, people forget that it's not the only source of cultural discrimination. Anyone heard of how the Greek philosophers stole and published knowledge from the Egyptian sages without giving any kind of credit? Anyone care about the violated mysteries? What if, through the centuries, we had learned philosophy from the true egyptian sources? What if we had known that our manner of thinking was due to an african culture? Racism is a result of twisted minds. If the minds had been changed far earlier, there wouldn't even have been all this carnage and indignation and forgotten cultures. So while the Nubia-vs-Egypt/Black-vs-White outrage is perfectly understandable after our sorry history, I find the whole all-encompassing suspicion a little tiring. Historians should really know better, too, if they dare to confirm proofless theories just for the sake of their personal beliefs and penchants. They should sign a contract of neutrality and objectivity, for Christ's sake - in blood. So then we would be certain that their books are reliable material and not part of some completely ridiculous plot to bring down ancient cultures.
To pull out an overused saying, we have walked on the Moon and are preparing to colonize Mars, and yet pieces of our own past as earthlings remain purposefully hidden or twisted because of how goddamned foolish we are.

Personally I'm all set to buy the whole bloody lot of Nubian history books and see for myself, unless you wonderfully objective and knowledgeable people can reassure me and point me in any direction. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Books on Nubia - why the propaganda? Reply with quote

Paddy wrote:
There is a great rant below. For the curious, read on! For the others, my actual questions are:
What reliable sources of information do you know of, for the student of Nubian history (as in books, documentaries, etc)?
Who are the principle archeologists/authors who are working on it?



I'm so thrilled that a forum exists where we can talk openly about Nubia's ancient history and not be burdened by the modern-day passionate discussions on racism and who-came-before-who/who's-cleverer-than-who/who's-white-who's-black crap.
Honestly, I've been bouncing around from history book to documentary to article to history book, and all the time people tell me, "Oh don't read that one. It's utter propaganda. They keep putting the Nubian culture down; you see, they wrote all those 500 pages with all the meticulous details and theories SOLELY to mislead you gradually and make you believe Nubia isn't that great; Nubia is inferior, the glory and wisdom was inspired by Egyptians... Oh! Don't read that one either. It's full of racist implications. And I'm sure, seeing as you absolutely can't think for yourself, that you'll start going along with them."

I take as an example "Daily Life of the Nubians" by Bianchi. So sure, there are moments where he says fine works of pottery are probably of egyptian origin. Sure, he says their language developped quite late. But is there any proof to found the counter-arguments? I'd say, anything is possible. You can't confirm a vital point of cultural history just because your opposition reflex kicks in every time someone says the Egyptians came out tops. You should rather sit back and think about the context, and be logical. This is centuries we're talking about; this is the beginning of civilization. Without proof, we just can't allow ourselves to paint over perfectly logical theories with our overwhelming, MODERN sense of morality and justice. I'm waiting to find out the proof of Nubian origins and how they inspired Egyptians instead of believing they did because their culture was unjustly ignored and therefore we want revenge on those who put Egypt in the limelight. A theory is a theory; only "confirmed" until an antithesis comes along or a discovered fact contradicts it. Therefore, always uncertain.

And also, in all the outrage about racism, people forget that it's not the only source of cultural discrimination. Anyone heard of how the Greek philosophers stole and published knowledge from the Egyptian sages without giving any kind of credit? Anyone care about the violated mysteries? What if, through the centuries, we had learned philosophy from the true egyptian sources? What if we had known that our manner of thinking was due to an african culture? Racism is a result of twisted minds. If the minds had been changed far earlier, there wouldn't even have been all this carnage and indignation and forgotten cultures. So while the Nubia-vs-Egypt/Black-vs-White outrage is perfectly understandable after our sorry history, I find the whole all-encompassing suspicion a little tiring. Historians should really know better, too, if they dare to confirm proofless theories just for the sake of their personal beliefs and penchants. They should sign a contract of neutrality and objectivity, for Christ's sake - in blood. So then we would be certain that their books are reliable material and not part of some completely ridiculous plot to bring down ancient cultures.
To pull out an overused saying, we have walked on the Moon and are preparing to colonize Mars, and yet pieces of our own past as earthlings remain purposefully hidden or twisted because of how goddamned foolish we are.

Personally I'm all set to buy the whole bloody lot of Nubian history books and see for myself, unless you wonderfully objective and knowledgeable people can reassure me and point me in any direction. Smile


Hello Paddy, Welcome to Egyptian Dreams.

My vision on your "rant" is a simple one: If you want to understand the people of Ancient Egypt, or in this case Ancient Nubia, then it is best to leave all your modern day ideas about the society, the way these people lived at home, and open your mind to the wealth of information this forum has to offer; I am sure that one of my esteemed colleagues here will have the answers to your question(s).

BTW: What have seen so far is that one of my colleagues will say "don't read this or that", the motivation will be more than often that it isn't worth your time... but we will see, in a couple of hours a few of them will arrive.

Richard, aka
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks very much, Richard! Though I admit it was a bit clumsy to post this first without introducing myself to this forum (I've just remedied to that.)

I will very gladly stow away all my views of modern society and morality, as you say, before plunging into this forum. It just doesn't feel the same to learn about these mesmerizing cultures with modern moralities in the back of our minds. That's the reason I don't really like to resurface from history books, actually- because then you're inevitably forced to come back to the rational and critical being that you are and start comparing things x)
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paddy wrote:
Thanks very much, Richard! Though I admit it was a bit clumsy to post this first without introducing myself to this forum (I've just remedied to that.)

I will very gladly stow away all my views of modern society and morality, as you say, before plunging into this forum. It just doesn't feel the same to learn about these mesmerizing cultures with modern moralities in the back of our minds. That's the reason I don't really like to resurface from history books, actually- because then you're inevitably forced to come back to the rational and critical being that you are and start comparing things x)


Hello again, Paddy!

I noticed that you remedied it Laughing

The problem with diving into ancient cultures is that, as you put it you will have to resurface again, possibly that is even necessary in order to keep your life line to the real world intact. However from your experiences while being submerged in the ancient culture it seems to me fairly easy (although that may put it down too simple) to compare both cultures, if necessary.)

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a serious problem with racism that pervaded these studies in the early 20th century. People came up with a white "master race" that supposedly was responsible for the rise of the Egyptian (and maybe Nubian) culture.
My impression is that Afrocentrism is a reaction to that.
I try to stay clear of this kind of stuff.

My impression is that there has been a Nubian culture since roughly the same time as the Egyptians developed theirs. It is not clear at all who came first and made the biggest initial achievements. It does seem however that at some point the Egyptians were able to unify their lands and become more of a "power house". For instance the 6th dynasty Egyptians mention several smaller states in Nubia instead of one larger nation. (Letter of Harkhuf I think?)

And whenever Egypt truly developed into a powerful state it often took over Nubian lands. I think that just means that the Egyptians were better organized and more powerful during those periods. It seems Nubia may have been more powerful during the intermediate periods.
My impression is that Nubia was much more powerful (relative to other times) during the Egyptian 16th dynasty for instance (second intermediate period) and definitely later during the third intermediate period (25th dynasty)
So more of a see-saw effect?

For as far as literature goes I have enjoyed The Black Pharaohs: Egypt's Nubian Rulers [Paperback] by Robert G. Morkot. Mainly deals with the 25th dynasty, but that's a very interesting time period, so why not Very Happy

Other important scholars are: László Török and I think Derek A. Welsby?

Older authors are Dows Dunham and M. F. Laming Macadam. They wrote "Names and Relationships of the Royal Family of Napata". Old but nice to get a feel for some of the names of ancient rulers from Kush and maybe a bit from Meroe.

If you have JSTOR, then that's a great source to start with.
There are some articles on http://gizapyramids.org/code/emuseum.asp about the early excavations in Nubia. Some of the attitudes are old fashioned and maybe even racist, but a forewarned person should be able to read past that and still get quite a bit of interesting information out of it.

Good luck tracking down the info Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Christ, marry me, Anneke! Very Happy Thanks so much for all the references, I'll start looking them up as soon as possible.

The Afrocentrism sort of robbed me of the old "feeling" you get when studying these cultures; the curiosity and excitement, like being a child all over again, as well as the delightful mythologies and wisdom that gets you thinking. I think I'll try to stay quite clear of that stuff, too.

Yeah, it's all very unclear as to how the Nubia/Egypt relationship started, let alone who was the quickest to civilization/agriculture/etc. But to me, that's really not what's important.
See-saw effect indeed : I recently got my hands on "Egyptian Weapons and Warfare" by Ian Shaw and there's a tasty little passage on how, during the 12th dynasty, the Egyptians fortified the whole area between second and third cataract in order to gain control over that Nubian territory; there are lots of speculations as to why this was done and the actual politcal/economical context of that period, considering the emplacement and architecture of the fortresses in question. Fascinating stuff ^^ I can't help imagining conflict, though Nubia was forced to submit in the end. As you said, their glory did come later on and it was probably easier to trace, but the relations were noted as far back as the first dynasties. Give two cultures two thousand years, a river and gold mines to play tug-of-war, and I don't think you can get any other result than a see-saw effect Laughing The imagination runs wild with so many holes in the story!

Thanks again. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ancient Nubian society is underestimated. Partially because of old Western views, which sadly claimed that the white race is superior? Are we? NO, we are NOT.

When we are honest, and which is proven by archeology, the oldest civilizations even kingdoms, occurred in Dark or Black Afrika.

Though the Nubian’s did not achieve the high degree of the A.E. civilization until later times, they posed a constant threat to the A.E. That is also the reason why the A.E. were forced to build enormous fortifications in Nubia.

The main difference between Nubian and Egyptian civilization is simply that Nubian civilization had different kingdoms. I think we all can agree that a united kingdom is more powerful than different states.

As far as certain people say, “you shouldn’t read that”…sorry, I can’t approve. Anyone is free to read what he or she wants. It is through reading, comparing different theories, and by keeping an open mind, we learn.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ranoferhotep - I completely and wholeheartedly agree with every point you made, especially that last line. I'm not sure which other countries include a study of philosophy in high school but here in France we study it by reading every single theory (though things stay disappointingly Western/European) ; the racist ones, the conservative ones, the outright ridiculous ones, the propaganda - everything, the good, the bad and the awful, we take in, in order to make our own idea of things.
In my mind, and as you said, we should take this approach with as many subjects as we can - it's not like reading something from an outdated or 'bad' mind will somehow magically "infect" ours. I've always been extremely curious to read "Mein Kampf", for example, but I am in no way a neo-Nazi or whatever. If you come across some article that purposefully keeps Nubia out of the way or implies inferiority, that doesn't mean you'll immediately go along with the idea or become pro-white, either.
It's quite logical, though irritating, that people should warn you if a certain book is a bit dodgy regarding how the subject matter is treated, but to read or not to read is ultimately your own choice; to me, they can basically say what they like. ^^ It just gets confusing when opinions come into conflict.
Anyroad, I really couldn't agree more with you on the fact of keeping an open mind as learners.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Paddy. We have to maintain always an open mind, set aside our differences and stay open for other cultures. Not always easy.

Though the A.E. where a people of conquest, they also embraced other cultures. I don’t think they were what we call now “racist”.

Nubia was for the A.E. a source of great richness: gold, ivory, leopard skins, incense, baboons and other (for the A.E.) exotically animals, we can only state that the A.E. who had need of richness only plundered Nubia. Much like my own country did in Congo, during the reign of Leopeold II.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

People here talk of 'the start of culture' but all human beings have a culture - it is just that some cultures are not very technically advanced.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bes wrote:
People here talk of 'the start of culture' but all human beings have a culture - it is just that some cultures are not very technically advanced.


Can we settle on "Advanced culture" then? What happens when you conquer a more advanced culture? If I'd be the ruler of the conquering culture, I would make sure that I'd find out in what they are better than we are, and then bring their master-artisans into my territory, to teach our craftsmen their tricks; and I guess this is what happened to Ancient Egypt (AE) when they conquered Nubia!

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Toth wrote:
bes wrote:
People here talk of 'the start of culture' but all human beings have a culture - it is just that some cultures are not very technically advanced.


Can we settle on "Advanced culture" then? What happens when you conquer a more advanced culture? If I'd be the ruler of the conquering culture, I would make sure that I'd find out in what they are better than we are, and then bring their master-artisans into my territory, to teach our craftsmen their tricks; and I guess this is what happened to Ancient Egypt (AE) when they conquered Nubia!

Richard, aka


Are there any examples of less advanced cultures that overthrew or conquered more advanced cultures?
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ranoferhotep wrote:
Toth wrote:
bes wrote:
People here talk of 'the start of culture' but all human beings have a culture - it is just that some cultures are not very technically advanced.


Can we settle on "Advanced culture" then? What happens when you conquer a more advanced culture? If I'd be the ruler of the conquering culture, I would make sure that I'd find out in what they are better than we are, and then bring their master-artisans into my territory, to teach our craftsmen their tricks; and I guess this is what happened to Ancient Egypt (AE) when they conquered Nubia!

Richard, aka


Are there any examples of less advanced cultures that overthrew or conquered more advanced cultures?


Let's have a look at our own "time with the Romans", you hardly can call the tribes living here at the time "advanced" can you, yet they managed to make the lives of the Romans pretty miserable, up to loosing an important battle, or two to the "barbars"!

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I can agree with that, but finally we where conquered by the Romans. I do think it’s safe to say, that there is always an interaction and that both conqueror and conquered finally learn from each other.

A nice example is the invasion of the Hyksos, who surprised the A.E. by using horses and chariots. The A.E. however adapted the original chariots used by the Hyksos, so they were more suitable to use in their country (lighter, more speed, easier to handle and to turn with) with the result that the A.E. in time were capable to drive the occupants back out.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ranoferhotep wrote:
Ok, I can agree with that, but finally we where conquered by the Romans. I do think it’s safe to say, that there is always an interaction and that both conqueror and conquered finally learn from each other.

A nice example is the invasion of the Hyksos, who surprised the A.E. by using horses and chariots. The A.E. however adapted the original chariots used by the Hyksos, so they were more suitable to use in their country (lighter, more speed, easier to handle and to turn with) with the result that the A.E. in time were capable to drive the occupants back out.


Right... and that is no propaganda (what is that doing in here anyway), are we discussing Ramesses the Great, since he was good at that.

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