Taharqa Routed by Assarhaddon, Memphis Sacked, Kush / Ethiopia Driven from Lower Egypt. Part VIII

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
In an earlier article titled "Egypt, Ethiopia - Sudan, Abyssinia, the Freemasonic Orientalist Fallacy of Ethiopianism, and Nubia" (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/egypt-ethiopia-sudan-abyssinia-the-freemasonic-orientalist-fallacy-of-ethiopianism-and-nubia.html), I focused on the colonially masterminded project against Eastern Africa, which involved the projection of fake identity on both, the Arabic speaking populations of Central Sudan, and the Semitic Amhara and Tigray Abyssinians. This was effectuated by means of two fake ideologies, Pan-Arabism and Ethiopianism.

Pan-Arabism was the fake doctrine fabricated by the colonial Orientalist academia in order to project the fake Arab identity onto the former.

Ethiopianism was the fake doctrine fabricated by the colonial Orientalist academia in order to project the fake Ethiopian identity onto the latter.

As much as Egyptians, Arabic-speaking Sudanese, Libyans, Tunisians, Algerians, Mauritanians and Moroccans are not Arab of origin, so much the Semitic Amhara and Tigray are not Ethiopian of descent, and therefore cannot dare use the fair name of Ethiopia for their monstrous, pseudo-historic education, racist policies, and antihuman tyranny.

I underscored that the evil, colonial diplomacy and academia, in order to better implement Pan-Arabism in Sudan and effectively disorient the Arabic-speaking Sudanese from the search of their true identity and historical heritage, machinated the renaming of the Kushitic ? Ethiopian Antiquity, monuments, History, and culture as "Nubian".

To clarify that the non-Egyptian antiquities of the Egyptian South and the Sudanese North cannot be called "Nubian", I initiated a series of articles, presenting the historical interaction among the Hamitic ? Kushitic Egyptians, the Kushitic Ethiopians (ancestors to today´s Arabic-speaking Sudanese, Oromos, Sidamas, and other Eastern African Kushites), and the Medjay ? Nubians, who are ancestors to the modern Nubians. The latter may now be the exclusive inhabitants of a vast part of the territory of Ancient Kush (Ethiopia), namely from the South of Aswan to Wadi Halfa and further to Debba, but in the Antiquity, they were a minority in the said territory (and in the rest of Egypt); furthermore, the Ancient Nubians never formed a state of their own in the pre-Christian times.

Consequently, the Nubians cannot be considered as the only or the primary heir to either the Egyptian or the Kushitic / Ethiopian Antiquity, History, monuments, and Heritage. The term "Nubian" cannot be given to the kings of Kerma, Napata and Meroe ? the three most important capitals of Pre-Christian Kush / Ethiopia ? because these kings were not Nubians but Kushites / Ethiopians; speaking at both, the ethnic and the linguistic levels, they were as different as the Ancient Greeks from the Ancient Babylonians.

An Outline of the Earlier Parts

To extensively analyze the subject, I expanded in seven earlier articles, covering

1) the early periods of Prehistory and History (A-Group, C-Group, Kerma kingdom) of Ancient Kush ? Ethiopia (Sudan),

2) the Anti-Egyptian alliance between the Kushitic / Ethiopian kingdom of Kerma and the Asiatic invaders of Egypt, the notorious Hyksos,

3) the liberation of Egypt from the Hyksos rulers,

4) the cooperation of the Egyptian throne with the Kushite / Ethiopian noblesse opposing the Kerma rulers in view of the eradication of the latter,

5) the presence of the Kushite / Ethiopian noblesse in the pharaonic court, notably the high priestess Ahmose Nefertari, a Kushite / Ethiopian noble lady and Queen Mother of the Pharaoh Amenhotep I,

6) the eradication of "evil" kingdom of Kerma by Thutmose I, and the annexation of the entire Kas (Kush / Ethiopia) by Egypt,

7) the rise and the fall of the Egyptian New Kingdom,

8) the permanent clash of the monotheistic and polytheistic priesthoods of Amun of Thebes during the times of New Kingdom,

9) the rise and the fall (14th century BCE) of the religious ? spiritual revolution of Akhenaten of Egypt, who preached the monotheistic system (Atonism ? the system evolving around Aton, the Only God) that pre-modeled the Kushitic / Ethiopian monotheism and the later monotheistic Kushitic religions,

10) the rift caused by Atonism within the Egyptian society,

11) the division and decadence of Egypt into several countries and dynasties after the victory of Ramesses III over the Sea Peoples,

12) the prevalence of the polytheistic Amun Theban priesthood throughout Upper Egypt and Kush / Ethiopia that remained united under the Thebes-based Amun high priests for no less than three centuries after Egypt´s split,

13) the shift of power from Thebes to Napata, whereby a local, Kushitic / Ethiopian dynasty rose to defend not only Kush / Ethiopia but also Thebes, against the monotheistic priesthood of Heliopolis, the Delta Kings of Lower Egypt, and their Libyan allies,

14) the beginning of the Napatan dynasty of Kush / Ethiopia, and the reigns of Alara and Kashta, the early Napatan rulers, who attributed great importance to their interconnection and interaction with the polytheistic Amun Theban priesthood up to the point of consecrating female relatives (like Amenardis (Imen-iirdisi), the Divine (female) Adorer of Amun, and Divine Wife of Amun) to the Theban clergy.

15) the clash between the Kushite Piankhi and the Heliopolitan priesthood backed by the Berbers for prevalence in Lower Egypt,

16) the introduction of a new mortuary architectural style in Kush / Ethiopia with the erection of small, steep pyramids over the Kushitic pharaohs´ tombs in the early Napatan necropolis (late 8th century BCE),

17) the conquest of the Egyptian North by Shabaka, and the search for the Authentic Hamitic ? Kushitic Spirituality that was undertaken by Piankhi´s younger brother, and

18) the alliance between Shabaka´s successor Shebitqu with Hezekiah of Judah and the Palestinians against the great monotheist Emperor Sennacherib of Assyria, the then world´s sole superpower, the crushing defeat of all the allies at the battle of Eltekeh, and the subsequent expedition of the Assyrian army up to the gates of Egypt, i.e. Pelusium (Per Amun, i.e. the House of Amun, in Ancient Egyptian, nearby today´s Port Said).

Here are the titles of, and the links to, the first seven parts of the series:

"The Common Origins of Egypt, and Ethiopia ? Sudan. Oromos, Arabic Speaking Sudanese, Nubians. I" (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/the-common-origins-of-egypt-and-ethiopia-sudan-oromos-arabic-speaking-sudanese-nubians-i.html)

"Hamitic-Kushitic Origins of Egypt and Ethiopia / Sudan. Oromos, Arabic Speaking Sudanese, Nubians II" (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/hamitic-kushitic-origins-of-egypt-and-ethiopia-sudan-oromos-arabic-speaking-sudanese-nubians-ii.html),

"Egyptian Rule over Kush-Ethiopia, and Ahmose Nefertari, Foremother of Oromos and Sudanese. Part III" (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/egyptian-rule-over-kush-ethiopia-and-ahmose-nefertari-foremother-of-oromos-and-sudanese-part-iii.html)

"Egypt, Akhenaten, Aton Monotheism: Origins of Oromos´ and Sidamas´ Kushitic / Ethiopian Religions" (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/147078)

"Napata: Egypt Ruled by the Forefathers of Arabic-speaking Sudanese and Oromos (not Amharas). Part V" (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/napata-egypt-ruled-by-the-forefathers-of-arabic-speaking-sudanese-and-oromos-not-amharas-part-v.html)

"From Piankhi to Shabaka: Ancestors to Egyptians, Arabic-speaking Sudanese, Oromos, Sidamas. Part VI" (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/from-piankhi-to-shabaka-ancestors-to-egyptians-arabic-speaking-sudanese-oromos-sidamas-part-vi.html)

"Sennacherib of Assyria Defeats Shebitqu of Egypt and Kush / Ethiopia, Jews, Palestinians Allies" (http://www.afroarticles.com/article-dashboard/Article/Sennacherib-of-Assyria-Defeats-Shebitqu-of-Egypt-and-Kush---Ethiopia--Jews---Palestinian-Allies/205543)

In the present, eighth article of the series, I will focus on Shebitqu´s successor, Taharqa, his consecutive defeats by the Assyrian Emperors Assarhaddon and Assurbanipal, the three Assyrian invasions of Egypt, the destruction of Thebes, and the isolation of the Kushitic / Ethiopian dynasty beyond Egypt´s southern borders.

Taharqa, and the Search for the Kushitic / Ethiopian Identity and the African Historical Heritage

Like all his predecessors, Taharqa ruled as Pharaoh of Thebes and Pharaoh of Napata. He was not a Nubian as inconsistent amateurs and vicious Egyptologists mistakenly describe him at times; Taharqa was a Kushite / Ethiopian, like all the previous members of the dynasty of Alara.

As Kushite / Ethiopian, Taharqa (690 ? 664 BCE) is ethnically totally unrelated to the Modern Nubians who don´t descend from the Ancient Kushites / Ethiopians, the indigenous population of Northern Sudan and the southernmost confines of Egypt, but from the Medjay, an ancient Nilo-Saharan ethnic group that inhabited a small area in south-eastern Egypt where were located many goldmines. An ´Nub´ meant gold in Ancient Egyptian, the name was also given to the inhabitants of that area, and this constitutes the etymology of the name of today´s Nubians.

As Kushite / Ethiopian, Taharqa is ethnically totally unrelated to the Modern Abyssinians, who due to their racist and chauvinist ideology, usurped the name of Ethiopia, following Western Orientalist directives in order to facilitate the disastrous plans for Eastern Africa that have been developed by influential groups of the colonial capitals. The name of Ethiopia was given by the Ancient Greeks and Romans to the kingdom of Kush, which was located immediately south of Egypt´s southern borders; it cannot therefore be attributed to the Semitic nation of Abyssinians, the modern Amharas and Tigrays, who originate from Yemen, and illegally subjugated and controlled Kushitic nations (the Oromos, the Sidamas, the Kambaatas, the Kaffas, the Hadiyas, etc) who are part of the descendants of Ancient Kush.

Who can today claim the mantle and the sword of Taharqa?

Today, Taharqa belongs primarily to the Arabic-speaking Sudanese of Sudan´s central regions, who constitute the indigenous descendents of the Ancient Kushites / Ethiopians. This ethnic-linguistic group is not Arabic of descent because there has never been an Arabic invasion of Sudan. They are the descendants of the Kushites / Ethiopians of the times of Taharqa; ca. 150 years after the end of Taharqa´s reign, the bulk of the Kushitic / Ethiopian population moved further to south, transferring their capital from Napata to Meroe (as we will extensively describe in forthcoming articles). Later on, following the Abyssinian destruction of Meroe and the brief, partly occupation of Kush by Abyssinia, they accepted Christianity as diffused from the North (Coptic Egypt). Then they established two great Kushitic / Ethiopian states, namely Makuria and Alodia (Christian Ethiopia in striking opposition to Christian Abyssinia). After these Christian Kushitic / Ethiopian kingdoms were gradually dissolved, the slow process of islamization brought about the linguistic (not ethnic, and not cultural) arabization. This does not change in anything the Kushitic / Ethiopian identity of today´s Arabic-speaking Sudanese.

Furthermore, Taharqa belongs primarily to the Oromos, the Sidamas, and the other descendents of the Ancient Kushites / Ethiopians who migrated to the South. In fact, in different periods, and for different reasons, several parts of the Ancient Kushitic / Ethiopian nation migrated to mountainous African regions far from their land of origin. These regions are nowadays parts of the colonial states of Abyssinia and Kenya. The reconstitution of the modern Kushitic nations´ past is the result of interdisciplinary research, involving Archaeology (depopulated provinces of Kush / Ethiopia after foreign attack and occupation, without any mention or evidence of extensive massacres), History (migration as constant pattern of the Ancient Kushitic / Ethiopian History), Linguistics (comparisons between modern Kushitic languages and the non deciphered, yet read, languages of the Kushitic / Ethiopian past: Meroitic Hieroglyphic and Meroitic Cursive writing systems, and Christian Makurian writing system which used Greek characters), History of Religions, Ethnography, Social / Cultural Anthropology, and Ethnology (comparisons of myths, beliefs, faiths, concepts, moral rules, ideals and principles).

Taharqa belongs secondarily to the Modern Egyptians, Christian or Muslim, as a non Egyptian ruler of Egypt. Due to the fact that, diachronically viewed, the Egyptians are ethnically a Hamitic ? Kushitic amalgamation, Taharqa is still closer to them than Assarhaddon and Assurbanipal, the Assyrian Semitic Emperors who invaded Egypt, the Achaemenidian Indo-European Iranians who ruled Egypt for almost 200 years, the Macedonian Ptolemies, Cleopatra, the Roman Emperors, the Christian Eastern Roman Emperors, the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs, the Tulunid, Fatemid, and Mameluk rulers, the Ottoman Sultans, and the Albanian Khedives.

Furthermore, Taharqa belongs secondarily to the Modern Nubians, who were present in both parts of his territory, the Kemetic (Egypt) and the Kushitic (Ethiopia). Certainly, today, Nubians do not live in North Sudan´s Karima (Ancient Napata was one of Taharqa´s two capitals) whereby Taharqa´s tomb is located; and similarly, Nubians do not live in Upper Egypt´s Luxor (Ancient Thebes was Taharqa´s Egyptian capital); however, they live in most of the territory in-between the two cities (a distance of ca. 1300 km) and their ancestors lived there during Taharqa´s reign, and were a constituent of the socioeconomic life of the then united Kemet (Egypt) and Kush (Ethiopia).

Finally, Taharqa belongs to all Modern Africans, except the alien, Semitic, Amhara and Tigray Abyssinians, who originate from Asia (Yemen). Taharqa represents the embodiment of the Kushitic ? Hamitic, African resistance to foreign intruders, Asiatic (Assyrian or Abyssinian) or European (Roman or Modern European).

Taharqa and the End of the Kushitic / Ethiopian Rule Over Egypt

Son of Piye and Abale, younger brother of Shebitqu, Taharqa (690 ? 664) reigned in Kemet (Egypt) and Kush (Ethiopia) at the times of the Assyrian zenith. There could not be worse time for a polytheist pharaoh to merge Kush / Ethiopia and Egypt under his scepter. The monotheistic emperors of Assyria Sharrukin (722 ? 705 BCE; Sharru Kinu: ´Stable King´ in Assyrian; also known as Sargon, through his mention in Ancient Greek historiography) and Sennacherib (705 ? 681 BCE; Sin Ahe Eriba: ´Sin has elevated the brother´ in Assyrian) reassessed the Assyrian monotheistic political ideology, as heirs of the Sumerian ? Akkadian universalist ideal, and reigned as "Emperors of the Universe". This signified unprecedented military expansionism, exportation of Assyrian administration to all faraway places of the immense empire, and elimination of all polytheistic priesthoods and the dependent administrations from the invaded territories. From Caucasus to central parts of Arabia, and from the Iranian plateau to Cyprus and the westernmost confines of today´s Turkey, an area of ca. 3.3 million km2 was ruled by one emperor ? for the first time in the History of the Mankind.

Taharqa continued the traditional policies of the Napatan dynasty; honouring the lodge of Ptah at Memphis, he was crowned there, and not in Thebes or Napata, as Kawa Stele V states. Thus, the origin of the Egyptian polytheistic priesthood was particularly venerated. Epigraphic and textual evidence from his reign is abundant and in various, historical sources, Egyptian Hieroglyphic, Assyrian and Babylonian Cuneiform, Biblical Hebrew, and Ancient Greek.

In the beginning of his reign, Taharqa (named as Tirhakah in the Hebrew Bible) avoided manoeuvres against Assyria; he spent some years, consolidating the Kushitic / Ethiopian rule over Egypt, and had several temples built or rebuilt, notably at Thebes (at the Amun´s temple of Karnak, particularly in the area of the First Court), Western Thebes (at the temple of Medniet Habu), Kawa (on Nile´s eastern bank, opposite today´s Dunqulah, the major Kushitic / Ethiopian religious centre, ca. 1000 km south of Thebes), Athribis, Semna, Kasr Ibrim, and Pnubs.

The relationship with Assyria deteriorated rapidly after the death of Sennacherib who was murdered inside his palace by disloyal sons who had sided with the rebellious, Babylonian polytheistic priesthood. Assarhaddon (681 ? 669 BCE; Ashur ahha iddina: ´Assur gave me a brother´ in Assyrian) seemed greatly pre-occupied in Babylonia that had been sacked by his father Sennacherib. The ideological ? spiritual clash between Assyrian monotheists and Babylonian polytheists was an extremely delicate affair whereby the ideological prevalence should not damage the cultural heritage; Sennacherib´s destruction of Babylon had at the end played into the hands of the Babylonian polytheists who were thus able to discredit the Assyrian monotheistic establishment as unable to represent the search for the authentic Sumerian ? Akkadian Heritage.

To properly validate Assyria´s pledge to be the sole authentic representative and heir of the Sumerian ? Akkadian Heritage, Assarhaddon had to have the Great Temple Esagila (´the House of the Raised Head´ in Sumerian) rebuilt - at one of the world´s holiest locations, next to the axis of the sphere which is the Universe. Being greatly involved in the Mesopotamian South, Assarhaddon had to act fast whenever a crisis surfaced at one point or another of his vast empire.

To send a threatening message to Thebes and Napata, Assarhaddon campaigned in 679 against Arza, destroyed the city, and took the local king Asuhili as captive to Nineveh. Arza is located near the Brook of Egypt (Nahal Musur in Assyria, Nahal Mizraim in Hebrew, and Heimarros or Pharangos Aigyptou in Ancient Greek). The effort to identify the location have produced several academic debates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brook_of_Egypt) but the most successful interpretation of sources leads to the identification with the Pelusian arm of the Nile. Most probably, Asuhili was an Egyptian ruler tributary to Taharqa. However, this campaign did not bring lasting results.

The crisis erupted in 677 BCE; most probably, Taharqa incited local rulers in Phoenicia (Sidon) and Palestine (Ashkelon) to rebel, imagining that the Assyrian army would thus be long preoccupied there. Following a fast Assyrian raid and attacks against rebellious tribes in the area of today´s Southern Jordan, North-western Arabia, and North Sinai, Assarhaddon managed to eliminate the rebels in Phoenicia and Palestine that were already part of the Assyrian territory. Abdi Milkuti of Sidon escaped momentarily but was captured and beheaded in the following year. Sidon was renamed Kar Ashur ahha iddina, i.e. ´harbour of Assarhaddon´, and the treaty with Tyre mentions Edom, Moab, Ammon (today´s Amman in Jordan), Judah, Azza (Gaza), Ashkelon, Ashdod, Byblos, Arwad and several islands of the Mediterranean as tributary provinces of Assyria. The rebellion was quelled ? again momentarily.

There seems to be an Egyptian confirmation of Taharqa´s meddling in Phoenicia and Palestine; the French Egyptologist Pascal Vernus collated, translated and interpreted a partly damaged text inscribed on blocks adjoining the bark sanctuary of Amun´s temple at Karnak. The text bears no pharaonic name, and was earlier attributed to other pharaohs, but the contents convinced the French Egyptologist to identify Taharqa´s scribes as the text´s authors. The text is actually a prayer requesting Amun´s help against an invading enemy; the praying pharaoh, who must have been Taharqa, describes himself as "the one who will not abandon his work when it has only been half realized" and states that he will continue his devoted deeds once he manages to collect the tribute of Khor (collective Ancient Egyptian appellation of Palestine and Phoenicia) that "has been turned aside from" Amun (which means not collected by the pharaoh).

The Assyrian historical sources do not mention an imperial campaign against Egypt in 673; no other sources refer to such an event, except a later Babylonian text, the Babylonian Chronicle, which cannot be trusted much as it was written in clear Anti-Assyrian spirit. The Babylonian text reports an Assyrian defeat in Egypt during March 673, but it must have rather been an inconclusive battle or an Egyptian success in fending the Assyrians off. The fact that, within weeks, the Assyrian army had to fight under Assarhaddon himself against Bazu (in the area of today´s Qatar and the Emirates) and in Urartu (today´s Van in Eastern Turkey) to quell local rebellions, is the reason of the Assyrian failure to effectively invade Egypt.

The Assyrian failure to invade Egypt in 673 BCE caused further unrest in parts of Phoenicia and Palestine, notably Tyre (today´s Sur in South Lebanon) and Ashkelon. Assarhaddon had to spend the next year in Assyria, preparing his youngest son, Assurbanipal, for the throne of the empire.

In late spring 671 BCE, the Assyrian army marched against the West; part of the army eliminated the rebels from the Phoenician and the Palestinian towns, and the rest advanced directly against Egypt, after crossing territories of today´s South Iraq, Jordan, and the Sinai. The Assyrian Imperial Annals mention three fierce battles, on the 3rd, 16th and 18th of Du´uzu (Tammuz) in different locations in the Eastern Delta; the dates correspond to June 24th, July 7th and July 9th of the Gregorian Calendar. On Du´uzu 22nd (July 13th), Memphis (Men Nefer in Ancient Egyptian; Meimpi in Assyrian ? Babylonian; which shows that the Ancient Greek name of the city was derived from the Assyrian appellation) was conquered and totally destroyed.

The battles were conducted body to body even between the Assyrian Emperor and the Kushite Pharaoh, and Taharqa may have been wounded five times by Assarhaddon´s arrows, but at the end, he managed to flee to the South, whereas his son and brothers were captured alive. The Assyrian emperor entered in the pharaonic palace at Memphis and sat on Tahrqa´s throne, taking as hostages to Nineveh Taharqa´s queen, secondary royal wives, and Ushanhuru, the Kushite heir apparent. As it was the practice, all the idols of Taharqa were taken as hostages too. Assarhaddon appointed new administrators of either Assyrian or Egyptian origin (probably high ranking officials of the monotheistic Heliopolitan priesthood that permanently opposed the Theban ? Napatan alliance and rule over Egypt). Assarhaddon named himself "King of Egypt and Kush" to assert his legitimacy. Lower Egypt was thus out of the Theban ? Napatan control.

Assarhaddon boasts of having uprooted Kush out of Egypt in his victory stele (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_stele_of_Esarhaddon_over_Taharqa-671_BC).
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As soon as Assarhaddon left, parts of the Delta rebelled, and Assarhaddon sent the general Sha Nabu Shu to assert Nineveh´s might over Memphis. As the victory was incomplete, and the Egyptian South was still under total Kushitic / Ethiopian control, Assarhaddon visited Egypt in 669, probably to prepare the complete invasion of the country; however, in early autumn, he died, and Assurbanipal rose to the throne of Nineveh. ]

On the last years of Taharqa´s reign, I will focus on the forthcoming article.

Further readings:

1. The Osirian Temple of Taharqa at Karnak in Egypt

by Jimmy Dunn


South of the main east-west axis of the temple of Amun at Karnak in Luxor (ancient Thebes), and east of the secondary north-south axis is the Sacred Lake of the temple. A number of structures surround the lake, including a small building on its northwest corner that is known as the Osirian Temple of Taharqa. Though this structure is not specifically attached to the main temple complex, it is in alignment with the main axis and attached to the Sacred Lake, and should probably be considered as a part of the temple of Amun. This structure looks not unlike an almost square mastaba style tomb with a torus at each corner but no doors on any of its outer walls. A study of the east wall which is composed of blocks that are at times scored and sometimes unfinished, suggests that there existed at this location an access ramp that lead to the terrace of the structure.

Therefore, one would have had to cross the terrace from east to west to reach a staircase that then descended into the chambers located in the northwest corner of the monument. The direction of the walk from east to west would be in conformity with that of the king represented on the north facade of the building, but opposite to the general advance of the king inside the temple.

A study of the cartouches and the hammered out double ureus on the blocks of this structure allow it to be dated to the 25th Dynasty, Nubian reign of Taharqa, with blocks reused from his predecessor, Shabaka. Psamtik II (Psammetichus II) subsequently added his cartouches to the building.

On the outside northern facade of this building we find several interesting scenes. Here, the king is purified by a double stream made up of the ankh and the was (Life and Power) that falls in a dome around him. His two open hands show the palm of one and the back side of the other. Two falcons cross their wings over the king's chest under his three-row user necklace. As is the Nubian style, the musculature of the kings legs is prominent. Here, the cartouche of Taharqa has been etched out and replaced by that of Psamtik II.

To the left of this scene is another where the king is clad in a pleated loincloth with a triangular front panel. He offers incense to his father Atum. He holds a "cubit of incense" which he sprinkles into a fire.

Within the structure are additional support walls that rise about 1.5 meters that contain a large number of reused stones from the Nubian period, of which several still retain the cartouche and the two uraei, not hammered out, of Shabaka. This whole area, with the exception of the several rooms in the northwest corner of the building, is thought to have been filled with dirt or debris.

Within the structure, in the corner northwest room, on its southern wall is a depiction of the king and behind him are six baboons, They face the east, and are called "the eastern souls who worship Ra" when he rises. There may have originally been two groups of four baboons each facing east. The classic tests, according to A. Piankoff, states:

"To worship the sun and cause it to rise, by the spirits of the east. The sprits of the east are the four neters (gods) who worship the sun. It is they who make the sun to rise and who open the doors of the four gates of the sky's eastern horizon"

The Egyptians chose the baboon for this symbolism because the animal seems to greet the morning sun, and is said to give a howl at every hour and urinate twelve times during the day and twelve at night during the equinox.

On the interior north wall of this chamber is a scene depicting the solar barque. The surface on which this bas-relief is sculpted has been flattened out, removing the base of a dozen columns of hieroglyphs from which the cartouches have been visibly removed or cut away. The solar barque is proceeding from east to west, in the direction of the sun's daily path. In the middle is Atum in his naos, who is surmounted by the single word "iuf", which means flesh.

To the southeast of this chamber is another that in turn leads into an inner chapel. Here, carved on the lintel to the doorway into the chapel is a very strange and extremely rare representation. On one side, a female figure draws a bow with her left arm pulled behind her back, while on the other side, a male figure, who holds a club in his left hand, is making the "great stride". This is Taharqa and his mother. In the center is depicted a tree which juts up from a hemispheric mound drawn within a rectangle. Text here describes this as the shndt tree (spiny acacia of the chest). The name of Osiris is on the mound. A similar representation on a Saite sarcophagus explains that "This is the mound that hides what it holds; this is the hill of Osiris"

Along the northwest wall of this structure on the inside runs the staircase leading to the terrace. On the wall next to the staircase are representations of androcephalic figures and mummified baboons, each of which correspond to a stair, climbing from north to south above a solar disk. In the Royal Tombs of the West Bank, when present, the Book of the Night is usually found on the western walls, while the Book of the Day is on the east. The ascension of the figures here very probably correspond to the last hours of the night.

During excavations conducted between 1949 and 1950, two additional walls of unbaked brick were unearthed that lead off of the north and south ends of the east wall of the main structure. Apparently this was a sort of courtyard that preceded the "pure wells" from which the water for purifications of the daily ritual were drawn. The southern brick wall is interrupted at its easternmost end by the opening of a staircase that descends to the sacred lake, perpendicular to its border wall.

2. The Kiosk of Tahraqa

In: The First Courtyard at the Temple of Amun, Karnak

by Jim Fox


Centered in the courtyard are the the remains of a huge kiosk of Tahraqa (Taharqa), which was usurped by Psammetichus II (Psamtik II), and the restored during the Greek Period. It originally consisted of ten, tall, slim papyrus columns linked by a low screening wall, though open at its eastern and western ends. This building now retains only one great column and a large block of Egyptian alabaster (calcite) that resembles an altar that perhaps was once surmounted by a pedestal. However, Champollion tells us that:

"Twleve (?) columns, or rather twelve large scale imitations of the wadj amulets that served as props for the sacred tokens of Amun and the king who inhabited this building, were once in the center of the large courtyard of the palace. It should in fact be noted that these constructions posses in no way the curve of a column but are lengthier and narrower below the bell of the capital...

It becomes obvious in view of this decoration that the author of the pillars is the king Taharqa, who, after the expulsion of the Ethiopians under Psamtik, the first of the dynasty, has replaced the inscriptions left by the foreign king with those of the native king. However, the proper name of the former, although hammered out, is still quite visible on the second ring of the column of the first Babastite portico."

Champollion believe that these columns were standard holders. Indeed, the columns the average diameter of the shaft of these columns is round one-seventh the size of the total height, whereas normally this proportion is hardly greater than one-sixth. Their total height is 21 meters, with the aver diameter being 2.99 meters.

Traditionally, this building has been considered to be another barque chapel, yet, the fact that it was an open structure suggests otherwise. Some Egyptologists today believe that it may have had a function in ritual activities associated with a "uniting with the sun" ceremony, as was practiced in later times at Dendera and elsewhere. However, others maintain that this structure was not open at all, but roofed with timber and was used as a way station for the sacred barques. Indeed, the columns appear to have an abacus (though this is called a dado), usually used to support an architrave. This area was later paved with irregular slabs of red granite.

3. The Pyramids of Nuri


The pyramid field of Nuri contained 21 kings together with 52 queens and princesess . The first to build his tomb at Nuri was king Taharqa. His pyramid had 51.75 m square and 40 or 50 m high. Taharqa subterranean chambers are the most elaborate of any Kushite tomb. The entrance was by an eastern stairway trench , north of the pyramid's central axis, reflecting the alignment of the original smaller pyramid. Three steps led to a doorway, with a moulded frame, that opened to a tunnel, widened and heightened into an antechamber with a barrel-vaulted ceiling. Six massive pillars carved from the natural rock divide the burial chamber into two side aisles and a central nave, each with a barrel-vaulted ceiling. The entire chamber was surrounded by a moat-like corridor entered steps leading down from in front of the antechamber doorway. After Taharqa 21 kings and 53 queens and princesess were buried at Nuri under pyramids of good masonry, using blocks of local red sandstone. The Nuri pyramids were generally much larger than those at el-Kurru, reaching heights of 20 to 30 m. The last king to be buried at Nuri died in about 308 BC.

4. Massive Taharqa statue discovered deep in Sudan - Pictures, inscriptions and an interview

Submitted by owenjarus on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 06:37


About a week back Heritage Key published a story about the discovery of a massive, one ton, statue of Taharqa that was found deep in Sudan.

Taharqa was a pharaoh of the 25th dynasty of Egypt and came to power ca. 690 BC. The pharaohs of this dynasty were from Nubia ? a territory located in modern day Sudan and southern Egypt. When Taharqa came to power, he controlled an empire stretching from Sudan to the Levant.

The Nubian pharaohs tried to incorporate Egyptian culture into their own. They built pyramids in Sudan ? even though pyramid building in Egypt hadn´t been practiced in nearly 800 years.

Taharqa´s rule was a high water mark for the 25th dynasty. By the end of his reign a conflict with the Assyrians had forced him to retreat south, back into Nubia ? where he died in 664 BC.

Egypt became an Assyrian vassal ? eventually gaining independence during the 26th dynasty. Taharqa´s successors were never able to retake Egypt.

In addition to Taharqa´s statue, those of two of his successors - Senkamanisken and Aspelta ? were found alongside. These two rulers controlled territory in Sudan, but not Egypt.

The story I wrote a week ago was largely based on a blog entry by Dr. Caroline Rocheleau of the North Carolina Museum of Art. Unfortunately, since it was the holidays, I had to wait a bit until an interview could be arranged.

That wait is now over.

On Thursday morning I interviewed Dr. Julie Anderson of the British Museum, she is co-director for the Dangeil excavations. This project is an archaeological mission of the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums, Sudan. It is also co-directed by Dr. Salah eldin Mohamed Ahmed.

In addition to the interview the team generously released some pictures of the find. Anderson also provided me with a scholarly article, published recently in the journal Sudan & Nubia. It contains a wealth of information including the translation for the inscriptions found on the statues. The journal does not appear to be published electronically so I´m afraid I can´t link to it.

No other statue of a pharaoh has been found further south than Taharqa´s

Dr. Anderson confirmed something that I suspected. No statue of a pharaoh has ever been found further south of Egypt than this one. "That´s one reason it´s so exciting and very interesting," she said. The discovery was such a surprise that one colleague of Anderson's didn't believe it at first saying that the statues "can´t possibly be (at) Dangeil."

Dangeil is near the fifth cataract of the Nile River, about 350 kilometres northeast of the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. There was a settlement at the time of Taharqa, but little of it has been excavated.

Most of the finds discovered at Dangeil, so far, date to the time of the Kingdom of Meroe (3rd century BC ? 3rd century AD).

While this is the furthest south that a pharaoh´s statue has been found, it doesn´t necessarily mean that Dangeil is the southern border of Taharqa´s empire. It´s possible that he controlled territory further up the Nile.

A giant of a statue

The statue of Taharqa is truly monumental. "It´s a symbol of royal power," said Dr. Anderson, an indicator that Dangeil was an "important royal city."

It´s made of granite and weighs more than one ton. It stood about 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) when it had its head. In ancient times it was smashed into several pieces on purpose. This was also done to the two other statues.

It´s not known who did this or why. It happened "a long time after Taharqa," said Anderson.

One idea is that there was a dynastic struggle. A group came to power in Nubia that was determined to eliminate reminders of Taharqa´s reign and that of this successors.

Another possibility is that in 593 BC an Egyptian military force, led by pharaoh Psamtek II, succeeded in reaching Dangeil and decided to damage the statues.

The largest piece of Taharqa's statue is the torso and base. This part of the statue is so heavy that the archaeological team had to use 18 men to move it onto a truck.

"We had trouble moving him a couple hundred meters," said Anderson. The move was "extremely well planned," with the team spending eight to nine days figuring out how to accomplish it without the statue (or the movers) getting damaged.

Given the lack of moving equipment the team resorted to "traditional methods."

In the paper Anderson and Ahmed say that "the back of the statue was first protected with sacking after which a heavy plank of wood was attached to the backpillar. Trenches were dug under the statue to facilitate the attachment of the wood backing,"

The team than rotated the statue so that it rested on this wood. A platform of red-brick and silt was created beneath the statue. "The statue was raised upwards, one brick´s thickness at a time (approximately 80mm), using wooden and iron levers."

A team of 18 men then brought it to a truck, dragging it over an ancient wall.

Taharqa´s ancient statue movers would have had an even rougher job. The nearest granite quarry is at the third cataract ? hundreds of kilometres up the Nile. The trip was "certainly many days" said Anderson, consisting of a river ride and in "some places dragging."

The construction of the statue and the painstaking effort to move it to Dangeil "demonstrates how powerful he (Taharqa) was."

Dr. Anderson has a working theory about what the statue was doing at the site. She believes that there was a temple to the god Amun there during Taharqa´s time. It would have been nearby or underneath where a Meroe temple stands today.

Taharqa´s statue would have been inside this temple along with Senkamanisken and Aspelta. I asked her if there are more royal statues waiting to be found at the site, "I´m certain of it," she said. There are, "more kings between Taharqa and Aspelta."

Indeed there are three rulers between Taharqa and Aspelta who don't have a statue discovered at Dangeil ?Tanwetamani, Atlanersa and Anlamani.


On Taharqa´s belt these words are inscribed:

The perfect god Taharqo son of Amun-Re

The statue´s backpillar also contains a partial inscription-

´The Perfect God, ´Lord of the Two Lands, Lord of Action... King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nefertum-Khu-Re´, son of Re´, Taharqo, [beloved] of Re´-Harakhty who resides in Ms (the inscription here is gone) forever.

"The inscription is broken following the Ms," said Anderson and Ahmed in their paper.

"But finishes with ´forever´. ´Given all life, stability and dominion like Re´ likely preceded the ´forever´."

The "perfect god" and "lord of the two lands" are common usage for a pharaoh of Egypt. "Ms" may be part of the ancient name for Dangeil.

The statue of Senkamanisken has an interesting inscription on its back-pillar.

´The perfect God, Lord of the Two Lands, Lord of Action, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Se-kheper-en-re, son of Re´, Senkamani[sken ?´

This inscription is a perfect example of why you should not believe everything that you read. By the reign of Senkamanisken the Nubians had lost control of Egypt.

"Kushite kings still used standard titles," said Anderson. "They´re actually king of Sudan."

Future work

"I will probably be there (at Dangeil) until I die," said Dr. Anderson. "There is work for generations to come."

For good reason to. The site´s size is the equivalent of "24 football fields" and archaeologists have barely scratched the surface of the remains that date to Taharqa and his successors. Anderson's hoping to find the head of the Taharqa statue in future seasons (the next one is in October).

"We may never recover it," she said. "That I'm afraid will come down to luck."

5. La Vida Aegyptiaca: Blog of Egyptologist Caroline M. Rocheleau


December 20, 2009

By Caroline M. Rocheleau | December 20, 2009 | More from Caroline M. Rocheleau

Returning to work after spending a month in the Sudan is always a shock. I have been back only for three weeks, but it feels like a million years ago. (The endless Christmas parties might have something to do with this feeling.)

We had a quiet season in Dangeil this year. At least it felt quiet after the excitement of last year. In fact, last year was beyond exciting: we made mind-boggling discoveries (the kind that makes you do a little jig on the baulk), but I could not tell you about these spectacular discoveries until they were published.

As luck would have it, my copy of Sudan & Nubia (the journal of the Sudan Archaeological Research Society)?with Julie and Salah´s article published on its glossy pages?was waiting for me when I got home?

We found magnificent granite statues of Napatan kings.

Royal statues? can you believe it?!

Immediately, we knew we had something special because granite is not found in the area of Dangeil. The nearest granite quarry is at the Third Cataract, much further north, across the Bayuda Desert. Additionally, the artistic style and craftsmanship indicated that we were dealing with sculpture of the Napatan period (8th-4th century B.C.E.), rather than the Meroitic period (3rd century B.C.E to mid-3rd century C.E.). And that completely baffled us. What were these Napatan statues doing in Dangeil, a Meroitic site that has yet to reveal Napatan occupation?

Statues like the ones at Dangeil have been found at only two other sites in the Sudan: Napata, the first capital of Kush located near Jebel Barkal and the Fourth Cataract (after which the Napatan period is named), and Dukki Gel, near Kerma, an ancient city near the Third Cataract, where the Napatans were very active (and later the Meroites, too). The statue cache at Napata was found by George A. Reisner (Harvard-Boston Expedition) in 1916 and that at Dukki Gel by Charles Bonnet and the Swiss Mission to Kerma in 2003.

Considering that the region of Meroe (the second capital of Kush, which gave its name to the Meroitic period) has so far revealed little evidence of royal Napatan occupation our discovery was surprising to say the least. In fact, some archaeologists who heard rumours of our find could not even believe we had found Napatan statues at our Meroitic site! Yet, there we were with three granite sculptures of powerful Napatan kings.

Taharqo, Senkamanisken and Aspelta at Dangeil. Wow! The statues are broken at the neck, the knees and the ankles, and we have various body parts for each statue. Both Taharqo and Senkamanisken have great muscular bodies with an inscribed back pillar (Taharqo is more than life-size and weighs over one ton) and lovely feet on the statue base, but we are missing their heads and their lower legs. As for Aspelta, it completely the opposite: we have his beautiful head, lower legs and his feet, but not his body. At present, the head is identified as Aspelta´s purely on its resemblance to the statues of Aspelta at Barkal and Dukki Gel.

We also have a small statue of a Meroitic queen, possibly the Kandake Amanitore. We know the statue is Meroitic because of the iconography and artistic style. It was also carved out of locally available, poor quality sandstone. There isn´t an inscription on the back of this statue, but because we have found over the years inscriptions mentioning or reliefs representing Amanitore, it might be her. We know she build the temple we are currently digging, so why not?

As you might have guessed, this year we hoped to find the heads of Taharqo, Senkamanisken and Amanitore? but that was not to be. Instead we found very interesting stratigraphy, post holes (lots of them), and earlier construction phases. (Could it be an earlier Napatan temple? I guess we´ll find out with the Carbon14 results.) However, with or without heads, we would like to find out how these statues ended up in Dangeil and why. It might take a while, but we´re working on it.




Picture: The Solar Boat of Amun-Ra as depicted on the walls of the Oririan Temple built by Taharqa at Karnak.

From: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/taharqat.htm