Taharqa, Egypt, Ethiopia (Ancient Sudan), Nubians, Assyria and Assurbanipal, Emperor of the Universe
Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
March 27, 2010
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.
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 Kushitic ? Ethiopian identity and historical heritage, machinated the renaming of the Kushitic ? Ethiopian Antiquity, monuments, History, and culture as "Nubian". This is a misnomer.
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 eight 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,
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), and
19) the successive attacks of the Assyrian Emperor Assarhaddon, the Assyrian invasion of Memphis, and occupation of Lower Egypt, and the subsequent limitation of the Kushitic / Ethiopian control in Upper Egypt.
Here are the titles of, and the links to, the first eight 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)
"Taharqa Routed by Assarhaddon, Memphis Sacked, Kush / Ethiopia Driven from Lower Egypt. Part VIII" (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/148167)
In the present, ninth article of the series, I will focus on Taharqa´s last years, defeat, and expulsion from Egypt.
The End of the Kushitic / Ethiopian Dynasty of Egypt
It seems that Assarhaddon´s last visit to Egypt, months if not weeks before he died at Harran (nearby today´s Urfa in SE Turkey), was an opportunity for the Assyrian Emperor to become better acquainted with the perplex realities of Egypt and find an easier way of control, since the defense needs of his vast empire could oblige him to instantly move armies to faraway places.
Twenty chieftains of Lower Egyptian princes, led by Nechao of Sais, declared their submission to Nineveh, and their willingness to fully cooperate with the Assyrian officials who were appointed to administrative posts in Lower Egypt.
Nechao was of Berber origin, but modern Orientalists and Egyptologists avoid this term because it is supposed to be politically incorrect ( ! ); they therefore keep using the term found in Manetho´s Aigyptiaka, namely "Libyan" dynasty.
This is absolutely ridiculous because the term Libya had a very different connotation in the Antiquity, and only today it is confusingly associated with the colonial state of Libya. In the Antiquity, the Ancient Greek name Libya originated from Lebu, an Ancient Egyptian name of one Hamitic, Berber ethnic group that lived throughout North Africa. It is therefore imperative to name the 26th dynasty of Egypt "Hamitic Berber" (not ´Libyan´) in order to avoid falsifications of colonial character.
This pro-Assyrian act initiated a long tradition, because after a few years, Nechao´s son, Psamtek (Pisamilku in Assyrian; Psammetichus in Ancient Greek), moved to Nineveh and was properly educated as an Assyrian in order to return and implement in Egypt as local administrator (under the supervision of an Assyrian general) policies coping with those of the Assyrian monotheistic universalistic establishment.
Assarhaddon´s famous inscription from Samal gives an epic character to his achievements, those in Egypt included. However, soon afterwards, he died, and Assurbanipal (Ashur Ban Apli: ´Ashur is the Creator of the Son´ in Assyrian) had to rush to Egypt immediately after his coronation in order to drive back a threatening movement initiated by Taharqa. As the formidable Assyrian army was approaching, all the vassal kings of Phoenicia, Palestine, Judah and the Mediterranean islands declared submission and allegiance. In addition, they decided to contribute some of their soldiers to the imperial army. Few vassal kings´ names were mentioned this time in the Assyrian Annals of Assurbanipal, namely Iakinlu of Arwad, Amminadbi of Ammon, Baal of Tyre, and Manasseh of Judah. This demonstrates that the process of annexation had advanced to considerable extent, and the unnamed vassal kings were truly speaking administrators, and only nominally vassal kings.
Assurbanipal reached the eastern confines of Delta just in time because Taharqa´s merged Egyptian and Kushitic / Ethiopian army had entered Memphis. The decisive battle was a complete and irreversible disaster for Taharqa. He fled to Thebes and never managed to proceed to the North again. Exemplary punishment was quite typical at the times of Assurbanipal´s 42-year long reign. The first example was given precisely with the untrustworthy Berber and Lower Egyptian vassals of Assarhaddon; Nechao, Sharru Ludari, and Paqruru were accused of intriguing with Taharqa, and transported to Nineveh as hostages, whereas their cities were burned. Assurbanipal applied differentiation treatment to Nechao and his son, educated them (the son longer than the father) and initiated them in the Assyrian imperial, universalistic and monotheistic ideology; he then sent them back to implement the Assyrian policy in Egypt. The Assyrian army controlled most of Egypt this time, without however reaching as south as Thebes (ca. 650 km distance from Memphis). Taharqa died a few years later, and despite his early achievements, his reign represents the major drawback for the Kushitic / Etghiopian predominance over Egypt. When Taharqa died, the clock went back by almost 70 years. The Napatan dynasty controlled as much of Egypt as they had at the times of Piankhi.
Then rose to the throne of Napata and Thebes Tanwetamani (664 ? 656 BCE), son of Shabaka and Kalhat, and nephew of Taharqa. Known as Tandamane in the Assyrian historical sources (and Tementhes in the posterior Ancient Greek sources), Tanwetamani represents the last ruler of the 25th, Ethiopian (Kushitic) dynasty of Egypt. It was clear that he would undertake a final effort to oppose the Assyrian presence in Egypt. However, it was also evident that even united Egypt and Kush could not possibly face the world´s strongest army ever.
After 2-year long preparations, Tanwetamani advanced from Napata to Thebes, and thence to the North in 661 BCE (this expedition is extensively narrated in the Stele of his Dream). He defeated the pro-Assyrian princes and the small amount of Assyrian garrisons, and to take revenge, he killed Nechao. This triggered the third and final Assyrian invasion of Egypt; Assurbanipal´s army reached in high speed, defeated the Kushites / Ethiopians, advanced up to Thebes, and destroyed completely the Egyptian city that for no less than 900 consecutive years had incessantly radiated throughout the Ancient World. Life would continue and restoration works would be later undertaken there (even by Alexander the Macedonian), but Thebes would never recover from this sack and plunder.
Tanwetamani fled to the south, and the Assyrian control over Egypt was consolidated until the natural, historical border of country, namely the first cataract. Enormous booty was transported to Nineveh, Assyrian garrisons remained in many places, and Psamtek I returned to Egypt from Nineveh to hold his father´s position as high administrator of the Assyrian Empire in Egypt. All the Kushites / Ethiopians were eliminated or kicked out Egypt. The Assyrian administration practiced here as well the traditional policy of mass deportations; in fact, Aramaean and Elamite populations from Kirbit were transferred and relocated in Egypt´s Delta.
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Contrarily to what happened to the Kushites who resided in Egypt, not a single Nubian was deported or persecuted, because they were viewed as a different people, who had not aspired to rule Egypt; they were therefore dealt with in the same way as the other Egyptian citizens.
A few years later, in order to consolidate the Assyrian rule, Assurbanipal sent Psamtek with an Egyptian fleet further to the south until the second cataract, and they kicked all the Kushites / Ethiopians from that area as well. This marks officially the end of Tanwetamani´s rule in Egypt; he however ruled in Napata until 653 BCE.
A most obscure personality of that tumultuous era, Montuemhat, the governor of Thebes, managed to survive under, and cooperate with, all different rulers, although married to a Kushite wife; he remained in his position for everal decades despite all the precipitated changes of those days.
The Assyrian rule over Egypt lasted until the final years of Assurbanipal´s reign (625 BCE), and Psammetichus gradually acquired wider margin of manoeuvre, always pursuing a pro-Assyrian foreign policy, down to the days of the ultimate disappearance of the Assyrian Empire (609 BCE) and the last Assyrian soldiers.
In a forthcoming article, I will focus on the last decades of the Napatan dynasty, and the expedition undertaken by the Berber dynasty of Egypt against Napata.
1. Mentuemhat, Governor of Thebes. 25th Dynasty
The greatest official of the 25th Dynasty is Mentuemhat. He was governor of Thebes, 4th prophet of Amen, hereditary chief, royal sealer, chiefly companion, scribe of the temple of Amen, interpreter of the prophets in the temples, as shown by the cones from his tomb; also ruler of all the royal domains, great chief of the land to its limits, eyes of the king in all the land, as stated in his tomb. His statues also give the titles, prince of the deserts, and keeper of the gate of the deserts. His parents were the governor of Thebes, Nesiptah, and Asenkhebt. It is conceded by scholars that Mentuemhet had Nubian blood. He married Wedjarenes, grand-daughter of Piye. Mentuemhat played a significant role in the reign of Taharqo, witnessing the Assyrian sack of Thebes and the transition to Saite rule.
We assume that late in the reign of Shebitqo or early in the reign of Taharqo, Mentuemhet, yet a young man, began the construction of his tomb (though the possibility remains that the tomb was begun by and intended for Nesptah the elder). Work abruptly ceased when Nebuchadrezzar invaded Thebes in 563 B.C. and resumed when Mentuemhet returned, whether in 543 B.C. or later. During those twenty years there occurred a dramatic stylistic change, in part attributable to the death of the earlier generation of Egyptian artisans.
It is interesting to note the almost complete absence of mention of Mentuemhet's first two wives, Neskhonsu and Shepenmut, in the inscriptions of the finished tomb. There is no evidence that either wife was buried there. The attention is focussed almost entirely on Wedjarenes, his Kushite wife. It is conceivable that neither of his first wives survived the invasion? We must assume he married Wedjarenes while in Nubia. Her status may have had something to do with his selection as the southern governor by the Persians. Wedjarenes was of Kushite royal descent: her father was Har the son of King Piye.
Mentuemhet lived out the last years of his life in Nubia.
Edna R. Russmann, "Mentuemhat's Kushite Wife (Further Remarks on the Decoration of the Tomb of Mentuemhat, 2)," Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt (JARCE) 34 (1997), 21-22.
W.M. Flinders Petrie, A History of Egypt - Part One, 1896, pp. 304-306
2. Tanwetamani (Tantamani), The Last Nubian King of Egypt and the Looting of the Temple of Amun at Thebes
by Jimmy Dunn
Tanwetamani (Assyrian Tandamane or Tantamani, Greek Tementhes, also known as Tanutamun) was Egypt's last ruler of the 25th Dynasty as well as the last Nubain (Kushite) Ruler, ruling from about 664 to 657 BC. We are told his throne name was Ba-ka-re, meaning "Glorious is the Soul of Re". He succeeded Taharqa, though he was probably the son of that king's sister, queen Qalhata. His succession to the throne is recorded in a record known as the Dream Stela, not to be confused with that of Tuthmosis IV. It was discovered along with the Victory Stela of Piye at Gebel Barkal in 1862, and now resides in the Nubian Museum in Aswan.
Tanwetamani may have served as a co-regent with Taharqa, but his parentage and family relationships are difficult. From his stela we find depicted two women, one of whom is referred to as "the royal sister, the Mistress of Egypt, Qalhata", while the other is "the royal sister, the Mistress of Ta-Seti, Pi-(ankh)-Arty". An analysis of the text associated with the stela would seem to indicate that Qalhata was Tanwetamani's mother, while the second woman was his wife. The fact that Qalhata was his mother is also supported by her tomb at Nuri in the modern Sudan, where she is given the title of "King's Mother". Foundation deposits also show that the tomb was build during the reign of Tanwetamani.
Of his father, K.A. Kitchen provides:
"The parentage of Tantamani is not absolutely certain; the 'Rassam Cylinder' of Assurbanipal calls him 'son of Shabaku', while Cylinder B makes him 'the son of his (Taharqa's) sister', cited above. It would be possible for Tantamani to have been a son of Shabako by an elder sister of Taharqa. This solution, however, would make Tantamani the son of an uncle/niece marriage; and most scholars prefer - perhaps correctly - to take the Assyrian 'Shabaku' as intended (or an error) for Shibitku. As the latter was a brother of Taharqa, Tantamani would then have beena the offspring of a brother/sister match precisely like the marriages of Alara and Kasaqa, Kashta and Pebatma, Piankhy and three of his five wives, and Taharqa and two wives. So, provisionally, I adopt this latter solution here." TIP 121
Therefore, most recent histories which discuss the 25th dynasty identify Tanwetamani (Urdamani) as a son of Shabataka, Taharqa's brother, not of his uncle Shabaka as the Rassam cylinder annalist appears to suggest.. The errant orthography can be explained by the fact that the name Shabaka is more properly vocalized as Shebitku. If so then the "t" in the doubled consonant "tk" in the name of Shebitku would easily be lost to a foreign ear. The annalist wrote what he heard and recorded Shabataku instead of Shabitku.
In the narrative of his stela, the king is referred to as "lord of valor like Montu, great of strength like a fierce-eyed lion". It goes on to explain that in the first year of his reign, Tanwetamani had a dream of two serpents, one on his right hand and one on his left. After waking, the king's advisors interpreted the dream, saying that, "the southland is already thin, seize the northland". Hence, he should bring Egypt back under control of the Kushite empire. After this passage, another states that Tanwetamani then "rose on the throne of Horus", a term which may be interpreted as his having ascended the throne. This is the primary evidence we have for his co-regency with Taharqa, but we are also told that Assyrian text provides that he did not do so until after Taharqa's death.
We assume that at the time of his accession, Tanwetamani was most likely inside Egypt proper, for the text on the stela states that "he went from where he was to Napata (Nubia), and there was none who stood up to oppose him". Hence, he went to the Temple of Amun and was acknowledged as god and king.
Other text within the stela confirms that he was at this time in control of southern, or Upper Egypt, but at the very least was not in control of parts of the north. After ascending the throne, he went north from Nubia, first stopping at Elephantine where he participated in a festival procession of the God Khnum. From there he sailed further north to Waset (Thebes) where he once again participated in the festival. However, after this, he goes further north to Memphis, where we learn that:
"the sons of revolt rushed forth to fight against his majesty. His majesty made a great slaughter amongst them, and it was not know how many of them were killed."
Nekau of Sais may have been killed in this battle, but his son, Psamtek, who was loyal to the Assyrians fled to Asia. After this victory, Tanwetamani honored the God, Ptah-Sokar and his wife Sakhmet in the great temple of Memphis, and afterwards ordered the building of a chapel dedicated to Amun at Napata in Nubia. The temple, we know, was to be built of stone overlaid with gold, sections of cedar wood and the leaves of the door plated with electrum. This temple may be associated with parts of the great temple of Amun at Gebel Barkal.
Afterwards, he prepared to attack the Delta:
"His majesty sailed down the river...and he did battle with the princes of the Northland and they went into their huts as rats go into their holes. And his majesty passed many days by them, and not one of them came forth to do battle with his majesty; and his majesty made a sailing up the river to Memphis and he sat down in his palace to think out and plan how he could make his soldiers surround them with mounds. And one said to him: 'These princes have come to where the sovereign is.' And his majesty said, 'Have they come to do battle? Or have they come to pay fealty to me? If they come to pay fealty, they live from this hour'. They said before his majesty: 'They have come to pay fealty to the sovereign, our lord.'
His majesty said, 'Where are they at this moment?' They said 'They wait standing in the court.' Then his majesty went forth from his house and his appearance was like the shining of Re upon the horizon, and he found them prostrate upon their bellies, smelling the earth before him."
Tanwetamani apparently spared the lives of the Delta princes, sending them home, but this victory was short lived. The Assyrians mustered their army and we find the son of Nekau telling us that:
"In my second campaign, I made straight for Egypt and Kush. Tandamani heard of my campaign and that I trod the soil of Egypt. He abandoned Memphis and fled to Thebes to save his life. The kings, princes and mayors whom I had set up in Egypt came and kissed my feet. I took the road after Tandamani and marched to Thebes, his stronghold. He saw the approach of my terrible battle array and he fled to Kipkip. Thebes in its entirety I captured with the help of Assur and Ishtar.
Silver, gold, precious stones, all the possessions of his palace, many colored clothing, linen, great horses, two obelisks of electrum, the door posts of the temple door I took from their bases and removed to Assyria. Great booty, beyond counting, I took away from Thebes. Against Egypt and Kush I let my weapons rage and I showed my might."
The "door posts of the temple" may refer to the great gate of electrum erected by Tuthmosis IV and renewed by Shabaka. This attack on Thebes was one of the great tragedies of the ancient world, and was remembered by a Jewish prophet fifty years later:
"Will you fare better than No-Amon? - She that lay by the streams of the Nile, surrounded by water, whose rampart was the Nile, waters her wall; Kush and Egypt were her strength, and it was boundless. Punt and the Libyans brought her help. Yet she to became an exile and went into captivity. Her infants too were dashed to the ground at every street corner. Her nobles were shared out by lot, and all her great men were thrown into chains."
Interestingly, Tanwetamani seems to have continued to be acknowledged as pharaoh in Thebes until his eighth year. There are inscriptions at Luxor that date the installation of priests by his name and the Kushites still maintained a large official presence in the city. Piye's daughter, Shepenwepet II we know as God's Wife of Amun, with Taharqa's daughter, Amenirdis II as her designated successor. Even in year none of Tanwetamani's reign, his cousin remained the High Priest of Amun, and we have other evidence of the Kushite's continued power within the region.
It is possible that Tanwetamani one again tried to assert control over Egypt, though the evidence is slight. In a brief passage in the work of Polyaenus from a 2nd Century (AD) text, we hear of a later battle near the temple of Isis at Memphis that may have involved Tanwetamani. He states that Psamtik, aided by Carian mercenary troops, defeated "Tementhes". A few Egyptologist believe, based on a hellenistic Jewish source, that Tanwetamani may have even retaken Memphis, but much of this is conjecture.
In any case, Tanwetamani probably continued to rule in Nubia for at least a few more years, and was buried in the necropolis at Nuri.
Jean Leclant, Montuemhat quatrieme prophete d'Amon, BdE 35, Cairo, 1961