Sennacherib of Assyria Defeats Shebitqu of Egypt and Kush / Ethiopia, Jews, Palestinians Allies

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
In an earlier article titled "Egypt, Ethiopia - Sudan, Abyssinia, the Freemasonic Orientalist Fallacy of Ethiopianism, and Nubia" (, 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".

Fake Term "Nubian" ? Why?

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 the rest of Egypt); 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. In other words, the Egyptian temple of Isis at Philae cannot be characterized as a Nubian temple, and the Kushitic / Ethiopian temple of Amun of Napata (in today´s Karima, North Sudan) cannot be labeled "Nubian temple"; the latter is valid for even one more reason, namely that there is no Nubian population living there today as well.

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 Ancient Greeks from Ancient Babylonians.

The term has been introduced in order to effectively detach the Arabic-speaking Sudanese from the Search for their identity, prevent them from properly assessing their tremendous historical heritage, further engulf them into the Pan-Arabist fallacy, and definitely disconnect them from their brethren, namely the tyrannized Oromos, Sidamas, and the other subjugated Kushitic nations that have been comprised within the non-Kushitic, non-African, Semitic colonial state of the racist Amhara and Tigray Abyssinians, who are totally unrelated to the Oromos, the Sidamas, and the other subjugated Kushitic nations of Abyssinia.

For the above reason, the Amhara and Tigray Abyssinians are absolutely irrelevant of the historical name of Ethiopia, which belongs only to he Arabic-speaking Sudanese, the Oromos, the Sidamas, and the other subjugated Kushitic nations of Abyssinia, and they have to be forced - by any means - not to use it in the future.

An Outline of the Earlier Parts of the Series

To extensively analyze the subject, I expanded in five 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), and

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,

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

"The Common Origins of Egypt, and Ethiopia ? Sudan. Oromos, Arabic Speaking Sudanese, Nubians. I" (

"Hamitic-Kushitic Origins of Egypt and Ethiopia / Sudan. Oromos, Arabic Speaking Sudanese, Nubians II" (,

"Egyptian Rule over Kush-Ethiopia, and Ahmose Nefertari, Foremother of Oromos and Sudanese. Part III" (

"Egypt, Akhenaten, Aton Monotheism: Origins of Oromos´ and Sidamas´ Kushitic / Ethiopian Religions" (

"Napata: Egypt Ruled by the Forefathers of Arabic-speaking Sudanese and Oromos (not Amharas). Part V" (

"From Piankhi to Shabaka: Ancestors to Egyptians, Arabic-speaking Sudanese, Oromos, Sidamas. Part VI" (

In the present, seventh article of the series, I will focus on the first successor of Shabaka, namely Shebitqu, who faced the consequences of Shabaka´s imprudent involvement in Palestine. The wars between Assyria and the Kushitic / Ethiopian dynasty of Egypt ended up with the three successive invasions of Egypt by the Semitic Assyrian emperors, the expulsion of the Kushitic armies from Egypt, and the limitation of the Kushitic rule on exclusively Kushitic territory.

This early clash typified the ages old rivalry between indigenous Kushitic Africans and Asiatic Semitic invaders, and was repeated many times ever since, particularly at the times of the Late Antiquity when the Meroitic ancestors of today´s Oromos, Sidamas and Arabic-speaking Sudanese defeated the Semitic Abyssinian ancestors of the modern Amharas and Tigrays.

Later, the Semitic, Abyssinian victory over Ethiopia, and the destruction of the Ethiopian capital Meroe in the second half of the 4th century CE opened the way for the migration of significant Kushitic / Ethiopian populations (ancestors of today´s Oromos, Sidamas and other Kushites) to the South, the progressive Christianization of Kush / Ethiopia from the North, and the rise of the great Christian Kushitic / Ethiopian kingdoms on South Egyptian and North Sudanese territory. The Christian Kushitic / Ethiopian kingdoms totally eclipsed the Christian Kingdom of Abyssinia, and the rivalry between Kushites and Semites was perpetuated through the centuries.

Shebitqu and the Palestinian Imbroglio

The nephew and successor of Shabaka was even less prudent than his uncle. Following a period of several years of co-regency, Shabataka rose to the throne of Thebes and Napata in 706 BCE and ruled until 690 BCE. Probably in order to stabilize the huge but newly merged countries of Kush / Ethiopia (North Sudan) and Kemet (Egypt), he tried to appease Sharrukin (Sargon), Emperor of Assyria.

But assuredly, Shebitqu failed to accurately evaluate the formidable military might of Assyria that controlled the entire Asiatic part of the Middle East from today´s Turkey´s western confines to the central Iranian plateau, and from Caucasus to Yathribu (today´s Madina in Arabia) and the Gulf. In Shebitqu´s days, the ancient state of Israel (of the ten Hebrew tribes) had disappeared and its entire population (all the Israelites) had been taken to exile in Assyria´s northeastern confines; only the tiny southern Hebrew state of Judah (of the two tribes) had managed to survive around Jerusalem. Damascus and many other Aramaean states had also disappeared, being annexed by Assyria, similarly with the Neo-Hittite states, Urartu, Babylonia, and many states in the area of the Zagros mountains and the Iranian plateau.

To avoid an imminent Assyrian attack, Shebitqu extradited Iamanni of Asfdod, the Palestinian king, to Sharrukin of Assyria (722 ? 705). The Assyrian emperor died almost a year after Shebitqu had risen to the throne of Thebes and Napata. Sharrukin´s successor, Sennachherib (705 - 681) was more imperialistic of ambitions. The completion of the Assyrian predominance in Southern Canaan would involve the siege and dissolution of the few remaining Palestinian and Jewish states. Under such circumstances, any involvement of Egypt / Kush in Canaan would only precipitate an Assyrian attack against Egypt.

Worse, the antagonism was not of merely hegemonic political contents. There was a terrible opposition of ideological, theological and religious contents. The polytheistic Amun Theban and Napatan establishment of Egypt / Kush and its Memphitic religious background were truly at the very antipodes of the monotheistic Assyrian emperors, who emerged out of a millennia long dispute against the Babylonian and the Elamite polytheistic and idolatrous priesthoods and regimes.

In the same way the Heliopolitan and the Hermupolitan priesthoods opposed the Memphitic system in Egypt, the Assyrian monotheistic priesthoods of Kalhou, Assyria, and Nineveh were determined to destroy and eradicate the Babylonian ? Elamite polytheistic priesthoods, as well as their dependencies and puppets.

In the same way Ptah of Memphis was an abomination for the Egyptian monotheists, the Babylonian Nergal and Marduk were an outrage and a disgrace for the Assyrians. As a matter of fact, the Semitic Assyrians and Babylonians (descendents of the early Semites, the Akkadians) were one people with minor linguistic differences. Their main differences were of cultural order and they were due to the prevalence of a monotheistic system in Assyria and a polytheistic system in Babylonia. As in Egypt, this clash was viewed by the Assyrians and the Babylonians as a different search for the authentic Sumerian - Akkadian spirituality that had been lost.

The ideological, political and religious differences between the two administrations, Sennachherib´s and Shebitqu´s, could even be exploited by local opposition either in Mesopotamia or in Egypt / Kush. The Egyptian Heliopolitan and Hermupolitan monotheistic priesthoods were defeated by Shebitqu´s predecessors, but they were still extant. They must have reached out to the throne of Nineveh to declare alliance, concordance, and allegiance to the plans of the then only superpower, Assyria.

It was therefore absolutely inane for Shebitqu to imagine that a possible use of Anti-Assyrian forces in Palestine would bring positive results. It seems that due to despair, Shebitqu asked military assistance from his brothers at Napata (his brother and heir apparent Taharqa included), according to what relates the inscription of a stele found at Kawa, the Kushitic religious capital. Following a great mobilization, Taharqa reached Thebes and proceeded to the North. The few independent Palestinian states had made an alliance with the tiny and unimportant state of Judah against Assyria, and Taharqa tried to reach there and support them.

In the battle of Eltekeh, the Egyptian, Kushitic / Ethiopian, Jewish and Palestinian forces proved to be absolutely impotent and were totally crushed. The defeat of the Anti-Assyrian alliance, which had been mounted probably by the idiotic Jew king Hezekiah, resulted in great tribute for all, involving specifically for Judah 30 talents of gold, 800 talents of silver, precious stones, and many valuable treasures.

In fact, after this critical event, the apostate state of Judah, which had always represented an abomination for the Ancient Israelites, was left in ramshackle. This was the normal consequence of the heteroclite alliance of political priorities and interests in which the supposedly monotheistic king of Judah allied with the polytheistic forces of the Philistines (ancestors of today´s Palestinians), Egyptians and Kushites /Ethiopians against the monotheistic emperor of Assyria. The pathetic pride of the ludicrous Jew king led the tiny state to abject poverty and starvation for no lea than 114 years, until the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar totally abolished it.

In the aftermath of the Assyrian victory, Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem, and undertook an expedition up to Pelusium (Per Amun, i.e. the House of Amun, in Ancient Egyptian, nearby today´s Port Said); following that event, the Egyptian / Kushitic army never marched beyond the Egyptian borders.
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Shebitqu spent the rest of his reign, undertaking restorative and architectural works, notably the temple of Osiris at Thebes (the so-called Chapel of the Holy Lake) and the early Napatan necropolis (in today´s El Kurru) whereby tomb no 18 is his own. Part of his skeleton and burial equipment have been excavated there. He was actually the last to be buried there, and his successor Taharqa had a mortuary temple and a pyramid built on the other bank of the Nile, at a location presently named Nuri.

Further readings:


In 1999, an Egypt-Assyrian synchronism from the Great Inscription of Tang-i Var in Iran was re-discovered and re-analysed. Carved by Sargon II of Assyria (722-705 BC), the inscription dates to the period around 707/706 BC and reveals that it was Shebitku, king of Egypt, who extradited the rebel king Iamanni of Ashdod into Sargon's hands, rather than Shabaka as previously thought.[5] The pertinent section of the inscription by Sargon II reads:

"(19) I (scil. Sargon) plundered the city of Ashdod, Iamani,[6] its king, feared [my weapons] and...He fled to the region of the land of Meluhha and lived (there) stealthfully (literally:like a thief). (20) Shapataku' (Shabatka) king of the land of Meluhha, heard of the mig[ht] of the gods Ashur, Nabu (and) Marduk which I had [demonstrated] over all lands...(21) He put (Iamani) in manacles and handcuffs...he had him brought captive into my presence."[7]

The Tang-i Var inscription dates to Sargon 15th year between Nisan 707 BC to Adar 706 BC.[8] This shows that Shebitku was ruling in Egypt by April 706 BC at the very latest, and perhaps as early as November 707 BC to allow some time for Iamanni's extradition and the recording of this deed in Sargon's inscription.[9] A suggestion that Shebitku served as Shabaka's viceroy in Nubia and that Shebitku extradited Iamanni to Sargon II during the reign of king Shabaka has been rejected by the Egyptologist Karl Jansen-Winkeln in Ancient Egyptian Chronology (Handbook of Oriental Studies), which is the most updated publication on Egyptian chronology.[10] As Jansen-Winkeln writes:

"there has never been the slightest hint at any form of coregency of the Nubian kings of Dynasty 25. Had Shabaka been ruler of Egypt in the year 707/706 and Shebitku [was] his "viceroy" in Nubia, one would definitely expect that the opening of diplomatic relations with Assur as well as the capture and extradation of Yamanni would have been part of Shabaka's responsibility.

Sargon can also be expected to have named the regent of Egypt and senior king, rather than the distant viceroy Shebitku [in Nubia]. If, on the other hand, Shebitku was already Shabaka's successor in 707/706 [BC], the reports of the Yamani affair become clearer and make more sense. It had hitherto been assumed that the Nubian king (Shabaka) handed over Yamani more or less immediatedly after his flight to Egypt. Now it appears...certain that Yamani was only turned over to the Assyrians a couple of years later (under Shebitku instead)."[10]

Consequently, Shebitku's reign should be dated to c.707 or 706 BC (at the very latest) to 690 BC.

The alleged coregency of Shebitku

Turin Stela 1467, which depicts Shabaka and Shebitku seated together (with Shebitku behind Shabaka) facing two other individuals across an offering table, was once considered to be clear evidence for a royal co-regency between these two Nubian kings in William Murnane's 1977 book on Ancient Egyptian Coregencies.[11] However, the Turin Museum has subsequently acknowledged the statue to be a forgery. Robert Morkot and Stephen Quirke who analysed the stela in a 2001 article, also confirmed that the object is a forgery which cannot be used to postulate a possible coregency between Shabaka and Shebitku.[12]

Secondly, Shebitku's Year 3, 1st month of Shemu day 5 inscription in Nile Level Text Number 33 has been assumed to record a coregency between Shabaka and Shebitku among some scholars. This Nile text records Shebitku mentioning his appearing (xai) in Thebes as king in the temple of Amun at Karnak where "Amun gave him the crown with two uraei like Horus on the throne of Re" thereby legitimising his kingship.[13] Jürgen von Beckerath argued in a GM 136 (1993) article that the inscription recorded both the official coronation of Shebitku and the very first appearance of the king himself in Egypt after comparing this inscription with Nile Level Text No.30 from Year 2 of Shebitku when Shabaka conquered all of Egypt.[14] If correct, this would demonstrate that Shebitku had truly served as a coregent to Shabaka for 2 years.

Kenneth Kitchen, however, astutely observes that the "verb xai (or appearance) applies to any official 'epiphany' or official manifestation of the king to his 'public appearances'."[15] Kitchen also stresses that the period around the first month of Shemu days 1-5 marked the date of a Festival of Amun-Re at Karnak which is well attested during the New Kingdom Period, the 22nd Dynasty and through to the Ptolemaic period.[16] Hence, in the third Year of Shebitku, this Feast to Amun evidently coincided with both the Inundation of the Nile and a personal visit by Shebitku to the Temple of Amun "but we have no warrant whatever for assuming that Shebitku...remained uncrowned for 2 whole years after his accession."[17] William Murnane also endorsed this interpretation by noting that Shebitku's Year 3 Nile Text "need not refer to an accession or coronation at all. Rather, it seems simply to record an 'appearance' of Shebitku in the temple of Amun during his third year and to acknowledge the god's influence in securing his initial appearance as king."[18] In other words, Shebitku was already king of Egypt and the purpose of his visit to Karnak was to receive and record for posterity the god Amun's official legitimization of his reign.

Therefore, the evidence for a possible coregency between Shabaka and Shebitku is illusory at present.

Sennacherib: the Year - 701

The empire Sennacherib, son of Sargon, inherited was enormous: "The god Assur has intrusted in me an unrivalled kingship . . . from the upper sea of the setting sun to the lower sea of the rising sun, all mankind he has brought in submission at my feet?and mighty kings feared my warfare, leaving their abodes and fleeing. . . ." On climbing the throne, Sennacherib embarked on a series of campaigns aimed at expanding it further still. He wrote of his marching troops: "With the dust of their feet they covered the wide heavens like a mighty storm with masses of dense clouds," and he boasted: "The tents of the steppe . . . I turned into a mass of flames . . . I swept like a hurricane. I besieged, I captured, I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire."

After two campaigns against his enemies in the north, and still early in his reign, Sennacherib led his forces toward Syria and Palestine. The Assyrian army swept along the coast. It attacked Sidon and Luli, its king, fled into the sea and perished. Sennacherib appointed a new king and received tribute from him. Arvad and Ashdod, Ammon and Edom, brought him gifts and "kissed [his] feet."

Sennacherib encircled Beth-Dagon, Jaffa, and Bne-Brak and conquered them. "The people of Ekron became afraid and called upon the Egyptian king, the bowmen, chariots and horses of the king of Melukha [Ethiopia], a boundless host, and these came to their aid." The Assyrian army met them at Eltekeh, a small town on Palestine´s Mediterranean coast. "In the plain of Eltkekeh (Al-ta-qu-u), their battle lines were drawn up against me, and they sharpened their weapons."

Sennacherib "fought with them and brought about their defeat. The Egyptian charioteers and princes, together with the charioteers of the Ethiopian king my hands took alive in the midst of battle." the Egyptian-Ethiopian army was defeated at the walls of Eltekeh; neighboring Ekron was stormed and its inhabitants killed, their corpses hung on poles around the town.

"As to Hezekiah, the Judean (Ha-za-qi-(i)a-u Ia-u-da-ai), he did not submit to my yoke." Sennacherib besieged the "strong cities" of Judah and the "walled forts" and "countless small villages in their vicinity," and took them by assault, sending the surviving population into exile: "200,150 people, young and old, male and female." Then he turned against the capital: "I made (Hezekiah) a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage." Nevertheless, Jerusalem held out and Sennacherib withdrew, though not before exacting a heavy ransom. "Hezekiah himself, whom the terror-inspiring filendor of my lordship had overwhelmed . . . did send me, later, to Nineveh, my lordly city, together with 30 talents of gold, 800 talents of silver, precious stones . . . couches (inlaid) with ivory . . . elephants hides . . . and all kinds of valuable treasures, his own daughters, concubines, male and female musicians. In order to deliver the tribute and to do obeisance as a slave he sent his (personal) messenger." Having agreed to the ransom, Jerusalem was not entered by the Assyrian army. The corresponding Biblical record in the Second Book of Kings (18:14) differs only in the quantity of silver in the ransom. It, too, mentions thirty talents of gold, but only three hundred talents of silver.

Besides this record on a clay prism, Assyrian bas-reliefs show the siege of Lachish in southern Palestine, on the way from Jerusalem to Egypt. From the Biblical narrative (II Kings 18:14) we know that Sennacherib was at Lachish, pressing the siege, when he received Hezekiah´s submission. Lachish must have fallen not long afterwards; the reliefs depict the fall of the city and a procession of its inhabitants being taken away to Assyria, some on donkeys, some on foot, carrying their meagre possessions.

Did Sennacherib press further south toward Egypt? In the extant inscriptions Sennacherib did not mention a specific campaign in Egypt and Ethiopia. Since early times the question has occupied the historians: Did Sennacherib subdue Egypt, or did he not?

Herodotos wrote that Sennacherib came against the land of Egypt "with a great host" and encamped at Pelusium near its northeastern frontier.(1) Berosus, who wrote a history of Chaldea, said that Sennacherib conducted an expedition against "all Asia and Egypt." (2) Jewish tradition tells of the conquest of Egypt by Sennacherib and of his march towards Ethiopia: "Sennacherib was forced to stop his campaign against Hezekiah for a short time, as he had to move hurriedly against Ethiopia. Having conquered this ´pearl of all countries´ he returned to Judea." (3)

It appears that after the battle of Eltekeh in southern Palestine, where he was victorious over the Ethiopian-Egyptian army, and having broken the resistance of Hezekiah and reduced the fortified city of Lachish on the approaches to Egypt, Sennacherib crossed the border of Egypt proper and at Pelusium received a declaration of submission.


Herodotos II. 141.

Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews X. i. 4.

L. Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (Philadelphia, 19xx), vol. VI, p. 365; cf. Seder ´Olam 23. Talmudic sources also relate that after conquering Egypt Sennacherib carried away from there the throne of Solomon (Ginzberg, Legends, IV, p. 160.

Why did Taharqa build his tomb at Nuri?

Timothy Kendall

G. A. Reisner, puzzled to find Taharqa's pyramid located at Nuri and not at el-Kurru, proposed that the king may have selected the new site because he was not of the main line of the Napatan royal family. Dows Dunham, alternatively, suggested that Taharqa may have selected Nuri for his tomb because el-Kurru could no longer accommodate the huge pyramid he wished to build for himself.

Neither proposal could account for the choice of Nuri itself, which was not only far from el-Kurru and on the other side of Gebel Barkal, but also on the opposite bank of the Nile. Likewise, neither could account for the unusual form of Taharqa's tomb, which, as recognized by J. Leclant, was a virtual duplicate of the Osireion at Abydos.

In 1998, while considering the positions of the sun at sunrise with respect to the monuments of Napata, I realized that when the sunrise was viewed from the summit of Gebel Barkal on what would have been the ancient Egyptian New Year's Day (now, about July 30), Taharqa's pyramid occupied the very point on the horizon where the sun rose. Since this day coincided with the beginning of the annual rise of the Nile and the start of fertility, it was considered to be the birth and re-birth day of Osiris and was also the day on which the living king was crowned and the state was thought to be reborn. Taharqa's choice of Nuri, thus, seemed to have been dictated by religious considerations having to do with his posthumous identification as Osiris and the perceived reviving powers of sunrise on New Year's Day ? beliefs that would have been held by all the kings buried after him at Nuri. The form of Taharqa's tomb seemed to guarantee his transformation to Osiris.

In 2006, I realized that the ancient Egyptian Khoiak festival, which marked the "death of Osiris", the end of fertility and the harvest, and the falling Nile, occurred about four months after New Year's Day, and I began to suspect there might be a corresponding relationship between Taharqa's pyramid, Gebel Barkal, and sunset on that day. Being in Sudan in November, I discovered that when viewed from the summit of Gebel Barkal between November 11 and 14, the Gebel Barkal pinnacle casts a long shadow, like a sun dial, that points precisely to Nuri (10Â km distant). On November 13, when the same phenomenon is viewed from the top of Taharqa's pyramid, the sun appears to set directly behind the Gebel Barkal pinnacle, making the monolith appear in silhouette within the disk. Since the pinnacle has the vague form of a human figure wearing a tall crown (white crown of Osiris or double crown of Atum), I have long suspected that the pinnacle was identified as a figure of Osiris and/or Amun-Re-Atum.

This can now be confirmed by two texts: Chapter 162 of the Book of the Dead, which likens Osiris to Amun and Atum, and a Hymn to Osiris, found in fragments in Barkal Temple B 700 (directly beside the pinnacle) and recently published by Priese, which refers to Osiris "in his name as Pillar".

It now seems clear that the site of Taharqa's pyramid was determined by the one point (Nuri) where both solar alignments were possible. On New Year's Day at sunrise, Taharqa's pyramid, originally 68 m high, cast a shadow to the Barkal pinnacle ("the god"), which waked him. At sunset during the Khoiak festival, "the god", 75Â m high, cast a shadow to his tomb, which symbolized his "death".

This Napatan "time machine", which fixed the year, may have given rise to the Nubian legend, quoted by Diodorus (3.2.1.-3.6), that Osiris was a native "Aithiopian".