African History 2: The Nubian city of Meroe
Today's lesson: Nubia. Remember not to call it Egypt Jr. to its face...it's kind of a sensitive issue.
|World History||African History|
Situated south of Egypt on the Nile, the people in Nubia borrowed a lot from Egyptian culture.
They worshipped many of the same gods, wrote in the same language, and even built pyramids. Egypt and Nubia working together]
Kush really came into its own during what’s known as the Meroitic period.
Named after the capital city of Meroe this was a time when Nubian culture broke [Nubia riding a bike]
away from Egypt’s and started doing more of… its own thing.
Meroe began as a tiny little village in modern day Sudan, but it hit the big time when it
got into the iron business.
Everybody wanted iron for weapons.
Since the Nubians had plenty of it, they made a killing and soon became a powerful center [Nubian man with lots of rifles]
As Meroe came into its own, Nubia did, too, even creating its own language, which…
sadly, no one is able to translate today. [Translator trying to understand Nubian]
Not correctly, anyway.
While Egyptian gods like Amun were still worshipped, some Nubian gods, like the lion-headed war
god Apedemak, started climbing their way up the pantheon.
One ancient story that helps to explain the break from Egyptian culture is about a king
of Meroe named Ergamenes. [Ergamenes looking up at a pyramid]
Traditionally, priests of Amun had a lot of power, even deciding who was king and how
long that person could sit on the throne.
If things were going bad in the land, the priests of Amun could even order the king [King sitting in a throne and a noose appears]
to kill himself.
It was thought that the king was directly tied to the fertility of the land, so if there
was a bad drought… the king had to go.
The crazy thing is that kings actually did knock themselves off at the priests’ order.
Until Ergamenes, anyway. [Ergamenes and priest walk together]
When the priests of Amun tried this on Ergamenes, he was like…
“Yeah, not so much.”
Then he rode to the temple with a bunch of soldiers and slaughtered the priests. [Ergamenes stabs the priest]
Some doubt whether this exact story is true, but most agree that around Ergamenes’ reign
there was a break with Egyptian culture.
Egyptian gods got combined with Nubian ones and the Nubian language replaced Egyptian [Nubian language replaces Egyptian]
Legends of the wealth of Meroe spread all over the ancient world.
So, of course, rulers and conquerors tried to come take it from them. [Group of people standing in the desert of Nubia]
You can’t blame them.
That’s just what rulers and conquerors did back then.
The Persians, the Romans, and even Alexander the Great tried to take Meroe down.
But each time, the kings and queens of Meroe sent them packing.
Eventually though, some dudes called the Aksumites brought Meroe to its knees [Aksumite soldier takes down Meroe]
and the heyday of Nubia was over.
If it wasn’t for the Aksumites, we might be calling Egypt “Nubia Jr.” instead of
the other way around.
Okay, that’s probably not true.
Those mini-pyramids were never going to pull in the tourists like the jumbo versions… [Tourists taking photo's of mini pyramids]