A new country is born – South Sudan. A painful birth after many years of savage war, atrocities and indifference of the international community. By coincidence I fell these days upon an articled published three years ago in National Geographic   http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/02/black-pharaohs/robert-draper-text about the area south of the ancient Egypt, which at one point in the history dominated Egypt and for about 75 years in the 8th century BC ruled on a territory that extends from today’s Sudan, the Kingdom of Egypt, the Bible lands and until today’s Lebanon.

 

source http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/02/black-pharaohs/robert-draper-text

 

One of the interesting facts that I learned from reading this article is that the ancient world had no notion of racial differences, at least not on what skin color is concerned. Some of the pharaohs of the more ancient times are believed to have been of black African descent, and the more recent period which is in the focus of the article written by Robert Draper led to a period of renaissance and recovery of the old dynastic values in an Egypt that had lost much of the power and glamor of the Old, Middle and New Kingdom. The interaction of Egypt with the Land of Kush (the word describes until today in Hebrew the colored-skin people) was permanent, but during the Black Pharaohs era the territory south of Egypt stopped to be just a source of slaves and gold, unified with the kingdom and dominated the political class.

 

source http://kingpiye.blogspot.com/

 

Three kings in the dynasty – Pyie, Shabaka and Taharqa ruled over Egypt for about 75 years. Some of the deeds are described in the National Geographic article and in other materials on the Internet, I even found a blog of the first king in the dynasty http://kingpiye.blogspot.com/ :-) Expanding their influence over the land of the ancient Hebrews the Black Pharaohs closed an alliance with them against the Assyrians who were trying to conquer Jerusalem. Saving Jerusalem around the year 700 delayed with about one century the Babylonian exile and the destruction of the First Temple, which was of a decisive influence in the history of Judaism and indirectly of Christianity and Islam derived from Judaism – as it allowed the time for much of the holy books that compose the Bible to be written. When the Temple fell and the exile followed the spiritual cement of the Jewish people was in place already and allowed it to overcome one of the first major tragedies and exiles in its history.

 

source http://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/?p=2051

 

Eventually the conflict with the Assyrians and the revolt of the local nobility prevailed and the Black Pharaohs were deposed. So ended the last great period of extension in the history of ancient Egypt. The foreign influences and conquests that followed – Assyrian, Greek, Roman – did not respect any longer the Egyptian gods and tradition and although the Egyptian culture was strong and rooted enough not to be wiped out but rather mix and combine with those of the conquerors and influence them at least to the same extent those influenced it, the original path and development of the ancient traditions was cut short. Today the material testimonials of the great civilization of Egypt survive the millenniums, but a lesser known fact is that there are more pyramids in Sudan than in Egypt. The conquered people who for a short period became the rulers of Egypt had taken back to their lands the Egyptian traditions and preserved them close to their original form for several centuries more. The little explored desert areas of Sudan keep some of these remains intact until today.