Cush-Meroe, Kemet-Egypt, Punt, Other Berberia, Azania & the Orientalization of the Roman Empire: Common Origin, Migrations, Ancestral Culture & Lands of Oromos, Sudanese & Other Cushites


A. My speech in 5th Annual International Conference of the Network of Oromo Studies

B. Historical Diagram of the Cushitic Presence in Eastern Africa

I. A-Group Culture

II. The Kingdom of Kerma

III. C-Group Culture

IV. Kemetian (Egyptian) Invasion of Cush (Sudan: Ethiopia)

V. Deep Spiritual-Religious Divisions among both, Kemetians (Egyptians) and Cushites (Sudanese: Ethiopians)

VI. C-Group Culture Natives’ Migration to the Red Sea Coast Lands

VII. The Cushitic Blehu/Brehem – Blemmyes – Bejas

VIII. Red Sea Coast Cushites: the Kingdom of Punt

IX. Queen Hatshepsut of Kemet (Egypt) and the ‘Expedition to Punt’

X. Cush-Meroe: Ancestral Land of Oromos – Sidamas & Punt: Fatherland of Afars – Somalis 

XI. Afars-Somalis, Roman Egypt, China, the Trade between East and West, and the ‘Periplus of the Red Sea’ 

XII. Afars-Somalis, ‘Berberia’, the ‘Other Berberia’, and the ‘Periplus of the Red Sea’ 

XIII. Axumite Abyssinians: Semitic Yemenite Fugitives in Africa

XIV. Punt is Opone (Ras Hafun, Somalia): Impossible to locate it elsewhere

XV. The Cushites of the Horn (Punt – Opone) were never controlled by the impotent king Zoscales of Axumite Abyssinia

XVI. Ancient Afars & Somalis: ‘Other Berberia’, Azania, and the Yemenites Sabaeans (Sheba) and Himyarites in the Horn

XVII. Meroe’s Relations with Kemet/Egypt under the Ptolemies (305-30 BCE)

XVIII. The War between Meroe and Rome (25-23 BCE)

XIX. The Meroe Head: Bronze Head of Octavian Augustus Unearthed in the Capital of Cush

XX. Jebel Qeili, Qore (‘King’) Shorkaror, and the Meroitic Victory over the Axumite Abyssinians

XXI. Meroitic-Roman Relations (30 BCE-4th c. CE) and their Impact on Explorations and Sciences

XXII. Universalization of the Mediterranean World: Meroe, Rome, Armenia, and Mithraism – Meroitic Ethiopian Gladiators in front of Emperor Nero and King Tiridates I

XXIII. Orientalization of the Roman Empire: Meroe, Rome, and Isidism – when Egyptians, Meroitic Ethiopians & Berbers taught their Greek and Roman Pupils the Supreme Spiritual Wisdom

XXIV. The Mysteries of Isis and Plutarch: when the Highest Priest of Greece became a devotee and an enthusiast of the Kemetian-Egyptian and Cushitic-Ethiopian Spirituality

XXV. Silk Roads and the Prevalence of Oriental Civilization in Greece, Rome and Europe: Aramaean, Anatolian, Phoenician Spirituality, Gnostics, and the Manichaeans of Alexandria

XXVI. Heliodorus, Aethiopica, and the Sublime Idealization of Meroe in Greco-Roman Literature

XXVII. Blemmyes, Nubians, Axumites and the End of Meroe

XXVIII. The End of Meroe and the Rise of Nobatia, Makuria and Alodia: Terminus-post-quem and Terminus-ante-quem for the Early Migratory Wave

XXIX. Nobatia, Makuria, Axum, and the Christianization of Alodia (Alwa)

XXX. Jebel Moya, the First and the Second Migratory Waves, and the Transformation of the Migrant Meroites and Alodians into Oromos

A. My speech in 5th Annual International Conference of the Network of Oromo Studies

Honored to be invited, I participated in the 5th Annual International Conference of the Network of Oromo Studies (NOS:; the event was held electronically due to the present conditions last Saturday (27 February 2021). My speech (“Fake Nubia: a Colonial Forgery to deprive Cushitic Nations from National Independence, Historical Identity and Cultural Heritage”) concerned the possible ramifications of the systematic but absolutely erroneous attribution of Ancient Kemetic (Egyptian) and Ancient Cushitic (Sudanese) monuments, antiquities, archaeological sites and historical heritage to Nubians, who -although present in both, Ancient Kemet (Egypt) and Ancient Cush (Sudan, i.e. the true, historical Ethiopia)- did not constitute the driving force of the two great Ancient African civilizations and never ruled either states. I described this dishonest and disreputable attitude, attempt and endeavor as “Nubianization” of Northeast Africa.

In fact, undertaken by Western colonial academics, Orientalists, explorers and historians, Nubianization is a distortive academic effort that involves

a) an enormous deal of confiscation of Cushitic monuments,

b) an unprecedented usurpation of ca. 5000 years of Cushitic History,

c) a systematic expropriation of historical past from today’s Cushitic nations, and

d) a disastrous national division among the descendants of the Ancient Hamitic-Cushitic nations of

i) Kemet (Masr-Egypt), and

ii) Cush (Arabic-speaking Sudanese and Oromos, Somalis, Afars, Sidama, Kaffa, etc).

The text of my speech and the associated notes and bibliography will soon be published in one of my blogs, whereas the Network of Oromo Studies announced that it will publish all the speeches of the distinguished contributors in a volume. During the electronic event, which took place on the platform of Zoom, several participants asked about various points or commented on the groundbreaking speeches, thus contributing to several debates; as it was expected, all the speakers interacted with one another, exchanging messages, opinions and viewpoints.

One of the participants sent me the following message, which includes mainly two questions:

I am very interested in the Cushitic civilization. Do we have historical evidence and dates when the Eastern Cushitic people moved to highland regions of the present Oromia, Somalia and Northern Ethiopia and Kenya and Tanzania? Do we know when these groups of languages differed from one another, e.g. Somali and Afaan Oromo?  Thank you!

What follows is my brief response, which was sent with a delay of few days. The text is not written as a concise historical manual, but as a mere diagram with several highlighted points. Links to Wikipedia entries are included only to offer access to bibliography and further research – not for the contents.

B. Historical Diagram of the Cushitic Presence in Eastern Africa

The earliest Cushitic presence in today’s Egypt’s South and Sudan’s North goes back to the 4th millennium BCE; there are evident links between the early cultures that George A. Reisner defined as A-Group culture and B-Group culture, the latter being now viewed as the period of decay of the former. Covering almost the entire 4th millennium BCE (3800-3100 BCE), this early Hamitic-Cushitic culture is attested in monuments unearthed in Kubaniyya, Aswan, Sayala, Toshka, Qustul, Buhen, and other sites mainly between the first and the second cataracts of the Nile.

I. A-Group Culture

The rise of the First Dynasty of Kemet (Egypt) seems to bring an end to the local Cushitic rulers of A-Group culture; this is not only deduced from the material record and the archaeological data but also described in Ancient Kemetian (Egyptian) texts and legends pertaining to the rise of a unified (Upper and Lower) Hamitic Kemet. Quite interestingly in this regard, the relief of Jebel Sheikh Suleiman testifies to an early Kemetian expansion at the detriment of the A-Group culture Cushites, being therefore one of the world’s earlier representations of historical events.

Jebel Sheikh Suleiman

The hypothesis of a “war between the Egyptians and the A-Group Nubian people” is purely colonial French propaganda as there is not one single proof to possibly identify the material record of A-Group culture as “Nubians”. This is a lie. A-Group culture people were Cushites, i.e. Hamites, and this means that they were totally different from the Nilo-Saharan Nubians.

II. The Kingdom of Kerma

The next major phase of the Ancient Cushitic civilization is attested further in the South, around today’s Kerma in North Sudan; the Kerma kingdom (2500-1550 BCE) was the earliest Cushitic royal structure. Although it is evident that the Cushitic kingdom of Kerma had commercial relations with Early Dynastic Kemet/Egypt (3150 -2690 BCE), the Old Kingdom of Kemet (2690-2181), and the Middle Kingdom of Kemet (2055-1650 BCE), it seems that different concepts of spirituality and religion prevailed in these two realms (Kemet/Egypt and Cush/Sudan), thus generating rivalry, enmity and animosity.

The Wikipedia entry ” List of monarchs of Kerma” is an entire fallacy and its parts are evidently self-contradictory: although it is initially stated that “the Kingdom of Kerma existed as an independent state from around 2500 BCE to 1520 BCE”, in the following section, the forged and propagandistic entry includes (in the “Rulers of Kerma”) the fake, ahistorical and nonexistent “Makeda (queen, c. 1005–950 BCE)”, which is the product of the forged, racist and evil document “Kebra Negast” that is a bogus-historical diatribe compiled ca. 1200 CE – i.e. more than 2700 years after the Kerma kingdom collapsed! It is necessary to underscore at this point that the forgers of Kebra Negast did not have a clue about the Ancient Cushitic kingdom of Kerma. In fact, the only few names of Cushitic rulers that we have during the period of Kerma kingdom are due to references in Ancient Kemetian (Egyptian) hieroglyphic texts. Including the fake queen Makeda in the list is an act of malignant forgery.

III. C-Group Culture

Opposite to both, Kemet and Cush (A-Group culture and the Kerma kingdom), the early culture that George A. Reisner defined as C-Group culture represents a historical phase during which Hamitic invaders from the Sahara and the Atlas regions of Northern-Northeastern Africa settled in the region as pastoralists and intermingled with the local Kemetians and Cushites. They expanded from today’s Egypt’s South down to the Dongola Reach in today’s Sudan’s North, being easily identified through their distinct pottery. C-Group culture sites bear witness to a historical continuity between 2400 BCE and 1600 BCE, but the disappearance of the C-Group culture people, who consisted of both farmers and herders, remained a mystery for long.

However, the outstanding diffusion of C-Group culture across lands east of the Nile down to today’s Eritrea’s northernmost confines seems to offer a plausible explanation. Contrarily to the Kerma kingdom’s Cushites, who remained in the Nile Valley after the Kemetian (Egyptian) invasion of Cush under Ahmose I (1549-1524), Amenhotep I (1525-1504) and Thutmose I (1506-1493), C-Group culture natives seem to have continued their migration, reaching the Red Sea coastlands of today’s southern Egypt and Sudan, settling there and advancing even further to the Horn region.

IV. Kemetian (Egyptian) Invasion of Cush (Sudan: Ethiopia)

The Kemetian (Egyptian) invasion of Cush at the end of the 16th c. is a major event in the History of Eastern Africa from the Mediterranean to the East African coastlands down to today’s Tanzania. This great military exploit and the subsequent annexation of Cush by Kemet (Egypt) were due to the Kemetian determination to punish the Kerma Cushites for their cooperation with the Hyksos invaders of Kemet; the latter were viewed by the Kemetians as the personification of the evil (Seth) and, after the Hyksos rule was overthrown and the conquerors expelled out of Kemet to Asia (from where they had arrived), all their names were deleted from every text and inscription across the country.

Amun Temple at Napata – a representation

As event with enormous repercussions, the Kemetian invasion of Cush generated a great schism among the Cushites, namely between those who cooperated with the Kemetians (Egyptians) and those who opposed them. This polarization was spiritual, religious, theological and royal; it had no ethnic character or dimension. Kemetian Pharaohs, like Amenhotep III and Tutankhamun, venerated Cush and built many temples there, e.g. the temple of Amun at Kawa (near today’s Dongola) which was built and rebuilt several times. And all the Kemetian followers of Amun (i.e. the main god of one of the Ancient Kemetian religions) considered Napata as the holy place of Amun’s birth.,_Sudan

The Prussian expedition at Jebel Barkal (Karima – Ancient Napata) 1842-5 hired hundreds of workers for the transportation of heavy monuments up to the Nile for their subsequent transfer to Berlin.

V. Deep Spiritual-Religious Divisions among both, Kemetians (Egyptians) and Cushites (Sudanese: Ethiopians)

However, the deep spiritual, religious, and theological division existed already within Kemet (Egypt) and during the 18th (1549-1292 BCE), 19th (1292-1189 BCE) and 20th (1189-1077) dynasties, many pharaohs supported and promoted concepts, ideas, faiths and cults that were diametrically opposed to those of their predecessors or successors. Two totally opposite tendencies, one monotheistic and aniconic and another polytheistic and idolatrous, divided both, Kemet and Cush, causing strives, civil wars, priestly disputes, conflicting practices, and a vast social discord, as the populations were spiritually-religiously divided and the followers of the opposite spiritual-religious systems were fanaticized against one another. The developments reached a culmination point during the reign of Akhenaten (1351-1334), but the rise and fall of the Ancient Kemetian and Cushitic Monotheism (presently defined as Atenism, after the name of Akhenaten’s Only and Sole God Aten) predetermined the historical evolution and the events that took place across the Valley of the Nile for the next 1700 years until the late end of Meroe.

Akhenaten: the First Monotheistic King and High Priest of Aten, the Only God who is not represented but symbolized as Sun through whom emanate rays of light offering Ankh (Life)

All post-Akhenaten developments that took later place in Kemet and Cush can be properly interpreted only after the correct understanding of the initial clash, because they constitute in reality posterior stages of the same division and the same clash:

1) the weakening of the internal front at the times of Ramses II (reign: 1279-1213 BCE),

2) the decadence of Kemet after the reign of Ramses III (1198-1167 BCE; and despite his victories over the Sea Peoples),

3) the divisions of Kemet into two or three kingdoms, starting with the 21st dynasty (1070-945 BCE),

4) the loosening of the Kemetian control over Cush and the subsequent secession of the Napatan rulers,

5) the rise of the Kingdom of Cush (ca. 800-315 BCE; with capital at Napata),

6) its involvement in Kemet/Egypt under the form of the 25th (described by Manetho as Cushitic, i.e. Ethiopian) dynasty (747-656 BCE),

7) the Assyrian conquest of Kemet (670-640),

8) the rise of the Berber princes and allies of Assyria as the 25th (described by Manetho as Libyan) dynasty (664-525 BCE), and

9) all the later internal developments in Kemet

a) during the Iranian occupation (525-332 BCE), as well as

b) under the Ptolemies (305-30 BCE) and

c) throughout the Roman period; before and after the Christianization (30 CE – 642 CE).

The same can also be said about the Ancient History of Cush, after the successive Kemetian (under the Berber Pharaoh Psamtek II in 591 BCE) and Iranian (under the Achaemenid Shah Cambyses in 525 BCE) invasions and sacks of Napata, when progressively the capital was transferred to Meroe (‘Medewi’ in Ancient Meroitic). At the origin of all major historical developments, there was a continuous, spiritual, religious and theological conflict between two opposite priesthoods.

Wainwright, G. A. “The Date of the Rise of Meroë.” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 38, 1952, pp. 75–77. JSTOR,

Similarly, the development of Waaqeffannaa as a historical religion and its evident monotheistic nature cannot be fully understood in the absence of a comparative study and without retracing Waaqeffannaa concepts, principles, considerations and beliefs to the respective earlier elements of the ancient spiritual systems and religions of Cush and Kemet. The rejection of 3rd–4th c. Christianity by Kemetians and Meroitic Cushites was the result of their perception of the new faith as polytheistic and fanatic.

About the aforementioned periods and events, more analytical presentation can be found in my series of articles that were published first in 2010 and later republished (herewith in the correct order):

VI. C-Group Culture Natives’ Migration to the Red Sea Coast Lands

The earliest traces of Hamitic-Cushitic presence alongside the African Red Sea coast that date in historical times are related to the early expansion and the later migration of the C-Group culture natives from the Nile Valley to the Red Sea coastlands around 1600-1550 BCE. This phenomenon led the Hamitic people of the coastlands to spread further in the South always in search of natural resources and better climatological conditions and to thus settle in regions located quite far from the Valley of the Nile. It then created two distinct groups of Hamitic-Cushitic populations throughout Eastern Africa:

a) the Hamitic-Cushitic populations of the Nile Valley from the Delta to the junction of the Blue and White Nile (in today’s Khartoum): these were the Kemetians of Egypt (Masr) and the Cushites of Ethiopia (Sudan), and

b) the Hamitic-Cushitic populations of the Eastern African coastland.

There is major distinction between the two groups as regards their ethnic-linguistic conditions of life; except the Hamitic-Cushitic populations, also early Nilo-Saharan ethnic groups lived in parts of the Nile Valley, constituting of course a minority and being in continuous contact with their lands of origin, which were located in parts of the Eastern and the Western Desert. One of these early Nilo-Saharan ethnic groups was the Nehesiu, who became later known in the Ancient Greek and Latin sources as Nobadai, in Islamic sources as Nubiin, and in modern Western languages as Nubians.

VII. The Cushitic Blehu/Brehem – Blemmyes – Bejas

However, there were also Cushitic groups that originated from various parts of the Sahara desert and were in continuous interaction with the Valley of the Nile; the best known among them were the Blehu (their name can also be vocalized as Brehem) of the Ancient Kemetian (Egyptian) hieroglyphic sources, who became known as Blemmyes among Ancient Greeks and Romans and were the ancestors of today’s Beja.

At this point, I must add that, during the Antiquity down to the Roman times in Egypt, the Cushitic Blehu/Brehem – Blemmyes – Beja lived west of the Nile and only in the first centuries of the Christian era, the existing historical sources started reporting them as dwellers of the Eastern Desert.

It is therefore clear that the ancestors of the Beja did not reach the region where they have been dwelling over the past 1500 years in today’s Eastern Sudan and the surrounding regions prior to the collapse of Meroe (ca. 360-370 CE). For several centuries, the Blemmyes created an explosive situation in the border region between Roman Egypt and Meroe, also establishing a fully acknowledged kingdom that may have also contributed to the weakening of the Meroitic royal stature.

VIII. Red Sea Coast Cushites: the Kingdom of Punt

Contrarily to the ethno-linguistic conditions of life that prevailed in the Nile Valley and the surrounding regions, across the Eastern African coastlands from today’s Egypt’s Red Sea coast to the wider region around Daresalaam in Tanzania, the Hamitic – Cushitic presence was overwhelming and unchallenged for at least a millennium; apparently, the spread of small populations across vast and long coastal lands generated numerous, impotent local authorities, thus triggering an obvious lack of important centralized royal power. Certainly, we cannot know how far the early C-Group culture natives advanced in the South, but we have good reasons to believe that they settled as far as the area of the Horn and even beyond up to today’s Somali region of Ras Hafun. This was due to the fact that the area seems to have already been known to the Ancient Kemetians (Egyptians) earlier, i.e. before the approximate time of the C-Group culture people’s arrival (around 1550-1500).

The Ancient Kemetians had two particular names to describe that long coastal region of Eastern Africa and/or a particular part of it: Punt. The first mentions of navigation to and trade with Punt in Ancient Kemetian (Egyptian) hieroglyphics appear in the early times of the Middle Kingdom, so around 2000 BCE. Navigation from Kemet’s (Egypt’s) Red Sea ports to Punt was frequent, as the marvelous land was described as extremely rich in resources.

The exact location of Punt has long been debated among colonial Orientalists and Western Egyptologists, who permanently seek to minimize the magnificence of the Ancient Kemetian and Cushitic civilizations in order to maintain in ‘validity’ their distorted, fallacious and racist dogma of Euro-centrism and Greco-centrism, by magnifying the hypothetical ‘achievements’ of the White Ancient Greeks and Romans. There have even been Egyptologists, who intentionally and idiotically tried to ‘locate’ Punt somewhere around the eastern banks of Nile between the 5th and the 6th cataract (!), so practically speaking in the wider region where Meroe rose to prominence during the last pre-Christian and the early Christian centuries.

The entire debate about the location of Punt may well have occurred in vain, because it is quite possible that, for the Ancient Kemetians of the end of the 3rd millennium BCE, Punt was located closer to Kemet (Egypt), i.e. somewhere in today’s Eritrea’s coastland, and 500 years later, for the Kemetians of the New Kingdom (1549-1077 BCE), Punt may have been situated around the Horn Region and the Ras Hafun peninsula in today’s Somalia. The reason for the ‘re-location hypothesis’ is the better familiarization of the C-Group culture migrants with the wider region of Eastern African coastlands; better exploring lands located further in the South, they resettled repeatedly, ‘taking’ their toponym with them.

IX. Queen Hatshepsut of Kemet (Egypt) and the ‘Expedition to Punt’

The most analytical description of Ancient Punt that we have in Kemetian (Egyptian) hieroglyphics is the legendary ‘Expedition to Punt’ by Queen Hatshepsut. This text bears witness to the good, friendly commercial relations that Kemet had with the kingdom of Punt. This narrative was inscribed on the southern (short), western (long) and northern (short) walls of the second colonnade of Queen Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple at Deir el Bahari (Thebes West, in today’s Luxor, Upper Egypt).

Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, Deir el Bahari (Thebes West), Luxor

It was accompanied by numerous bas reliefs that portrayed the Egyptian fleet Admiral Nehesy, the King Perehu of Punt, the Queen Eti, their donkey, and a great number of anonymous Puntites (Somalis) and Kemetian sailors transporting goods and storing them on vessels. The representation of numerous fish in the depicted sea waters of the bas reliefs puts beyond any doubt the fact that the Expedition to Punt (ca. 1480-1475 BCE) was not undertaken somewhere in the Nile Valley and close to the later Cushitic capital Meroe, because the fish have been identified as part of the well-known Red Sea and Indian Ocean sea-life (pisci-fauna).

Hatshepsut established the trade networks that had been disrupted during the Hyksos occupation of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, thereby building the wealth of the eighteenth dynasty.

She oversaw the preparations and funding for a mission to the Land of Punt. The expedition set out in her name with five ships, each measuring 70 feet (21 m) long bearing several sails and accommodating 210 men that included sailors and 30 rowers. Many trade goods were bought in Punt, notably myrrh.

Most notably, however, the Egyptians returned from the voyage bearing thirty-one live myrrh trees, the roots of which were carefully kept in baskets for the duration of the voyage. This was the first recorded attempt to transplant foreign trees. It is reported that Hatshepsut had these trees planted in the courts of her Deir el Bahri mortuary temple complex.

She had the expedition commemorated in relief at Deir el-Bahri, which is also famous for its realistic depiction of the Queen of the Land of Punt, Queen Iti, who appears to have had a genetic trait called steatopygia (a large amount of fat accumulating around the buttocks). Hatshepsut also sent raiding expeditions to Byblos and Sinai shortly after the Punt expedition.

The ‘Expedition to Punt’ consists in the founding text of Somali History; it is the World History’s first reference to a kingdom located in the tropical, equatorial zone. Long before Iran, Turan, India and Europe, Somalia was instituted as a kingdom on parity with Kemet (Egypt). The conversation between Perehu and Nehesy, as presented within the ‘Expedition to Punt’ texts and bas reliefs, was direct and without interpreters. This fact testifies to the common linguistic background and enables modern scholarship to establish a link between the original phase of the Somali and Afar languages with the languages of Ancient Kemet and Cush. The conversation bears also witness to the identical spiritual, religious, cultural, and royal background that Punt (Somalia) and Kemet (Egypt) had at the time. The sanctity of Punt for the Ancient Kemetians is also underscored by the alternative name that they used to denote the location: Ta Netser (i.e. the Land of Gods).ꜣ-nṯr

X. Cush-Meroe: Ancestral Land of Oromos – Sidamas & Punt: Fatherland of Afars – Somalis  

So, as you see, the original stages of the Somali and Oromo languages can be retraced back to the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE; it is then that these groups of languages differed from one another for the first time.

In this case, I categorize Afar (Qafaraf) and Somali (Af-Soomaali) as coastland Cushitic languages and Oromo (Afaan Oromoo), Sidama (Sidaamu Afoo), and other languages (Kambaata, Hadiyyisa, etc.) as inland Cushitic languages.

Of course, coastland Cushites and inland Cushites and Hamites (Kemetians) were in continuous contact throughout the millennia, which is a situation that involves many ups and downs in the communication and the relationship between the two groups due to various historical developments in the inland and the coastland of Eastern Africa.  

XI. Afars-Somalis, Roman Egypt, China, the Trade between East and West, and the ‘Periplus of the Red Sea’ 

Late Antiquity historical sources testify to the common Cushitic identity that the inhabitants of today’s Sudan’s Red Sea coastland and the populations of today’s Northern Somali coasts had; Late Antiquity is the historical period that starts with the rise of the Achaemenid dynasty of Iran to prominence following the Iranian conquest of Babylonia (539 BCE) and ends with the preaching of Islam by Prophet Muhammad (622 CE). In contrast with the Oriental Antiquity (3300-539 BCE), during the Late Antiquity, for ca. 1200 years, all major paragons of civilizations and imperial states between the Atlantic and the Pacific interacted in many levels: commercial, cultural, and spiritual.

Written by an Alexandrian Egyptian merchant and captain, the Periplus of the Red Sea (also rendered as ‘Periplus of the Erythraean Sea’) is an Ancient Greek text that dates back to the second half of the first century CE. It details the navigation processes, the commercial products exported from and imported in each and every important harbor, port of call and trade center between Roman Egypt and China alongside the eastern African coastlands and the Asiatic coasts starting from Arsinoe (Suez); furthermore, the text offers valuable information about the different kingdoms and states, the indigenous societies, and the nations that lived at the time in that part of the world.

To lesser extent, the author felt obliged to narrate ‘recent’ historical events (some of which may have occurred 150 years before his time). In ca. 22 pages of modern text, the anonymous author of this text describes all that mattered at those days for Egyptian and other traders and navigators between the Roman Empire and all the other empires and kingdoms of the world’s southern, southeastern and eastern confines.

Stories of globalisation: the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf from late prehistory to early modernity: selected papers of Red Sea Project VII

XII. Afars-Somalis, ‘Berberia’, the ‘Other Berberia’, and the ‘Periplus of the Red Sea’ 

The region of today’s Eastern Sudan is named “Berberia” (or Barbaria) within the text of the ‘Periplus of the Red Sea’ (paragraphs 2-3); Ptolemais Theron, an Egyptian Prolemaic (305-30 BCE) colony was located there, in the area of today’s Suakin. Meroe is also mentioned, as the great capital (‘metropolis’) of the inland kingdom.Περίπλους_της_Ερυθράς_Θαλάσσης

The region of today’s Eritrea is mentioned as part of the Semitic Axum kingdom of Abyssinia (paragraphs 4-6); Adulis (near today’s Massawa) was the sole Abyssinian harbor in the African Red Sea coast. Beyond that region, the coastline of today’s Djibouti and Northern Somalia is called as the “Other Berberia” in the Periplus of the Red Sea (paragraphs 7-12); this means that the entire coastal land up to the Horn of Africa (Ras Asir; Somali: Raas Caseyr; Italian: Capo Guardafui) is described as the continuation of the realm of the Berbers who inhabited the shore of today’s Eastern Sudan (“Berberia”), i.e. south of Berenice (Roman Egypt’s southernmost port of call, which is located near today’s Ras Banas in Masr/Egypt) and north of Adulis.

This description lets us understand that, following the migration of the Ancient Yemenite tribe of Abashat (Abyssinians) from Yemen to Eastern Africa some time in the first half of the first millennium BCE, the territorial continuity of the Eastern African coastland Cushitic populations was interrupted and Semitic Yemenite populations, expelled or chased from Ancient Yemen (and most probably originating from the Kingdom of the Sabaeans or Sheba), settled first in the region around Massawa (in Adulis), and later expanded in the mountainous inland up to Yeha and Axum, which became their capital.

XIII. Axumite Abyssinians: Semitic Yemenite Fugitives in Africa

The Abashat tribesmen (already mentioned in Pre-Christian Sabaean inscriptions from Yemen) are the ancestors of the modern (Tigrinya-speaking, Tigre-speaking and Amharic-speaking) Abyssinians. Their language and writing (Ge’ez) originate from the Pre-Christian languages and writings of Ancient Yemen (Sabaean, Awsani, Qatabani, Himyarite, and Hadhrami), which are all Semitic, but greatly differ from Arabic. The fact that, although having emigrated from Yemen and focalized their trade activities around Adulis, the early Abyssinians preferred to definitely settle and erect their capital at a safe distance from their harbor in the mountainous inland (Axum and all other major Abyssinian sites except Adulis) demonstrates clearly that they were chased from and kicked out of Yemen, and that, after they settled in the coastal land, they had the foresight to secure themselves behind the mountains that offered them the chance to best prepare their defense.

(possibly ‘Koloe’ as per the Periplus of the Red Sra),_Eritrea

It was well known to these early Yemenite-Abyssinians that the Eastern African coastland Cushitic populations had advanced further to the South and they had not founded a major city, port or trade center in the region of today’s Massawa. It was also clear to them that the Nile Valley Cushites (either of Napata or Meroe) had never expanded up to the mountainous region north of today’s Lake Tana; this has in fact been corroborated by Modern Archaeology, since no Cushitic or Meroitic antiquities have ever been excavated in the region of mountains located beyond today’s Sudan’s eastern borderlines.

This is very important for us to take into consideration, because those peripheries never belonged to any Cushitic/Meroitic royal authority and never ever during the Antiquity did Meroitic and Axumite territories overlapped prior to the Axumite Abyssinian king Ezana’s invasion and destruction of Meroe (ca. 360-370 CE). This fact fully cancels the ahistorical and absurd propaganda of today’s criminal Abyssinian ruling class about the (distortedly popularized as ‘Abyssinian’) Ethiopian (i.e. Ancient Sudanese, Cushitic) occupation of Ancient Kemet (Egypt), which is said with reference to the 25th Cushitic (‘Ethiopian’ as per Manetho) dynasty. As a matter of fact, no ancestor of today’s Amhara or Tigray Abyssinians ruled Kemet (Egypt); ancestors of today’s Oromos, Sidamas and Arabic-speaking Sudanese did, because they are the offspring of the Ancient Cush (Ethiopia) in today’s Sudan.

Egyptologists and Sudan archaeologists have discussed for long the topic of the southern and the eastern borders of the empires of Cush (Napata) and Meroe. The two Cushitic empires traded with Egypt and the Mediterranean world and were linked through desert routes across Sahara with Northwestern and Western Africa’s farthermost confines; but they did not have maritime vocation and they never controlled today’s Sudan’s coastlands. Furthermore, it is known that neither Napata nor Meroe extended their control beyond the region of Butana (Kessala, al-Gedaref, Wad-Madani and Khartoum) in today’s Sudan.

XIV. Punt is Opone (Ras Hafun, Somalia): Impossible to locate it elsewhere

Written ca. 1550 years after the ‘Expedition to Punt’, the ‘Periplus of the Red Sea’ mentions also Punt (paragraphs 13-15); this time we don’t have references to a kingdom but to a city and post of call, which was the very last region of the “Other Berberia”, and like all the rest it was self-ruled. The very name Punt of the Ancient Kemetian (Egyptian) hieroglyphic sources is rendered as Ὀπώνη – Opone in Ancient Greek and Latin sources.ꜣ-nṯr

This puts the entire matter of Punt’s location beyond any doubt, because, contrarily to the ‘Expedition of Punt’, the ‘Periplus of the Red Sea’ offers determinant practical details and, more importantly, the distance of every port of call, trade center, and harbor from the next, starting with Arsinoe (Suez). The unit of measurement is the stadium (for links to the text, see above: unit XII). The entire text is composed in the way paragraph 13 is written:

“Beyond Tabae, after four hundred stadia, there is the village of Pano. And then, after sailing four hundred stadia along a promontory, toward which place the current also draws you, there is another market-town called Opone”,…

The approximate length of the stadium is known and thus, with the help of the anonymous author of the ‘Periplus of the Red Sea’, we are able to accurately locate Berenice, Ptolemais Theron, Adulis, Avalites, Malao (today’s Berbera) and all the other ports of call until Opone and further beyond until Rhapta (today’s Daresalaam in Tanzania). Not one modern scholar disagreed with the identification of the exact location of Opone in today’s Hafun (Somali: Xaafuun; Arabic: حافون‎), near the cape Ras Hafun (Somali: Ras Xaafuun, Arabic: رأس حـافـون‎).

Cape Ras Hafun is located at a distance of ca. 100 miles (160 km) south the Horn of Africa, i.e. Cape Guardafui, which is known as Ras Asir in Somali (Raas Caseyr). Ras Asir is also mentioned in the ‘Periplus of the Red Sea’ (paragraph 12) as ‘Cape of Spices’ (Ancient Greek: Ἀκρωτήριον Ἀρωμάτων / Akroterion Aromaton); in modern bibliography, it is also referred to as ‘Aromata’ (in the Nominative case; because ‘Aromaton’ is in the Genitive case, i.e. ‘of the Spices’). There was actually a local trade center at the Akroterion Aromaton, and this was the reason for which the location was mentioned in that text (Ἀρωμάτων ἐμπόριον καὶ ἀκρωτήριον / Aromaton Emporion kai Akroterion / the Market and Cape of Spices).

Punt and Opone are exactly the same word. For Punt, the basics are available here: Sir Alan Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, Cambridge 1957: Pwnt / (Pwenet), p. 565, left column, lower part (p. 601/683 of the PDF; here: The Ancient Kemetian (Egyptian) hieroglyphic writing included also an alphabet, but all the letters were considered as consonants, and therefore the vocalization of several words is not always accurate. Written with the signs Q3, E34, N35, X1 (that all have phonetic value) and N25 (as ideogram), the toponym Punt could have been pronounced by Ancient Kemetians (Egyptians) as Punt, Pune, Puene, Punet, Puenet, Punet or Puen. Detailed information about these hieroglyphic signs is available here: index of signs on p. 544-547 (or p. 580 to 583 out of 683 of the PDF) and list of signs on p. 442-543 (or p. 478 to 579 out of 683 of the PDF) in the aforementioned link.

In the Ancient Kemetian (Egyptian) name, the final –t (sign X1) may have had no phonetic value at all, being then a determinative only to indicate that the preceding name was that of a place, i.e. a toponym. This is quite plausible, but in this case the correct pronunciation would be Puene, Puen or Pune.

Similarly, in the Ancient Greek name of this location, the final –e (-η), which is one of the typical endings of Ancient Greek toponyms, may have only been added as a form of Hellenization of the Ancient Somali place name for the needs of the author’s Greek readership in Alexandria. Furthermore, the Ancient Greek writing of the toponym Opone with omega (in the second syllable: Ω, ω) testifies to the existence of a long vowel (omega already means ‘great o’), which have been pronounced as –u (-ou/-w).

The only remaining slight phonetic difference between Punt and Opone appears to be the initial Greek vowel O-. In Phonology, this may well be a typical phenomenon of epenthesis, i.e. addition of one sound to a word. More specifically, as it happens at the beginning of the word, it can be categorized as prothesis; furthermore, it can be described as anaptyxis, because it involves a vowel (O-).

XV. The Cushites of the Horn (Punt – Opone) were never controlled by the impotent king Zoscales of Axumite Abyssinia

The identification of the Ancient Kemetian (Egyptian) toponym, which has hitherto been only conventionally known as ‘Punt’, with the Ancient Greek appellation of the same place (‘Opone’), and the recognition of the exact location of Punt/Opone thanks to the topographical details included in the ‘Periplus of the Red Sea’ irrevocably cancel every attempt to locate Punt elsewhere or to link it in any manner with territories related to Axum and Abyssinia.

This puts an end to the extraordinarily fallacious Abyssinian state propaganda and to several Zionist, anti-African pseudo-historians’ publications and speeches in which they pretend the opposite in order to promote their racist theories and various historical distortions. In this regard, any maps that may have been posted online, which show the land of Punt as connected in any sense with either Axumite Abyssinia or Cushitic Ethiopia (in today’s Sudan), are totally irrelevant and absolutely fake.

The ‘Periplus of the Red Sea’ makes it clear that the kingdom of Axumite Abyssinia never reached up to Avalites (Assab in Eritrea). In paragraph 3 of the text, King Zoscales of Axum is said to control the lands after the Call-Eaters, who were located south of the territories of the Berbers and beyond Ptolemais Theron (Suakin in Sudan’s coastland), somewhere in the area of Tokar (طوكر‎), i.e. close to Sudan’s borderline with Eritrea. And in paragraph 5, we learn that Zoscales’ rule reached up to the borders of the ‘Other Berberia’. Avalites (Assab) is then mentioned as the first trade center and port of call of the Other Berberia; there cannot be any doubt about the location of Avalites. The author of the text states: “to this place the voyage from Arabia to the far-side coast is the shortest” (as ‘far-side coast’ the text’s anonymous author means the Other Berberia). This concludes the case about the area of the Axumite kingdom: it covered maximum ca. 50-75% of today’s Eritrea’s territory and few more lands in the inland.

Even in Adulis, which was the only port of call of the Axumite kingdom, a great part of the trade mentioned used to take place in order to cover the needs of the Cushitic populations of the adjacent regions. I will herewith present the details given in the 6th paragraph of the text as regards the commercial activities in the port of Adulis in order to compare the products imported for the Cushites with the products imported for the king of Axum; this will help us better illuminate the trade realities of those days, which were proportional to the financial potentialities of the Cushites and the meager needs of the Axumite king.

Adulis imports for the Cushites were the following:

There are imported into these places, undressed cloth made in Egypt for the Berbers; robes from Arsinoe; cloaks of poor quality dyed in colors; double-fringed linen mantles; many articles of flint glass, and others of murrhine, made in Diospolis; and brass, which is used for ornament and in cut pieces instead of coin; sheets of soft copper, used for cooking-utensils and cut up for bracelets and anklets for the women; iron, which is made into spears used against the elephants and other wild beasts, and in their wars. Besides these, small axes are imported, and adzes and swords; copper drinking-cups, round and large; a little coin for those coming to the market; wine of Laodicea and Italy, not much; olive oil, not much;

{I note that Wilfred H. Schoff’s translation (Longmans, Green, and Co. fourth avenue & 30th street, New York, London, Bombay and Calcutta 1912) is quite confusing for the non-specialist reader because he does not offer immediate geographical notes; Arsinoe is today’s Suez; Diospolis is Thebes of Egypt, today’s Luxor; and Laodicea is today’s Lattakiyeh in Syria’s coastland.}

Adulis imports for the king Zoscales of Axumite Abyssinia were the following:

for the king, gold and silver plate made after the fashion of the country, and for clothing, military cloaks, and thin coats of skin, of no great value. Likewise from the district of Ariaca across this sea, there are imported Indian iron, and steel, and Indian cotton cloth; the broad cloth called monachê and that called sagimtogênê, and girdles, and coats of skin and mallow-colored cloth, and a few muslins, and colored lac. 

Through the description, it becomes clear that the Cushites (‘Berbers’ as per the text) imported items that were necessary for tribal societies in their struggle with Africa’s wildlife, whereas Axum imported products necessary for the limited Axumite stratocracy. Having a decentralized structure with no centripetal royal authority, the Cushites lived evidently a better life, as they were reportedly importing several articles of flint glass, olive oil, and wine.

Since the text mentions the Cushitic presence (‘Berberia’) around Ptolemais Theron (Suakin) and also from Avalites (Assab) further on alongside Northern Somalia’s coastline (the ‘Other Berberia’) up to the Horn of Africa and beyond, also detailing imports in and exports from each port of call and trade center, the average reader may eventually come up with the following question:

– Why products destined for the Cushites were also imported in Adulis, which was the only Axumite harbor?

The response is simple: the text helps us understand that several regions of the Axumite kingdom were also inhabited by Cushites whose presence on some nearby islands (easily identifiable with Dahlak islands) is also mentioned in the Periplus of the Red Sea. In other words, Eritrean regions like today’s Keren, Agordat and Teseney (west of Massawa) or Meder, Shali and Ti’yo (east of Massawa) and Tigray regions like Adigrat and Mekelle (currently occupied by gangster Abiy Ahmed’s army) were inhabited by Cushites over whom Zoscales’ authority was merely nominal.

This also explains the text’s references (paragraph 4) to the ivory trade from lands beyond the Nile (meaning the Blue Nile); the trade was evidently in the hands of Cushitic tribesmen, who inhabited the inland and preferred to pass their trade through Axum (called ‘Auxumites’ in the test), instead of transporting it through Meroe and Ptolemais Theron, where they would certainly pay heavier taxes to the Qore (King).

The specific excerpt reads (paragraph 4):

Opposite Mountain Island, on the mainland twenty stadia from shore, lies Adulis, a fair-sized village, from which there is a three-days’ journey to Coloe, an inland town and the first market for ivory. From that place to the city of the people called Auxumites there is a five days’ journey more; to that place all the ivory is brought from the country beyond the Nile through the district called Cyeneum, and thence to Adulis.

Apparently, Cyeneum (Κυήνειον) was located in the area between today’s Gedaref, Kessala (in Sudan) and Teseney (or Tessenei, in Eritrea) and its place on the way from the ‘country beyond the Nile’ to Axum was important. We can therefore suppose that the distances beyond Axum were considerably greater than those mentioned in the text between the capital of Abyssinia and Adulis on the coastland (Axum-Coloe/Qohaito: 5 days – Coloe/Qohaito-Adulis: 3 days). Although ethnically related to the Qore (King) of Meroe, the Cushitic tribesmen preferred to deal with the Abyssinian king of Axum and thus extract greater profit for themselves. However, there is no mention of Axumite military presence beyond the aforementioned transportation route that travelers needed 8 days in total to cross.

XVI. Ancient Afars & Somalis: ‘Other Berberia’, Azania, and the Yemenites Sabaeans (Sheba) and Himyarites in the Horn

The description of the Cushitic populations of the Other Berberia within the Periplus of the Red Sea is quite striking; the Egyptian captains and the Aramaean traders of those days may have encountered hard partners and pushy sellers in those coasts. At the end of paragraph 7, the Cushites of Avalites are described as “more unruly than the rest”. In paragraph 9, the Cushites of Mundu (near today’s Heis/Xiis or Maydh) are called as “harder to deal with”. The absence of central royal power and the self-administration of each and every port of call of the Other Berberia are underscored at the end of paragraph 14, which recapitulates the basic navigational schedules from Egypt to the Horn region up to Opone. The local rulers are then called ‘tyrants’; this word had at the time a different connotation, totally distinct from the one it had had 400-500 years earlier in Ancient Greece and fully unrelated to its modern meaning. It essentially denoted a local chief, who was acclaimed by the elite of the natives but deprived of hereditary power. The rulers of the cities-states of the Other Berberia were merchants and administration chiefs very similar to the well-documented ‘mukarrib’ of Ancient Yemen; at the same time, they were also pious persons with elementary priestly tasks.

However, beyond Opone (Hafun, near Ras Hafun), the unruly and indomitable Cushites of the Other Berberia did not find any counterpart. Although according to all the historical sources and the archaeological material record the populations living further in the South were evidently of Cushitic origin too, the land from Opone down to Rhapta (today’s Daresalaam) formed a different socio-administrative entity. It was called Azania; covering more than 3000 km of coastlands, Azania constituted a Cushitic land administered as colony by the Ancient Yemenites. Capital and major port of call – trade center of Azania was Rhapta, which was linked not only to Alexandria, the trade centers of the Persian Gulf, and the ports of call of the Indus River Delta, but also with the ports of call and trade centers in the Deccan (today’s India’s southern half), Sri Lanka, Indochina-Indonesia (called ‘Chryse’, i.e. ‘Golden’), and China.

In the subsequent paragraphs (15-18), the text gives ample information about the Sabaean-Himyarite colonization of Azania and the early intermarriages that the Ancient Yemenites arranged with the indigenous Cushitic Somalis, also learning their language. The intermarriages seem to have been an old custom perhaps initially introduced by the Qatabani Yemenites, who were the first great navigators and the premier maritime power of the Indian Ocean during the 5th – 2nd c. BCE. The alliance of Sheba and Himyar at the end of the 2nd c. BCE put an end to Qataban, but it seems that the allied Sabaeans and Himyarites inherited the already established colonial infrastructure in Azania and continued the same practices, thus becoming acceptable partners for the local Somalis. The text describes in detail the situation, putting beyond any doubt the fact that the supreme ruler of the East African lands south of Opone at the time was the Himyarite King Charibael, whose palace was located at Zafar (‘Maphar’ in the Periplus of the Red Sea) in today’s Yemen.  

The text reads (paragraphs 16-18):

Two days’ sail beyond, there lies the very last market-town of the continent of Azania, which is called Rhapta; which has its name from the sewed boats (rhaptôn ploiariôn) already mentioned; in which there is ivory in great quantity, and tortoise-shell. Along this coast live men of piratical habits, very great in stature, and under separate chiefs for each place. The Mapharitic chief governs it under some ancient right that subjects it to the sovereignty of the state that is become first in Arabia. And the people of Muza now hold it under his authority, and send thither many large ships, using Arab captains and agents, who are familiar with the natives and intermarry with them, and who know the whole coast and understand the language.

There are imported into these markets the lances made at Muza especially for this trade, and hatchets and daggers and awls, and various kinds of glass; and at some places a little wine, and wheat, not for trade, but to serve for getting the good-will of the savages*1 . There are exported from these places a great quantity of ivory, but inferior to that of Adulis, and rhinoceros-horn and tortoise-shell (which is in best demand after that from India), and a little palm-oil.

And these markets of Azania are the very last of the continent that stretches down on the right hand from Berenice; for beyond these places the unexplored ocean curves around toward the west, and running along by the regions to the south of Aethiopia and Libya and Africa, it mingles with the western sea.

*1 I must note at this point that the translation (‘of the savages’) in the middle of the paragraph 17 is erroneous, because the text mentions the ‘Berbers’ (Barbars), like in any other part (between paragraphs 2 and 17), as an ethnic name for the Eastern African coastland Cushites (and not as ‘barbarians’). This mistake at this point is also bizarre, if we take into consideration that the English translator and scholar Wilfred Harvey Schoff (1874–1932) did not translate it mistakenly in other parts of his translation. About:,_Yemen

The Yemenite (Sabaean-Himyarite) colonization of part of Eastern African coastlands proves that in the wider region of Eastern Africa and Arabian Peninsula, the only major imperial power that existed was the overseas empire of Sheba-Himyar, which had inherited the Qatabani thalassocracy. Compared to the Sabaeans-Himyarites, Axum was a pale, lackluster entity that lacked both, the continental radiation and riparian expansion of Meroe and the maritime prowess and colonial experience of Ancient Yemen. In other words, it was a second class power.  

The tight and absolute Yemenite control of the maritime trade between the Mediterranean basin and the expanse of sea around the Earth’s southern-southeastern confines caused actually the Roman military reaction, involving a land attack and a maritime expedition against Yemen, which is widely documented (by Strabo, Dio Cassius, and Pliny the Elder) and also mentioned in the Periplus of the Red Sea (in paragraph 26). The event took place immediately after the Roman invasion and occupation of Egypt (30 BCE); Emperor Octavian Augustus dispatched Aelius Gallus to attack the Sabaean-Himyarite kingdom, which had caused economic troubles to the Romans by heavily taxing all Oriental products passing from Aden and by preventing straight navigation from the Red Sea’s Egyptian harbors to the coastlands of Deccan (which is also known as Coast of Malabar). About:’s_expedition

The differentiation among the Eastern African coastland Cushites in terms of governance (self-rule for the Other Berberia, Sabaean-Himyarite colony for Azania) and social-behavioral system (unruly and hard to deal with for the Other Berbers; urbane and friendly for the Azanians) does not denote an early linguistic-ethnic differentiation into the first stages of Afar and Somali languages and nations. This development must have happened after the arrival of Islam in Africa. However, even today both languages retain ample Ancient Cushitic vocabulary that was written in Meroitic hieroglyphic and cursive writing before 2000 years. The Somali word ‘boqor’ (king) is identical to the title of the Cushitic kings of Meroe: ‘Qore’.

XVII. Meroe’s Relations with Kemet/Egypt under the Ptolemies (305-30 BCE)

As Meroe (today’s Bagrawiyah) was located very far from Kemet (Egypt), there was never a chance for attackers coming from the North (be they Kemetians/Egyptians, Iranians, Macedonians or Romans) to reach the new Cushitic capital that rose to prominence in the 5th and the 4th c. BCE. Alexander the Great never advanced beyond Niwt, i.e. ‘the city par excellence’, as the Ancient Kemetians named their own capital, Thebes of Egypt (today’s Luxor). The Macedonian dynasty of the Ptolemies was fully assimilated into the Ancient Kemetian (Egyptian) imperial administration and expressed strictly Egyptian interests in the wider chessboard between the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans.

In general, the relations between Ptolemaic Kemet and Meroe were good, because with the relocation of the Cushitic capital beyond the confluence of Atbarah with the (United) Nile, every foreign attack from the North was predestined to doom long before reaching the whereabouts of Meroe. In fact, the capital of the Meroites was located at a distance of 1400-1500 km south of the Kemetian – Meroitic border during the times of Ptolemaic – Roman Kemet. Taking into consideration the lack of due training and the physical limits of northern empires’ armies when crossing the desert, one can understand why all significant Ptolemaic or Roman expeditions in the South stopped in the area of today’s borders between Masr (Egypt) and Sudan.

The advance of Ptolemy II (ca. 275 BCE) ended essentially in a compromise, i.e. the establishment of Dodekaschoenus (also written as Dodekaschoinos) and Triakontaschoenus (also written as Triakontaschoinos), namely two land zones alongside the Nile, which both started in the First Cataract (immediately south of Syene / Aswan) and extended southwards, the first being the northern part of the second. As per the agreement, Dodekaschoenus would be integral part of Kemet and only Kemetian army was allowed to move there, whereas in Triakontaschoenus Kemetian and Meroitic soldiers would patrol together, while the land would be placed under condominium. The two names (written in Latin and Romanized Greek as per above) denote respectively two lands that are twelve schoeni (or schoinoi) long and thirty schoeni long. One schoenus (or schoinos) was a measurement unit to calculate the length; as unit of measurement, it was of Ancient Kemetian origin, being named i͗trw (iteru). The Ancient Greeks accepted this unit as equal to 40 stadia.

The good relations between the Ptolemies and the Qore (King) and Kandake (Queen) of Meroe were reflected in Ancient Greek and Latin texts, and Diodorus Siculus’ reference to ‘Ergamenes’ (identified with Qore Arakamani) reveals exactly the spiritual-religious divisions that I mentioned earlier, when I stated that they characterized the entire History of pre-Christian Kemet (Egypt) and Cush (Ethiopia) {in unit V. Deep Spiritual-Religious Divisions among both, Kemetians (Egyptians) and Cushites (Sudanese: Ethiopians)}. Reigning at the times of Ptolemy II, Ptolemy III and Ptolemy IV (during the 3rd c. BCE), Ergamenes is said to have clashed with part of the Meroitic priesthood and to have eliminated their spiritual control over the Meroitic nation. There can be several interpretations of this excerpt, but at this point, I only include the original Greek text and an English translation:

Greek text

Κατ μν ον τος πάνω χρόνους πήκουον ο βασιλες τος ερεσιν, οχ πλοις οδ βίᾳ κρατηθέντες, λλ´ π´ ατς τς δεισιδαιμονίας τος λογισμος κατισχυόμενοι· κατ δ τν δεύτερον Πτολεμαον βασιλες τν Αθιόπων ργαμένης, μετεσχηκς λληνικς γωγς κα φιλοσοφήσας, πρτος θάρρησε καταφρονσαι το προστάγματος. Λαβν γρ φρόνημα τς βασιλείας ξιον παρλθε μετν} στρατιωτν ες τ βατον, ο συνέβαινεν εναι τν χρυσον ναν τν Αθιόπων, κα τος μν ερες πέσφαξε, τ δ θος τοτο καταλύσας διωρθώσατο πρς τν αυτο προαίρεσιν.

English translation

Thus, during the earlier times, the kings were subject to the priests, not by force of arms or due to violence, but because of the influence that the superstitions had over their minds. But, during the reign of Ptolemy II, Ergamenes, king of the Ethiopians, who had been educated after the Greek rules and was instructed in philosophy, was the first to attempt to breach the order. Since he had acquired a stature worthy of a king, he entered into the holy of holies, accompanied by soldiers; this happened to be in the golden temple of the Ethiopians. There, he slaughtered all the priests and he abolished that tradition, ruling afterwards the country as it pleased him.

Ptolemy II and Arsinoe II


Good relations between Ptolemaic Kemet and Meroe continued during the reigns of the kings Arqamani and Adikhalamani and the Queen (Kandake) Shanakdakhete in the 2nd c. BCE. However, both states faced many challenges in regions adjacent to their borders because of many unruly elements and following raids or rebellions of either ethnic/tribal or religious order. In the 2nd half of the 1st c. BCE, Kandake Amanirenas became the Meroitic counterpart of the Kemetian Queen Hatshepsut, who had ruled ca. 1450 years earlier: she ruled Meroe as Qore and Kandake (Meroitic: Kdwe). She is correctly identified as the warrior ‘Kandake’ of Strabo’s narratives. Due to the scarcity of the Meroitic sources, we do not know the real reasons and the motives that made her start the war against the Roman province of Egypt.

Meroitic Queen Amanirenas

Whereas for almost 300 years the Ptolemies, despite their Macedonian origin, ruled Kemet (Egypt) from Alexandria as real Kemetian Pharaohs, the Roman occupation of Egypt was rather reminiscent of the Achaemenid Iranian annexation of the Valley of the Nile, which was completed 500 years earlier by Cambyses and Darius the Great. Kemet was again ruled from a capital located several thousands of kilometers far from the Nile. However, there was an enormous difference between the role that Kemet had as satrapy of Iran and the position that Egypt had as province of the Roman Empire. Africa’s northeastern corner was far more important for the Iranians than for the Romans. This was due to the totally different nature of the two empires: Imperial Iran constituted the universal-imperial unification of all the lands between Eastern Europe – Eastern Mediterranean – Eastern Africa and Northern India – China – Siberia. Rome embodied the military-practical integration of all coastal lands around the Mediterranean into one centralized authority that started looking as a Western copy of an Oriental Empire but still had very low and very poor imperial theoretical and spiritual standards. 

Within the Achaemenid Empire, the satrapy of Mudraya (Egypt) had a key geostrategic position, because it offered an alternative route of transportation between the Mediterranean satrapies of the Empire and its central province and capital (Fars & Parsa/Persepolis). But within the Roman Empire, Egypt was merely a marginal periphery. This development affected Meroe greatly. Although it is certainly inaccurate to state that there was a Roman lack of interest (or ability) to secure the southern boundary of the province ‘Egypt’, it is pertinent to stress that this task was not the main priority of the imperial defense system. For the Romans, the most important border to defend was that located north of the Italian Peninsula in Central Europe opposite the Germans.

Certainly, there were Roman legions everywhere to defend all borders, but regional developments did not affect Rome directly. At the same time, unruly elements, notably the Blemmyes (Βλέμυες/Bejas), the Nubai (Νοῦβαι/Nubians), the Troglodytae, the Megabaroi, and other Cushitic and Nilo-Saharan ethnic groups of the desert started demonstrating a mobility that was far more embarrassing for Meroe than for Rome. These movements, which may have involved raids, looting or even sacrilege, must have probably driven Kandake Amanirenas inside the Roman territories in pursuit of a definite victory over the ethnic groups that threatened the safety of the northern provinces of Meroe and the security of the southern confines of Roman Egypt. About:


XVIII. The War between Meroe and Rome (25-23 BCE)

The only noteworthy war between Meroe and the Roman Empire is questionably and poorly documented; the reason for this is the fact that Strabo’s narrative (Geographica, XVII, 1:53-54) reflects a deeply partial, pro-Roman stance. Strabo was a close friend of Aelius Gallus, who was dispatched against the Sabaeans and the Himyarites in Yemen little time before the Meroitic attack against and occupation of Egypt’s southernmost city (Syene/Aswan), premier trade center (Elephantine Island in Aswan), and supreme sanctuary (Isis Temple at the Island of Philae, 5km south of Aswan) at 25 BCE.

Greek text:

English translation:*.html

In Strabo’s text, Kandake Amanirenas is mentioned as a ‘masculine’ queen and a ‘one-eyed woman’ whose army attacked “because they realized that part of the Egypt-based Roman forces was dispatched under Aelius Gallus” to wage war against Yemen. This assumption, invented only to morally disparage the Meroites’ attitude, discredits the entire reference. Such a Machiavellian attempt would perhaps be possible if there had been ceaseless wars between the Ptolemies and Meroe, which was not the case.

Strabo’s description of the Meroitic attack against Roman Egypt as an opportunistic affair does not correspond to any data coming from all sources available about the Meroitic-Kemetian relations over the previous centuries; even more so, because we don’t have any other information about Meroitic incursions in Roman Egypt’s southernmost confines after Octavian invaded Alexandria (30 BCE). It is not my intention to analyze Strabo’s ca. 700-word excerpt here, but I mentioned its untrustworthiness because an enormous deal of colonial forgery has been invented and fabricated upon this excerpt. This academic forgery was then diffused worldwide with target to disparage the Kingdom of Meroe, minimize the importance of Africa’s greatest kingdom of that time, and depict it as subordinated to Rome – which was never the case.

While narrating Gaius Petronius’ military campaign and counterattack (24-23 BCE), Strabo mentions three locations south of Aswan, namely Pselchis (Ψέλχις), Primnis (Πρῆμνις), and Napata (Νάπατα). Located at 120 km south of Aswan, Pselchis (Pa Serqet in Ancient Kemetian) is the modern site of el-Dakka where the temple of Thot was built (successfully transported to a new site during the International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia, which was undertaken by UNESCO during the period 1954-1978). Pselchis is not far from Hiera Sykaminos (modern al-Maharraqa, 140 km south of Aswan) where the temple of Isis and Sarapis was located (being similarly transported to a new location). The Roman Emperor Octavian rebuilt and extended both temples in the first decades of his reign. Hiera Sykaminos marked the end of Dodecaschoenus in the Ptolemaic-Roman times.

Located at 200 km south of Aswan, Premnis (or Primis) is the modern site of Qasr Ibrim, an extraordinarily important location that was continually occupied over the past 2700 years. Qasr Ibrim, as it was atop of a hill overlooking the Nile during the all the historical periods, became an island after the erection of Aswan High Dam and the rise of the artificial lake waters. Among the incredible treasure of artifacts and monuments that have been excavated there, several remains bear witness to the Roman presence.

The third location that Strabo mentions in this excerpt is Napata, the old capital of Cush, which was not anymore the center of the Meroitic kingdom at the end of the 1st c. BCE. There is only one reason for which the biased, pro-Roman, Anatolian author (Strabo originated from Amaseia / Amasya, an important city of the Pontus kingdom in today’s Central-Northern Turkey) mentioned Napata. He pretended that Gaius Petronius reached there and even sacked the city! This is highly unlikely; the distance between Premnis (apparently the Roman prefect’s farther point of advance) and Napata (today’s Karima in Sudan, near the Nile’s Fourth Cataract) is more than 850 km alongside the Nile!

First, it is absolutely impossible that the Roman prefect of Egypt managed to lead his army so deeply in Cush, due to the extreme climatological conditions that they may have encountered there. Only the Berber Pharaoh Psamtek (Psammetichus) II (of the 26th -‘Libyan’ as per Manetho- dynasty) managed to sack Napata (591 BCE), but evidently his Kemetian (Egyptian) and mercenary soldiers were better acquainted with the local climate. Also, the Iranian Achaemenid Shah Cambyses (530-522 BCE) advanced and occupied sizeable portions of Cush, after invading Kemet (Egypt) in 525 BCE. Archaeological evidence from Buhen (in the area of the Nile’s Second Cataract, in Northern Sudan, close to today’s Egyptian-Sudanese border) and other sites makes it sure that the Iranians controlled that region, which is located more than 100 km south of Premnis (Primis/Qasr Ibrim).  

Mussawarat as Sufra, a major Meroitic site

Second, Strabo’s mention of Cambyses’ campaign and his comparison of the two campaigns, namely the Iranian and the Roman (under Gaius Petronius), prove that his narrative was rather propagandistic, as he tried only to present the Roman advance as more important an exploit than the Iranian invasion of Cush 500 years earlier. In fact, Strabo did not need to mention Cambyses at all; even worse, Strabo’s fictional identification of the place whereby natural phenomena destroyed Cambyses’ army (if this event ever occurred) is proven as totally misplaced, because of the extant archaeological evidence. The Iranians had advanced further in the South. This is Strabo’s excerpt:

From Pselchis he (:Gaius Petronius) went to Premnis, a fortified city, after passing through the sand-dunes, where the army of Cambyses was overwhelmed when a wind-storm struck them; and having made an attack, he took the fortress at the first onset.

Immediately after that point, Strabo states that Gaius Petronius “attacked and captured Napata” (‘Nabata’)! This is typical Roman self-eulogy, untrustworthy rodomontade, and hyperbolic description elaborated as a means of state propaganda.

Third, it is totally unthinkable that the Romans reached Napata without Strabo also mentioning several other sites much larger than Pselchis and Premnis. Major Meroitic sites existed on the long way down to Napata. It is impossible that there were no battles, no assaults on fortresses, no looting of palaces, and no mention of captives. This most troublesome point makes us conclude that Strabo’s narrative about a Roman sack of Napata is totally imaginary. To be possibly credible, Strabo had to mention either a few fights or some cases pillage or both in the area of the Third Cataract, let’s say in Tabo or Kawa (Gematon). Actually, Strabo’s extraordinary pretensions are refuted by the orderly and wealthy reign that Amanirenas’ successor, Kandake Amanishakheto seems to have had, as she built many great monuments throughout her empire. Such activity could not have been possibly undertaken, had the Meroitic kingdom undergone such an extraordinary destruction.

Fourth, Strabo makes one more mistake, pretending that Napata was ‘still’ the capital of Cush. Already centuries earlier, the capital had been transferred to Meroe, as I have already said. Quite lamentably, many modern Western scholars took this text seriously and in doing so, they committed many other mistakes on the basis of successive erroneous assumptions.

Fifth, comparatively with Strabo’s description of the military expedition of Aelius Gallus against the kingdoms of Yemen (Geographica, XVI, 4:23; English translation:*.html), the description of the war against Meroe makes it look far more successful than the attack against Aden. Furthermore, there are no excerpts involving self-criticism or error analysis, contrarily to Strabo’s comments and remarks about Aelius Gallus’ stratagems and maneuvers. This probably suggests that in reality, although Aelius Gallus was exposed to many diverse adversities, he managed at the end to sack Aden (‘Eudaimon Arabia’ / ‘Arabia Felix’), and this is what Strabo explicitly states; quite contrarily, Gaius Petronius did not manage to destroy any major palatial and urban center of Meroe. Consequently, Strabo’s narrative was intentionally written in order to present the two military campaigns in a balanced manner, and that’s why he expressed some criticism about the most successful of the two campaigns (namely that of Aelius Gallus) whereas he added an enormous lie in favor of the less successful one (i.e. that of Gaius Petronius).

Last, irrespective of what Strabo narrated in his Geographica, the aftermath of both military campaigns shows the reality in a revelatory manner; the excerpt ends with the negotiations between Candace and Gaius Petronius. The conciliation took a most honorable form for the Candace and the Meroitic royals around her. The prefect of Egypt treated them as superior and suggested that they meet Octavian Augustus in person. Consequently, the Meroitic delegation crossed Kemet (Egypt) and sailed from Alexandria to Samos Island where the Roman Emperor was at the time. The specific excerpt’s English translation reads:

Meantime Candacê marched against the garrison with many thousands of men, but Petronius set out to its assistance and arrived at the fortress first; and when he had made the place thoroughly secure by sundry devices, ambassadors came, but he bade them go to Caesar; and when they asserted that they did not know who Caesar was or where they should have to go to find him, he gave them escorts; and they went to Samos, since Caesar was there and intended to proceed to Syria from there, after despatching Tiberius to Armenia. And when the ambassadors had obtained everything they pled for, he even remitted the tributes which he had imposed.

About:,_Sudan Gaius_Petronius

Naqa, a major Meroitic site

The Meroitic-Roman treaty was respected from both sides, and this means that Octavian Augustus had far greater foresight and cooler mind than Strabo. There are several reasons that support the interpretation/reconstruction attempt as per which the early Meroitic incursions (prior to the Roman military expedition) were due to the vital Meroitic need to put unruly ethnic groups under control and to ensure security in the Triakontaschoinos and the Dodekaschoinos. Most probably, some groups of Blemmyes or Nubians, initiating a raid from the Roman Egyptian territory, had attacked somewhere within the Meroitic territory at a moment the Roman army was unable to react and, to avoid the Meroitic reprisals, they ran back and scattered within the Roman Egyptian territory (Dodekaschoinos), thus dragging the Meroitic regiments deep inside Kemet (Egypt) and up to Aswan. Apparently, Octavian understood the reasons for this act.

Then, in the Anatolian Island of Samos, Octavian Augustus and the Meroitic delegation came to agreement that involved several measures of peacekeeping across the troublesome region of their borders between the First and the Second Cataracts, which was located far from their respective capitals, while being exposed to indomitable ethnic groups of the desert. Rome paid due respect and solved all problems that existed across the Dodekaschoinos. The centuries old Ptolemaic agreement, which stipulated that the local income should be entirely donated to the Isis Temple at the Island of Philae, remained fully valid. It seems that both, Nubians and Blemmyes, preferred the local sacerdotal power and recognized it as supreme authority for them.

Octavian Augustus cared much about appeasing the Nubians and the Blemmyes. He therefore ordered the reparation-reconstruction of several ancient temples across the Dodekaschoinos. The temple of the Nubian god Merul (Mandulis in Ancient Greek and Latin) in Talmis (Kalabsha) was reconstructed and expanded; on the temple’s wall Octavian was majestically depicted as Pharaoh making offerings. Also the temples of Dakka and Maharraqa were extensively rebuilt, the entire Egypt as province re-organized, the trade routes safely guarded, the temple renovation projects completed, and the Ptolemaic taxation system reinstated.

XIX. The Meroe Head: Bronze Head of Octavian Augustus Unearthed in the Capital of Cush

A particularity in this regard is a statue’s head that was excavated in Meroe and seems to bear the typical facial traits of Octavian Augustus. When John Garstang, the excavator, dispatched the larger-than-life-size head to England (1910-1911), there was still a doubt whether the monument depicted Germanicus (Octavian’s great-nephew); however, several scholars identified it -correctly- with Octavian. Various historians and archaeologists offered several, rather erroneous interpretation schemes about that monument with the typical traits of the Roman Emperor, the expressive eyes, and the black colour. Most of the opinions expressed suggest that the ‘Meroe Head’ was looted by the advancing Meroitic armies from some place in the Dodekaschoinos or Aswan. To support this opinion, they referred to Strabo’s excerpts about the Meroitic invasion of Aswan, notably the following: “and by an unexpected onset took Syenê and Elephantinê and Philae, and enslaved the inhabitants, and also pulled down the statues of Caesar (: name used as title by Octavian)”.

However, this statement does not involve any reference about looting and transporting cut heads of statues across vast distances (from Aswan to Meroe: ca. 1700 km) for no real purpose, since the Meroitic attack against Roman Egypt’s southern regions was not undertaken against Octavian Augustus personally.

One idiotic, racist and homosexual author, namely Neil MacGregor (included in The Independent’s 2007 list of “most influential gay people”!?!), wrote in his otherwise useless and nonsensical “A History of the World in 100 Objects” (Penguin Books, 2013) that statues were erected “to remind the empire’s largely illiterate population of the emperor’s power”. This ignorant and pathetic person (former director of the British Museum) failed to understand that in Ancient Kemet (Egypt) and Cush (Ethiopia: Sudan) the concept of illiteracy never existed due precisely to the hieroglyphics.

Quite contrarily to the aforementioned, unsubstantiated theories and farfetched suggestions, it is far easier to understand that the entire statue (of which only the head was found) was created in Meroe by the Meroitic royal and sacerdotal authorities in honor of the new ally of the Meroitic Kingdom, after the Samos negotiations and the ensuing treaty. It can be argued that the statue and the head were made locally, based on a mould that the Meroitic delegation got from Octavian’s courtiers and subordinates in Samos.

The exquisite artwork was found underneath a stairway that was leading to an altar of victory. It is part of premeditated scheme, racist thinking, Orientalist bias, and Western mind sickness to interpret the location of the unearthed remarkable finding as deliberately chosen in order to disparage the ‘enemy’. This miserable attitude never characterized the Ancient Kemetian and Cushitic nations and empires; it consists in mere projection of perverse Western mentality onto the study topic. In other words, colonial historians and Western archaeologists thought that the Ancient Meroites were as vindictive, choleric and barbarian as the Modern Europeans and Americans.

Precisely because the Meroe Head was found close to a mound under the staircase leading to a temple, one can deduce that the bronze statue (or bust?) of the Roman Emperor and ally of Meroe was honorifically placed in front of a temple and then, during the destruction of Meroe, which followed the raid of the Axumite King Ezana (ca. 360-370 CE), it was broken and fallen down to the position where it was found during the excavations.

XX. Jebel Qeili, Qore (‘King’) Shorkaror, and the Meroitic Victory over the Axumite Abyssinians

Jebel Qeili, which is located at around 150 km east-southeast of Khartoum (and 40 km southwest of El Murabba remains of Meroitic temple), is until now undeniably the southernmost Meroitic site. Dating back to the time of Qore (‘King’ in Meroitic language) Shorkaror (approximately 20-30 CE), the rupestral monument features an inscription and a victory relief of the Meroitic ruler, who is depicted as stepping over defeated Axumite Abyssinians, while presenting captives to and receiving blessings from the sun-god. Portraying the sun-god almost like the Iranian god Mithras with emanating rays, the Meroitic artists of the early 1st Christian century bore witness to a remarkable Mithraic influence across the wider region of Eastern Africa, as the artistic form is distinct and unique. And while Shorkaror is rewarded by Mithras with a handful of sorghum, defeated Axumites are represented as falling from mountainous cliffs, which suggests that the battle took place in the mountains east of today’s Kessala in Sudan, being therefore a punitive action over the Axumite Abyssinians from the part of the Meroites.

The astounding relief serves also as another hint at internal religious divisions among the Cushites of Meroe, because no relief of a sun-god has been preserved in any other monument excavated across the vast area of the Kingdom of Meroe. It seems that in Meroe there was one sacerdotal religion evidently documented on hitherto preserved temples and another, different, royal religion of which the only monument saved down to our days is the magnificent Jebel Qeili rock relief. Apparently, Shorkaror was undertaking military campaigns, accompanied by priests and artists, who obeyed him, and not the sacerdotal colleges that controlled the temples of Meroe. This makes the above mentioned narrative of Diodorus Siculus about King Ergamenes (Arakamani) of Meroe even more credible (see unit XVII).

The most plausible interpretation of the reasons of this early Meroitic-Axumite Abyssinian war is the use of trade routes nearby Meroe’s southern-southeastern-eastern frontiers, from beyond the Nile through the mountains and Axum to Adulis, by Cushitic tribes (‘Berbers’ as per the ‘Periplus of the Red Sea’) inhabiting lands out of control of either the Qore of Meroe or the Negus of Axum. I discussed the issue above, in the last five paragraphs of the unit XV (The Cushites of the Horn (Punt – Opone) were never controlled by the impotent king Zoscales of Axumite Abyssinia). Apparently, King Shorkaror of Meroe did not want the wealth of the elephant- and rhinoceros-trade to go to other royal treasurers, arrested some Cushitic tradesmen, the king of Axum was asked to intervene, and finally the Meroites vanquished the Axumite Abyssinian army. About:

Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings (by Bertha Porter & Rosalind L. B. Moss; vol. VII: Nubia, the Deserts, and Outside Egypt)

Richard A. Lobban, Jr., Historical Dictionary of Ancient and Medieval Nubia (Lanham MD: Scarecrow Press, 2004. Pp. ix+511 – ISBN 0-8108-4784-1), entry ‘Jebel Qeili’;

It is to be noted that Qore Shorkaror was the son of Natakamani and Kandake (or Candace, i.e. Queen) Amanitore and that, during and/or after his reign, Kandake Amanitaraqide’s chief eunuch may have undertaken a royal travel in the Roman Empire’s southeastern provinces, notably Egypt and Palestine, being then the ‘Ethiopian’ (: Meroitic) eunuch mentioned in the New Testament as subordinate of the Candace (Acts 8:27-40).

XXI. Meroitic-Roman Relations (30 BCE-4th c. CE) and their Impact on Explorations and Sciences  

All the successors of Octavian (Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero) pursued the same policy in Egypt and maintained good relations with Meroe. Dozens of Ancient Kemetian (Egyptian) temples hitherto preserved in Egypt were rebuilt or extended in the first centuries of the Christian era; they were majestically decorated with reliefs that bore the names of the Roman Emperors written in hieroglyphics from Octavian Augustus down to the late 3rd – early 4th c. CE Tetrarchy (Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, Maximinus Daia).

The good relations between Rome and Meroe have been documented on many occasions, notably the travels of the Meroitic Kandake’s eunuch in provinces of the Roman Empire (Egypt and Palestine) as reported within the New Testament (Acts 8:27-40).

Qore Amanitenmemide, who reigned in the middle of the 1st c. CE, must have been the Meroitic king, who helped the Roman mission sent by Emperor Nero advance further to the South, proceed through territories of several indigenous chieftains, and explore the sources of the Nile. Apparently, the Meroites did indeed dispatch a small detachment with the necessary provisions and letters of introduction to the various kings and tribal chieftains of the regions around the White Nile in today’s South Sudan. Few Roman sources detail rather briefly this groundbreaking attempt: Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE) in his monumental Naturalis Historia (VI.XXXV, p. 181-187: and Seneca the Younger (4 BCE-65 CE) in his Naturales Quaestiones (VI.8.3-5). About:

Pliny’s brief description mentions a Roman motif other than exploration; personal friend of Emperor Vespasian (69-79), Pliny wrote that the exploratory expedition was undertaken as preparatory step in view of a forthcoming conquest of Meroe. This is however quite unlikely, because it is more probable that at an early investigatory step, the Romans wanted to first discover what lies beyond Meroe and the entire kingdom of Ethiopia and what the reason of Meroe’s extraordinary wealth was. This would eventually weigh at a later stage, and only then a military survey would be undertaken. However, Pliny’s excerpt is valuable, because he offers numerous names of ethnic groups and tribes that lived around and beyond Meroe, and also several toponyms. Seneca’s detailed and characteristic description helps us understand that the Romans, accompanied by the Meroites, reached the vast region of marshes that is known as Sudd in today’s South Sudan (ca. 60000 km2) and the Murchison Falls in Uganda that they considered as the sources of the Nile.

I herewith include the original Latin text (excerpt from Seneca’s Naturales Quaestiones) and an English translation:

Original Latin text

[8,3] Nescis autem inter opiniones, quibus enarratur Nili aestiua inundatio, et hanc esse, a terra illum erumpere et augeri non supernis aquis sed ex intimo redditis? Ego quidem centuriones duos, quos Nero Caesar, ut aliarum uirtutum ita ueritatis in primis amantissimus, ad inuestigandum caput Nili miserat, audiui narrantes longum illos iter peregisse, cum a rege Aethiopiae instructi auxilio commendatique proximis regibus penetrassent ad ulteriorem. [8,4] Inde, ut quidam aiebant, peruenimus ad immensas paludes, quarum exitum nec incolae nouerant nec sperare quisquam potest: ita implicatae aquis herbae sunt et aquae nec pediti eluctabiles nec nauigio, quod nisi paruum et unius capax limosa et obsita palus non fert. Ibi, inquit, uidimus duas petras, ex quibus ingens uis fluminis excidebat. [8,5] Sed siue caput illa siue accessio est Nili, siue tunc nascitur siue in terras ex priore recepta cursu redit, nonne tu credis illam, quicquid est, ex magno terrarum lacu ascendere? Habeant enim oportet pluribus locis sparsum umorem et in uno coactum, ut eructare tanto impetu possint.

English translation

And don’t you know that among the explanations given of the occurrence of the inundation of the Nile in summer, one is that it bursts forth from the ground, and is swollen not by rain from above but by water given out from within the earth? I have myself heard from their own lips the story told by the two non-commissioned officers sent to investigate the sources of the Nile by our good Emperor Nero, a monarch devoted to virtue in every form, but especially solicitous for the interests of truth. The King of Ethiopia had supplied them with assistance and furnished letters of introduction to the neighbouring kings, and so they had penetrated into the heart of Africa and accomplished a long journey. “We came indeed,” I give their own words, “to huge marshes, the limit of which even the natives did not know, and no one else could hope to know; so completely was the river entangled with vegetable growth, so impassable the waters by foot, or even by boat, since the muddy overgrown marsh would bear only a small boat containing one person. There,” my in formants went on,” we saw with our eyes two rocks from which an immense quantity of water issued.” Now whether that is the real source or only an addition to the river; whether it rises there or merely returns to the surface after its previous course underground; don t you think that, whatever it is, that water comes up from a great lake in the earth? The earth must contain moisture scattered in numerous places and collected at depth in order to be able to belch it out with such violence.

Contrarily to what happened in other regions, notably Central and Western Africa, the existence of the vast, developed and powerful Kingdom of Meroe in Eastern Africa was a permanent stumbling block that prohibited every thought about an eventual Roman expansion to the South. In other African regions, Roman legions advanced far in the South, penetrating Sahara and reaching the first regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. More specifically, Roman military expeditions reached the regions of River Senegal and River Niger in Western Africa and Lake Chad in Central Africa. However, in Eastern Africa, after the aforementioned events that took place in the first decade of Roman rule in Egypt, there was never Roman military presence or expedition south of the Dodekaschoinos in the Valley of the Nile.

When it comes to the Red Sea basin, Roman military presence extended up to Berenice in the southern confines of Egypt’s coast; still Berenice was located far more in the South than Leuke Kome (today’s al-Wajh in Saudi Arabia / الوجه), which was the southernmost Roman outpost (and former Aramaean Nabataean port of call) on the Red Sea coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Up to the middle of the 3rd c. CE, we can also assume that there was Roman military presence in Ptolemais Theron (today’s Suakin), continuing the trade with Meroe, which the Ptolemies had initiated, founding this colony. About:

The good, peaceful and stable relations between Meroe and the Roman Empire did not only guarantee the increased trade volume and the feasibility of the explorations undertaken, but also ended up with improved knowledge of natural phenomena, expanded familiarity with other nations and remote locations, enhanced registration of data, and unprecedented diffusion of particulars and intelligence. In the 2nd c. CE no other man expressed this reality better than one of the greatest Africans of all times: Ptolemy the Geographer (Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος; Claudius Ptolemaeus – ca. 100-170 CE). Known to have authored some of the ancient world’s most ingenious works in Geography, Astronomy, Astrology, Optics, Music and several other fields, he formulated the millennia long Babylonian and Egyptian spiritual and scientific supremacy in an unmatched manner, merging transcendental perception and material detail. Egyptian of royal Ptolemaic origin, Ptolemy honored his country’s spiritual tradition by bearing the name of the last indigenous dynasty; as Roman citizen, he honored the Claudia gens by bearing the name of the Roman Emperor (Claudius, 41-54 CE), who granted Roman citizenship to one of his ancestors.

Particularly Ptolemy’s Geography is a ‘must’ for all Eastern, Northeastern, Northern and Northwestern Africans, African pupils, students, scholars, identity theoreticians, anti-colonial activists, Hamitic & Cushitic traditionalists, and liberation fighters. This monumental work (Γεωγραφικὴ Ὑφήγησις – Geographiki Hyphigisis – Geographical Guidance) constitutes a geographical dictionary and directory that contains names of locations (cities, villages, mountains, lake, bays, etc.), as well as their respective geographical coordinates, while also including names of ethnic groups and tribes. The text contains all locations and related data then known about Europe, Africa and Asia; it starts with Ireland, covers most of Europe, deals with Africa, continues with Asia up to China, and finally ends with India and South Asia. Africa is presented in Ptolemy’s fourth book and Ethiopia (i.e. Sudan) “under Egypt” is discussed in ch. 7.

In some cases, the data that Ptolemy offers demonstrate historical continuity for two millennia. It is certainly a difficult reading for the non-specialist, as it is practically speaking a catalogue of names with coordinates and few extra sentences. However, the reward will be enormous for a Modern Kaffa in today’s Abyssinia (fake Ethiopia), when he will see that Ptolemy the Geographer, writing before 1870 years, knew the coordinates of Mount Kaffa. Ptolemy offers an incredibly high number of scholarly valuable points, as it helps also as reconfirmation or corroboration of other textual references.

Crosschecking points mentioned in other historical texts with info included in Prolemy’s Geography, scholars and specialists can reconfirm projections and interpretations. I will herewith offer an example: when studying the Periplus of the Red Sea, one learns that the African coast from Assab (Avalites) to Somalia’s Ras Hafun (Opone) was named ‘the Other Berberia’ before 2000 years, and that the coast beyond Opone down to Rhapta (Daresalaam) was called ‘Azania’. This difference is basically due to the different systems of governance in either region, namely self-governance for the ‘Other Berberia’ and Sabaean-Himyarite (Yemenite) colony for Azania (see above, unit XVI: Ancient Afars & Somalis: ‘Other Berberia’, Azania, and the Yemenites Sabaeans (Sheba) and Himyarites in the Horn).

However, how can one be sure that in both, the Other Berberia and Azania, the populations were of the same origin, namely Cushitic? The text itself does not mention any particular change, so we have good reason to believe that the population of Azania was identical with that of the Other Berberia, with the only difference being the intermarriages that the Somalis of Azania had with the Sabaean/Himyarite (Yemenites) merchants and navigators. But at this point, Ptolemy’s Geography offers an enormous support (and reconfirmation of our projection), because Ptolemy calls the Azanian ports of call ‘Berberian’, therefore identifying the local population of Azania with that of the Other Berberia.

Although there are many manuscripts of the colossal opus, few complete editions have been published in the major academic languages of Europe over the past 500 years. The text is difficult to present in a way to enable the average readers to easily follow and understand. An academic attempt to analyze and comment the text’s valuable details would trigger a double or triple work of disproportionately monumental size. That’s why sizeable parts of this great geographical opus of the Ancient World are still available only in the original Ancient Greek and Latin translations. About:*.html*.html

(scroll down until you reach close to the bottom of the page!)

XXII. Universalization of the Mediterranean World: Meroe, Rome, Armenia, and Mithraism – Meroitic Ethiopian Gladiators in front of Emperor Nero and King Tiridates I

Even more importantly, the peaceful and conciliatory relations between Meroe and the Roman Empire also contributed to a major phenomenon of the World History that colonial historians, racist theoreticians, elitist forgers and biased academics have done their ingenious best to conceal. From the first pre-Christian century to the 10th c. CE, the gradual diffusion of Oriental, Asiatic and African, spirituality and spiritual sciences (studia divina), mythical perception of the universe, cosmogonies, wisdom, cosmologies, world conceptualizations, oracles, mysteries of initiation (esoteric rites), faiths, apocalyptic soteriology, messianic eschatology, dogmas, doctrines, imperial theories, universal moral values, and cults increased dramatically.     

Although the earlier elements of civilization in Greece, Rome and Europe were entirely Oriental, although the encounter of the Greek, Roman and European barbarians with civilized Asiatics and Africans had already started long ago, and despite the fact that all the aspects of civilization in Europe, Rome and Greece were entirely Oriental (namely Assyrian-Babylonian, Hittite, Kemetian/Egyptian, Hamitic-Berber, and Phoenician), an unprecedented flood of Oriental cults, religions, concepts, ideas, perceptions and expectations invaded Greece, Rome and Europe starting with the first century BCE. This -unique in World History- Oriental flood erased all earlier non-Oriental ideas, theories, behaviors and trends that may have been developed on European soil, like the racist pseudo-philosophy of Aristotle and the paranoid rationalism, materialism, and atheism that prevailed in the marginal, city of Athens.

This phenomenon testifies to the lower nature of the Ancient Greek culture and behavioral system, which had failed to accurately comprehend, duly imitate, and successfully reproduce one of the various extant models of Oriental civilization. The current concealment of this reality is a seminal parameter of all colonial fallacies, distortions, and fake historical dogmas that were produced by the colonial academics only to keep the entire world subordinated to their criminal hegemony. However, this topic is out of the scope of the present article.

What matters in this regard is the fact that the Orientalization of the Roman Empire and Europe allowed the Meroites to be in the same wavelength as (not only the Kemetians/Egyptians but also) the Aramaeans, the Phoenicians, the Berbers, the Romans, the Greeks, the Celts, the Germans, the Brits, the Anatolians, the Iberians and other Asiatic and European nations. Due to the diffusion of Oriental cultures and civilizations, the Meroites had in fact almost the same faith, concepts, cults and worldview, soteriology and revelatory mysteries as all the nations of the Roman Empire. In other words, numerous European nations accepted the Ancient Kemetian / Egyptian and Cushitic / Meroitic spirituality, mysticism, culture, faith, world conceptualization, and religion simply because the Kemetian-Cushitic civilization was evidently superior to theirs in eyes of the Greeks, the Romans and the other Europeans.

As a consequence of the Orientalization of the Roman Empire and Europe, many gods worshipped in Meroe were adored in Anatolia, Greece, Gaul, Hungary, Rome, Britain and other parts of Europe, had temples built in Delos Island (Aegean Sea), Paris, London, Pompeii and elsewhere, and saw their priests traveling to remote lands to initiate the ignorant and faithless nations of Europe to the mysteries of the Oriental spirituality. With the exception of Apademak, who was a typical Cushitic-Meroitic god, elaborately mythologized as the formidable son of the Kemetian / Egyptian goddess Sakhmet (basic element of the polytheistic Memphite doctrine and theology, as consort of Ptah), the official sacerdotal religion of Meroe comprised Kemetian gods mainly of the Theban doctrine, which revolved around god Amun (rather deprived of his solar dimension, which in Kemet was attributed through his association with Ra). Horus, Isis and Osiris, as the supreme concepts of the divine world as per the Iwnw (Heliopolitan) doctrine and theology, were also highly revered in Napata and Meroe. The same was valid for Thot (representation of the Divine Wisdom), Anubis (representation of the Divine Justice in the Hereafter), Tefnut, Satis and other Kemetian gods. And almost all of these gods started having temples and being worshipped in Anatolia, Greece and the Balkans, Rome and the Italian Peninsula, other parts of the Roman Empire, and Europe.

The immediate consequence of this development was that, when some Meroites, Blemmyes and Noubai (Nubians) undertook a pilgrimage at the Island of Philae (5 km south of Aswan) to venerate Isis’ holiest temple worldwide, they prayed next to Greek, Roman and other European pilgrims who arrived there for the same reason, after crossing an even longer distance to reach the center of the world for all adepts of Isidism (the universal-ecumenical religion which revolved around the dogma and the mysteries of Isis). And the Holy Mountain at Napata, the old Cushitic capital, was the ‘Pure Mountain’ for all the adherents of Amun’s polytheistic religion that spread across three continents. Pilgrims from across the Mediterranean basin used to flock there and venerate Amun.

Long before Islam, long before Christianity and long before Manichaeism, Isidism, Mithraism and several other Oriental religions became the shared faith, initiation, intuition, transcendental wisdom, and apocalyptic soteriology of many various believers, who originated from disparate nations, spoke different languages, and merged in their supranational illumination and cult. The diffusion of Kemetian-Egyptian/Cushitic-Meroitic faiths and doctrines throughout the Roman Empire involved a remarkably massive movement of priests, hierophants, and numerous representatives of the entire sacerdotal-academic class, who became the new tutors and masters of the Greeks, the Romans and the Europeans. Living at the times of highly intensified trade between East and West across the silk-, spice-, and incense-routes, these persons quite often combined priestly and commercial activities. As phenomenon, it was far wider than just a merely Kemetian/Cushitic impact on Europe’s religions and cultures.  

The diffusion of Iranian Mithraism across the Mediterranean, the Roman Empire and Europe involved the transmission of fundamental concepts and values of Iranian culture and civilization among Greeks, Romans and Europeans. Mithraism is entirely distinct from Zoroastrianism, pre-Islamic Iran’s main, monotheistic, religion. Mithra (or Mehr) as merely one divine dimension existed already in the religion preached by Zoroaster. However, Mithra (or Mehr) within the polytheistic religion of Mithraism became a totally distinct god, after being mythologized on the basis of spiritual and moral concepts totally rejected by Zoroaster. From Iran, Mithraism was diffused through Mesopotamia, Syria, Armenia, Commagene, Pontus, Anatolia and Cilicia first among the Greeks and then among the Romans and the other Europeans. As a matter of fact, colonial historians of religion try nowadays to portray the Mysteries of Mithras as a ‘Hellenization’ of Zoroastrianism (which is totally wrong and absolutely fallacious) in order to conceal the reality that most Greeks, Romans and Europeans of this period (1st c. BCE – 4th c. CE) were adoring an Iranian god, already worshipped in many lands west of Iran (as per above). About:

Mithra (left) in the investiture of Ardashir II (middle) by Ahura Mazda: Taq-e Bostan, Kermanshah – Iran
Mithra in Commegene, Nemrut Dagh (Eastern Anatolia, Turkey)
Toppled heads of the gods at the top of Nemrut dagi in Turkey.
Mithra in Commegene, Nemrut Dagh (Eastern Anatolia, Turkey)

Franz Cumont, The Mysteries of Mithra

There are hundreds of locations where a Mithraeum (temple dedicated to Mithras) was erected and preserved or excavated in Europe, Africa and Asia; I refer to lands outside Iran, because the Iranian plateau and the region of Central Asia were in fact the cradle of Mithraism and numerous shrines of Mithra have been excavated there. Nowadays, Mithraea outside Iran can be visited in Portugal, Spain, England, Belgium, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Bosnia, Romania, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Armenia, Palestine, Egypt, and Algeria, In Germany alone, there are 17 major sites with temples dedicated to the Iranian god, who conquered Greece, Rome and Europe. About:

Zerzevan Castle and Mithraeum in Diyarbakir, Turkey:

When it comes to the Kingdom of Meroe and to the History of Cush, the above mentioned (in unit XX: Jebel Qeili, Qore (‘King’) Shorkaror, and the Meroitic Victory over the Axumite Abyssinians) brief description only underscores the importance of the Jebel Qeili lapidary relief and the presence of the -evidently associated with Mithras- sun-god to whom Qore Shorkaror of Meroe handed over the Abyssinian captives of Axum.

The diffusion of Mithraism in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, Western Anatolia (Turkey), Greece, and Southern Italy was a matter of piracy, religious rebellion and violent acts of desecration of the otherwise useless temples and peak sanctuaries of the Ancient Greeks; these deeds were undertaken by the formidable Mediterranean pirates, who ravaged numerous harbors for several decades, while always hiring new marines among those harmed because of the Roman expansion. As they were Greek speaking Anatolians in their majority, their main headquarters were located in the Taurus Mountains and Cilicia where Mithraism had already been diffused.

Mithra in Commegene, Nemrut Dagh (Eastern Anatolia, Turkey)

The destruction and desecration of the Ancient Greek temples took place around 70 BCE, during the so-called Third Mithridatic War (73-63 BCE), which was in fact a war waged by Rome against the Iranian-Mithraic Greek kingdom of Pontus, namely the most significant military force and the most remarkable center of civilization and spirituality in the wider Black Sea region. It is evident that, reigning by the grace of the Iranian sun-god of the Magi and bearing a Mithra-related theonym, the wise and polymath King Mithridates VI of Pontus (135-63 BCE) helped his piratic co-religionists, as they consisted in a line of defense against Rome. General and Consul of Rome, Pompey was sent to fight against them and, after several indecisive battles, he managed to vanquish them in the Battle of Coracaesium (67 BCE), near today’s Alanya in Southern Turkey. About:

Writing about Pompey’s life, ca. 170 years after the events, Plutarch (mystic, spiritual master, historian, and high-priest of Ancient Greece’s holiest shrine, namely the Oracle at Delphi; 46-120 CE) expanded on the imposition of Mithraism in Western Anatolia, Greece and Italy, as well as on the desecration of the local temples by the pirates. The ‘Life of Pompey’ is part of Plutarch’s ‘Parallel Lives’. The narrative about the imposition of Mithraism in Ancient Greece is to be found in paragraph 24; quite interestingly, the pirates, who desecrated more than ten (10) important temples in many parts of today’s Turkey (Western Anatolia: Claros, near Izmir; Didyma, near Aydin; Samothrace Island, Samos Island), Greece (Mount Olympus, Hermione, Epidaurus, Isthmus, Taenarus, Actium, Leucas, Argos), and Southern Italy (Calauria, Lacinium), did not attack the Oracle at Delphi. This highlights the traditionally pro-Iranian position of this most revered religious center, which -400 years before the Mithraic pirates’ attacks- had wisely advised the Greek cities to accept the Iranian Achaemenid supremacy and become part of the Iranian Empire (but the disbelievers who ruled the Ancient Greek cities-states did not accept the oracular answer).

Plutarch’s excerpt reads as follows:

24. The power of the pirates first commenced in Cilicia, having in truth but a precarious and obscure beginning, but gained life and boldness afterwards in the wars of Mithridates, where they hired themselves out, and took employment in the king’s service. Afterwards, whilst the Romans were embroiled in their civil wars, being engaged against one another even before the very gates of Rome, the seas lay waste and unguarded, and by degrees enticed and drew them on not only to seize upon and spoil the merchants and ships upon the seas, but also to lay waste the islands and seaport towns.

So that now there embarked with these pirates men of wealth and noble birth and superior abilities, as if it had been a natural occupation to gain distinction in. They had divers arsenals, or piratic harbors, as likewise watch towers and beacons, all along the sea-coast; and fleets were here received that were well manned with the finest mariners, and well served with the expertest pilots, and composed of swift sailing and light-built vessels adapted for their special purpose. Nor was it merely their being thus formidable that excited indignation; they were even more odious for their ostentation than they were feared for their force. Their ships had gilded masts at their stems; the sails woven of purple, and the oars plated with silver, as if their delight were to glory in their iniquity. There was nothing but music and dancing, banqueting and revels, all along the shore. Officers in command were taken prisoners, and cities put under contribution, to the reproach and dishonor of the Roman supremacy.

There were of these corsairs above one thousand sail, and they had taken no less than four hundred cities, committing sacrilege upon the temples of the gods, and enriching themselves with the spoils of many never violated before, such as were those of Claros, Didyma, and Samothrace; and the temple of the Earth in Hermione, and that of Aesculapius in Epidaurus, those of Neptune at the Isthmus, at Taenarus, and at Calauria; those of Apollo at Actium and Leucas, and those of Juno, in Samos, at Argos, and at Lacinium. They themselves offered strange sacrifices upon Mount Olympus, and performed certain secret rites or religious mysteries, among which those of Mithras have been preserved to our own time, having received their previous institution from them.

But besides these insolencies by sea, they were also injurious to the Romans by land; for they would often go inland up the roads, plundering and destroying their villages and country-houses. And once they seized upon two Roman praetors, Sextilius and Bellinus, in their purple-edged robes, and carried them off together with their officers and lictors. The daughter also of Antonius, a man that had had the honor of a triumph, taking a journey into the country, was seized, and redeemed upon payment of a large ransom.

But it was most abusive of all, that when any of the captives declared himself to be a Roman and told his name, they affected to be surprised, and feigning fear, smote their thighs and fell down at his feet, humbly beseeching him to be gracious and forgive them. The captive seeing them so humble and suppliant, believed them to be in earnest; and some of them now would proceed to put Roman shoes on his feet, and to dress him in a Roman gown, to prevent, they said, his being mistaken another time. After all this pageantry, when they had thus deluded and mocked him long enough, at last putting out a ship’s ladder, when they were in the midst of the sea, they told him he was free to go, and wished him a pleasant journey; and if he resisted, they themselves threw him overboard, and drowned him.

Plutarch’s Lives (Clough)/Life of Pompey

Plutarch’s Lives (1859) by Plutarch, edited by John Dryden and Arthur Hugh Clough, translated by “eminent hands”

Mithras in Rome

The above described groundbreaking event may look like a great threat against the order and the discipline that the ailing Roman Republic wanted to impose, but 130 years later, the entire picture had changed totally and spectacularly. The generals, the senators and the consuls of the otherwise worthless Roman Republic may well have been vainly fighting against the pirates of Mithraism in 67 BCE, but in 66 CE the great Roman Emperor Nero welcomed in Rome King Tiridates I of Armenia, another Oriental king, who was reigning by the grace of Mithra. Even more importantly, Nero, who was already a Mithras adept and initiate, was offered a superior initiation and revelation of mysteries by the Armenian king, who was a high priest of Mithra in his kingdom. This fact alone shows the overwhelming diffusion of Mithraism that had already taken place across the Roman Empire.

Now, these events between Rome and Armenia may seem to be of minor importance for an Oromo, a Sidama or an Arabic-speaking Sudanese but they are not, because some of today’s Cushitic Africans’ ancestors were present in a historical Roman spectacle performed in front of Nero and Tiridates I. And this underlines the nature and the dimensions of the overwhelming development that I herewith describe as ‘Orientalization of the Roman Empire’ and ‘Universalization of the Mediterranean World’. To thank Tiridates I, Nero arranged a gladiatorial exhibition in Puteoli (today’s Pozzuoli in Naples), but to make it most exquisite, he brought in Meroitic (‘Ethiopian’) gladiators; in a most fascinating manner, the spectacle involved male, female and juvenile gladiators!

Writing in the early 3rd c. CE about the event, the Anatolian Roman consul, senator and historian Dio Cassius (155-235 CE) offers a captivating narrative (Roman History, LXIII 3).

The excerpt reads as follows:

Nero admired him for this action and entertained him in many ways, especially by giving a gladiatorial exhibition at Puteoli. It was under the direction of Patrobius, one of his freedmen, who managed to make it a most brilliant and costly affair, as may be seen from the fact that on one of the days not a person but Ethiopians — men, women, and children — appeared in the theatre. 2 By way of showing Patrobius some fitting honour Tiridates shot at wild beasts from his elevated seat, and — if one can believe it — transfixed and killed two bulls with a single arrow.*.html

The presence of a group of Meroitic gladiators in Rome in the 2nd half of the 1st c. CE constitutes one of the hundreds of occasions, which reveal and underscore the friendly relations between Meroe and Rome and highlight the role that the Ancient Meroites played in the diffusion of Oriental cults, sciences, religions, wisdom, mysticism and spirituality across the Roman Empire and the then backward and poorly civilized European continent. These gladiators may have actually had multiple functions, being also Isis initiates, poets, authors and translators (writing Isis aretalogies in Greek or Latin), priests, Amun devotees, Anubis hierophants, servants of other Meroitic gods, merchants or sailors.

(H.) Engelmann The Delian aretalogy of Sarapis (Études préliminaires aux religions orientales dans l’empire romain, 44.) Leiden: Brill. 1975. Pp. [viii] + 63, frontis., I text fig. Fl. 40.

Jasper gemstone intaglio engraved: Mithras on a four-horse chariot

As the Mithraea (temples dedicated to Mithras) were increasing like mushrooms across the Roman Empire, pretty much like the temples built in honor of other Oriental gods (which also involved major migration of diverse populations), it is not strange that on 25th December (birthday of Mithras) 274, the Roman Emperor Aurelianus decreed Mithraism as official Roman imperial religion. Under the title ‘Sol Invictus’ (Invincible Sun), Mithra became then the official god of the Roman Empire. Half a century later, in 321, the Roman Emperor Constantine decreed the Dies Solis (‘day of the Sun’ – Sunday) as the official day of rest across the empire; this shows Mithraism’s extent of diffusion and depth of acceptance throughout the Roman Empire. This development took place only 8 years after the Edict of Milan by which Constantine accepted Christianity as one of the religions of the empire; it therefore shows that the rise of Christianity did not consist in direction opposition to Roman Mithraism. In fact, Christianity was absorbed into the new official Roman religion, accepting all its basic characteristics (like the 25th December as feast for Christmas, Sunday as holy day of rest, etc.)

Following the diffusion of Mithraism across the Roman Empire and as a consequence of the establishment of regular communication among Iranian communities in Egypt and other parts of the Mediterranean world thanks to the Silk Roads, new faiths, trends, ideas and soteriological systems generated in Iran were more easily diffused within the Roman Empire and across Europe before or after the Christianization; among them one can mention Zurvanism, Gayomardism, and Mazdakism.

XXIII. Orientalization of the Roman Empire: Meroe, Rome, and Isidism – when Egyptians, Meroitic Ethiopians & Berbers taught their Greek and Roman Pupils the Supreme Spiritual Wisdom

The two most popular and most influential Oriental religions among those diffused in Greece, Rome, across the Roman Empire, and throughout Europe were Mithraism and Isidism. Although Mithraism in Iran and Mithraism in Rome are exactly the same systematized faith and theology, Isidism outside Kemet and Cush was not identical with the Ancient Kemetian/Cushitic religion that became rather known as the Iwnw (Heliopolitan) dogma and doctrine. First, as I said above {unit V: Deep Spiritual-Religious Divisions among both, Kemetians (Egyptians) and Cushites (Sudanese: Ethiopians)}, in Ancient Kemet and Cush, the Heliopolitan religion was only one of the existing religions – at any time.

Second, in the Nile Valley, Isis was only one nine (9) dimensions of the Divine World that formed the pillars of the Iwnw dogma (which was also known as Ennead among Greeks and Romans), and not the central one; the dogma Heliopolis (Iwnw) was revolving around Atum-Ra – whose emanations all the other divine dimensions were (Isis included). But not all the Ancient Kemetian/Egyptian religions were equally diffused in the Roman Empire; as example, the Hermupolitan dogma (also known as the Ogdoad) was not diffused outside the Valley of the Nile. In its essence, Isidism outside Kemet/Egypt and Cush was not different from the Heliopolitan religion as preached, believed and practiced alongside the Nile, but it is certainly an Isis-centered system. This development took place because of several reasons.

Isis in Kemet/Egypt and Cush-Meroe/Ethiopia

No systematic evangelization or proselytism was undertaken in Rome by a well-prepared priestly delegation sent on purpose abroad; in fact, Isis was diffused in Rome not as a state religion or as a sacerdotal dogma, but as a popular cult, faith, narrative and culture, due to the personal-professional contacts that Kemetian / Egyptian and Cushitic / Meroitic believers of Isis had with indigenous people in various parts of the Roman Empire and beyond. The earlier indications of Isis cult in Rome date back to the 2nd c. BCE, whereas Kemetian/Egyptian presence and monuments in the Aegean Sea, Western Anatolia, Crete and Greece go back to the 2nd and sometimes the 3rd millennium BCE. However, that early stage of African expansion on European soil was very different, as it involved military and sacerdotal physical presence, ended up in sheer colonization of South European lands, and consisted in a permanent impregnation giving structure, form and contents to the earliest samples of civilization in Europe.

When it comes to the diffusion of Isis cults in Rome, merchants, navigators and official delegates must have been the first to make Isis known to Romans; several among them must have also been priests, mystics, initiates, masters of spirituality, experts in spiritual sciences, doctors, etc., and through their interaction, they certainly impressed their poorly skilled Greeks, Romans and other European partners, associates, interlocutors or friends.

The exponential increase in the number of Roman and European adepts of Isis is due exactly to

– the excellence of the comprehensive mythical perception, understanding, description and explanation of the Universe that Isis’ Kemetian/Egyptian and Cushitic/Meroitic hierophants could offer,

– the net superiority of Isis’ soteriology,

– the eminent dexterity the Kemetian/Egyptian and Cushitic/Meroitic in narrating the ‘Past’ (:Cosmogony) and the ‘Future’ (:Messianic Eschatology) as an indivisible unity and as an eternal recapitulation, and

– the unique, unmatched effectiveness of the Kemetian / Egyptian and Cushitic / Meroitic magicians, astrologers and soothsayers, who ascribed their spiritual prowess to the divine power that they acquired as Isis’ apprentices, initiates and priests.

Compared to them the ignorant and impotent priests of Greece and Rome were viewed as pale and inferior competitors; more importantly, the idiotic ‘philosophers’ were understood and proven as ineffectual, useless, and perilous impostors because their childish and nonsensical systems were pathetic assumptions upon assumptions. With their vapid, insipid and boring theorizing, the ‘philosophers’ could not perform ‘miracles’, whereas the Kemetian / Egyptian and Cushitic / Meroitic magicians, astrologers and soothsayers were doing wonders.

The Temple of Isis at Philae, 5 km south of Aswan, Upper Egypt – Bas reliefs of the second pylon

Roman authorities attempted several times to stop the diffusion of Isidism and the spread of other Oriental religions, cults and esoteric mysteries, because the devotion of the Roman masses to the new cult and mysteries totally eliminated their interest for the public affairs and the dirty politics of the Roman Senate, thus evaporating the control that these elites and gangsters had over the victimized Roman people. In a way, the diffusion of Oriental spirituality, faith, worldview, soteriology and lifestyle among the Greeks and the Romans was a true liberation of these peoples from the materialistic and rationalistic impasse of the political absurdity and tyranny, which was due to their inferior religions and cultures.

Symbolic representations for the Roman initiates of Isis

Temples of Isis escaped the state control, although some of them were located very close to the neuralgic centers of the Roman administration. The fast increase of the number of believers and the absolute dedication to their new faith and cult became worrisome matters for the Roman Senate, which many times tried to destroy shrines and symbols of faith. During the period of Roman division as regards Egypt and Cleopatra’s schemes with Caesar, Caesarion and Mark Anthony (48-30 BCE), there was in Rome a deep division among the people; there were enthusiastic supporters of Isis mysteries and fanatic opponents. After annexing Kemet/Egypt, Octavian prohibited the erection of Isis temples in the traditional precinct of the city of Rome, but this was totally futile; after his successor Tiberius’ death (or assassination at 37 CE), Egyptian cults and temples flooded Rome to such extent that a visitor would truly view Rome as an entirely Oriental capital; the same was also true for many other cities across the Roman Empire. After the second half of the 1st c. CE, the traditional Roman divinities were in fact either totally eclipsed by or subordinated to the Egyptian gods.

High initiate of Anubis impersonates the divine role of Anubis in the mysteries

Next to Isis, a myriad of Kemetian/Cushitic deities or aspects of divinities were worshipped in Rome, Greece and Europe: Sarapis, Anubis, Osiris, Horus, Amun, Bes, etc. Sometimes, they acquired multiple dimensions, traits, and therefore names, being then associated with other Egyptian, Greek and Roman divinities. The vast socio-cultural phenomenon ended up with an enormous spiritual, religious, cultic and apocalyptic fragmentation, which is well reflected in names like Isis Invicta, Isis Panthea, Isis Tyche, Isis Fortuna, Isis Pelagia, Hermanoubis, Haroeris, Harpocrates, Harmakhis (hypostases of Isis, Anoubis and Horus respectively), Dionysus-Osiris, etc.

This situation exercised an overwhelming impact on Greek and Roman authors, poets and thinkers; the notion of Theophany (or Epiphany), namely the possibility of true believers to see the God (or the god) put an end to worthless philosophies, like the agnosticism, the materialism, the rationalism, the voluptuary hedonism, and to the catastrophic paranoia of the politics-related ‘Aristotelian ethics’. Devotional acts, prayers, spiritual exercises, revelation of mysteries, oracle sessions and oracular statements, divination and astrology, apocalyptic soteriology, cultic practices, and abstinence became the epicenter of life, the preference of the heart, and the interest of the mind for the average populations in Rome, Greece and Europe.

What is nowadays called as Neo-Platonism or Neo-Pythagoreanism is a Western colonial fallacy; in fact, these ‘schools of philosophy’ do not constitute groups of various philosophers in the typical sense (as in 5th – 4th c. BCE Greece) but mere apologists, advocates and propagandists of Oriental cults, religions, mysteries and spiritual exercises. Colonial historians and racist academics use these terms in order to conceal the reality that the Orientalization of the Roman Empire put an end to the otherwise fake, nonexistent, invented in Modern Times, and literally fabricated ‘Classical Civilization’. There is no Hellenistic Philosophy; there is no Hellenistic Astrology; and there is no Hellenistic Period in the first place. The correct terms are respectively: ‘Numinous Intellect of Late Antiquity Orientalizing Greco-Roman Thinkers’, ‘Orientalizing Astrology in the Roman Empire’, and ‘Orientalistic Period of European History’. 

Pompeii Iseum – Wall painting with the Coffin of Osiris

When authors express concern about the restoration of Osiris’s body, Isis’ magical healing spells, the simulated descent into the underworld during the initiation rites, the instantaneous change in the ecstatic initiate’s behavior, the impersonation of Anubis and other gods during the mysteries, the spiritual visions and many other similar experiences of the apprentices, the ritualistically performed incantations, the staging of theatrical acts of numinous character and the representation of scenes of the Nether World, the transcendental, supernatural phenomena that took place during the sessions of divine art (theurgy), and the link between the mysteries and the eternal salvation, then we attest the final abandonment of philosophy, politics, rationalism, materialism, agnosticism, and atheism, and the ultimate salvation, i.e. the deliverance from human corruption and social degradation. Consequently, we understand why all the initiates prepared themselves for the distresses and the misfortunes of this life and, in addition, they enthusiastically welcomed the troubles and the adversities, the obstacles and adventures that their souls would face, when crossing the Duat (the Nether World); everything is tolerable when it comes to the human life’s supreme target and ultimate search, namely the soul immortality in the Sekhet Aaru (sḫt-jꜣrw / Paradise).

Within the context of the Orientalization of the Roman Empire and Europe, the great African mystic and author Apuleius (124-170 CE) highlighted the importance of abstinence and material purification for anyone seeking the true spiritual awakening, synergy between the soul and the mind, and final immortality. Apuleius was a Hamitic Berber from Numidia (Inumiden in Amazigh), and he became famous for his ‘Metamorphoses’, which is a masterpiece of transcendental, mystical symbolism and narrative addressed to adepts of Isidism across the Roman Empire.

We can safely claim that, as Apuleius was Black, he envisioned the story of Psyche and Cupidus within its original context, namely that of the African Berber initiates of Isis. The moralist, didactic story has therefore nothing to do with Neo-Platonism, in striking contradiction to the unsubstantiated pretensions of modern colonial and racist academics. In its origin, the moral topic is of entirely Oriental, African, Hamitic and Cushitic essence. Many centuries later, European poets, authors, painters and thinkers have appropriated the topic and in doing so, they misrepresented it and totally altered its spiritual value and moral significance, by describing it as an attempt to overcome the obstacles that exist in order to prevent the love between Psyche and Cupidus (Desire). Quite contrarily, writing for Isis’ initiates who were trained in abstinence, Apuleius wanted to warn the readers about the dangers lurking for those, who are weak enough to succumb to their desires and to lose their purity in the process.

Consequently, Apuleius’ ‘Metamorphoses’, as a masterpiece of African, Berber spirituality and literature, has nothing to do with white naked bodies that perfidious and perverse Modern European painters have depicted in an effort to totally remodel and disfigure Apuleius’ original concept, moral principles, and mystical symbolism. About:,_Nephthys,_and_the_Greco-Roman_world

XXIV. The Mysteries of Isis and Plutarch: when the Highest Priest of Greece became a devotee and an enthusiast of the Kemetian-Egyptian and Cushitic-Ethiopian Spirituality 

The prevalence of Oriental, African, Kemetian/Egyptian and Cushitic/Meroitic spirituality, faith and culture across the Roman Empire and the enormous diffusion of Isidism are also highlighted by Plutarch’s treatise about Isis and Osiris (‘De Iside et Osiride’ in Latin translation; ‘Περὶ Ἴσιδος καὶ Ὀσίριδος’ in Ancient Greek – Peri Isidos kai Osiridos; ‘About Isis and Osiris’). This 16000-word text (in 80 paragraphs) consists in the 26th unit of a major opus (composed of 78 units in total), which is titled ‘Moralia’ (‘Ηθικά’ – Ethica). This magnificent piece of Ancient Greek sacerdotal literature was elaborated by the high priest of the Oracle at Delphi around the beginning of the 2nd c. CE. An English translation is available here:

(Plutarch’s Moralia  (1927 & seq.) by Plutarch, translated by Frank Cole Babbitt, Harold Cherniss, F. H. Sandbach, Benedict Einarson, Phillip H. De Lacy, W. C. Helmbold, P. A. Clement, H. B. Hoffleit, Lionel Pearson, Edwin L. Minar Jr., & Harold North Fowler; No. 197 in the Loeb Classical Library. Index compiled by Edward N. O’Neil.; in that edition, the treatise ‘About Isis and Osiris’ can be found in the 5th volume /there are 16 volumes in total)

Because of his sacerdotal identity, his supreme spiritual authority, and his permanent predisposition to reveal the truth and to present everything and everyone in their true dimensions, Plutarch has been repeatedly targeted by Western pseudo-historians, bogus-academics and Orientalist forgers. Plutarch reduces Herodotus and Aristotle to total insignificance and reveals their repugnant malignancy; this fact demolishes the fake doctrines and the pseudo-historical dogmas diffused by the criminal intelligentsia of Western Europe and North America. That’s why in Western colonial universities, only extremely rarely can one find and attend courses and seminars about Plutarch’s and his great works, and when this happens, the instructors either attempt to denigrate Ancient Greece’s greatest mystic, sage and author or avoid speaking about topics that demolish the fallacy that the criminal universities of the Western World shamelessly teach as ‘historical truth’.

Already the fact that an Ancient Greek author cares to learn, study, know, understand, eventually adhere to, and apparently write about the Ancient Kemetian/Egyptian mysteries offers ample possibilities for enlightening comments; it is quite telling. Ancient Kemetian scribes and writers only rarely and briefly reported about the Ancient Cretans and the Ancient Greeks; they only recorded few points every now and then, when there was a need to state an interaction. What does this mean?

This question is never made (let alone answered) by the criminal gangsters of the disreputable universities of Western Europe and North America. Colonial academia and racist forgers of the World History want to hide the most determinant fact of all times, namely the indisputable reality that the Ancient Mesopotamians (Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Elamites, Hurrians), the Ancient Anatolians (Hittites, Hatti, Luwians), the Ancient Kemetians / Egyptians and Cushites / Ethiopians, the Ancient Canaanites, Phoenicians and Aramaeans, and the Ancient Iranians constituted the epicenter of the World History.

Their lands were the center of the historical evolution, the cradle of the World Civilization, the repository of human wisdom, science and knowledge, and the place where all the important developments had taken place. The Valley of the Twin Rivers, the Nile Valley, and the Plateau of Central Anatolia are the early fulcrum of human ascendancy. Outside these lands, there was only a barbarian periphery useless to study, contemptible to deal with, and good only for either civilizing it or keeping it at a distance. Antiquity existed only in the above mentioned lands where the History of the Mankind was unfolded; there was no Antiquity in Greece, Rome or Europe, and a Kemetian/Egyptian high priest or mystic, erudite sage or master of spiritual sciences had nothing to learn there, so there was no reason to care about those lands of the periphery.

Statue of Isis in the Roman Empire

For every Asiatic, for every African, and for everyone who rejects the evilness and the inhumanity of the colonial powers, it is absolutely imperative to study Plutarch’s disparagement of the racist Carian pseudo-historian Herodotus, who after betraying his own country because of the Pro-Iranian stance of his fellow countrymen, settled among the barbarians of Athens and wrote scores of villainous and paranoid lies that today’s barbarians viciously present to students and readers as ‘History’. Plutarch’s ‘On the Malice of Herodotus’ is a ca. 10000-word text that irreversibly demolishes the fake ‘Father of History’ whom the disreputable universities, the colonial academia, and the racist, bureaucratic nomenclature of the Western World have criminally propagated worldwide for centuries.

Writing about the overwhelming adhesion of Ancient Greeks, Romans and Europeans to Isidism, Plutarch offers a vivid presentation of their creational-soteriological dogma, which consisted in complete Africanization, Kemetization / Egyptianization and Cushitization of the various nations of Europe. His splendid treatise demonstrates that he was well-aware of the Ancient Greeks’ abandonment of their useless politics and inferior religion, and of their conversion to a later form of the Iwnw / Heliopolitan dogma of Ancient Kemet/Egypt.

Offering a brief historical background in the beginning of his text (10th paragraph in the above link), Plutrach states clearly the -today hidden by the criminal colonial academia- historical truth that all the Ancient Greeks knew quite well, but modern Western academics, racist intellectuals, colonial scholars, and biased, anti-African, anti-Asiatic, anti-Oriental, anti-Christian and anti-Islamic intelligentsia have been systematically attempting to conceal over the last centuries: the top among Ancient Greece’s philosophers went to Egypt, Babylonia, Phoenicia and Iran to educate themselves, because there was no spirituality, no erudition, no wisdom, no science, no knowledge, and no education among the multi-divided, fratricidal, superstitious and fanaticized barbarians of Greece. This fact concludes the case of the otherwise nonexistent Ancient Greek ‘philosophy’, reducing it to its real, evidently insignificant dimensions and proving that the Ancient Greek philosophers -in the best of their case- were merely minor pupils and inferior novices of the great hierophants, mystics, and high priests of the Orient. Plutarch mentions even the names of the known -down to his time- Kemetian / Egyptians tutors and masters of Ancient Greece’s major philosophers.

This is the specific excerpt:

Witness to this also are the wisest of the Greeks: Solon, Thales, Plato, Eudoxus, Pythagoras, who came to Egypt and consorted with the priests; and in this number some would include Lycurgus also. Eudoxus, they say, received instruction from Chonuphis of Memphis, Solon from Sonchis of Saïs, and Pythagoras from Oenuphis of Heliopolis. Pythagoras, it seems, was greatly admired, and he also greatly admired the Egyptian priests, and, copying their symbolism and occult teachings, incorporated his doctrines in enigmas. As a matter of fact most of the Pythagorean precepts do not at all fall short of the writings that are called hieroglyphs; such, for example, as these: “Do not eat upon a stool; Do not sit upon a peck measure; Do not lop off the shoots of a palm-tree; Do not poke a fire with a sword within the house.”

Isis statue with Harpocrates (Hor pa khered: Horus the child)

The main part of Plutarch’s text contains the narrative of the Myth of Osiris, which is the description of the World History, viewed diachronically from the Creation to the End of Time, and expressed in symbolic terms. The mythical language of the Ancient Oriental civilizations constitutes down to our days the World History’s superior and unsurpassed manner of perceiving the eternal reality and describing it in the only possible human terms. The basic terms and ‘ciphers’ of the Myth are the symbols, which -in and by themselves- constitute the only means able to reveal the spiritual reality (of spiritual and material events) into the human heart and mind, thus connecting the layers of spiritual and material existence within a being. The ancient Oriental symbols have nothing in common with what today’s demented materialist and atheist scholars define as ‘myth’. Myth is the revelation of the only absolute Truth, which can never be understood (let alone ‘expressed’ or ‘said’) by means of ‘ratio’ or ‘logos’ or any rational system of thought.

The limits of the present article do not allow a brief presentation of the nature of the Osiris Myth, which involves spiritual and material dimensions like Osiris, Isis, Seth, Nephthys, and Horus. Their emanation from earlier forms of Divine Being, their interaction, clash and acts, and the outcome of the overwhelming affair are in fact the quintessence of what has happened in the History of the Universe and in the History of the Mankind until now and what will happen until all things end. There is no anthropomorphism in the Osiris Myth; the symbols consist of composite parts the meaning of which the newcomers to the Isis mysteries were learning progressively during their initiations in the successive degrees of spiritual mastership. Osiris’s name in Ancient Kemetian/Egyptian was ‘Wser’ and this meant the ‘Well-being’.

Seth represented the evil in all its forms; in Ancient Kemetian / Egyptian, his name was ‘Zeta’ or ‘Zute’. Although the name was regularly transliterated in Ancient Greek as Seth (Σήθ), Plutarch renders it as ‘Typhon’ to attribute to it markedly cosmic dimensions known to Hesiod’s epic ‘Theogony’ (7th c. BCE), which was an earlier effort to transfer among Greeks the Ancient Hittite Anatolian spirituality, cosmogony and epic literature. As a matter of fact, the Ancient Kemetian/Egyptian Seth, the Assyrian-Babylonian Erra, and the Anatolian Hittite Kumarbi pre-modeled and pre-fashioned ‘Satan’, i.e. the evil force as described within the Ancient Hebrew Bible, the Gospels of Christianity, and the Quran of Islam. The Myth of Osiris depicts the World History as an appendix of the Primordial Fight between Osiris (‘Well-being’) and Seth (Typhon/Satan). It is of seminal importance at this point to underscore that Osiris, according to the Iwnw (Heliopolitan) religion and to Late Antiquity Isidism, is NOT the supreme, eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient Atum from Whom every divine and spiritual being emanated. The Myth of Osiris only slightly refers to the sublime Atum.

The early plot of Seth against Osiris ended with the dismemberment of the latter’s body, and then started the tenacious effort of Isis to assemble the parts of Osiris and to reconstitute them into oneness, and to rehabilitate them in life. At the end, Isis engendered, educated and groomed Horus {i.e. the Egyptian concept of the Messiah or Christ or Mahdi or Saoshyant (Zoroastrianism) or Maitreya (Buddhism) or Etana / Ninurta (there were two messianic versions in Assyrian-Babylonian eschatology) or Tasmisu (Hittite messianic soteriology)} for the ultimate battle against Seth. Ancient Kemetian/Egyptian temples’ gigantic walls are covered with inscriptions narrating and bas-reliefs depicting the circumstances and the episodes of the Osiris Myth.

The Final Battle and Victory of Horus over Seth – bas relief on the walls of Horus Temple at Edfu

The dramatic, inconclusive for long, and phenomenal battle between Horus (Messiah) and Seth (Antichrist), the final victory of Horus over Seth (Typhon), and the ensuing elimination of the Evil from among humans are narrated in numerous reliefs and texts that cover sizeable parts of the internal part of the monumental, external western wall of the magnificent temple of Horus at Edfu (Ancient Behedet, 110 km south of Luxor, in Upper Egypt).

In the Christian Book of the Revelation (chapter XII, 1-2), the description of the ‘Woman of the Apocalypse’ corresponds exactly to Isis; the attributes that the last book of the New Testament mentions in the case of that Symbolic Woman have been for millennia known as those of Isis in Kemet/Egypt and Cush/Meroe.

The excerpt reads as follows:

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.


Representation of Horus (right) and Seth (left) in Egypt

The aforementioned description of solar, lunar and sidereal dimensions constitutes the mystical symbolism of Isis, who is the symbolic mother of Horus-Messiah; even more importantly, the three mythical persons of the 12th chapter of John’s Revelation (1-5) are the three main symbolic figures of Isidism, namely Isis, Seth (Typhon) and Horus:

– The ‘woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head’ is Isis, who ‘was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth’; 

– The ‘enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads’ is Seth (Typhon according Plutarch); and

– The child born ‘a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter’ about which it is also said that it ‘was snatched up to God and to his throne’ is Horus.

Although Plutarch’s treatise about Isis and Osiris is a late (2nd c. CE) and external (i.e. non-Kemetian / Egyptian) source and the earlier hieroglyphic texts containing excerpts of the Myth of Osiris date back to the 3rd millennium BCE, the high priest of the Oracle at Delphi preserves indeed a very interesting apocalyptic reference to Cush (‘Ethiopia’) in his 13th paragraph. While describing (at the very beginning of the entire stroy) the plot invented by Typhon (Satan) against Osiris, Plutarch states that Typhon cooperated with an apparently most evil queen from Ethiopia (i.e. Sudan – Cush) who was named Aso. This interesting detail has not been hitherto attested in any hieroglyphic text.

The except reads as follows:

During his absence the tradition is that Typhon attempted nothing revolutionary because Isis, who was in control, was vigilant and alert; but when he returned home Typhon contrived a treacherous plot against him and formed a group of conspirators seventy-two in number. He had also the co-operation of a queen from Ethiopia who was there at the time and whose name they report as Aso. Typhon, having secretly measured Osiris’s body and having made ready a beautiful chest of corresponding size artistically ornamented, caused it to be brought into the room where the festivity was in progress.

The interpretation of Plutarch’s treatise is not the scope of the present article, but at this point and concerning the mention of Aso, the ‘queen from Ethiopia’ who offered valuable service to Seth/Typhon, I have to refer to the herewith aforementioned, major issue, which incessantly characterized the Ancient History of Kemet/Egypt and Cush/Ethiopia, namely the extremely profound spiritual, sacerdotal, and social division and the rivalry between conflicting priesthoods that ravaged nations and countries alongside the Nile for millennia {see unit V: Deep Spiritual-Religious Divisions among both, Kemetians (Egyptians) and Cushites (Sudanese: Ethiopians)}.

This division and conflict is in reality the essence of the Myth of Osiris, because this event of worldwide dimensions, which was also attested in Mesopotamia (Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylonia and Elam) and Anatolia (Hittites, Hatti, Luwians) and was thence diffused worldwide, determined in fact the World History. What Plutarch tells us with his mythical-symbolical mention of the early Cushitic queen Aso is that at a very early stage of that division, Ancient Cush played a critical role; this mythical reality can indeed be reconstituted thanks to numerous existing Ancient Kemetian/Egyptian sources.


Isis, as central goddess of the Roman Mysteries, welcomes Io, an Ancient Greek goddess that appears as subordinated in the Egyptian goddess.

Plutarch’s treatise about Isis and Osiris concerns the diachronic Hamitic-Cushitic spirituality, the basic trends of which had been constituted at a very early historical stage (4th–3rd millennium BCE) only to be later immortalized on the walls of various tombs and temples in Kemet/Egypt and Cush/Ethiopia, crystallized in narratives like that of Plutarch, and maintained down to our days in the faith, the oral traditions and the records, the cults and the cultures of the Oromos Waaqeffattas, the Magano-faithful Sidamas, as well as in other surviving today, traditional religions of the modern Cushitic nations.

No modern Cushitic religions can be deeply assessed, their historical formation cannot be adequately understood, and the authenticity of their concepts and rites cannot be accurately evaluated without an extensive, comparative research with the spirituality, the religious systems, the cults and the cultures of Ancient Kemet/Egypt and Cush/Meroe. This cannot be achieved at the current stage, but it is high time for the process to kick-start. Oromos, Sidamas and many other modern Cushites must systematically study Egyptology and Sudan Archaeology; they have to meticulously learn Kemetian/Egyptian hieroglyphic, hieratic and demotic writings, Meroitic hieroglyphic and cursive scripts, Coptic, and other modern Cushitic languages of their neighboring nations.  

This is a nationwide project of the utmost importance; the Oromo Diaspora and wealthy Oromos in Occupied Oromia must set up a private fund to finance the project. Several dozens of Oromo graduates must receive grants to study abroad for at least ten (10) years and up to the level of PhD. This effort can be materialized in Germany, Russia, Italy, several Central European countries (Poland, Hungary, Austria, Czechia) and Japan because the universities of these countries offer less biased seminars and courses. This project cannot be carried out in universities of criminal colonial countries, namely England, France, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, and Belgium, which have continually promoted the Greco-centric, Romano-centric and Euro-centric fallacy that consists in a most repugnant, racist distortion of the World History.

It goes without saying that the dozens of Oromo students of Egyptology and Sudan Archaeology will have to undertake this great effort of national and supranational Cushitic-Hamitic Awakening, having as compass the great contributions of scholars like Martin Bernal and Edward Said, renowned authors of the venerated ‘Black Athena’ and ‘Orientalism’ respectively. However, these prospective Oromo students will have also to keep in mind that the refutation of the colonial Western falsification of History, as undertaken by these two illustrious scholars, represents in fact less than 5% of the totality of forged points that need to be rejected, denounced and annulled. It is the duty of today’s African and Asiatic students to carry out the formidable duty of irrevocably refuting and irreversibly cancelling the Post-Renaissance Western European Historical Revisionism, which caused all the wars, the ensuing abysmal bloodshed, the materialist darkness and the spiritual ignorance, the atheist paranoia and the political amorality, the colonial discrimination and the sexist inhumanity, the historical forgery and the abject immorality that the colonial gangsters scattered worldwide.

Only after the first philosophical dissertations of Oromos about inherently Egyptological subjects will be published, will today’s Oromos realize the staggering historicity of the Irreechaa festival and subsequently find out its links with several Ancient Kemetian / Egyptian and Ancient Cushitic / Meroitic festivals that took place alongside the Nile, also involving statues of divinities sailing over holy vessels. And when it comes to the diffusion of Isidism across the Mediterranean and throughout the Roman Empire, the famous spring festival Navigium Isidis (lit. ‘the Vessel of Isis’ in Latin), which took place every year on 5th March and has been eloquently narrated by Apuleius in his Metamorphoses, revealed the blessings of Isis to all the participants of the littoral celebration. About:   

Modern painting based on Ancient Egyptian celebration and procession of divinities on a boat

Frederick Arthur Bridgman, Navigium Isidis: Modern European vision of the Ancient Roman religious feast

XXV. Silk Roads and the Prevalence of Oriental Civilization in Greece, Rome and Europe: Aramaean, Anatolian, Phoenician Spirituality, Gnostics, and the Manichaeans of Alexandria

Except Mithraism and Isidism, many other Oriental cults, mysteries, religions, schools of spirituality and initiation, and cultures were diffused across the Roman Empire, throughout the Mediterranean, and in other parts of Europe. This topic totally escapes the scope of this article, but I will mention the most important of these religions, taking into consideration the extent of their diffusion; this will help today’s Cushites understand the interaction of their forefathers with believers of other religions, mystics and merchants originating from other lands, and people of different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.

Anatolian religions, mysteries, cults and initiation rites revolving around Cybele, Attis, and Sabazios flooded Greece, the entire Balkan Peninsula, and Rome. The origin of Cybele’s cult is definitely Mesopotamian, as the Anatolian goddess name is the adaptation of the original Sumerian name Kubaba. Viewed by the Romans as a Trojan goddess, Cybele was easily accepted as ancestral deity into the Pantheon of the Romans as early as the 3rd c. BCE.

Bronze statuette of Cybele on a cart drawn by lions Roman, 2nd half of 2nd century CE. The cult of the Anatolian goddess Cybele was introduced into Rome during the Second Punic War in the late third century BCE and remained popular until early Christian times. The goddess is shown with her usual attributes, a patera (libation bowl) in her right hand and a large tympanum (drum) in her left. But instead of flanking her throne as they normally do, here the two oversized lions pull a chariot. This elaborate group comes from a fountain, in which spouts projected from the open mouths of the lions. The original cart, harness, and throne no longer survive; the rear left wheel is a nineteenth-century restoration.
Typical representation of the Anatolian god Attis with solar attributes
Marble bust of Attis with the Phrygian cap, 2nd century CE, Paris.

Aramaean and Phoenician religions, mysteries, cults and initiation rites revolving around Atargatis (also known as ‘Dea Syria’, i.e. ‘Syrian goddess’), Jupiter Dolichenus (Jupiter of Doliche, which was a holy location, near Gaziantep in today’s SE Turkey), Elagabalus (an Aramaean sun-god with Mithraic traits amalgamated with those of the old Aramaean cult of Baal), and Astarte (a Phoenician goddess similar to Ishtar in Babylonia and Isis in Kemet/Egypt and Cush/Meroe) spread also throughout the Roman Empire and Europe. Not only the cults and the mysteries of these priesthoods were revered and accepted as salvation in Greece, Rome and across Europe, but also every related literature spread widely and eclipsed the useless political philosophies of the Ancient Greek and Roman elites.


Lucian, an erudite Aramaean author from Samosata (today’s Samsat, near Urfa in SE Turkey) who wrote in Ancient Greek in the 2nd c. CE, expanded on the ‘Syrian goddess’, writing an entire treatise about the cults associated to Atargatis. So overwhelming the diffusion of the Oriental cults, mysteries, soteriology and spirituality across the Roman Empire was that, in the early 3rd c. CE, the Roman Empire was ruled for four years by a young emperor named Elagabalus after the Aramaean god whose high priest he had served before ascending as emperor. About:   

Jupiter Dolichenus
Elagabalus Derzelas Odesseiton: a hypostasis of Elagabalus among his believers in Odessa
Roman Emperor Elagabalus


To great extent the diffusion of Oriental spirituality, soteriology, religions, mysteries, cults and cultures throughout the Roman Empire and in Europe was the result of the contact and the trade with the Orient. The phenomenal consequences of the silk-, spice-, and incense-trade across land-, desert-, and sea-routes revealed to everyone the insignificance, the poverty, and the misery of the indigenous, barbarian cultures of Greece, Rome, Ancient Europe, as well as their inferiority opposite the Ancient Oriental civilizations of Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Phoenicia, Carthage, Kemet/Egypt, Cush/Ethiopia, Yemen, Iran, Turan (Central Asia & Siberia), and China. What was known as important in Ancient Greece and Rome appeared to all as insignificant, useless and miserable. Compared to supernatural deeds, revelation of mysteries, acquisition of spiritual force, rites of salvation, consideration of the eternity of the spiritual world, and the universality of the imperial rule, the execrable demagoguery and the filthy interests of the ignorant, idiotic and corrupt ‘politics’ of the petty Greek cities and Rome look like an insult or blasphemy.  

That’s why Christianity invaded the Roman Empire as another Oriental religion that looked like Mithraism and Isidism; all the traits of Mithras were attributed to Jesus, who was portrayed as god and all the attributes of Isis were ascribed to Virgin Mary. But the underlying reality was that Jesus was evidently performing ‘miracles’, just like the hierophants of Mithras, the high priests of Isis, and the spiritual mystics of all the Oriental cults and mysteries; in fact, all these deeds are not properly speaking miracles, but spiritual-material synergies and ordinary possibilities of every duly initiated, adequately trained, and properly subsisted mystic.

  • When Jesus walks on the surface of the waters, every superfluous idiot, like Aristotle, Thucydides, Demosthenes or Pericles, is reduced to absolute meaninglessness.
  • When Jesus gets metamorphosed and appears next to Moses and Elijah, every ignorant, like Cicero, Seneca or Caesar, is diminished to total uselessness.
  • When Jesus says to his disciples that, if they have little faith, they can move mountains, every corrupt and evil person, like the squalid Jewish priests, namely the villainous Pharisees and the Sadducees, every Talmudist, and every Cabbalist, is belittled to extreme worthlessness.   

During the first three–four centuries of the Christian era, Christianity was not accepted in the Roman Empire as ‘the religion of love’ as today’s Zionists, Freemasons, Jesuits, fake popes and patriarchs, heretic priests, anti-Christian theologians, colonial academia, and atheist intellectuals fallaciously and shamelessly pretend. Christianity was accepted as an Oriental mystery religion with basically soteriological vocation; Christianity had nothing in common with

– the Ancient Greeks and their miserable politics,

– the Ancient Romans, their stratocracy, and ‘gravitas’,

– the Ancient Hebrews and their holy book that the Jews had deliberately and devilishly distorted after the departure of the Israelites from their land (722-719 BCE).

Another form of Oriental impact exercised on Greece, Rome and Europe during the Late Antiquity was the diffusion of numerous Oriental schools of mystical initiation, which helped members attain spiritual knowledge, conduct magical acts, acquire spiritual power, understand the spiritual truth, communicate/cooperate with souls, spirits of the elements, other spiritual beings and intelligences, and achieve a complete formation in terms of cosmogony, apocalyptic eschatology, soteriology, and cosmology. As they revolved around spiritual and material knowledge (‘gnosis’/’γνώσις’ in Ancient Greek), they became known among Modern Europeans as ‘Gnosticisms’. Their founders and members are therefore called ‘Gnostics’; this represents one more bias of the colonial academia, because the improper terminology gives the impression that these mystical systems were Greek whereas they were not.

Gnostic magical gem from Alexandria
The Gnostic tree of Sophia/Knowledge
I A O – The three vowels of Gnostics’ spiritual mastership
Abrasax – Gnostic symbolism of the Divine World
I A O – ABRASAX – SABAOTH: magic formulae of the Gnostics
The Serpent-Lion of the Ophites, a group of Gnostics
Gnostic gem-seal with hieroglyphic signs and symbols (Isis and Nephthys)
Nag Hammadi codices of manuscripts belonging to the local Gnostic Christian group (Upper Egypt)
Nag Hammadi manuscripts

Gnostics existed in many countries and spoke different languages; Gnostic texts have been found in Coptic, Syriac Aramaic, Pahlavi (Iranian), Sogdian, Middle Persian (Pazend), Greek, Latin, Manichaean, Armenian, Arabic, Old Uyghur, and Chinese. Some Gnostic systems were associated with early Christians and there have been several Gnostic groups, which believed faiths that would look like Christian heresies. Today’s Mandeans in Iraq constitute the only Gnostic religious system that has survived down to our times. The greatest Gnostic system was Manichaeism, which was preached by Mani in the 3rd c. CE; it soon became the world’s most expanded religion, since Manichaeans spanned from the Atlantic (Maghreb) to the Pacific (China). At the times of the Roman Emperor Diocletian (284-305 CE), the majority of the population of Alexandria were Manichaeans, and the diffusion of the religion of the Iranian Mani (216-277) throughout the Roman Empire had reached such scale that in 296 Diocletian issued a decree to order the immolation of all the Manichaean priests and the burning of all the Manichaean books. This practice was repeated at the times of Justinian I (527-565), because the Manichaeans remained a threat for the Roman Empire before and after its Christianization, thus testifying to the compact, irreversible and permanent Orientalization of the Roman Empire, and of Europe in its entirety.

Mandeans in Central Iraq: the only surviving Gnostic religious group

The historical diffusion of of Manichaeism from the Atlantic to the Pacific
The execution of Mani as represented in Islamic manuscripts many centuries later
The execution of Mani as represented in Islamic manuscripts many centuries later
The seal of Mani, one of the very few items of early Manichaeism that have been preserved
Diagram of the world prophets down to Mani
Turanian Manichaeans receiving divine revelation

Except the Gnostics and the Manichaeans, several other Oriental schools of mystical systems were diffused across the Roman Empire, in Europe, and throughout the Mediterranean world, notably Chaldeanism and Ostanism. Both schools consisted in complex systems of spiritual sciences and practices revolving around Babylonian astrology and numerology, Iranian oracles, divination practices, incantation rituals, magic and demonology. Inscriptions in incantation bowls, texts of oracles, and references in various known authors’ narratives and works (such as the ‘Oracles of Hystaspes’ and the ‘Chaldean Oracles’) help us better understand these practices that spread greatly at the level of popular culture across the Roam Empire and beyond. About:

Diagrams of Chaldean Oracles
Hecate and the Chaldean Oracles
Ostanes and the alchemist’s formula of producing gold: followed by Cleopatra VII
Uroboros: swallowing its tail, the serpent symbolizes the unity of the Creation, as per the followers of Ostanes and other Gnostics
Ostanism and its world perception were misunderstood by post-Renaissance Europeans

When it comes to the History of the World Civilization, a very important dimension of the phenomenon that I have just described in a very brief manner is the fact that the Orientalization of the Roman Empire and Europe did not take place as an elite movement or after a state decision. The gradual diffusion of the Oriental cults, mysteries, faiths and cultures across the Mediterranean world and throughout Europe was the result of the interaction of average people, namely merchants, sailors, caravan members, and trade partners, who came thus to know one another better and evaluate the spirituality, the wisdom and the knowledge of the ‘other’. The Roman state failed every time it tried to prevent the diffusion of Oriental cults; and every time, the Roman Empire accepted a cult or a religion, that faith had already been cherished by numerous followers. In fact, the Orientalization of the Roman Empire constituted in the prevalence of the popular culture over the elite culture.

At the time the Roman elites continued speaking their jargon with references to Pericles, Thucydides, Euripides, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Aristotle, Plato, and all the nonsense of the so-called ‘Classical Athens’, the Roman masses disregarded politics, disdained the Ancient Greek ignorance and faithlessness, worshipped Iranian, Anatolian, Aramaean, Kemetian/Egyptian, Cushitic/Ethiopian gods, practiced Oriental cults and focused on their salvation, instead of wasting their time in politics discussed in the ‘Agora’ of the Greek cities or the ‘Forum Romanum’. Mithras, Isis, Cybele, Osiris, Horus, Anubis and the myriad of Oriental concepts and faiths diffused across the Roman Empire eliminated the pathetic gossip of the Greek philosophers and the fake promises of the disreputable Athenian and Roman statesmen. Manichaeism and its derivative systems (Paulicianism, Bogomiles), Christianity and Islam were only the last of the Oriental religions to be diffused in Europe.

This reality had been systematically hidden from the eyes of the average people because the colonial academia and the racist politicians of Western Europe and North America do not want today’s nations to be liberated from the fake dogmas, the dirty politics, and the evil, Zionist, Jesuit and Freemasonic propaganda, which have been systematically diffused worldwide ever since the gangsters of Western Europe started expanding overseas and massacring indigenous nations (around 1500). But since the historical truth is published everywhere, the shameless academics cannot truly conceal it; that is why they either act duplicitously (speaking differently in academic conferences and in the general public) or act in a way that the truth goes unperceived by the average people. However, the sources can be easily found or even discovered online.

An enormous series of research volumes has been published over many decades to document the phenomenal spread of Oriental religions, cults, mysteries and cultures across the Roman Empire and Europe. Its title (in French) is: ‘Études préliminaires aux religions orientales dans l’Empire romain’ (EPRO: Preliminary Studies on the Oriental Religions within the Roman Empire). The disreputable but sophisticated forgers, who launched Wikipedia only to blind the average people and fill the world with paramount disinformation, find it ‘logical’ or ‘permissible’ to feature simple and often worthless and nonsensical books in independent entries in the Wikipedia, but they did not write a word about this monumental series of more than 120 books, which consisted in only ‘preliminary’ studies of the vast and unique phenomenon of the Orientalization of Greece, Rome and Europe.

Here you can find the complete list of the 100+ volumes published in the series:

Études préliminaires aux religions orientales dans l’Empire romain

To give only an indication of the enormous Egyptian and Egyptianizing material record, which has been excavated in Greece, Rome and Europe and bears witness to the overwhelming Orientalization of the Roman Empire, I merely mention that a group of French Egyptologists needed four entire volumes to write down the complete bibliographical inventory (no analysis) of monuments related to the cult of Isis that have been unearthed across the Roman Empire and throughout Europe; these four volumes are part of the aforementioned series (EPRO): J. Leclant; Inventaire Bibliographique des Isiaca (Ibis): Repertoire Analytique des Travaux Relatifs a La Diffusion des Cultes Isiaques, 1940-1969

Another monumental series that contains abundant information and extensive analysis about the Orientalization of the Roman Empire is the German ANRW – ‘Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt’ (Rise and Fall of the Roman World). It goes without saying that any proper, unbiased and complete presentation of the Roman World indispensably mentions the expansive diffusion of Oriental religions, cults, mysteries and cultures across the Roman Empire and Europe.

XXVI. Heliodorus, Aethiopica, and the Sublime Idealization of Meroe in Late Antiquity Greco-Roman Literature

The interconnection of the Asiatic, African and European nations that occurred over the span of many centuries, after the re-opening of the Old Suez Canal (linking the Nile to the Red Sea; ca. 520-510 BCE) by Darius the Great, the Achaemenid emperor of Iran, was the most groundbreaking change that occurred in the History of the Mankind prior to the diffusion of Islam. In the world before the establishment and expansion of the universal Achaemenid Empire, there were commercial and cultural exchanges among nations, but they remained at a rudimentary level.

However, following the maritime connection of the Iranian province of Kemet / Egypt with Persia (Fars), the central province of Iran, many earlier commercial roads were interlinked into a unified network across most of the lands between the Atlantic and the Pacific; this is exactly what we nowadays call “silk-, spice-, and incense-trade across land-, desert-, and sea-routes” or in brief, silk roads. This fact triggered the interconnection of most nations over the three continents between the Atlantic and the Pacific. As a consequence, the diffusion of Oriental religions, cults, mysteries and cultures across the Roman Empire and Europe brought about reciprocal knowledge, mutual understanding, shared values, and common heritage that –all- had nothing to do with either with the civil wars of Ancient Greece or with the Ancient Roman stratocracy.

This is the reason why references to the barbarians of Ancient Greece and the savages of Ancient Rome were necessary for the 15th c. uncivilized Western Europeans, who wanted to expand overseas; and that’s why they made of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome the supposedly ‘classical world’ of Human History. Without the Ancient Greek texts about the ceaseless local fratricidal wars among the Ancient Greek cities-states, …

without the Latin texts about the anti-Carthaginian (anti-Punic), i.e. anti-African, racism of the Romans, …

without the dirty material interests, the hypocrisy, the greed, and the sinful context of the Ancient Greek and Roman pseudo-republics, and …

without projecting all those monstrous, repugnant and hideous massacres, those immoral and valueless societies, and those ignorant and faithless mindsets onto the rest of the world, which they targeted for corruption and destruction,

….. the colonial powers would never achieve to destroy numerous lofty civilizations and to profane the entire world in the way they managed to.

In striking contrast with the modern European colonials, their racist pseudo-academia, and their bogus-historical dogma, the Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Romans, who interacted with Oriental, Asiatic and African for many long centuries, accepted the Oriental values, ideals, worldviews, and principles of a sacred life within a universal empire, and they were progressively civilized, abandoning the unholy notions of democracy, republic, and politics, and searching the ideal society, the perfect order, and the divine blessings in parts of the Orient, namely in Asia or Africa.

Writing in Ancient Greek, 900 years after the first among the Ancient Greek philosophers went to study in the great temples-universities of Babylon and Kemet/Egypt, the Aramaean mystic, priest and author Heliodorus of Emessa (today’s Homs in Syria; 3rd – 4th c. CE) locates the culmination point of his symbolic and mythical narrative in Meroe. Those days may well have been a period of decay for Meroe, as the scarcity of the Meroitic sources and monuments during the end of the 3rd and the 4th c. CE suggests instability, incursions, turmoil and gradual collapse. However, the magnificent reputation of Meroe as capital of Ethiopia in today’s Butana in Central Sudan still radiated across the Mediterranean world. In Greek, the author’s name means ‘the present of the Sun’, and this allows us to understand that his family rather stressed the Mithraic traits and concepts of their faith.

Meroe has had a long record of eulogies and encomia among Ancient Greek authors as the superlative land, capital and kingdom at the southernmost confines of the surface of the Earth. Even Herodotus, who traveled throughout Kemet/Egypt and down to Syene/Aswan in the 5th c. BCE, included majestic references to Meroe in the 3rd book of his Histories (chapters 17-18), speaking about the illustrious ‘Table of the Sun’; he briefly mentioned this mysterious and hitherto unidentified table, while describing of the military expedition that the Achaemenid Iranian Emperor Kabujiya (Cambyses) undertook against Ethiopia (Sudan). Modern scholars attempted to make a materialistic and senseless equation, pretending that Herodotus’ ‘Table of the Sun’ in Meroe is a typical Ancient Kemetian/Egyptian and Cushitic/Meroitic table of offerings; but the text of Herodotus contradicts them totally.

The excerpt reads as follows:

After this Cambyses [King of Persia] took counsel with himself, and planned three expeditions. One was against the Carthaginians, another against the Ammonians, and a third against the long-lived Ethiopians, who dwelt in that part of Libya which borders upon the southern sea. . . while his spies went into Ethiopia, under the pretense of carrying presents to the king, but in reality to take note of all they saw, and especially to observe whether there was really what is called “the table of the Sun” in Ethiopia. Now the table of the Sun according to the accounts given of it may be thus described: It is a meadow in the skirts of their city full of the boiled flesh of all manner of beasts, which the magistrates are careful to store with meat every night, and where whoever likes may come and eat during the day. The people of the land say that the earth itself brings forth the food. Such is the description which is given of this table.*.html

Heliodorus’ Aethiopica (a text totaling ca. 103.000 words) is described as an ‘Ancient Greek novel’ by various experts in Comparative Literature, colonial philologists, ignorant Classicists, and racist historians or historians of Art. Of course, I must admit that, starting with Renaissance, Heliodorus’ text had indeed a second life, as it was not only studied by academics, but also used as inspiration for novels by European writers, adapted by playwrights, transformed into a libretto for an homonymous opera, depicted in numerous paintings, and even featured as design in palatial carpets. However, the fascination of Modern Europeans with Aethiopica is totally unrelated to Heliodorus, his great opus, its real meaning, and the purpose for which it was written.


Modern Europeans’ fascination and misperceptions of Heliodorus’ Aithiopica

Ambroise Dubois, The procession of Thessalians and Chariclea at the triumph of Diana (around 1610)
Dubois Ambroise (Ambrosius Bosschaert), Theagenes receives the torch from Charicleia’s hand
Ambroise Dubois, Theagenes setting fire to the altar with Chariclea’s torch
The Meeting of Theagenes and Chariclea, from the Salon Louis XIII (oil on canvas) by Dubois, Ambroise (1543-1614); Chateau de Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne, France
Dubois Ambroise, Theagenes and Chariclea injured on the shore of Egypt, and spied on by thieves – It is interested to notice how dark the natural environment of Egypt appears on this painting and how it terribly contrasts with the bright environment depicted by the same painter in cases of scenes which have taken place in Greece as per the original text of Heliodorus. But this false, fabricated contrast cannot be found even in a single line of Heliodorus’ Aithiopica.
Karel van Mander III, Chariclea showing Persina and Hydaspes the mark on her elbow (1640). This painting reveals the unfathomable racism of Frankish Europe: the king and the queen of Ethiopia in Meroe are depicted as Black, but their daughter (and main character of Aithiopica) Chariclea is portrayed white and blonde. And as it could be expected from European painters, the rulers of Meroe are dressed in Ottoman or Safavid dresses, and in Pharaonic clothes.
Karel van Mander III, Hydaspes and Persina, royal couple at Meroe; the 17th c. painting reflects the typically European racist thought as per which Oriental, Muslim and African people lived in a vicious, sexually free, sensual and voluptuous lifestyle, having no moral compunction
Hans Horions, The first encounter of Theagenes and Chariclea (1650)
Daniel Jansz Thievaert, Theagenes and Chariclea (1635)
Charles-Joseph Natoire, Betrothal of Theagenes and Chariclea (ca. 1750)
Abraham Bloemaert, Theagenes Receiving the Palm of Honour from Chariclea (1626)
Abraham Bloemaert, Chariclea and Theagenes (1625)
Chariclea led away by pirates: tapestry from the workshop of Raphael de la Planche (1635)
Marriage of Theagenes and Chariclea: tapestry from the workshop of Raphael de la Planche (ca. 1630)
Theagenes and Chariclea: watch case from the British Museum


An analysis of the spectacular narrative is not within the scope of the present article, but I have however at this point to stress the fact that Heliodorus was an initiate and priest (or a high priest) of Elagabalus (see previous unit XXV: Silk Roads and the Prevalence of Oriental Civilization in Greece, Rome and Europe: Aramaean, Anatolian, Phoenician Spirituality, Gnostics, and the Manichaeans of Alexandria). The text of Aethiopica was apparently written for the needs of his disciples and the mystics, who participated in Elagabalus’ mysteries. The numerous mentions of Ancient Kemetian/Egyptian concepts, notions, and perceptions of the Divine World, the setting of the narrative in the Nile Valley (Kemet/Egypt and Cush/Ethiopia) and Greece, the Iranian names of several heroes of the story, and the location of the final episode of the plot in Meroe suggest that Heliodorus has instituted or studied in a school of spirituality, which attempted to merge Kemetian / Egyptian and Cushitic / Meroitic spirituality and soteriology, Aramaean mysteries, Iranian esoteric, mythical traditions and names, and Greek holy shrines for the needs of an apparently Greek-speaking audience of Aramaeans, Romans, Greeks and Iranians of Emessa (Homs).

In fact, Heliodorus’ Aethiopica (involving ten chapters; and thus reflecting the Kemetian/Egyptian and Cushitic/Meroitic preference for the decimal system) is a masterpiece of mystical literature full of notions of eschatology and soteriology, as it ends with a holy marriage at Meroe. The perils, obstacles, threats and adversities that the two main characters (Theagenes, Chariclea) encounter correspond to rites of initiation that Heliodorus’ school of spirituality applied to their neophytes. Already, the selection of the aforementioned theophoric names hints at the major messianic figures of the Myth of Osiris. In Greek, Chariclea means ‘the glory of the joy’ and Theagenes signifies ‘the offspring of God’.

I herewith include a brief excerpt from Heliodorus’ Aethiopica (10th chapter), in which Meroe and the surrounding landscape are described. To offer a geographical clarification, I only add the explanation that ‘Nile’ means the united Nile; ‘Astaboras’ is the Greek form of the Ancient Meroitic name of Atbarah River; and ‘Asasoba’ is another, now-extinct river, which was also tributary to the united Nile (like Atbarah / Astaboras). The text refers also to the confluence of the White Nile and Blue Nile, which takes place at today’s Khartoum. The description of Meroe as an island was quite typical during the Antiquity; a triangular piece of land surrounded by three rivers was viewed by definition as an island.

The excerpt reads as follows:

Meroe the chief city of Ethiopia is a three-cornered island about which do run navigable rivers, the Nile, and the Astabora and the Asasoba. At the topmost point is the Nile, which there divides itself into two parts; the other two rivers run on both sides one by the other, and then meeting fall into the Nile, and yield their waters and their name. The island is very large and almost imitates the mainland — for it is three hundred three score and fifteen miles long and six score and five broad — and it engenders beasts of wonderful greatness of all kinds and especially elephants. Trees grow there without the work of men, and it brings forth much other fruit. There are palm trees of great height which bear stores of dates, and corn and wheat of such tallness that it will hide a man on horseback and even sometimes though he sits upon a camel. And the reeds that grow there are such as we spake of before.

XXVII. Blemmyes, Nubians, Axumites and the End of Meroe

During the 3rd c. CE, major tribal conflicts and movements started taking place on both sides of the Nile and the region between the First and the Second Cataracts seems to have been destabilized. Desecration of holy shrines venerated by opposite ethnic groups became a practice. In the temple of the Nubian god Mandulis at Talmis (Kalabsha), the Roman Governor Aurelius Besarion {also known as Ammonius (Αὐρήλιος Βησαρίων alias Ἀμμώνιος), i.e. believer of the Theban god Amun} had to intervene (ca. 250 CE) and forbid the presence of swine; this means that Blemmyes had desecrated the temple of the Noubai (or Nobadai, i.e. the Nubians). The situation may well have interrupted the contacts between Meroe and Rome.

What Aurelius Besarion was able to do ca. 250 CE, the Romans were not able to achieve 50 years later. An attempt to interfere in the conflicts between the Blemmyes and the Noubai would be consuming too much time and even more energy from the Roman side at a time many parts of the Roman frontiers in the East were under the attacks of the Iranians and other invaders. Even worse, the entire Roman empire was crossing a period of upheaval. That is why in 298 CE Diocletian withdrew the Roman forces from Dodekaschoenus, made of the region of Aswan (the Nile’s First Cataract) the empire’s southernmost border in the Nile Valley, fortified the place, and signed a treaty with the warring parts, namely the Blemmyes and the Nubians. About:

Olympiodorus Thebaeus (i.e. from Thebes of Egypt, today’s Luxor), writing slightly more than 120 years after the events (ca. 422-424 CE), recorded the disorderly situation that prevailed in the region of Dodekaschoenus, because of the ceaseless wars between the Blemmyes and the Noubai (Nubians). Only fragments of his works have been preserved by Eastern Roman authors, sages, and polymaths, notably Photius who was twice the patriarch of Constantinople (Photius, Bibl. Cod. 80) in the 9th c. CE. Published in the series Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum (5 vols), they can be found online in the Digital Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum (DFHG); the specific fragment (paragraph 37) is available here (Ancient Greek text and Latin translation):

Details were recorded more extensively, 250 years after Diocletian’s visit to Aswan, by the Eastern Roman historian Procopius, who lived at the time of Justinian I in the middle of the 6th c. CE. In the 19th book (chapters 27-37: 1.19.27-1.19.37) of his opus ‘About the Wars’ (in Ancient Greek: Υπέρ των Πολέμων – Hyper ton Polemon; Latin translation: De Bellis), Procopius of Caesarea (a city in Palestine) offers an enthralling description of Diocletian’s arrival in the Roman Empire’s south-easternmost confines and of the chaotic situation that prevailed there at those days. The text in Ancient Greek and in English translation can be found here (Procopius, De Bellis, XIX 27-37):


As it appears the relations between Meroe and Rome were cut some time in the middle of the 3rd c. CE. Archaeological evidence from the region between the First and the Third cataracts suggests that the Meroites, after the retreat of the Romans at 298 CE, invaded and inhabited several sites for some period. But the consequences of the long lasted conflict between the Blemmyes and the Noubai (Nubians) had a dire impact on Meroe, cutting the capital of Cush from its main commercial partners in Roman Egypt and the Mediterranean World. During the 4th c. CE, we know that Meroe progressively collapsed. The outcome of the Blemmyo-Nubian wars, which took place at the end of the 3rd c. and during the 4th c. CE, shook the Meroitic kingdom from its foundations and eventually brought about its end, already before the military expedition and the conquest of Meroe by king Ezana of Axumite Abyssinia (ca. 360-370) took place. These wars also predetermined the area where the two nations, i.e. the Nubians and the Blemmyes/Bejas, have lived ever since, namely the Valley of the Nile (Nubians) and the Eastern Desert and the Red Sea coastal zone (Blemmyes/Bejas).

Among the unruly nations, which were in conflict at the time on both sides of the Nile and throughout the Eastern Desert, the most bellicose element was the Cushitic Blemmyes. The Cushitic dexterity in battle apparently impressed the Copts, the Greeks, and the Romans, and a hitherto unknown poet (using most probably the pseudonym of ‘General Germanus’) composed an epic or a panegyric to celebrate the ‘Blemmyomachia’ (Fight against the Blemmyes) and his victory over the rebels. Fragments of the text have been preserved in papyri from Kemet/Egypt {P. Berol. (= Papyri der Staatlichen Museen Berlin) 5003}; it is most probably dated in the 2nd half of the 4th c. Some scholars attributed the poem to Olympiodorus Thebaeus, but this idea seems to be wrong.

The text and its English translation can be found in the series FHN (‘Fontes Historiae Nubiorum’/’Sources of the History of Nubians’), vol. III, p. 1182-1185, no 326 (The Blemmyan War). Also:

Blemmyomachia (ch. XI, unit 1, p. 108)


M. Steinrück, ‘Neues zur Blemyomachie’; in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, vol. 126 (1999), p. 99-114;

L.S.B. MacCoull, ‘Papyrus fragments from the Monastery of Phoebammon’, in: Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Congress of Papyrology (New York, 24-31 July 1980; Chico), p. 491-498;

E. Livrea, Anonymi fortasse Olympiodori Thebani: Blemyomachia (P.Berol.5003), Meisenheim am Glan (1978),title&fq=author_str:Olympiodorus&sort=series+asc,volume+asc,item+asc&p=0&t=0

About the series FHN:

‘Fontes Historiae Nubiorum’/’Sources of the History of Nubians’ is a very wrong title for a very good scholarly work, because the contents included in the series, namely the textual and epigraphic evidence collected, translated and discussed, do concern indeed several different nations: the Ancient Kemetians / Egyptians, the Ancient Cushites / Meroites, the Greeks and the Romans who were present in the region, the Nubians, the Blemmyes, and several other indigenous nations. The fallacious title is therefore an unprecedented distortion, because it covers no more than 5% of the contents. It is tantamount to writing the ‘History of Portugal’ and titling the book as ‘History of Europe’. However, the subtitle of the series is correct: ‘Textual Sources for the History of the Middle Nile Region between the Eighth Century BCE and the Sixth Century CE’. Here you can get a chronological idea about the contents of the series:

Fontes Historiae Nubiorum I-IV

v. 1. From the eighth to the mid-fifth century BC

v. 2. From the mid-fifth to the first century BC

v. 3. From the first to the sixth century AD

v. 4. Corrigenda and indices

More than a century separates us from the time of John Garstang’s excavations in Meroe (1910-1914), but the major questions then formulated about the demise of the great African empire remain still unanswered. With capital at Meroe, this kingdom radiated across Northern Africa and the entire Sahara for ca. 800 years (500 BCE-300 CE), but its end is a mystery until now.  

Numerous excavations took place in Sudan over the past century and they abundantly documented various stages of the Meroitic civilization. Archaeological teams unearthed scores of valuable monuments in earlier unknown sites; the dramatic increase in the material record gathered and studied certainly helps better reconstruct the Ancient History of Meroe. However, this situation has had only minor impact on our understanding of the end of Meroe. There are several reasons for this. As a matter of fact, since the early 20th century, divergence of opinion among scholars has always existed as regards the reasons that caused the fall of Meroe and the conditions under which this event took place.

In my communication (Meroitic/Oromo Ethiopian Continuity: Call for a Research Project) in the Oromo Studies Conference in 2005 (Washington D.C.), I categorized the various scholarly opinions about the end of Meroe into five (5) groups. The text of the communication was published in the 2005 Conference Proceedings by the Oromo Studies Association (Journal of Oromo Studies, vol. 14 no 1 (February-March 2007), p. 7-33); the entire volume can be found here:

The five categories can be found in the unit ‘The End of Meroe’ (p. 13) here:

A slightly edited/updated version can be found here:

The end of Meroe is certainly a very perplex affair and more recently, it became quite obfuscated by today’s politicized scholars’ unintelligible garbage, which is due to their extremist and uncontrollable indoctrination. The problem does not concern only the sector of Egyptology and Cushitic/Meroitic Archaeology, but it is general, covering all fields of the Humanities. In order to maintain in validity the colonial falsehood that had been diffused by earlier, pioneering Orientalists and Africanists, today many academics, specialists and scholars cover the true data under an enormous layer of uselessly ideologized jargon and thus ‘fight’ against chimeras, tilting at windmills like Don Quixote. For the non-specialist, this attitude is surely catastrophic, because it keeps all ordinary people in absolute darkness about the historical facts and the archaeological findings. In reality, average people are able to easily detect the nonsense, if this is phrased in simple words; that’s why today’s mostly ignorant and largely pathetic scholars stick to their ludicrous jargon in order to keep the normal people far from their worthless gobbledygook.

Vicious neo-colonial academics, like the notorious Patrice Lenoble, can unfortunately be opinionative enough to think everything they thought and to write everything they wrote in order only to oppose (and hypothetically ‘refute’!) every single word and sentence published by the distinguished American scholar George Andrew Reisner (1867-1942), because they imagine that ‘he was a racist’. Of course, the ‘Father of American Archaeology’ (G. A. Reisner) was not a racist, but a truthful scholar, who excavated in Cush (Sudan), Kemet (Egypt) and Palestine (not ‘Judaea’, and surely not ‘Israel’) and described his findings very accurately, while also formulating his conclusions wisely. However, these descriptions do not correspond to the fallacious concepts and the criminal politics of the modern Zionist, Jesuit and Freemasonic gangsters, who monopolize the authority of today’s bogus universities of the Western countries.

Consequently, texts like the one below testify only to deliberate distortion of facts and to fallacious interpretation due to extreme, radical and fanatic indoctrination:

Patrice Lenoble and Nigm ed Din Mohammed Sharif,’Barbarians at the gates? The royal mounds of El Hobagi and the end of Meroë’ (published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 January 2015)

El Hobagi is a remarkable site though, located 65 km southwest of Meroe; it bears witness to the fact that in some cases there was Cushitic-Meroitic continuity in post-Meroitic times; but people were apparently migrating. Plenty of typical Meroitic objects were excavated and also one brief Meroitic inscription was found there; the presence of many weapons demonstrates that this community of migrating Meroites was in war or they had to be continually ready for war. It is however interesting that the site, which has no traces of Christian remains, was abandoned, after it was inhabited for the span of few generations.

Several other archaeological sites in the region between Meroe and the confluence of the Blue Nile and the White Nile bear witness to early migratory movements. The area of El Salha and the nearby Al Khiday cemetery near Omdurman in Central Sudan have been the focus of systematic excavations over the past decade; they testify to Late Meroitic and post-Meroitic burials. About:

Romain David, Donatella Usai, Sandro Salvatori, Tina Jakob, ‘The Al Khiday Cemetery in Central Sudan and its ‘Classic/Late Meroitic’ Period Graves’, Journal of African Archeology 12/2, 2014, p. 183-204.

It may sound bizarre, but I have to further expand on the topic, because the end of Meroe, pretty much like many other archaeological and historical topics, has today been highly politicized and ideologized. Excavating Cushitic, Meroitic and post-Meroitic sites, Reisner unearthed monuments that testify to absolute collapse of civilization across the Middle Nile Region (from Aswan to Khartoum) after the fall of Meroe. Avoiding a term that would clearly denote ethno-linguistic association and identification, Resiner named the material record left by people, who settled in numerous sites of the Meroitic Empire’s northern circumference after the fall of Meroe, as X-Group culture.

X-Group culture: the site of Ballana
The impressive findings of tomb 118 in Ballana

He rightfully described them as migrant barbarians, because compared with the earlier imperial culture and the magnificent remains of the highly developed and extremely sophisticated Cushitic-Meroitic civilization, the newcomers were inferior, unsophisticated, and primitive. This is very correct. There is nothing wrong with it; there have been civilized Africans and barbaric Africans; there have been civilized Asiatics and barbaric Asiatics; there have been civilized Europeans and barbaric Europeans; and there have been civilized Pre-Colombian Americans and barbaric Pre-Colombian Americans. Barbaric nations are part of History indeed. And the science of History consists mainly in the search for truth. Academic research, scientific scholarship, and the exploration of the past cannot be the field where anyone has to express his own psychologically unbalanced mind, ideological paranoia, farfetched theory, political corruption, and evil agenda.

On the other hand, it also correct to associate X-Group culture with Noubai/Nubians and the kingdom of Nobatia, which was constituted ca. 70-80 years after the fall of Meroe in the middle of the 5th century. About:

Look at this racist, Zionist garbage against G.A. Resiner to get a small idea about today’s anti-African politicized gibberish:

I mention only one type of problems associated with the interpretation of the fall of Meroe, so that average people today effectively get an insight into the dirty motives of various pseudo-academics. Non-specialists must definitely be helped to discern the reasons for which many fallacies, many false names, and an extraordinary historical forgery are attested in so numerous articles, books and speeches of today’s historians and archaeologists about Nubia. As a matter of fact, the existence of a worldwide group of power, which intends to promote the formation of a Nubian state in parts of today’s Egypt’s and Sudan’s territory, is the reason for which the members of this group of power cannot admit in public the historical fact that the ancestors of today’s Nubians were initially uncultured barbarians whose material culture was dramatically inferior to the heritage of the Ancient Cushites / Meroites and to the legacy of the Ancient Kemetians / Egyptians.

That’s why a systematic and overwhelming effort has been undertaken worldwide in order to Nubianize the Cushitic and Meroitic monuments, to falsify the Ancient History of Cush and Meroe, to fallaciously attribute it to Nubians, thus depriving today’s Oromos, Sidamas, other Cushitic nations of Ethiopia, and Central Sudan’s Arabic-speaking Sudanese from the common, national and cultural heritage that belongs to all of them. And this was the topic of my communication (“Fake Nubia: a Colonial Forgery to deprive Cushitic Nations from National Independence, Historical Identity and Cultural Heritage”) in the 5th Annual International Conference of the Network of Oromo Studies, which was held electronically on 27 February 2021 (NOS:; see above: Part A)

XXVIII. The End of Meroe and the Rise of Nobatia, Makuria and Alodia: Terminus-post-quem and Terminus-ante-quem for the Early Migratory Wave

As I already said, the end of Meroe is a very perplex historical event. Without having a clear idea about the interminable wars between the Blemmyes and the Nubians, which may have lasted over 150 years (250-400 CE), until the two nations finally settled in distinctly separate regions (the Nubians only in the Nile Valley and the Blemmyes / Bejas exclusively in the Eastern Desert and the Red Sea coastal zone), we will not be able to accurately realize how Meroe collapsed. It would also be important to know on whose side the last Qore (Kings) of Meroe fought, whose attacks they had to repel, what collateral damages incurred, and how all these developments weakened the Meroitic rule. It seems that the entire northern part of the Meroitic kingdom from the Nile to the Red Sea had been affected: the Batn al Hagar, the Abri-Delqo Reach, the Dongola Reach, and the Abu Hamed Reach were probably out of the Meroitic control during the last 50-70 years of Meroitic royal authority. Maps and geographic details:

If we take into consideration the fact that Axumite Abyssinian inscriptions in Ge’ez and in Ancient Greek mention indeed Abyssinian attacks against also the Nubians (stating the Axumite victories over them), we realize that the entire problem was of enormous extent and it endangered also Axum, which was located farther. The existence of post-Meroitic sites in the region around today’s Khartoum and in the Gezirah province of Central Sudan demonstrates that the Cushitic inhabitants of the central regions of Meroe (the ‘Shendi Reach’) had only one way to escape the attacks of the Nubians from the North and the incursions of the Axumite Abyssinians from the East, namely to migrate beyond the Meroitic kingdom’s southwestern confines and further to the south in the lands between the Blue and the White Nile.

For the issue of the Meroitic migration to the South (across Gezirah, and then alongside the White Nile, toward the area of today’s borders between the modern states of Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia), the  conditions and the circumstances that caused the final collapse of Meroe play a relatively small role. The apparent scarcity of population in the main Meroitic sites during the post-Meroitic period is a major issue that demands explanation. This becomes more imperative, since there is no evidence (either textual or archaeological) of massive extermination of conquered populations. Irrespective of the reasons and the circumstances under which the migration started (either some Meroites migrated first to avoid the Nubians attacking from the North or other groups of Meroites moved later following the incursion of the Axumite Abyssinian king Ezana), the relocation movement of the first groups (or the ‘early migratory wave’) generated its own dynamics and many Meroites imitated them in the subsequent decades. I have to repeat at this point that, supporting the thesis about the Meroitic migrations to the South, I mainly speak of the Cushitic inhabitants of the central (the ‘Shendi Reach’) and the southern regions of Meroe.

Various discussions about the end of Meroe can be found here: 

Stanley M. Burstein, ‘Axum and the Fall of Meroe’, Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, vol. 18 (1981), pp. 47-50 (4 pages)

Stanley M. Burstein, ‘Sayce’s Axumite Inscription from Meroe’

Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum (SEG) 24-1246. Meroe (nunc Khartoum in Museo Historico). Epistula regis Meroae, s. Vp(?).

Entry: Titulum ab A. H. Sayce, Proc. Soc. Bibl. Archaeol. XXXI 1909, 189/90, c. del. pl. XXIV, primum iuris publici factum, denuo ed. F. Altheim et R. Stiehl, Klio XXXIX 1961, 242/8, c. im. ph.

Terminus post quem, i.e. limit after which one can date the beginning of the early migratory wave, can be fixed at around the middle of the 4th c. CE. There may actually have been more than one Axumite Abyssinian attacks against Meroe, and before them, several devastating events may have already been caused by Nubian attacks. The early migrations may have consisted of many numerous local events, which over the span of some decades (340-400 CE) ultimately generated a major exodus of the central and the southern populations of the Meroitic kingdom. It is reasonable to assume that there have been numerous provisory ‘stations’ during this movement, because the expectation for a return to the old capital and cities may have been very strong in the beginning. The aforementioned site of El Hobagi must have only been one of these ‘stations’. The problem in this regard is the fact that, until recently, ‘Sudan Archaeology’ meant practically field work in few sites and almost exclusively in the area between Meroe and the Egyptian border. The misperception as per which Ancient Cush/Meroe was often viewed as an ‘annex’ of Ancient Kemet/Egypt played a negative role in this regard. The same is true also for the idea or mentality that excavations are worthwhile only when major monuments are attested in the surface survey.

Terminus ante quem, i.e. limit before which we have to date the completion of the early migratory wave, can be fixed at approximately the middle or even the final decades of the 6th c. CE. As anyone can understand, this means an enormous period of time of approximately 200-240 years (340-580 CE) during which several migration movements toward the South may have taken place; all of them viewed together consist the ‘early migratory wave’. A very interesting point is the fact that the rise of the three Christian kingdoms in the area of today’s Sudan was entirely due to impact originating from the North, i.e. Christian Roman Egypt, and not from the Southeast-East, namely Axumite Abyssinia. This clarifies something very important: king Ezana’s incursion and destruction of Meroe did not actually happen as an attempt to diffuse Christianity in Meroe. This reality will be discussed and elucidated further below, in the next unit.

Actually, there has never been found the slightest sign to indicate an Axumite Abyssinian policy to proselytize Meroites or to impose in any way Christianity as religion in the part of Meroe that seems to have been temporarily occupied by king Ezana. And there is no indication that the Axumite Abyssinian control over the southeastern regions of Meroe lasted for more than perhaps just few years. As a matter of fact, there was never an Axumite Abyssinian church built in today’s Sudanese territory. This renders king Ezana’s pretension (as written down in his victorious stele, which was found in Meroe) a worthless assertion meaninglessly articulated by his courtiers and pompously inscribed by his scribes.  

Biased Western academics and racist scholars have always tried to over-magnify the supposed importance of king Ezana’s incursion in Meroe, but this serves only as reconfirmation of their well-known untrustworthiness. A quite typical example in this regard is offered by the pro-Abyssinian propagandist and author Benjamin Hendrickx, a Belgian colonialist married to a Greek and hired by the apartheid South African regime (in 1991, by the Rand Afrikaans University, which is now known as University of Johannesburg). This disreputable racist ‘scholar’ accepts Ezana’s Axumite propaganda at face value, while also erroneously calling the Axumite Abyssinian ruler Kaleb an ‘Ethiopian’ (sic!). Furthermore, B. Hendrickx invented an otherwise nonexistent ‘autonomous’ Ethiopian Meroitic ‘principality’ supposedly located in the region of Dodekaschoenus after the evacuation of the Roman soldiers. To add insult to injury, the incorrigible spin-doctor and white ‘professor’ Hendrickx of South Africa (!?!) calls the Eastern Roman Emperor Justin I (518-527) a ‘Byzantine’, only to promote the racist, pseudo-historical, Greco-centric dogma, which is still imposed in Western Europe as an insult to the rest of the world, and notably against all Africans (‘On the Withdrawal of the Roman Troops from the Dodecaschoenos in AD 298’;

Kalabsha Temple of Mandulis: the Nubian temple became a church after the Christianization of Nobatia
Kalabsha temple: the inner court
The inscription of King Silko of Nobatia
King Silko

Although it is widely known that three Christian kingdoms were established in Sudan’s territory, namely (from North to South) Nobatia, Makuria and Alodia, not many specialists have observed that the third, southernmost kingdom was formed remarkably later than the other two. Nobatia was established first in the North, between the first and the third cataracts (for about 600 km alongside the Nile, south of Aswan) and with Faras as capital (in the area of today’s Sudanese-Egyptian border) – already ca. 400-420 CE. As the name suggests, Nobatia was the first and the last state formed by the Nubians throughout History. The inscription of king Silko on the walls of the temple of Nubian god Mandulis at Talmis (Kalabsha) details his victory over the Blemmyes. Silko is described as ‘basiliskos’ (i.e. little king) of the Noubadai (Nubians) and of all the Ethiopians (i.e. the Meroites). This is entirely propagandistic and untrue, but it also bears witness to the transformation of the Ancient Nubian temple into a Christian church, something that occurred in many Ancient Kemetian/Egyptian temples. After the middle of the 5th c. only nuclei of worshippers of Isis, Horus and other Ancient Egyptian gods were left in Upper Egypt (until they were finally prohibited by Justinian I in 537 CE). Officially, Nobatia became Christian at ca. 540 CE. About:

From the cathedral of Faras, capital of Nobatia – on the borderline between Egypt and Sudan
Faras Cathedral frescoes with representation of Biblical scenes
Wall painting from Faras Cathedral
Wall painting from Faras Cathedral

Makuria was located south of Nobatia and stretched between the third and the sixth cataracts, thus encompassing most of the territory of the Meroitic kingdom. In fact, Makuria is the main Christian kingdom of Ethiopia (: Sudan), and it lasted for no less than 900 years from the 5th c. to the 14th c. The first historical references to Makuria date back to end of the 5th c., and apparently the kingdom rose in direct religious opposition to Nobatia; the Nubian kingdom was linked with the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria and accepted Monophysitic (Miaphysite) Christianity, whereas the kingdom of Makuria was connected to the Eastern Roman Patriarchate of Alexandria and adhered to Orthodox (‘Chalcedonian’, i.e. accepting the theological resolutions of the Council of Chalcedon – 451 CE) Christianity.

Exactly because Nobatia was an obstacle to cross, a Makurian delegation managed to reach Constantinople only as late as 573. It is however noteworthy that during the early Islamic conquests, Makuria proved to be strong enough not only to successfully repel the attacking armies (which momentarily reached as far as Dongola in the South), but also to save Nobatia and to limit the Islamic Caliphate territories in the North. For several centuries, Islamic rule was exercised only in Lower (: Northern) Egypt up to the region of Al Minia (250 km south of Cairo). The Makurian king entered into an early agreement with the armies of the Caliphate (‘Baqt’) and this was respected by both sides for many, long centuries. 8th c. Coptic chronicler John the Deacon describes the king Merkurios of Makuria as ‘the new Constantine’.  

The capital of Makuria was initially located near Napata (in the 2nd half of the 5th c. CE) and then it was transferred at Dongola Agouza (Old Dongola), ca. 550 km south of the Sudanese-Egyptian border. Makuria controlled an area ca. 1400 km long next to the Nile. The Christian Makurian king commanded sizeable, adjacent parts of the Western and the Eastern deserts, notably the Bayuda. The population of Makuria was mainly Meroitic, but in the 5th c. CE, it was drastically reduced in comparison with that of Meroe several centuries earlier. And the epicenter of the Meroitic kingdom, i.e. the region around the confluence of Atbarah River with the Nile, was scarcely inhabited in the Makurian times. To oppose the advance of the Islamic armies in the early 9th c., Nobatia had to merge with Makuria.

Old Dongola, Capital of Makuria: the remains of the Cathedral
Old Dongola (Dongola Agouza)
Old Dongola: the Islamic cemetery
Old Dongola: the Throne Hall, former Cathedral of Makuria
Christian Makurian wall paintings from Old Dongola

XXIX. Nobatia, Makuria, Axum, and the Christianization of Alodia (Alwa)

Whereas the Christological differentiation between Nobatia and Makuria testifies to the critically different ethnic-linguistic backgrounds of the two Christian kingdoms of Sudan, the fact that the southernmost Christian kingdom of Sudan accepted the Christian faith quite later shows how different the situation was in the wider region of today’s Khartoum and the Gezirah province (‘state’: wilayat’). Contrarily to Nobatia where Christianity rose to prominence in the early 5th c., and in contrast with Makuria where the Christian faith spread in the late 5th c., in the region around Khartoum, Coptic (Monophysitic or Miaphysitic) Christianity was first preached almost 100 years later: in the last two decades of the 6th c. CE. We even have very little information about the emergence of the kingdom of Alodia (or Alwa).

Soba, the known capital of Alodia, has until now been mainly known through textual historical sources (basically in Arabic Islamic historical texts). Few monuments were already noticed in that site during the 19th and the early 20th c. by several European travelers, notably the pioneering English Orientalist and Egyptologist E. A. Wallis Budge. The site is located at ca. 20 km from Khartoum on the eastern (right) bank of the Blue Nile; early excavations were undertaken in the 1900s by Wallis Budge, in the 1910s by Somers Clarke, and the 1930s by Ugo Monneret de Villard. Peter Shinnie excavated for two periods in the early 1950s, and later, D. A. Welsby led the work of a team of archaeologists in the 1981 and 1982 periods; the work continued for the years 1989-1992. Salvage excavations were undertaken in the 2000s (by the Sudan Antiquities Service) and more recently (2019). The site has suffered from human activities and from the Blue Nile floods, similarly with other apparently Alodian sites between Khartoum and the 6th Cataract, namely Abu Nafisa fort and Hosh el-Kab fort that testify to post-Meroitic monuments down to the Funj (Islamic) times. Soba is an enormous site (275 hectares) and until now only 1% of the area has been explored in detail and/or excavated.

Soba, the Cathedral of the Capital of Alodia

It is only to be hoped that the Polish interdisciplinary project “Soba – the heart of Alwa”, launched in 2019-2020 by the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology University of Warsaw and the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, will bring fruitful results over the next few years, thus better documenting our knowledge about the origins and the long History of the kingdom of Alodia (or Alwa). About:Соба_(город)

Jay Spaulding, The Fate of Alodia, Meroitic Newsletter 15 October 1974 (starting p. 12)

Bishop Marianos of Faras (12th c.) – after the merge of Nobatia with Makuria

Although known also as toponym in pre-Christian sources, Alodia (Alwa) may well have originally been a city. However, in the first mention of Christianization of Alodia, we find a reference to a local king, who wanted to be baptized along with his subjects. This dates back to ca. 580-585 CE, and according to historical sources of the same period, the king of Alodia sent a letter to the king of Nobatia, asking the Nobatians to dispatch to Alodia a famous Coptic (: Egyptian) Monophysite / Miaphysite Christian bishop and missionary named Longinus to preach Christianity to the Alodians.

This event highlights the Christological disputes, which disparaged the Christian communities from the Atlantic Ocean to Central Asia to the Indian Ocean; the kingdom of Makuria, in opposition to Nobatia, was aligned with the Chalcedonian Orthodox Christianity (i.e. the Patriarchate of Constantinople), as I already said in the previous unit. The fact that a non-Christian king of Alodia, at the end of the 6th c. CE, wanted to be Christianized, through the help of the Nobatian king, by a Coptic bishop (and not by the nearby Christian kingdom of Makuria) clearly demonstrates a spiritual-cultural-royal rivalry with Makuria. Apparently, the Alodians -at a moment they had no idea about Christianity- did not want to accept Christianity through any contact with the Makurians. This situation reflects spiritual and cultural differences that had existed within the Meroitic kingdom between its northern (between Napata and Kawa, and further in the North) and its southern (around Meroe) inhabitants. The origins of these pre-Christian, spiritual and religious divisions that existed in both, Kemet/Egypt and Cush/Meroe, go back to the 3rd millennium BCE {see above units V: ‘Deep Spiritual-Religious Divisions among both, Kemetians (Egyptians) and Cushites (Sudanese: Ethiopians)’ and XVII: ‘Meroe’s Relations with Kemet/Egypt under the Ptolemies (305-30 BCE)’}.

This fact fully reconfirms the aforementioned terminus ante quem; it also makes it clear that until the end of the 6th c. (580-585) CE, there were no Christians in the region of the epicenter and in the southern-southeastern periphery of the already bygone Meroitic kingdom. This shows that the ‘early migratory wave’ lasted long and consisted in the relocation of many Meroites from the Shendi Reach to today’s Gezirah province of Sudan and further to the South, up to the area of the modern city of Malakal. The conversion of Alodia to Christianity, following the royal invitation extended to a Copt Monophysitic bishop, is a major and truly critical historical development that greatly concerns the History of the Meroitic-Oromo migrations and the History of Christianity in Eastern Africa.

First, it is quite indicative of the fact that the Axumite kingdom of Abyssinia never controlled any part of the territories of today’s Sudan and South Sudan, except perhaps the territories up to Meroe and only for few years. So, one understands very clearly that the map of the kingdom of Axum, which is disreputably published in the respective Wikipedia entry, is a complete forgery, probably paid by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abyssinia (Fake Ethiopia), which has systematically undertaken over the past decades a major propaganda effort. The Abyssinian state’s historical falsification campaign involves the over-magnification of all things Abyssinian in order to promote worldwide its bogus-historical dogma, while also starving and massacring the subjugated and persecuted nations imprisoned in this obsolete, colonial and genocidal tyranny. This is the fake map paid by the Abyssinians:

Second, it shows that the Axumites were not trusted by the Cushitic/Meroitic populations of Alodia. Despite the fact that Axum was far closer to Alodia than either Alexandria (capital of the Eastern Roman province of Egypt and headquarters of a leading Patriarchate) or Faras (capital of the kingdom of Nobatia), the king of Alodia did not send letters to Axum to ask for a bishop to evangelize Alodia.

Third, it also proves that the Axumite kingdom of Abyssinia, although linked with the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria and connected with the Eastern Roman Emperor at Constantinople, never carried out proper Christian missionary activities, rather constituting an isolated and marginal case. By the time the king of Alodia dispatched his letter to his counterpart in Nobatia, the descendants of king Kaleb in Axum had faced a stinging defeat in Yemen at the hands of the Sassanid Iranian army sent there by Emperor Khusraw I of Iran (Axum had sent an army to Yemen, following an imperial demand from Constantinople).

Fourth, this event also shows that, in fact, the kingdom of Axum was a non-African, Yemenite kingdom on African soil and therefore alien to all the Hamitic and Cushitic kingdoms and states, which stretched from Africa’s northeastern corner to the Black Continent’s south-easternmost confines inhabited during the Late Antiquity (the northern coast of today’s Mozambique). We can consequently realize that Ezana’s incursion of Meroe was rather an isolated event, which took place most probably due to the threatening Nubian attacks across the eastern territories of the then ailing Meroitic kingdom.

Fifth, it is also interesting to notice that, although Constantinople used Axum to support the Eastern Roman interests in Yemen against Iran, no Eastern Roman emperor had the ‘foresight’ to ask the Axumites to evangelize the Alodian Meroites. This is also quite telling.  

Longinus was a famous bishop and missionary, who consolidated Coptic Monophysitic / Miaphysitic Christianity in Nobatia first; he spent years in the Nobatian capital Faras duly institutionalizing the local Christian kingdom against the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchates and guaranteeing the pro-Monophysitic stance of the Nobatians. One cannot truly understand the historical developments that took place in Eastern Africa during the 5th and the 6th c. CE, without properly and fully contextualizing them within the Christological disputes that caused great and very passionate divisions, persecution and bloodshed among the Christians of those days. Makuria, the Cushitic kingdom that was located south of Nobatia and north of Alodia, had sided with the Eastern Roman capital Constantinople and the Orthodox Patriarchates, against the Coptic (Monophysitic/Miaphysitic) Patriarchate of Alexandria and Nobatia. Consequently, Makuria ferociously opposed Longinus’ travel to Alodia and effort to evangelize the local Cushitic people. However, the tenacious missionary managed to reach Alodia and convert the local Meroites to Coptic Monophysitic/Miaphysitic Christianity.

The major source of information about Longinus’ activities in Alodia, Nobatia and Egypt is John of Ephesus (507-588), an Aramaean born in Amida (today’s Diyarbakir in Turkey), who was bishop of Ephesus (in today’s Western Turkey) and remained until now as one of the major Fathers of the Christian Church.

John of Ephesus wrote a monumental Ecclesiastical History in Syriac Aramaic in which he covered a period of 600 years from Julius Caesar to the end of the 6th c. CE; this superb opus consisted of three parts, and each part contained six books. The first part seems to have probably been lost; the second part was reproduced in most of its contents in the Syriac Chronicle attributed to Dionysius of Tell Mahre; the third part, saved in a 7th c. manuscript, covers the narration of events that took place in the period 571-588. One of the few translations of the third part of the Ecclesiastical History of John of Ephesus (published by R. Payne Smith) is available online in the site Christian Classics Ethereal Library ( / / / /) 

The description of Longinus’ mission to Alodia covers several paragraphs of the fourth book (of the third part), notably paragraphs 48-53; John of Ephesus adds to his own narrative a Letter of the King of Alodia to the King of the Nubians (Nobadae), in which the former thanks the latter for having dispatched bishop Longinus, and a Letter of the king of the Nobadae to Theodore of Alexandria.

The narrative about the Christianization of Alodia includes a critical point for the reconstruction of the Cushitic History by modern historians. John of Ephesus makes repeatedly clarifications about the ethnic identity of the Alodians, and by so doing, he overwhelmingly demonstrates that today’s highly politicized and ideologized scholars’ assumptions and pretensions that Makuria and Alodia were ‘Nubian’ kingdoms and ‘Nilo-Saharan’ nations (like Nobatia) are misplaced, inconsistent and erroneous. There is nothing ‘Nubian’ in either the Makurians or the Alodians; both nations and kingdoms were Cushitic/Meroitic, i.e. ‘Ethiopian’. The sole Nubian kingdom was Nobatia, as I already stated.

These are the crucial excerpts and the clarifications that John of Ephesus, a 6th c. CE Aramaean who wrote in Syriac, made twice:

– “whom the Greeks call Alodaei, and who are supposed to be Aethiopians”

– “the conversion of the people whom the Greeks call Alodaei, but whom we believe to be Aethiopians, to the Christian faith”

This means that John of Ephesus was fully aware of the Cushitic/Meroitic Ethiopian identity of the Alodians and he kept using the name by which Aramaeans were describing the Meroites and the Cushites in the past.

The description of Longinus’ mission to Alodia contains several other important excerpts which highlight critical historical points; I herewith select three excerpts, which respectively underscore the following issues.

A) The deep hatred of the Chalcedonian, pro-Constantinopolitan Makurians against the Aramaean, Coptic and Nobatian Monophysitic/Miaphysitic Christianity; this excerpt is particularly impressive:

“the Makoritae; and when their king heard that Longinus had started on his journey, Satan in his envy stirred him up to set watchers in all the passes of his kingdom on all the roads, both in the mountains and in the plains, as far as the sea of weeds 28, in hopes of arresting Longinus, and so hindering the salvation of the powerful people of the Alodaei”.

B) The existence of a Blemmyan kingdom in the Eastern Desert and the Red Sea coastlands, with which Christian Nobatia was in good relations indeed; the following excerpt makes everything clear in this regard.

“But because of the wicked devices of him who dwells between us, I mean the king of the Makoritae, I sent my saintly father to the king of the Blemyes, that he might conduct him thither by routes farther inland; but the Makorite heard also of this, and set people on the look out in all the passes of his kingdom, both in the mountains and in the plains, and as far as the sea of weeds, wishing to lay hands on my father, and put a stop to the good work of God, as my father has written hither to tell me. And great was the wearisomeness and the bitter trials of soul and body which he endured in the land of the Blemyes, together with extreme privation and want. And yet even so the wicked devices of his enemy could not hinder the readiness of my saintly father in doing the work of God; and the Lord our God directed his ways and ordered his paths so that he travelled safely over long tracks of country, and escaped the strong garrisons set in his way, although he lost his retinue of camels and the other beasts of burden with him.”

C) The diffusion of the heresy of Julian of Halicarnassus among the Axumite Abyssinians, who seem to have established some sort of commercial contacts with the Alodians. Longinus is therefore mentioned (by John of Ephesus) as narrating his opposition to another Christian heretical theory (Aphthartodocetae), which had been diffused to some extent in Abyssinia. It is also interesting to notice how the author describes clearly the Nubians and the Alodians (‘Ethiopians’) as distinct from the Abyssinians.

“But inasmuch as there are certain Abyssinians, who have fallen into the malady of the fancy of Julianus, and say, that Christ suffered in a body not capable of pain, or of death, we have told them what is the correct belief, and have required them to anathematize this heresy in writing, and have received these persons upon their presenting their recantation”

Quite strikingly, one of the very early references to Alodia concerns the transaction of sale:

Richard Holton Pierce, ‘A sale of an Alodian slave girl: A reexamination of papyrus Strassburg Inv. 1404’ (Symbolae Osloenses, vol. LXX, p. 148–166)

XXX. Jebel Moya, the First and the Second Migratory Waves, and the Transformation of the Migrant Meroites and Alodians into Oromos

When Alodia accepted Christianity (580-585 CE), the early migratory wave of Meroites had already been completed. A great number of descendants of the subjects of the various Qore (kings) and Kandake (queens) of the 1st and the 2nd centuries CE lived, 400 years later, in numerous, autonomous, self-ruled communities, which were located in an area 200-600 km south of today’s Khartoum. Among them, there was no ‘Qore’ anymore. That is why it is not strange in Af Somali this word was preserved (as ‘boqor’: king) until now, whereas in Afaan Oromo it was not. The two Cushitic groups separated quite early, both retained the same word for millennia, but when one of these two groups experienced circumstances whereby the word turned out to be useless, it simply fell in desuetude and it became obsolete.

The early migratory wave can be reconstituted very well, after the advance of archaeological research in the region between the White Nile and the Blue Nile; several sites have been excavated thus far in the Gezirah province, but the immensity of some of them necessitates time until we can get an accurate idea about the existing archaeological strata and the findings. In these cases, stratigraphy matters greatly.

Archaeological research must be undertaken further in the South, beyond the region between the Sudanse cities of Sennar and Kosti, throughout the Sennar, Blue Nile, South Kordofan, and Upper Nile administrative regions of Sudan and South Sudan. The region around Ed Damazin and up to Malakal must be explored systematically; this is what the Roseires Dam heightening archaeological salvage project and the excavations at Azaza site ROSE 5 suggest. See the Preliminary Report (by Mahmoud Suliman Bashir, Murtada Bushara Mohamed and Mohammed Saad Abdalah — Sudan & Nubia, No 16, pp. 132-139; published by The Sudan Archaeological Research Society, 2012) here:

Greatly interesting findings have also been unearthed in Gheresli, Abu Geili and Saqadi, three sites in the vicinity of Sennar. In Saqadi, the church seems to have been constructed through use/adjustment of an earlier building, which is indication of a settlement that belonged to the early migratory wave, before it became part of Alodia. From several sites in the Gezirah and Blue Nile regions, we get a clear idea about sheer continuity in textile activities from Meroitic to post-Meroitic times. This means that, when it comes to basics of communal daily life, the migrant Meroites continued the same habits and used the same techniques that they had inherited from their forefathers. About:

‘Gheresli: a post-Meroitic activity center in the Blue Nile region’ (by Mohamed Faroug Abd el-Rahman — Sudan & Nubia, No 10, p. 104-109; published by The Sudan Archaeological Research Society, 2006)

Abu Geili and Saqadi and Dar el Mek O. G. S. Crawford and Frank Addison (1951)

Elsa Yvanez, ‘Clothing the elite? Patterns of textile production and consumption in Ancient Sudan and Nubia’, Fasciculi Archaeologiae Historicae, fasc. XXXI (2018), p. 81-92

Elsa Yvanez, ‘Spinning in Meroitic Sudan: textile production implements from Abu Geili’, Dotawo 3 (2016), p. 153–178

A major site in the wider Gezirah region is Jebel Moya; it was early excavated by the pioneering entrepreneur, Adventist, Freemason, collector and amateur archaeologist Sir Henry Wellcome in the period 1911–1914. The monumental size of the unusual site required thousands of workers, and only a determined adventurer like the American-born English businessman-turned-excavator could manage to do it, by hiring thousands of laborers. Despite the massive scale of the excavations, only one fifth of the entire site was dealt with until the archaeological activities stopped because of WWI. Around 3000 tombs were reported and almost all were excavated.

Jebel Moya

Various artifacts, statuettes and scarabs, imitating the Meroitic style, as well as ornaments and amulets have been unearthed, although not in big numbers as it regularly happens in sites close to the center of the Cushitic/Napatan and the Meroitic kingdoms. However, due to the nature of the attempt, and following several obstacles (including Sir Henry Wellcome’s death in 1936), the official report of the excavations was first published in the late 1940s (in three volumes). As a quarter century had passed after the excavation, numerous notes and detailed observations were lost, and the troublesome excavation ended up with a problematic publication and an erroneous dating. The series is available online:

The Wellcome excavations in the Sudan (authors: Addison, Frank; Crawford, Osbert Guy Stanhope; and Lacaille, A. D.) 1949-1951

v.1. Jebel Moya (Text) by F. Addison, with a chapter by A.D. Lacaille

v.2. Jebel Moya (Plates)

v.3. Abu Geili, by O.G.S.Crawford and Saquadi & Dar el Mek, by F. Addison.


Wellcome’s excavations at Jebel Moya
Jebel Moya: view showing stone incinerator in foreground and tents in background Credit: Wellcome Library, London
Jebel Moya site: general excavations
Wellcome’s headquarters at Jebel Moya

Jebel Moya was not only a cemetery, but also an inhabited site with very complex stratigraphy; due to the bothersome story of the site (an early, partly and improper excavation followed by a late and confusing publication of the report), several other researchers attempted to date the apparently three main periods of site occupation, but failed to come up with plausible interpretative scenarios and comprehensive understanding of the archaeological phenomenon of Jebel Moya. In some extreme cases, archaeologists (particularly Rudolf Gerharz) attempted to solve the ‘problem’ in the easiest manner; when they cannot duly assess the complex details, they give a remote date.

However, most of the site specialists nowadays reasonably date the third (last/more recent) period of occupation  in the first millennium CE, including Late Meroitic and post-Meroitic times. It is only to be hoped that the Jebel Moya Project will come up with further, extensive excavations, a more systematic approach, and a pragmatist interpretation of the material record. It is very promising that the earlier, radical and misplaced hypothesis of Jebel Moya being inhabited only by various ‘pastoralists’ is by now abandoned and that leading field scholars state clearly that Jebel Moyans were “pastoralists and farmers” alike.

As a matter of fact, the dimensions of this crucially important archaeological site are such that one can be sure that, irrespective of earlier occupations (which are now logically dated back to the 3rd, 2nd and 1st millennia BCE), Jebel Moya Phase III represents a site of migrant Meroites, who had already spread in the wider region for two centuries and made of this location a holy site for ancestral commemoration. The otherwise inexplicable abandonment of Jebel Moya Phase III at ca. 500-550 CE will be fully elucidated with the identification and excavation of other sites further in the South in the direction of Malakal and beyond.

The Jebel Moya Project: Pastoralists and Farmers in Southern Sudan

A major drawback that prevents many archaeologists from shaping an accurate idea about the sites that they excavate is the model of archaeology that they have in mind. The academic formation of an archaeologist involves his indoctrination with one of the several existing theoretical models or paradigms of archaeology to which he/she subsequently tries to adjust his/her practical field work. Models of archaeology play a determinant role in the way excavators interpret findings and reconstitute life as they think it took place in the past; this is so because, in reality, these models are ways of perceiving life phenomena. The topic is vast and an enormous literature exists in this regard. This situation affects greatly the topic of the Meroitic-Alodian migration from the Nile Valley through various parts of Eastern Africa to the highlands of today’s Oromia.

The reason for the impact that the academic indoctrination and formation has on the Meroitic-Oromo migration is the fact that until recently all the earlier models of archaeology ostracized the concept of ‘migration’ and rejected the eventuality of ‘foreign impact’ or ‘influence’, preferring (in a most mistaken manner) to study the local findings independently from the wider context and to extremely minimize any external influence exercised within a certain land. Why this happened is easy to assess; anyone, studying external influences exerted on a culture/civilization, will soon reach conclusions, which will give a lethal blow to the still prevailing false Euro-centric (Romano-centric and Greco-centric) dogma of History. By theorizing about an ‘independent historical evolution in every land of civilization’, today’s fake academics and ideologized archaeologists thought that they will gain some time to further diffuse their racist fallacy as ‘true History’.

Consequently, what was missing was a model of archaeology based on a Migration Theory; only recently a real debate on migration in archaeology started taking place. This will bring forth new viewpoints on the already existing material record; more importantly, it will affect many Africanists’ and Sudan archaeologists’ approach to the future archaeological research in the wider Eastern African region and to their task priorities. I give an example of the new, rising concept and archaeological model with the excerpt below; it is taken from the abstract of an article co-authored by three scholars and published only last year.

Traditionally, patterns of population movements were denoted from material culture and interpreted within the context of ethnicity and the diffusion of ideas without considering underlying processes and incentives, despite active consideration of these issues by geographers and sociologists. It was not until the 1990s that a more integrated archaeological discussion on the various stimuli, influences, and mechanisms of why people choose to migrate was beginning to evolve. Since then, the debate on migration in archaeology has not only reflected on patterns of cultural and technological change but also increasingly on aspects of identity and self-realization; both in terms of how migrants themselves adapt and adjust to their new home environment, and how the host-communities themselves respond and interact with newcomers.

McSparron, C., Donnelly, C., Murphy, E. et al. Migration, Group Agency, and Archaeology: A New Theoretical Model, Int J Histor Archaeol 24, 219–232 (2020)

In my aforementioned (see above unit XXVII: Blemmyes, Nubians, Axumites and the End of Meroe) communication in the Oromo Studies Conference in 2005 (Meroitic / Oromo Ethiopian Continuity), I spoke about two migratory waves and identified their direction as following the flow of the Blue Nile (Ed Damazin and Asosa). Over the past 15 years, following my research, I slightly modified my early ideas about the direction taken by the two migratory movements. Both movements consisted of Nile river Cushitic farmers and pastoralists, but they took different direction in their migration, although at the end, they encountered one another in the highlands of Oromia.

The first migratory wave (340-580 CE) advanced to the South and, after abandoning sites -already known to us or not- in the Gezirah, the migrant Meroites proceeded further to South, moving alongside rivers like the White Nile (of course, east of the vast, swampy Sudd region), Sobat, Baro, Gebba, Birbir and Omo, down to the region of the northern shores of Lake Turkana. From there, in later periods and for different reasons, they moved northwards. This movement was triggered by the chaotic situation, which prevailed throughout the Meroitic kingdom during the 4th c. CE, because of

a) the long lasted fights between Blemmyes and Nubians,

b) the Nubian attacks against Meroitic territories, which led to the collapse of Meroe, and

c) the Axumite Abyssinian incursion in Meroe.

As migratory movement, it consisted of many partly moves. To better visualize the movement, see maps published here:

The second migratory wave (550-650 CE) was quite smaller; the migrant Cushites of the Alodian periphery advanced to the southeast-east, moving alongside rivers like Dinder, Rahad, Dubaba and Gelegu, and later they proceeded further to the east-southeast. This movement was generated because of the rise of the Alodian royal rule, which could not be easily accepted by numerous post-Meroitic communities that were already accustomed to decentralized and autonomous self-administration. The Christianization of Alodia (ca. 580-585 CE) may have not been a major issue for the migrant Cushites, except for the strengthening of the royal authority that it may have caused. These migrant Cushitic Alodians may have been part of the early migratory wave, but they had settled in lands, which later became the epicenter of the Alodian kingdom.

Recent archaeological surveys and excavations in the upper flow of Gelegu river in the Amhara Region (Qwara woreda) shed light into the Gelegu culture, which is by all means identified as closely related to Meroitic, post-Meroitic and Alodian settlements in the adjacent lands of Butana and Gezirah. About:

Alfredo González-Ruibal and Álvaro Falquina, ‘In Sudan’s Eastern Borderland: Frontier Societies of the Qwara Region (ca. AD 600-1850)’, Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 15, Issue 2

Alfredo González-Ruibal, ‘The cosmopolitan borderland: western Ethiopia c. AD 600–1800’ (published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 March 2021)

Closing this overview of topics pertaining to the Cushitic migrations across Eastern Africa, I have once more to stress (as I already did before 15-16 years for the first time) the need for today’s Oromos to systematize their research on the following four main axes, in order to better document, duly elucidate, plainly assess, and accurately comprehend the Meroitic-Alodian migrations, which drove the Cushites from the Nile Valley to the highlands of Oromia:

A- Culture, religion, spirituality, philosophical-behavioral system

B- Archaeology

C- Linguistic-epigraphic approach

D- Comparative anthropology (Culturology or cross-cultural studies)

The recently increased scientific focus on cultures and sites of the Meroitic periphery will only facilitate the task. However, it is imperative for today’s conscious and patriotic Oromos to systematically finance the preparation of a small group of young Oromo Egyptologists, epigraphists, Coptologists, Sudan archaeologists, Cushitic linguists, and historians of religion, who -having studied in non-colonial countries like Germany, Poland and Russia- will be able to undertake this research project of national dimensions, which will reconfirm what I already said before 15 years:

The common origins, ethnic identity, cultural heritage, and ancestral lands of the Oromos and the Arabic-speaking Sudanese must make of these two peoples feel that they are the two faces of the same coin.

– The Oromos preserved the ancestral language.

– The Arabic-speaking Sudanese preserved the ancestral land and monuments.

It is high time that the two peoples unite in one nation, one land, and one state and rise in force as the ultimate resuscitation of the eternal Cush – Sudan – Oromia –Ethiopia, while also liberating the other Cushitic nations of Eastern Africa from the Abyssinian Amhara-Tigray barbarism, cruelty and tyranny.  


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