Cush

The world has you believing civilizations like Greece and Rome were the epitome of mankind and that they popped up out of nowhere. Where do you think they got their knowledge from? All of their Gods, Science, Astronomy, Mathematics, Medicine, Architecture, Philosophy etc. was derived from preexisting empires in Cush and Kemet (Egypt). Appropriation and theft of culture/knowledge at its finest.  

Kushite Empire - Part 2: “Battle for Memphis”

ethelwulfhrodberht, irminsul-crepusculum-soporis, franiel32, willoftzeentchjohnnylawgottagun, jespru, vivilu98teamvoorhees, haphaez, weblyra

Kushite Empire - Part 1: “Rise of the Kushite Empire” - LINK


Capture of Oxyrhynchus, Tetehen, Hatbenu

They captured Oxyrhynchus and set siege to the great fortress of Teheneh: 
“Then the battering-ram [or siege tower] was employed against it, its wall was overthrown, and a great slaughter was made among them of unknown number; also the son of the chief of the Meshesh, Tefnakhte.”

The city of Hatbenu was also taken, and yet Piye still wasn’t pleased. Piye made it to the city of Thebes where he where he celebrated a Feast to Amun and a Feast to Opet. He then set sail towards Hermopolis where he scolded his men for taking this long to finish off the enemy.

Foreign prisoners of Ramesses III - Libyan, Nubian, Syrian, Shasu Bedouin, and Hittite. Note the Libyan’s tattoos.

Piye sieges Hermopolis:
“He set up for himself the camp on the southwest of Hermopolis and besieged it daily. An embankment was made, to enclose the wall; a tower was raised to elevate the archers while shooting, and the slingers while slinging stones, and slaying people among them daily.”

Days later the city surrendered [as did Nimlot], offering all manner of gifts in gold, silver, bronze, precious stones [lapis lazuli, malachite among others], clothing, and the uraeus of Nimlot. There Piye visited the temple of the god Thoth (Hermopolis’ patron god), after he made sacrifices of bulls, fowl and calves, the people of Hermopolis rejoiced.

^ Libyans. Note the tattoos

^ Libyan Warrior. Note the tattoos

^ Libyans captured by Egyptians. Note the tattoos.

[Before the Libyans came to rule over Egypt they were depicted as having tattoos, long hair with long side locks, antelope skin robes, shaved mustache but the beard was left alone unless long enough to braid. Later on, under Egyptian influence, they began to have shorter hair which was braided and beaded, two feathers atop their heads, and although they kept their antelope skin robes they now also wore the Egyptian styled kilts which sported an animal tail from the band.]

^ Libyans and Egyptians

His love of horses
“It has been noted in recent  studies of horse skeletons from el Kurru by Bokonyi (1993) and the textual evidence of use of horses in Kushite warfare indicates that the finest horses used in contemporary Egypt and Assyria were bred and exported from Nubia” - Nubian  Pharaohs and Meroitic Kings

His love of horses, as stated in his stela which resided at Jebel Barkal:

“And his majesty went into the palace where the horses were kept, and into the stalls of the foals and he perceived that they had been suffering from hunger, and he said, “I swear by my own life, and the love for Ra, that to my mind, to allowed my horses to suffer hunger is the worst violence of all the evil things which thou has done in the violence of thy heart.””

King in the North

[RED] Tefnakhte - King in the North, Chief of the West, Libyan King of Saïs. 

The ruler of Heracleopolis, Pefnefdibast (an ally of Piye), bore tribute in the form of gold, silver, precious stones, horses and “He threw himself upon his belly before his majesty” in praise and as symbol of loyalty. Piye sailed north and reached the stronghold of Per-Sekhemkhperre which under the threatening words of Piye, opened its gates to him and no blood was shed (“granaries [were assigned] to the divine offerings of his father, Amon-Re, lord of Thebes”).The same occurred at the cities of Mer-Atum [Meidum] and Ithtowe (Itjtawy - Aphroditopolis). 

Battle of Memphis

Nubian troops storm the walled capital of Memphis with flaming arrows
by Gregory Manchess

The next city to give resistance was that of Memphis which refused to open its doors and raised a militia army of artisans, builders and sailors. Under the cover of darkness Tefnakhte entered Memphis, reinforcing the militia with his best men, this army now numbered 8,000 men.

“It is fortified with a wall; a great battlement has been built, executed with skillful workmanship. The river flows around the east side, and no opportunity of attack is found there.”

There seemed to be no plausible way to take the city, the enraged Piye ordered his men to gather up every ship that lay within the harbor of Memphis and sail the against the walls as to mount them via the masts of the ships.

“Then his majesty was enraged against it like a panther; he said: “I swear, as Re loves me, as my father, Amon [who fashioned me], favors me, this shall befall it, according to the command of Amon.”

“I will take it like a flood of water, for Amun has commanded me!”

“His majesty himself came to line up the ships, as many as there were. His majesty commanded his army (saying): "Forward against it! Mount the walls! Penetrate the houses over the river. If one of you gets through upon the wall, let him not halt before it, [so that] the (hostile) troops may not repulse you.”

[Note the masts of the ships behind the wall]

The city of Memphis was taken “as (by) a flood of water” and because they resisted him, there was a great slaughter (the survivors were held captives [The city was then ritually cleansed with natron and incense].

After the fall of the city of Memphis, resistance in the region fell away, princes and kings of the Nile Delta came to the king with offerings treasure and peace. Only the city of Mesed revolted but it was swiftly quelled and every man within its walls was slaughtered.

A triumphant Kushite King accepting the homage of vanquished princes in Egypt in 724 BC By James Gurney

Piye’s Victory stele, Piye is given tribute by four Nile Delta rulers

Piye now returned to Kush with the riches they attained on this holy conquest.  
“Then the ships were laden with silver, gold, copper, clothing, and everything of the Northland, every product of Syria, and all sweet woods of God’s Land.”

Piye was buried at El-Kurru, one of the royal cemeteries used by the Nubian royal family.

El-Kurru Pyramid. K.17 contains a tomb dating to the time of Piye

A rough estimate of how tall the pyramid might have once been, About 34.5 meters high (113.189 feet high), compared to some of the other pyramids which used to be about 34 meters high as well (111.549 feet high). [Source]

Wide view of Nubian pyramids, Meroe. Three of these pyramids are reconstructed.

Jebel Barkal - the pillar on the left was seen as the giant statue of a cobra, therefore the mountain was seen as a giant uraeus (picture by T. Kendall)

Bronze statuette of the Nubian King, Shabaqo by B. V. Bothmer
Note the uraeus atop his head.

Most of the information I’ve supplied has come straight from the English translations of Piye’s stele. (SOURCE)

The Beach

Could you do an imagine where you’re talking to a childhood friend (who happens to be hot) and your crush gets jealous and when he walks by pretends to be your boyfriend and sweeps you off your feet (literally)??? Sorry it’s so long! - ilovetobias46

Imagine: You’re at the beach with a group of friends from school on a sunny day. [y/c] was supposed to be meeting you guys, but he was yet to make an appearance. The rest of your friends tried to convince you into joining them in the water for a swim, but you decided to stay and wait for [y/c] on the sand. The beach was overcrowded, and trying to search for [y/c] was nearly impossible. You stood up to get a better view when a vaguely familiar voice called your name. “[y/n!]”

>Whirling around, you quickly discovered that the source of the voice was your childhood friend, [f/n], who had moved away from the area years ago. “[f/n], is that you? How have you been?”

He sauntered over, and you noticed that he now had an arrogant smirk plastered on his face.

>”I’ve been good I guess—Long time no see, right? Wow its been years since I saw you last- you look so different that I barely recognized you.” He gave you a not-so-subtle once over. “In a good way I mean,” he winked.

>“Uh, thanks,” you coughed out uncomfortably. Who does this guy think he is? He has become such a jerk, you thought, even if he is slightly attractive—Okay, really attractive. His eyes were roaming way too far down for your liking, and you felt exposed in your bikini-clad body.

>“Are you here alone [y/n]? Wanna take a dip in the ocean with me?” his eyes were still glued to your chest and you felt disgusted by his rudeness.

>You opened your mouth to answer no, but a deep voice from behind beat you to it.

“No, she’s here with me—right babe?” It was [y/c], and your stomach started doing somersaults even though you knew he was pretending. Rendered speechless by his voice, you nodded frantically and felt your feet being swept up from the ground at the same time that a muscular arm snaked its way around your waist. [y/c] cradled you up against his chest and you squealed in a mixture of pleasure and surprise. [y/c]  looked down at you worriedly before glaring at the deflated looking [f/n]. “And by the way d**khead, if I ever catch your pathetic eyes wandering anywhere they shouldn’t on my girlfriend again, I will not hesitate to blind you.” he said in the harshest tone you’d ever heard him use, making [y/f] flee- proving how weak he really was.

>“Are you okay, [y/n]?” [y/c] asked sounded concerned.

>”Yeah, I’m fine,” you peeked up at him from where you rested against his sculpted chest.

>He had a mischievous glint in his eyes, and his lips were hinting at a grin. This couldn’t be good. Suddenly, you were tossed over [y/c]’s shoulder as if you weighed nothing, and he began sprinting towards the water. You screamed as he ran, and your head was jostling around on his back. You weren’t going to complain about the view you had though- [y/c] definitely worked out often. Pretty soon, [y/c] began splashing through the shallow water- eventually having to paddle when it grew deeper. He patted your leg, “how’s it going back there?”

>“Put me down please [y/c],” you whined, flinching when the icy water splashed your face.

>”What was that? Put you down?” he sounded amused.

>”Ye—No! Don’t put me down [y/c]! Please don’t let go of me,” you pleaded as it dawned on you that putting you down would mean being dropped into the freezing water.

>He chuckled, “alright [y/n], I won’t let you go”.

>That’s when he dived completely under the water, pulling you in with him. When you both resurfaced, you splashed him in the face. “Oh my god, you are such a jerk!” you were only feigning being annoyed.

>“You love me though,” he grinned cheekily, putting his arms around your waist and pulling you close. His face turned serious, “[y/n], who was that guy before?”

>”Just an old friend of the family. I haven’t seen him in years, so I didn’t know what a loser he has become,” you explained. “Thanks for pretending to be my boyfriend, by the way.”

>He nodded, believing you. ”[y/n], if any guy ever makes you uncomfortable again, I want you to call me and I will be there to set them straight. Always. Okay?”

>”Like my over-protective big brother?” you giggled.

>He groaned. “No, not like that.” His cheeks seemed to flush. “Look, [y/n], I don’t really know how to say this, but… I like you, like really like you. And seeing other guys constantly looking at you and trying to get your attention kind of makes me jealous.” Something inside of you was fluttering. “What I’m trying to say is, uh, will you be mine [y/n]?”

>”Of course [y/c]! I like you too you dork,” you smiled- splashing him lightly.

>”Well in that case—“ His rough lips captured yours and he kissed you passionately. Instinctively you wrapped your arms around his neck, smiling into the kiss when he tightened his group on you and you realized how jealous [y/c] really would have been earlier.

>When you both parted for air, you heard cheering nearby and realized your friends had been watching you two the entire time. You turned back to [y/c]. “My girlfriend,” he breathed out happily, “I could get used to this.”

Kushite Empire - Part 1: “Rise of the Kushite Empire

ethelwulfhrodberht, irminsul-crepusculum-soporis,
johnnylawgottagun, jespru, vivilu98

Part 2: Battle for Memphis - LINK 

Prelude: Jebel Barkal and Napata

Under Thutmose I (c.1506-1493 BC), campaigns were led against Nubia which would eventually reach beyond the 4th cataract.

“Year 3, first month of the third season, day 22. His Majesty sailed this canal in victory and in the power of his return from overthrowing the wretched Kush.”

“O ye people of Dju-Wa’ab (‘Pure Mountain’), which was called Nesut-Tawy (‘Thrones of the Two Lands’ ie. Nubia and Egypt) before it was known.”

Jebel Barkal - Meroitic royal pyramids of the first century BC appearing behind
by Enrico Ferorelli

There was a mountain that when seen by the Egyptians, they were convinced that it was the residence of the god Amun, it was named Dju-Wa’ab (“Pure Mountain”) and Nesut-Tawy (“Thrones of the Two Lands”).

Ramesses II in his war chariot charging into battle against the Nubians

In the 15th regnal year of the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III (Born, 1481 BC. Ruled from 1479-1425 BC) established a fort and garrison there as well as a grand temple to Amun at Jebel Barkal. He notes that there was a native town near the mountain which would later be  named Napata. In time Egypt itself was at war with the Libyans, the Sea Peoples, and each  other and had to retract control over Kush, this fragmentation would later  make the conquest by the Nubians all the easier.

Egypt and Nubia c.1300 BC

Rise of Kush

Alara

He ruled Nubia in a time where the Egyptian language and hieroglyphics were used in their inscriptions, as well as granting themselves Egyptian royal titles, spoke of themselves as the “- heirs of the New Kingdom pharaohs” and the “-sons of Amun”. He unified Nubia from the city of Meroe to the third cataract and established the city of Napata as its capital and was the first significant restorer of the Amun cult in Nubia.

Reconstruction of the temple of Amon near Jebel Barkal

Kashta
(“the Kushite, from the land of Kush”, reign c.760-750 BC)

After the death of Alara, his son took the throne. He ruled Nubia from the capital city of Napata. He built a mud-brick palace at Jebel Barkal, and is believed to have been the first of his dynasty to have lived in Napata permanently. This Kushite king placed his daughter, Amenirdis I, as the successor of a position called ‘God’s Wife of Amun’, the highest rank one could have within the Amun cult which was centered in Thebes. This important religious and political position took the Nubians one step closer to taking over Egyptian lands.

His takeover has been seen as a peaceful one, as those who previously ruled remained within the city, working jointly with the Nubians and were eventually buried in Thebes. His arrived at Thebes was welcomed by the priests of Amun for they were under threat from the north and had long relied upon Nubian soldiers for protection (for more on this, see my post on the Medjay). Egyptian culture and religion flooded into Nubia during his reign and after his death he was buried within a Nubian pyramid. Kashta’s successor was his son Piye, the most famous of the Nubian of this dynasty.

Piye 
(ruled c. 750-712 BC)

Upon attaining the throne of Nubia and Upper Egypt (southern Egypt, Thebes in this instance) he placed his daughter Shepenwepet II as ‘God’s Wife of Amun’. Taking advantage of the fragmented situation of Lower Egypt (Northern Egypt) Piye began to expand northward and in doing so he attracted the eyes of Tefnakhte of Sais rose against him.

War of the Five Kings

Fragmented Egypt during the Third Intermediate Period

[PURPLE] Piye – Nubian King of Kush and Thebes.
[RED] Tefnakhte - Chief of the West, Libyan King of Saïs.
[GREY] Osorkon IV – Libyan Pharaoh of Tanis and Bubastis.
[YELLOW] Iuput II – Libyan King of Leontopolis.
[TAN] Nimlot – Libyan King of Hermopolis.

During this period the majority of Egypt was under the control of the Libyan Weshesh, both the 23rd and the 24th dynasties of Egypt were ruled by Libyan pharaohs. One of these Libyan rulers was named Tefnakhte, a prince ruling from the city of Saïs, rallies the north and rises against the South. City after city fell to him; out of fear they opened their gates and welcomed his forces. Piye hears of this incoming threat:

“Then [his majesty] heard [the message] with courageous heart, laughing, and joyous of heart. These princes and commanders of the army who were in their cities sent to his majesty daily, saying: “Wilt thou be silent, even to forgetting the Southland, the divisions of the [court]? While Tefnakhte advances his conquest and finds none to repel his arm.”

Namert, once an ally of Piye, sides with Tefnakhte. Seeing this as a holy war supported by Amun himself, Piye readies his army and has them perform a ritual cleansing at the Amun cult temple of Karnak in Thebes.

[TAN] Nimlot - Libyan King of Hermopolis
[ORANGE] Peftjauawybast – Ally of Piye, ruler of Herakleopolis.

‘We know not what he cries in mustering troops. Yoke the war horses, the best of thy stable; draw up the line of battle! Thou knowest that Amon is the god who has sent us.’ ”

“When ye arrive at Thebes, before Karnak, ye shall enter into the water, ye shall bathe in the river, ye shall dress in [fine linen], unstring the bow, loosen the arrow. Let not the chief boast as a mighty man; there is no strength to the mighty without him, He [Amun] maketh the weak-armed into the strong-armed, so that multitudes flee from the feeble, and one alone taketh a thousand men.

Sprinkle yourselves with the water of his altars, sniff the ground [kneel, bow]before him. Say ye to him, ‘Give us the way, that we may fight in the shadow of thy sword. (As for) the generation [young men] whom thou hast sent out, when its attack occurs, multitudes flee before it.’ ”

^ Nubians

^ Nubians trading with Egyptians. The Nubians exported ebony and ivory, gold, ostrich feathers, slaves, leopard skins, exotic fruits and animals.

“there are mines of gold, silver, iron and brass, besides abundance of ebony and all sorts of precious stones.” - Diodorus I: 33

^ Nubians dancing to the sound of a drum.

For more on the Nubians, check out my post on the Medjay.

Battle on the Nile
729/28 BC

As Piye’s army sails northward they meet up with a large northern navy which was slaughtered and the survivors captured. They then went to the frontier of Heracleopolis and demanded a battle.

“They sailed down-stream upon the river, they found many ships coming up-streams bearing soldiers, sailors, and commanders, every valiant man of the Northland, equipped with weapons of war, to fight  against the army of his majesty. Then there was made a great slaughter among them, (whose) number was unknown. Their troops and their ships were captured, and brought as living captives to the place where his majesty was [Napata].”

The Battles Near Heracleopolis

Another naval battle occurred, a great slaughter fell upon the northern force with the survivors landing on the west side of the Nile. The next morning the enemy was slain in a pitched battle, both horses and men of unknown number had fallen, leading the enemy to rout back to the North.

Hermopolis

The traitor Nimlot fled to the city of Hermopolis and Piye’s forces sieged it. Reports were sent to Piye of their victories, “enraged like a panther” by the fact that a remnant of the enemy army has fled northward, he marches northward to finish them off.

“I will myself go northward, that I may destroy that which he has done, that I may make him turn back from fighting, forever.”

^ Egyptians

Though Egypt was ruled by the Libyans, the military stayed relatively similar to the Egyptian archetype. 

[^ An assumption that I made from what artwork I’ve seen from the period. I could be wrong, if I am then politely inbox me privately so I can correct this. These Libyan dynasties are still seen as obscure to most historians and archaeologists]

^ Sphinx of the Libyan Pharaoh, Shoshenq I

Pendant bearing the cartouche of the Libyan Pharaoh, Osorkon II

Relief thought to depict the Libyan Pharaoh, Osorkon IV

Libyan Pharaoh, Tefnakht, on his year 8 stela. The Chief of the West

Most of the information I’ve supplied has come straight from the English translations of Piye’s stele. (SOURCE)

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