There were many other Kingdoms in Africa, not just the Kingdom of Egypt, that are worthy of praise and honour. Indeed, Egypt played a great role in civilization, but it was only one of many on the continent. Below are few of the many greats:
While Europe was experiencing its Dark Ages, a period of intellectual, cultural and economic regression from the sixth to the 13th centuries, Africans were experiencing an almost continent-wide renaissance after the decline of the Nile Valley civilizations of Egypt and Nubia.
The leading civilizations of this African rebirth were the Axum Empire, the Kingdom of Ghana, the Mali Empire, the Songhai Empire, the Ethiopian Empire, the Mossi Kingdoms and the Benin Empire.
The Aksum or Axum Empire was an important military power and trading nation in the area that is now Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, existing from approximately 100 to 940 A.D.
At its height, it was one of only four major international superpowers of its day along with Persia, Rome and China. Axum controlled northern Ethiopia, Eritrea, northern Sudan, southern Egypt, Djibouti, Western Yemen, and southern Saudi Arabia, totaling 1.25 million square kilometers, almost half the size of India. Axum traded and projected its influence as far as China and India, where coins minted in Axum were discovered in 1990.
Axum was previously thought to have been founded by Semitic-speaking Sabaeans who crossed the Red Sea from South Arabia (modern Yemen) on the basis of Conti Rossini’s theories —but most scholars now agree that when it was founded it was an indigenous African development.
Kingdom of Ghana
Centered in what is today Senegal and Mauritania, the Kingdom of Ghana dominated West Africa between about 750 and 1078 A.D. Famous to North Africans as the “Land of Gold,” Ghana was said to possess sophisticated methods of administration and taxation, large armies, and a monopoly over notoriously well-concealed gold mines.
The king of the Soninke people who founded Ghana never fully embraced Islam, but good relations with Muslim traders were fostered. Ancient Ghana derived power and wealth from gold and the use of the camel increased the quantity of goods that were transported. One Arab writer, Al-Hamdani, describes Ghana as having the richest gold mines on Earth. Ghana was also a great military power. According to one narrative, the king had at his command 200,000 warriors and an additional 40,000 archers.
After the fall of the Kingdom of Ghana, the Mali Empire rose to dominate West Africa. Located on the Niger River to the west of Ghana in what is today Niger and Mali, the empire reached its peak in the 1350s.
The Mali Empire was founded by Mansa (King) Sundiata Keita and became renowned for the wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Musa. He was the grandson of Sundiata’s half-brother, and led Mali at a time of great prosperity, during which trade tripled. During his rule, Mansa Musa doubled the land area of Mali; it became a larger kingdom than any in Europe at the time.
The cities of Mali became important trading centers for all of West Africa, as well as famous centers of wealth, culture and learning. Timbuktu, an important city in Mali, became one of the major cultural centers not only of Africa but of the entire world. Vast libraries and Islamic universities were built. These became meeting places of the finest poets, scholars and artists of Africa and the Middle East.
The Kingdom of Mali had a semi-democratic government with one of the world’s oldest known constitutions – The Kurukan Fuga.
The Kurukan Fuga of the Mali Empire was created after 1235 by an assembly of nobles to create a government for the newly established empire. The Kurukan Fouga divided the new empire into ruling clans that were represented at a great assembly called the Gbara. The Gbara was the deliberative body of the Mali Empire and was made up of 32 members from around 29 clans. They were given a voice in the government and were a check against the emperor’s (mansa’s) power. It was presided over by a belen-tigui (master of ceremonies) who recognized anyone who wanted to speak including the mansa. The Gbara and the Kurukan Fuga remained in place for over 40o years until 1645.
According to Wikipedia, Disney’s “Lion King” movie was based on the real life narrative of Mansa Sundiata Keita.
The Songhai Empire, also known as the Songhay Empire, was the largest state in African history and the most powerful of the medieval west African states. It expanded rapidly beginning with King Sonni Ali in the 1460s and by 1500s, it had risen to stretch from Cameroon to the Maghreb. In 1360, disputes over succession weakened the Mali Empire, and in the 1430s, Songhai, previously a Mali dependency, gained independence under the Sonni Dynasty. Around thirty years later, Sonni Sulayman Dama attacked Mema, the Mali province west of Timbuktu, paving the way for his successor, Sonni Ali, to turn his country into one of the greatest empires sub-Saharan Africa has ever seen.
Perhaps, it’s most popular leader was Muhammad Askia the Great. At its peak, the Songhai city of Timbuktu became a thriving cultural and commercial center. Arab, Italian and Jewish merchants all gathered for trade. By 1500, the Songhai Empire covered over 1.4 million square kilometers.
The Ethiopian Empire
The Ethiopian Empire also known as Abyssinia, covered a geographical area that the present-day northern half of Ethiopia covers. It existed from approximately 1137 (beginning of Zagwe Dynasty) until 1975 when the monarchy was overthrown in a coup d’état. In 1270, the Zagwe dynasty was overthrown by a king claiming lineage from the Aksumite emperors and, hence, Solomon. The thus-named Solomonic Dynasty was founded and ruled by the Habesha, from whom Abyssinia gets its name.
The Habesha reigned with only a few interruptions from 1270 until the late 20th century. It was under this dynasty that most of Ethiopia’s modern history occurred. During this time, the empire conquered and incorporated virtually all the peoples within modern Ethiopia. They successfully fought off Italian, Arab and Turkish armies and made fruitful contacts with some European powers, especially the Portuguese, with whom they allied in battle against the latter two invaders.
The Mossi Kingdoms were a number of different powerful kingdoms in modern-day Burkina Faso which dominated the region of the Upper Volta River for hundreds of years. Increasing power of the Mossi kingdoms resulted in larger conflicts with regional powers. The Kingdom of Yatenga became a key power attacking the Songhai Empire between 1328 and 1477, taking over Timbuktu and sacked the important trading post of Macina.
When Askia Mohammad I became the leader of the Songhai Empire with the desire to spread Islam, he waged a Holy war against the Mossi kingdoms in 1497. Although the Mossi forces were defeated in this effort, they resisted attempts to impose Islam. Although there were a number of jihad states in the region trying to forcibly spread Islam, namely the Massina Empire and the Sokoto Caliphate, the Mossi kingdoms largely retained their traditional religious and ritual practices. Being located near many of the main Islamic states of West Africa, the Mossi kingdoms developed a mixed religious system recognizing some authority for Islam while retaining earlier African spiritual belief systems.
Once a powerful city-state, Benin exists today as a modern African city in what is now south-central Nigeria. The present-day oba (King) of Benin traces the founding of his dynasty to A.D. 1300. The Benin Empire was a pre-colonial Edo state. Until the late 19th century, it was one of the major powers in West Africa. According to one eye witness report written by Olfert Dapper, “The King of Benin can in a single day make 20,000 men ready for war, and, if need be, 180,000, and because of this he has great influence among all the surrounding peoples… . His authority stretches over many cities, towns and villages. There is no King thereabouts who, in the possession of so many beautiful cities and towns, is his equal.”
When European merchant ships began to visit West Africa from the 15th century onwards, Benin came to control the trade between the inland peoples and the Europeans on the coast. When the British tried to expand their own trade in the 19th century, the Benin warriors killed their envoys.
Zenobia - regent, empress, thorn in the side of Rome.
BASIC BIO: (c.240 - 274 AD) Zenobia was an incredibly powerful woman from Palmyra, in modern-day Syria. Raised in nobility, Zenobia married the ruler of Palmyra, and after he was killed, she served as regent for their son. She was responsible for a Palmyrene military effort which increased the borders of the empire from Turkey to southern Egypt. In 272, Zenobia made the decision to secede from Rome, and named herself empress. The Roman reaction was swift and brutal; after heavy fighting, the new empress was defeated. Her exact fate is unknown - she was almost certainly exiled to Rome, but from there the accounts diverge.
HER IMPACT: Zenobia remains a folk hero in Syria, and admired for the intellectual and tolerant environment she fostered in her court. Her ability to govern an empire as diverse as the Palmyrene certainly is a testament to her capabilities, and it is no surprise that she has remained a muse for writers and artists alike.
How to Move an Ancient Egyptian Temple — The Relocation of the Abu Simbel Temples.
In the 13th century BC the mighty pharaoh Ramses II ordered the construction of two large temples in southern Egypt to commemorate the Battle of Kadesh, to honor his queen Nefertari, and to impress his Nubian enemies to the south. Carved directly into the sandstone hillsides, the large facade of the temples feature four colossus statues of Ramses himself, each standing 67 feet in height. The facade itself stands an incredible 100 feet high and 119 feet wide. Inside of the temples are a network of rooms and hallways with many priceless hieroglyphic carvings detailing Egyptian history, religion, and folklore.
By the 1960’s the Abu Simbel Temples were a national treasure for the new Egyptian nation. However, Egypt’s industrial modernization would threaten the temples in a way that no pharaoh could have ever predicted. Near Abu Simbel was the construction of a 364 foot hydroelectric dam known as the Aswan dam. A key objective of the Egyptian government, the dam would provide electricity for the developing nation and kick start a new agricultural plan which would create a massive irrigation project. However, Abu Simbel was literally in deep trouble, for construction of the damn would leave the ancient temples submerged at the bottom of the Lake Nasser Reservoir.
To save Abu Simbel, a team of archeologists, historians, engineers, architects, and construction workers were recruited by UNESCO to conduct one of the most ambitious rescue operations of an ancient structure. The plan was to relocate the ancient temples above the flood plain of Lake Nasser. Incredibly, the team cut the temple facade and structure into individual blocks weighing 20-30 tons. Each block was numbered then recorded to keep track of where they would go when reassembled. The blocks were lifted out of their original foundation using massive cranes, then transported to another site where they could be catalogued and stored for later. From 1964-1965 over 10,000 stone blocks were cut, lifted, and transported away from the site.
The new home for the temples was located 200 meters inland and at a height 65 meters higher than the original Abu Simbel site. To recreate the look of a temple carved from a sandstone hill, artificial hills were created using concrete which simulated sandstone. Once the new Abu Simbel site was ready, each block was meticulously fitted back into position, reconstructing the ancient temples anew. In fact the reconstruction is so precise that it would impress ancient Egyptian engineers, on the façade of the temples there are no visible seams where the blocks meet. Only a few joins can be found from within the temple complex. The project was completed in 1968 and cost $40 million, over $250 million dollars today. The cost was well worth it as the Abu Simbel complex is considered one of the great treasures of Egypt and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over 500,000 tourists visit the temples every year.
El Bagawat is an ancient Christian cemetery, one of the oldest in the world, which functioned at Kharga Oasis in southern Egypt from the 3rd-7th century AD. It’s one of the earliest, best preserved Christian cemeteries from the ancient world. Before Christianity was introduced into Egypt, it was already a burial ground. The chapels here are said to belong to both eras. Coptic frescoes of the 3rd-7th century are found on the walls. They’re made of mud bricks and have etchings of biblical stories, saints, and “personifications of virtues”. There are paintings showing Noah’s ark in form of an “Egyptian barque”. Also notable are carved representations of Old Testament scriptures, incl. Adam and Eve, Daniel in the lion’s den, the sacrifice of Abraham, and Jonah swallowed by a fish.
The 7th Century dramatically changed the Middle East
No matter what your beliefs are, studying history reveals that, had the Persian Zoroastrian Sassanian Empire or the Christian Byzantine Empire defeated the Arab Muslim armies back in the 7th century, the Middle East would have looked a whole lot more different right now.
Persian Zoroastrians vs. Arab Muslims (633-654), also known as the Arab or Muslim conquest of Iran, led to the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion in Iran. Conversion to Islam was gradual. In the process, many acts of violence took place, Zoroastrian scriptures were burnt and many priests executed. Once conquered politically, the Persians began to reassert themselves by maintaining Persian language and culture. Regardless, Islam was adopted by many, for political, socio-cultural or spiritual reasons, or simply by persuasion, and became the dominant religion.
Byzantine Christians vs. Arab Muslims (629-11th century), also known as the Arab-Byzantine wars took a much longer period of time. These were a series of wars between the 7th and 11th centuries AD. The Christians initially lost the southern provinces (Syria and Egypt) to the Muslims. Muslim raids reached a peak in the 9th and early 10th centuries, after their conquest of Malta and parts of modern-day Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, with their fleets reaching the coasts of France.
To think, just a single change in these battles could have drastically changed so much about the Middle East today. The “what ifs?” are endless, and the impact of these conquests and wars has shaped many people’s religious beliefs in the 21st century. As I said, no matter what your beliefs are, these are interesting historical facts to ponder upon
~ Necklace of Gold Ball Beads.
Period: Middle Kingdom
Dynasty: 12th Dynasty
Reign: reign of Amenemhat I, early
Date: ca. 1981–1975 B.C.
Place of origin: From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Southern Asasif, Tomb of Wah (MMA 1102), Mummy, bandages at neck, MMA excavations, 1920
Medium: Gold, linen cord
Tea is the national drink of Egypt; it holds a special position that even coffee can’t rival. It’s called “shai”; the tea is almost exclusively imported from Kenya and Sri Lanka. The Egyptian government considers tea a strategic crop and runs large tea plantations in Kenya. Green tea is a recent arrival to Egypt (only in the late 1990s did green tea become affordable) and is not as popular. Egyptian tea comes in 2 varieties: Koshary and Saiidi.
- Koshary, popular in Lower (Northern) Egypt, is prepared using the traditional method of steeping black tea in boiled water and letting it set for a few minutes. It’s almost always sweetened with cane sugar and is often flavored with fresh mint leaves. Milk may or may not be added. Koshary tea is usually light, with less than a half teaspoonful per cup considered to be near the high end.
- Saiidi tea is common in Upper (Southern) Egypt. It’s prepared by boiling black tea with water for 5 mins over a strong flame. Saiidi tea is extremely heavy, with 2 teaspoonfuls per cup being the norm. It’s sweetened with copious amounts of cane sugar - a necessity as the formula and method yield a very bitter tea.
Besides true tea, herbal teas (or tisanes) are often served at Egyptian teahouses, with ingredients ranging from mint to cinnamon and ginger to salep; many of these are ascribed medicinal qualities or health benefits in Egyptian folk medicine. Karkade, a tisane of hibiscus flowers, is a particularly popular beverage and is traditionally considered beneficial for the heart.
valuable key to deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the inscription on the Rosetta
Stone is a decree passed by a council of priests. It is one of a series that
affirm the royal cult of the 13-year-old Ptolemy V on the first anniversary of his coronation (in 196 BC).
previous years the family of the Ptolemies had lost control of certain parts of
the country. It had taken their armies some time to put down opposition in the
Delta, and parts of southern Upper Egypt, particularly Thebes, were not yet back under
the government’s control. Before the Ptolemaic era (before about 332 BC),
decrees in hieroglyphs such as this were usually set up by the king. It shows
how much things had changed from earlier
times that the priests, the only people who had kept the knowledge of writing
hieroglyphs, were now issuing such decrees. The list of good deeds done by the
king for the temples hints at the way in which the support of the priests was
decree is inscribed on the stone three times, in hieroglyphic (suitable for a
priestly decree), demotic (the native script used for daily purposes), and
Greek (the language of the administration). The importance of this to
Egyptology is immense.
after the end of the 4th century AD, when
hieroglyphs had gone out of use, the knowledge of how to read and write them
disappeared. In the early years of the 19th
century, scholars were able to use the Greek inscription on this stone as the
key to decipher them. Thomas Young (1773–1829), an English physicist, was the first to
show that some of the hieroglyphs on the Rosetta Stone wrote the sounds of a
royal name, that of Ptolemy.
French scholar Jean-François Champollion (1790–1832) then realised that hieroglyphs recorded the sound of the
Egyptian language and laid the foundations of our knowledge of ancient Egyptian language and culture. Champollion made a crucial step
in understanding ancient Egyptian writing when he pieced together the alphabet
of hieroglyphs that was used to write the names of non-Egyptian rulers. He
announced his discovery, which had been based on analysis of the Rosetta Stone
and other texts, in a paper at the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres
at Paris on Friday 27 September 1822. The audience included his English rival
Thomas Young, who was also trying to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs. Champollion
inscribed this copy of the published paper with alphabetic hieroglyphs meaning
‘à mon ami Dubois’ ('to my friend Dubois’). Champollion made a second crucial
breakthrough in 1824, realising that the alphabetic signs were used not only
for foreign names, but also for the Egyptian language and names. Together with
his knowledge of the Coptic language, which derived from ancient Egyptian, this
allowed him to begin reading hieroglyphic inscriptions fully.
in Napoleon’s army discovered the Rosetta Stone in 1799 while digging the
foundations of an addition to a fort near the town of el-Rashid (Rosetta). On Napoleon’s defeat, the stone became the property of the British
under the terms of the Treaty of Alexandria (1801) along with other antiquities
that the French had found.
Rosetta Stone has been exhibited in the British Museum since 1802, with only
one break. Towards the end of the First World War, in 1917, when the Museum was
concerned about heavy bombing in London, they moved it to safety along with
other, portable, 'important’ objects. The Rosetta Stone spent the next two
years in a station on the Postal Tube Railway 50 feet below the ground at
What would a deck of playing cards in Westeros look like, if/when such a thing develops? Like what suits, what ranks (7 suits with 7 ranks to honor the Seven, perhaps)? Would there be regional variations?
If playing cards ever get introduced to Westeros, I expect they’ll come from Essos, probably Yi Ti, the way playing cards originated from China in our world. (Via Persia, India, Egypt, Southern Europe, and so on.) As such, I wouldn’t expect the Faith of the Seven to be a strong influence on the number of suits or ranks, any more than the Trinity was an influence in Europe.* And for that matter, 7 is a lucky number in our world,** but that doesn’t seem to have affected card suits at all.*** Also, since religious leaders have historically frowned on gambling, I would expect a game using the images of the Seven to be considered blasphemy,**** so… yeah, that’s not going to happen.
* Actually, I can’t find anything that says why 4 suits are the most common, other than that’s how it originated in China. There’s a few Indian variations
with all kinds of numbers of suits, including 12 for the 12 signs of
the zodiac, and 10 for the 10 avatars of Vishnu, but still the most
common number of suits is 4.
*** 7 being lucky has affected dice games though. And they do play dice in Westeros. Also tiles, which is probably dominoes.
**** Seriously, can you imagine how the medieval Catholic Church would react to a game with cards of God, Jesus, Mary, and the Holy Spirit? ugh ugh ugh. (Note that tarot cards used for divination, and the pagan imagery of the major arcana, etc, are not medieval; they weren’t developed until the late 18th century.)
Anyway, if you want a properly worldbuilt playing card game in Westeros, with regional variations, I’d ask @warsofasoiaf, that sounds right up his alley. Though since you are asking me… hmm, I’d go with a bicolor 4 x 14 + 2 deck. Red and black, for the Targaryens. The Italian suits (cups, coins, clubs, swords) as that sounds properly medieval. 10 ranking cards (1-10), 4 court cards (knight, queen, king, dragon). And two fools, red and black.
As for variations, regional ones might replace the 1 with the local paramount sigil (wolf, rose, lion, etc). But I can actually see historical variations being more popular – green and black during the Dance; the red and black dragons being used to indicate allegiance circa the Blackfyre Rebellions (Bloodraven has the game banned when he’s Hand, of course); yellow and black with stags instead of dragons post-Robert’s Rebellion.
Richard Dadd was a painter of the Victorian era and most known for his intricate paintings of supernatural beings and fairies. He was born Chatham, Kent. As a youngster he showed quite an aptitude for painting and this got him in to the Royal Academy of Arts at the age of 20. He was awarded the Medal for life drawing in 1840. Quite a distinguished career followed where he illustrated books. In 1842, Sir Thomas Phillips invited Dadd on a trip through Europe to Greece, Turkey, southern Syria and Egypt. It was a long journey and towards the end of December, traveling up the Nile, Dadd underwent a dramatic personality change. He became delusional, violent and he believed himself to be under the influence of the Egyptian god Osiris. It was thought to only be sunstroke. He was finally diagnosed in 1843 as being of unsound mind and was taken by his family to recuperate in the village of Cobham, Kent. Unfortunately though, in August of that year Dadd killed his father with a knife because he was convinced the man was the devil in disguise. He then tried to run to Paris but instead was arrested when he tried to kill another tourist with a razor. He confessed to killing his father and was returned to England and sent to the Bethlhem Psychiactric Hospital a.k.a Bedlam. It was here where, under the encouragement of doctors, Dadd came out with some of his most beautiful paintings. Dadd probably suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, it seems to have run in his family, all though there really wasn’t much information about his siblings. After 20 years Dadd was moved to Broadmoor Hospital, a psychiatric facility outside of London. And there he stayed, painting constantly until January 7th 1886 when he died from an extensive disease of the lungs. Source Wikipedia
Amany lives in a remote village in southern Egypt - a place where extremism is common, most women dress in black from head to toe, and only a few can actually read.
It’s here that Amany regularly teaches a small group of Christian women to read God’s Word for themselves. She shares… “I want [these women] to know they are precious, valuable and created uniquely by God.”
Hamza El Din (1929-2006) was a South Egyptian composer, oud player, tar player, and vocalist. Born in the village of Toshka in Southern Egypt near the border with Sudan, he was originally trained to be an electrical engineer. After working in Cairo for the Egyptian national railroad, he began to study music at Cairo University, continuing his studies in Rome and the Middle East. His performances attracted the attention of the Grateful Dead, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan in the 1960s, which led to a recording contract and his emigration to the USA. Like much of Egyptian Nubia, his home village was flooded due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s. He died in 2006 in Berkeley, California. Albums:
1964 – Newport Folk Festival-“Desse Barama [Peace]” & Music of Nubia 1965 – Al Oud 1971 – Escalay: The Water Wheel 1978 – Eclipse 1982 – A Song of the Nile 1990 – Journey & Nubiana Suite: Live in Tokyo 1992 - Pieces of Africa. “Escalay: The Water Wheel” with Kronos Quartet 1995 – Lily of the Nile 1996 – Available Sound: Darius & Muwashshah 1999 – A Wish
I was inspired to draw this by this article in Wikipedia (link)
This article is about St. John’s Island (also known as Zabargad, Zebirget, Topazios, Gazirat Zabarjad) is the largest of a group of islands in Foul Bay, Red Sea in southern Egypt where peridot as a mineral was mined in ancient times.
The island comprises three massives of peridotite, which are rich in the gemstone peridot (olivine). This gem makes the island notable as it is believed to be the first discovered source of peridot, which was called topazios in ancient times, hence the Greek name for the island, Topazios. Layers of spinel-lherzolites with anhydrous Al-diopside pyroxenites and hydrous Cr-diopside pyroxenites can be found too on the island. The presence of all of these minerals has led to mining on the island which dates back as early as ancient times.
I made this aviable as a print on redbubble (link) and society6
Also added a few of my other su arts there as a prints!
“The communication of this knowledge and other secrets, some of which are perhaps lost, constituted, under other names, what we now call Masonry, or Free, or Frank-Masonry … The present name of the Order, and Its titles, and the names of the Degrees now in use, were not then known … But, by whatever name it was known in this or the other country, Masonry existed as it now exists, the same in spirit and at heart, not only when Solomon builded the temple, but centuries before - before even the first colonies emigrated into Southern India, Persia, and Egypt, from the cradle of the human race.”
“Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry” By Albert Pike, p.207-208
Design is based on the research outlined in the book - “En Route to Global Occupation” by Gary H. Kah
Aswan, Egypt: Ugh, Egypt as a whole is just fucking gorgeous. Like the desert is super fly and so is ancient culture. Aswan is extra fucking awesome because of its location on the Nile. It once served as the Southern frontier of Ancient Egypt, and was like it’s fucking front doors. So just like people now a days try to have bomb ass looking foyers, Aswan was like an imposing as hell entryway. It’s got these fly tombs and awesome architecture, and it’s just great. Fucking great.