Kingdom of Kush

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The Kingdom of Kush flourished from about the 8th century B.C. to about A.D.350-400. It occupied both sides of the River Nile from about the “First Cataract” (Aswan) to the seventh near Khartoum in modern Sudan. This area, referred to in history books as Upper Nubia and known as Kush by the Egyptians, and ruled by Nubians, found itself under the rule of the kings from Egypt – Nubians who had formed the 25th Dynasty in Egypt in 770 B.C. but who had evacuated Egypt in 661 B.C. in the face of the Assyrian invasion – who continued to rule an “egyptianised” kingdom in Nubia.

Their palaces and burial pyramids, copied from Egypt, and the famous temple of the sun, mentioned by Herodotus, have been excavated. The kingdom went through stages of prosperity and stress (a Roman attack which destroyed the city of Napata in 23B.C. is recorded) before falling into terminal degeneration during its last two or so centuries. It went out of existence as an independent state after an attack by Axum (a powerful Ethiopian kingdom) in A.D. 350.

We are fortunate to be able to translate Kushite inscriptions and know the names of their later rulers from the existence of their Meriotic script, developed from Egyptian hieroglyphs, and used parallel to it for some time.