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Durham e-Theses
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The foreign relations of the Napatan-Meroitic kingdom in the Sudan from the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D.

Haycock, Bryan G (1965) The foreign relations of the Napatan-Meroitic kingdom in the Sudan from the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis is designed as a well-documented and discreet analysis of the relationship of the ancient kingdom of Cush to the external world in the light of the latest discoveries. It attempts to trace how far its rise was prompted by external factors and investigates the role of foreign pressures on its fall. The evidence is everywhere controversial, as can be seen from the diametrically opposed approaches of A.J. Arkell and W.Y. Adams, who use respectively the monumental architecture and the pottery as their main criteria of judgement. The present writer contends, however, that, whilst Arkell’s theory of progressive degeneration is inadequate, the history of the latter Napatan period and of the Meroitio age is much better documented than Adams thinks, if the literary evidence is fully utilised, and that the Reisnerian chronology forms an acceptable interim standpoint, provided that it is not given an authoritative status which its originator would never have claimed. The attitude taken to the Meroitic kingdom is that, at first, the Sudanese were encouraged by the desire for an outward higher culture to imitate Egypt as closely as they could, but that, during the prosperous period of the forth-third century B.C., their civilization advanced sufficiently to be able to generate many of its own ideas in building, pottery and writing. Only later with the onset of decline did the old lack of originality return - until all that was distinctively Meroitic vanished. The writer is willing to admit that the Meroites strongly influenced the peoples on their boundaries or within their territories, for example the Blemnyes and the Noba, but cannot see that Cush was ever a powerful focus for the diffusion of culture throughout Africa. He believes that kingships there arose from a primitive substratum of society older than Egypt or Cush, and were essentially an outcome of Neolithic alterations in human ecology. The view is advanced that the geographical and geological characteristics of the Sudan, which made its people semi-nomadic pastoralists rather than farmers, prevented the land ever becoming fully assimilated to Egypt, and determined that the entourage of the king and the priesthood should continue to be merely a thin veneer upon a people whose former way of life continued undisturbed, except possibly in Lower Nubia. This region became exceptionally prosperous in the first centuries A.D.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1965
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:34

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