Thursday, 4 June 2020

Meroë, Kush

Dozens of pyramids stand guard in the desert at Meroë, 150 miles north-east of Khartoum. 30m high, Sudan’s tombs were built for the elite of the kingdom of Kush which emerged as a power around the eighth century BC with its capital at Napata (Karima). Dominating the trade route between Egypt and central Africa, Kush grew in wealth and importance.

In the early seventh century BC, Qore (King) Taharqa ruled Egypt as well as Nubia (northern Sudan). Later Assyrians drove the Kushites from Egypt, and around 592 BC an Egyptian-sponsored expedition sacked Napata. The capital then transferred south to Meroë where, from around the third century, some 30 kings and eight queens were interred.
Columns etched with carvings rise among the ruins of the vast complex at Musawwarat es Sufra, south of the necropolis. A gold bracelet was looted from the pyramid of Kandake (Queen) Amanishakheto.
The Kushites were expert metalworkers. Kush waned after the third century AD. It was dealt a terminal blow around AD 320–350 when forces of King Aeizanes of Axum (Ethiopia) attacked Meroë.