The Parisian museum honors these inhabitants of the kingdom of Kush and thus restores part of its Africanity to ancient Egypt.
There was a time when this newspaper, in its international pages, arranged articles by continent. Egypt then figured under the Near East heading, although, except for Sinai, its territory was in Africa. Nothing new: from Antiquity, the country of the pharaohs is presented facing the Mediterranean and its eastern rivals, much less towards the continent to which it geographically belongs. There is a sort of blindness about Egypt’s African neighbors and in particular, the peoples who also lived on the banks of the Nile, but further south. They will be called Nubians, even Ethiopians, these inhabitants of the kingdom of Kush.
“These neighbors have always existed, but we hear their voices less strongly. Our time is particularly forgetful… However, the kingdom of Kush is well known, the Bible often mentions it and one of its kings, Taharqa, is mentioned there. And if you read the Greek authors, you hear plenty about these kingdoms to the south of Egypt,” recalls Vincent Rondot. The latter, director of the department of Egyptian antiquities at the Louvre, is a curator of the exhibition that the Parisian museum devotes to these Nubians, who, for a few decades, conquered Egypt and made themselves its sovereigns. An exhibition that gives Ancient Egypt a part of its Africanity.
Revenge of the Kushites
From the 15th century BC, the pharaohs Thutmose I, II, and III made themselves masters of their southern neighbors. A long phase of domination begins, during which the vassals pay tribute. A phase of acculturation too, because the religion and the Egyptian aesthetic codes reach these territories which, today, are in Sudan.
But nothing lasts forever and, in the 8th century BC. J.-C., immense Egypt is weakened, divided, and dislocated into small kingdoms. Weak dynasties follow one another, which lose their hold on the Kushites, who will then take their revenge.