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Dealing with the clergy...Nubian style

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  Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Dealing with the clergy...Nubian style
    Posted: 08-Oct-2004 at 23:23

Incase you dont know Ive been working on a personal indipendant study of south of the Egypt African societies, I thought I would share a quaint little story I found recetly regarding the kingship of Meroitic Sudan and its succesor ways...

Basically, Meroe had a tradition of preists that could install and reove a king at will by group consensus.  When they removd what they flt to be an inadequate king he was "sacrificed" for the ritual good.  This sounds liek a cool idea in principal but it was laso used against goo dkings who just werent in line with the church.

Anyhoo, king Ergomanus(hellenized ame form) was viewed as a threat to the preists because he raised a powerful army so they called for him to show up at the teple in Meroe to be sacrificed around 20BCE.  He walked through the ranks of preists and just as he was to mount the altar he gave the signal and his army busted in, killed the preists to the last, and threw them on the altar, making them the sacrifice.  Pretty sweet.

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  Quote Berosus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2004 at 18:17
I wasn't aware that he did it by turning around a sacrifice.  Here's what I wrote about the Nubian relationship between church and state on my website:

Despite the government's relocation, Napata continued to serve as the main religious center.  Up until Nastasen, all Kush*te kings were buried in pyramids at Napata's cemetery.  Nearby, Gebel Barkal was regarded as the birthplace of the god Amen, possibly because a 320-foot-high butte, jutting out from the main mountain at the site, resembled a cobra wearing a crown (the cobra was a royal symbol in Egypt, remember).  Whenever the time came to choose a new king, all eligible candidates were taken to a temple at the foot of the butte and displayed before an image of the god.  Somehow, the statue spoke to express the god's choice and the chosen one was crowned on the spot, but according to Diodorus Siculus, a Roman historian, the statue could also order the death of the king, who was expected to commit suicide when he received the command.  Eventually the clergy of Amen became too overbearing, because Diodorus tells us that Ergamenes (270-260 B.C.) ordered the priests put to the sword and "thereafter ordered affairs after his own will."

Around this time, perhaps because of the clean sweep done by Ergamenes, another god became nearly as important as Amen.  This was Apedemak, a composite figure with the head of a lion, the torso of a man, and the tail of a serpent.  However, Apedemak's temples were much smaller, with a only a single chamber inside an imposing pylon gate.  Like other Africans, the Nubians gave animals an important role in their religion, since they played such an important role in everyday life.  The temple at Musawwarat es-Sufra, located south of Meroe, was apparently in the middle of cattle country, since its walls were covered with relief sculptures showing cattle, and an enormous walled structure at the site, one of the largest Kush*te buildings found to date, may have been a corral for the training and breeding of elephants.

http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/africa/af04.html
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  Quote Evildoer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2004 at 18:36

Some Questions - anyone can answer them.:

Was the practice of king-sacrifice limited only to Nubians, considering that Egyptians had similar gods? (ie. Amen/Amun)

If the statue was suppose to choose the king, was the crown not passed down hereditarily?

Did Nubians use war elephants?

Thank you.

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  Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2004 at 19:37

hmm...well Berosus your explanation certainyl makes sense as well, I will be sure to check out your website.

 

as for the questions:

King sacrifice was not limited to Nubians, I heard the practice came from around the Chad area though Im not sure, I have laso heard of this happening in the "Great Lakes" region of Africa around modern day Uganda.  But I have no definatel answer for this

The crown was passed down by heretidy, however, the child of the king ( or relative whatever) could be rejected by the clergy.

We dont know for sure if Nubians used war elephants because their Meroitic script is not yet translatable to us, however they certainly trained war elephants and would seel many of these to the Ptolmey dynasty in Egypt.  I think if they knew how to train them and sold them to Egypts military then they likely would have figured to use them for themselves in war, however unlike the Ptolmies they did not fight many enemies in large open battles where an elephant is most usefull, mostly they fought desert tribes and used archers (later camel riding ones) against them .

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  Quote Berosus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2004 at 19:39
The Egyptians also practiced king-sacrifice, as Evildoer calls it, but very early in their history--in predynastic times and in the first part of the archaic period.  Apparently they felt they had to put their king to death when old age made him too weak to rule.  They also killed a bunch of servants, slaves and even pets, and buried them in shaft graves around the early pharaoh's tomb, then called a mastaba.

However, these practices stopped when the I dynasty ended; we find no "satellite burials" from the II dynasty.  Why?  You could call it the first stirring of "human rights," or maybe the Egyptians just didn't want to work for their king if it meant they would have to die when he did.  A humorist named Larry Gonick suggested that it happened when a king came along whose soldiers liked him better than the organized religion, and this king said on his deathbed, "I think I should take a few priests with me, boys."  The priests replaced the killing of the king with a jubilee called the heb-sed, which they celebrated when the pharaoh reached the thirty-year anniversary of his reign, and once every three years afterwards.  Into the tombs now went pictures and small statues of servants, which were magically expected to come to life and take the place of the real thing.
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  Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2004 at 19:57
yeah the king sacrifices coem from Saharan culture, and supposedly, when the Sahara started to succumb to desertification is when alot of migranrts flooded the Nile and started Egypt, well thats one theory at least
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  Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-May-2009 at 16:29
Originally posted by Tobodai

yeah the king sacrifices coem from Saharan culture, and supposedly, when the Sahara started to succumb to desertification is when alot of migranrts flooded the Nile and started Egypt, well thats one theory at least
 
Unfortunately much of the Saharan cultures, before Sahara became to dry for inhabitation, is not known well enough to say which customs and practises were exported to the Nile valley. Much of it must be guesswork until further excavations can give us more details.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-May-2009 at 18:12
Hey Carchadoron. This thread is from 2004!! Who are you answer to?
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  Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-May-2009 at 20:19
I just thought the subject was interesting.
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Nov-2011 at 19:42
King-sacrifice was also a Celtic tradition. Kings ruled for just seven years before they were ritually slaughtered in the "triple death:" beaten, strangled and disembowelled. Some speculate bog-bodies like Lindow Man are actually ancient chiefs due to their neatly-trimmed nails, tall stature and good diet
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Nov-2011 at 02:37
This was "smart" solution that would have prevented riots after new king was elected.Rivalry between new
elected king and old one had been avoided with this probably.Also rivalry between families of royalists from
both sides was avoided.
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