Kingdom of Kush Jayla, Tanner, Mattie


The location of the kingdom along the Nile River provided strategic communication and trade routes both within the kingdom and throughout northeastern Africa. Kushites also farmed the Nile River valley, relying on irrigation systems and rainfall in some areas. The Kushites also mined minerals and high-quality stone for trade and introduced and developed iron metallurgy to the region. An archaeological site near the present-day village of Hosh el-Guruf in Sudan, dating to the early Kush period (1700-1500 B.C.), revealed a massive gold-processing operation with many grindstones, three feet in diameter and several hundred pounds in weight, essential for the mining of gold.

The land of Kush is part of the modern day country of Sudan. The phrase Ancient Nubia is commonly used by scholars as an alternative name for Kush. Historically, the land of Kush stretched roughly from Wadi Halfa in the north, to Kosti city (along the White Nile) and Sinnar city (along the Blue Nile) in the south; and from the Red Sea coast in the east, to Kordofan and the Libyan Desert in the west. It is important to note that historically there is a geographical distinction between Nubia and Kush. While the land of Kush is geographically restricted to Sudan, Nubia may be considered as encompassing parts of southern Egypt.

Most of Sudan's topography is consisted of deserts, except for the narrow strip of the Nile valley which helped provide fertile agriculture and abundant pastures. Because of the availability of food and fresh water, the Nile Valley was populated more so than any other region in Sudan. The first civilization in Sudan, and one of the first in the world, developed there, along the Nile Valley.

Government and Social Structure

Ancient Nubia had a monarchy government. Ancient Nubia's rulers were mostly queens, and there were very few kings. The kings and queens didn't make any laws. The priest was the only one who was allowed to make laws. Although the kings and queens didn't make laws, they still enforced them. When the time came for a new king or queen, the nobles elected them. Some people say that women have more power in this government, which is probably why there were more queen rulers than kings. This empire was one of the few that let women rule.Outside of the Pharaoh and the ruling class, the priests were the most important social class in Kush.

They made the laws and communicated with the gods. Just below the priests were the artisans and scribes. Artisans worked the iron and gold that was such an important part of the Kushite economy. Farmers were also respected as they provided the food for the country. At the bottom were servants, laborers, and slaves.

Alara of Nubia- First known ruler of the dynasty. Succeeded by Kashta, who was probably his brother. Wife was Kasaqa who was probably also his sister. Together they had Tibiry, who eventually married Piye. His tomb is in El-Kurru.

Kashta- Pebatja was his wife, and probably also his sister, they had Piye and Shabaqo. Daughters: Amenirdis I (Great Wife of Amun in Thebes), Peksatar (wife of Piye), Khensa (wife of Piye), Nefrukekashta (wife of Piye)

Piye- Father was King Kashta and his mother was Pebatjna. Wifes- Tabiry (daughter of Alara), Abar (Alara’s sister), Peksatar, Khensa, Nefrukekashta (Kashta’s daughters, his sisters). Son- Taharqo. It is documented in the Victory Stela from Gebal Barkal that Piye conquered Egypt. Succeded by Shabaqo who was his brother.

Shabaqo- Father was Kashta and mother was Pebatjma. Sons: Horemakhet, Shebitqo, and Tamwetamani. Succeeds Piye who was his brother.

Shebitqo- Father was Shabaqo and mother was Qalhata. Wife: Arty, daughter of Piye. C. 701: War in the Levant against Assyrian king Sennacherib, which Egypt loses. Succeeded Taharqo in c. 690.

The Assyrian and Kushite clashes in the battles of Elteke and Jerusalem, in 701 BC.

Taharqa's minor military force, on the other hand, moved towards the city of Jerusalem. Being dispersed and thirsty, the Assyrian besiegers were an easy prey for the Kushites. The Kushites probably made their attack from the mountains east of Jerusalem, an excellent location to shower their arrows on the enemy. According to the Bible, as the Jerusalemites "arose in the morning, behold, they (Assyrian besiegers) were all dead corpses" (Isaiah 37: 36). The Assyrian besiegers seem to have experienced a surprise attack by Kush's light infantry troops. The Kushites were well known in the ancient world for the latter strategy.

The Kushites were the only elephant exporting people beside the Indians, as known in the ancient literature of the old world. Kushite elephants were extensively used by the ancient armies of Europe and the Near East. The Egyptian city of Elephantine, comes from the Greek word for elephant, and was named so by the Ptolemies since elephants, brought from Sudan, were sold and exported there. Elephant tusks were important to the economy of Kush. Thus, it is arguable that Kush was the primary exporter of ivory in the ancient world. Syria was known in the ancient world for trading with ivory imported from Sudan.

One of the Kushite kingdom's most imported products was bronze. Bronze was first introduced to the Kushites by the Hyksos in the seventeenth century and was extensively used by the Kushites. The type of metal was the best available for making swords and daggers in the ancient world. Oil was also a commonly imported products by Kush. The Kushites extensively imported olive oil from Lebanon—via Arabia across the Red Sea and Egypt.

Cedar trees and lumber were also imported from the Levant and used as building materials. Temples and royal buildings in Sudan were mostly roofed with cedar trees. The Amon temple at Kawa for example was roofed by cedars that Taharqa has imported especially from Lebanon as recorded on his stele at Jebel Barkal (Sudan).11 The items also include highly valued acacia wood, which was imported from either Phoenicia or a nearby location in the Levant.

The Kingdom of Kush lasted for over 1400 years. First established in 1070 BCE. 2 capital cities- Napata and Meroe. Most important resources of this civilization was gold and iron. Social class- Pharaoh, Priests, Artisans and scribes, Farmers, Servants, Laborers, Slaves. During battles, Kushites were superior at archery. The bow and arrow were considered pieces of artwork. Primary crops were wheat and barley. The pyramids of Kush were almost always smaller than the pyramids of egypy. Priest decided what time the kings would die. Kushites were African. Had flat topped pyramids. Believed in a three-headed lion god named Apedemek, until they started reading The Bible and that’s what influenced them to become Christian. Their economy relied on trade.

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