Posts Tagged ‘Ancient Ethiopian Civilization’
25 May 2011
An ancient settlement has been discovered in the Ethiopian highlands with the help of a special instrument used in geophysical surveys. The find will help tell the story of ancient indigenous cultures in the Horn of Africa and their exchange with nearby civilizations.
In early May, geophysicist Jorg Fassbinder from the Geophysics Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) in Munich and his colleague Margaret Schlosser of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) took to a joint campaign.
Together, they surveyed the ground of a suspected settlement in the north-western Ethiopian highland region of Tigray, home to the town of Yeha believed to be a major centre of the Diamat Kingdom established around 700 BCE.
The team used a magnetometer to detect local anomalies in the geomagnetic field which could be indications of hidden objects beneath the subsurface including structural walls, graves, hearths and refuse pits. Such technology has been used only rarely in countries near the equator, however, as the magnetic field lines here run parallel to the Earth’s surface making it difficult to identify buried archaeological structures. Magnetometers are particularly useful, however, as non-evasive, non-destructive tools.
“The new evaluation method developed by Fassbinder’s research team was successful,” said the on-sight excavation director Pawel Wolf. “With the first test excavations, stone walls, burial sites and local waste items like animal bones and pottery shards were found dating back to different eras. Among them were also ceramic shards with characteristics from the Ethio-Sabaean Period dating back to the first millennium BCE.”
In 2008, Ethiopian archaeologists made the astonishing discovery of a perfectly preserved sacrificial altar in neighbouring Meqaber Ga’ewa, a previously unknown location near the city of Wuqro. The altar bore a remarkable royal inscription in Old South Arabian bearing the name Yeha, located about 80 km from the find.
According to Kebede Amare, head of the Tigray Cultural Department, this is the southernmost find believed to belong to the Diamat Kingdom. Located in present day Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, the civilization had sophisticated irrigation plans, made use of plows, grew millet and made iron tools and weapons.
Of particular importance to researchers, is whether the kingdom was comprised of indigenous peoples or a mix of indigenous peoples with the ancient Sabaeans who came to dominate the Red Sea.
Since very little archaeological research has been done on the Diamat Kingdom, the discovery of the royal inscription takes on special importance. According to Norbert Nebes of the University of Jena, the royal inscription is the first such recorded evidence of the ancient town of Yeha.
Since 2008, DAI archaeologists have excavated not only a temple dedicated to the Sabaean moon god Almaqah in Meqaber Ga’ewa, they’ve discovered additional sites of a previously unknown settlement from this important historical period. In Ziban Adi, one of the most promising sites uncovered, they excavated the foundation walls of another sanctuary atop a 3-meter high hill of ruins in 2010.
Countless pottery chards found in the surrounding grain fields suggest an intensive settlement was located around the ancient religious building. For the archaeologists, who are concerned not only with the cultural influence of the South Arabian Kingdom of Saba in the Horn of Africa, but in the study of indigenous African cultures, the settlement’s discovery raises high hopes that the remains of a town from this period will eventually be discovered. Thus far, only a few archaeological sites are known.
This research is part of the German-Ethiopian scientific cooperation between the DAI’s Orient Department, the Tigray Cultural Agency and the University of Jena. The geophysical measurements are based on cooperation between the DAI and the LMU München.
This research paper is on point! I agree with the author…i wonder why Modern Historians fail to realize (maybe willingly) the connection…THIS changes the status quo on Religion.
The Institute of Development and Education for Africa (IDEA)
By Ghelawdewos Araia – April 7, 2007
Over the last two decades I was engaged in extensive research in African and international studies, which are in effect the domain of my specialization and vocation. My research particularly focused on African cosmology, ontology, and epistemology. In due course of my investigative inquiry, I have encountered fascinating similarities in cultures and belief systems and hence this title for our present discussion.
In 1996 in one of my articles entitled What is Wrong with Afrocentrism? I argued the following, “There is no doubt that the mythology of Osiris and Isis is the foundation for the Judeo-Christian tradition: The concept of metempsychosis [the transmigration of the soul after death], the myth of the jealous brother who kills his twin (Set kills Osiris), the idea of resurrection (Osiris came back to life), the last judgment (Osiris presides over the Last Judgment), the first Madonna (Isis).”1
The ancient Egyptians virtually gave us all major attributes of civilization: agriculture (irrigation), architecture (pyramids, obelisks, temples etc), mathematics (numerical and standard measures), medicine (Imhotep’s legacy –he is the first physician, not Hippocrates-, herbal pharmacology, anatomy, mummification etc), art of government (Egypt is the first nation), and collection of wealth. These magnificent Egyptian contributions are manifestations of ancient African philosophy, ontology, and cosmology. In brief, Kemetic (Kemet is ancient Egypt) philosophy was not simply an abstraction of primordial wisdom but a specification of conceptualization, a body of formally represented knowledge, and a systematic account of life experience. The latter, in effect, was systematically woven into the Egyptian cosmology of spatio-temporal relations of the universe, and this ultimately led the Egyptians to their mystery system (theology) in general and the creation theories in particular.
With respect to the creation of the universe, there are two important Egyptian documents, namely the On (Ani) or Heliopolis Creation Narrative and the Memphite Declaration of Deities. In both narratives, the Spoken Word was central to the creation of all beings, animate and inanimate. As per the On account, “all things are brought into existence through the spoken word; nothing that exists is without the word being spoken…” Similarly, in the Memphite Declaration, “Ptah taught that aspects of himself are manifested in all nature, in the mouth of all gods, and in every human, and in animals, plants and all other living beings. Thus, whatever Ptah conceived came into being through utterance…and the nine deities of Ptah came forth from the teeth and lips in his mouth which pronounced the name of everything, from which Shu and Tefnut also came forth.”2
The spoken word of Egyptian theology, the On and Memphite, were documented during the Sixth Dynasty (2300-2150 B. C. ) and the Tenth Dynasty (2135-2133 B. C. ) respectively. Later on, it was adopted by the Judeo-Christian tradition in Genesis: At the beginning there was word! And it is in Genesis that we encounter the creation of all universe and all living beings including Adam and Eve. And on the Seventh day, God rested. As we shall see later, ‘seven’ (7) for the Egyptians signified ‘completion’.
Long before Adam and Eve, however, the first humans were Shu, Tefnut, Osiris and Isis and as noted above, Osiris (Ausar) was killed by his brother Set but he was resurrected to life. This story (or mythology if you will) is replicated by the Abel and Cain story in the Bible. In both instances, we have now witnessed the first murder incident among humans.
The creation of Adam also finds antecedence in many African creation theories, most notably the Yoruba mythology in which Olorun (the Sky God) fashioned Odudwa (the founding father of Oyo) out of dirt, breath unto him and gave him life. However, unlike Odudwa and Adam, who were essentially human and down-to-earth, Osiris was elevated to the stature of the gods. Thus, according to Ani the Scribe, hymn to Osiris goes as follows: “Praise be unto Osiris Un-Nefer, the great god who dwelleth in Abtu, king of eternity, lord of everlastingness, who passes through millions of years in his existence. He is the firstborn son.”3
As we shall see below in some detail, Osiris, the son-of-god (and in a different context god himself) is very much like Jesus Christ. “There is nothing in the texts which justifies the assumption that Osiris knew,” says Wallis Budge, “that he would rise from the dead and that he would become the king and judge of the dead, or that the Egyptians believed that Osiris died on their behalf and rose again in order that they also might rise from the dead. But from first to last the resurrection of Osiris is the great and distinguishing feature of the Egyptian religion, for Osiris was the first fruits of the dead, and every worshipper of Osiris based his own hope of resurrection and immortality upon the fundamental fact of the resurrection of Osiris.” 4
For Ethiopians of Orthodox Christian faith, Easter or Fasika, more than Christmas, is ‘the great and distinguishing feature of their religion.’ Fasika for Ethiopians is a celebration of Christ’s resurrection and a grand holiday after the long lent. However, pre-Christian Ethiopians may have also celebrated Osiris’ triumph, for the ancient Egyptians believed that Osiris traveled to Ethiopia and took his son Horus (Apollo in Greek), Anubis, Macedo, Pan and other talented individuals. During his stay in Ethiopia, he taught the Ethiopians the art of farming and husbandry, art of government, and the construction of canals to control the flow of the Nile.
Osiris was also the first to make and drink wine and he taught the Egyptians how to mange a vineyard as well as process and preserve wine. It is common knowledge to all people of Christian faith that Christ not only enjoyed drinking wine but he also blessed it as his attribute to his own blood.
In the Book of the Dead Osiris declares, “I am the Great One, son of the Great One… I am Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow…I am the Soul, which is god. I am the Souls of everlastingness, and my body is eternity. My form is everlastingness.” This is incredibly similar to what Jesus Christ preached to the Jews and Gentiles or believers and non-believers alike.
Isis like her brother and husband Osiris is invoked in Christian theology as Eve or as Mary. In fact the first Christian hermits in Egypt were compelled to associate St. Mary with Isis and Jesus with Horus (the son of Osiris) and their rationale is justified because Isis claims that she is the divine among women and she ‘burdened women with the newborn babe in the tenth month’, ‘ordained that parents should be beloved by their children’ and she would ‘inflict retribution on those that feel no love for their parents’. Above all, Isis claims that she is ‘the eldest daughter of Keb (Earth-god), and for this apparent reason, now historians (especially Afrocentrists) depict Isis as the first Madonna.
What I personally found an interesting commonality between Isis and the Ethiopian Christian tradition is the fact that Isis is credited for establishing lent and instructing the ancient Egyptians to fast from meat and fish and to observe celibacy during the entire period of lent. Isis may have not traveled to Ethiopia as her husband did, but it looks that she had a profound clout on the Ethiopian Christian doctrine in whatever form the latter is incorporated into the dogma of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Beyond Egypt, Osiris and Isis were worshipped in the Aegean, Crete, Greece, Italy, and other neighboring countries such as Nubia, Ethiopia, and Libya. In point of fact, around 80 B. C. the Italians founded an institute by the name College of the Servants of Isis in Rome and by 44 B. C. the Italians had affixed festival dates for Isis and Osiris in their official calendar.
There is no doubt that Isis may have existed conceptually among Ethiopians although there is no credible evidence documented in Ethiopian historiography (at least for now), but some Ethiopian names are similar to Isis’ (Aset or Eset in Egyptian). Moreover, even if we cannot prove the existence of Isis in pre-Christian Ethiopia, the similarities between St. Mary and Isis indeed makes the latter the first Madonna as stated earlier, and this is why: “Egyptian inscriptions do not mention any tomb of Isis. Whether the Egyptians believed that she passed from this world to the Other World unchanged in respect to her body cannot be said, but there is little doubt that, at least in the latest days of her cult in Egypt, it was her immunity from death which most impressed the Egyptians and the nations around and made them to exalt her powers over those of Osiris.”5 The ascension of Mary (and Elijah before her) clearly corroborates the Egyptian mythology of the powers to negate death.
Going back to Osiris again, we find the most fascinating similarities between himself and Christ in the second coming and the Day of Judgment. In Judgment Day the dead will face the presiding judge Osiris and make confessions as follows:
I never took away anything by force from any man
I never did an act of oppression to any man
I was beloved by my father, praised by my mother, well disposed toward my brother, sweet-tempered with my sister
I never spake evil of any kind
I gave bread to the hungry man and clothes to the naked
I never gave a verdict in a case between two brothers
The confession and the judgment takes place in the Hall of the Two Maat (Truth and Justice) whereby Goddesses are seated by the doors and holding the scepter of ‘serenity’ in the right hand and ‘ankh’ (life) in the left. Also in the Hall is present the symbolic scale of Maat and two-and-forty gods (42 gods) or spirits to whom the confessor declares his innocence. Incidentally, the 42 gods could find parallel to 44 spirit saints in the Ethiopian context. Gonder, for instance, is famous for its forty-four Adbarat (abode of the spirits).
The Declaration of Innocence, as documented in the Papyrus of Ani or the Book of the Dead (18th Dynasty, 1550-1305 B. C.) is an elaborate version of the confessions enumerated above and sequentially runs as follows:
I have not done iniquity
I have not robbed with violence
I have not stolen
I have done no murder
I have not defrauded offerings
I have not diminished oblations
I have not plundered the gods
I have spoken no lies
I have not snatched away food
I have not caused pain
I have not committed fornication
I have not caused shedding of tears
I have not dealt deceitfully
I have not transgressed
I have not acted guilefully
I have not laid waste the ploughed land
I have not been an eavesdropper
I have not set my lips in motion against any man
I have not been angry and wrathful except for a just cause
I have not defiled the wife of any man
I have not defiled the wife of any man*
I have not polluted myself
I have not caused terror
I have not transgressed**
I have not burned with rage
I have not stopped my ears against the words of Right and Truth
I have not worked grief
I have not acted with insolence
I have not stirred up strife
I have not judged hastily
I have not been eavesdropper***
I have not multiplied words exceedingly
I have done neither harm nor ill
I have never cursed the king
I have not worked treason
I have never befouled the water
I have not spoken scornfully
I have not cursed God
I have not acted with arrogance
I have not been overweeningly proud
I have never magnified my condition beyond what was fitting
I have never slighted the god in my town.6
Any intelligent person who reads the Bible in general and the Ten Commandments in particular could be perplexed by the input of Egyptian theology in Christian dogma although believers generally tend to deny any plausible logical deduction that may unseat the foundation of their respective religions. The fact, however, remains steadfast. After all Moses was Egyptian and the disciple of Amenhotep (Akhenaten) who popularized (not invented) monotheism in Egypt. Although the Egyptian mystery system was predominantly polytheistic, early on during the course of the Egyptian civilization monotheism was pretty much established with a low profile. Thus, the Jews, Christians and Moslems borrowed the idea of one god from the Egyptians.
On top of the many similarities and shared dogmas between Egyptian theology and Christianity, the two belief systems are allegorically connected. For instance, Egyptian magical numbers such as 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 12 do not only represent simple computation but they also symbolically reflect philosophy, ontology and cosmology as related to human nature and truth. For example 3 represents the manifestation of Osiris-Harmachis-Temu, a triad (3) representing the morning sun, the evening sun, and the night sun. The triad manifestations in Christianity, of course, are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost that constitute the Trinity. Christians believe that Christ rose from the dead three days after he was dead and buried. In many traditional African societies, the accused or the sickly invokes the name of God three times in order to absolve him or herself from his/her crime or be cured from ill health. Among the Yoruba a nursing mother and child pass three times through [sacred] dripping water poured on top of the thatched roof of their house. In Ethiopia, especially in the areas of Tigrigna and Amharic speakers, if a female baby is born the women gathered to celebrate and welcome the newly born ululate three times.
Four (4) represents the four sons of Horus or the grandsons of Osiris, and in turn, the four cardinal points of East, West, North, and South. Depicted like the pharaohs, Osiris holds in his hands four symbols of stability, life, serenity, and power (dominion). “Moreover, in Egyptian astrology, we encounter the four gods of Amset (man), Hapi (ape), Tuamutef (jackal) and Gebhsennuf (hawk) which became the Four Beasts of lion, calf, man, and eagle in Christianity (Book of Revelation).” 7 Egyptian mythologies further symbolize plethora of ideas such as the Four Rejoicing Ones, Four Nemset Vases, Four Faces, Four gods etc. In many traditional African societies the Four Elements that characterize human nature are the body, the soul, the double, and the shadow.
The number 5 was associated with sacrifice. According to Plutarch and other classical historians Osiris was born on the first of the five epagomenal days of the Egyptian year and as per Biblical prophesy Christ was to be born five and half days (interpreted as 5,500 years) after Adam and was to be sacrificed in order to cleanse humanity from its sins, very much like the role of Osiris. The five times of incense in Christian orthodoxy refer to 1) Abel, Genesis 4:24; 2) Noah, Genesis 8:20; 3) Melkhizedek, Genesis 14:18; 4) Aaron in Leviticus, 9, and 5) Zacharia in Luke 1:8, and these Biblical personas are men who offered accepted sacrifices by the Lord. In praise of these altruistic men, the priest and the deacon burn incense and go around the altar three (3) times. The five pillars and five prayers per day of Islam most likely correspond to the incense ritual of Christianity.
As has already been stated seven (7) represents completion for the Egyptians. After a child was born, it was in the Egyptian tradition to wash the baby with water or oil and the latter signifies the Seven Holy Oils used in the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony. Likewise after a male child is born in Ethiopia (especially in the central and northern regions) the women ululate seven times. The nursing Yoruba woman that we encountered earlier would perform the three times walk seven days after her child is born. In the Book of Gates of the Egyptians, there are the symbolic seven stands for seven gods. Moreover, in Egyptian theology we come across the Seven Hathors, the Seven Arits, the Seven Cows, the Seven Uraei, the Seven Spirits, and the Seven-headed Serpent. In almost similar fashion, seven is prefixed with either animals or spirits in the Book of Revelation. Nowadays, humanity in general is stuck in the number 7 even if the subject does not logically represent seven: the seven wonders of the world, the seven seas, the Group of Seven etc or in more practical terms the seven days of the week or the seven sounds (vowels) of each Ethiopian character of the alphabet. The pious Muslims during pilgrimage walk seven times around the Kaaba and the Luminaries, by the same token, believe in the Seven Chakras (Sanskrit) or energy points of the human body and they assemble in Egypt and walk around the pyramid seven times.
Nine (9) also represents completeness and finality in Egyptian philosophy. The company of the Gods contained nine members and during judgment day, thus, Osiris was accompanied by nine gods who stand on the nine steps that lead to the pedestal where Osiris is seated on a chair. Moreover, we have Nine Mourners, Nine Watchers, Nine Task-masters, and Nine Holders of the Rope for measuring land. In most African societies nine symbolizes sacredness and to be sure there are the most revered Nine Saints in Ethiopia.
Twelve was essentially the 12 points of the Zodiac in Egyptian astronomy but later the Egyptians calculated the revolution of our planet earth after studying the lunar movements. Hence 12×30= 360 plus 5 days for harvest would be 365 days, the calendar that all of us use to this day. In fact, like the Egyptian or Coptic calendar, the Ethiopian Calendar has 12×30 days plus five or epagomenal days. By the same token, the Jewish calendar known as sod ha-ibbur is a derivation of the Egyptian system of intercalating the solar and lunar cycles. In the Book Am-Tuat the Egyptians have illustrations of 12 serpents. Christians then took the Egyptian 12 to mean the twelve Apostles as astronomers did for 12 months. In most African societies the kings council or judges were 12 in number.
There is no doubt that Judaism evolved out of Egyptian polytheism, and Christianity and Islam followed suit. Where else could their origin be?
Ghelawdewos Araia, “What is Wrong With Afrocentrism?” African Link, Vol. 5, No. 5, 1996
Molefi Kete Asante and Abu S. Abarry (editors), African Intellectual Heritage, Temple University Press, 1996, pp. 12-16
E. A. Wallis Budge, OSIRIS & The Egyptian Resurrection, Vol. II, Dover Publications Inc., New York, 1973, p. 66
Wallis Budge, Vol. I, pp. 312-313
Wallis Budge, Vol. II, p. 280
Asante and Abarry, pp. ibid, 73-74
Ghelawdewos Araia, ibid
#21 is repeated because it is addressed specifically to the two-headed serpent
#24 is repeated because it is addressed to the ‘Destroyer’
#31 is repeated because it is addressed to Sekherui
Copyright © IDEA, Inc. April 7, 2007. Dr. Ghelawdewos Araia can be contacted for educational and constructive feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Lucian makes the Ethiopians to have excelled all other nations in wisdom and literature.” And, continues Cummings Antiquities: Heliodorus says, that the Ethiopians had two sorts of letters, the one called regal, the other vulgar; and that the regal resembled the sacerdotal characters of the Egyptians.”
We have already treated upon that first branch of their literature, hieroglyphics, under the head of Builders of the Pyramids, and we add here, that according to Lucian, “they invented astronomy and astrology, and communicated those sciences, as well as other branches of learning, to the Egyptians. As their country was very fit for making celestial observations, such a notion seems not entirely groundless, though scarce any particulars of their knowledge had reached us.”
We present here, copied from Cummings taken from the great History of Ethiopia by that learned Israelite in Ethiopian literature, Job Ludolphus, the regal letters or Royal Ethiopians Alphabet, which none but the kings, priests, royal family and nobility were expected to learn.
The hieroglyphics were the vulgar or common letters, because representing objects or things to the eye, known and understood at sight by the common people, the compositions or combination of which into sentences, could easily be learned by them. Hence, a hawk, for swiftness, meant dispatch or hasty news; a crocodile, for its meanness, meant malice; a serpent, danger; the open right hand, plenty; the closed left hand, safety or security: a jackal, watchfulness or vigilance; an oxen, patience; a sheep, innocence or harmlessness; a dove, love and innocence; a pigeon, news sent abroad; a swallow, news received; a rat or rabbit, caution, to be aware from their ruining habits; a water jug, thirst; the eye, Divine watchfulness, all seeing; water, to run as a stream; land or territory, a country, representing hills and dales, an owl, always ominous and portentious; a dog, friendship, fidelity, faithfulness and trustworthiness; and a cat, companionship, meekness and constancy; a cock, boast or banter; a horse and chariot, preparation for war; all of which readily address themselves to the senses and comprehension of the common people.
The hieroglyphics are letters forming a literature founded upon the philosophy of nature without alphabet; but that which we shall now present is of much higher order, being artificial characters based on metaphysical philosophy of language.
With our limited knowledge in archaeology, we have always believed that the philosophy and root of alphabetical literature had its origin in Africa, or with the Hamite family. We have gone a step aside from this, and claimed that the first sixteen letters of the Greek alphabet, from alpha A to pi II, originated in Africa, as a part of the sacerdotal alphabet, the Greeks adding eight more from ro to omega .
We call attention to the Ethiopian alphabet presented above, the oldest, we believe, on record, if we discard the extraordinary assertion of Confucius, the Chinese historian, who claims for his race, a civilization and literature fifteen thousands years older than the theological period of creation. But happily for our claim, we believe they have no alphabetical arrangement.
The Old Original Ethiopian Alphabet
The second Ethiopian Bet gives the twentieth Greek upsilon small, a little modified, inverted;
the fifth Haut gives the twenty first Greek psi modified;
seventh Zai gives eta the seventh Greek;
the eighth Ethiopian Hbam gives the fourteenth Greek xi modified;
the tenth Lawi gives lambda, the eleventh Greek, modified;
the fifteenth Saat gives pi , the sixteenth Greek modified;
the sixteenth Ain gives delta the fourth Greek, inverted;
the nineteenth Kof gives phi the twenty first Greek;
the twentieth Rees, gives zeta , the sixth Greek;
the twenty first Saut gives small omega the fifteenth Greek;
the twenty fourth Tawi gives tau the nineteenth Greek, modified.
There is a slight modification in several of the letters, but the essential structure of the character is the same in both.
We regard the comparison of much importance in such a work as this, upon a most interesting subject to the whole human family.
And we must here beg to be borne with when we record our conviction tht the literature of the Israelites, both in the science of letters, and government, also religion, was derived from the Africans, as they must have carried with them the civilization of those peoples and that country, in their memorable exodus, as the highest encomium upon Moses in the Scripture is, that he “was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” Or that their religion and laws, we shall treat to another place.
They “invented Astronomy and Astrology,” says Lucian.
And this important fact, however much it may be doubted by those who have given little or no thought to the subject, is borne out by the arrangement of this department of science, as the constellations beautifully illustrate. We shall designate the principal constellations having a direct bearing upon the subject, according to the legend of astronomical history: Cepheus and Cassiopea, Andromeda and Perseus, Pegassus and Cetus: the horse which carried them (the son in law and daughter) to heaven, and the monster of the sea which approached the shore of Ethiopia to destroy the Princess while taking a surf bath, when she was saved by Perseus, who was watching her, and slew the monster, and escaped to heaven on the winged horse. Orion and Auriga, beautiful constellations, are none other than Nimrod and Rameses II and Sirius is none other than Osiris.
And all these important facts seem to have been lost sight of, or passed unnoticed, by those who dispute so high a civilization as this given to the Ethiopians at so early a day, as being the authors of astronomical science. And do not these facts of those people comport with the living reality of their knowledge of the science of geometry, by the existence of those monuments of mathematical accuracy, the “everlasting Pyramids”?
What power brought to the plains of Egypt, through sand and bog, from no one knows where, shaped, lifted and placed those great cubic rocks of many thousand tons weight, one above the other in regular and symmaterical layers to a given height, decreasing from the first surface layer, finishing by a capstone, large enough for from twenty to forty persons to stand upon, but a knowledge of mathematics? None other whatever.
And doubtless, it was dwelling among and studying, in after ages, the structure of these great monuments, that induced Euclid to pursue his mathematical studies to the discovery of the forty seventh problem, which seems to be the ne plus ultraof termination of problems in that science, as none beyond it has since been discovered.
German archaeologists have claimed to have found one of the fabled resting places of the Ark of the Covenant, the chest holding the Ten Commandments which gave the ancient Israelites their power.
Source: Telegraph Media Group – 13 May 2008
The University of Hamburg say its researchers have found the remains of the 10th century BC palace of the Queen of Sheba in Axum, Ethiopia, and an altar which at one time reputedly held the precious treasure.
Archaeologist Helmut Ziegert, who is leading the dig said: “From the dating, its position and the details that we have found, I am sure that this is the palace.”
Ethiopian legends holds that the Ark was taken to the palace of the Queen of Sheba by King Solomon, the king of the Jews, after they fell in love.
After the Queen’s death her son, Menelek, rebuilt the palace and dedicated it to the cult of Sirius, but kept the Ark in its resting place there.
The team said evidence at the site included Sirius symbols, the debris of sacrifices and the alignment of sacred buildings to the rising-point of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.
“The results we have suggest that a Cult of Sothis developed in Ethiopia with the arrival of Judaism and the Ark of the Covenant and continued until 600 AD,” the university said. Sothis is the ancient Greek name for Sirius.
The German research, which began in 1999, is aimed at documenting the origins of the Ethiopian state and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
The hunt for the Ark, which featured in the Indiana Jones film Raiders of the Lost Ark, has become almost as legendary as the artefact itself.
The 1981 film has the artefact recovered by the Nazis from a resting place in the “Well of Souls” in Tanis, Egypt – not to be confused with the Well of Souls on Temple Mount, Jerusalem.
The Nazi treasure hunters are later killed when the Ark is opened.
The Old Testament recounts that Moses, on leading the Israelites from Egypt, received the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai.
These Commandments, written on stone tablets, were later placed in a chest made from acacia wood, plated with gold and topped with two golden angels. This was the Ark of the Covenant.
The Ark was then kept in the Temple of Solomon Jerusalem for centuries, according to the Old Testament.
After Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians in the 6th century BC, the Bible and it entered the realm of legend.
Ethiopian tradition claims that the Ark was moved to Axum from Jerusalem in 10th century BC.
A sect in Ethiopia maintains that the Ark is kept at the church of St Mary of Zion, but the site is defended by monks and only one guardian is allowed to see it, making the claim impossible to verify.
Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire
By Drusilla Dunjee Houston. 1926
“…Some one civilized race of prehistoric times had tamed the domestic animals; for when the curtain of history was raised we find them in attendance upon man. With the same infinite patience, this race developed wild plants into tamed fruits and cereals. The Cushite was the only race that could have performed this service, for the other races in historic times despised agriculture. Nomadic races are fierce and impatient, they have a nature the opposite to habits that make for patient and perseverence, which are the steps to art and literature. Before the dawn of history Cushites were working in metals and they had perfected the tools with which we conquer the forces of nature today. Our masons tools are identical with those unearthed in Egypt. Joly calls the three significant factors of progress in the life of man: the hearth, the altar and the forge. All three of these were given to the world by the African. The ancients said that Ethiopians first taught them the worship of the gods and sacrifice. The agricultural Ethiopian developed the idea of a settled hearth and home. He developed very early the art of smelting iron, which is found in the pyramids and gave knowledge of its manufacture to the world
The primitive worship of the Ethiopians was pure. They worshipped one supreme being. Their rulers were priest-kings and at death were deified. As the ages ensued this extended itself in ancestor worship, which was original with the Cushite race. It flourishes on the African continent today. Ancestor worship spread over all the countries Which the Cushites conquered. Frobenius, the great anthropologist, says, “Ethiopia is an ancient classical land. In olden days its inhabitants were considered the most pious and oldest of mankind. In many quarters Meroe is thought to be indebted to primitive Egypt. From a standpoint of ethnology, we must unhesitatingly reject this supposition. The Nubians possessed an independent and individual religion in the earliest known times, the cult of which impressed the Egyptians, who gave an account of it to the, authors of old.” (Voice of Africa. Vol. II p. 621)
Champollion, the father of Egyptology, in his valuable memoirs declared, that the Lower Valley of the Nile was originally peopled from Abyssinia and Meroe. The most ancient cities that they founded were Thebes and Edfou. In the beginning Egypt was ruled by priest-kings, who reigned in the name of some deity. This sacerdotal class were overthrown by the warrior caste, whose chiefs raised themselves to the rank of kings. This new establishment of power took place about 2000 B, C. Thebes under them reached the height of her glory. The Old Race of the first dynasties, the race of Thot, Amen-Ra and Osiris had turned its greatest strength in wider and wider circles across North Africa and up the coast of western Europe. To the eastward they had civilized the Mesopotamian plains and had swept on to India. Their relation toward Egypt became, more and more hostile, though full blooded Ethiopians still sat upon the throne. The idols of Egypt to the last detail were gods of Meroe.
There had been a rich literature in ancient Ethiopia, which endured until the time of Christ. There are now in existence more than two thousand Ethiopian manuscripts. The early Christian missionaries who entered Ethiopia considered it a duty to destroy all the ancient pagan literature. The two thousand extant are but a remnant of olden writings, which if in the possession of me world today would unfold many a baffling mystery. The literature of Ethiopia that remains is almost wholly Christian.
A look at Ethiopia today in her ruined condition, makes it difficult for the average observer to receive the deductions of explorers, geologists and ethnologists. The great lapse of time has erased traces of a civilization that was decaying in the days of Cambyses. Many of the massive ruins and relics of those declining days as described in books are conceived by the readers to be products of the lower Nile, When they existed far up in Nubia. The museums of the world contain much of Ethiopian art that is labeled as Egyptian. Ferlini in 1820 found in the tomb of the Great Queen of Meroe, a bronze vessel, the handles of which were ornamented with Dionysus masks, also necklaces, bracelets, rings and other articles of jewelry. Dionysus was the Bacchus of the Greeks, the Osiris of Egypt and a very famous ruler of the ancient Cushite empire of Ethiopians. These jewels and the bronze jar are in the museum at Munich. Ferlini was greatly surprised at the workmanship, which he considered finer than any to which the Greeks had attained. (Egyptian Soudan–Budge.)
In 1863, Marriette discovered at Jebel Barkal among the monuments, five columns of the highest importance, proving Ethiopia to have had a very important position among the Egyptian dynasties, in later historical times. These Ethiopian kings residing in Nubia ruled Egypt. One of these conquerors, Takarka carried his expeditions into Asia. He was doing no more than Ethiopians of earlier ages had done. European museums contain some of the monuments of Jebel Barkal. Groups of pyramids are near the temple. In twenty-five structures at Nuri in interior vaults is a method of support, until recently thought to be an Etruscan invention. At the time of the Old Empire the population of Upper Egypt was Nubian. In the Sixth Dynasty Nubia was a part of the Egyptian Kingdom. In the inscriptions of Ethiopia the ruler is called “King of the Two Lands” and the symbol of the Uraei proves their authority over Egypt and Ethiopia. The pyramids of the Queens of Meroe show the authority of this line over the Two Lands. This was why Egyptian monarchs so often married princesses of Ethiopia. It seemed to strengthen their claim to the throne.
Late excavations of Harvard University in old Ethiopia have unearthed at Napata a royal cemetery more than two thousand years old. At Nuri they examined the tombs of twenty kings and twenty-five queens of Ethiopia from 660 B. C. to 250 B. C. The line of Candace was highly honored in Ethiopia. Their jewelry was very elaborate and purely Merotic in style and workmanship. At the feet of the Great Queen were the gods of the north and south tying the two lands together. The two lands that in their beginning had been one. The symbolic representation of the union of the north and south is found at a very early period in Egypt. Her Pharaohs bearing the title, King of the Two Lands. Hoskins infinitely preferred the pyramids of Meroe for their elegance of architectural effect to those of Gezeh. He viewed the ruins of Meroe as the last architectural efforts of a people whose greatness had passed away. These rulers were fully Ethiopian in feature and hair. In their titles was the name Amen-Ra.
Some of the largest temples of Nubia were built by this line of kings and queens. The power of Tarkaka and Pankhi who subjugated Egypt is attested by the sculptured reliefs of the scenes of their battles. In XXII Dynasty of Egypt, the country having become so intermingled with foreign blood, the main body of the priests of Amen, who had ruled so long at Thebes, emigrated into Ethiopia. Favors shown foreigners so displeased the military class that they deserted in a body to Ethiopia, 240,000 soldiers. Pharaoh made overtures to them but they would not return. These were the former ruling class of Egypt returning to the land and culture from which they had originated.
The term Nubia was unknown to the ancients. Everything south of Egypt was called Ethiopia, the land of the dark races…”
By RUNOKO RASHIDI
One of the foremost tasks for contemporary African centered scholars is to provide an historical overview of the global African community. This is a critical task that must be completed in its entirety. This includes the history, culture and present condition of African people both at home and abroad. We are already aware, it should be pointed out, based on recent scientific studies of DNA, that modern humanity originated in Africa, that African people are the world’s aboriginal people and that all modern humans can ultimately trace their ancestral roots back to Africa. If not for the primordial migrations of early African people, humanity would have remained physically Africoid, and the rest of the world outside of the African continent absent of human life. This is our starting point.
Since the first modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) were of African birth, the African presence globally can be demonstrated through the history of the Black populations that have inhabited the world within the span of recent humanity. Not only are African people the aboriginal people of the planet, however, there is abundant evidence to show that Black people created and sustained many of the world’s earliest and most enduring civilizations. Such was the case in India.
The questions we pose here are simply these: Who are the African people of India? What is their significance in the annals of history? Precisely what have they done and what are they doing now? These are extremely serious questions that warrant serious and fundamental answers.
ANCIENT AFRICA AND EARLY INDIA
Exceptionally valuable writings reflecting close relationships between Africa and early India have existed for more than two thousand years. In the first century B.C.E., for example, the famous Greek historian Diodorus Siculus penned that, “From Ethiopia he (Osiris) passed through Arabia, bordering upon the Red Sea as far as India…. He built many cities in India, one of which he called Nysa, willing to have remembrance of that (Nysa) in Egypt, where he was brought up.”
Another important writer from antiquity, Apollonius of Tyana, who is said to have visited India near the end of the first century C.E., was convinced that “The Ethiopians are colonists sent from India, who follow their forefathers in matters of wisdom.” The literary work of the early Christian writer Eusebius preserves the tradition that, “In the reign of Amenophis III [the mighty Dynasty XVIII Egyptian king] a body of Ethiopians migrated from the country about the Indus, and settled in the valley of the Nile.” And still another document from ancient times, the Itinerarium Alexandri, says that “India, taken as a whole, beginning from the north and embracing what of it is subject to Persia, is a continuation of Egypt and the Ethiopians.”
INDIA’S EARLIEST CIVILIZATION
In Greater India, more than a thousand years before the foundations of Greece and Rome, proud and industrious Black men and women known as Dravidians erected a powerful civilization. We are referring here to the Indus Valley civilization- -India’s earliest high-culture, with major cities spread out along the course of the Indus River. The Indus Valley civilization was at its height from about 2200 B.C.E. to 1700 B.C.E. This phase of its history is called the Harappan, the name being derived from Harappa, one of the earliest known Indus Valley cities.
In 1922, about 350 miles northeast of Harappa, another large Indus city, Mohenjo-daro (the Mound of the Dead) was identified. Mohenjo-daro and Harappa were apparently the chief administrative centers of the Indus Valley complex, and since their identification, several additional cities, including Chanhu-daro, Kalibangan, Quetta and Lothal have been excavated.
The Indus cities possessed multiple level houses enhanced by sophisticated wells, drainage systems and bathrooms with flushing toilets. A recognized scholar on the Indus Valley civilization, Dr. Walter Fairservis, states that the “Harappans cultivated cotton and perhaps rice, domesticated the chicken and may have invented the game of chess and one of the two great early sources of nonmuscle power: the windmill.”
The decline and fall of the Indus Valley civilization has been linked to several factors, the most important of which were the increasingly frequent incursions of the White people known in history as Aryans–violent Indo-European tribes initially from central Eurasia and later Iran. Indeed, the name Iran means the “land of the Aryan.”
APARTHEID IN INDIA
The White tribes that invaded India and disrupted Black civilization there are known as Aryans. The Aryans were not necessarily superior warriors to the Blacks but they were aggressive, developed sophisticated military technologies and glorified military virtues. After hundreds of years of intense martial conflict the Aryans succeeded in subjugating most of northern India. Throughout the vanquished territories a rigid, caste-segmented social order was established with the masses of conquered Blacks (called Shudras) essentially reduced to slaves to the Whites and imposed upon for service in any capacity required by their White conquerors. This vicious new world order was cold-bloodily racist, with the Whites on top, the mixed races in the middle, and the overwhelming majority of Black people on the very bottom. In fact, the Aryan term varna, denoting one’s societal status and used interchangeably with caste, literally means color or complexion and reflects a prevalent racial hierarchy. Truly, India is still a racist country. White supremacist David Duke claimed “that his 1970’s visit to India was a turning point in his views on the superiority of the White race.”
Caste law in India, based originally on race, regulated all aspects of life, including marriage, diet, education, place of residence and occupation. This is not to deny that there were certain elements of the Black aristocracy that managed to gain prominence in the dominant White social structure. The masses of conquered Black people, however, were regarded by the Whites as Untruth itself. The Whites claimed to have emerged from the mouth of God; the Blacks, on the other hand, were said to have emerged from the feet of God. This was the ugly reality for the Black masses in conquered India. It was written that:
“A Sudra [Black] who intentionally reviles twice-born men [Whites] by criminal abuse, or criminally assaults them with blows, shall be deprived of the limb with which he offends. If he has criminal intercourse with an Aryan woman, his organ shall be cut off, and all his property confiscated. If the woman has a protector, the Sudra shall be executed. If he listens intentionally to a recitation of the Veda [a traditional Hindu religious text], his tongue shall be cut out. If he commits them to memory his body shall be split in half.”
Servitude to Whites became the basis of the lives of the Black people of India for generation after generation after generation. With the passage of time, this brutally harsh, color-oriented, racially-based caste system became the foundation of the religion that is now practiced throughout all India. This is the religion known as Hinduism.
THE BUDDHA AND BUDDHISM IN INDIA
Buddhism appeared in India during the sixth century B.C.E. and came in the form of a protest against Hinduism. Buddhism opposed the arrogance of caste, and preached tolerance. It should not be surprising, then, that it developed a large and rapid following in the regions of India where the Blacks had survived in substantial numbers. On the emergence of Buddhism in India, Diop has suggested that:
“It would seem that Buddha was an Egyptian priest, chased from Memphis by the persecution of Cambyses. This tradition would justify the portrayal of Buddha with woolly hair. Historical documents do not invalidate this tradition…There is general agreement today on placing in the sixth century not only Buddha but the whole religious and philosophical movement in Asia with Confucius in China, Zoroaster in Iran. This would confirm the hypothesis of a dispersion of Egyptian priests at that time spreading their doctrine in Asia.”
Dr. Vulindlela Wobogo, another African-centric scholar, has observed that:
“Manifestations of the Buddha in Asia are Black with woolly hair. They all appear to be Egypto-Nubian priests who fled Egypt…The priests carried their spiritual knowledge but lost much of the scientific knowledge for obvious reasons. The well-known aspects of Buddhism and its companion, yoga, are all simply Egypto-Nubian priesthood practices, meditation, and…the belief that one could attain a god-like state if the soul was liberated from the body through knowledge and denial.”
In a monumental two volume work entitled A Book of the Beginnings, originally published in 1881, Gerald Massey recorded that:
“It is not necessary to show that the first colonisers of India were Black, but it is certain that the Black Buddha of India was imaged in the Africoid type. In the Black [African] god, whether called Buddha or Sut-Nahsi, we have a datum. they carry in their color the proof of their origin. The people who first fashioned and worshipped the divine image in the Africoid mold of humanity must, according to all knowledge of human nature, have been Africans themselves. For the Blackness is not merely mystical, the features and the hair of Buddha belong to the Black race.”
In the first volume of his massive text Anacalypsis, Godfrey Higgins wrote that:
“The religion of Buddha, of India, is well known to have been very ancient. In the most ancient temples scattered through Asia, where his worship is yet continued, he is found black as jet, with the flat face, thick lips and curly hair of the African.”
DALIT: THE BLACK UNTOUCHABLES OF INDIA
Possibly the most substantial percentage of Asia’s Blacks can be identified among India’s 160 million “Untouchables” or “Dalits.” Frequently they are called “Outcastes.” Indian nationalist leader and devout Hindu Mohandas K. Gandhi called them “Harijans,” meaning “children of god.” The official name given them in India’s constitution (1951) is “Scheduled Castes.” “Dalit,” meaning “crushed and broken,” is a name that has come into prominence only within the last four decades. “Dalit” reflects a radically different response to oppression.
The Dalit are demonstrating a rapidly expanding awareness of their African ancestry and their relationship to the struggle of Black people throughout the world. They seem particularly enamored of African-Americans. African-Americans, in general, seem almost idolized by the Dalit, and the Black Panther Party, in particular, is virtually revered. In April 1972, for example, the Dalit Panther Party was formed in Bombay, India. This organization takes its pride and inspiration directly from the Black Panther Party of the United States. This is a highly important development due to the fact that the Untouchables have historically been so systematically terrorized that many of them, even today, live in a perpetual state of extreme fear of their upper caste oppressors. This is especially evident in the villages. The formation of the Dalit Panthers and the corresponding philosophy that accompanies it signals a fundamental change in the annals of resistance, and Dalit Panther organizations have subsequently spread to other parts of India. In August 1972, the Dalit Panthers announced that the 25th anniversary of Indian independence would be celebrated as a day of mourning. In 1981, in Bangalore, India Dravidian journalist V.T. Rajshekar published the first issue of Dalit Voice–the major English journal of the Black Untouchables. In a 1987 publication entitled the African Presence in Early Asia, Rajshekar stated that:
“The African-Americans also must know that their liberation struggle cannot be complete as long as their own blood-brothers and sisters living in far off Asia are suffering. It is true that African-Americans are also suffering, but our people here today are where African-Americans were two hundred years ago.
African-American leaders can give our struggle tremendous support by bringing forth knowledge of the existence of such a huge chunk of Asian Blacks to the notice of both the American Black masses and the Black masses who dwell within the African continent itself.”…
HABSHIS AND SIDDIS: AFRICAN DYNASTIES IN INDIA
India also received its share of African bondsmen, of whom the most famous was the celebrated Malik Ambar (1550-1626). Ambar, like a number of Africans in medieval India, elevated himself to a position of great authority. Malik Ambar, whose original name was Shambu, was born around 1550 in Harar, Ethiopia. After his arrival in India Ambar was able to raise a formidable army and achieve great power in the west Indian realm of Ahmadnagar. Ambar was a brilliant diplomat and administrator. He encouraged manufactures and built canals and mosques. He gave pensions to poets and scholars, established a postal service, and ultimately became one of the most famous men in India.
In a collective form, however, and in respect to long term influence, the African sailors known as Siddis stand out. Certainly, Siddi kingdoms were established in western India in Janjira and Jaffrabad as early as 1100 AD. After their conversion to Islam, the African freedmen of India, originally called Habshi from the Arabic, called themselves Sayyad (descendants of Muhammad) and were consequently called Siddis. Indeed, the island Janjira was formerly called Habshan, meaning Habshan’s or African’s land. Siddi signifies lord or prince. It is further said that Siddi is an expression of respectful address commonly used in North Africa, like Sahib in India. Specifically, it is said to be an honorific title given to the descendants of African natives in the west of India, some of whom were distinguished military officers and administrators of the Muslim princes of the Deccan.
In the second decade of the sixteenth century a European traveler named Armando Cortesao noted that:
“The people who govern the kingdom [Bengal] are Abyssinians [Ethiopians]. These men are looked upon as knights; they are greatly esteemed; they wait on the kings in their apartments. The chief among them are eunuchs and these come to be kings and great lords in the kingdom. Those who are not eunuchs are the fighting men. After the king, it is to this people that the kingdom is obedient from fear.”
The Siddis were a tightly knit group, highly aggressive, and even ferocious in battle. They were employed largely as security forces for Muslim fleets in the Indian Ocean, a position they maintained for centuries. The Siddi commanders were titled Admirals of the Mughal Empire, and received an annual salary of 300,000 rupees. According to Ibn Battuta (1304-1377), the noted Muslim writer who journeyed through both Africa and Asia, the Siddis “are the guarantors of safety on the Indian Ocean; let there be but one of them on a ship and it will be avoided by the Indian pirates and idolaters.”