African American History Culture : The Construction of Black Civilization: Nation Building in the Nile Valley

Omowale Jabali

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The construction of civilization in the ancient Nile Valley at the end of the 4th millenium BC affected the subsequent development of civilizations of Africa and the Near East. Prior to the nation-building process in the Nile Valley, pre-dynastic people roamed the river swamps and high desert and built settlements which which lacked the complexity and centralized overnments which would emerge in the Dynastic era. The origins of these nation-states has been debated for millenia, from Central Africa or what is refreed by some as the Fertile Crescent, or from the indigenous Nilotic peoples themselves. It is believed that the founders of ancient NVC's were from an area near Abydos, in middle 'Egypt', and were known as the Thinite kings.

This period was known as Naqada III.

According to the following:
Naqada III is the last phase of the Naqadan period of ancient Egyptian prehistory, dating approximately from 3200 to 3000 BC.[1] It is the period during which the process of state formation, which had begun to take place in Naqada II, became highly visible, with named kings heading powerful polities. Naqada III is often referred to as Dynasty 0 or Protodynastic Period[2] to reflect the presence of kings at the head of influential states, although, in fact, the kings involved would not have been a part of a dynasty. They would more probably have been completely unrelated and very possibly in competition with each other. Kings names are inscribed in the form of serekhs on a variety of surfaces including pottery and tombs.
The Protodynastic Period in ancient Egypt was characterised by an ongoing process of political unification, culminating in the formation of a single state to begin the Early Dynastic Period. Furthermore, it is during this time that the Egyptian language was first recorded in hieroglyphs. There is also strong archaeological evidence of Egyptian settlements in southern Kanaan during the Protodynastic Period, which are regarded as colonies or trading entrepôts.
State formation began during this era and perhaps even earlier. Various small city-states arose along the Nile. Centuries of conquest then reduced Upper Egypt to three major states: Thinis, Naqada, and Nekhen. Sandwiched between Thinis and Nekhen, Naqada was the first to fall. Thinis then conquered Lower Egypt. Nekhen's relationship with Thinis is uncertain, but these two states may have merged peacefully, with the Thinite royal family ruling all of Egypt. The Thinite kings are buried at Abydos in the Umm el-Qa'ab cemetery.
Most Egyptologists consider Narmer to be the last king of this period (although some place him in the First Dynasty). He was preceded by the so-called "Scorpion King(s)", whose name may refer to, or be derived from, the goddess Serket, a special early protector of other deities and the rulers.
Wilkinson (1999) lists these early Kings as the un-named owner of Abydos tomb B1/2 whom some interpret as Iry-Hor, King A, King B, Scorpion and/or Crocodile, and Ka. Others favour a slightly different listing.
Naqada III extends all over Egypt and is characterized by some sensational firsts:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naqada_III
Thinis or This (Egyptian: Tjenu) was the capital city of the first dynasties of ancient Egypt. Thinis is, as yet, undiscovered but well attested to by ancient writers, including the classical historian Manetho, who cites it as the centre of the Thinite Confederacy, a tribal confederation whose leader, Menes (or Narmer), united Egypt and was its first pharaoh. Thinis began a steep decline in importance from Dynasty III, when the capital was relocated to Memphis. Its location on the border of the competing Heracleopolitan and Theban dynasties of the First Intermediate Period, and its proximity to certain oases of possible military importance, ensured Thinis some continued signifance in the Old and New Kingdoms. This was a brief respite and Thinis eventually lost its position as a regional administrative centre by the Roman period.
Due to its ancient heritage, Thinis remained a siginificant religious centre, housing the tomb and mummy of the regional deity. In ancient Egyptian religious cosmology, as seen (for example) in the Book of the Dead, Thinis played a role as a mythical place in heaven.[1]
Although the precise location of Thinis is unknown, mainstream Egyptological consensus places it in the vicinity of ancient Abydos and modern Girga.[2][3][4]


Nearby Abydos (temple of Osiris pictured), after ceding its political rank to Thinis, remained an important religious centre.



The two major rulers from this early period are known as King Scorpion and Narmer. On the fragmented artifact known as the 'Scorpion Macehead', a king is seen in full ritual dress with the ritual bull's tail hanging from the back of his belt, wearing the tall White Crown [hedjet] of UPPER Egypt and performing a ceremony using a hoe or mattock.


The Narmer Palette, also known as the Great Hierakonpolis Palette or the Palette of Narmer, is a significant Egyptian archeological find, dating from about the 31st century BC, containing some of the earliest hieroglyphic inscriptions ever found. It is thought by some to depict the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the king Narmer. On one side, the king is depicted with the bulbed White crown of Upper (southern) Egypt, and the other side depicts the king wearing the level Red Crown of Lower (northern) Egypt. Along with the Scorpion Macehead and the Narmer Maceheads, also found together in the "Main Deposit" at Hierakonopolis, the Narmer Palette provides one of the earliest known depictions of an Egyptian king. The Palette shows many of the classic conventions of Egyptian art which must already have been formalized by the time of the Palette's creation.[1] The Egyptologist Bob Brier has referred to the Narmer Palette as "the first historical document in the world".[2]
The Palette, which has survived five millennia in almost perfect condition, was discovered by British archeologists James E. Quibell and Frederick W. Green, in what they called the Main Deposit in the Temple of Horus at Hierakonpolis, during the dig season of 1897–1898.[3] Also found at this dig were the Narmer Macehead and the Scorpion Macehead. The exact place and circumstances of these finds were not recorded very clearly by Quibell and Green. In fact, Green's report placed the Palette in a different layer one or two yards away from the deposit, which is considered to be more accurate on the basis of the original excavation notes.[4] It has been suggested that these objects were royal donations made to the temple.[5] Hierakonpolis was the ancient capital of Upper Egypt during the pre-dynastic Naqada III phase of Egyptian history.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narmer_Palette
This is the earliest occurence of what was to become an 'icon of majesty' throughout the rest of ancient Egyptian history, right down to Roman times.
 

Omowale Jabali

The Cosmic Journeyman
MEMBER
Sep 29, 2005
20,817
9,453
Temple of Kali, Yubaland
Occupation
Creative Industrialist
The construction of civilization in the ancient Nile Valley at the end of the 4th millenium BC affected the subsequent development of civilizations of Africa and the Near East. Prior to the nation-building process in the Nile Valley, pre-dynastic people roamed the river swamps and high desert and built settlements which which lacked the complexity and centralized overnments which would emerge in the Dynastic era. The origins of these nation-states has been debated for millenia, from Central Africa or what is refreed b some as the Fertile Crescent, or from the indigenous Nilotic peoples themselves. It is believed that the founders of ancient NVC's were from an area near Abydos, in middle 'Egypt', and were known as the Thinite kings.

This period was known as Naqada III.

According to the following:
Naqada III is the last phase of the Naqadan period of ancient Egyptian prehistory, dating approximately from 3200 to 3000 BC.[1] It is the period during which the process of state formation, which had begun to take place in Naqada II, became highly visible, with named kings heading powerful polities. Naqada III is often referred to as Dynasty 0 or Protodynastic Period[2] to reflect the presence of kings at the head of influential states, although, in fact, the kings involved would not have been a part of a dynasty. They would more probably have been completely unrelated and very possibly in competition with each other. Kings names are inscribed in the form of serekhs on a variety of surfaces including pottery and tombs.
The Protodynastic Period in ancient Egypt was characterised by an ongoing process of political unification, culminating in the formation of a single state to begin the Early Dynastic Period. Furthermore, it is during this time that the Egyptian language was first recorded in hieroglyphs. There is also strong archaeological evidence of Egyptian settlements in southern Kanaan during the Protodynastic Period, which are regarded as colonies or trading entrepôts.
State formation began during this era and perhaps even earlier. Various small city-states arose along the Nile. Centuries of conquest then reduced Upper Egypt to three major states: Thinis, Naqada, and Nekhen. Sandwiched between Thinis and Nekhen, Naqada was the first to fall. Thinis then conquered Lower Egypt. Nekhen's relationship with Thinis is uncertain, but these two states may have merged peacefully, with the Thinite royal family ruling all of Egypt. The Thinite kings are buried at Abydos in the Umm el-Qa'ab cemetery.
Most Egyptologists consider Narmer to be the last king of this period (although some place him in the First Dynasty). He was preceded by the so-called "Scorpion King(s)", whose name may refer to, or be derived from, the goddess Serket, a special early protector of other deities and the rulers.
Wilkinson (1999) lists these early Kings as the un-named owner of Abydos tomb B1/2 whom some interpret as Iry-Hor, King A, King B, Scorpion and/or Crocodile, and Ka. Others favour a slightly different listing.
Naqada III extends all over Egypt and is characterized by some sensational firsts:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naqada_III

Thinis or This (Egyptian: Tjenu) was the capital city of the first dynasties of ancient Egypt. Thinis is, as yet, undiscovered but well attested to by ancient writers, including the classical historian Manetho, who cites it as the centre of the Thinite Confederacy, a tribal confederation whose leader, Menes (or Narmer), united Egypt and was its first pharaoh. Thinis began a steep decline in importance from Dynasty III, when the capital was relocated to Memphis. Its location on the border of the competing Heracleopolitan and Theban dynasties of the First Intermediate Period, and its proximity to certain oases of possible military importance, ensured Thinis some continued signifance in the Old and New Kingdoms. This was a brief respite and Thinis eventually lost its position as a regional administrative centre by the Roman period.
Due to its ancient heritage, Thinis remained a siginificant religious centre, housing the tomb and mummy of the regional deity. In ancient Egyptian religious cosmology, as seen (for example) in the Book of the Dead, Thinis played a role as a mythical place in heaven.[1]
Although the precise location of Thinis is unknown, mainstream Egyptological consensus places it in the vicinity of ancient Abydos and modern Girga.[2][3][4]


Nearby Abydos (temple of Osiris pictured), after ceding its political rank to Thinis, remained an important religious centre.

The two major rulers from this early period are known as King Scorpion and Narmer. On the fragmented artifact known as the 'Scorpion Macehead', a king is seen in full ritual dress with the ritual bull's tail hanging from the back of his belt, wearing the tall White Crown [hedjet] of UPPER Egypt and performing a ceremony using a hoe or mattock.


The Narmer Palette, also known as the Great Hierakonpolis Palette or the Palette of Narmer, is a significant Egyptian archeological find, dating from about the 31st century BC, containing some of the earliest hieroglyphic inscriptions ever found. It is thought by some to depict the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the king Narmer. On one side, the king is depicted with the bulbed White crown of Upper (southern) Egypt, and the other side depicts the king wearing the level Red Crown of Lower (northern) Egypt. Along with the Scorpion Macehead and the Narmer Maceheads, also found together in the "Main Deposit" at Hierakonopolis, the Narmer Palette provides one of the earliest known depictions of an Egyptian king. The Palette shows many of the classic conventions of Egyptian art which must already have been formalized by the time of the Palette's creation.[1] The Egyptologist Bob Brier has referred to the Narmer Palette as "the first historical document in the world".[2]
The Palette, which has survived five millennia in almost perfect condition, was discovered by British archeologists James E. Quibell and Frederick W. Green, in what they called the Main Deposit in the Temple of Horus at Hierakonpolis, during the dig season of 1897–1898.[3] Also found at this dig were the Narmer Macehead and the Scorpion Macehead. The exact place and circumstances of these finds were not recorded very clearly by Quibell and Green. In fact, Green's report placed the Palette in a different layer one or two yards away from the deposit, which is considered to be more accurate on the basis of the original excavation notes.[4] It has been suggested that these objects were royal donations made to the temple.[5] Hierakonpolis was the ancient capital of Upper Egypt during the pre-dynastic Naqada III phase of Egyptian history.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narmer_Palette
This is the earliest occurence of what was to become an 'icon of majesty' throughout the rest of ancient Egyptian history, right down to Roman times.
Who was Narmer?

Narmer was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period (c. 32nd century BCE). He is thought to be the successor to the Protodynastic pharaohs Scorpion (or Selk) and/or Ka, and he is considered by some to be the unifier of Egypt and founder of the First Dynasty, and therefore the first pharaoh of unified Egypt.
The identity of Narmer is the subject of ongoing debate, although mainstream Egyptological consensus identifies Narmer with the Protodynastic pharaoh Menes (or "Merinar" reversing the 2 hieroglyphs which spell "Narmer"). Menes is also credited with the unification of Egypt, as the first pharaoh. This conclusion of joint identity is evidenced by different royal titularies in the archaeological and historical records, respectively.

Tomb and artifacts
Narmer's tomb is composed of two joined chambers (B17 and B18) found in the Umm el-Qa'ab region of Abydos. It is located near the tomb of Ka, who ruled Thinis just before him.
During the summer of 1994, excavators from the Nahal Tillah expedition, in southern Israel, discovered an incised ceramic shard (ostracon) with the serekh sign of Narmer, the same individual whose ceremonial slate palette was found by James E. Quibell in Upper Egypt. The ostracon was found on a large circular platform, possibly the foundations of a storage silo on the Halif Terrace. Dated to c.3000 BC, mineralogical studies of the shard conclude that it is a fragment of a wine jar which had been imported from the Nile valley to Canaan.
Narmer had Egyptian pottery produced in southern Canaan — with his name stamped on vessels — and then exported back to Egypt. Production sites included Tel Arad, Ein HaBesor, Rafah, and Tel Erani.
 

Omowale Jabali

The Cosmic Journeyman
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Queen Neithhotep

Neithhotep was the first queen of ancient Egypt, cofounder of the First dynasty, and is the earliest woman in history whose name is known. The name Neithhotep means "[The Goddess] Neith is satisfied".

Neithhotep's dynastic marriage to Narmer, which represents the start of the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt, c. 3200 BCE, and the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt, may be represented on the Narmer Macehead.[2] In this view Neithhotep was originally a princess of Lower Egypt, before marriage to Narmer (of Upper Egypt).
Neithhotep was the wife of Narmer[3][1] or wife[4] or mother of Hor-Aha and possibly the mother of Benerib.
Neithhotep's name was found in several locations:
  • Clay sealing in the tomb at Naqada with the name of Hor-Aha and Neithhotep.[3][5]
  • Clay sealing with the name of Neithhotep alone, also from the royal tomb in Naqada. Some of these are now in the Cairo Museum.[6]
  • Two inscribed vases were found in the tomb of Djer, Neithhotep's grandson.[7]
  • Ivory fragments with the name of Neithhotep were discovered in the subsidiary tombs near Djer's funerary complex.[8]
  • A fragment of an alabaster vase with the name of Neithhotep was found in the general vicinity of the royal tombs in Umm el-Qaab.[9]
  • On labels from Helwan.[3]
Her titles were: ḫntỉ (Foremost of Women), sm3ỉ.t nb.tỉ (Consort of the Two Ladies). Both were titles given to queens during the First dynasty.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neithhotep

Neithhotep: Foreigner or Indigenous Queen-Mother?

According to the following:

Neith had a powerful link with queenship and many of Egypt's Early Dynastic queens bore names compounded with 'Neith'. Indeed, the fact that she was buried at Naqada indicates that Neithhotep is more likely to have been a daughter of the long line of local Naqada chiefs or kings. An alternative, more acceptable interpretation of the macehead scene suggests that Narmer is celebrating his heb-sed, or jubilee, before a shrouded divinity.

The Great Tomb (Where Neithhotep is buried)

Excavating some 2 miles (3 km) outside the modern Naqada village in1897, Jacques de Morgan uncovered a 1st Dynasty tomb so splendid it was immediately labelled the Great Tomb and assigned to the legendary King Menes. Seen from the outside the tomb was a typical mastaba rectangular mud-brick superstructure built above a burial pit and name after the Arabic word mastaba, meaning low bench). But this mastaba lacked a burial pit; instead, the superstructure had been converted into a ground-level burial chamber surrounded by storage chambers. The super structure, measuring an impressive 177 by 88 ft (54 x 27 m), had recessed or niched 'palace facade'-style mud-brick walls, and the whole complex was protected by a thick enclosure wall. The tomb, already looted in antiquity, yielded a series of cosmetic items, stone vessels, ivory labels and clay sealings giving the names of Narmer, his son and successor Aha, and Neithhotep herself. The Naqada tomb was re-excavated by John Garstang in 1904. By then it was suffer
ing badly from post-excavation erosion and it vanished soon after.
Additional references to Neithhotep have been found at Abydos and Helwan. Neithhotep is nowhere describe as either a King's Wife or a King's Mother - these kingship titles are not found before the 2nd Dynasty. However, on an ivory lid recovered from the tomb of Djer at Abydos she is described as Consort of the Two Ladies, an epithet which may be the ancient equivalent of 'consort'. On just one seal (represented by several impressions) recovered from Naqada her name is presented in a serekh, the rectangular box representing the entrance to an Early Dynastic palace in which Egypt's earliest kings
wrote their names. On top of the traditional king's serekh perched Horus the falcon, symbol of the living Horus kings. But on top of Neithhotep's serekh were the pair of crossed arrows that symbolized the goddess Neith. On the basis of this evidence it is generally agreed that Neithhotep was a queen who outlived her husband, Narmer, and was buried by her son Aha in the Great Tomb. Some scholars would take this further, citing the use of the serekh and the exceptionally large tomb as evidence that Neithhotep actually ruled Egypt on behalf of the infant Aha.​
 

Omowale Jabali

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Ancient 'Egypt' became a UNIFIED CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC DOMAIN long before her first king and queen ascended to the throne. Political unification developed gradually as local districts created "integrated trading networks" and the administrators of the region were able to organize agriculture and labour on an ever-increasing scale. As early as a century before the 1st Dynasty, well-planned and fortified towns existed in southern Egypt at Naqada, Hierakonpolis and Elephantine. At the first of these two sites a ruling class was buried in elaborate tombs. However, the kings of the 1st Dynasty were buried at Abydos.

It has been suggested by some Egyptologists that the tombs of Naqada and Hierakonpolis are those of pre-dynastic kings, in which case kingship may have developed in more than one region, therefore the 1st Dynasty can be seen as the victors in a power struggle for supremacy in the Nile Valley involving at least three proto-kingdoms.

This argument and perspective is lacking evidence concerning the northern regions at this period of time giving the prominance of the southern towns, but it can be compared to the Second Intermediate Period when the Theban administration, along with the office of the High Priest of Amun, grew to dominate the Nile Valley, before annexing a relatively impotent delta regions divided into several smaller kingdoms.
 

Omowale Jabali

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There was an important city in Upper Egypt called "Nubti" or the "Golden City" which was the original "Nubia" and perhaps the only place that the Egyptians designated as "Nubia".

"Nubia" [Nubti] references a city in Ta Shemu [Upper Egypt].
 
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