Monday, March 28, 2011

Exhibition: Nubia, Ancient Kingdoms of Africa

New York Times (Karen Rosenberg)

“Nubia: Ancient Kingdoms of Africa,” an exhibition at New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, takes you deep into the history of a currently volatile part of the continent.

The show occupies just two small galleries, but spans a 500-mile stretch of the Nile River Valley (now Northern Sudan and Southern Egypt) and more than 2,250 years (from about 3000 B.C. through 750 B.C.). During that time conquerors became the conquered; trading partners were reborn as bitter enemies.

A brief summary of the period: Beginning in about 3000 B.C., Southern Nubia developed into a powerful kingdom known as Kush. Egypt, increasingly nervous about this neighbor, conquered a large swath of it in 1500 B.C. Four centuries later the Egyptian empire collapsed; a dark age followed. Then, around 900 B.C., Nubia rose again. By 750 B.C., its Napatan kings had control of Egypt — at least until the Assyrians arrived, in 650 B.C.

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