King Taharqa (Tirhakah) (reign 690-664 B.C.) one of the Nubian rulers during the 25th dynasty of Egypt.
W.M. Flinders Petrie, A History of Egypt - Part Three, (1896), p. 308 states: ". . . . the kings of Napata represented the old civilization of Upper Egypt is clear; and it is probably that they were actually descended from the high priest of Amen, who were the rightful successors of the XVIIIth and XIXth dynasties. So far, then, as hereditary rights go, they were the true kings of Egypt, rather than the mob of Libyan chiefs who had filtered in the Delta, and who tried to domineer over the Nile valley from that no-man's land."
Taharqa, a son and third successor of King Piye, was the greatest of the Nubian pharaohs. His empire stretched from Palestine to the confluence of the Blue and White Niles. About 684 B.C. the Nile rose in a great flood. Taharqa's kingdom brought an exceptional harvest that year, and the kingdom grew rich. He ordered many construction projects, and built or renewed many fine temples in Egypt. The early years of his reign were very prosperous.
At the age of twenty Taharqa was a great warrior, fought and won many battles against the Assyrians, but soon the Assyrians overwhelmed the Egyptian and Kushite forces in 667 B.C., at which time Nubia lost control of Egypt.
Taharqa died in 664 BCE. He was buried in Nuri. His pyramid was over 150 feet high. It is the largest pyramid that has been excavated in Sudan to date.
This illustrates the rich mix of 25th-dynasty culture. The basic form is the traditional representation of monarchy as a lion with a human face, but the mane recalls the distant 12th Dynasty style. The face reflects the vigorous naturalism associated with the Kushitic kings, and the furrow on either side of the mouth is a typical Kushitic stylization, the "Kushite fold."
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
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Granite ram of Amun with King Taharqo. 25th Dynasty from Kawa in Nubia.
From British Museum
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King Taharqa presents muds of wine at the Hémen god
Sudan (Nuri), Dynasty 25, reign of Taharka, 690-664 B.C.
Granite, alabaster, and other stones
Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition shawabti
About 740 B.C. the Nubian king Piye invaded Egypt and established his family as Egypt's 25th Dynasty. Many Egyptian practices were adopted in Nubia during this period, including the construction of pyramids for royal tombs that contained shawabti figures intended to perform manual labor for the deceased in the afterlife. The shawabtis illustrated here are some of more than 1,070 that were discovered standing in neat rows in the burial chamber of King Taharqa's pyramid tomb at Nuri. A few of these are as tall as 23.5 inches.
Taharqa, a son and third successor of King Piye, was the greatest of the Nubian pharaohs. His empire stretched from Palestine to the confluence of the Blue and White Niles. It was conquered by the Assyrians in 667 B.C., at which time Nubia lost control of Egypt.
The sorts of stone used for Taharqa's shawabti included alabaster, black granite, and green serpentine. The green and black serpentine was also employed by the Thebans for their shawabtis, and who "had adopted the Middle Kingdom custom of giving their statuettes a realistic almost portrait like appearance. The connection between the use of stone, especially green and black serpentine, and the style of the figurines might indicate that Nubians may have influenced the Thebans use of shawabtis. Scholars of Nubian art recognize the combination of Egyptian form with individualization of features in Nubian shawabtis, "the fact is that these peoples of the Upper Nile, themselves endowed with remarkable facial traits, inherited the iconography of ancient Egypt. Having been subjects of the pharaohs, they had themselves portrayed in Egyptian style, without omitting their own essential characteristics. So it is that in the gallery of 'portraits' of these Africans of bygone times, the glamour of art and eventually the illusion of politics are blended with the appearance of reality."
Sudan Postage Stamp
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Napatan (900 to 270 BC) and Meroitic (270 BC to 350 AD) cultures
The Temple of Mut (Temple B300), carved partly into the rock base of Gebel Barkal, was built by the pharaoh Taharqa in the 680s BCE. Located some 400 km north of Khartoum, in Sudan, on a large bend of the Nile River, in the region called Nubia.
The ruins around Gebel Barkal include at least 13 temples and 3 palaces, that were for the first described by european explorers in the 1820’s, although only in 1916 archeological excavations were started by George Reisner under a joint expedition of Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston. From the 1970’s, explorations continued by a team from the University of Rome La Sapienza, under the direction of Sergio Donadoni, that was joined by another team from the Boston Museum, in the 1980’s, under the direction of Timothy Kendall. The larger temples, such that of Amon, are even today considered sacred to the local population.
For these reasons, the mountain, together with the historical cities of Meroe and Napata, were considered by UNESCO, in 2003, World Heritage Sites.
The mountain is 98 m tall, has a flat top, and apparently was used as a landmark by the traders in the important route between central Africa, Arabia, and Egypt, as the point where it was easier to cross the great river.
NUBIA--now Sudan, below Egypt, a desert wasteland or spectacular civilization? More pyramids than in Egypt. History includes 7000-year-old rock gongs; 5-6000-year-old cattle drawings on rock; a time when the Sahara was green. Nile town Kerma was the heart of Nubia. See the largest man-made structure in Africa; pottery; burials.
ETHIOPIA--Land of Biblical Solomon & the Queen of Sheba? 1974 was this kingdoms end. What of the 950 BC beginning? See 1st and only black owner castle, a connection to Solomon? Holy honey found in another place. Also visuals of religious buildings of Debro Damo & Labibela, & the Ethiopian emperor burial stones (stelai) from 2000 years ago.
GREAT ZIMBABWE--Southern Africa land of gold, the ancient history of the Swahili Coast, Rhapta (ancient trade center.) The Great Zimbabwe is finally opened to filming for some dramatic footage of this lost civilization and the mystery behind the lives of its people and reasons for its end.
WEST AFRICA--Benin bronze art begins this search for its origin and people. Today, Nigeria covers most of what was the Benin kingdom. Djenne masons preserved and changed the mud architecture of that local. Is it a link to Benin? Jenne-Jeno had pottery and metal working that could have influenced Benin. The Dogon people display imagery similar to the Benin bronze plaques.