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    Member Member Ironduke's Avatar
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    Default Black Egyptians

    I went to a lecture with a visiting professor who gave a 1 hour speech defending the claim that Egyptians where of Negroid heritage. It was also discussed how much of North Africa consisted of many tribes and cultures, who were black, which helped shape antiquity as we know it today, yet these groups have been suppressed and misunderstood due in part to a Euro-centric understanding of history.

    Most of his lecture consisted of quoting a book called Black Athena, by Martin Bernal. If you haven't read it, the book claims ancient Greece was mostly informed (science, art, philosophy) by African cultures, namely Egypt, who were most definitely a black African civilization, according to him.

    I’ve been a long time fan of EB’s work. I’m curious what the teams thoughts are on this issue.

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    Uergobretos Senior Member Brennus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    I cannot speak as a team member but as an individual I would hazard against ascribing the achievements of Ancient Greece to black Eqyptians. There certainly was a black dynasty in Egypt (the 25th), made up of Nubian Pharaohs who had moved up from the Kingdom of Kush. However I would argue against the term Euro-Centric, as early as the 19th century archaeologists attributed the first great advances in civilisation to Semitic, not European, peoples. European civilisation only began to have the same impact on the world as Semitic and Iranian culture had previously done, with the Hellenistic Age. Even the Greeks accepted that they owed much to the Semitic Phonecians.



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    Speaker of Truth Moderator Moros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Just curious, but do you know the professor's name?

    Paulus is our Ptolemaic expert and lead historian, so he's the man to answer this question.

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    Member Member Ca Putt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    As a History student and EB fan, I'd disagree with this theory. Egyptian depictions clearly show the Nubians(etc) as Black as opposed to themselves which they depict in shades from white to a dark skintone you can see on people of northern africa today. If the Egyptians would have been negroid they would not depict the nubians somuch different from themselves. Also Egyptian Statues do not feature any other indications of negroid heritage, lips etc. (something Depictions of Nubians do indeed)This offcource is not a proof for anything, however it's a hint.

    On the other Hand the Influence of Nubians ON the Egyptians is not to be underestimated. there are even hints that The Egyptians adopted the Pyramid form from the Nubians, my sources are rather old tho and I do not guarantee for them. I agree that the Influence of "black people" was larger than commonly assumed, I however do not think that the Egyptians were much darker in skintone than ... modern day Arabians.

    Furthermore I'd like to add that the study of history in europe IS Europe centric. Ancient history is an exception there which is Mediterranean-centric, everything apart from Greece and rome is largely neglected unless you specialize.
    concerning the Information the Greeks had, I think they are largely from the Semitics(as Brennus already put) and other "eastern" people. I doubt anyone attributes a bigger influcene to tracians and Celts than Lydians, Hittites, Persians, Phoenicians, Lybians...

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    Member Member Ichon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    How ethno-centric the bias is has more to do with where a person studied than even when a person studied in my experience. There are very rich and robust departments focused in Asian history and European history along with ancient history. The least studied in my experience is Africa south of Sahara and S America but that might only be due to what I've been exposed to.

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    Member Member Brucaliffo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Egyptians were black in the origin.
    Take a look at the Sphynx face: it is clearly negroid.
    Then they were overcome by white people coming from north-east and a mixed society was created.

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    Uergobretos Senior Member Brennus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Quote Originally Posted by Brucaliffo View Post
    Egyptians were black in the origin.
    Take a look at the Sphynx face: it is clearly negroid.
    Then they were overcome by white people coming from north-east and a mixed society was created.
    The Sphynx is a stylised depiction, just like the majority of Egyptian works of art, you can't infer racial traits from them, if you want realism you need to examine the pieces produced during the time of Akenahten. Furthermore the Egyptians are not the result of a mixing of Sub Saharan Africans and Caucasians, they are just Semitic. Their skin colour is due to the ratio of melanin (spelling?) to ultra violet radiation in that part of the world.
    Last edited by Brennus; 06-29-2012 at 17:22.



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    Member Member moonburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    i consider the term negroid outdated and very 19th century anyway

    besides if one considers the highly developed zimbawe (the stone city´s from wich the country got it´s name) it´s more then proven that blacks as all other human groups have the hability to develop complex structures and societies by themselfs (even tough one can argue that they might have been influenced by arab traders and imans that went to south africa to convert people to the wisdom of islam )

    on most of these stances i tend to side with the author of geography germs and steel or whatever the book it´s name you can find it on youtube as a documentary starting somewhere around the pacific and explaining why the europeans where so sucefull (even tough the european pensinsula of asia as always been endangered of being swallen by the other asian powers such as the huns or the mongols )

    it´s not just an euro centric point of view the semits also have that semitic centric point of view just as the chinese wich it´s name for foreigner means barbarian (either the meaning is the original "those who do not speak our language" wich always reminds me of the name the poles give to germans or the barbarian as "the others who bring havoc and destruction and respect nothing")

    so all people are very chauvinistic (if one is even allowed to use this term since it might only be allowed to be used by the french) and racism is just another side of the reality explained here

    there´s no doubt that all the people living in the mediterranean have black blood in them just as they have all that other blood that mingled around in the end our own view of ourselfs is always over simplistic when the reality is that all it takes is 1 woman and 1 man (and in my case alot of beer wine or other spirit to get the girl drunk and me also) the rest we rationalise later

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    urk! Member bobbin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Egyptians are and were a spectrum, genetically on the whole they are more closely related to other north african and near eastern groups but the influence of sub Saharan Africans steadily increases as you go south. Calling them a "black" civilisation is wrong though, just as calling them a "white" civilisation is, they were a mish mash of influences fitting their unique geographic position.


  10. #10

    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    I stumbled onto this thread after doing some research on the ancient Egyptians, and thought I'd give my two cents on the matter.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbin View Post
    Egyptians are and were a spectrum, genetically on the whole they are more closely related to other north african and near eastern groups but the influence of sub Saharan Africans steadily increases as you go south.
    One thing that many people don't note before they make conclusions on this matter (not saying that you're one) is the fact that Egypt has been invaded by "non black" people countless within the last 3,000 years (Hyksos, Greeks, Romans, Persians, and most successfully the Arabs). These people didn't just come and go, they left their genetic and cultural imprint on the Nile Valley. The also are responsible for a population shift (from the most politically important and populace region being the south to it now being the north) in the Nile Valley. This is why the argument that modern Egyptians (those in the north) are the splitting image of their earliest Egyptian ancestors is some what silly and ideological (IMO). The affinity of the early ancient Egyptians with more southerly African populations as opposed to Middle Eastern or late Dynastic and modern Egyptian populations is pretty much one that is confirmed by contemporary research:

    "The question of the genetic origins of ancient Egyptians, particularly those during the Dynastic period, is relevant to the current study. Modern interpretations of Egyptian state formation propose an indigenous origin of the Dynastic civilization (Hassan, 1988). Early Egyptologists considered Upper and Lower Egyptians to be genetically distinct populations, and viewed the Dynastic period as characterized by a conquest of Upper Egypt by the Lower Egyptians. More recent interpretations contend that Egyptians from the south actually expanded into the northern regions during the Dynastic state unification (Hassan, 1988; Savage, 2001), and that the Predynastic populations of Upper and Lower Egypt are morphologically distinct from one another, but not sufficiently distinct to consider either non-indigenous (Zakrzewski, 2007). The Predynastic populations studied here, from Naqada and Badari, are both Upper Egyptian samples, while the Dynastic Egyptian sample (Tarkhan) is from Lower Egypt. The Dynastic Nubian sample is from Upper Nubia (Kerma). Previous analyses of cranial variation found the Badari and Early Predynastic Egyptians to be more similar to other African groups than to Mediterranean or European populations (Keita, 1990; Zakrzewski, 2002). In addition, the Badarians have been described as near the centroid of cranial and dental variation among Predynastic and Dynastic populations studied (Irish, 2006; Zakrzewski, 2007). This suggests that, at least through the Early Dynastic period, the inhabitants of the Nile valley were a continuous population of local origin, and no major migration or replacement events occurred during this time.

    Studies of cranial morphology also support the use of a Nubian (Kerma) population for a comparison of the Dynastic period, as this group is likely to be more closely genetically related to the early Nile valley inhabitants than would be the Late Dynastic Egyptians, who likely experienced significant mixing with other Mediterranean populations (Zakrzewski, 2002). A craniometric study found the Naqada and Kerma populations to be morphologically similar (Keita, 1990). Given these and other prior studies suggesting continuity (Berry et al., 1967; Berry and Berry, 1972), and the lack of archaeological evidence of major migration or population replacement during the Neolithic transition in the Nile valley, we may cautiously interpret the dental health changes over time as primarily due to ecological, subsistence, and demographic changes experienced throughout the Nile valley region."

    -- AP Starling, JT Stock. (2007). Dental Indicators of Health and Stress in Early Egyptian and Nubian Agriculturalists: A Difficult Transition and Gradual Recovery. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 134:520–528
    Not only does anthropological evidence suggest that the ancient Egyptians showed closest affinities with the black populations further to the south and west, but recent genetic studies also find that closest populations to the pre-Dynastic peoples of the Nile Valley (A-group Nubians and Badarians) were Nilotic like the people of the Upper Nile/South Sudan:

    Accordingly, through limited on number of aDNA samples, there is enough data to suggest and to tally with the historical evidence of the dominance by Nilotic elements during the early state formation in the Nile Valley, and as the states thrived there was a dominance by other elements particularly Nuba / Nubians. In Y-chromosome terms this mean in simplest terms introgression of the YAP insertion (haplogroups E and D), and Eurasian Haplogroups which are defined by F-M89 against a background of haplogroup A-M13.
    source

    and

    Some evidence suggests that predynastic Egyptian and early Nubian cultures had ties to the early Saharan cultures and shared a Saharo-Nilotic heritage. Perhaps the earliest predynastic culture, the Badarian-Tasian* (4400 B.C. or earlier, to 4000 B.C.), had the clearest ties to Saharan cultures in the desert west of Nubia.
    source

    At the very beginning of this year a commercial genetics company also did a genetic analysis of Amarna period Egyptians (18-19th Dynasty) based on the released data by the recent King Tut analysis lead by Egyptian antiquities in 2010 and the ancient Egyptians grouped closest with peoples from the Great Lakes region (central-Eastern Africa) who are Nilotics and peoples of southern Africa (who also have high frequencies of haplogroup A):



    Geographical analysis of the Amarna mummies was performed using their autosomal STR profiles based on 8 tested loci. 4

    Results are summarized in Table 1 and illustrated in Figure 1. Maps for
    individual Amarna mummies are included in Figures 2-8 in the Appendix.

    Discussion: Average MLI scores in Table 1 indicate the STR profiles of the Amarna mummies would be most frequent in present day populations of several African regions: including the Southern African (average MLI 326.94), African Great Lakes (average MLI 323.76), and Tropical West African (average MLI 83.74) regions.


    These regional matches do not necessarily indicate an exclusively African ancestry for the Amarna pharaonic family. However, results indicate these ancient individuals inherited some alleles that today are more frequent in populations of Africa than in other parts of the world (such as D18S51=19 and D21S11=34).
    link

    This revelation of Nilotic affinities of the earliest inhabitants of the Nile has been frequently noted by historians, who have seen that the peoples of the Upper Nile have "somehow" retained the closest cultural affinities affinities with those ancient peoples:

    These clips are from the famous documentary by renown African historian Basil Davidson







    and

    "A large number of gods go back to prehistoric times. The images of a cow and star goddess (Hathor), the falcon (Horus), and the human-shaped figures of the fertility god (Min) can be traced back to that period. Some rites, such as the "running of the Apil-bull," the "hoeing of the ground," and other fertility and hunting rites (e.g., the hippopotamus hunt) presumably date from early times.. Connections with the religions in southwest Asia cannot be traced with certainty."
    "It is doubtful whether Osiris can be regarded as equal to Tammuz or Adonis, or whether Hathor is related to the "Great Mother." There are closer relations with northeast African religions. The numerous animal cults (especially bovine cults and panther gods) and details of ritual dresses (animal tails, masks, grass aprons, etc) probably are of African origin. The kinship in particular shows some African elements, such as the king as the head ritualist (i.e., medicine man), the limitations and renewal of the reign (jubilees, regicide), and the position of the king's mother (a matriarchal element). Some of them can be found among the Ethiopians in Napata and Meroe, others among the Prenilotic tribes (Shilluk)." (Encyclopedia Britannica 1984 ed. Macropedia Article, Vol 6: "Egyptian Religion" , pg 506-508).
    Their is oral tradition in numerous more southerly Northeast African populations and even Egyptian folklore of a exodus from Egypt to the regions further south (around a quarter million Egyptians I believe), due to political strife.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbin View Post
    Calling them a "black" civilisation is wrong though, just as calling them a "white" civilisation is, they were a mish mash of influences fitting their unique geographic position.
    Actually according to anthropological studies the ancient Egyptians and their earlier Saharan ancestors had overlapping biological affinities with more southerly African or "Negroid" populations:

    In the sum, the results obtained further strengthen the results from previous analyses. The affinities between Nazlet Khater, MSA, and Khoisan and Khoisan related groups re-emerges. In addition it is possible to detect a separation between North African and sub-saharan populations, with the Neolithic Saharan population from Hasi el Abiod and the Egyptian Badarian group being closely affiliated with modern Negroid groups. Similarly, the Epipaleolithic populations from Site 117 and Wadi Halfa are also affiliated with sub-Saharan LSA, Iron Age and modern Negroid groups rather than with contemporaneous North African populations such as Taforalt and the Ibero-maurusian.
    ---Pierre M. Vermeersch in Palaeolithic quarrying sites in Upper and Middle Egypt
    The Oxford Encyclopedia of ancient Egypt 2001 has also conceded that based on consistent biological evidence that the ancient Egyptians would be considered "black":

    "The race and origins of the Ancient Egyptians have been a source of considerable debate. Scholars in the late and early 20th centuries rejected any considerations of the Egyptians as black Africans by defining the Egyptians either as non-African (i.e Near Easterners or Indo-Aryan), or as members of a separate brown (as opposed to a black) race, or as a mixture of lighter-skinned peoples with black Africans. In the later half of the 20th century, Afrocentric scholars have countered this Eurocentric and often racist perspective by characterizing the Egyptians as black and African....."

    "Physical anthropologists are increasingly concluding that racial definitions are the culturally defined product of selective perception and should be replaced in biological terms by the study of populations and clines. Consequently, any characterization of race of the ancient Egyptians depend on modern cultural definitions, not on scientific study. Thus, by modern American standards it is reasonable to characterize the Egyptians as 'blacks' [i.e in a social sense] while acknowledging the scientific evidence for the physical diversity of Africans." Source: Donald Redford (2001) The Oxford encyclopedia of ancient Egypt, Volume 3. Oxford University Press. p. 27-28
    Here is some artwork that is rarely to never shown on the National Geographic or History Channel:









    Last edited by The Unbreakable; 06-30-2012 at 20:31.

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  12. #12
    Uergobretos Senior Member Brennus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    The Unbreakable, welcome! Please please share your opinion and knowledge in more threads. Fascinating!



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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Thank You!

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    Member Member Ca Putt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Rather interesting Indeed :)

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    Member Member TylerX5's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    You sir have thought me something today, and I thank you for it.

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  16. #16
    Member Member moonburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    interesting but still highly pulluted by a racial view of the world in my humble opinion or as macrille would say we can´t judge the ancient by our own distorted view of the world people mingled and the only thing it mattered to them was if the girl pleased him or not not who is father culture or even skin tone was/is

    anyway the history of the saharans have more to do with the way egypt evolved then if they where what we considered negroid wich i might had is a racist remark we should look at people from a cultural point of view instead of a biological one mainly because our adaptation methods change the way we look so we can better adapt to our enviroment and brands no aura of superiority in any way to anyone (ofc that if you come from a culture that values study you are probably going to be a better student in relative terms if you come from a very structured society you´ll end up with smaller penis and such things but as i said those are adaptations or as some anthropoligists nowadays defend the self domestication of the human being ) we humans are still 99.999% similar (mainly due to the botleneck effect that took place 60.000 years ago according to geneticists and that was probably caused by the java super volcano eruption that geogolists claim blew up 80.000-60.000 years ago

    but still a very good post with alot of usefull information even tough i consider it tainted

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    Formerly Wigferth Ironwall Senior Member Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Quote Originally Posted by The Unbreakable View Post
    One thing that many people don't note before they make conclusions on this matter (not saying that you're one) is the fact that Egypt has been invaded by "non black" people countless within the last 3,000 years (Hyksos, Greeks, Romans, Persians, and most successfully the Arabs). These people didn't just come and go, they left their genetic and cultural imprint on the Nile Valley. The also are responsible for a population shift (from the most politically important and populace region being the south to it now being the north) in the Nile Valley. This is why the argument that modern Egyptians (those in the north) are the splitting image of their earliest Egyptian ancestors is some what silly and ideological (IMO). The affinity of the early ancient Egyptians with more southerly African populations as opposed to Middle Eastern or late Dynastic and modern Egyptian populations is pretty much one that is confirmed by contemporary research:



    Not only does anthropological evidence suggest that the ancient Egyptians showed closest affinities with the black populations further to the south and west, but recent genetic studies also find that closest populations to the pre-Dynastic peoples of the Nile Valley (A-group Nubians and Badarians) were Nilotic like the people of the Upper Nile/South Sudan:



    source

    and



    source

    At the very beginning of this year a commercial genetics company also did a genetic analysis of Amarna period Egyptians (18-19th Dynasty) based on the released data by the recent King Tut analysis lead by Egyptian antiquities in 2010 and the ancient Egyptians grouped closest with peoples from the Great Lakes region (central-Eastern Africa) who are Nilotics and peoples of southern Africa (who also have high frequencies of haplogroup A):


    link

    This revelation of Nilotic affinities of the earliest inhabitants of the Nile has been frequently noted by historians, who have seen that the peoples of the Upper Nile have "somehow" retained the closest cultural affinities affinities with those ancient peoples:

    These clips are from the famous documentary by renown African historian Basil Davidson







    and



    Their is oral tradition in numerous more southerly Northeast African populations and even Egyptian folklore of a exodus from Egypt to the regions further south (around a quarter million Egyptians I believe), due to political strife.



    Actually according to anthropological studies the ancient Egyptians and their earlier Saharan ancestors had overlapping biological affinities with more southerly African or "Negroid" populations:



    The Oxford Encyclopedia of ancient Egypt 2001 has also conceded that based on consistent biological evidence that the ancient Egyptians would be considered "black":



    Here is some artwork that is rarely to never shown on the National Geographic or History Channel:
    Greatings.

    Very interesting - and I do not dispute the fact that certain elements of Egyptian culture and genetic markers are mostly closely related or derived from what we now term "Black" populations.

    HOWEVER - Black Athena was a largely discredited work even when I was an undergraduation half a decade ago, the thesis that not only Egyptian but also Greek cultures were largely the result of Black immigration to those areas which was subsequently "bred out" by later populations and the cultural memory supressed is, I think, indefensible.

    Having said that, there is some currency for a "Grey Athena" theory - but the counterpoint is that, if anything, Greeks and possibly Semites, were generally lighter than today and that the more "swathy" people in the Balkans, the Lebenon and Assyria are the result of later Arab immigration. It is unfortunatle now impossible to know what sort of contact or mixing Greeks had with Black Africans. Martin Bernel's thesis was based on a shaky understanding of the Greek context as well, he failed to appreciate that the move from black on red figures on pottery to red on black was due to a change in technology and not a demographic change; the transition is far too short for one thing.

    The question, though, is "how far do you want to go back?" because if you go back far enough we are all "black". The other point to make is that what is considered "Black" in America might not be in Europe, so there can be a cultural disconnect even within the "Eurocentric" view. The final caveat is that many "Afrocrentric" scholars are actually raised and educated in Europe, and are really reactionary Eurocentric.

    There's a professor over here (in the UK), I forget the name, but he presented a series on BBC 4 about the actual black civilisations at the edge of North Africa and Sub-Sahara - making the point that if black people want something to be proud of they don't have to appropriate Egyptians or Romans like Septimus Severus.

    Now, with all those caveats, let's consider the issue at hand.

    Were the pharohs black?

    I would say no, not by the time they enter the historical record (remember, there can be no history without writing). Looking at your images, the first one clearly differenciates between the lighter skinned pharoh and darker skinned Gods, some of your other images come from the 25th Dynasty, an acknowledged anomoly: http://wysinger.homestead.com/kingtaharqa.html. Some of the other appear to demonstrate headwrapping, and other still are quite ambiguous, one of the most ambiguous is the one rendered in, is it black stone, I can't tell.

    Overall, I think you are making rather more of the evidence than it warrents. For one thing, Egyptian civilisation is generally reckoned to have come into being around 3,000 BC, while those genetic studies seem to be talking about a black population in 4,000 BC.
    "If it wears trousers generally I don't pay attention."

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    Speaker of Truth Moderator Moros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Looking at your images, the first one clearly differenciates between the lighter skinned pharoh and darker skinned Gods
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	yegyptjD.jpg 
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    I find this one hard to understand. The more pale looking fellow in the centre seems to have the weird headdress of Sobek(-re), which in some dynasties symbolizes the pharao's power. Considering that god normally has the face of a crocodile, it could very well be the representation of a Pharaoh with the symbol of it's strength. Note the green scale though.

    In the extreme left hand side we see ptah. Who isn't dark, yet is a god. Also note him standing at the right side of a possible reoccurring motive of gods/pharao's facing each other and 'holding hands'.

    Between ptah and the other pal fellow, we see what looks like a 'servant' of some sort and another important figure, who wear the crown of lower Egypt (the Deshret) and the symbol of Ammon. To the right we again see a figure wearing the crown of lower Egypt. This time facing Anubis, definately not a Pharaoh.

    As this seems like a repeating pattern with another God at the utmost left side and a servant at the utmost right hand side, I think it is more likely that the whiter guy in the middle not to be a Pharaoh. Seeing that two times out of three we are surely dealing with a god standing at the right side. (Ptah and Anubis). While the white guy might be Sobek, a related or different god or pharao, though less likely considering he has no clear features of a pharao.

    We have two black figures at the left, both wearing the Deshret, a clear symbol of pharaonic power. Though indeed it is sometimes worn by gods. I know Horus is often depicted with a/the crown(s) of Egypt, due to his background story and his importance/relation to the pharao. Also clothing looks to suggest the left figure to be the paharao, the servant,... Note the same clothing in Anubis and (possibly) Sobek and compare it with the two black figures they are facing.

    If all it seems to support his argument.


    Now, I'm not saying Egypt was black, or all Pharaos' were. Some dynasties certainly had more southern ethinicities, and there sometimes were multiple dynasties at the same time as well. I think Egypt was influenced by many peoples. Nubian, Arab and other Semites (not talking about the 7-8th century AD here),... and originally existed out of more than one culture and ethnicity to start with. The oldest sources of Archaeology show us this, there was a huge difference in the upper and lower Egypt.

    Links with modern or 20th century racial issues are irrelevant though. They were who they were, regardless of colour. It's the culture that mainly matters. Except when it comes to unit skins of course.

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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Black Athena is pretty well discredited at this point. Linguistically Bernal's work is full of holes, and he claims all these implausible cognates between Greek/Latin and Egyptian which don't make sense or only sound similar, my personal favourite was an attempt to linguistically link the goddess Neith to Athena. Bernal also claims that something like two thirds of the Greek vocabulary are from non Indo-European sources, and uses very shaky evidence to prove this (Bernal's scholarly background is Chinese/East Asian linguistics, and he has little background in Indo-European or Afro-Asiatic languages). His archaeology/historiography is pretty awful too, he claims that Egypt was a colonizing power in the 3rd millenium BCE, something that doesn't hold up under scrutiny.

    I don't dispute that the Egyptians were native to Africa and probably what we would consider to be "black". Then again I believe applying modern concepts of race on ancient peoples leads to poor scholarship.

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  20. #20
    Speaker of Truth Moderator Moros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Quote Originally Posted by Callimachus View Post
    I believe applying modern concepts of race on ancient peoples leads to poor scholarship.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    HOWEVER - Black Athena was a largely discredited work even when I was an undergraduation half a decade ago, the thesis that not only Egyptian but also Greek cultures were largely the result of Black immigration to those areas which was subsequently "bred out" by later populations and the cultural memory supressed is, I think, indefensible.
    The controversy of "Black Athena" was not rather or not the ancient Egyptians were black, but rather surrounding the validity of argument that ancient Greek culture was largely influenced by black Africans (the Egyptians) and Semitic populations of the Middle East. As a matter of fact Mary Lefkowitz who was the most out spoken critic of the notion, even grudgingly admitted that the original ancient Egyptians came from Sub Saharan Africa and not points north as earlier scholars had asserted:

    "Recent work on skeletons and DNA suggests that the people who settled in the Nile valley, like all of humankind, came from somewhere south of the Sahara; they were not (as some nineteenth-century scholars had supposed) invaders from the North. See Bruce G. Trigger, "The Rise of Civilization in Egypt," Cambridge History of Africa (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1982), vol I, pp 489-90; S. O. Y. Keita, "Studies and Comments on Ancient Egyptian Biological Relationships," History in Africa 20 (1993) 129-54."(Mary Lefkotitz (1997). Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History. Basic Books. pg 242)
    She even acknowledges the fact that the closest populations biologically to the early ancient Egyptians were Sudanese (Nubians) populations as opposed to Middle Easterners or Europeans:

    "not surprisingly, the Egyptian skulls were not very distance from the Jebel Moya [a Neolithic site in the southern Sudan] skulls, but were much more distance from all others, including those from West Africa. Such a study suggests a closer genetic affinity between peoples in Egypt and the northern Sudan, which were close geographically and are known to have had considerable cultural contact throughout prehistory and pharaonic history... Clearly more analyses of the physical remains of ancient Egyptians need to be done using current techniques, such as those of Nancy Lovell at the University of Alberta is using in her work.."
    (- Mary Lefkowitz, "Black Athena Revisted. pp. 105-106)
    She cited these results from biologist S.O.Y. Keita:

    "Overall, when the Egyptian crania are evaluated in a Near Eastern (Lachish) versus African (Kerma, Jebel Moya, Ashanti) context) the affinity is with the Africans. The Sudan and Palestine are the most appropriate comparative regions which would have 'donated' people, along with the Sahara and Maghreb. Archaeology validates looking to these regions for population flow (see Hassan 1988)... Egyptian groups showed less overall affinity to Palestinian and Byzantine remains than to other African series, especially Sudanese." S. O. Y. Keita, "Studies and Comments on Ancient Egyptian Biological Relationships," History in Africa 20 (1993) 129-54
    link

    While the main argument of "Black Athena" being the contribution of non Europeans to the creation of Greece is highly debated, the side argument that the ancient Egyptians were originally were Africans who migrated from regions further to the south and west (the ancient Sahara) is clearly validated by contemporary archaeological and biological research.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    It is unfortunatle now impossible to know what sort of contact or mixing Greeks had with Black Africans.
    Actually a 2008 study has pretty much confirmed that their was a major migration of "black" people from the regions of Northern Africa into the Middle East and further north into Anatolia and Greece:

    "A late Pleistocene-early Holocene northward migration (from Africa to the Levant and to Anatolia) of these populations has been hypothesized from skeletal data (Angel 1972, 1973; Brace 2005) and from archaeological data, as indicated by the probable Nile Valley origin of the "Mesolithic" (epi-Paleolithic) Mushabi culture found in the Levant (Bar Yosef 1987). This migration finds some support in the presence in Mediterranean populations (Sicily, Greece, southern Turkey, etc.; Patrinos et al.; Schiliro et al. 1990) of the Benin sickle cell haplotype. This haplotype originated in West Africa and is probably associated with the spread of malaria to southern Europe through an eastern Mediterranean route (Salares et al. 2004) following the expansion of both human and mosquito populations brought about by the advent of the Neolithic transition (Hume et al 2003; Joy et al. 2003; Rich et al 1998). This northward migration of northeastern African populations carrying sub-Saharan biological elements is concordant with the morphological homogeneity of the Natufian populations (Bocquentin 2003), which present morphological affinity with sub-Saharan populations (Angel 1972; Brace et al. 2005). In addition, the Neolithic revolution was assumed to arise in the late Pleistocene Natufians and subsequently spread into Anatolia and Europe (Bar-Yosef 2002), and the first Anatolian farmers, Neolithic to Bronze Age Mediterraneans and to some degree other Neolithic-Bronze Age Europeans, show morphological affinities with the Natufians (and indirectly with sub-Saharan populations; Angel 1972; Brace et al 2005), in concordance with a process of demic diffusion accompanying the extension of the Neolithic revolution (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994)."

    "Following the numerous interactions among eastern Mediterranean and Levantine populations and regions, caused by the introduction of agriculture from the Levant into Anatolia and southeastern Europe, there was, beginning in the Bronze Age, a period of increasing interactions in the eastern Mediterranean, mainly during the Greek, Roman, and Islamic periods. These interactions resulted in the development of trading networks, military campaigns, and settler colonization. Major changes took place during this period, which may have accentuated or diluted the sub-Saharan components of earlier Anatolian populations. The second option seems more likely, because even though the population from Sagalassos territory was interacting with northeastern African and Levantine populations [trade relationships with Egypt (Arndt et al. 2003), involvement of thousands of mercenaries from Pisidia (Sagalassos region) in the war around 300 B.C. between the Ptolemaic kingdom (centered in Egypt) and the Seleucid kingdom (Syria/Mesopotamia/Anatolia), etc.], the major cultural and population interactions involving the Anatolian populations since the Bronze Age occurred with the Mediterranean populations form southeastern Europe, as suggested from historical and genetic data."

    ""In this context it is likely that Bronze Age events may have facilitated the southward diffusion of populations carrying northern and central European biological elements and may have contributed to some degree of admixture between northern and central Europeans and Anatolians, and on a larger scale, between northeastern Mediterraneans and Anatolians. Even if we do not know which populations were involved, historical and archaeological data suggest, for instance, the 2nd millennium B.C. Minoan and later Mycenaean occupation of Anatolian coast, the arrival in Anatolia in the early 1st millennium B.C. of the Phrygians coming from Thrace, and later the arrival of settlers from Macedonia in Pisidia and in the Sagalassos territory (under Seleucid rule). The coming of the Dorians from Northern Greece and central Europe (the Dorians are claimed to be one of the main groups at the origin of the ancient Greeks) may have also brought northern and central European biological elements into southern populations. Indeed, the Dorians may have migrated southward to the Peloponnese, across the southern Aegean and Create, and later reached Asia Minor."

    F. X. Ricaut, M. Waelkens. (2008). Cranial Discrete Traits in a Byzantine Population and Eastern Mediterranean Population Movements Human Biology - Volume 80, Number 5, October 2008, pp. 535-564
    While this doesn't say much about cultural influence from Africa into Europe (other than the spread of agriculture), it does give validation to the argument there was a major African and Semitic presence in the region of ancient Greece early on. The presence of the African haplogroup E in modern day Greece (with frequencies mirroring that of some North African groups) is also a dead give away of some sort of migration or extensive interaction between both regions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    There's a professor over here (in the UK), I forget the name, but he presented a series on BBC 4 about the actual black civilisations at the edge of North Africa and Sub-Sahara - making the point that if black people want something to be proud of they don't have to appropriate Egyptians or Romans like Septimus Severus.
    Well the point of discrediting the Eurocentric lie that ancient Egypt was not originally a black African civilization is not because of the false yet common misconception that there weren't plenty of other great ancient African civilizations, but simply well...to correct a lie. Here was a recent New York Times piece had to say about the issue:

    More recently, our own Western prejudices — namely the idea that geographic Egypt was not a part of “black” Africa — have contributed to the dearth of knowledge about Nubia. The early-20th-century archaeologist George Reisner, for instance, identified large burial mounds at the site of Kerma as the remains of high Egyptian officials instead of those of Nubian kings. (Several of Reisner’s finds are in the show, reattributed to the Nubians.).....In one of his catalog essays the archaeologist Geoff Emberling, who conceived the show along with Jennifer Chi of the institute, examines some of these historical errors.

    We now recognize that populations of Nubia and Egypt form a continuum rather than clearly distinct groups,” Mr. Emberling writes, “and that it is impossible to draw a line between Egypt and Nubia that would indicate where ‘black’ begins.
    link

    So clearly modern scholars are now beginning to accept that there has indeed been a racist cover up of this fact in the past (which still largely goes on today) based on consistent biological and cultural evidence. Namely that the Egypt and Sudan (dubbed the "black" civilization of the two on the Nile) were a biological and cultural continuum with common ancestry from the retreat of Saharan populations to reliable water sources (as shown by Basil Davidson in my earlier post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    Were the pharohs black?

    I would say no, not by the time they enter the historical record (remember, there can be no history without writing). Looking at your images, the first one clearly differenciates between the lighter skinned pharoh and darker skinned Gods, some of your other images come from the 25th Dynasty, an acknowledged anomoly: http://wysinger.homestead.com/kingtaharqa.html. Some of the other appear to demonstrate headwrapping, and other still are quite ambiguous, one of the most ambiguous is the one rendered in, is it black stone, I can't tell.
    You mention the first Dynasties, but did you know that this is a bust of Egypt's first Dynastic King?

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    While I'm not that interested in eye balling statuary those facial features don't exactly scream European or even Middle Eastern to me, instead they look like those one's quite commonly seen in tropical Africa. The Sphinx is no different.

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    As matter of fact an anthropologist whose work was heavily praised by Afrocentric critic Mary Lefkowitz had concluded that ruling class of the Pre-Dynastic population of Upper Egypt were more closer to certain Nubian populations than to upper Egyptians (perhaps indicating that they were more Nilotic as opposed to Ethiopic/or perhaps evolutionary factors as a result of agricultural development):

    "A biological affinities study based on frequencies of cranial nonmetric traits in skeletal samples from three cemeteries at Predynastic Naqada, Egypt, confirms the results of a recent nonmetric dental morphological analysis. Both cranial and dental traits analyses indicate that the individuals buried in a cemetery characterized archaeologically as high status are significantly different from individuals buried in two other, apparently non-elite cemeteries and that the non-elite samples are not significantly different from each other. A comparison with neighboring Nile Valley skeletal samples suggests that the high status cemetery represents an endogamous ruling or elite segment of the local population at Naqada, which is more closely related to populations in northern Nubia than to neighboring populations in southern Egypt."(T. Prowse, and N. Lovell "Concordance of cranial and dental morphological traits and evidence for endogamy in ancient Egypt". American journal of physical anthropology. 1996, vol. 101, no2, pp. 237-246 (2 p.1/4)
    What is your take on all of this evidence? Do you have any counter biological evidence that justifies your skepticism of this theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    Overall, I think you are making rather more of the evidence than it warrents. For one thing, Egyptian civilisation is generally reckoned to have come into being around 3,000 BC, while those genetic studies seem to be talking about a black population in 4,000 BC.
    The Egyptian civilization as we know it is 5,000 years old. This around the time period when both the North and the south were unified (Dynastic civilization and the vast majority of the Pre New Kingdom population originated in southern Egypt not the north). The focus on the populations directly prior to this time (Pre-Dynastic era) is of interest because it explains what populations were directly responsible for the creation of Dynastic Egyptian civilization.

    Renown Egyptologist Robert Bauval is a modern leader in Pre-Dynastic histories of ancient Egypt. His book the "Black Genesis" gives insights into the much earlier cultures of the Egyptian Sahara. He also recently gave his opinion on this very issue of original Egyptian race:

    Last edited by The Unbreakable; 07-03-2012 at 09:11.

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  22. #22

    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Quote Originally Posted by Moros View Post
    Now, I'm not saying Egypt was black, or all Pharaos' were. Some dynasties certainly had more southern ethinicities, and there sometimes were multiple dynasties at the same time as well. I think Egypt was influenced by many peoples. Nubian, Arab and other Semites (not talking about the 7-8th century AD here),... and originally existed out of more than one culture and ethnicity to start with.
    As far as archaeological, linguistic and cultural evidence goes they all seem to point to a more southerly African origin for the civilization, with some minor influence (i.e. trade) from the Levant in early Lower Egypt:

    "The evidence also points to linkages to other northeast African peoples, not coincidentally approximating the modern range of languages closely related to Egyptian in the Afro-Asiatic group (formerly called Hamito-Semetic). These linguistic similarities place ancient Egyptian in a close relationship with languages spoken today as far west as Chad, and as far south as Somalia. Archaeological evidence also strongly supports an African origin. A widespread northeastern African cultural assemblage, including distinctive multiple barbed harpoons and pottery decorated with dotted wavy line patterns, appears during the early Neolithic (also known as the Aqualithic, a reference to the mild climate of the Sahara at this time). Saharan and Sudanese rock art from this time resembles early Egyptian iconography. Strong connections between Nubian (Sudanese) and Egyptian material culture continue in later Neolithic Badarian culture of Upper Egypt. Similarities include black-topped wares, vessels with characteristic ripple-burnished surfaces, a special tulip-shaped vessel with incised and white-filled decoration, palettes, and harpoons..."

    "Other ancient Egyptian practices show strong similarities to modern African cultures including divine kingship, the use of headrests, body art, circumcision, and male coming-of-age rituals, all suggesting an African substratum or foundation for Egyptian civilization"
    link

    Quote Originally Posted by Moros View Post
    The oldest sources of Archaeology show us this, there was a huge difference in the upper and lower Egypt.
    There was certainly biological distinction between the people of both regions, but (as noted in the article posted earlier) their craniometric patterns were not so different that either one (particularly Lower Egypt) was not indigenous to Africa. Limb proportions of early Lower Egyptians also show that the population of the north was tropically adapted like the African populations further to the south and distinct from the sub tropical populations of the Levant:

    "..sample populations available from northern Egypt from before the 1st Dynasty (Merimda, Maadi and Wadi Digla) turn out to be significantly different from sample populations from early Palestine and Byblos, suggesting a lack of common ancestors over a long time. If there was a south-north cline variation along the Nile valley it did not, from this limited evidence, continue smoothly on into southern Palestine. The limb-length proportions of males from the Egyptian sites group them with Africans rather than with Europeans." (Barry Kemp, "Ancient Egypt Anatomy of a Civilisation. (2005) Routledge. p. 52-60)
    Limb Proportions like skin color are adaptive traits, which take around 15,000 years to change if a population moves into a different climate. Egypt for the most part (it's southern border) does not lie within the tropical climatic zone, but rather the sub tropics like most of the Middle East. The fact that it's early inhabitants had tropical limb proportions (which could only be obtained through long term residence in the tropics) could only mean that they were recent migrants from the tropical regions further south. This finding is in agreement with other biological and archaeological evidence.

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  23. #23
    Apprentice Geologist Member Blxz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    All this is interesting but fails to account for pottery depictions of nubians and egyptians with differing skin tones and features. I think this whole theory is being influenced by our modern ideas that people are white or black or arabian or asian (loosely of course).

    You mention that there is no way to drawn a line between egypt and nubia as being racially different but what happens when you go to the north? Where do you draw the line there? It is most likely that there was a continuous and gradual change as you move further north. The southern egyptians being far more similar in features to nubians while the northerners being more similar to peoples north of egypt. People in the middle being similar to those both north and south of them.

    This whole idea that 'egypt' was black is as preposterous as saying it was all white or all semitic. There was most likely a range and this range may have shifted in either direction depending on prevailing conditions over the several thousand years that Egypt existed. It is evidenced that there was indeed a Dynasty that was significantly darker and of nubian origin (the number eludes me right now). I fail to see how this precludes other dynasties from being significantly lighter or precludes the population from being lighter (or darker for that matter).

    In short, there is a range of evidence that shows a variety of skin tone (those Gods and Pharaohs being multi-toned offers some evidence) and most likely it was somewhere in between the darker south made up of 'Africans' in the racial sense of the word and the lighter north Levant.
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  24. #24
    Formerly Wigferth Ironwall Senior Member Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Quote Originally Posted by The Unbreakable View Post
    The controversy of "Black Athena" was not rather or not the ancient Egyptians were black, but rather surrounding the validity of argument that ancient Greek culture was largely influenced by black Africans (the Egyptians) and Semitic populations of the Middle East. As a matter of fact Mary Lefkowitz who was the most out spoken critic of the notion, even grudgingly admitted that the original ancient Egyptians came from Sub Saharan Africa and not points north as earlier scholars had asserted:

    She even acknowledges the fact that the closest populations biologically to the early ancient Egyptians were Sudanese (Nubians) populations as opposed to Middle Easterners or Europeans:

    She cited these results from biologist S.O.Y. Keita:

    link

    While the main argument of "Black Athena" being the contribution of non Europeans to the creation of Greece is highly debated, the side argument that the ancient Egyptians were originally were Africans who migrated from regions further to the south and west (the ancient Sahara) is clearly validated by contemporary archaeological and biological research.

    Actually a 2008 study has pretty much confirmed that their was a major migration of "black" people from the regions of Northern Africa into the Middle East and further north into Anatolia and Greece:
    I would not describe "Black Athena" as "Highly debated" so much as "generally derided". My training is in Classical Greece and Rome, and not in Egypt - I will freely admit that. However, you are talking about a Mesolithic migration, which is very different to discussing the nature of a Bronze Age civilisation. As I said, we are all "black" if you go back far enough. You are conflating events in a HUGE time period, from the Middle-Stone Age to the "Dorian Migration" which was believed to have taken place in the late Bronze Age.

    While this doesn't say much about cultural influence from Africa into Europe (other than the spread of agriculture), it does give validation to the argument there was a major African and Semitic presence in the region of ancient Greece early on. The presence of the African haplogroup E in modern day Greece (with frequencies mirroring that of some North African groups) is also a dead give away of some sort of migration or extensive interaction between both regions.
    I was under the impression agriculture developed independantly in several places between 9000-7000 BC, including places in Africa. Cultural interaction is an acknowledged phenomenon in Eurasia, people come from Africa with stone tools, people settled in Mesopotamia invent Agriculture, people in Egypt build in stone, the Greeks invent logic, the Romans build an effective military, the Franks inherit Latin learning...

    and so on.

    Well the point of discrediting the Eurocentric lie that ancient Egypt was not originally a black African civilization is not because of the false yet common misconception that there weren't plenty of other great ancient African civilizations, but simply well...to correct a lie. Here was a recent New York Times piece had to say about the issue:

    link

    So clearly modern scholars are now beginning to accept that there has indeed been a racist cover up of this fact in the past (which still largely goes on today) based on consistent biological and cultural evidence. Namely that the Egypt and Sudan (dubbed the "black" civilization of the two on the Nile) were a biological and cultural continuum with common ancestry from the retreat of Saharan populations to reliable water sources (as shown by Basil Davidson in my earlier post)
    No, the point of "discrediting the Eurocentric lie" is to make "Eurocentrics", which encompases the majority of past and present European and Anglo-phone scholarship, into liars and racists - as you so helpfully demonstrated.

    If there is an African element to Egyptian history and this has been overlooked then that should be corrected. That does not, however, make Egypt a "Black" civilisation because it is quite clear that later on in at least the late Bronze and Iron Age the Pharohs were not recognisably "black", and they are not depicted as such.

    What you are engaging in here is a racialised appropriation - which is a futile exercise. My ancestors were black, but as I am a Northern European my most recent black ancestors are different from the contemporary black ancestors of modern Africans. Ergo, it was not "africans" who learned how to hold and swist iron and steal together to make pattern welded blades.

    The point is, even if Egypt's first pharohs were black, and they set the fundamental groundwork, structure and provided the initial religious framework for the civilisation that does not make the entire subsequent 3,000+ years a great "black" epoch, quite the reverce given that the early pharahos were later supplanted by dynastes which are clearly depicted as much fairer of skin and Semetic of face.

    You mention the first Dynasties, but did you know that this is a bust of Egypt's first Dynastic King?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    While I'm not that interested in eye balling statuary those facial features don't exactly scream European or even Middle Eastern to me, instead they look like those one's quite commonly seen in tropical Africa. The Sphinx is no different.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    As matter of fact an anthropologist whose work was heavily praised by Afrocentric critic Mary Lefkowitz had concluded that ruling class of the Pre-Dynastic population of Upper Egypt were more closer to certain Nubian populations than to upper Egyptians (perhaps indicating that they were more Nilotic as opposed to Ethiopic/or perhaps evolutionary factors as a result of agricultural development):

    What is your take on all of this evidence? Do you have any counter biological evidence that justifies your skepticism of this theory?

    The Egyptian civilization as we know it is 5,000 years old. This around the time period when both the North and the south were unified (Dynastic civilization and the vast majority of the Pre New Kingdom population originated in southern Egypt not the north). The focus on the populations directly prior to this time (Pre-Dynastic era) is of interest because it explains what populations were directly responsible for the creation of Dynastic Egyptian civilization.

    Renown Egyptologist Robert Bauval is a modern leader in Pre-Dynastic histories of ancient Egypt. His book the "Black Genesis" gives insights into the much earlier cultures of the Egyptian Sahara. He also recently gave his opinion on this very issue of original Egyptian race:


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient...ce_controversy

    I think the current drive to depict the Egyptians as "black" is motivated by thr same desire to depict them as "white" 150 years ago, more specifically I find the suggestion that Cleopatra was black to be bellyachingly funny given the need of the Ptolemaic rulers to demonstate their "Macedonian" lineage.
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  25. #25
    Member Member Brucaliffo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    I perfectly agree with The Unbreakable.

    Anyway Brennus

    Egyptians were black in the origin.
    Take a look at the Sphynx face: it is clearly negroid.
    Then they were overcome by white people coming from north-east and a mixed society was created.
    The Sphynx is a stylised depiction, just like the majority of Egyptian works of art, you can't infer racial traits from them, if you want realism you need to examine the pieces produced during the time of Akenahten. Furthermore the Egyptians are not the result of a mixing of Sub Saharan Africans and Caucasians, they are just Semitic. Their skin colour is due to the ratio of melanin (spelling?) to ultra violet radiation in that part of the world.
    Brennus i never meant caucasic, but semitic!
    Egyptians were black (with a farmer society) and were invaded by semitic (with a huner society).
    It was never a consideration about color, but instead about culture!

    And the Sphynx is not a stylised depiction absolutely.
    Traits are clear and all egyptian art clearly depicts traits and colour, as you can see in The Unbreakable post.
    Last edited by Brucaliffo; 07-03-2012 at 13:23.

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  26. #26

    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    However, you are talking about a Mesolithic migration, which is very different to discussing the nature of a Bronze Age civilisation.
    Actually the evidence suggest that it was the spread of "Neolithic" culture from an African based group in the Middle East (the Natufanians) into Europe, and more specifically the Anatolian and Greek region of southeastern Europe. These African characteristics continued on into the bronze age era, which is even noted in "pre-Black Athena" aged scholarship:

    "The inhabitants of the Aegean area in the Bronze Age may have been much like many people in the Mediterranean basin today, short and slight of build with dark hair and eyes and sallow complexions. Skeletons show that the population of the Aegean was already mixed by Neolithic times, and various facial types, some with delicate features and pointed noses, others pug-nosed, almost negroid, are depicted in wall paintings from the 16th century BC. But men and women are always represented with black hair, and the presence of fair-haired people is not attested in the Aegean until later Greek times. Some very tall men buried in the Mycenaean shaft graves may be descendants of invaders who entered the mainland at the end of the 3rd millennium. A few skeletons from the single graves that appear on the mainland at the very end of the Bronze Age suggest the presence of new people from the north."
    --- Sinclair Hood, The Home of the Heroes: The Aegean Before the Greeks (1967) also found in Encyclopedia Britannica 1990 ed. Macropedia Article, Vol 20: Greek and Roman Civilizations
    One aspect of Bernal's argument (that for one reason or another many of his opponents wanted to discredit) was the use of ancient Greek scholars who clearly state that the original people of Egypt were originally black Africans from "Ethiopia" (which they used to describe all regions south of Egypt) as stated by Basil Davidson and even assert that certain people of that general region of Europe (Colchians) were settled by black peoples from Egypt (the Mushabi who later became the Natufanians): Here is the exact quote by Herodotus on the matter:

    ' As for me, I judge the Colchians to be a colony of the Egyptians because, like them, they are black with woolly hair.
    Note again the continued reference of ancient Egyptians as black people by eye witness accounts. These descriptions are consistent with the results of crania morphologies noted in Egyptian populations. I'm not really into the ancient Greek arguments by Bernal, but the knee jerk reaction by some classical scholars to outright reject any evidence suggesting influence from black Africans into Europe (but conversely have no problem with the opposite happening) raises my eye brow a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    I was under the impression agriculture developed independantly in several places between 9000-7000 BC, including places in Africa.
    Yes, but this does not dismiss the fact that Demic Diffusion models also occurred from these original independent sources of agriculture. As the study showed and pretty much built upon (from previous findings) the source of the European Neolithic came from a northward migration of the Natufanians of the Levant, who were the result of the Mesolithic Mushabi (Africans). That which originated and spread from the African Sahara was significantly later (over a thousand years) and distinct from that seen in those regions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    If there is an African element to Egyptian history and this has been overlooked then that should be corrected.
    You're not really getting it. There is no longer a question of "if" an African element was present in Egypt, it is now established fact that Egypt's origins were indeed from the regions further south and west itself. So says consistent mainstream archaeology, biology, linguistic and cultural relations. If the Oxford Encyclopedia of ancient Egypt (a direct reflection of modern scholarship) did not make this fact clear, then perhaps the Fitzwilliam museums new exhibit on the matter might. They have now dedicated an entire exhibit to showcasing Kemet or ancient Egypt it's proper African context and subsequently state that it was "black". They reference three African scholars, and one (S.O.Y. Keita) is considered the authority of the matter of the biological and cultural origins of ancient Egypt. The lecture videos of the scholars from Cambridge are all available on the website.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    That does not, however, make Egypt a "Black" civilisation because it is quite clear that later on in at least the late Bronze and Iron Age the Pharohs were not recognisably "black", and they are not depicted as such.
    Then what on Earth would it make it? All the way up until the late New Kingdom when noted foreign invasions and migrations of non black people from the Middle East had settled on the Nile, the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of the ancient Egypt shared overlapping biological affinities with black African peoples further to the south of Egypt:

    "The raw values in Table 6 suggest that Egyptians had the “super-Negroid” body plan described by Robins (1983).. This pattern is supported by Figure 7 (a plot of population mean femoral and tibial lengths; data from Ruff, 1994), which indicates that the Egyptians generally have tropical body plans. Of the Egyptian samples, only the Badarian and Early Dynastic period populations have shorter tibiae than predicted from femoral length. Despite these differences, all samples lie relatively clustered together as compared to the other populations." (Zakrzewski, S.R. (2003). "Variation in ancient Egyptian stature and body proportions". American Journal of Physical Anthropology 121 (3): 219-229.
    The continuation of these traits is seen from Pre and early Dynastic Egyptians all the way up until the famed New Kingdom 18-19th Dynasty (King Tut):

    "It can be seen that all the pharonic values, including those of 'Smakhare', lie much closer to the negro curve than to the white curve. Since stature equations only work satisfactorily in the individuals to whom they have applied have similar proportions to the population group from which they are derived, this provides justification for using negro equations for estimating stature from single bones of the New Kingdom pharoahs, reenforcing the previous findings of Robins (1983). Furthermore, the Troller and Gleser white equations for the femur, tibia and humerus yield stature values that have a much wider spread than those from negro equations with mean values that are unacceptably large."

    "Robins (1983) and Robins & Shute (1983) have shown that more consistent results are obtained from ancient Egyptian male skeletons if Trotter & Gleser formulae for negro are used, rather than those for whites which have always been applied in the past. .. their physical proportions were more like modern negroes than those of modern whites, with limbs that were relatively long compared with the trunk, and distal segments that were long compared with the proximal segments. If ancient Egyptian males had what may be termed negroid proportions, it seems reasonable that females did likewise." From: (Robins G, Shute CCD. 1986. Predynastic Egyptian stature and physical proportions. Hum Evol 1:313–324. Ruff CB. 1994.)

    "Estimates of living stature, based on X-ray measurements applied to the Trotter & Gleser (1958) negro equations for the femur, tibia and humerus, have been made for ancient Egyptian kings belonging to the 18th and 19th dynasties. The corresponding equations for whites give values for stature that are unsatisfactorily high. The view that Thutmose III was excessively short is proved to be a myth. It is shown that the limbs of the pharaohs, like those of other Ancient Egyptians, had negroid characteristics, in that the distal segments were relatively long in comparison with the proximal segments. An exception was Ramesses II, who appears to have had short legs below the knees."

    --Robins and Schute. The Physical Proportions and Stature of New Kingdom Pharaohs," Journal of Human Evolution 12 (1983), 455-465
    The latter source is from a 1980's study, which explains the frequent reference of racial terminological (i.e "Negro" and "white"). Overall what both of these studies have found is that the continuation of more southerly African physical traits generally continued on from the pre and early Dynastic periods to the New Kingdom, despite noted prolonged small scale migration into the Nile during these periods. Cranial data finds the same the same thing. This is the exact same thing the Robert Bauval states in his interview.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    What you are engaging in here is a racialised appropriation - which is a futile exercise.
    Not to be rude or anything, but what exactly are you here arguing if not your own racial theory of the composition of ancient Egypt. You are in favor of the notion of ancient Egypt not being black (and rather something else), as opposed to truly taking a "non racialized" approach. Would it be more appropriate to state that the ancient Egyptians were indigenous Northeast Africans who came from regions further to the south? This is the approach taken by mainstream scholars such as S.O.Y. Keita, which is non racialized yet emphasizes the indisputable overlapping affinities that ancient Egypt had with populations of the Sudan and the Horn of Africa.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    The point is, even if Egypt's first pharohs were black, and they set the fundamental groundwork, structure and provided the initial religious framework for the civilisation that does not make the entire subsequent 3,000+ years a great "black" epoch, quite the reverce given that the early pharahos were later supplanted by dynastes which are clearly depicted as much fairer of skin and Semetic of face.
    You are essentially arguing in favor of the Dynastic race theory
    , which has been discredited since the 1950's:

    "As a result of their facial prognathism, the Badarian sample has been described as forming a morphological cluster with Nubian, Tigrean, and other southern (or \Negroid") groups (Morant, 1935, 1937; Mukherjee et al., 1955; Nutter, 1958, Strouhal, 1971; Angel, 1972; Keita, 1990). Cranial nonmetric trait studies have found this group to be similar to other Egyptians, including much later material (Berry and Berry, 1967, 1972), but also to be significantly different from LPD material (Berry et al., 1967). Similarly, the study of dental nonmetric traits has suggested that the Badarian population is at the centroid of Egyptian dental samples (Irish, 2006), thereby suggesting similarity and hence continuity across Egyptian time periods. From the central location of the Badarian samples in Figure 2, the current study finds the Badarian to be relatively morphologically close to the centroid of all the Egyptian samples. The Badarian have been shown to exhibit
    greatest morphological similarity with the temporally successive EPD (Table 5). Finally, the biological distinctiveness of the Badarian from other Egyptian samples has also been demonstrated
    (Tables 6 and 7).

    These results suggest that the EDyn do form a distinct morphological pattern. Their overlap with other Egyptian samples (in PC space, Fig. 2) suggests that although their morphology is distinctive, the pattern does overlap with the other time periods. These results therefore do not support the Petrie concept of a "Dynastic race" (Petrie, 1939; Derry, 1956). Instead, the results suggest that the Egyptian state was not the product of mass movement of populations into the Egyptian Nile region, but rather that it was the result of primarily indigenous development combined with prolonged small-scale migration, potentially from trade, military, or other contacts.

    This evidence suggests that the process of state formation itself may have been mainly an indigenous process, but that it may have occurred in association with in-migration to the Abydos region of the Nile Valley. This potential in-migration may have occurred particularly during the EDyn and OK. A possible explanation is that the Egyptian state formed through increasing control of trade and raw materials, or due to military actions, potentially associated with the use of the Nile Valley as a corridor for prolonged small scale movements through the desert environment.
    (Sonia R. Zakrzewski. (2007). Population Continuity or Population Change: Formation of the Ancient Egyptian State. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 132:501-509)
    As you can see there was not abrupt change that occurred in the Egyptian populace, which one would expect to accompany such a drastic migration from a foreign group of people. Instead there is continuity throughout the pre and early Dynastic period and points onward including modern Egyptians (though with significant distinctions since the time of the Late Period).

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    I think the current drive to depict the Egyptians as "black" is motivated by thr same desire to depict them as "white" 150 years ago, more specifically I find the suggestion that Cleopatra was black to be bellyachingly funny given the need of the Ptolemaic rulers to demonstate their "Macedonian" lineage.
    I believe that a professor Asante of Temple University stated that many Eurocentric scholars including Mary Lefkowitz have attempted to discredit the legitimacy of Egypt's blackness, but overemphasizing this strawman argument revolving around Cleopatra as the face of this argument. Rarely to never do they address any of the biological evidence. I personally find the statement by comedian Steve Martin that King Tut was one of the greatest white men (though he used a racist derogatory term) in history to be amusing and catering to the common Eurocentric themes of his time:

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    ^^ As crazy as it sounds this is how many Westerners seriously believed ancient Egyptians to looked like, based on centuries of racist distortions of the facts. Today a milder approach generally shows them as more Middle Eastern in appearance, but the biological evidence completely refutes that notion and supports them looking like various black African populations....
    Last edited by The Unbreakable; 07-04-2012 at 00:44.

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  27. #27

    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Quote Originally Posted by Blxz View Post
    All this is interesting but fails to account for pottery depictions of nubians and egyptians with differing skin tones and features.
    The Nubians were a collection of different ethnic groups to the south of Egypt rather than a monolithic one. Some Nubians were more Nilotic in appearance while others were more "Ethiopic". Many Nubians were shown as having the same reddish brown skin as the ancient Egyptians in the exact same murals:

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    compared to

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    In other instances the Egyptians represented themselves just as "black" as other Africans and distinct from all others:

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    Tomb of Ramses III (Egyptian on the far left)

    Quote Originally Posted by Blxz View Post
    You mention that there is no way to drawn a line between egypt and nubia as being racially different but what happens when you go to the north? Where do you draw the line there? It is most likely that there was a continuous and gradual change as you move further north. The southern egyptians being far more similar in features to nubians while the northerners being more similar to peoples north of egypt. People in the middle being similar to those both north and south of them.
    That's an interesting assumption on your part, but what biological evidence to you have to support that this was the case during times prior to the New Kingdom? I have already presented biological evidence proving that early Lower Egyptians were in fact distinct from the peoples of the Levant (Palestinians) and much closer to peoples further to the south. The cultures of early Lower Egypt were also proven to have been a continuation of the Nilotic cultures previously practiced in the ancient Sahara rather than a transplant from the East:

    Later, stimulated by mid-Holocene droughts, migration from the Sahara contributed population to the Nile Valley (Hassan 1988, Kobusiewicz 1992, Wendorf and Schild 1980, 2001); the predynastic of upper Egypt and later Neolithic in lower Egypt show clear Saharan affinities. A striking increase of pastoralists’ hearths are found in the Nile valley dating to between 5000-4000 BCE (Hassan 1988). Saharan Nilo-Saharan speakers may have been initial domesticators of African cattle found in the Sahara (see Ehret 2000, Wendorf et. Al. 1987). Hence there was a Saharan “Neolithic” with evidence for domesticated cattle before they appear in the Nile valley (Wendorf et al. 2001). If modern data can be used, there is no reason to think that the peoples drawn into the Sahara in the earlier periods were likely to have been biologically or linguistically uniform. Keita and Boyce, Genetics, Egypt, And History: Interpreting Geographical Patterns Of Y Chromosome Variation,
    History in Africa 32 (2005) 221-246
    link

    What proof to you have to combat these findings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blxz View Post
    This whole idea that 'egypt' was black is as preposterous as saying it was all white or all semitic.
    How so? The biological evidence clearly finds that the original inhabitants of Kemet (or ancient Egypt as it was later named) had biological affinities consistently with more southerly African populations (black):

    "Analysis of crania is the traditional approach to assessing ancient population origins, relationships, and diversity. In studies based on anatomical traits and measurements of crania, similarities have been found between Nile Valley crania from 30,000, 20,000 and 12,000 years ago and various African remains from more recent times (see Thoma 1984; Brauer and Rimbach 1990; Angel and Kelley 1986; Keita 1993). Studies of crania from southern predynastic Egypt, from the formative period (4000-3100 B.C.), show them usually to be more similar to the crania of ancient Nubians, Kushites, Saharans, or modern groups from the Horn of Africa than to those of dynastic northern Egyptians or ancient or modern southern Europeans."
    (S. O. Y and A.J. Boyce, "The Geographical Origins and Population Relationships of Early Ancient Egyptians", in Egypt in Africa, Theodore Celenko (ed), Indiana University Press, 1996, pp. 20-33)
    The culture and language was also that which clearly came from "black" Africa:

    "Ancient Egypt belongs to a language group known as 'Afroasiatic' (formerly called Hamito-Semitic) and its closest relatives are other north-east African languages from Somalia to Chad. Egypt's cultural features, both material and ideological and particularly in the earliest phases, show clear connections with that same broad area. In sum, ancient Egypt was an African culture, developed by African peoples, who had wide ranging contacts in north Africa and western Asia." (Morkot, Robert (2005) The Egyptians: An Introduction. Routledge. p. 10)
    With this evidence why on Earth would Egypt not be considered a black African civilization at least prior to the Late New Kingdom?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blxz View Post
    It is evidenced that there was indeed a Dynasty that was significantly darker and of nubian origin (the number eludes me right now).
    You are referring to the 25th Dynasty. Referring to that one Dynasty as the "black" one, is quite disingenuous in my opinion given the fact that overwhelming evidence supports that Egypt's origins came from regions further to the south and west and that this was maintained throughout the Dynasties:

    On this basis, many have postulated that the Badarians are relatives to South African populations (Morant, 1935 G. Morant, A study of predynastic Egyptian skulls from Badari based on measurements taken by Miss BN Stoessiger and Professor DE Derry, Biometrika 27 (1935), pp. 293–309.Morant, 1935; Mukherjee et al., 1955; Irish and Konigsberg, 2007). The archaeological evidence points to this relationship as well. (Hassan, 1986) and (Hassan, 1988) noted similarities between Badarian pottery and the Neolithic Khartoum type, indicating an archaeological affinity among Badarians and Africans from more southern regions. Furthermore, like the Badarians, Naqada has also been classified with other African groups, namely the Teita (Crichton, 1996; Keita, 1990).

    Nutter (1958) noted affinities between the Badarian and Naqada samples, a feature that Strouhal (1971) attributed to their skulls possessing “Negroid” traits. Keita (1992), using craniometrics, discovered that the Badarian series is distinctly different from the later Egyptian series, a conclusion that is mostly confirmed here. In the current analysis, the Badari sample more closely clusters with the Naqada sample and the Kerma sample. However, it also groups with the later pooled sample from Dynasties XVIII–XXV.-- Godde K. (2009) An Examination of Nubian and Egyptian biological distances: Support for biological diffusion or in situ development? Homo. 2009;60(5):389-404.
    As stated in the NYtimes article that I posted earlier, it's pretty much futile for people to continue to assert some sort of racial difference between Egyptians and Nubians. The biological evidence is consistent that these people neighboring Nile Valley populations formed a biological continuum from the Pre-Dynastic period and even into today (southern Egyptians and northern Sudanese) irregardless of propaganda from political strife between the two. In fact this is how the Egyptians depicted their own army:

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    and this is how they depicted the Nubians (land of the bow)

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  28. #28
    Member Member Ironduke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    I'm really enjoying peoples comments. So far it's been very informative, thank you all.

    edit: special thank you to the unbreakable for taking the time to reference sources and images :)
    Last edited by Ironduke; 07-03-2012 at 21:08.

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  29. #29
    Member Member wangchang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Quote Originally Posted by Brennus View Post
    The Sphynx is a stylised depiction, just like the majority of Egyptian works of art, you can't infer racial traits from them, if you want realism you need to examine the pieces produced during the time of Akenahten. Furthermore the Egyptians are not the result of a mixing of Sub Saharan Africans and Caucasians, they are just Semitic. Their skin colour is due to the ratio of melanin (spelling?) to ultra violet radiation in that part of the world.
    Egyptians are not semitic. They are clearly a different people than the arab, and they clearly made a distinction with them. The origins of the egyptian are unknown. We cannot know for sure where they came from, we just know that they came from a distant place (not space, just in case you think i believe in the alien theory. i don't :P) , according to their writings and the Greeks writings and archeological evidence. They seemed to be already extremely civilized when they settled on the nile, since they almost immediately build great pyramids and temples.
    That's it : they weren't black, they weren't white, they weren't semitic, they probably weren't of mix of those three. Their skin was described as gilt (golden shades).

  30. #30
    Member Member Ca Putt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black Egyptians

    Very intersting Indeed,

    however this picture strikes me as strange:

    http://forums.totalwar.org/vb/attach...2&d=1341341836

    IF the guy on the far left is an egyptian(which can be found out by reading the inscription), why is he depicted in the EXACTLY same way as the ... Nubian? I mean I can see why he would have the same skintone and physiognomy, but surely not the same clothes and haircut.

    And about pyramids: It's not as sudden as one may think, afterall Early pyramids clearly show a evolution from the Mastaba.

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