Africa and Africans in Antiquity

Africa and Africans in Antiquity

Africa and Africans in Antiquity

Africa and Africans in Antiquity


Africa and Africans in Antiquity assesses recent historical research and archaeology under way in Egypt, North Africa, the Sudan, and the Horn of Africa. These ten thought-provoking essays demonstrate that this large region was an ethnic and cultural mosaic in antiquity, a place where Phoenicians, Berbers, Greeks, as well as Egyptians and Nubians interacted.


Tn the past European and American historians have treated much of the African past with condescension, which today would be recognized as racism (see especially the essays by S. Burstein and M. W. Swanson). On the other hand, in recent years Afrocentric scholars, in seeking to reclaim the achievements of the continent for African Americans, have gone to the other extreme in claiming that they are the rightful heirs to the glories of Egypt, as though the Egyptians were black Africans. This is rather ironic in that the Egyptians were among the most ethnocentric of all peoples, and generally regarded black Africans of Nubia, as well as all other non‐ Egyptians, with contempt.

This volume re-examines northeast Africa, as this is the area which is best documented for antiquity by texts, monuments, and archaeological excavations. We must recognize that this was a multi-ethnic and multicultural region, which included Phoenicians and Berbers in Carthage, Greeks in Cyrene, as well as Egyptians and Nubians. Though the outstanding culture was indeed that of Egypt, the Nubians south of Egypt did make their own contributions, and established the little known but remarkable kingdom of Meroe, which endured for nearly a millennium.

LinguistCarleton T. Hodge examines the linguistic relations of this region in his essay "Afroasiatic." He reviews the history of research in these languages, noting that the term "Afroasiatic" was first coined by Joseph Greenberg in 1950. He then examines how far back in time each of these languages is attested in writing. Egyptian has the longest history, stretching well over three millennia, with Semitic dialects also well attested. Berber is attested only from the second century B.C. The other languages are known only from recent times. Hodge also lists the linguistic and lexical references which are available for some of these languages.

He notes in chart form the well-documented relationships between . . .

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