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Observations placeholder

Bayard Taylor - Poems of the Orient – Nubia



Type of Spiritual Experience


Around 700 BC, two empires ruled the earth – the Assyrian Empire and the Kingdom of Kush. The Kingdom of Kush, also known as the Kingdom of Napata, the Kingdom of Kerma, the Meroitic Kingdom or sometimes called Nubia by some people, was a vast, powerful empire which dominated global affairs such that militarily, politically and economically, it was only rivalled by Assyria. No other power matched these two powers at the period.

Interestingly, at the height of her powers, the kingdom of Kush was ruled by Taharqa, a black African who inherited and consolidated a vast Kushite empire stretching from central Sudan to the Mediterranean, bordering Libya and Palestine –the largest Nile state in ancient times.

Taharqa was so powerful that he named himself “the Lord of the Four Quarters of the World.” Indeed, for some periods, Taharqa was the most powerful ruler, at least of all the ancient African kingdoms.

The kingdom of Kush was a superpower. Yet, this ancient state has not been accorded the honour she deserves in history. Lewis Peake mentioned four major problems that hindered a full and accurate exposition of the Kushite civilization: “remoteness and inhospitable terrain of the study area; a paucity of known material remains and textual references; a legacy of overly racists’ theories and interpretations of the evidence and a historiographic persistence and inertia-the hegemony of the status quo.”

The Kingdom of Kush, now disintegrated as a result of an internal rebellion in the 4th century AD, was located on the Southern Nile Valley in modern-day Sudan and South Sudan. It was Egypt’s ferocious southern neighbour in those days and some have confused its location with the modern day country of Ethiopia. It is safe to say however that the Kushite Empire and Egypt had strong historical, political, religious and cultural linkage such that it would be difficult to discuss one without referring to the other.

The Kushites were many things: craftsmen, ironworkers, mercenaries, goldsmiths, warriors, bowmen, etc. But most importantly, they were excellent builders of pyramids. They built many iconic pyramids in Napata, Meroe, Nuri and several other places which were cynosure of eyes on those days.

The 25th Dynasty which ushered in the Kushite royal dynasty in Egypt was started by Alara who founded the Napatan dynasty and then his brother-Kashta continued from where he stopped. But the Kushite dynasty was more popular with Piye at the helm as he was the one who completed the Egyptian conquest by seizing control of Lower Egypt and creating the 25th Dynasty.

Piye and his successors Shabaka, Shebitku, and later Taharqa ruled Egypt in succession. The largest empire the Nile Valley had ever seen.  The ascendancy of the 25th Dynasty reached the zenith under Taharqa.  During his time, the area was largely prosperous because the era ushered in the most peaceful moment witnessed during the 25th dynasty. There were enormous harvests and abundant rainfall.

He also built several exotic pyramids and temples and indeed constructed the largest pyramid in the Napatan region while he also restored several others. He erected monuments at Thebes, Tanis, Karnak among other architectural projects. However, his reign was marked by running battles with the Assyrians. He fought several wars and his armies advanced as far as Spain.

Although the kingdom was later conquered as a result of endless warfare, it managed to rule Egypt for about 75 years and survived for close to a millennium before its final disintegration.


A description of the experience



A LAND of Dreams and Sleep — a poppied land
With skies of endless calm above her head,
The drowsy warmth of summer noonday shed
Upon her hills, and silence stem and grand
Throughout her Desert's temple-burying sand.

Before her threshold, in their ancient place,
With closed lips, and fixed, majestic face,
Noteless of Time, her dumb colossi stand.
O, pass them not with light, irreverent tread ;
Respect the dream that builds her fallen throne.
And soothes her to oblivion of her woes.

Hush ! for she does but sleep ; she is not dead :
Action and Toil have made the world their own.
But she hath built an altar to Repose.

The source of the experience

Taylor, Bayard

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Activities and commonsteps