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Old November 24th, 2016, 11:02 AM   #21

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Guess who made that thread

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Old December 3rd, 2016, 10:28 AM   #22
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Randomly found this paper about an Egyptian papyrus handling an Alodian slave girl sold during in the late 6th century: https://www.researchgate.net/publica...sburg_Inv_1404

Last edited by Swagganaut; December 3rd, 2016 at 10:36 AM.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 10:38 AM   #23
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I am currently working on a map for Medieval Nubia (Coming soon) and while reading through my literature I just realized how much I underestimated the Arabic presence in central Sudan before the death of Alodia. A first Arabic presence can technically be assumed even before the birth of Islam, not only because of the Yemenite Sabaens who are known to be a seafaring people during the early first millenium BC but also by the Bellew, an Arabic people which is thought to migrate from Arabia to the eastern Sudanese desert just before the rise of Islam. They eventually converted to Christianity and assimilated into the Beja culture, but did not forget their Arabic origins.

With the rise of the powerful Islamic Caliphate, the Arabs tried to take control of the Red Sea, eventually to cut off Christian Aksum from the Byzantine Empire. During the 630's they established ports in Ayhdab on the heigth of Assuan and in Badi near the Eritrean border. Roughly 200 years later, while in conflict with the Beja, the Arabs discovered several gold and emerald mines in the Sudanese desert. At least one of them was in close proximity to Al-Abwab, the Makurian-Alodian border province, called Shunqayr in the Arabic sources. Umar, an Arabic warlord, was said to raise an army and take control of the area, while beeing in steady conflict with the Makuian king. In the end he was killed and his army dispersed, but it proves how Arabs not subjugated to the Nubian Kingdoms already operated in the Sudan during the 9th century.

However, we also know about Arabs beeing subjugates of the Alodian king. Ibn-Hawqal (10th century), probably the most authentic and extensive Arabic source for Alodia at all, states that in 'Taflien', which is identified as the eastern Butana and the Gash region around modern Kassala, there are "seasonal villages for bedouins", governed by an "Arabic-speaking king, who is appointed by the king of Alwa". Al-Aswani, a historian of the 10th century, states how Alodia would make use of "tawny camels of pure Arabian pedigree", doubtless a Bedouin innovation.
Anyway, Arabs were not only present as nomadic bedouins but also as traders. Trade with Alodia was probably established as soon as the Arabic Red Sea ports were founded. As several Arabic sources attest Berber, located near the confluence of the Atbara and the Nile, must have been an important trading city. Via caravan routes it was connected to Aydhab, Badi and Suakin. Arabic merchants and traders must have come by this route into Alodia. From there they travelled further south, towards Soba. Al-Yaqubi (9th century) states how Muslims, so very likely Arabs, go there "from time to time".
A century later al-Aswani states that Soba had a "great quarter where many Muslims live". At this point it seems plausible that 'Muslims' was still synonymous with 'Arabic traders'. Even on the turn of the 13th century it was recorded by Abu-Salih how all habitants of Soba were "Jacobite Christians". Anyway, from the 13th century onwards Alodia was in decline. Archaeology suggests large destructions in Soba, even though it was rebuild later on. The subjects thought to be responsible for those destructions are the Arabic Damadim. It seems therefore that Alodia started to lose control over its eastern Arabic subjects.
The Alodian doomsday probably arrived during the 14th century, when, according to Ibn-Khaldun, large amounts of Arabic beduins, called Juhyana, crossed the Red Sea and took control over large parts of eastern Sudan. Until the second half of the 15th century the Arabs managed to settle in the Gezira. It seems that at this point Alodia was not much more than a tiny rump state, reduced to the western Butana and the eastern shores of the Blue Nile. The final strike came somewhere before the turn of the 16th century, when Abdallah Jamma gathered the Arabic emirs and attacked Soba. This is the tradition as told by Sudanese oral sources and contradicts the claim of the Funj chronicles, which claimed that it was Amara Dunqas, the first Funj king, who defeated Alodia. Be it as it may, the fall of the Nubians and the rise of the Arabized Funj led to the Sudan as we know it today.


Literature:
- A. Paul, 1954: "A history of the Beja tribes of the Sudan"
- Giovanni Vantini, 2006: "Some new light on the end of Soba" in "Acta Nubica"
- Roland Werner, 2013: "Das Christentum in Nubien"
- Tim Power, 2008: "The origin and development of the Sudanese ports"

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Old January 3rd, 2017, 03:28 PM   #24

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Wow thanks for the extensive info, Swagganaut. Very interesting analysis of the Funj Chronicles in contradiction with Abdallah Jamma's actions.

By the way, would you say "A history of the Beja tribes of the Sudan" is a good source of info on the Beja?
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Old January 4th, 2017, 07:04 AM   #25
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By the way, would you say "A history of the Beja tribes of the Sudan" is a good source of info on the Beja?
To be honest: Not really. In the parts I have read it's lacks depth, feels a bit chaotic and doesn't make use of archaeolgical sources at all. Only used it for the Bellew-thing.
It's kinda suprising how the famous 'Fuzzy-Wuzzys' lack monographs dedicated to their history, but if you want to read a bit more about them you could try
Precolonial Beja: A Periphery at the Crossroads
& The Red Land: The Illustrated Archaeology of Egypt's Eastern Desert

Ah, and I see that you live in Toronto. Do you happen to live near the Royal Ontario Museum? And if so, would you like to help me out with something?
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Old January 7th, 2017, 12:24 PM   #26

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Yes it's a shame when such famous peoples (and in other cases, states) don't have a thorough, in-depth book about them. Like the Beja. Thanks for those suggestions; for now I'm reading through the pdf and it's very informative, much thanks!

And I do happen to live fairly close to the ROM. I go there every once in a while, it's quite good. I like their Egyptian and African exhibits. I can try to help you, how can I?
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Old January 8th, 2017, 10:18 AM   #27
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And I do happen to live fairly close to the ROM. I go there every once in a while, it's quite good. I like their Egyptian and African exhibits. I can try to help you, how can I?
Great! Here is the deal: Due to the flooding that the Aswan dam would cause between the first and second Nile cataract, there were large scaled excavations during the 1960's. Most of the sites are published by now, except of Gebel Adda, one of the most significant sites at all. All we have for it are a couple of rudimentary preliminary reports by Nicholas Millet, the excavator of the region. Why is Gebel Adda so significant? That's because according to the Arab historian Maqrizi, the Makurian court was forced to relocate its seat from Dongola to Gebel Adda in 1365, while Dongola was left destroyed and appareantly in the hand of Muslims from then on. Gebel Adda was therefore the capital of terminal Makuria, from the previously mentioned date to around 1500. The published data from the preliminary reports attests such a late occupation. Indeed, the unearthed material was quite extensive, but the best part is that there was also a church, called church 7. It contained "a series of frescoes representing mounted saints in Byzantine dress", which are "well preserved at most points to a height corresponding to the lower chest of the major figures." Also paintings depicting other ecclestial scenes, like angels and the like were found, as well as depictions of bishops. The paintings are dated to 14th and 15th century and are therefore the most recent Nubian wall paintings we know about. They are of major significance. I need to know if these murals were saved and brought into the ROM or eventually an other museum. If they were not saved then there must be photos of them at very least, if not hand-drawn copies.
The person responsible for Gebel Adda is Krzysztof Grzymski, though I would expect him to have a team which is quite knowledgable about Gebel Adda as well.
If you could find out what happened to these murals and you are able to organize pictures of them that would be a breakthrough. Not even most experts in Nubian studies know about the state of the murals, or don't even know that they exist at all.


Further reads:

1) (Attests that Gzymski is responsible for Gebel Adda) Gebel Adda excavations: the unfinished story
2) (The preliminary report including the information about the frescoes) James Millet - Gebel Adda Preliminary Report, 1965-66

Last edited by Swagganaut; January 8th, 2017 at 10:23 AM.
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Old January 13th, 2017, 05:10 PM   #28
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I have to correct myself:

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Originally Posted by Swagganaut View Post
I Anyway, from the 13th century onwards Alodia was in decline. Archaeology suggests large destructions in Soba, even though it was rebuild later on. The subjects thought to be responsible for those destructions are the Arabic Damadim.
The identity of the Damadim is in fact unknown, but in "Sudan's Blood Memory" it was suggested that they were the ancestors of modern Dinka or Shilluk. If that is correct that would prove Alwa was not only endangered from the east, but the south as well. During the time of the Funj Sultanate raids from Dinka and especially Shilluk were fairly common. They used to raid the villages of the southern Gezira with their war canoes.
It is however weird to think about how a society that did not even make use of mounts and armour is capable to destroy the capital of a mighty and rather sophisticated kingdom like Alwa.

Last edited by Swagganaut; January 13th, 2017 at 05:14 PM.
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Old January 17th, 2017, 10:47 AM   #29
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Started to revamp and enhance the related Wikipedia article. The content of this thread will soon be available to a much wider audience.
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Old January 25th, 2017, 08:15 AM   #30
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Ibn Sa'id al-Maghribi (1206 - 1286 A.D.)
Quote:
Section IV of the Land Beyond the Equator.
... Among the towns of the Blacks (as-sūdān) located in this fourth Section (juzʾ) there is Dumduma, whence the Damādim people set out against the Nūba and the Ḥabasha in the year 617 H. [1220 A.D.], at the time when the Tatars (at-Ṭaṭar) invaded Persia. For this reason the Damādim are called "the Tatars of the sūdān". The aforesaid town is located at Long. 54 20' Lat. 9 30'.
Abu-l-Fida' (1273-1331 A.D.):
Quote:
Damdama: Ibn Sa'īd says: Damdama is the place from where the Damādīm came to invade the country of the Nūba and al-Habasha in 617 (1220-1221) in the same year that the Tatars went against the Persians. And these Damādīm are Tatars of the Sudan.
Al-Harrani (about 1295 A.D.):
Quote:
... The country of the Damādim lies along the Nile above the country of the Zanj. It is densely populated. The sūdān always go on raids to this country, killing and plundering. The Damādim do not care about their religions (adyāni-him). In their country there are many giraffes. It is in this country that the Nile bifurcates, one branch flowing to Egypt, and the other towards the Zanj country.
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