The New Kingdom/Egyptian Empire, occurred between the 16th century BCE and the 11th century BCE, and covered the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties of Egypt. This was the period of time in which Seti I and Ramesses II, and their descendants, ruled and expanded Egypt. It is often considered Egypt’s most prosperous time and the peak of its power.
After the New Kingdom ended there was about 400 years of political turmoil and instability in Egypt. The great Egyptian temples, monuments, arts and religion were in disarray. In 750 BCE, the Nubian King Kashta, whose name is Egyptian for “the Kushite,” began a conquest of Egypt attacking Upper Egypt; his successors Piye and Shabaka brought the whole Nile Valley under the control of Kush within two years. These Kushite/Nubian Pharaohs ruled Upper Egypt for approximately one century and all of Egypt for about 60 years. This period of time is Egypt’s 25th Dynasty.
The reunited Egyptian empire under the Nubian Pharaohs of the 25th Dynasty was as large as it had been since the New Kingdom. There was a renaissance in arts, architecture and religion; all of which were restored to their Old, Middle, and New Kingdom forms. The Nubian Pharaohs built or restored temples and monuments throughout the Nile Valley including at Memphis and Karnak. They built more pyramids than any other dynasty; there are about 220 pyramids located in the northern Sudanese desert.
The Nubians worshiped Amun-Ra as a national god. The Temple of Amun, Jebel Barkal, founded during the New Kingdom, became the center of the religious ideology of the 25th dynasty. There was a resurgence in the worship of Amun (Amani in Nubian) as the Nubians had accepted the god as their own.
The following is a portion of a Hymn to Amun-Ra which is preserved on a papyrus in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. This is one of many such hymns sung in the Egyptian temples in honor of the great god of Egypt. Note that the hymn includes the Nubians and refers to Somalia and the Sudan as the Land of the God.
A Hymn to Amun-Ra ,
the Bull, dweller in Anu, chief of all the gods,
the beneficent god, beloved one,
giving the warmth of life to all
Homage to thee, Amun-Ra , Lord of the throne of Egypt.
Master of the Temple of Karnak.
Kamutef (bull of his mother) at the head of his fields.
The long-strider, Master of the Land of the South.
Lord of the Matchau (Nubians/Sudan), Governor of Punt (Somalia),
King of heaven, first-born son of earth,
Lord of things that are, establisher of things (i.e. the universe), establisher of all things.
One in his actions, as with the gods,
Beneficent Bull of the Company of the Gods (or of the Nine Gods),
Chief of all the gods,
Lord of Truth, father of the gods,
maker of men, creator of all animals,
Lord of things that are, creator of the staff of life,
Maker of the herbage that sustaineth the life of cattle.
Power made by Ptah,
Beautiful child of love.
The gods ascribe praises to him.
Maker of things celestial [and] of things terrestrial, he illumineth Egypt,
Traverser of the celestial heights in peace.
King of the South, King of the North, Ra, whose word is truth, Chief of Egypt.
Mighty in power, lord of awe-inspiring terror,
Chief, creator of everything on earth,
Whose dispensations are greater than those of every other god.
The gods rejoice in his beautiful acts.
They acclaim him in the Great House (the sky).
They crown him with crowns in the House of Fire.
They love the odor of him,
when he cometh from Punt.
Prince of the dew, he traverseth the lands of the Nubians.
Beautiful of face, [he] cometh from the Land of the God.
Budge, Ernest Alfred Wallis. The literature of the ancient Egyptians. Vol. 1. Library of Alexandria, 1914.
Bunson, M. The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Gramercy Books, 1991.
Durant, W. Our Oriental Heritage. Simon & Schuster, 1954.
Van De Mieroop, M. A History of Ancient Egypt. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
Watterson, B. The Egyptians. Wiley-Blackwell, 1997.
Wilson, J. A. The Culture of Ancient Egypt. University Of Chicago Press, 2013
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