History of Nubia

543
The King of Nobadia was converted to Christianity by the Monophysite mission of the monk Julian, sent from Byzantium by the Empress Theodora.

569
Makuria adopted Christianity in the Dyophysite (Melkite) rite and Alodia in the Monophysite one.

About 630
Aetios, the first recorded bishop of Pachoras (Faras), raised the oldest cathedral, most probably on the ruins of an earlier building.

652
Siege of Dongola. The Nubian defense was successful in putting off the attacks and Nubian archers caused heavy Arab losses. The King of Dongola Qalidurut signed a peace treaty called the baqt with the Arabs.

697–711
King Merkurios introduced Monophysitism throughout the kingdom after the union of Nobadia with Makuria, which took place in the middle of the 7th century.

1293–1304
Escalating raids by the Mamluks of Egypt and internal strife led to the fall of Christian Makuria.

1317
Following raiding of the city by the sultan of Egypt Al Nasir Muhammad I, the Nubian ruler Barshambo adopted Islam and ruled Dongola as Saif ad-Din’Abdallah.

1300–1484
Faras included in the borders of the Nubian kingdom of Do-Tawo ruled from Dau (Gebel Adda) and Phrim (Qasr Ibrim).

1500
Soba, the capital city of Alodia, the last Christian kingdom of Nubia, conquered by the Muslim kingdom of Funj.

1958–1964
International Salvage Campaign to rescue the historic heritage of Nubia under the auspices of UNESCO. Polis archaeological mission headed by Profesotr Kazimierz Michałowski started excavations in Faras in 1961.

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chronology

History of Nubia

Prehistory
Neolithic
Early pastoral societies lived in the desert regions between the First and Sixth Cataract on the Nile. The megaliths of Nabta Playa in the Western Desert, believed to be one of the oldest astronomical observatories on earth, more than 2000 years older than Stonehenge, were set up in this period.

From the 4th to the 1st millennium BC
Cultures referred to by the letters A and C developed in the territory of Nubia. Climatic change gradually pushed settlement into the fertile zone in the Nile Valley proper.

2500–1600 BC
The kingdom of Kerma was an early civilization with the power center in a locality of the same name; it spread over all of Nubia from the First to the Fourth Cataract. In its heyday the kingdom triumphed over Egypt.

2300 BC
The first record of Nubia in Egypt is in descriptions of trade expeditions from the Old Kingdom. Slaves, gold, incense, ivory, copper, ebony and exotic animals, hides and even ostrich feathers were sent to Egypt through Nubia.

about 2049–1797 BC
Nubian gold mines drew the attention of Egyptians in the times of the Middle Kingdom. The route south was secured then with a network of Egyptian forts reaching the Second Nile Cataract, manned by the Pharaoh’s troops. The largely pastoral population was left alone.

about 1534–1085 BC
Nubia was conquered and incorporated into Egypt right down to the Fifth Cataract. The population was brutally colonized, in time adopting Egyptian culture and religion. At the end of this period the northern part of Nubia was practically depopulated due to extermination policies of the conquerors.

1200–1085 BC
An independent kingdom of Kush was established in Middle Nubia with capital city at Napata.

750–655 BC
The Kushite king Piye (Pianchi) conquered Egypt and established the 25th Dynasty of Nubian pharaohs. An outstanding ruler of this dynasty, Taharqa ruled Nubia and Egypt, rebuilt Karnak, raised pyramids and temples in Nubia. Raids by Assyria forced his descendant Tanutamon to rescind power over Egypt and to retire to Napata.

800 BC–AD 350
The Napatan kingdom preserved Egyptian religion and traditions. About 280 BC, the power center was moved to the city of Meroe, a strong state with economy based on animal husbandry, iron production and trade with India among others. The language n use was Meroitic with its own writing system.

350
The Noba tribes were instrumental in the fall of the kingdom of Meroe, sealed finally by a raid from the kingdom of Axum.

Christian Nubia
Three kingdoms were founded in Nubia on the remnants of the fallen kingdom of Meroe: Nobadia beween the First and Third Cataract with the capital at Pachoras (Faras), Makuria between the Third and Fifth Cataract with a capital at Tungul (Old Dongola) and Alodia to the south of the Fifth Cataract with a capital at Soba in the vicinity of Khartoum.

543
The King of Nobadia was converted to Christianity by the Monophysite mission of the monk Julian, sent from Byzantium by the Empress Theodora.

569
Makuria adopted Christianity in the Dyophysite (Melkite) rite and Alodia in the Monophysite one.

About 630
Aetios, the first recorded bishop of Pachoras (Faras), raised the oldest cathedral, most probably on the ruins of an earlier building.

652
Siege of Dongola. The Nubian defense was successful in putting off the attacks and Nubian archers caused heavy Arab losses. The King of Dongola Qalidurut signed a peace treaty called the baqt with the Arabs.

697–711
King Merkurios introduced Monophysitism throughout the kingdom after the union of Nobadia with Makuria, which took place in the middle of the 7th century.

707
Bishop Paulos reconstructed the cathedral in Pachoras. The first mural decoration program of the cathderal was completed in the course of the 8th century.

740
The Makurian king Kyriakos invaded Egypt and according to some sources laid siege to Fustat (Cairo) in order to free the patriarch of Alexandria Abba Michael, imprisoned by the Moslem rulers of Egypt.

903–923
First renovation of the cathedral at Pachoras. Bishop Kolluthos commissioned a new set of wall plasters, covering the earlier paintings, but the project was interrupted for some reason.

974–997
Bishop Petros initiated a complete rebuilding of the complex, introducing also a new set of wall paintings.

1293–1304
Escalating raids by the Mamluks of Egypt and internal strife led to the fall of Christian Makuria.

1317
Following raiding of the city by the sultan of Egypt Al Nasir Muhammad I, the Nubian ruler Barshambo adopted Islam and ruled Dongola as Saif ad-Din’Abdallah.

1300–1484
Faras included in the borders of the Nubian kingdom of Do-Tawo ruled from Dau (Gebel Adda) and Phrim (Qasr Ibrim).

1500
Soba, the capital city of Alodia, the last Christian kingdom of Nubia, conquered by the Muslim kingdom of Funj.

1958–1964
International Salvage Campaign to rescue the historic heritage of Nubia under the auspices of UNESCO. Polis archaeological mission headed by Profesotr Kazimierz Michałowski started excavations in Faras in 1961.

zobacz gdzie
leżało Faras

Nubia

The historical land of Nubia lies in northeastern Africa, between the first and the sixth cataract on the river Nile. It is shared today between Egypt and Sudan (view location of Faras)
The people inhabiting this land from prehistoric times established successive civilizations and kingdoms over the course of a few millennia. Their power centers were located successively in Kerma, Napata and Meroe.
Nubia is the Biblical Kush, a land of gold, slaves and exotic goods that the Egyptians brought from the south along the traditional trade routes connecting black Africa with the Mediterranean coast. The Egyptians called the northern part of this land Ta-Seti, Land of the Bow, presumably because the gallant Nubians were widely known as masters of archery. At the heyday of the Kushite monarchy these peoples raided the territory of their northern neighbor. For 75 years they even had their own pharaohs on the Egyptian throne (25th Dynasty).
In the 4th century, the ancient kingdom of Meroe, which had ruled over the Middle Nile valley, finally collapsed. Nubian tribes, which had been infiltrating the Meroitic state for centuries, began to organize into new political entities.

Three Nubian kingdoms were founded at this time: Nobadia, Makuria and Alodia. In the 6th century, these kingdoms were successively converted to Christianity.
The Bible has it that the first Nubian to become a Christian was a courtier of the Queen Kandaka, whose conversion to Christianity is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 8:26-40). The first officially to adopt the new faith was Nobadia, a kingdom bordering with Egypt on the south. Its inhabitants first became aware of Christianity probably in the 3rd or 4th century through the Egyptian monks who settled the desert in the region of the First Cataract. In the middle of the 6th century, the missionary Julian came from Byzantium to the court of the kings of Nobadia, sent there with an apostolic mission by the Empress Theodora, wife of the Byzantine emperor Justinian, who unlike her husband fostered Monophysitism. His efforts were supported by Theodor, bishop of the Egyptian island of Philae, who remained in Nobadia after Julian left to wait for the arrival of a new envoy. This was the Alexandrian Longinus, the first bishop of the Nobades, who was ordained by the patriarch of Alexandria. He built the first churches in Nobadia and organized a liturgical cult. A network of bishoprics was established in Nubia with seats in the major urban centers, including Faras, which functioned under the name of Pachoras at the time. From the 7th century a bishop resided continuously in this important administrative center. The first cathedral was raised in this period. Longinus also converted to Christianity the southernmost kingdom of Alodia. Makuria, which lay between Nobadia and Alodia, was converted by missionaries coming from the emperor Justinian, representing the orthodox Dyophysite rite.
In the early 7th century Nobadia was incorporated into Makuria; for part of the time Alodia was included in this kingdom, otherwise remaining independent.
From the reign of king Merkurios (697–711) the Church in the whole kingdom was subordinated to the Monophysite patriarch in Alexandria, who ordained all the Nubian bishops. Christian Nubia maintained close contacts with Byzantium. Nubian Christians pilgrimaged to Jerusalem, which was under strong Byzantine influence as well.
The conquest of Egypt by the Arabs in the 7th century changed the geopolitical situation of Makuria. After the siege of Dongola by the Arab vizier Amr ibn al-As in 652, Nubia concluded a nonaggression pact with the Arabs, in which it agreed to pay a tribute. The baqt, as this treaty was called, ensured relative peace and fostered the economic development of the kingdom for more than 600 years. Growing internal struggles for the throne in the 13th century and a gradual Islamization of the population along with strong political and economic pressure from Muslim Egypt led in the next century to power being taken over by the followers of Islam.
The Christian kingdoms of Nubia quickly disappeared into oblivion and remained so until the 1960s when the Egyptian authorities began building the High Dam in Aswan. The waters of the Nile, amassed behind the dam, were to flood the region of northern Nubia between the First and Second Cataract. To save at least part of the ancient cultural heritage that was to be destroyed, UNESCO appealed to the international archeological community to mount a massive campaign of excavations of the ancient monuments of Nubia.
In response to this appeal, Polish archaeologists directed by Professor Kazimierz Michałowski started in 1961 to explore ancient Pachoras, chosen because of an artificial mound on the bank of the Nile, thought to conceal a Pharaonic temple. It soon turned out to contain the remains of a complex of Christian churches, including the ruins of a cathedral with high-standing walls decorated with more than 150 paintings on religious themes. The murals from Faras, divided between Poland and Sudan, were sent to the national Museums in the respective capitals. Despite the fact that Faras itself is today underwater, priceless testimony of the rich culture of medieval Nubia was preserved for posterity, firing the imagination and research interests of several generations of researchers and art lovers.
Polish archaeologists continue to work in Sudan today, carrying out excavations at many sites, including Dongola, the old capital of the Christian Kingdom of Makuria, Banganarti, the Bayuda desert and most recently salvage excavations in the regions of the third and fourth Nile cataracts. Every year new discoveries contribute to our understanding of the history and culture of the forgotten kingdoms of Nubia.