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 Part I: Ancient Africa from the beginnings BC / BCE

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Samiha
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عدد المساهمات : 159
تاريخ التسجيل : 2010-01-23
العمر : 33
الموقع : http://english4all.forumarabia.com/

PostSubject: Part I: Ancient Africa from the beginnings BC / BCE   Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:28 pm

Ancient Africa



5 to 2.5 million BCE
Fossils, rocks, ancient skeletal remains have been uncovered in the Rift Valley and surrounding areas

600,000 to 200,000
Wide spread of species across Asia, Europe, and Africa. Fire use develops. The earliest true human being in Africa, Homo sapiens, dates from more than 200,000 years ago.. A hunter-gatherer capable of making crude stone tools, Homo sapiens banded together with others to form nomadic groups; eventually nomadic San peoples spread throughout the African continent.

Discoveries suggest Africa was the primary gene-center for cultivated plants like cotton, sorghum, watermelon, kola-nuts and coffee, and first site of the domestication of certain plants for food.

25,000 to 10,000
Rock paintings of North and South Africa

6000-4000
The River People emerge along Nile, Niger, and Congo Rivers (West-Central Africa); the Isonghee of Zaire (Republic of Congo) introduce mathematical abacus; and Cyclopian stone tombs built in Central African Republic area. Spread of agriculture south of the Sahara Desert supporting a growing population, which mastered animal domestication and agriculture, and forced the San groups into the less hospitable areas.

ca. 4500
Ancient Egyptians begin using burial texts to accompany their dead, first known written documents. Ancient Egyptians, who called their land Kemet (Land of the Blacks) and Ta-Meri (Beloved Land), were primarily agriculturists who, with the practice of irrigation and animal husbandry, transformed the Nile Valley into a vibrant food-producing economy by 5000 B.C. Their settled lifestyle allowed them to develop skills in glass making, pottery, metallurgy, weaving, woodworking, leather work, and masonry. In this latter craft, ancient Egyptian practitioners excelled in architecture, as the pyramids attest.

4000 to 1000
Ancient African civilizations of the Nile Valley are established & flourish.

Ancient Egyptians traced their origins to the Mount Rwenzori range in East Africa known as "the Mountains of the Moon"; and some accounts to "Ethiopia," a term variously designating land south of Egypt (the Upper Nile Valley), or the entire African continent. Thus, Nubia, Egypt’s southern neighbor with its own civilization, probably preceded ancient Egyptian (Kemet) civilization.

By 2500
Centers of early civilization flourish in Mesopotamia, Egypt, northeastern India, and northern China.

2700 to 1087
Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom , & New Kingdom of ancient Egypt & Upper Nile.

First pyramid of Djoser was built at Saqqara (Old Kingdom era, 2686-2182 BCE)

ld Kingdom-era master architect Imhotep was also chief physician, prime minister, teacher, philosopher, priest, & astronomer. Equated by the Greeks with their god of healing, Imhotep is regarded by many as the father of medicine.

ca. 2300- 2100

Heliopolis Creation Narrative of the Kemetic priests of On, and the Memphite Declaration of the Deities (carved on a granite slab carving at the order of Nubian King Shabaka, ca. 710 BCE, recopied from earlier papyrus version), are the earliest written human accounts of creation

In the Memphis theology, the deity Ptah unites "heart and tongue" to create all "through utterance"—the spoken word. Creation narratives are found throughout Africa passed down through across centuries and generations through oral traditions (Asante and Abarry 12-13)

SACRED WRITING:
"Ancient Africans believed that the deity Dhehuti [Thoth] invented writing…. Dhehuti, who became the Greek Hermes, was associated with wisdom and knowledge. Writing brought with it so much power and influence that the ancient Africans reserved the knowledge and skill for priests and kings. Mystery and magic surrounded the development of the art, because few people could appreciate the strange markings on papyrus"(Asante and Abarry 2): "Although only a small portion of the population was literate, a great proportion of objects from Egypt are covered with writing,"according to UChicago's Oriental Institute.
The Egyptians called their writing, medu netcher, or "the words of the gods" ("hieroglyph" is a Greek word which means "sacred writing"), according to Richard Hooker
Later, throughout the continent, many traditional African cultures developed "secret societies, actually societies of secrets,…with their own scripts" (e.g., the Vai, Bambara, Benin, Bakongo, Peul, and Akan). "As symbol systems for sacred occasions, these scripts are often under the control of specially
trained and consecrated priests"

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN WRITING & LITERATURE

Creative literature included poems, plays, and narratives, as well as the oldest religious and ethical texts which include the "Pyramid Texts" and the "Declarations of Virtues." Greek philosophy, as well as many of the basic tenets of the major world religions, were pre-configured in ancient Egyptian civilization," which early Greek philosophers would later acknowledge the debt that they owed to " Egyptian knowledge systems in which they were educated" (Mutere). However, it was not until the 19th century, and the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, that scholars were able to decipher the ancient Kemetic writings on stone and papyrus. The Rosetta Stone now stands in the British Museum, London.

MA'AT:
the African ethical principles collectively embracing the values of truth, harmony, justice, reciprocity and cosmological order.
Kemetic texts "paint a powerful portrait of ancient Egyptian moral and ethical standards. Central to the ancient Egyptian ethos is the concept of Ma’at" (Mutere). Ma'at was the ancient Egyptian goddess who personified "truth" and "justice," and "is identified by a feather against which She weighs each person's soul in her hall of judgment. Egyptian priests would draw the feather of Ma'at on their tongues in green dye to give their words truth and creative power
The "ethical principles of Ma’at" shape "the key idea in the traditional African approach to life," recurring "in most African societies as the influence of right and righteousness, justice and harmony, balance, respect, and human dignity," according to Asante and Abarry (59). Most traditional African religions perpetuate the "fundamental principles of harmony between humans, humans and the environment, and humans and the spirit
world" (Asante and Abarry 59)

From the Carnegie Museum of Natural History:
"Of all the deities, the goddess Maat was the most important in perpetuating the status quo. The Egyptians believed that when the gods formed the land of Egypt out of chaos, Maat was created to embody truth, justice, and the basic orderly arrangement of the world. Maat personified the perfect state of the god-created world, and all that people had to do in order to live and prosper in the world was to honor and preserve Maat. On a national level, it was the king's responsibility to preserve Maat through daily offerings given at the temples. On an individual level, the goal of every Egyptian was to lead a honorable life that would allow entrance into the afterlife after death
."

ca. 1000 - 800
Bantu ("the people") migration spreads through sub-Saharan Africa (Africa south of the Sahara Desert), over some 2,000 years. Bantu, a linguistically related group of about 60 million people living in equatorial and southern Africa, probably originated in West Africa, migrating downward gradually into southern Africa. The Bantu migration was one of the largest in human history. The cause of this movement is uncertain, but is believed related to population increase, a result of the introduction of new crops, such as the banana (native to south Asia), allowing more efficient food production. Societies typically depended on subsistence agriculture or, in the savannas, pastoral pursuits. Political organization was normally local, although large kingdoms would later develop in western and central Africa.

Early in their history, the Bantu split into two major linguistic branches—the Eastern and Western Bantu. The Eastern Bantu migrated through present-day Zimbabwe and Mozambique, down to South Africa. The Western Bantu moved into what is now Angola, Namibia, and northwestern Botswana. Today, among the Bantu language groups, the most widely spoken Bantu-derived language is Arab-influenced Swahili, which is used as a lingua franca (a language used in common by different peoples to facilitate commerce and trade) by up to 50 million speakers on the eastern coast of Africa. Ethnic groups descended from the Bantu include the Shona, the Xhosa, the Kikuyu, and the Zulu, of the Eastern Bantu language branch; and the Herero and Tonga peoples, of the Western Bantu language branch.

750– 600
Kush or Nubia (upper or southern reaches of Nile River) rules Egypt from capital Meroe; with metal technology, widened economic influence in sub-Saharan Africa

500
"The Aksumites were a people formed from the mix of Kushitic speaking people in Ethiopia and Semitic speaking people in southern Arabia who settled the territory across the Red Sea around 500 BC."

Ancient Nok culture thrives in forests of central Nigeria (to CE 200). Claimed by the Yoruba peoples as ancestors, the Nok are justly revered for their art and terra cottas.

c. 300
"Rulers of Nubia established their capital at Meroë around 300 B.C., and the kingdom lasted there for more than nine centuries." Wonders: City of Meroe, Black Kingdoms of the Nile (Timothy Kendall, text; PBS Online's Wonders of the African World with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: 1999: Episode I )

From c. 250

"A Tale of Two Floodplains: Comparative Perspectives on the Emergence of Complex Societies and Urbanism in the Middle Niger and Senegal Valleys," by Susan Keech McIntosh


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