Napata and Meroë

By Gwyn Pacheco and Morgan Patterson

Key Terms for Section 5

ore - a mineral or a combination of minerals mined for the production of metals
Lower Nubia - the region of ancient Nubia between the first and second cataracts of the Nile River
Upper Nubia - the region of ancient Nubia between the second and sixth Nile cataracts
artisan - a worker who is skilled in crafting goods by hand

Napata [nuh- PAY-tuh]

Napata was a city located in Upper Nubia between the third and fourth cataracts of the Nile River. It was also Kush's capital city in the late 700's B.C. From Napata, the Kushites, people who lived in southern Nubia, expanded their power into Egypt. Over time the Napatan kings took over more and more of Egypt. By the time of Taharka, a prince crowned king of both Nubia and Egypt in 690 B.C., the Nubians controlled all of Egypt. Napatan kings admired Egyptian culture by bringing back old Egyptian ways and preserving them. They even built pyramids to bury their kings just like the Egyptians. However, the rule of the Napatan kings didn't last very long. During about 660 B.C. they were forced out of Egypt. They then gradually moved their capital to the city of Meroe and never ruled Egyptian land again.


Meroë [mer-oh-ee]

Once the Nubians moved out of Egypt's reach by heading south, they founded a new royal court in the ancient city of Meroë. Meroë was located between the fifth and sixth cataracts of the Nile River and became the center of an empire that included much of Nubia and stretched into Central Africa. The Nubians used the iron ore from the Rocky Desert that was east of Meroë to create iron weapons and tools. Iron plows allowed them to produce great amounts of food and the use of iron weapons allowed them to control the trade routes that lead to the Red Sea. There, the Nubians traded goods from central Africa for things from India, Rome, and the Arabian Pensinsula. This trade made the Nubians wealthy.

Meroë began to weaken in the A.D. 200's, and in the next century it fell to the African kingdom of Axum. Although the kingdom fell, Meroë culture, has lasted for about 3,500 years. To this day, Nubian styles of pottery, braided hairstyles, furniture, jewelry, and clothing have survived among the present-day country of Sudan.

Women of Nubia

In Nubian Society, the women held a very high status. In royalty, most often the ruler's sister's children were the ones that were next in line for the throne. Nubia had many more women as rulers when compared to Egypt. The queens of Meroë have large and powerful figures in ancient artwork. The Nubian queens were considered to be ideal beauties, and their weight reflected their wealth and rank. The reason to this is because if they to feed themselves heartily, then they were rich.

Hieroglyphics of Meroë
The Nubians of Meroë created their own system of hieroglyphic writing that remains a mystery today. Scholars have so far not been able to completely understand what these hieroglyphics mean. They are found on the tombs and temples of the kingdom.

images.jpgPicture above is of Meroitic Hieroglyphics.


coolness is coolness.ppt

Meroe Hieroglyphics

Nubia Article

Works Cited
"Ancient Nubia." Free Website Hosting – Angelfire free website templates to make your own free website. Winter 2008 <>.
Ancient Scripts: Home. Winter 2008 <>.
"Kush, Meroe and Nubia." Sam Houston State University. 16 Jan. 2009 <>.
Winter 2008 <>.
World Studies: the Ancient World. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall (School Division), 2005.