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Donald B. Redford

pharaoh of Egypt during the Eighteenth Dynasty (c. 1377–1359 BCE; Low date: 1352–1334 BCE), was the son of Amenhotep (Amenophis) III and Queen Tiye (Teya). He was named after his father and succeeded to the throne initially as Amenophis IV.

Akhenaten was one of six children born to the royal couple four girls and two boys His older brother Thutmose destined for the throne as heir apparent and his older sister Sat Amun claimed their father s affection from an early age and as was customary for a crown prince Thutmose took up duties as high priest of Ptah in Memphis Perhaps because of his unsightly appearance Akhenaten was deprived of the attention his parents might have shown and little care was taken in assigning an entourage of companions His main tutor was an otherwise unknown Parennefer who hailed from a small town rather than the capital When the court ...

Article

Alara  

A. K. Vinogradov

earliest ruler of the Kushite kingdom (ancient Sudan) attested in written sources. His personal name (also Alala, Arara, Aruru, or similar) is usually considered as native, so-called “Meroitic,” and thus impossible to etymologize in the present state of knowledge about this language. However, some similar appellatives in Egyptian (the official language of Kush for several centuries, due to the long-continued colonization) suggest its rendering as Irery/Ireru (“Roarer,” “Snarler”), possibly a metaphor for “lion.”

The historical data about Alara is extremely scanty. No personal belongings of his have been attested so far. The tomb Ku. 9 (completely plundered in ancient times) that was found in the Kushite royal cemetery near the modern village of el Kurru (south of the Fourth Cataract of the Nile) has recently been attributed to him but this identification is hypothetical.

In fact Alara is known only from several mentions in Kushite royal chronicles in Egyptian dated ...

Article

Jay Spaulding

first ruler of the Funj kingdom (in present-day Sudan), was nicknamed “Dunqas,” a term implying that one who came into his presence should bow down with an inclined head. In later years it would be said that ʿAmara’s father’s name was ʿAdlan, and that he came from Lul, a place on the White Nile. However, the kinship principles that brought ʿAmara to power were matrilineal; like all the members of his dynasty, he was eligible to rule because of his descent, through the female line, from a remote Funj ancestress, whom tradition remembered by the name of Bint ʿAyn al-Shams.

ʿAmara was said to have founded the kingdom in 1504–1505 and to have reigned until 1533–1534 Contemporary information about ʿAmara may be found in the account of the mystic and adventurer David Reubeni whose controversial subsequent role in European Jewish history while in the Sudan Reubeni claimed to be ...

Article

Amasis  

Roberto Gozzoli

pharaoh of Egypt (570–526 BCE), as Herodotus (II, 172) reports, was from Siuph in the district of Sais. The name of his father is not known, but the mother’s name, Tashereniset, survives on a statue of Amasis erected after he was made king.

There is no information about Amasis until the year 570 BCE As Herodotus recounts II 161 69 that year when Apries then the pharaoh was returning from an unsuccessful expedition against Cyrene a Greek colony on the Libyan coast the Egyptian army accused the pharaoh of having sent them to die Thus they chose the general Amasis as the new pharaoh When Apries sent an embassy to Amasis asking him to submit to the legitimate king the general replied in a vulgar manner A battle ensued at Memphis in which Amasis defeated his opponent s army seized power and took Apries prisoner Later Amasis had Apries strangled ...

Article

Lawrence M. Berman

Egyptian pharaoh (reigned c. 1991–1961 BCE), was the founder of the Twelfth Egyptian Dynasty, the heart of the Middle Kingdom Period of Egyptian history (c. 2040–1640 BCE). The first of a new line of kings, Amenemhat (an alternative form of the name is Amenemhet) was of nonroyal birth. He was probably the vizier (chief minister) Amenemhat who in c. 1997 BCE led an expedition of ten thousand men to the Wadi Hammamat, between the Nile and the Red Sea, to procure stone for the sarcophagus of Mentuhotep IV, the last king of the Eleventh Dynasty, as recorded in inscriptions at the quarry site.

The Eleventh Dynasty kings had begun the process of reuniting Egypt after the period of political fragmentation known as the First Intermediate Period (c. 2100–2040 BCE Amenemhat I took this process a step further Like his predecessors Amenemhat was of southern origin Mentuhotep means Mentu is ...

Article

Josef Wegner

Egyptian pharaoh (r. c. 1878–1842 BCE), was also known as Amenemmes III (the Greek version of the name). Amenemhat III was the sixth king of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt’s Middle Kingdom Period (a period which included Dynasties 11–13, c. 2050–1650 BCE With a reign of forty six years Amenemhat III was the longest ruling king of the Twelfth Dynasty a line of pharaohs who governed Egypt from the city of Itj Tawy modern el Lisht He was the son of Senwosret III Sesostris III with whom his early reign may have overlapped during a period of coregency His mother may have been Senwosret III s chief queen Khnumetneferhedjet Weret II The name Amenemhat the king s birth name means Amun is foremost and was used both by royalty and by commoners The name indicates both the importance of the god Amun during the Middle Kingdom and the origins ...

Article

Troy Leiland Sagrillo

was the ninth king (reigned c.1391–1353 BCE) of the Eighteenth Dynasty (c.1550–1295 BCE) of pharaonic Egypt. Upon ascending to the kingship in c. 1391 BCE, he bore the titulary “Neb-maat-Re; Amenhotep, Ruler of Thebes”; he is known in Greek as Amenophis and in Akkadian as Nibmuareya. His father was king Thutmose IV and his mother, Mut-em-wiya, was one of his father’s minor consorts. Amenhotep came to the throne as a child, no more than about ten years old, and he reigned at least thirty-eight years.

Amenhotep III s reign is characterized as being a political and artistic highpoint of the Egyptian empire of the Eighteenth Dynasty a period of peace following Egypt s aggressive expansion during the earlier reigns of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II With the exception of a military campaign in Regnal Year 5 against Nubian tribes in Kush Amenhotep s relations with his ...

Article

Awaw  

A. K. Vinogradov

earliest of the rulers of Kush (Ancient Sudan) so far attested in written sources. The form of the name is conjectural.

Awaw is briefly referred to as an enemy in the Egyptian “Execration Texts,” compositions of magical spells meant to protect the unnamed “customer(s)” (most likely a royalty, perhaps a pharaoh) from any sort of harm made by, or expected from, any potential adversary anywhere in Egypt and/or beyond it. Exorcisms of this kind would be written in black ink on certain ritual objects (pottery vessels of various forms—bowls, platters, etc., or figurines of clay, alabaster, or limestone, representing bound prisoners), which, in the course of a mass ceremony, would be ritually broken up or otherwise damaged and buried afterward.

As several groups of finds show the Execration Texts were composed of almost stereotypes for the given group of objects formulae The variant of the text reconstructed from the sherds ...

Article

Ay  

Joyce Tyldesley

influential Egyptian courtier who served under the late Eighteenth Dynasty kings Amenhotep III, Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV), and Tutankhamen. Following Tutankhamen’s untimely death, he claimed the throne, reigning for no more than four years (c.1327–1323 BCE). After his death, his name was erased from Egypt’s official history.

Ay’s parentage is unconfirmed. However, there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that he was the brother of Queen Tiy, the commoner-born consort of Amenhotep III (reigned c. 1390–1352 BCE), and the father of Nefertiti, the commoner-born consort of Akhenaten (reigned c. 1352–1336 BCE Queen Tiy s father Yuya routinely used the title god s father which if it is to be read literally rather than as a priestly title translates as father in law of the king Ay too routinely used this title and while he makes no mention of any relationship with Nefertiti his wife claims to have been ...

Article

Christine D. Baker

fifth Fatimid caliph of Egypt, was the first of the Fatimid caliphs to begin his rule in the newly founded Fatimid capital in Cairo. Born in Mahdiyya in North Africa, he traveled to Cairo in 974 with the Fatimid court when his father, the fourth Fatimid Caliph al-Muʿizz, moved the Fatimid capital from the Maghrib to Egypt. His full name was Al-ʿAziz billah, Nizar Abu Mansur.

Al-ʿAziz became the Fatimid caliph in 975 but, as the third son of al-Muʿizz, his succession was far from assumed. Al-Muʿizz’s oldest son, Tamim, had been passed over for the succession because he was suspected of intriguing against his father with dissident members of the Fatimid court. Al-Muʿizz’s second son, ʿAbdullah, was the favored heir. But ʿAbdullah died unexpectedly in 975 and al-Muʿizz formally recognized al-ʿAziz as his successor. Al-ʿAziz came to power in December 975 when he gave the khutba Friday sermon ...

Article

Belinda  

Roy E. Finkenbine

a former slave who achieved renown in the era of the American Revolution by laying claim to a portion of the wealth of her former master's estate, was born in the region of West Africa known as the Gold Coast (later Ghana). Her early years were spent in a village on the Volta River. According to her later memories, it was an Edenic existence. However, when she was about age twelve, the Atlantic slave trade shattered this bucolic world. She was captured in a slaving raid, permanently separated from her parents, marched overland to the coast, and sold to European slave traders. For several weeks she endured the horrific Middle Passage with some three hundred other Africans in chains, who were “suffering the most excruciating torment” (Carretta, 143).

In about 1732, after six or seven years in North America, Belinda became the slave of Isaac Royall Jr. a ...

Article

Jonathan P. Roth

Roman military leader and politician, was born in Tusculum, a town southwest of Rome, to a wealthy landowning family. Some of his ancestors had distinguished themselves in military service, but none had ever held office in Rome or been members of the Senate. Cato’s father died when he was still a child, and he grew up on a farm he had inherited. One of his neighbors, Lucius Valerius Flaccus, belonged to a powerful Senatorial clan; he and Cato shared the idea that Rome’s traditional values were being undermined by the more sophisticated Hellenistic culture. Although both were about the same age, Flaccus became Cato’s patron, supporting him financially and politically.

Cato was seventeen when Hannibal invaded Italy in 218 BCE and like virtually every Roman male of his age he went to war Given his social class Cato probably served either in the legionary cavalry or as the commander of ...

Article

Robert Fay

Cleopatra VII was the second daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes, the king of Egypt. Although born in Alexandria, Egypt, she was a member of the dynasty of the Ptolemies. Ptolemy Soter, the dynasty’s founder, had come from the Greek-speaking region of Macedonia with Alexander the Great and established a kingdom in Egypt after Alexander’s death in 323 b.c.e. Upon her father’s death, Cleopatra became queen in 51 b.c.e., at the age of eighteen, ruling with her fifteen-year-old brother Ptolemy XIII. Fluent in Egyptian, unlike previous Ptolemies, Cleopatra sought to strengthen her support among Egyptians by claiming she was the daughter of Ra, the Egyptian sun god.

Encouraged by his advisers Ptolemy XIII exiled Cleopatra and claimed the throne as his own Cleopatra assembled an army from Syria but could not assert her claim to the throne until the Roman ruler Julius Caesar arrived Cleopatra aimed to restore ...

Article

Prudence Jones

queen of Egypt, was the last ruler in the Ptolemaic dynasty, which held power in Egypt from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE until the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE. The Egyptian ruler referred to as Cleopatra was Cleopatra VII, daughter of Ptolemy XII, one of Alexander the Great’s Macedonian generals.

The identity of Cleopatra s mother is not known for certain She may have been the daughter of Ptolemy XII and his first wife Cleopatra V Cleopatra V disappears from the historical record sometime before 68 BCE however and it is unclear whether this disappearance occurred before or after Cleopatra s birth in 69 BCE It is possible that Cleopatra s mother may have been a concubine of Ptolemy XII who himself was the son of Ptolemy IX and a concubine The third option is that Cleopatra was the daughter of Ptolemy XII s second ...

Article

“Cleopatra was an Egyptian woman who made herself into an object of gossip for the whole world,” or so Boccaccio, the Renaissance humanist, wanted his readers to believe. But Boccaccio formed his opinion of her from classical Roman writers, and Cleopatra was the enemy of Rome. She was the last pharaoh of Egypt, but when Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 b.c.e. she was living in great state in Rome. Cleopatra was Caesar’s lover and she had a son by him. Twenty years later she would join Mark Antony in his opposition to Octavian (later known as Caesar Augustus). Together they would make a bid to establish an eastern empire to rival Rome.

Issues of politics and desire are at stake in representing Cleopatra In her image they are fascinatingly entwined and collapsed into each other which is one reason why the figure of Cleopatra has survived so strongly ...

Article

Donald R. Wright

Atlantic trader and early African colonizationist, was born on Cuttyhunk Island off southern Massachusetts, one of ten children of Kofi (later Cuffe) Slocum, a freed slave originally from West Africa's Gold Coast, and Ruth Moses Slocum, a Wampanoag Native American, both farmers. Kofi Slocum's Quaker master freed him in the mid-1740s and, although he was excluded by race from membership in the Society of Friends, Kofi and Ruth Slocum lived by Quaker principles—hard work, frugality, and honesty. This diligence paid off in the 1766 purchase of a 116-acre farm in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, on Buzzard's Bay. At his death in 1772 Kofi bequeathed the farm to his sons Paul and John.

Taking his father s African name Cuffe and respecting his dual Native American and African American identity the self educated Cuffe sought his fortune at sea Whaling was open to men of any race so Paul worked on Atlantic ...

Article

Linda M. Carter

missionary and founding father of the state of Liberia, was born in Hicksford, Greensville County, Virginia, the elder son of John Day Sr., an affluent furniture maker, farmer, and landowner, and Mourning Stewart Day. The Days were free African Americans, and Day's father, as early as the 1789 election, was accorded voting status.

In an era when formal education for African Americans was rare, Day reaped the benefits of being the offspring of two prominent families. His father arranged for him to board in Edward Whitehorne's home, and Day, along with the Whitehorne children, attended Jonathan Bailey's school. While residing with the family, Day received some level of religious instruction from Whitehorne. In 1807 Day's father, who had been residing in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, purchased a plantation in Sussex County, Virginia, near the Whitehorne residence, and Day then attended William Northcross's school.

At the age of nineteen ...

Article

Firmus  

Allen J. Fromherz

child of a Berber mother and a Roman prince named Nubel; there is little information on Firmus before he became a problem for the Roman Empire. He only emerges in the sources after the death of his father in the first part of the 370s ce Like his father Nubel who was an officer in the Roman army and a Christian Firmus was integrated into the Roman social and political system of patron client relations even as he rebelled against the emperor At the same time Firmus benefited from his position as part of the tribal elite of the surrounding countryside Typical of most barbarian rebel leaders of the later empire Firmus saw himself as an upholder of Roman justice When he claimed the title of emperor he naturally adopted Roman symbols of authority even donning the purple robe and imperial diadem A man between both worlds Firmus would ...

Article

Eric Fournier

, North African military leader and leader of a revolt against Rome, is mainly known through inscriptions, as well as brief passages of Ammianus Marcellinus’s Res gestae. Literary sources that mention Nubel were mainly concerned with the later revolts against Rome orchestrated by two of his sons, Firmus and Gildo. This is the case with Ammianus’s passing remarks, for the historian’s main purpose was to describe the suppression of Firmus’s revolt by Theodosius the elder (father of Emperor Theodosius [379–395], who ruled when Ammianus was writing). This situation explains our fragmentary knowledge of Nubel’s life and career. Such basic information as when he was born and when he died (probably by the early 370s) is not known. The best estimation puts him as active in the middle of the fourth century CE.

An inscription from Rusguniae Tamenfoust Algeria also known as La Pérouse contains important information about a certain ...

Article

Karen E. Sutton

free black loyalist in Preston Township, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and one of the founders of Freetown, Sierra Leone, is a person about whom little early information is known. He may have begun life as a slave in one of the former British colonies before the war, and his name may have been a “freedom name”; that is, one that he chose for himself when his personal liberty came. Probably he was the same British Freedome granted land in the Merigumish Township, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada, for service as a private in the 82nd Regiment of Foot (S. Patterson, History of County of Pictou, 460). Some members of that regiment served at the Battle of Yorktown with the British General Cornwallis Freedom s name is not in the Book of Negroes the list of black Americans freed after the American Revolution and who left with ...