The Archaeology of the medieval period in the Sudan Red Sea: A New Perspective III

The Red Sea: The geographical location, Geology and History

The Red Sea was among the very first regions of the Middle East to be studied and explored by Enlightenment Europe, for as early as 1766 by the French cartographer. Shortly thereafter the publication of the royal Danish expedition to Arabia provided the first detailed account of the Hijaz and Yemen, to which can be added James Bruce’s publication of his travel in Ethiopia and Nubia. This may therefore be regarded as the beginning of the historical and archaeological study of the red sea region. A number of Studies were conducted on the left and right bank of the Red Sea area until now. Continue reading The Archaeology of the medieval period in the Sudan Red Sea: A New Perspective III

The Motif of the Apocalyptic Abyssinian V: Conclusions

This is the last of five blog-posts going back to a paper at the International Congress at Leeds in 2017: I. Giving the Horn of Africa an eschatological meaning in mappae mundi after the fall of Acre 1291 II. The north-east edge of the world on medieval mapsIII. The “thin-legged Ethopian” in muslim sources IV. The interplay of Muslim and Christian traditions V. Conclusions

In spite of the corrupted texts they rely however on the Hadith motif of the apocalyptic Abessinian. This hadith is embedded in the prophecy of Agap with three other Islamic apocalyptic motifs. The first is the cold wind Zamharir (Surah 76:13), misspelled as Zaniel (et a Zaniel, id est septemtrione, veniet ventus magnus).The second is the pregnant camel that did not find any water in the well which is called Zamzam (Et apparebit camela pascens et pregnans habens fetus et exibit aquam Zamzam nomen cisterne et non inveniet aquam claram ad bibendam). The origins of the motif of the she camel comes from Surah 81:4-( “when the pregnant camel shall be neglected”). The pregnant camel’s right to drink water from the well is mentioned in Surah 26:155-156. The third is the appearance of Mexadeigen (et apparebit postea Mexadeigen, id est Antichristus). This Mexadeigen is no other than latinised Masikh ad-Dajjal, the Islamic version of Antichrist. Continue reading The Motif of the Apocalyptic Abyssinian V: Conclusions

The Archaeology of the medieval period in the Sudan Red Sea: A New Perspective II

Problems:

  • Concept of the medieval period in Sudan
  • Lack of information about the area
  • History of the studies’ use of stylistic analysis
  • Extraordinary variety
  • Then –           Necessity of new methodology
  • The problem, among others is that the area has not benefitted from much archaeological investigation in spite of associations that of important findings by earlier investigators. The reasons for this are to be found in the remoteness of the location and the difficulty of the terrain of the area. The works of the early scholars that investigated the sites hint on tombs that are believed to be of great antiquity because of the Islamic inscriptions on them especially in Khor Nubt, Arkaweet and its borders.
  • Besides, recent archaeological reconnaissance carried out by researchers evidenced long habitation of the region in the past even though some places are now arid, rocky, dry and inclement for easy human occupation.
  • The visit to the area, the scant extant literature on it, does not befit the importance of archaeology as a discipline and an occupation in the Sudan that is naturally blessed with potential sites.

Continue reading The Archaeology of the medieval period in the Sudan Red Sea: A New Perspective II

The Archaeology of the medieval period in the Sudan Red Sea: A New Perspective I: Introduction

This paper sets out preliminary observations of the recent archaeological work and landscape history of eastern Sudan, which deals in broad outline with the archaeology and history of eastern Sudan during the medieval period. The results of archaeological work carried out over the last season in the area provided that the archaeology in the region has been flourishing, and also provided important information relating to the earliest occupation of the medieval settlement and Islamic trade activity in the area. Continue reading The Archaeology of the medieval period in the Sudan Red Sea: A New Perspective I: Introduction

Defining Ethiopia, Nubia, and India in Medieval Europe

Defining between Ethiopia, Nubia, and India in medieval European sources has been seen to problematic in scholarship for decades. This is highlighted no better by the late antique ethnonyms for Aksum and Nubians and the later medieval, post 12th century, ethnonyms of Abyssinia and Nubia, with Ethiopia being a vague catch-all term in the centuries in between. India, on the other hand, had never been a united land area to name as Ethiopia and Nubia had been. India was divided into numerous kingdoms at any one time throughout the medieval period, such as the Western and Eastern Chalukya Empires, the Chola Empire, the Delhi Sultanate, and the Vijayanagar/Karnata Empire to name a few. Continue reading Defining Ethiopia, Nubia, and India in Medieval Europe

The Motif of the Apocalyptic Abyssinian IV: The Interplay of Muslim and Christian Traditions

This is the fourth of five blog-posts going back to a paper at the International Congress at Leeds in 2017: I. Giving the Horn of Africa an eschatological meaning in mappae mundi after the fall of Acre 1291 II. The north-east edge of the world on medieval mapsIII. The “thin-legged Ethopian” in muslim sources IV. The interplay of Muslim and Christian traditions V. Conclusions

The evidence of an existing Liber Clementis, written in Arabic with the Abessinian/Nubian motif is reported by Latin authors who were staying in Egypt with the crusading army in Damiette. During the 5th crusade, parts of the Liber Clementis, including several early Muslim motifs, such as the apocalyptic Abessinian, were translated and edited into Latin, Old French and Provençal upon the initiative of Cardinal Legate Pelagius. His military leadership sanctioned by the pope was contested by the king of Jerusalem. As a result he needed to strengthen his position. Continue reading The Motif of the Apocalyptic Abyssinian IV: The Interplay of Muslim and Christian Traditions

Representations of the Portuguese in the Royal Chronicle of King Gälawdewos (1540–1559): A Historical Commentary III: Conclusion & Bibliography

This is the third of three blog-posts going back to a paper at the International Congress at Leeds in 2017: I. Introduction & Background to the Portuguese expedition – II. Representations of the Portuguese in the chronicle and a commentary – III. Conclusion & Bibliography

The arrival of 400 Portuguese armies in 1542 was a turning point in the history of the medieval Christian kingdom, which was near to disappear, that turned the history from total collapse to revival. Indeed, as it is recounted in several of his letters Gälawdewos has repeatedly acknowledged for the much deeds of the Portuguese in combating the Muslim forces and provided details in his letter the role they played against the Muslim forces. Continue reading Representations of the Portuguese in the Royal Chronicle of King Gälawdewos (1540–1559): A Historical Commentary III: Conclusion & Bibliography