Egyptians versus Kushites: the cultural question of writing or not

Abstract : Evaluating the question of the relationship between Egyptians and Nubians, this article discusses the atti- tude of the Kushites towards writing. At Sai, the Egyptians left, from at least the reign of Amenhotep I onwards, inscriptions such as the great proclamation stela S3, which constituted landmark-proclamations. They were the precursors of the monumental figures and inscriptions that stressed the progression of the New Kingdom Egyptian armies through the territories under Kerma control. But one can wonder for whom these triumphal figures and inscriptions were intended. Were these addressed to the Kushite populations, who did not know the writing and did not speak the same language as the Egyptians and who, therefore, could not read and understand them? On the other hand, in a Kushite context, an oral tradition appears to remain prevalent. The rejection of a writing system was thus reflecting a specific conception of the universe which was closely related to a pastoral way of life in a par- ticular environment. This conception, based on oral transmission, is also encountered among other pastoral people such as the Libyans, the Medjay or, later in Eurasia, among the Mongol tribes. Here might lay the start of an explanation of the cultural question of writing or not.
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Florence Doyen, Luc Gabolde. Egyptians versus Kushites: the cultural question of writing or not. Neal Spencer (British Museum); Anna Stevens (University of Cambridge); Michaela Binder (Austrian Archaeological Institute). Nubia in the New Kingdom: Lived experience, pharaonic control and indigenous traditions, 3, Peeters, pp.149-158, 2017, British Museum Publications on Egypt and Sudan (BMPES), 9789042932586. ⟨www.peeters-leuven.be⟩. ⟨hal-01895134⟩

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