Cheikh Anta Diop argues that many Ancient Egyptians were Black Africans; the Greek debt to Egypt. Peter Myers, July 6, 2002; update September 12, 2005. My comments are shown {thus}. Write to me at contact.html.

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The argument that Ancient Egypt was African deserves to be put.

Of course, there was also mixing with the Semitic-speaking peoples (the Akkadians, Phoenicians and Hyksos, the people of Babylonia and Assyria, and later the invading Arab armies) and with Indo-Europeans (elements of the Mitanni, Hyksos, Hittites and Sea Peoples; the invading Persian Empire, the Greeks that came in Alexander's wake; then the Romans).

(1) Cheikh Anta Diop, The African Origin of Civilization (2) G. K. Osei, a black American (3) DIODORUS OF SICILY (4) Herodotus Histories: the Egyptians (2.35-91) (5) Martin Bernal puts the case for African/Semitic influence on the formation of Greek culture and institutions (6) Cyrus H. Gordon on race-mixing in Egypt (7) Donald B. Redford enters the Afrocentrist debate

(1) Cheikh Anta Diop, The African Origin of Civilization, edited and translated by Mercer Cook, Lawrence Hill Books, Chicago 1974.

The Great Sphinx had a negro head: diop1.jpg

King Narmer, long regarded as the first Pharaoh - with negro features: diop5.jpg

Pharaohs Zoser and Cheops: diop6-7.jpg

Pharaohs Mycerinus and Mentuhotep I: diop8-9.jpg

Pharaoh Sesostris I: diop10.jpg

Pharaohs Tuthmosis III and Taharqa: diop12-13.jpg

Egyptian women - note their wavy braided "Afro" hair: egypt-women.jpg

Another painting of Egyptian women - 18th Dynasty, c. 1400 B.C. - from The British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, by Ian Shaw and Paul Nicholson (The British Museum Press, London 1995; pocket edition 2002), p. 193: egypt-women-2.jpg

Egyptian women's braided wigs: diop25-6.jpg

I'm not trying to polemicise history, as Martin Bernal is in his Black Athena series. Bernal keeps accusing other scholars of "Anti-Semitism", making out that Jews are the saviors of the Black movement today. Yet he ignores the Jewish Bible's responsibility for giving Ancient Egypt - its Pharaohs, its religion, its achievements - a bad reputation. What else does "Exodus" mean, but escape from Pharaonic Egypt? The Jewish Bible's enmity towards Ancient Egypt was later taken up by Christians who stamped out the Egyptian religion, and Moslems who pillaged the pyramids.

Cheikh Anta Diop, The African Origin of Civilization, edited and translated by Mercer Cook, Lawrence Hill Books, Chicago 1974.

{p. 1} What Were the Egyptians?

In contemporary descriptions of the ancient Egyptians, this question is never raised. Eyewitnesses of that period formally affirm that the Egyptians were Blacks. On several occasions Herodotus insists on the Negro character of the Egyptians and even uses this for indirect demonstrations. For example, to prove that the flooding of the Nile cannot be caused by melting snow, he cites, among other reasons he deems valid, the following observation: "It is certain that the natives of the country are black with the heat. ..." {endnote 1: The History of Herododus, translated by George Rawlinson. New York. Tudor, 1928, p. 88.}

To demonstrate that the Greek oracle is of Egyptian origin, Herodotus advances another argument: "Lastly, by calling the dove black, they [the Dodonaeans] indicated that the woman was Egyptian. ..." {endnote 2: Ibid., p. 101.} The doves in question symbolize two Egyptian women allegedly kidnapped from Thebes to found the oracles of Dodona and Libya.

To show that the inhabitants of Colchis were of Egyptian origin and had to be considered a part of Sesostris' army who had settled in that region, Herodotus says: "The Egyptians said that they believed the Colchians to be descended from the army of Sesostris. My own conjectures were founded, first, on the fact that they are black-skinned and have woolly hair. ..." {endnote 3: Ibid., p. 115.} Finally, concerning the population of India, Herodotus distinguishes between the Padaeans and other Indians, describing them as follows: "They all also have the same tint of skin, which approaches that of the Ethiopians." {endnote 4: Ibid., p. 184.}

Diodorus of Sicily writes:

{quote} The Ethiopians say that the Egyptians are one of their colonies which was brought into Egypt by Osiris. They even allege that this country was originally under water, but that the Nile, dragging much mud as it flowed from Ethiopia, had finally filled it in and made it a part of the continent. ... They add that from them, as from their authors and ancestors, the Egyptians get most of their laws. It is from them that the Egyptians have learned to honor

{p. 2} kings as gods and bury them with such pomp; sculpture and writing were invented by the Ethiopians. The Ethiopians cite evidence that they are more ancient than the Egyptians, but it is useless to report that here. {endquote} {endnote 5: Histoire universelle, translated by Abbe Terrasson. Paris, 1758, Bk. 3 p. 341.}

If the Egyptians and Ethiopians were not of the same race, Diodorus would have emphasized the impossibility of considering the former as a colony (i.e., a fraction) of the latter and the impossibility of viewing them as forebears of the Egyptians.

In his Geography, Strabo mentioned the importance of migrations in history and, believing that this particular migration had proceeded from Egypt to Ethiopia, remarks: "Egyptians settled Ethiopia and Colchis." {endnote 6: Bk. 1, Chap. 3, par. 10.} Once again, it is a Greek, despite his chauvinism, who informs us that the Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Colchians belong to the same race, thereby confirming what Herodotus had said about the Colchians. {endnote 7: The Colchians formed a cluster of Negroes among white populations near the Black Sea ... }

The opinion of all the ancient writers on the Egyptian race is more or less summed up by Gaston Maspero (1846-1916): "By the almost unanimous testimony of ancient historians, they belonged to an African race [read: Negro] which first settled in Ethiopia, on the Middle Nile; following the course of the river, they gradually reached the sea. ... Moreover, the Bible states that Mesraim, son of Ham, brother of Chus (Kush) the Ethiopian, and of Canaan, came from Mesopotamia to settle with his children on the banks of the Nile." {endnote 8: Gaston Maspero, Histoire ancienne des peuples de l'Orient. Paris: Hachette, 1917, p. 15, 12th ed. (Translated as: The Dawn of Civilization. London, 1894; reprinted, New York: Frederick Ungar, 1968.)} ...

{p. 3} Besides, Herodotus was not a credulous historian who recorded everything without checking; he knew how to weigh things. When he relates an opinion that he does not share, he always takes care to note his disagreement. Thus, referring to the mores of the Scythians and Neurians, he writes apropos the latter: "It seems that these people are conjurers; for both the Scythi- ans and the Greeks who dwell in Scythia say that every Neurian once a year becomes a wolf for a few days, at the end of which time he is restored to his proper shape. Not that I believe this, but they constantly affirm it to be true, and are even ready to back up their assertion with an oath." {endnote 10: Herodotus, p. 236.}

He always distinguishes carefully between what he has seen and what he has been told. After his visit to the Labyrinth, he writes:

{quote} There are two different sorts of chambers throughout - half under ground, half above ground, the latter built upon the former; the whole number of these chambers is three thousand, fifteen hundred of each kind. The upper chambers I myself passed through and saw, and what I say concerning them is from my own observation; of the underground chambers I can only speak from report, for the keepers of the building could not be got to show them, since they contained, as they said, the sepulchers of the kings who built the Labyrinth, and also those of the sacred crocodiles. Thus it is from hearsay only that I can speak of the lower chambers. The upper chambers, however, I saw with my own eyes and found them to excel all other human productions. {endquote} {endnote 11: Ibid., pp. 133-134.}

Was Herodotus a historian deprived of logic, unable to penetrate complex phenomena? On the contrary, his explanation of the inundations of the Nile reveals a rational mind seeking scientific reasons for natural phenomena:

{quote} Perhaps, after censuring all the opinions that have been put forward on this obscure subject, one ought to propose some theory of one's own. I will therefore proceed to explain what I think to be the reason of the Nile's swelling in the summertime. During the winter, the sun is driven out of his usual course by the storms, and removes to the upper parts of Libya. This is the whole secret in the fewest possible words; for it stands to reason that the coun-

{p. 4} try to which the Sun-god approaches the nearest, and which he passes most directly over, will be scantest of water, and that here streams which feed the rivers will shrink the most. To explain, however, more at length, the case is this. The sun, in his passage across the upper parts of Libya, affects them in the following way. As the air in these regions is constantly clear, and the country warm through the absence of cold winds, the sun in his passage across them acts upon them exactly as he is wont to act elsewhere in summer, when his path is in the middle of heaven - that is, he attracts the water. After attracting it, he again repels it into the upper regions, where the winds lay hold of it, scatter it, and reduce it into a vapor, whence it naturally enough comes to pass that the winds which blow from this quarter - the south and southwest - are of all winds the most rainy. And my own opinion is that the sun does not get rid of all the water which he draws year by year from the Nile, but retains some about him. {endquote} {endnote 12. Ibid., pp. 88-89.}

These three examples reveal that Herodotus was not a passive reporter of incredible tales and rubbish, "a liar." On the contrary, he was quite scrupulous, objective, scientific for his time. Why should one seek to discredit such a historian, to make him seem naive? Why "refabricate" history despite his explicit evidence?

Undoubtedly the basic reason for this is that Herodotus, after relating his eyewitness account informing us that the Egyptians were Blacks, then demonstrated, with rare honesty (for a Greek), that Greece borrowed from Egypt all the elements of her civilization, even the cult of the gods, and that Egypt was the cradle of civilization. Moreover, archeological discoveries continually justify Herodotus against his detractors. Thus, Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt writes about recent excavations in Tanis* {footnote: Tanis, the Biblical Zoan, at the mouth of the eastern branch of the Nile Delts}: "Herodotus had seen the outer buildings of these sepulchers and had described them. [This was the Labyrinth discussed above.] Pierre Montet has just proved once again that 'The Father of History did not lie.'" {endnote 13: Sciences et Avenir, No. 56, October 1951.} It could be objected that, in the fifth century B.C. when Herodotus visited Egypt, its civilization was already more than 10,000 years old and that the race which had created it was not necessarily the Negro race that Herodotus found there.

But the whole history of Egypt, as we shall see, shows that the

{p. 5} mixture of the early population with white nomadic elements, conquerors or merchants, became increasingly important as the end of Egyptian history approached. According to Cornelius de Pauw, in the low epoch Egypt was almost saturated with foreign white colonies: Arabs in Coptos, Libyans on the future site of Alexandria, Jews around the city of Hercules (Avaris?), Babylonians (or Persians) below Memphis, "fugitive Trojans" in the area of the great stone quarries east of the Nile, Carians and Ionians over by the Pelusiac branch. Psammetichus (end of seventh century) capped this peaceful invasion by entrusting the defense of Egypt to Greek mercenaries. "An enormous mistake of Pharaoh Psammetichus was to commit the defense of Egypt to foreign troops and to introduce various colonies made up of the dregs of the nations." {endnote 14: Cornelius de Pauw, Recherches philosophiques sur les Egyptiens et les Chinois. Berlin, 1773, II, 337.} Under the last Saite dynasty, the Greeks were officially established at Naucratis, the only port where foreigners were authorized to engage in trading.

After the conquest of Egypt by Alexander, under the Ptolemies, crossbreeding between white Greeks and black Egyptians flourished, thanks to a policy of assimilation: "Nowhere was Dionysus more favored, nowhere was he worshiped more adoringly and more elaborately than by the Ptolemies, who recognized his cult as an especially effective means of promoting the assimilation of the conquering Greeks and their fusion with the native Egyptians." {endnote 15: J. J. Bachofen, Pages choisies par Adrien Turel, "Du Regne de la mere au patriarcat." Paris: F. Alcan, 1938, p. 89.}

These facts prove that if the Egyptian people had originally been white, it might well have remained so. If Herodotus found it still black after so much crossbreeding, it must have been basic black at the start.

{p. 27} Before examining the contradictions circulating in the modern era and resulting from attempts to prove at any price that the Egyptians were Whites, let us note the astonishment of a scholar of good faith, Count Constantin de Volney (1757-1820). After being imbued with all the prejudices we have just mentioned with regard to the Negro, Volney had gone to Egypt between 1783 and 1785, while Negro slavery flourished. He reported as follows on the Egyptian race, the very race that had produced the Pharaohs: the Copts.

{quote} ... all have a bloated face, puffed up eyes, flat nose, thick lips; in a word, the true face of the mulatto. I was tempted to attribute it to the climate, but when I visited the Sphinx, its appearance gave me the key to the riddle. On seeing that head, typically Negro in all its features, I remembered the remarkable passage where Herodotus says: "As for me, I judge the Colchians to be a colony of the Egyptians because, like them, they are black with woolly hair. ..." In other words, the ancient Egyptians were true Negroes of the same type as all native-born Africans. That being so, we can see how their blood, mixed for several centuries with that of the Romans and Greeks, must have lost the intensity of its original color, while retaining nonetheless the imprint of its original mold. We can even state as a general principle that the face is a kind of monument able, in many cases, to attest or shed light on historical evidence on the origins of peoples. {endquote}

After illustrating this proposition by citing the case of Normans who still resembled the Danes 900 years after the conquest of Nor- mandy, Volney adds:

{quote} But returning to Egypt, the lesson she teaches history contains many reflections for philosophy. What a subject for meditation, to see the present barbarism and ignorance of the Copts, descendants of the alliance between the profound genius of the Egyptians and

{p. 28} the brilliant mind of the Greeks! Just think that this race of black men, today our slave and the object of our scorn, is the very race to which we owe our arts, sciences, ana even the use of speech! Just imagine, finally, that it is in the midst of peoples who call themselves the greatest friends of liberty and humanity that one has approved the most barbarous slavery and questioned whether black men have the same kind of intelligence as Whites! {endquote} {endnote 7: C. F. Volney, Voyages en Syrie et en Egypte. Paris, 1787, I, 74-77.}

{p. 28} In 1799 Bonaparte undertook his campaign in Egypt. Thanks to the Rosetta stone, hieroglyphics were deciphered in 1822 by Champollion the Younger, who died in 1832. He left as his "calling card" an Egyptian grammar and a series of letters to his brother, Champollion-Figeac, letters written during his visit to Egypt (1828-1829). Thesc were published in l833 by Champollion-Figeac. From then on the wall of the hieroglyphics was breached, unveiling surprising riches in their most minute details.

{p. 46} Let us start with the oldest of these theses, that of Champollion the Younger, set forth in the thirteenth letter to his brother. It concerns bas-reliefs on the tomb of Sesostris I, also visited by Rienzi. These date back to the sixteenth century B.C. (Eighteenth Dynasty) and represent the races of man known to the Egyptians. This monument is the oldest complete ethnological document available. Here is what Champollion says about it:

{quote} Right in the valley of Biban-el-Moluk, we admired, like all previous visitors, the astonishing freshness of the paintings and the fine sculptures on several tombs. I had a copy made of the peoples represented on the bas-reliefs. At first I had thought, from copies of these bas-reliefs published in England, that these peoples of different races led by the god Horus holding his shepherd's staff, were indeed nations subject to the rule of the Pharaohs. A study of the legends informed me that this tableau has a more general meaning. It portrays the third hour of the day, when the sun is beginning to turn on its burning rays, warming all the inhabited countries of our hemisphere. According to the legend itself, they wished to represent the inhabitants of Egypt and those of foreign lands. Thus we have before our eyes the image of the various races of man known to the Egyptians and we learn at the same time the great geographical or ethnographical divisions established during that early epoch. Men led by Horus, the shepherd of the peoples, belong to four distinct families. The first, the one closest to the god, has a dark red color, a well-proportioned body, kind face, nose slightly aquiline, long braided hair, and is dressed in white. The legends designate this species as Rot-en-ne-Rome, the race of men par excellence i.e., the Egyptians. There can be no uncertainty about the racial identity of the man who comes next: he belongs to the Black race, designated under the general term Nahasi. The third presents a very different aspect; his skin color borders on yellow or tan; he has a strongly aquiline nose, thick, black pointed beard, and wears a short garment of varied colors; these are called Namou. Finally, the last one is what we call flesh-colored, a white skin of the most delicate shade, a nose straight or slightly arched, blue eyes, blond or reddish beard, tall stature and very slender clad in a

{p. 47} hairy ox-skin, a veritable savage tattooed on various parts of his body; he is called Tamhou. I hastened to seek the tableau corresponding to this one in the other royal tombs and, as a matter of fact, I found it in several. The variations I observed fully convinced me that they had tried to represent here the inhabitants of the four corners of the earth, according to the Egyptian system, namely: 1. the inhabitants of Egypt which, by itself, formed one part of the world ...; 2. the inhabitants of Africa proper: Blacks; 3. Asians; 4. finally (and I am ashamed to say so, since our race is the last and the most savage in the series), Europeans who, in those remote epochs, frankly did not cut too fine a figure in the world. In this category we must include all blonds and white-skinned people living not only in Europe, but Asia as well, their starting point. This manner of viewing the tableau is all the more accurate because, on the other tombs, the same generic names reappear, always in the same order. We find there Egyptians and Africans represented in the same way, which could not be otherwise; but the Namou (the Asians) and the Tamhou (Europeans) present significant and curious variants. Instead of the Arab or the Jew, dressed simply and represented on one tomb, Asia's representatives on other tombs (those of Ramses II, etc.) are three individuals, tanned complexion, aquiline nose, black eyes, and thick beard, but clad in rare splendor. In one, they are evidently Assyrians, their costume, down to the smallest detail, is identical with that of personages engraved on Assyrian cylinders. In the other, are Medes or early inhabitants of some part of Persia. Their physiognomy and dress resemble, feature for feature, those found on monuments called Persepolitan. Thus, Asia was represented indiscriminately by any one of the peoples who inhabited it. The same is true of our good old ancestors, the Tamhou. Their attire is sometimes different; their heads are more or less hairy and adorned with various ornaments; their savage dress varies somewhat in form, but their white complexion, their eyes and beard all preserve the character of a race apart. I had this strange ethnographical series copied and colored. I certainly did not expect, on arriving at Biban-el-Moluk, to find sculptures that could serve as vignettes for the history of the primitive Europeans, if ever one has the courage to attempt it. Nevertheless, there is something flat-

{p. 48} tering and consoling in seeing them, since they make us appreciate the progress we have subsequently achieved. {endquote} {endnote 3: Champollion-Figeac, Egypte ancienne. Paris: Collection l'Univers, 1839, pp. 30-31. ...}

For a very good reason, I have reproduced this extract as Champollion-Figeac published it, rather than take it from the "new edition" of the Letters published in 1867 by the son of Champollion the Younger (Cheronnet-Champollion). The originals were addressed to Champollion-Figeac; therefore his edition is more authentic.

{p. 49} Champollion's conclusion is typical. After stating that these sculptures can serve as vignetles for the history of the early inhabitants of Europe, he adds, "if ever one has the courage to attempt it." Finally, after those comments, he presents his opinion on the Egyptian race:

{quote} The first tribes that inhabited Egypt, that is, the Nile Valley between the Syene cataract and the sea, came from Abyssinia to Sennar. The ancient Egyptians belonged to a race quite similar to the Kennous or Barabras, present inhabitants of Nubia. In the Copts of Egypt, we do not find any of the characteristic features of the ancient Egyptian population. The Copts are the result of crossbreeding with all the nations that have successively dominated Egypt. It is wrong to seek in them the principal features of the old race. {endquote} {endnote 4: Champollion-Figeac, ibid., p. 27.}

{p. 50} Champollion's opinion on the Egyptian race was recorded in a memoir prepared for the Pasha of Egypt, to whom he delivered it in 1829.

{p. 63} In Les Egyptes, a volume published around 1880, Marius Fontanes attacks the same problem:

{quote} Since the Egyptians always painted themselves red on their monu- ments, partisans of the "southern origin" had to point out a great number of interesting peculiarities likely to help solve the ethno-graphical problem. Near the Upper Nile today, among the Fulbe, whose skin is quite yellow, those whom contemporaries consider as belonging to a pure race, are rather red; the Bisharin are exactly of the same brick-red shade used on Egyptian monuments. To other ethnographers, these "red men" would probably be Ethiopians modified by time and climate, or perhaps Negroes who have reached the halfway mark in the evolution from blackness to whiteness. It has been noted that, in limestone areas, the Negro is less black than in granitic and plutonic regions. It has even been thought that the hue changed with the season. Thus, Nubians were former Blacks, but only in skin color, while their osteology has rcmained absolutely Negritic. The Negroes represented on Pharaonic paintings, so clearly deline- ated by engravers and named Nahasou or Nahasiou in the hiero- glyphics, are not related to the Ethiopians, the first people to come down into Egypt. Were the latter then attenuated Negroes, Nubians? Lepsius's canon gives ... the proportions of the perfect Egyptian body; it has short arms and is Negroid or Negritian. From the anthropological point of view, the Egyptian comes after the Polynesians, Samoyeds, Europeans, and is immediately fol- lowed by African Negroes and Tasmanians. Besides, there is a scientific tendency to find in Africa, after excluding foreign influences, from the Mediterranean to the Cape, from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, nothing but Negroes or Negroids of various colors. The ancient Egyptians were Negroes, but Negroes to the last degree. {endquote} {endnote 20: Marius Fontanes, Les Egyptes (de 5000 a715). Paris: Ed. Lemerre, n.d., pp 44-45.}

{end of quotes}

(2) G. K. Osei, a black American (LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D.), wrote in his 1983 Introduction to G. Elliot Smith's booklet The Influence of Ancient Egyptian Civilization in the East and in America (New York, 1983; I have this booklet but its publisher details are unclear; I obtained it from a Black American bookstore, most likely A&B Books Publishers Brooklyn, NY 11201):

"The Great kings of Africa peacefully spread the African civilization to other parts. This peaceful process was disturbed by the coming of the Hyksos into Egypt. These people conquered lower Egypt and ruled it for nearly two hundred years. They were eventually expelled by a king from Upper Egypt. The kings who came after the explusion of the Hyksos extended the boundaries of Egypt into Asia. Many nations in Asia came under the direct control of Egypt. At this time Egypt was the most powerful country in the world. African culture spread to those conquered nations until a mad half-cast (mulatto) came on the throne. This mad king was non other than Amenophis IV also known as Akhanaten.

"Akhanaten when he mounted the mighty throne deserted the old culture. He changed the religion of Egypt, and he married a white woman from Mitanni. His wife's name was Nefert-iti ("The Fair One Comes"). It was the Egyptians who called Tadukhipa, Dushratta's daughter Nefer-iti. She was at first sent to Egypt to marry Amenophis III but when she arrived the king had died so she had to marry the king's son -Akhenaton. Akhenaton changed his wife's name from Nefertiti to Nefer-neferu-Aten, "Aten is the Fairest of the Fair." It is very important to state here that the decline of the mighty Kingdom began from the time Akhenaton came on the throne. The royal blue blood that ran through the veins of those mighty kings had become diluted by the end of the eighteenth Dynasty. The Kings were the sons of white women from Asia. It must be remembered that the mother of Akhenaton was a white woman called Tyi or Tii. Queen Tii was a foreign woman whose father's name was Iuya and came from Asia Minor. The marriages of the Pharoahs to foreign women shocked the priests of Amen. The priests told Akhenaton that the dynastic miracle of the divine birth should continue but this mad king Akhenaton paid them no attention. Instead the priests were persecuted and Amen was deserted by the King. Akhenaton built a new capital where he started to worship his god. The history of the African Race would be different today if Akenaton had not abandoned the old African Culture to embrace that of a foreign country. He failed to send the army to defend the frontiers his great and proud ancestors had established. As a result of his negligence the mighty empire of Africa fell to pieces. The present day (1983) African leaders must never marry white women. White women will never help them to build Africa to become once again the teacher of the world. We will teach the African to see beauty in himself."

Osei was introducing G. Elliot Smith's booklet THE INFLUENCE OF ANCIENT EGYPTIAN CIVILIZATION IN THE EAST AND IN AMERICA : before-columbus.html.

I do not post ALL of Diop's material. The fact that he and Elliot Smith overstated their case, that they were wrong about some things, does not undo the ways in which they were right. The reaction against Diffusion has gone too far.

(3) DIODORUS OF SICILY tr. C.H. Oldfather, Harvard University Press (Loeb), Cambridge Ma. 1968. Written about 56 B.C.

BOOK I chapter 96 {in Volume 1 of the Loeb series}

{p. 327} 96. But now that we have examined these matters, we must enumerate what Greeks, who have won fame for their wisdom and learning, visited Egypt in ancient times, in order to become acquainted with its customs and learning. For the priests of Egypt recount from the records of their sacred books that they were visited in early times by Orpheus, Musaeus, Melampus, and Daedalus, also by the poet Homer and Lycurgus of Sparta, later by Solon of Athens and the philosopher Plato, and that there also came Pythagoras of Samos and the mathematician Eudoxus, {note 1} as well as Democritus of Abdera and Oenopides {note 2} of Chios. As evidence for the visits of all these men they point in some cases to their statues and in others to places or buildings {note 3} which bear their names, and they offer proofs from the branch of learning which each one of these men pursued, arguing that all the things for which they were admired among the Greeks were transferred from Egypt.

Orpheus, for instance, brought from Egypt most of his mystic ceremonies, the orgiastic rites that accompanied his wanderings, and his fabulous account of his experiences in Hades. For the rite of Osiris is the same as that of Dionysus and that of Isis very similar to that of Demeter, the names alone having been interchanged; and the punishments in Hades of the unrighteous, the Fields of the Righteous, and the fantastic conceptions, current among the ...

{translator's notes} 1 The famous astronomer, geographer, and mathematician of Cnidus, pupil of Plato. His stay in Egypt is well attested 2 Cp. p. 336, n. 1. 3 For instance, according to Strabo (17. 1. 29), in Heliopolis were pointed out the houses where Plato and Eudoxus had stopped. {end notes} {end Diodorus}

Read the original - from Diodorus: diodorus-v21.jpg.

(4) Herodotus Histories: the Egyptians (2.35-91)


... it is by mere coincidence that the Bacchic ceremonies in Greece are so nearly the same as the Egyptian - they would then have been more Greek in their character, and less recent in their origin. Much less can I admit that the Egyptians borrowed these customs, or any other, from the Greeks. My belief is that Melampus got his knowledge of them from Cadmus the Tyrian, and the followers whom he brought from Phoenicia into the country which is now called Boeotia.

Almost all the names of the gods came into Greece from Egypt. My inquiries prove that they were all derived from a foreign source, and my opinion is that Egypt furnished the greater number. For with the exception of Neptune and the Dioscuri, whom I mentioned above, and Juno, Vesta, Themis, the Graces, and the Nereids, the other gods have been known from time immemorial in Egypt. This I assert on the authority of the Egyptians themselves. The gods, with whose names they profess themselves unacquainted, the Greeks received, I believe, from the Pelasgi, except Neptune. Of him they got their knowledge from the Libyans, by whom he has been always honoured, and who were anciently the only people that had a god of the name. The Egyptians differ from the Greeks also in paying no divine honours to heroes.

Besides these which have been here mentioned, there are many other practices whereof I shall speak hereafter, which the Greeks have borrowed from Egypt. The peculiarity, however, which they observe in their statues of Mercury they did not derive from the Egyptians, but from the Pelasgi; from them the Athenians first adopted it, and afterwards it passed from the Athenians to the other Greeks. For just at the time when the Athenians were entering into the Hellenic body, the Pelasgi came to live with them in their country, whence it was that the latter came first to be regarded as Greeks. Whoever has been initiated into the mysteries of the Cabiri will understand what I mean. The Samothracians received these mysteries from the Pelasgi, who, before they went to live in Attica, were dwellers in Samothrace, and imparted their religious ceremonies to the inhabitants. The Athenians, then, who were the first of all the Greeks to make their statues of Mercury in this way, learnt the practice from the Pelasgians; and by this people a religious account of the matter is given, which is explained in the Samothracian mysteries.

In early times the Pelasgi, as I know by information which I got at Dodona, offered sacrifices of all kinds, and prayed to the gods, but had no distinct names or appellations for them, since they had never heard of any. They called them gods (Theoi, disposers), because they disposed and arranged all things in such a beautiful order. After a long lapse of time the names of the gods came to Greece from Egypt, and the Pelasgi learnt them, only as yet they knew nothing of Bacchus, of whom they first heard at a much later date. Not long after the arrival of the names they sent to consult the oracle at Dodona about them. This is the most ancient oracle in Greece, and at that time there was no other. To their question, "Whether they should adopt the names that had been imported from the foreigners?" the oracle replied by recommending their use. Thenceforth in their sacrifices the Pelasgi made use of the names of the gods, and from them the names passed afterwards to the Greeks.

Whence the gods severally sprang, whether or no they had all existed from eternity, what forms they bore- these are questions of which the Greeks knew nothing until the other day, so to speak. For Homer and Hesiod were the first to compose Theogonies, and give the gods their epithets, to allot them their several offices and occupations, and describe their forms; and they lived but four hundred years before my time, as I believe. As for the poets who are thought by some to be earlier than these, they are, in my judgment, decidedly later writers. In these matters I have the authority of the priestesses of Dodona for the former portion of my statements; what I have said of Homer and Hesiod is my own opinion.

The following tale is commonly told in Egypt concerning the oracle of Dodona in Greece, and that of Ammon in Libya. My informants on the point were the priests of Jupiter at Thebes. They said "that two of the sacred women were once carried off from Thebes by the Phoenicians, and that the story went that one of them was sold into Libya, and the other into Greece, and these women were the first founders of the oracles in the two countries." On my inquiring how they came to know so exactly what became of the women, they answered, "that diligent search had been made after them at the time, but that it had not been found possible to discover where they were; afterwards, however, they received the information which they had given me."

This was what I heard from the priests at Thebes; at Dodona, however, the women who deliver the oracles relate the matter as follows:- "Two black doves flew away from Egyptian Thebes, and while one directed its flight to Libya, the other came to them. She alighted on an oak, and sitting there began to speak with a human voice, and told them that on the spot where she was, there should henceforth be an oracle of Jove. They understood the announcement to be from heaven, so they set to work at once and erected the shrine. The dove which flew to Libya bade the Libyans to establish there the oracle of Ammon." This likewise is an oracle of Jupiter. The persons from whom I received these particulars were three priestesses of the Dodonaeans, the eldest Promeneia, the next Timarete, and the youngest Nicandra- what they said was confirmed by the other Dodonaeans who dwell around the temple.

My own opinion of these matters is as follows:- I think that, if it be true that the Phoenicians carried off the holy women, and sold them for slaves, the one into Libya and the other into Greece, or Pelasgia (as it was then called), this last must have been sold to the Thesprotians. Afterwards, while undergoing servitude in those parts, she built under a real oak a temple to Jupiter, her thoughts in her new abode reverting - as it was likely they would do, if she had been an attendant in a temple of Jupiter at Thebes - to that particular god. Then, having acquired a knowledge of the Greek tongue, she set up an oracle. She also mentioned that her sister had been sold for a slave into Libya by the same persons as herself.

The Dodonaeans called the women doves because they were foreigners, and seemed to them to make a noise like birds. After a while the dove spoke with a human voice, because the woman, whose foreign talk had previously sounded to them like the chattering of a bird, acquired the power of speaking what they could understand. For how can it be conceived possible that a dove should really speak with the voice of a man? Lastly, by calling the dove black the Dodonaeans indicated that the woman was an Egyptian. And certainly the character of the oracles at Thebes and Dodona is very similar. Besides this form of divination, the Greeks learnt also divination by means of victims from the Egyptians.

The Egyptians were also the first to introduce solemn assemblies, processions, and litanies to the gods; of all which the Greeks were taught the use by them. It seems to me a sufficient proof of this that in Egypt these practices have been established from remote antiquity, while in Greece they are only recently known.

The Egyptians do not hold a single solemn assembly, but several in the course of the year. Of these the chief, which is better attended than any other, is held at the city of Bubastis in honour of Diana. The next in importance is that which takes place at Busiris, a city situated in the very middle of the Delta; it is in honour of Isis, who is called in the Greek tongue Demiter (Ceres). There is a third great festival in Sais to Minerva, a fourth in Heliopolis to the Sun, a fifth in Buto to Latona, and a sixth in Papremis to Mars.

 ... With respect to the Egyptians themselves, it is to be remarked that those who live in the corn country, devoting themselves, as they do, far more than any other people in the world, to the preservation of the memory of past actions, are the best skilled in history of any men that I have ever met. The following is the mode of life habitual to them:- For three successive days in each month they purge the body by means of emetics and clysters, which is done out of a regard for their health, since they have a persuasion that every disease to which men are liable is occasioned by the substances whereon they feed. Apart from any such precautions, they are, I believe, next to the Libyans, the healthiest people in the world - an effect of their climate, in my opinion, which has no sudden changes. Diseases almost always attack men when they are exposed to a change, and never more than during changes of the weather. They live on bread made of spelt, which they form into loaves called in their own tongue cyllestis. Their drink is a wine which they obtain from barley, as they have no vines in their country. Many kinds of fish they eat raw, either salted or dried in the sun. Quails also, and ducks and small birds, they eat uncooked, merely first salting them. All other birds and fishes, excepting those which are set apart as sacred, are eaten either roasted or boiled.

In social meetings among the rich, when the banquet is ended, a servant carries round to the several guests a coffin, in which there is a wooden image of a corpse, carved and painted to resemble nature as nearly as possible, about a cubit or two cubits in length. As he shows it to each guest in turn, the servant says, "Gaze here, and drink and be merry; for when you die, such will you be."

The Egyptians adhere to their own national customs, and adopt no foreign usages. Many of these customs are worthy of note: among others their song, the Linus, which is sung under various names not only in Egypt but in Phoenicia, in Cyprus, and in other places; and which seems to be exactly the same as that in use among the Greeks, and by them called Linus. There were very many things in Egypt which filled me with astonishment, and this was one of them. Whence could the Egyptians have got the Linus? It appears to have been sung by them from the very earliest times. For the Linus in Egyptian is called Maneros; and they told me that Maneros was the only son of their first king, and that on his untimely death he was honoured by the Egyptians with these dirgelike strains, and in this way they got their first and only melody.

There is another custom in which the Egyptians resemble a particular Greek people, namely the Lacedaemonians. Their young men, when they meet their elders in the streets, give way to them and step aside; and if an elder come in where young men are present, these latter rise from their seats. In a third point they differ entirely from all the nations of Greece. Instead of speaking to each other when they meet in the streets, they make an obeisance, sinking the hand to the knee.

They wear a linen tunic fringed about the legs, and called calasiris; over this they have a white woollen garment thrown on afterwards. Nothing of woollen, however, is taken into their temples or buried with them, as their religion forbids it. Here their practice resembles the rites called Orphic and Bacchic, but which are in reality Egyptian and Pythagorean; for no one initiated in these mysteries can be buried in a woollen shroud, a religious reason being assigned for the observance.

The Egyptians likewise discovered to which of the gods each month and day is sacred; and found out from the day of a man's birth what he will meet with in the course of his life, and how he will end his days, and what sort of man he will be - discoveries whereof the Greeks engaged in poetry have made a use. The Egyptians have also discovered more prognostics than all the rest of mankind besides. Whenever a prodigy takes place, they watch and record the result; then, if anything similar ever happens again, they expect the same consequences.

With respect to divination, they hold that it is a gift which no mortal possesses, but only certain of the gods: thus they have an oracle of Hercules, one of Apollo, of Minerva, of Diana, of Mars, and of Jupiter. Besides these, there is the oracle of Latona at Buto, which is held in much higher repute than any of the rest. The mode of delivering the oracles is not uniform, but varies at the different shrines.

Medicine is practised among them on a plan of separation; each physician treats a single disorder, and no more: thus the country swarms with medical practitioners, some undertaking to cure diseases of the eye, others of the head, others again of the teeth, others of the intestines, and some those which are not local.

More at

(5) Martin Bernal puts the case for African/Semitic influence on the formation of Greek culture and institutions, in Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization Volume II The Archaeological and Documentary Evidence, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick NJ 1991.

Martin Bernal's reply to Mary Lefkowitz: from Bryn Mawr Classical Review 96.04.05 -----

Mary Lefkowitz, Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History. New York: New Republic and Basic Books, 1996. $24.00. ISBN 0-465-09837-1.

Reviewed by Martin Bernal, Cornell University.

When Mary Lefkowitz first encountered Afrocentrism in 1991, she was appalled. She discovered that there were people writing books and teaching that Greek civilization had derived from, or had even been "stolen" from Egypt. They were making claims that the Ancient Egyptians were black, as were Socrates, Cleopatra, and other important cultural figures in the Ancient World. They maintained that Greece had been invaded from Africa in the Middle of the 2nd millennium, that Greek religion and mystery systems were based on Egyptian prototypes and that what was called "Greek" philosophy was in fact the secret wisdom of Egyptian lodges of a Masonic type. She also discovered that these arguments were being supported by gross errors of fact, such as the idea that Aristotle had plundered the Egyptian library at Alexandria as a basis for his own massive philosophical and scientific writings. In fact, of course, the library at Alexandria was founded by Macedonian Greeks at least 30 years after Aristotle's death.

If Mary Lefkowitz knew that this was all fantasy and did not conform to the facts as painstakingly assembled by modern classicists and ancient historians, why did she bother to confront it at all? She explains that it was because Afrocentric literature was widely read and that it was being taught, not merely in a number of school districts but also in some universities. Furthermore, when she had attempted to question Afrocentric speakers on her own campus (Wellesley) she had been rudely rebuffed. Even worse, when she appealed to colleagues for help they often failed to support her. Their ostensible grounds for this reluctance was the relativist position that as all history is fiction, there was room for many different stories. Thus, for them Afrocentrist history was no less true than the classicists' version of the roots of Greek civilization. However, Mary Lefkowitz believes that another and more significant reason why her colleagues let her down, was the fear of being labeled as racist.

She sees the Afrocentrists as living in a sealed off intellectual ghetto, impervious to outside information, where they pay no attention to the truth of their propositions but are purely concerned with the "feel good" factor and boosting the low self-esteem of African-Americans. While she has some respect for this motive, she denies that it has any place in the writing and teaching of history which must always remain objective. Thus, she has felt obliged to stand up and be counted against what she sees as the Afrocentrist assault on the basic principles of education, respect for the facts, logical argument and open debate.

For this reason, she wrote a series of overlapping articles on these "myths". This book is a compilation from these with added material and argument. Its purpose is to expose Afrocentric absurdities once and for all, but its length is required because their demolition has turned out to be rather more complicated than she first supposed.

Before going any further, I should like to look at what is meant by "Afrocentrism." As Mary Lefkowitz points out, the term was invented by Molefi Asante, who sees it as a way to escape Eurocentrism and its extensions, by looking at the world from an African standpoint. Since then, the label "Afrocentrist" has been attached to a number of intellectual positions ranging from "All good things come from Africa," or as Leonard Jeffries puts it: "Africa creates, Europe imitates," to those, among whom I see myself, who merely maintain that Africans and peoples of African descent have made many significant contributions to world progress and that for the past two centuries, these have been systematically played down by European and North American historians.

Mary Lefkowitz dislikes the whole gamut. She swipes at Frederick Douglass, Edward Blyden and W.E.B. Du Bois for maintaining that African Americans shared a common African heritage with Ancient Egypt. However, her principal objection is to the 20th century group that some African-Americans refer to as "Nilocentric," because of its relative neglect of other African regions and civilizations, and its focus on the Nile Valley and Egypt. I too am included in her attacks but her rogues' gallery consists of John Henrik Clark, Cheikh Anta Diop, Yosef Ben-Yochannan and above all George G.M. James.1

That Afrocentrists should make so many mistakes is over-determined. They have the sense of being embattled in a hostile world and of possessing an absolute and general truth, which makes one have less concern about details. More important than these reasons, however, are the extraordinary material difficulties they have faced in acquiring training in the requisite languages, in finding time and space to carry on research, money to buy books or even gain access to libraries, let alone finding publishers who could provide academic checks and competent proof readers. None of these difficulties applies to Mary Lefkowitz, who has been thoroughly educated in Latin and Greek (though not in Ancient Egyptian), has for many years been tenured at a rich college and has received financial grants from massive foundations in order to write her attacks on Afrocentrism. That Professor Lefkowitz should make so many factual errors is much more intriguing.

For instance: Pelops was not, as she writes (p. 13), the legendary founder of Argos. His activities in Greece were focused on Elis and Pisa not the Argolid. She states that hieroglyphics were deciphered in 1836 (p. 35). In fact, Champollion, the man who deciphered them, had died in 1831. The dates generally given for the decipherment are 1821-2, when he made the breakthrough or 1824 when he published his Precis du systeme hieroglyphique ... She writes that the theory that the Nile flood is the result of snow melted by South Winds "was not far from the truth" (p. 77). In fact, it is false and, as the great Greek scientist Eudoxos realized, it was the result of rains in Ethiopia.

We are all capable of this kind of sloppiness and such errors are relatively trivial and harmless. Other mistakes are less innocent. For instance, she says that Eudoxos was supposed to have gone to Egypt when it was under Persian domination. Mary Lefkowitz is virtually alone in doubting that he did go, and it is also generally agreed that he went in the 380s or 370s BC when Egypt was independent.2 This error too might seem to be simply the result of her slapdash approach. However, the mistake helps her general case that the Ancient Greeks knew very little about Egypt, by suggesting that Eudoxos did not visit Egypt but that if he did, his knowledge of it would somehow have been obscured by Persian rule or, as she puts it, it "might have presented serious difficulties" (p. 79).

A more substantial and significant error is her statement on (p. 6): "Since the founding of this country (the USA), ancient Greece has been intimately connected with the ideals of democracy." In fact, the very source she cites, states something very different:

... in 1787 and 1788 the Anti-federalists did not have a classical leg to stand on. There was no tradition of representative democracy to which they could appeal, and direct democracies like Athens, bore the stigma of instability, violence, corruption and injustice ... (such) that even many friends of democracy in America avoided using the word. Like the advocates of mixed government, they used the word "republic ..."3

Mary Lefkowitz's sloppiness here might seem inconsequential, but in fact, it serves a very important purpose in her general argument. It is the implication that one cannot have freedom or democracy without a respectful awareness of ancient Greece, and that there has been a continuous flame of such reverence that can only be doused at our peril. Therefore -- she implies -- the Afrocentrists are enemies of freedom.

This suggestion is untenable even within the Western tradition. The English "Revolution" of the 17th century relied on the anti-royalist aspects of the Bible and myths of Saxon freedom, while the American and French revolutions of the 18th century took Republican Rome as a model. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that since the 1820s, the images of ancient Greece, and Athens in particular, have usually served a positive function. On the other hand, ante-bellum Southern writers used Ancient Greece and Athens to demonstrate the political and cultural benefits of slavery.4 And today, extreme conservatives with whom -- as we shall see -- Mary Lefkowitz is intimately connected, are using images of ancient Greece for their own political agendas.

Another type of error found in Not Out of Africa comes from the author's discovering what she wants and then failing to check further. For example, referring to the information Egyptian priests gave to the writer Diodoros of Sicily in the 1st century BC, she writes of their claims of Egyptian influence on Greece and adds that:

"these included many Egyptian customs in their laws." He does not say what exactly these laws might have been; presumably no one really knew. The idea that early Greek law was inspired by Egyptian law is a historical fiction (p.75).5

On the following page, she repeats the charge that Diodoros lacked specific information. The passage she cited was from Diodoros I.98.2. If she had gone back to I.77.5 she would have seen that Diodoros (or his informants) had specified that Solon had adopted an Egyptian law according to which everybody had to declare the source of their income.6 In I.79.3 Diodoros specified yet another Solonic law supposed to derive from Egypt, his famous seisachtheia "shaking off of debts" according to which a man could not be imprisoned or enslaved for debt. Whether or not Diodoros' claims are correct -- the last has been treated seriously in the 20th century, though there are chronological problems -- they are clearly specific.7 It is clear that in her eagerness to discredit Diodoros as vague and unspecific she failed to see, or at least to note, references that would weaken her case.

I find it flattering that Mary Lefkowitz sometimes prefers to attack claims that I do not make to ones that I do. For an instance of the former class, there is her belief that I derive the Greek word hikesios "suppliant" from the Egyptian HK3 h3st "chieftains of foreign hill country," later known to the Greeks as Hyksos. These people invaded Egypt from the North East, in the 18th century BC and some of them may have gone on to the Aegean. In fact, I make no claim about the etymology of Hiko or hikneomai from which hikesios would appear to be derived. What I do say is that there was a punning relationship between Hyksos and hikesios and that the Egyptian name may have been the basis of Hikesios as the specific local title of the god Zeus.

Where she attacks claims that I do make, she does precisely what she accuses the Afrocentrists of doing: she selects her evidence rejecting data that does not support her arguments. For instance, she admits the "ingenuity" of my proposal that the name Athena derives from the Egyptian Ht Nt, the religious name of the city of Sais, the center of the cult of the virgin goddess Neit. Furthermore, she provides no alternative, nor does she question the phonetics of my proposed etymology. Nevertheless, she rejects it because of what she sees as dissimilarities between the two goddesses (p. 65). The outline of the evidence for the etymology, which I shall present in more detail in volume III, is set out in volume I (pp. 51-52). In this, I make it clear that Plato too identified the two goddesses, that there was strong iconographic or pictorial evidence linking them, and that a derivation from Ht Nt would explain the double use of the name for the goddess and her city.

Why should Mary Lefkowitz make so many slips and use so many slippery arguments, when she does not have the excuses of many Afrocentrists of lacking training and resources? One reason is that although more than four years have passed since 1991, the book was obviously written in a hurry. It still shows signs of its origin in the cobbling together of articles written with passionate urgency for the popular and semi-popular press, with a few academic excursions. Nevertheless, I am convinced that this is less significant than the impact of two other factors, which, interestingly, she shares with the extreme Afrocentrists. The first of these is her conviction that she possesses an absolute general truth that allows her to be cavalier with specifics. The second is that she and her allies feel besieged and therefore they sometimes feel obliged to abandon the niceties of open academic debate.

Her general truth is that Greece did not derive any significant part of its civilization from Egypt. In this, she not only flies in the face of Greek and Roman tradition but even goes further than most of her classicist colleagues. For instance, she is extremely doubtful that Plato ever went to Egypt because, she maintains, references to the visit only appear in the late Hellenistic period (1st century BC). However, according to recent scholarship on the issue, the tradition of the journey goes back to Speusippos, Plato's nephew and his successor as head of the Academy.8 Similarly, Mary Lefkowitz challenges 19th and 20th century classical scholarship when she says that:

Every English translation [of Herodotos II 43.2] that I know of says that Heracles was descended distantly "from Egypt." But the translation is incorrect. Herodotos is talking about Aegyptus the man rather than Aigyptos the country (p. 25).

Her grounds for this defiance of conventional wisdom are that all the earlier scholars have mistranslated the preposition apo, which according to her, in this context can only mean "descent from" and "If he had meant Egypt the country he would have written ek" (p.181). There are three reasons why all the translators preferred Egypt to Aigyptos. The first is that no mythographer associated Lynkeus the sole surviving son of Aigyptos with either -- let alone both -- of Herakles' parents.9 Secondly, there was no point in making any distinction, because Danaos' twin brother, the legendary Aigyptos was supposed to have come directly from Egypt. The third reason is that the earlier scholars were not concerned by Herodotos' use of apo here. Mary Lefkowitz exaggerates the difference between it and ek. There are scores if not hundreds of instances of Herodotos' having used apo in its original sense of "motion from or out of". The phrase ap' Aigyptou itself appears twice a few chapters later in the lines, Melampos brought into Greece things that he had learned in Egypt, and "The names of nearly all the gods came to Greece from Egypt."10

Mary Lefkowitz's far fetched claim here can easily be explained in terms of her eagerness to separate Greece from Egypt and the desire to use her knowledge of language to intimidate the Afrocentrists. It does not cast doubt on Mary Lefkowitz's knowledge of Greek and Latin. On the other hand, while she knows these languages, she does not know much about linguistics and she has virtually no understanding of language contact, which is the relevant field when looking at the relations between Egypt and Greece. For instance, she writes:

Once they were able to read real Egyptian ... it became clear to them that the relation of Egyptian to Greek culture was less close than they imagined. Egyptian belonged to the Afroasiatic family while Greek was an Indo-European language, akin to Sanskrit and European languages like Latin (pp. 57-8).

The family relationships are undoubtedly correct, but to my knowledge, no Afrocentrist has ever argued that there was a genetic relationship between Egyptian and Greek. What they and I maintain is that Ancient Egyptian culture had a massive impact on that of Greece and that this is reflected in a substantial number of Egyptian names loan words in Greek.11 Mary Lefkowitz does not seem to realize that lexical loans primarily reflect contemporary contacts, not past genetic relationships. For example, while Chinese is even more distant genetically from Korean and Japanese than Egyptian and Semitic are from Greek, Korean and Japanese are filled with Chinese loan words.12

At another point she writes:

Vague similarities do not prove any connection between words. The sound qualities of vowel consonants alike change when words are assimilated from one language to another, and even loan-words are transformed: for example, the Latinized Greek word episcopus becomes bishop in the mouths of Saxon converts in the 9th century A.D. (pp.23-4)13

The last clause may impress her readers with her learning, but in fact, it undermines her basic argument. If words as apparently dissimilar as episcopus and bishop can be related, it shows that given semantic parallels, "vague similarities" should be taken into account. Furthermore, the net must be cast still more widely when, as is the case with Egypt and Greece, contact between two cultures has been carried on for many thousands of years and there will be many different phonetic correspondences.

More of Bernal's reply:

{end Bernal material}

Martin Bernal on the Aryan Invasions: gimbutas.html.

Martin Bernal equates the Exodus with the Expulsion of the Hyksos: archaeology-bible.html.

(6) Cyrus H. Gordon on race-mixing in Egypt

Gordon wrote in his book The Ancient Near East, 3rd edition, revised (W. W. Norton & Co, New York, 1965), p. 53:

{quote} Egypt had a long prehistory ... There is evidence of a number of migrations. At an early date (perhaps well back in the fifth millenium) Hamito-Semites swept down from Asia into the Nile Valley, where they vanquished an earlier population. Egypt has always been exposed to infiltration from the north and south ends of the Nile Valley. Negroes came from the south and constituted the main racial stock of Nubia in antiquity and of the Sudan today. Further north, however, the white immigrants predominated, with the result that the population came to be light brown and to speak an Egyptian language related to the Semitic languages of Asia. {endquote}

(7) Donald B. Redford enters the Afrocentrist debate

From Slave to Pharaoh: The Black Experience of Ancient Egypt by Donald B. Redford

... Donald B. Redford is a professor of classics and ancient Mediterranean studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Among his many books are (as editor) The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt and The Oxford Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology, and (as author) Akhenaten, the Heretic King and Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times.

... In From Slave to Pharaoh, noted Egyptologist Donald B. Redford examines over two millennia of complex social and cultural interactions between Egypt and the Nubian and Sudanese civilizations that lay to the south of Egypt. These interactions resulted in the expulsion of the black Kushite pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty in 671 B.C. by an invading Assyrian army.

Redford traces the development of Egyptian perceptions of race as their dominance over the darker-skinned peoples of Nubia and the Sudan grew, exploring the cultural construction of spatial and spiritual boundaries between Egypt and other African peoples. Redford focuses on the role of racial identity in the formulation of imperial power in Egypt and the legitimization of its sphere of influence, and he highlights the dichotomy between the Egyptians' treatment of the black Africans it deemed enemies and of those living within Egyptian society. He also describes the range of responses - from resistance to assimilation - of subjugated Nubians and Sudanese to their loss of self-determination. Indeed, by the time of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, the culture of the Kushite kings who conquered Egypt in the late eighth century B.C. was thoroughly Egyptian itself.

Moving beyond recent debates between Afrocentrists and their critics over the racial characteristics of Egyptian civilization, From Slave to Pharaoh reveals the true complexity of race, identity, and power in Egypt as documented through surviving texts and artifacts, while at the same time providing a compelling account of war, conquest, and culture in the ancient world.


Let us suppose that Diop's account is true - that "whites" came late to civilization, but subsequently rose to eminence; and that "blacks" at the same time fell from those heights. Is not the Marxist Cultural Revolution, in the West since the 1960s, destroying civilization? Preventing its transmission to the younger generation? Marxism as anti-civilization: anti-civ.html.

Is it too, not based on Akhnaton's "Monotheism"? Sigmund Freud on the connection between Akhnaton and Jewish "Universalism": moses.html.

Robert Ellwood shows in his book The Sixties Spiritual Awakening (Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick NJ, 1994) the connection between the New Left and a Jewish reassertion of monotheism as "the fundamental premise of Western religion: a single transcendent center of value that is more than merely subjective and beside which everything without exception must be weighed and judged" (p.95): new-left.html

The "Black Books" site says this of Dr G. K. Osei:
"85. No Woman No Cry: The Life of Bob Marley, by Dr. G. K. Osei. This is the classic that was written by one of the legendary, Independent Black publishers, Dr. Osei, a Ghanaian who died in the last phase of his work in North America."

To purchase G. K. Osei's books second-hand via Abebooks:

The MAAT Newsletter (Africentric Scholarship):

More on the Phoenicians:

To order Cheikh Anta Diop's book The African Origin of Civilization from Amazon:

To purchase Cheikh Anta Diop's books second-hand via Abebooks:

Write to me at contact.html.