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The Dynastic Race Theory was the earliest thesis to attempt to explain how predynastic Egypt developed into the sophisticated monarchy of Dynastic Egypt. The Theory holds that the earliest roots of the Ancient Egyptian dynastic civilisation were imported by "invaders" from Mesopotamia.

Contents

Origins

In the early 20th century Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, one of the leading Egyptologists of his day, deduced that the skeletal remains found at pre-dynastic sites at Naqada (Upper Egypt) indicated the presence of two different races. He inferred that one of them was foreign to Egypt, and must have been an invader. Based on plentiful cultural evidence, such as architectural styles, pottery styles, cylinder seals and a few artworks, as well as numerous rock and tomb paintings, Petrie determined that the invader race had come from Mesopotamia, and had imposed themselves on the local Badarian (African) people and become their rulers. This came to be called the “Dynastic Race Theory”.[1][2] The theory further argued that the Mesopotamians then conquered both Upper and Lower Egypt and founded the First Dynasty.

Post World War II

The Dynastic Race Theory is no longer the dominant thesis in the field of Predynastic Archaeology. In the aftermath of World War II, as the world came to grips with the consequences of the Nazi “Master Race” philosophy, Invading Super Race theories became unpalatable. More modern technologies allowed the investigation of the DNA of the Egyptian peoples, and it was concluded that the Egyptian civilization has been a local indigenous development all along.[2][3][4][5]

The Dynastic Race theory has been largely replaced by the theory that Egypt was a hydraulic empire, on the grounds that such contacts are much older than the Naqada II period,[6] the Naqada II period had a large degree of continuity with the Naqada I period,[7] and the changes which did happen during the Naqada periods happened over significant amounts of time.[8]

Perspective of Afrocentrism

However, in the 1950’s the Dynastic Race Theory was widely accepted by mainstream scholarship, and the Ancient Egyptians were therefore considered to be “Asian” or “Semitic” rather than Black or White. At that time the Senegalese Egyptologist Cheikh Anta Diop was publicising his theory that the Ancient Egyptians were “Black Africans”. Diop “paid special attention to the emergence of the Dynastic Race Theory”, and claimed that European scholars supported this Theory to avoid having to admit that the Ancient Egyptians were black.[9] Other prominent Afrocentrists, including Martin Bernal, later also argued against the Dynastic Race Theory in favour of a “Black Egyptian” model.[10] Afrocentrists particularly condemn the alleged dividing of African peoples into racial clusters as being new versions of the Dynastic Race Theory and the Hamitic Hypothesis.[11]

Modern minority theories

Some scholars still note that while the Dynastic Race Theory is flawed, the evidence upon which it was based does indicate significant predynastic Mesopotamian influence.[12] More recent scholars such as David Rohl,[13] Waddell,[14] Rice [15] and Walter Bryan Emery, a former Chair of Egyptology at University College London, have advanced reasons in support of a Mesopotamian origin for the ancient Dynastic Egyptians. In addition to the evidence available to Petrie et al., they also points out some similarities in the names of divinities and places in the religious beliefs of the two cultures, and in depictions of regalia. For example the primeval mound of the Egyptian first creation was called the Island of Nun, and was surrounded by the Waters of Nun, while the Sumerian name for the great temple in their original city of Eridu was Nun.ki – the 'Mighty Place' – and it was built on an island in the reed swamps. Several scholars have also noted that the name Osiris is a Greek pronunciation, and that the god would have been called Asar in Egyptian, while the Sumerian god of the Eridu area was also called Asar (the Babylonian Marduk.) [16]

See also

References

  1. ^ Black Athena revisited, by Mary R. Lefkowitz, Guy MacLean Rogers, pg65 :: http://books.google.com/books?id=97jwg1Xwpj0C&pg=PA65&lpg=PA65&dq=%2B%22dynastic+race+theory%22,+%2Bpetrie&source=bl&ots=ZRI64NiDsF&sig=n1JXM0vMESuA04qKW8me7HZD074&hl=en&ei=rzOdSu3lDc2c8Qb6rdHGBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#v=onepage&q=%2B%22dynastic%20race%20theory%22%2C%20%2Bpetrie&f=false
  2. ^ a b Early dynastic Egypt, by Toby A. H. Wilkinson, pg 15
  3. ^ Prehistory and Protohsitory of Egypt, Emile Massoulard, 1949
  4. ^ Yurco, “Black Athena Revisited”, by Mary R. Lefkowitz, Guy MacLean Rogers
  5. ^ Sonia R. Zakrzewski: Population continuity or population change: Formation of the ancient Egyptian state - Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton (2003)
  6. ^ Redford, Donald B., Egypt, Israel, and Canaan in Ancient Times (Princeton: University Press, 1992), p. 13.
  7. ^ Gardiner, Alan. Egypt of the Pharaohs (Oxford: University Press, 1961), p. 392.
  8. ^ Shaw, Ian. and Nicholson, Paul, The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt (London: British Museum Press, 1995), p. 228.
  9. ^ Epic encounters: culture, media, and U.S. interests in the Middle East – 1945-2000 by Melani McAlister
  10. ^ Heresy in the University: the Black Athena controversy and the Responsibilities of American Intellectuals. By Jacques Berlinerblau, pg 158
  11. ^ History of Philosophy (3 Vols. Set), by William Turner , pg 8
  12. ^ Redford, Egypt, Israel, p. 17.
  13. ^ Legend – The Genesis of Civilisation, by David Rohl ::: http://www.davidrohl.com/dynastic_race_11.html
  14. ^ Egyptian Civilization Its Sumerian Origin and Real Chronology, by L. A. Waddell
  15. ^ Egypt's making: the origins of ancient Egypt, 5000-2000 BC, by Michael Rice
  16. ^ Dictionary of Ancient Deities, by Patricia Turner, Charles Russell Coulter
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The Dynastic Race Theory was the earliest thesis to attempt to explain how predynastic Egypt developed into the sophisticated monarchy of Dynastic Egypt. The Theory holds that the earliest roots of the Ancient Egyptian dynastic civilisation were imported by "invaders" from Mesopotamia.

Contents

Origins

In the early 20th century Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, one of the leading Egyptologists of his day, deduced that the skeletal remains found at pre-dynastic sites at Naqada (Upper Egypt) indicated the presence of two different races. He inferred that one of them was foreign to Egypt, and must have been an invader. Based on plentiful cultural evidence, such as architectural styles, pottery styles, cylinder seals and a few artworks, as well as numerous rock and tomb paintings, Petrie determined that the invader race had come from Mesopotamia, and had imposed themselves on the local Badarian (African) people and become their rulers. This came to be called the “Dynastic Race Theory”.[1][2] The theory further argued that the Mesopotamians then conquered both Upper and Lower Egypt and founded the First Dynasty.

Perspective of Afrocentrism

However, in the 1950s the Dynastic Race Theory was widely accepted by mainstream scholarship, and the Ancient Egyptians were therefore considered to be “Asian” or “Semitic” rather than Black or White. At that time the Senegalese Egyptologist Cheikh Anta Diop was publicising his theory that the Ancient Egyptians were “Black Africans”. Diop “paid special attention to the emergence of the Dynastic Race Theory”, and claimed that European scholars supported this Theory to avoid having to admit that the Ancient Egyptians were black.[3] Other prominent Afrocentrists, including Martin Bernal, later also argued against the Dynastic Race Theory in favour of a “Black Egyptian” model.[4] Afrocentrists particularly condemn the alleged dividing of African peoples into racial clusters as being new versions of the Dynastic Race Theory and the Hamitic hypothesis.[5]

Modern minority theories

Some scholars still note that while the Dynastic Race Theory is flawed, the evidence upon which it was based does indicate significant predynastic Mesopotamian influence.[6] More recent scholars such as David Rohl,[7] Waddell,[8] Rice [9] and Walter Bryan Emery, a former Chair of Egyptology at University College London, have advanced reasons in support of a Mesopotamian origin for the ancient Dynastic Egyptians. In addition to the evidence available to Petrie et al., they also points out some similarities in the names of divinities and places in the religious beliefs of the two cultures, and in depictions of regalia. For example the primeval mound of the Egyptian first creation was called the Island of Nun, and was surrounded by the Waters of Nun, while the Sumerian name for the great temple in their original city of Eridu was Nun.ki – the 'Mighty Place' – and it was built on an island in the reed swamps. Several scholars have also noted that the name Osiris is a Greek pronunciation, and that the god would have been called Asar in Egyptian, while the Sumerian god of the Eridu area was also called Asar (the Babylonian Marduk.) [10]

Post World War II

The Dynastic Race Theory is no longer the dominant thesis in the field of Predynastic Archaeology. In the aftermath of World War II, as the world came to grips with the consequences of the Nazi “Master Race” philosophy, Invading Super Race theories became unpalatable. More modern technologies allowed the investigation of the DNA of the Egyptian peoples, and it was concluded that the Egyptian civilization has been a local indigenous development all along.[2][11][12][13]

The Dynastic Race theory has been largely replaced by the theory that Egypt was a hydraulic empire, on the grounds that such contacts are much older than the Naqada II period,[14] the Naqada II period had a large degree of continuity with the Naqada I period,[15] and the changes which did happen during the Naqada periods happened over significant amounts of time.[16]

See also

References

  1. ^ Black Athena revisited, by Mary R. Lefkowitz, Guy MacLean Rogers, pg65 :: http://books.google.com/books?id=97jwg1Xwpj0C&pg=PA65&lpg=PA65&dq=%2B%22dynastic+race+theory%22,+%2Bpetrie&source=bl&ots=ZRI64NiDsF&sig=n1JXM0vMESuA04qKW8me7HZD074&hl=en&ei=rzOdSu3lDc2c8Qb6rdHGBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#v=onepage&q=%2B%22dynastic%20race%20theory%22%2C%20%2Bpetrie&f=false
  2. ^ a b Early dynastic Egypt, by Toby A. H. Wilkinson, pg 15
  3. ^ Epic encounters: culture, media, and U.S. interests in the Middle East – 1945-2000 by Melani McAlister
  4. ^ Heresy in the University: the Black Athena controversy and the Responsibilities of American Intellectuals. By Jacques Berlinerblau, pg 158
  5. ^ History of Philosophy (3 Vols. Set), by William Turner , pg 8
  6. ^ Redford, Egypt, Israel, p. 17.
  7. ^ Legend – The Genesis of Civilisation, by David Rohl ::: http://www.davidrohl.com/dynastic_race_11.html
  8. ^ Egyptian Civilization Its Sumerian Origin and Real Chronology, by L. A. Waddell
  9. ^ Egypt's making: the origins of ancient Egypt, 5000-2000 BC, by Michael Rice
  10. ^ Dictionary of Ancient Deities, by Patricia Turner, Charles Russell Coulter
  11. ^ Prehistory and Protohsitory of Egypt, Emile Massoulard, 1949
  12. ^ Yurco, “Black Athena Revisited”, by Mary R. Lefkowitz, Guy MacLean Rogers
  13. ^ Sonia R. Zakrzewski: Population continuity or population change: Formation of the ancient Egyptian state - Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton (2003)
  14. ^ Redford, Donald B., Egypt, Israel, and Canaan in Ancient Times (Princeton: University Press, 1992), p. 13.
  15. ^ Gardiner, Alan. Egypt of the Pharaohs (Oxford: University Press, 1961), p. 392.
  16. ^ Shaw, Ian. and Nicholson, Paul, The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt (London: British Museum Press, 1995), p. 228.

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