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Ancient Africa: Khemetic Mathematics: Herega Dur Durii June 28, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Rock paintings in Oromia, Meroetic Oromo.
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EGYPTIAN MATHEMATICS

Ancient African (khemetic), hieroglyphic, numerals

Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic numerals

The early Egyptians settled along the fertile Nile valley as early as about 6000 BC, and they began to record the patterns of lunar phases and the seasons, both for agricultural and religious reasons. The Pharaoh’s surveyors used measurements based on body parts (a palm was the width of the hand, a cubit the measurement from elbow to fingertips) to measure land and buildings very early in Egyptian history, and a decimal numeric system was developed based on our ten fingers. The oldest mathematical text from ancient Egypt discovered so far, though, is the Moscow Papyrus, which dates from the Egyptian Middle Kingdom around 2000 – 1800 BC.

It is thought that the Egyptians introduced the earliest fully-developed base 10 numeration system at least as early as 2700 BC (and probably much early). Written numbers used a stroke for units, a heel-bone symbol for tens, a coil of rope for hundreds and a lotus plant for thousands, as well as other hieroglyphic symbols for higher powers of ten up to a million. However, there was no concept of place value, so larger numbers were rather unwieldy (although a million required just one character, a million minus one required fifty-four characters).

Ancient Egyptian method of multiplication

Ancient Egyptian method of multiplication

The Rhind Papyrus, dating from around 1650 BC, is a kind of instruction manual in arithmetic and geometry, and it gives us explicit demonstrations of how multiplication and division was carried out at that time. It also contains evidence of other mathematical knowledge, including unit fractions, composite and prime numbers, arithmetic, geometric and harmonic means, and how to solve first order linear equations as well as arithmetic and geometric series. The Berlin Papyrus, which dates from around 1300 BC, shows that ancient Egyptians could solve second-order algebraic (quadratic) equations.

Multiplication, for example, was achieved by a process of repeated doubling of the number to be multiplied on one side and of one on the other, essentially a kind of multiplication of binary factors similar to that used by modern computers (see the example at right). These corresponding blocks of counters could then be used as a kind of multiplication reference table: first, the combination of powers of two which add up to the number to be multiplied by was isolated, and then the corresponding blocks of counters on the other side yielded the answer. This effectively made use of the concept of binary numbers, over 3,000 years before Leibniz introduced it into the west, and many more years before the development of the computer was to fully explore its potential.

Practical problems of trade and the market led to the development of a notation for fractions. The papyri which have come down to us demonstrate the use of unit fractions based on the symbol of the Eye of Horus, where each part of the eye represented a different fraction, each half of the previous one (i.e. half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth, thirty-second, sixty-fourth), so that the total was one-sixty-fourth short of a whole, the first known example of a geometric series.

Ancient Egyptian method of division

Ancient Egyptian method of division

Unit fractions could also be used for simple division sums. For example, if they needed to divide 3 loaves among 5 people, they would first divide two of the loaves into thirds and the third loaf into fifths, then they would divide the left over third from the second loaf into five pieces. Thus, each person would receive one-third plus one-fifth plus one-fifteenth (which totals three-fifths, as we would expect).

The Egyptians approximated the area of a circle by using shapes whose area they did know. They observed that the area of a circle of diameter 9 units, for example, was very close to the area of a square with sides of 8 units, so that the area of circles of other diameters could be obtained by multiplying the diameter by 89 and then squaring it. This gives an effective approximation of π accurate to within less than one percent.

The pyramids themselves are another indication of the sophistication of Egyptian mathematics. Setting aside claims that the pyramids are first known structures to observe the golden ratio of 1 : 1.618 (which may have occurred for purely aesthetic, and not mathematical, reasons), there is certainly evidence that they knew the formula for the volume of a pyramid –13 times the height times the length times the width – as well as of a truncated or clipped pyramid. They were also aware, long before Pythagoras, of the rule that a triangle with sides 3, 4 and 5 units yields a perfect right angle, and Egyptian builders used ropes knotted at intervals of 3, 4 and 5 units in order to ensure exact right angles for their stonework (in fact, the 3-4-5 right triangle is often called “Egyptian”).

See more at : –  http://www.storyofmathematics.com/egyptian.html

Related:-

Scientific System, Mathematics and Ancient Kemetic Traditions

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/kemetic-numerology/

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Oromia: The Oromo Heritages: Gadaa, Siiqqee and Irreecha. #Africa. June 13, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Rock paintings in Oromia, Ateetee, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Boran Oromo, Gadaa System, Irreecha, Irreecha Oromo, Oromia, Oromo, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo Wisdom, Oromo women, Oromummaa, Sirna Gadaa, The Goddess of Fecundity, Waaqeffanna (Oromo ancient African Faith System).
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Oromo nation and Gadaa system

Oromo nation and Gadaa system

The Borana Calendar REINTERPRETED

by Laurance R. Doyle

Physics and Astronomy Department, University of California, Santa Cruz,at NASA Ames Research Center, Space Sciences Division, M.S. 245-7,
Moffett Field, Calif. 94035, U.S. 20 XII 85

The announcement of a possible first archaeoastronomical site (called Namoratunga II) in sub-Saharan Africa by Lynch and Robbins (1978) and its subsequent reappraisal by Soper (1982) have renewed interest in an East African calendrical system, the Borana calendar, first outlined in detail by Legesse (1973:180-88). I shall here reinterpret the calendar as Legesse describes it in the light of astronomical constraints.
The Borana calendar is a lunar-stellar calendrical system, relying on astronomical observations of the moon in conjunction with seven particular stars (or star groups). At no time (except indirectly by way of lunar phase) does it rely upon solar observations. The Borana year is twelve lunar synodic months (each 29.5 days long), 354 days. While it will not correspond to the seasons, this may not be of primary importance for people this close to the equator. There are twenty-seven day names (no weeks), and since each month is either 29 or 30 days long, the first two (or three) day names are used twice in the same month starts on a new day name. The day names are listed in Table 1, the month names in Table 2.
The first six months can be identified at the beginning of the month with a particular astronomical observation, whereas the last six months can be so identified only around the middle of the month. The first six months begin with the observation of the new-phase moon in conjunction with six positions in the sky marked by seven particular stars or star groups. Thus the phase of the moon is held constant while its position varies. The last six months are identified by a particular-phase moon seen in conjunction with the first star position. Thus, here, the lunar phase changes and the position is held constant. The seven stars or star groups in order are Triangulum (which I take to mean Beta Trianguli), Pleiades, Aldebarran, Belletrix, central Orion (around the sword), Saiph, and Sirius. They are given in Table 2 next to the months they define.
The New Year starts with the observation of the new moon in conjunction with Beta Trianguli. (The term “new moon” here will be taken to be within two days of zero phase, although the Borana allow up to three “leap” days’ leeway, the astronomical observation determining the correct day to start on. This is indicated in the day nomenclature by the assignment of like prefixes to two or three day names before the approximate time an important astronomical observation is to take place.) Since the new moon can be seen only just before sunrise or just after sunset, twilight makes the observation of Beta Trianguli (a third-magnitude star) in conjunction with a new moon impossible with the naked eye.

Assuming that such an observation, however, was possible, would the next new moon be in conjunction with the next star group. Pleiades? (Conjunction here is taken to mean “rising with” or “setting with,” having the same right ascension. Legesse says (p. 182), “Let us assume that a new moon was sighted last night and that is appeared side by side with the star Sirius, which the Borana call Basa.”) Since the sidereal period of the moon is 27.3 days long, it will arrive back at the Triangulum position more than two days before completing its synodic month. At the sidereal rate of 13.2° per day, the moon will be within 3° of Pleiades when it rises in the new phase again. However, by the time of the third month it rises, not with Aldebarran, the next star, but a little past Belletrix, the fourth star, which is supposed to start the fourth month. By the fourth month the new moon is rising past Sirius, the sixth start, and the calendar is clearly not working as described. It should be added that the right-ascension positions of the stars in the area from Beta Trianguli to Sirius change with time, at the rate of roughly 15° every thousand years. However, the stars stay in approximately the same configuration, and arguments based on their present right-ascension relationships will hold over the past several thousand years as well.
What happens if we take the term “conjunction,” or “side by side,” as Legesse has it, to mean not “rising with” but “rising single-file,” that is, at the same horizon position (in other words, having the same declination)? Examining the idea that it is not the proximity of the moon to the star that is important but its horizon rising (or setting) position with respect to that star’s horizon rising (or setting) position, we immediately find that the first necessary observation, the new moon rising at the horizon position of Beta Trianguli, is not currently possible. Beta Trianguli rises (at the equator) about 35° north of the east point (0° declination), while the moon (on the northernmost average) rises at 23.5° north of east, never rising farther north than 28.5° from the East Point. The earth’s rotation axis is known to precess over the centuries, and while this does not change the lunar orbital positions significantly, it does change the apparent position of the stars. We can calculate the positions of the seven Borana stars at a time when Beta Trianguli was well within the moon’s declination limits to see if the calendar would have worked then. In 300 BC, Beta Trianguli was rising at a declination of +23° north of east. The right-ascension positions at the time still do not allow a “rising with” interpretation of the calendrical system. We can begin by defining the start of the Borana year as the new moon rising at the rising position of 300 BC Beta Trianguli. (The date of 300 BC was strongly suggested by the preliminary dating of Namoratunga II, but it was chosen because +23°, Beta Trianguli’s declination at the time, is the northern average of the moon’s monthly motion. I will take the moon’s motion, for the example here, from theNautical Almanacs for 1983 and 1984.) The next new moon rises at 14° north of east, which corresponds precisely to the 300 BC horizon rising position of Pleiades, the next Borana star. The next four new moons (starting the next four Borana months) rise at +9 degrees, +1 degree, –11 degrees, and –17 degrees declination. These positions correspond to the 300 BC horizon rising positions of the Borana stars Aldebarran. Belletrix, central Orion—Saiph (taken together), and Sirius, respectively (Table 3).
The seventh month should be identifiable 14 or 15 days from its automatic start (about 29 days after the start of the sixth month) by a full moon rising at the Beta Trianguli position, and this is indeed the case. Each subsequent moon rises at this horizon position 27.3 days later (sidereal month) in a phase (synodic month) about two days less waxes (since it is on its way to the full phase again) each time. (Legesse has a waning moon, but this must mean waning with respect to each subsequent monthly observation, not with respect to the Phase State for that month.) On the thirteenth or first month, the moon is seen rising in the new phase again (“new” meaning within a couple of days of zero phase), and another year begins. Tracing the moon’s motion as it arrives at these positions in the sky (which are, however, no longer directly marked by the seven stars), we can derive the calendar (see Table 4).
This outline is still general with respect to what is sometimes called the lunar excursion (regression of the line of nodes of the lunar orbit). The three “leap” days the Borana calendar allows for the starting of some of the months just before an important astronomical observation could account for this declination excursion of the moon (± ca. 5° from 23.5° declination on an 18.6-year basis), but this would certainly require confirmation in the field.
The Borana calendrical system as described by Legesse is, therefore, a valid timekeeping system, subject to the astronomical constraints outlined here, and the pillars found in northwestern Kenya by Lynch and Robbins and preliminary dates at 300 BC could, as they suggest, represent a site used to derive that calendar. The calendar does not work in right-ascension sense, but it does work if taken as based on declination. It might have been invented around 300 BC, when the declinations of the seven stars corresponded to lunar motion as the calendar indicates, and the star names would therefore apply to the horizon positions as well. Because the horizon rising positions constitute the important observations (over half of which must be made at twilight), some sort of horizon-marking device would seem to be necessary. Since the calendar is still in use, and the horizon-making pillars can no longer be set up by aligning them with the horizon rising positions of these stars, it would seem that the Borana may be using ancient (or replicas of ancient) horizon markers and this possibility should be investigated. I look forward with great interest to a test of these hypotheses.

Table 1

Borana Day names (Legesse 1973)

Bita Kara Gardaduma
Bita Lama Sonsa
Sorsa Rurruma
Algajima Lumasa
Arb Gidada
Walla Ruda
Basa Dura Areri Dura
Basa Ballo Areri Ballo
Carra Adula Dura
Maganatti Jarra Adula Ballo
Maganatti Britti Garba Dura
Salban Dura Garba Balla
Salban Balla Garda Dullacha
Salban Dullacha

Table 2

Borana Months and Stars/Lunar Phases That Define Them
(Legesse 1973)

Month

Star/Lunar Phase

Bittottessa Triangulum
Camsa Pleiades
Bufa Aldebarran
Wacabajjii Belletrix
Obora Gudda Central Orion-Saiph
Obora Dikka Sirius
Birra full moon
Cikawa gibbous moon
Sadasaa quarter moon
Abrasa large crescent
Ammaji medium crescent
Gurrandala small crescent

Table 3

Declinations (Degrees) of Borana Stars, 300 BC and Present

Star

Declination

300 BC

Present

Beta Trianguli

+23

+35

Pleiades

+14

+23

Aldebarran

+9

+16

Belletrix

+1

+6

Central Orion

–10

–6

Saiph

–13

–10

Sirius

–17

–17

Table 4

Astronomical Borana-Cushitic Calendar (1983-84)

Borana-Cushitic Day/Month

Gregorian Date

Description

Bita Kara/
Bittottessa
August 7, 1983 New moon rises at Triangulum horizon position
Algajima/
Camsa
September 6, 1983 New moon rises at Pleiades horizon position
Walla/
Bufa
October 5, 1983 New moon rises at Aldebarran horizon position
Basa Dura/
Wacabajjii
November 2, 1983 New moon rises at Belletrix horizon position
Maganatti Jarra/
Obora Gudda
December 2, 1983 New moon rises at central Orion-Saiph horizon position
Salban Dura/
Obora Dikka
December 30, 1983 New moon rises at Sirius horizon position
Gardaduma/
Birra
January 29, 1984 Full moon sets at Triangulum on February 15
Rurruma/Cikawa February 28, 1984 Gibbous moon sets at Triangulum on March 14
Gidada/
Sadasaa
March 28, 1984 Quarter moon sets at Triangulum on April 10
Areri Dura/
Abrasa
April 26, 1984 Large crescent sets at Triangulum on May 7
Adula Dura/
Ammaji
May 25, 1984 Medium crescent sets at Triangulum on June 3
Garba Dura/
Gurrandala
June 23, 1984 Small crescent sets at Triangulum on June 30
Bita Kara/
Bittottessa
July 28, 1984 “New” moon rises at Triangulum position again, new year starts

References Cited

Legesse, A. 1973. Gada: Three approaches to the study of African Society. New York: Free Press.

Lynch, B. M., and L. H. Robbins. 1978. Namoratunga: The first archaeoastronomical evidence in sub-Saharan Africa. Science 200:766-68.

Soper, R. 1982. Archaeo-astronomical Cushites: Some comments. Azania 17:145-62

Source:

http://web.archive.org/web/20081029073246/http://www.tusker.com/Archaeo/art.currentanthro.htm

ASTRONOMY IN EAST AFRICA:Borana-Cushitic Calender

ASTRONOMY IN EAST AFRICA
The Borana-Cushitic Calendar and Namoratunga
Laurance Reeve Doyle
Space Sciences Division, N.A.S.A.
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

“While Western thought has always prided itself on scientific objectivity, it has often been found unprepared for such surprises as an intellectually advanced yet seemingly illiterate society. In the face of apparent primitiveness, the possibility of significant intellectual development may not be fully investigated.
This was certainly the case when, in the early 1970’s, Dr. A. Legesse first found that the Borana people of southern Ethiopia were indeed using a sophisticated calendrical system based on the conjunction of seven stars with certain lunar phases. Previous calendrical investigations into the area up to this time had superficially stated that the Borana “attach magical significance to the stars and constellations,” incorrectly concluding that their calendar was based, as ours is, on solar motion.
What Dr. Legesse found was an amazing cyclical calendar similar to those of the Mayans, Chinese, and Hindu, but unique in that it seemed to ignore the sun completely (except indirectly by way of the phases of the moon). The workings were described to him by the Borana ayyantu (timekeepers) as follows.
There are twelve months to a year, each month being identifiable with a unique (once a year) astronomical observation. The length of each month is either 29 or 30 days – that is, the time it takes the moon to go through all its phases. (This time is actually 291/2 days and is called a synodic month, but the Borana only keep track of whole days). Instead of weeks, there are 27 day names. Since each month is 29 or 30 days long we will run out of day names about two or three days early in the same month. The day names can therefore be recycled and for day 28 we use the first day name again, the second day name for day 29, and start the next month using the third day name. Thus each month will start on a different day name. Whether the particular month is to be 29 or 30 days long would depend on the astronomical observations, which are quite ingeniously defined.
The seven stars (or star groups) used to derive the calendar are, from northernmost to southernmost, 1) Beta Triangulum – a fairly faint navigation star in the constellation of the Triangle, 2) Pleiades – a beautiful, blue star cluster in the constellation of Taurus the Bull, and sometimes referred to as the seven sisters, 3) Aldebarran – a bright, red star that represents the eye of Taurus, 4) Belletrix – a fairly bright star that represents the right shoulder of the constellation Orion the Hunter, 5)Central Orion – the region around Orion’s sword where the Great Orion Nebula may be found, 6) Saiph – the star representing the right knee of Orion, and finally 7) Sirius – the brightest star in the night sky and the head of the constellation Canis Majoris, the Great Dog.
The New Year begins with the most important astronomical observation of the year – a new moon in conjunction with Beta Triangulum. (this day is called Bitotesa, and the next month is called Bitokara). The next month starts when the new moon is found in conjunction with the Pleiades. The third month starts with the new moon being observed in conjunction with the star Aldebarran, the next with Belletrix, then the area in between Central Orion and Saiph, and finally with the star Sirius. So the first six months of the calendar are started by the astronomical observations of the new phase moon found in conjunction with six specific locations in the sky marked by seven stars of star groups.
The method is now switched and the final six months are identified by six different phases of the moon (from full to crescent) being found in conjunction with only one position in the sky – the one marked by Beta Triangulum. Thus the whole Borana year is identified astronomically and when the new phase moon is again finally seen in conjunction with Beta Triangulum the New Year will start again. Since there are 12 such synodic months of 29 ½ days each, the Borana year is only 354 days long.
Now, in the latter part of the 1970’s another interesting development was to take place regarding the astronomy of this region. In 1977 Drs. B.M. Lynch and L.H. Robbins, who were working in the Lake Turkana area of northwestern Kenya, came upon what they believed was the first archaeoastronomical site ever found in sub-Saharan Africa. At Namoratunga, it consisted of 19 stone pillars, apparently man-made, that seemed to align toward the rising positions of the seven Borana calendar stars as they had appeared quite some time ago. (their suggested date from the various archaeological considerations, which still requires corroboration, was about 300 BC). Due to precession (the slow, wobbling of the pointing direction of the rotation axis of the Earth), the stars will seem to move from their positions over the centuries, although the moon’s position would not vary on this time scale. (Such an example is the alignment of certain features of the Egyptian pyramids with the star Thuban in the constellation Draco the Dragon, which was the north polar star about 5000 year ago; today it is Polaris and in several thousand years it will be Vega). If the date that Drs. Lynch and Robbins suggested was correct, the site would then correspond to the time of the extensive kingdom of Cush, referred to as Ethiopia in the Bible but actually centered about present day Sudan. One would then conclude that the Borana calendrical system was old indeed, having been developed by the Cushitic peoples in this area about 1800 years before the development of our present day Western Gregorian calendrical system.
In 1982, a number of significant questions arose concerning the site, the calendar, and archaeoastronomy of East Africa in general. The pillars were remeasured by an anthropologist in Kenya (Mr. Robert Soper) and found to be magnetic in nature. The original measurements had to be modified but, again, alignments with the seven Borana stars were found. However, this brought up the question of whether pillar alignments are significant at all, since the Borana ayyantu certainly can recognize the phases of the moon and when it is in conjunction with the appropriate seven stars. It was time to approach the question astronomically, and ask the moon and the stars how the calendar worked.
First, we could take the New Year’s observations, a new moon in conjunction with the faint star Beta Triangulum. What is meant by the term “conjunction” which is astronomically defined as the closest approach between two celestial objects? A new moon means that the moon is very close to the sun, being at best only a very small crescent, and therefore can only be seen just before sunrise or just after sunset. Interestingly enough, it turns out that during this twilight time the sky is too bright to be able to see the star Beta Triangulum so that seeing the new moon next to Beta Triangulum, the most important observation of the Borana calendar, was impossible!
In addition, assuming that the new moon and Beta Triangulum could be somehow seen rising together, the next month’s new moon rises significantly behind Pleiades, the newt conjunction star group. The third new moon rises with Belletrix, having skipped the third star, Aldebarran, completely. This is certainly not how the Borana described their calendar. If we were to continue to try to work the calendar in this way, by the start of the sixth month the new moon would be rising almost four hours after Sirius.
How could the calendar work then? Suppose (as we did), that one takes the term “conjunction” to mean “rising at the same horizon position” instead of “rising horizontally next to at the same time.” Thus one could mark the horizon rising position of Beta Triangulum, with pillars for instance, and once a year a new moon will rise at that position on the horizon. Let us suppose that this astronomical event marks the start of the New Year. We must add that we are taking the horizon rising position of these seven stars as they were in or around 300 BC, since present day Beta Triangulum has precessed too far to the north over the centuries and the moon will never rise there. However, the position of 300 BC Beta Triangulum, as well as the other Borana stars, was quite within the realm of the moon’s orbit.
Now where will the next new moon rise? It turns out to rise at precisely the rising position of Pleiades! The next new moon, marking the start of the third month, rises at the Aldebarran horizon position, the next at Belletrix, the next in between Central Orion and Saiph, and finally the sixth new moon rises at the horizon position that Sirius rose at during the night. During the next six months one can tell what month it is only in the middle of the month, since one has to wait to see what phase the moon is in when it appears at the Beta Triangulum horizon position. During the seventh month, as described, a full moon will be observed at the Beta Triangulum position. The next month a gibbous waxing moon, then a quarter moon, and successively smaller crescents will be seen there until, at the time when the 13th or first month should start the new year again (exactly 354 days later), a new moon is again seen rising at the Beta Triangulum position on the horizon.
It is interesting that one can draw some significant anthropological results from the astronomical derivation of this calendrical system. It would appear that the calendar would have had to have been invented (to use the stars correctly) sometime within a few hundred years of 300 BC, a time when the Cushitic peoples were dominant in this part of the world. Hence we would call it the Borana-Cushitic calendar. In addition, although the seven Borana-Cushitic stars no longer rise in the correct horizon positions to be correctly marked by pillars for observing the monthly rising position of the new moon, the present day Borana people nevertheless use this system of timekeeping. The implication is that the Borana require ancient horizon markers in their present derivation of the calendar.
Concerning the site at Namoratunga, and considering that the use of pillars is apparently necessary to the derivation of the calendar, such horizon markers as are found there may, indeed, have been an ancient observatory. Petroglyphs on the pillars at Namoratunga may also hold the possibility of being ancient and, if Cushitic, may represent the alignment stars or moon. Cushitic script has never been deciphered and any hints as to the meaning of tits symbols could be significant clues with very exciting prospects indeed!

Thus, archaeoastronomy in East Africa is still quite new and many discoveries await. From coming to understand, even in a small way, the calendrical reckoning and observational abilities of the ancient and modern astronomer-timekeepers of this region, Western thought should certainly not again underestimate the ingenuity and intellect present there. As for this Western thinker, this study continues to be a welcome lesson in perspective and humility, taught to him by his astronomical colleagues of long ago.”

This is a summary of a talk delivered at Caltech for Ned Munger’s African Studies class.

http://www.africaspeaks.com/reasoning/index.php?topic=2194.0;wap2

The Sumerians, Kemetic and Oromo April 9, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African American, African Literature, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Rock paintings in Oromia, Chiekh Anta Diop, Language and Development, Meroe, Meroetic Oromo, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Qubee Afaan Oromo.
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” “Assyrians themselves are shown to have been of a very pure type of Semites, but in the Babylonians there is a sign of Kushite blood. … There is one portrait of an Elmite king on a vase found at Susa; he is painted black and thus belongs to the Kushite race.” The myths, legends, and traditions of the Sumerians point to the African Cushite as the original home of these people (see. Perry, 1923, pp. 60-61). They were also the makers of the first great civilisation in the Indus valley. Hincks, Oppert, unearthed the first Sumerian remains and Rawlinson called these people Kushites. Rawlinson in his essay on the early history of Babylonian presents that without pretending to trace up these early Babylonians to their original ethnic sources, there are certainly strong reasons for supposing them to have passed from Cushite Africa to the valley of the Euphrates shortly before the opening of the historic period: He is based on the following strong points: The system of writing, which they brought up with them, has the closest semblance with that of Egypt; in many cases in deed the two alphabets are absolutely identical. In the Biblical genealogies, while Kush and Mizrain (Egypt) are brothers, from Kush Nimrod (Babylonian) sprang. With respect to the language of ancient Babylonians, the vocabulary is absolutely Kushite, belonging to that stock of tongues, which in postscript were everywhere more or less, mixed up with Semitic languages, but of which we have with doubtless the purest existing specimens in the Mahra of Southern Arabia and the Oromo.”
https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/…/oromia-untwist-th…/

The Sumerians were one of the earliest urban societies to emerge in the world, in Southern Mesopotamia more than 5000 years ago. They developed a writing system whose wedge-shaped strokes would influence the style of scripts in the same geographical area for the next 3000 years. Eventually, all of these diverse writing systems, which encompass both logophonetic, consonantal alphabetic, and syllabic systems, became known as cuneiform.

It is actually possible to trace the long road of the invention of the Sumerian writing system. For 5000 years before the appearance of writing in Mesopotamia, there were small clay objects in abstract shapes, called clay tokens, that were apparently used for counting agricultural and manufactured goods. As time went by, the ancient Mesopotamians realized that they needed a way to keep all the clay tokens securely together (to prevent loss, theft, etc), so they started putting multiple clay tokens into a large, hollow clay container which they then sealed up. However, once sealed, the problem of remembering how many tokens were inside the container arose. To solve this problem, the Mesopotamians started impressing pictures of the clay tokens on the surface of the clay container with a stylus. Also, if there were five clay tokens inside, they would impress the picture of the token five times, and so problem of what and how many inside the container was solved.

Subsequently, the ancient Mesopotamians stopped using clay tokens altogether, and simply impressed the symbol of the clay tokens on wet clay surfaces. In addition to symbols derived from clay tokens, they also added other symbols that were more pictographic in nature, i.e. they resemble the natural object they represent. Moreover, instead of repeating the same picture over and over again to represent multiple objects of the same type, they used diferent kinds of small marks to “count” the number of objects, thus adding a system for enumerating objects to their incipient system of symbols. Examples of this early system represents some of the earliest texts found in the Sumerian cities of Uruk and Jamdat Nasr around 3300 BCE, such as the one below. http://www.ancientscripts.com/sumerian.html

Sumerians, Kemeticand Oromo

A Glorious Past Before Colonialism: The world’s first civilizations arose from the spiritual, economic and social efforts of African women and African women in turn went on to lead those Matriarchal societies. March 9, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ancient African Direct Democracy, Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Rock paintings in Oromia, Colonizing Structure.
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Historian Cheikh Anta Diop illustrates how as early as 10,000 BC women in Africa pioneered organized cultivation, thereby creating the pre-conditions for surplus, wealth and trade. African women are responsible for the greatest invention for the well being of human kind, namely, food security. It is the practice of organized agriculture that made population expansion, food surpluses and the emergence civilization possible.   http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/06/the-capitalist-origins-of-the-oppression-of-african-women/
A Glorious Past Before Colonialism

The Capitalist Origins of the Oppression of African Women

by GARIKAI CHENGU,  CounterPunch

Sunday marks International Women’s Day, which was founded in 1908 by the Socialist party of America in order to promote the struggle for women’s equality. Unbeknown to many, for the vast majority of human history, which took place in Africa, women have been equal if not superior to men.

The world’s first civilizations arose from the spiritual, economic and social efforts of African women and African women in turn went on to lead those Matriarchal societies.

Matriarchy in ancient Africa was not a mirror image of patriarchy today, as it was not based on appropriation and violence. The rituals and culture of matriarchy did not celebrate violence; rather, they had a lot to do with fecundity, exchange and redistribution.

Early man was unaware of the link between intercourse and birth, therefore it was thought that new life was created by the woman alone. This belief created the first concept of God as a caring, compassionate, generous, all loving and all powerful Mother, which is the basis of the African matriarchal ideology.

Historian Cheikh Anta Diop illustrates how as early as 10,000 BC women in Africa pioneered organized cultivation, thereby creating the pre-conditions for surplus, wealth and trade. African women are responsible for the greatest invention for the well being of human kind, namely, food security. It is the practice of organized agriculture that made population expansion, food surpluses and the emergence civilization possible.

Pre-capitalist matriarchal civilizations in Africa included the Nigerian Zazzau, Sudanese Kandake, Angolan Nzinga, and Ashanti of Ghana, to name but a few. The quintessential African matriarchal system was most evident and most enduring in black Ancient Egypt.

Women in Ancient Egypt owned and had complete control over both movable and immovable property such as real estate in 3000 BC. As late as the 1960s, this right could not be claimed by women in some parts of the United States.

A closer look at ancient Egyptian papyrus’ reveals that society was strictly matrilineal and inheritance and descent was through the female line. The Egyptian woman enjoyed the same legal and economic rights as the Egyptian man, and the proof of this is reflected in Egyptian art and historical inscriptions. Egypt was an unequal society but the inequality was based much more upon differences in the social classes, rather than differences in gender.

From ancient legal documents, we know that women were able to manage and dispose of private property, including: land, portable goods, servants, slaves, livestock, and financial instruments such as endowments and annuities. A woman could administer all her property independently and according to her free will and in several excavated cemeteries the richest tombs were those of women.

The independence and leadership roles of ancient Egyptian women are part of an African cultural pattern that began millennia ago and continued into recent times, until Europeans brought capitalism and Christianity to Africa.

In the 1860s, the colonial explorer Dr. David Livingstone wrote of meeting female chiefs in the Congo, and in most of the monarchical systems of traditional Africa there were either one or two women of the highest rank who occupied a position on a par with that of the king or complementary to it.

Professor of Ancient African History, Barbara Lesko illustrates how anthropologists who have studied African history and records of early travelers and missionaries tell us “everywhere in Africa that one scrapes the surface one finds ethno-historical data on the authority once shared by women.”

Under colonial misrule, black women suffered double-edged discrimination and dis-empowerment both as women and as black people.

It is difficult for many people to accept that racial discrimination and antagonism, which is such a pervasive phenomenon in the world today, has not been a permanent historical feature of humanity. In fact, the very notion of “race” and the ideology and practice of racism is a relatively modern concept.

For instance, historians recount how the Romans and Greeks attached no particular stigma to the colour of a person’s skin and there were no theories about the inferiority of darker skin. Slavery in ancient societies was not defined by color, but primarily by military fortune: conquered peoples, irrespective of their color, were enslaved.

Just before colonisation, African women were largely equal to men. The significant value of African women’s productive labour in producing and processing food created and maintained their rights in domestic, political, cultural, economic, religious and social spheres, among others. Because women were central to production in these pre-class societies, systematic inequality between the sexes was nonexistent, and elder women in particular enjoyed relatively high status.

With the creation of the capitalist colonial economy, the marginalization of women came in several ways:

Firstly, the advent of title deeds, made men the sole owners of land. Consequently, as women lost access and control of land, they became increasingly economically dependent on men. This in turn led to an intensification of domestic patriarchy, reinforced by colonial social institutions.

Secondly, as colonialism continued to entrench itself on African soil, the perceived importance of women’s agricultural contribution to the household was greatly reduced, as their vital role in food production was overshadowed by the more lucrative male-dominated cash crop cultivation for the international market. Prior to colonialism, women dominated trade. Markets were not governed by pure profit values; but rather, by the basic need to exchange, redistribute and socialize. Traditional African economic systems were not capitalist in nature.

Thirdly, colonialism brought with it Christianity and a masculine fundamentalism, which is now prevalent across Africa today. The imported patriarchal religion does not allow women to play the leading roles they have in the indigenous African religion.

In Ancient African religions it is not only God who is female, but also the main guardian spirits and sacred principles. Rosalind Jeffries, a historian, documents the concept of the Supreme Mother. In a paper entitled, “The Image of Woman in African Cave Art”, she shows how African Creation stories focused on the Primordial Mother, creating woman first, then man.

Christianity brought the monogamous nuclear family unit to Africa. Its sole purpose was to pass on private property, in the form of inheritance, from one generation of men to the next. Under capitalism, the modern family unit is founded on concealed, domestic slavery of the wife; and, the modern capitalist society is a compound made up of many individual families as its molecules.

A glance at the dictionary will reveal that the word family, has rather telling Latin origins. Famulus literally means domestic slave; andfamilia, which is also the Italian word for family, signified the total number of slaves belonging to one man. Karl Marx lays it bare: “The modern family contains in germ not only slavery (servitus) but also serfdom, since from the beginning it is related to agricultural services. It contains in miniature all the contradictions which later extend throughout society and its state.”

Finally, the introduction of wage labour affected women by uprooting men from villages to work in urban areas, causing profound, negative economic impacts on women. Colonial authorities routinely used native African males to impose taxes on women, thereby entrenching male dominance in the Native’s psyche. After all, colonialists brought to Africa the concept of the Victorian woman: a woman who should stay in the private domain and leave “real work” to the men. Due to the Victorian concept of women held by all colonialists, African women were excluded from the new political and administrative system, whose sole purpose was to extract raw materials and labour from the colony.

Colonialism replaced the role and status of the pre-colonial, African woman with a landless and disenfranchised domestic slave.

The United Nations Development Program notes that nowadays, African women perform sixty-six percent of the world’s work, produce fifty percent of the food, but earn only ten percent of the income and own only one percent of the property.

The greatest threat towards the African woman’s glorious future is her ignorance of her glorious past. Armed with knowledge, Africans must now fight to restore women to a position of respect and of economic freedom that exceeds that which she enjoyed before colonialism.

Garikai Chengu is a scholar at Harvard University. Contact him ongarikai.chengu@gmail.com

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/06/the-capitalist-origins-of-the-oppression-of-african-women/

THEORIZING WAAQEFFANNAA: OROMIA’S INDIGENOUS AFRICAN RELIGION AND ITS CAPACITY AND POTENTIAL IN PEACEMAKING September 21, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African Literature, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Rock paintings in Oromia, Ateetee, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Black History, Chiekh Anta Diop, Culture, Cushtic, Humanity and Social Civilization, Irreecha, Irreecha (Irreesa) 2014, Irreecha (Irreessa) 2014, Irreecha Birraa, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Meroetic Oromo, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo Wisdom, Oromummaa, Qaallu Institution, The Goddess of Fecundity, Waaqeffanna (Oromo ancient African Faith System).
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OTHEORIZING WAAQEFFANNAA: OROMIA’S INDIGENOUS AFRICAN RELIGION AND ITS CAPACITY AND POTENTIAL IN PEACEMAKINGThe article is Originally published by OromoPress @http://oromopress.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/theorizing-waaqeffannaa-oromias.htmlSee  also Fulbaana/September 18, 2014 · Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.comhttp://gadaa.net/FinfinneTribune/2014/09/oromopress-theorizing-waaqeffannaa-oromias-indigenous-african-religion-and-its-capacity-and-potential-in-peacemaking/

In most of Africa, indigenous African religions have been pushed to the margin because of a number of factors. The implied and open relegation of indigenous African religions to the levels of inferiority and inconsequentiality in world affairs by colonial powers and post-colonial contemporary African states not only undermines and stereotypes the examination of the unique contributions of these religions to peacemaking, but also discards with them unique mythologies, values, laws, cultures and meaning-making systems. I argue that applying North American conflict resolution models, without considering African religious values that existed for many millennia before the arrival of world religions, will be an enormous hindrance to building lasting peace from the bottom-up in the vastly rural and agrarian Africa that is still steeped in traditions and rituals.

Contributing to a range of negative stereotypes about African religions (example, uncivilized, barbaric and conflict-generating) is the fact that many of them have been orally transmitted from generation to generation and lack written major holy books unlike the world religions. The purpose of this paper is to shift attention from common misconceptions about African religions to a productive examination of the constructive roles they can be made to play.

I will focus on the case of Waaqeffannaa, an Oromo indigenous religion of East Africa, and its core values and laws. It will be significant to examine Waaqeffannaa’s complex concepts, such as concept and view of Waaqaa (God), Eebba (prayers and blessings), safuu (the place of all things and beings in the cosmic and social order), issues related to cubbuu (sin) and other religious and ritual practices. Although there is no holy book forWaaqeffannaa thus far, I will obtain my data from published ethnographic books, journal articles, periodicals, relevant reports and press releases. The interactions between Waaqeffannaa and other organized religions, such as Christianity and Islam, will be examined in context.

The paper will seek answers to three related questions:

What are the contributions or lack thereof orally transmitted values and laws of Waaqeffannaa to peacemaking and relationship-building? If there are any contributions, how can they be compared to other forms of conflict resolution? What will be the role of Waaqeffannaa in peacemaking in the ever changing global and local contexts of religious diversity and difference?

The Concept of God in Waaqeffannaa’s Monotheistic System

In order to examine the hermeneutic advantages and disadvantages of Waaqeffannaa and compare it to modern or Western conflict resolution methods, it is essential to examine the concept of God (Waaqaa) in the religion in its own right. There is a consensus among researchers and observers of Waaqeffannaa—the most prominent of whom are pre-colonial European missionaries, explorers and anthropologists and local religious leaders and scholars—that Waaqeffannaa is one of the ancient indigenous African monotheistic religions.[1] The Oromo, the Cushitic African people of Ethiopia, among whom this religion emerged and developed, call their one God Waaqaa or more intimately and endearingly Waaqayyoo (good God). It is difficult to capture with one definition the complexity of the ways in which the followers of this religion (Waaqeffataas) relate to God and make sense of God (not gendered) is hard to capture just with one definition. The question of ways of understanding and relating to God is a question of Waaqeffannaa’s worldview that is indigenous and unique, in some ways, and thus, different from ways in which followers of major world religions understand and relate to God.

While monotheism is a key similarity it shares with Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Waaqeffannaa has the following worldview of its own:

We believe in God who created us. We believe in Him (sic) in a natural way … We believe in God because we can see what God has done and what he does: he makes rains and the rains grow greenery, and crops that we consume. He lets the sun shine. So believing in him is instinctive and inbuilt. It is as natural as the desire we have for food and drink, and as natural as the reproduction of living things. We go to the nature, the nature that He created: mountains and rivers to praise and appreciate Him impressed by His works … [2]

This contemporary declaration of the faith centers on nature and creation that can be pragmatically seen and experienced in daily life. There is no mention of “heaven” and “hell” here. Concerning the followers’ perceptions of the residence of God, Bartels writes, “They do not visualize Waaqaa(sic) existing outside this world in time or space … In this sense Waaqaa is as much of this world as the vault of the sky.”[3] Bokku concurs with Bartels findings that God exists among people on earth, but Bokku makes a radically different claim as follows: “Waaqeffataas don’t [sic] believe in after life. They don’t believe that God would come in the future to judge people and send the righteous to heaven and the sinful to hell. God is with us always.”[4] Bokku’s claims can be controversial because in much of the literature I reviewed, I found that the question of “after life” is either overlooked or ambiguously treated, except in the work of Father De Salviac whose much older field research (1901) explicitly states the existence of the belief in life after death among Waaqeffataas in eastern Oromia as follows:

They acknowledge three places destined to receive the souls after death. The paradise, which they call: the ‘Happiness of God’,Ayyaana Waaqaa; or the: ‘Response of God’, Bayanacha Waaqaa; or even Jenneta Waaqaa; ‘Paradise of God’, is reserved for the just who go there to enjoy the company and infinite blessings of the Lord … they say of death ‘That he passed on to Waaqaa;’ – ‘That he entered into Waaqaa,’ – ‘That he went to his eternal house with Waaqaa’.[5]

Reference to life after death, punishments and rewards in hell and heaven respectively are very rare features of the religion. Nonetheless, the argument that De Salviac makes about the existence of the belief in life after death in Oromo society is enough to make Bokku and other writers’ denial of the existence of “life after death” contested and curious. The issue of justice and how people relate to each other may hold for every writer. The question of relationships between peoples, and nature and justice will be treated in later sections for safuu.

Waaqeffataas generally view and worship Waaqaa based on their amazement with the ingenious works of Waaqaa’s hands that they experience and find them overwhelming to comprehend and explain. Even family prayers around the hearth contains many such instances: “UNIQUE AND SO GREAT GOD SUPPORT WITHOUT PILLAR THE DOME OF THE BLUE SKY.”[6]

Waaqeffataas view the earth as one of the major ingenious works of God. The earth is viewed inseparably from God. The image that followers of this religion have of the relationship between Waaqaa and the Earth “comes close to that of a human couple”[7]: ‘the earth is Waaqaa’s wife—Lafa niti Waaqaa,’[8] According to Bartels, there are four manifestations of the close connection between Waaqaa and the earth in four spheres of theWaaqeffannaa religious life:[9]

  1. Blessings

May the Waaqaa and the earth help you.

May Waaqaa and the earth cause you to grow up (a blessing for children.) …

  1. Curses

Be not blessed either by Waaqaa or the earth.

May Waaqaa and the earth burn [make dry] your kidneys and your womb (the curse is addressed to a woman).

  1. Oaths

The man who takes the oath breaks a dry stick, saying:

‘May the earth on which I walk and Waaqaa beneath whom I walk do the same to me, if I have done such and such a thing.’

  1. Rituals

There are rituals of slaughtering a bull or sheep for Waaqaa and making libation (dhibayyuu) under a tree for the earth.[10]

Waaqeffannaa rituals honor both God and the earth. Followers of the religion seem to take cue from God Himself, who created the earth, to inform their ways of relating to Waaqaa and earth (lafa). Evidence that suggests a relationship based on fears, intimidations or punishment between God and persons is less prevalent than those that are mostly based on respect for God, one another and for the earth. Waaqeffataas embrace and celebrate the egalitarian view of God and the diversity of names people call God. Despite some differences among people, research points to followers’ similar attitudes towards God. “… it has become clear that their attitude towards him [sic] is not only inspired by awe but also marked by familiarity and even, from time to time, by lack of respect. In his despair, a man may claim: ‘Waaqaa does not exist!’”[11] This just showsWaaqeffataas have a more liberal relationship with God. It does not mean that they are less pious as there is enough evidence to suggest many magnificent examples of humility, piety and obedience.

The question of Waaqeffataas’ acknowledgement of the oneness of God and the multiple names various religions call Him does not only show the openness of the concept of God to various interpretations, but it also shows the religion’s acceptance of religious diversity. It is easier to engage in interfaith or other conflict resolution activities when such an acknowledgement is extant than when religions claim “my way or the highway.” The ways some prayers are rendered testify to this progressive values of Waaqeffannaa: “O Black God who created the dark sky and the clean waters, who is one but called by multitudes of names, who has no competitor, the omniscient, the omnipotent, the omnipresent, who is eternal and ever powerful, whose power can never decline.”[12] Because of the view of God described here, Waaqeffataas believe that God is patient and that it is not in His nature to become angry if people believe in other things abandoning Him. Bokku holds the Waaqeffannaa God is too self-confident to be angered into punishing people who do not obey or defect to other religions.[13]

Prayers and Blessings

Boran society sometimes appears to float on a river of prayers and blessings…

Paul T. Baxter.[14]

Common to private, collective and family prayers is the focus of Oromo/Waaqeffataas’ prayers on the material conditions and well-beings of the self, the family and the group. Prayers mediate conditions of people to God so he can intervene and alter their current conditions.[15] The faithful pray for peace, health, deliverance from wrongdoing and harmful sprits and things, human and livestock fertility, growth of babies (little ones), long life for adults, for the goodness of the inside and the outside, rain, harvest and development, inter alia.

The Waaqeffannaa prayer is barely about inheriting the kingdom of heaven nor is it about seeking the help of God in a battle against Satan and sin. Evidence suggests that the concept of Devil/Satan does not exist in Waaqeffannaa while spirits that cause all kinds of suffering and misfortune or harm (ayyaana hamaa) are believed to exist.[16] Instances of talk about Devils by Waaqeffataas are generally understood as the borrowing of a religious vocabulary from the adjacent/co-existing major faiths, such as Christianity and Islam. For instance, Waaqeffataa pray to God to prevent them from wrongdoing and errors committed in ignorance. The religion has no room for addressing anxieties and fears arising from the imaginary realm of the devil/evil. For instance, words used in prayers include, “Prevent us from wrongdoing …” (dogogora nu oolchi). In terms of how people experience and understand misfortunes and fortunes (good things) Oromo proverbs capture the peoples’ dependence on Waaqaa. Indeed, the proverbs below indicate how Waaqaa is perceived as the source of good and bad things that happen in real life:[17]

A house that is built by Waaqaa will be completed.

It is Waaqaa who brings hunger;

It is Waaqaa who brings a full stomach.

The one Waaqaa clothes will not go naked.

Who trusts on Waaqaa will not lack anything.

Man wishes, Waaqaa fulfills.

Waaqaa is there [therefore] the sun rises.

It is Waaqaa who makes a person sick;

It is Waaqaa who restores him to health.

Waaqaa is never in a hurry;

But he is always there at the proper time.

There are standard prayers that have been codified in oral tradition and bequeathed down to generations. The codification of prayers, rituals and ceremonies in oral traditions serve the purpose of making Oromo worships definite and unarbitrary. The question of precise transmissions of spoken messages are always up for debates as there are obviously some room for improvisation and modification as the word of mouth (message) travels through time and space. I believe that the improvisation aspect of oral narratives will add an interesting dimension of dynamism to the hermeneutics of Waaqeffannaa.

De Salviac praises the endurance of Waaqeffannaa for many millennia in spite of the oral mode of transmission. De Salviac aptly critiques the West for generally believing that the sole sources of “valid” or “authentic” knowledge are written texts (books) as follows: “We, accustomed to the cycle of knowledge by turning pale over the books, our careless memory resting on the permanence of typography, we hardly take into account the power of tradition, which sufficed, for centuries, for the civilization of many peoples. With the Oromo, religious and secular traditions are formulated in thousands of short sentences …”[18]

What I understand from De Salviac is that Western or modern industrialized societies privilege written knowledge. His critique is on tangent because preference for written and formal communication in the West will certainly shape intervention policy-making, official diplomacy and the attitudes of interveners towards indigenous cultures. Third party interveners with fixed or rigid approaches are not only likely to disrespect and shun local knowledge systems, but they are also likely to impose rigid and unproductive conflict resolution processes developed in the context of limited civilizations.

One can only anticipate the stiff resistance that locals are likely to put up against Western models in today’s Africa where there is an increasing awareness about the importance of self-reliance and going back to the roots in order to solve indigenous problems. The true superficiality of strict Western models of dialogue, mediation, problem-solving workshop can be revealed by observing how in most of Africa’s peripheries cut of modern laws, bureaucracies and infrastructures, people thrive on the strong indigenous knowledge systems. This is how most conflicts are resolved and how people do communal work in either irrigating the land or protecting the environment. In the contexts of corrupt and partisan politics, these efforts by local people to overcome the daily challenges must be given credit because some of them are providing themselves important social services that that their governments have failed to provide them. In any effort of conflict resolution or peacemaking in such dire circumstances, it is imperative to bring local knowers (the wise men and women) into the sphere of diplomacy and peacemaking.

Prayers, sometimes synonymously called blessings or benedictions, in the form of litany and chants are integral parts of indigenous communities. Every communal activity whether it is weddings, funerals or dances and music begins with blessings or prayers. Eebba is aimed moderating the way people relate to each other at certain venues and beyond. They are about building constructive relationships even in times of wars. Here are some examples of Oromo prayers/blessings of different periods and crowds’ responses.

Pre-colonial prayers[19]:

Ya Waaq, have pity on us;              Yes, yes, have pity on us

Ya Waaq, bless us;                          Yes, yes, bless us.

Ya Waaq give us happy days;             Yes, yes, happy days.

Ya Waaq in our discussions inspire us;  Yes, yes, inspire us.

Ya Waaq in our counsel give us light;            Yes, yes, give us light.

Ya Waaq bring back rebellious son to his father; Yes, yes, bring back.

Ya Waaq bring back unruly son to his mother;   Yes, yes, bring back.

Ya Waaq to good man give cows;                  Yes, yes, give.

Ya Waaq preserve our house from ruin;                     Yes, yes preserve.

Contemporary prayers:[20]

Yes! Yes! Yes!

God of Nature and of Creations;

Waaqaa who created the Haroo Walaabuu (lake)[21];

Waaqaa who let us spend the night in peace;

Let us spend the day in peace;

Prevent us from entering into fatal errors;

Guard us against straying from the right path;

Guard us against mistakes/wrongdoings;

May the Creator we pray to hear us!

May Waaqaa guard us against the harmful!

May Waaqaa bring good things our way!

May children (the little ones) grow up!

May the grown-ups live longer!

May the ignorant know!

May experts/the wise last!

May Kormaa (uncustrated bull) reproduce!

May pregnancies stay healthy and hold!

Let Him keep away harmful things!

Gadaa (social system) is the system of rain and peace!

The year is the year of abundance/development and full stomach.

These contemporary prayers cited from the Waaqeffannaa magazine are powerful. They are usually used in order to open any public/communal gatherings secular and spiritual. This is how things are called to order. The religious prayers give authority or credibility to whatever event that is to take place. At the center of this messaging is reaching the hearts and minds of parties to an event by cleansing the air of any hard feelings and ensuring that the heart and minds are softened and ready for the secular or non secular events and exchanges that will proceed from that.

Historically, Oromos made ecumenical pilgrimages to holy sites of Abbaa Muudaa, Spiritual Father,[22] in order to receive blessings for them and to bring back blessings into their communities with them. Blessings are still considered serious religious activities that serve as glues of social life. Spiritual Fathers can give blessings to people on a range of personal and communal matters: such as long life, being alive, more property and wealth, peace in the household, on productions (calves, children, crops).

I have not come across modern mediation, negotiation or other third party intervention processes that start with prayers. Obviously, if blessings are not built into the processes, an attempt at conflict resolution in African societies, such as the Oromo, will be in vain. In the first place, people will not recognize what is not authorized and endorsed by their own knowledge system. Most importantly, empowering and funding Abbaa Mudaas or elders to engage in conflict resolution is likely to be accepted and bear fruit because of the tremendous reputations these people wield in society. They are highly regarded in society and leaving them out of official processes simply works against peace.

In Waaqeffannaa, one sees from the content of the payers and blessings above that most of them take on the nature of what Gopin succinctly characterizes as “Premordial prosocial moral/spiritual values.”[23] Although many of the conflicts in Ethiopia (Africa) are not religiously driven, the application of religious values will have a huge impact on conflicts driven by ethnicity, nationalisms and competition over resources and power. People listen when one reaches out and talks to them at their own level. Gopin provides a detailed critique of why current modern conflict resolution approaches fail to understand the importance of using prosocial religious values in the context of the Arab/Israel conflict in the Middle East, but his appraisal also holds true for the Horn of Africa region, where the volatility and intractability of conflicts are comparable to the ones in the Middle East. Among the important reasons Gopin cites are the West’s refusal to recognize non-Western models and knowledge systems. Gopin articulates the consequences of modern cultures failure to reckon with indigenous religious and cultural systems as follows:

As religion becomes more important in the lives of hundreds of millions of people, the political power generated by this commitment will either lead to a more peaceful world or to a more violent world, depending on how that power is utilized … Methods of peacemaking that continue to focus only on political and intellectual elites or that fail to address the broadest possible range of religious believers are leading to systematic and potentially catastrophic diplomatic failures in key areas of the world … [24]

Survival through Religious Diversification and Rituals

It is accurate that Waaqeffannaa and similar Africa indigenous religions are being reincarnated and are slowly starting to become explicitly important in the lives of so many people. Religious traditions, including those from indigenous religions, form the bedrock of the values of those Africans who converted to Christianity and Islam. Often these values moderate the foreign values associated with the cultures from which these major religions originated. It is not just the Waaqeffataas who only follow the indigenous religion, but a swathe peoples seem to have accepted double or triple religious lives. They shuttle between various religious and cultural values in their daily decision-makings so as to adapt to changing socio-economic circumstances. Pointing to the loose nature of individual’s and group’s negotiations between multiple religious identities, Aguilar[25] presents a case of the importance of “religious diversification for survival” among the Kenyan Boran/Oromo in northern Kenya. Aguilar provides the best illustration for survival and adaptation by accepting diverse religious values. He cites how Muslim and Waaqeffaannaa parents send their children to Catholic schools in northern Kenya and that the children do perfectly well shuttling between religious worldviews without facing physical dangers.[26] The same religious rituals performed by followers of Waaqeffannaa form the cores of the rituals and daily cultural practices of the followers of Islam and Christianity, as a mechanism of preserving and transmitting their identity. For instance, some of the religious traditions and rituals kept by Oromo communities who converted to major religions in north Kenya include similar types of blessings, prayers, and peacemaking through rituals of coffee beans-slaughtering and symbolic prayers.[27] These subtle practices of syncretism not only form the core identity of Oromo in north Kenya and connect them to the mainland (Oromia-Ethiopia), but they also play stabilizing roles in a families and communities there.[28]

The phenomenon of syncretism/ “religious diversification” serves as a survival strategy where minority communities cut off into another country from the mainstream because of colonial map-making try to cope with the alien majority they are swallowed up by. The case of Kenyan Oromos imitating the Waaqeffannaa values of the mainland is an example of such an essential survival strategy. Aguilar puts this as, “It is clear that the strategy of diversification provides the household (and a manyatta [place of settlement]) with security should something happen to either of the herds.”[29]

It is no accident that somebody whom an outsider may perceive as a follower of one religion is actually found at the crossroads of multiple religious values. It takes a deeper look to discern such subtle and significant dynamics. For an intervener who has no interest or who is not patient to take time and learn, the subtlety of the power of tradition will ever remain inaccessible. Because one has no access to the right cultural tools, the very people he/she trying to reach and help will become inaccessible and unresponsive, especially if one attempts to impose some ivory-tower (imported) conflict resolution framework or process on local situations. People have been handling their affairs everyday for centuries independently of outsiders. To assume that they somehow do not or their methods are not in par with modern approaches will defeat the purpose of thinking to help others in the first place.

Safuu in Peacemaking and Social Harmony

This section analyzes the role of Safuu as one of the key elements of Waaqeffannaa. Safuu is a prosocial variable that needs a deeper analysis to see its roles in indigenous peacebuilding. Safuu is a broad concept that governs relationship in and between families, communities, national groups and relationship between people and nature and things.

Bartels provides a nuanced anthropological definition of the term Safuu:[30]

Saffu is a fundamental and all-pervading concept in the Matcha’s [Oromo] life. It implies that all things have a place of their own in the cosmic and social order, and that they should keep this place. Their place is conditioned by the specific ayana [good spirit] each of them has received from Waaqaa. Every creature, and especially man, has to act according to its own ayana and to respect the others’ ayana. Saffu implies both rights and duties. In the people’s eyes wisdom is ‘knowing saffu and abide [sic] by it.’

Gemetchu Megerssa, a leading Oromo anthropologist and former research assistant to Lambert Bartels, probably influenced by Bartels himself, states that safuu is one of the key founding concepts in Oromo culture and Waaqeffannaa tradition.[31] Bartels’ definition is more encapsulating, while it shares one central common feature with Megerssa’s definition, “… the concept of saffu(mutual relationship between elements of the social and cosmic orders) which maintains practice obligatory [sic] through ethical conduct.” They both agree that safuu governs relationships between people and people, and people and nature, but Megersa introduces a newer and more specific idea of safuu as “an ethical conduct.”

Another leading expert on Waaqeffannaa, Bokku quotes Bartels directly and extends the concept of Safuu to broad areas of “morality”, “norm” and “laws” that govern social and ecological order.[32] Bokku states his extended definition building on Bartels: “Safuu is the understanding of differences and appreciation of differences for the peaceful coexistence of all natural things.” For Bokkuu, as opposed to man-made laws “safuu is not subject to change.” He concludes that safuu as laws of nature is necessary for the “smooth operation of life”, which is harmony. Everyone invokes the notions that Safuu owes its authority over social relationship because it derives from the will or the spirit of God (ayyaanaa). Thus, experts agree that Safuuis one of the fundamental principles of Oromo culture that governs relationships and keeps society together.

In Waaqeffannaa in particular and Oromo culture in general, it is believed that “breaking safuu would cause some sort of trouble.”[33] Breaking safuulaws is seen as committing sin. The consequences of breaking various categories of safuu are understood as generating unhappy reactions from God. In Waaqeffannaa when someone sins, God turns His back on him/her. The meaning behind this is that if one misses the face of God, it means that one lacks ayyana (a guardian, blessings or will of God). This core law encourages people to maintain friendly relationships between themselves and with nature. Safuu is a law of rights and obligations. Since Safuu is not something in people, but something between them, it is assumed to promote collective harmony. Paying attention to the concept of “sin” in the meaning system of Waaqeffannaa is important because it comes from the Oromo word, “‘balleessuu’, which actually means ‘to destroy, to damage, to spoil’”[34]

When one engages in destructive activities one is considered to be destroying, damaging, and spoiling relationships between at least three parties: God, creation (nature) and other human beings. In Oromo life, not damaging relationship between oneself and creations is given more importance than not damaging relationship between human and God.[35]

The Dynamisms of the Indigenous Faith System

It is hard to understand how one can be effective in conflict resolution in Africa without having at least the working knowledge of important key principles governing all-rounded relationships, such as safuu. Religious values of Waaqeffannaa may not require so much hermeneutic transformation because they already exist in pro-social form. Keeping natural and social orders is already a stringent requirement on top of acceptance for differences of any sort.

In Waaqeffannaa, destroying (for example killing humans in conflict) is prohibited by the religion’s laws. Those who violate traditional laws and destroy anything will face alienation and banning from God as well as from fellows humans. They are denied opportunities to sit and eat at a table with family members and others; they become social outcasts. My evidence does not suggest any anti-social principles/laws in the Waaqeffannaaworldview so far. Even some of the curses that are put on people have the goal of ensuring social harmony and can be viewed positively. If I had come across anything that says, “if you kill your enemy or someone, God will reward you with heaven or sainthood or some other rewards,” I would have paused and thought, this is a justification for war and destruction that needs to be hermetically transformed. Transformation may be due if violence is made into something sacred. In my opinion the values of this religion particularly those about safuu are poised to play important peacebuilding and relationship-building roles at least in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.

One can think of the lack of written scriptures (there are oral ‘scriptures’) for African religion as both advantages and disadvantages. In terms of the creativity and improvisation of transmissions of oral values/laws, the lack of written scriptures is an advantage because followers or leaders of indigenous religions will have the ability to interpret the concepts in ways that meet the physical and spiritual needs of their time. But that can also be a disadvantage since some lament that African could not have converted to Christianity and Islam if they had written scriptures and transformed their religions into organized faith systems.[36]

The question of whether Africans had concepts of God or not or whether they were ‘pagan hordes’ as the colonialists viewed them is now an outdated and irrelevant question because a number of scholars have produced research revealing that indeed Africans had believed in one God even before the advent of Middle Eastern religions.[37] Mbiti’s findings are credible because he stayed in Africa for 15 years and conducted studies on about 300 African communities and their belief systems.

Because indigenous African religions, including Waaqeffannaa, lack written scriptures, culturally biased scholars who judge everything according to Western standards may think religions, such as Waaqeffannaa, are inferior, static and things of the past. In rebuttal, one can respond to that arguing that oral mode of transmission makes African religions dynamic, ever-changing and ever-adapting to social changes even after some converted to other faiths. This happens because African religions do not punish defections and because their religious leaders are less likely to make claims to the permanence of specific oral texts or think of the values/traditions of their religion as the only “Truth” to die for.

About the locus of the existence of African religions, Mbiti writes, “Religion in African societies is written not on paper but in people’s heart, minds, oral history, rituals, and religious personages like the priests, rainmakers, official elders … African religions have neither founders nor reformers.”[38]Mbiti’s notion of the lack of founders and reformers can be contested because it could be that founders and reformers might have existed millennia ago and simply no written records were kept about them. The key point here is that words of mouth are dynamic. The best way to reach the hearts and minds of the vast peoples of rural Africa should be through oral traditions and spoken language. The prevalent practice by third party interveners shows an opposite tendency of bureaucratizing everything and transmitting messages via the written medium (forms and documents) through the agency of “rational professionals”.

Authors caution against viewing Waaqeffannaa religious traditions as part of a static tradition of the past[39], and encourage us to view them as dynamic traditions that are continually changing based on wider experiences that are part of their present. Aguilar is succinct about the advantages of the dynamism of Waaqeffannaa’s hermeneutics: “… traditions are transmitted, never as static forms but as changeable manifestations of an Oromo religion [Waaqeffannaa] that interacts [sic] with other traditions and other ethnic groups, and therefore becomes capable of reshaping society itself.”[40]

Lessons for Conflict Resolution

The values and laws of Waaqeffannaa identified and analyzed in this research suggest the importance of recognizing African indigenous religious systems and the prosocial contributions of their values and laws to conflict resolution.

I deliberately tried not to impose a theoretical framework over my analysis although my approach was influenced by hermeneutics.[41] Engaging in peacemaking in indigenous African communities requires the use of what Gopin, drawing on Lederach, calls “elicitive and cross-cultural methods.”[42] Concepts such as safuu, the Waaqeffannaa worldview, prayers, blessings, harmony are predominantly about building relationships between people and people, and them and nature. The most effective way of arriving at these principles and using them in interventions is to do one’s best to involve indigenous peoples, religious leaders, elders and parties to conflict and to elicit from them the best practices they have evolved over centuries in peacemaking.

Indigenous African religions are caught up in multipronged challenges, such as lack of recognition from interveners, states and richer and more organized religions despite their prevalence and appeal to many African communities. Established conflict resolution methods, such as mediation, negotiation, facilitation, problem-solving workshop and dialogue, are often too Western, rationalistic, elitist and foreign to accommodate other grassroots approaches to peacemaking, such as obeying safuu. If we look at official mediation, for instance, we find the reliance on rigid processes and professionals as its main features. Such formal stages may include collecting data, building hypothesis about a conflict, searching for theories, selecting theory, making intervention, and verifying and nullifying hypothesis.[43] It is not necessarily bad to prepare for mediation in stages, but when everything is prefigured, there is a danger of learning very little on the field while doing the intervention itself. In most rationalistic conflict resolution methods listed above, the immediate settlement of conflict is desired. This may turn out to be a shortcoming because long-term relationship-building and peacemaking, which is the hallmark of indigenous systems, are and sidelined.

Limitation of the Indigenous Religion

The most important limitation of many African indigenous religious values and traditions, including Waaqeffannaa, is that the practice of peacemaking is inbound to groups in which these traditions originated. There are also perceptions and tendencies to associate the good prosocial aspects of religious principles this religion with ethno-nationalist competitions of the day, and therefore, to readily dismiss them as unrepresentative of the whole. A much productive approach, however, is to see the commonalities of multiple African religious traditions and to take key principles from each of them and combine them in order to make everyone feel good about their faiths. There is so much to learn from this culture if one is willing to follow the elicitive path to conflict resolution.

The second obvious limitation is the lack of written scriptures and the challenges of accessing oral scriptures for outsiders due to language barriers, but which can still be overcome with translators and interpreters.

Thirdly, African indigenous religions have not been given the places they deserve in some continental interfaith organizations whose member religions tend to be organized and rich major religions. For instances, the United Religious Initiative (URI) Africa chapter, an international faith network that operates in 25 African countries, professes that it aims to look for solutions to Africa’s challenges at community levels in the areas of corruption, human rights violation, poverty and HIV/AIDs[44], but unfortunately no indigenous African religious tradition from any community is represented by such an important organization. The network carries it activities in Africa through major faiths, such as Christianity and Islam. Another domestic (Ethiopian) interfaith network, Interfaith Peace-building Initiative (IPI), a member of the URI, has no indigenous Ethiopian religions (Waaqeffannaaincluded) as its members.

The problem with URI and IPI is not only a simplistic and envious question of who is represented or who is not, but it appears that the mentioned interfaith networks have been systematically coopted and used to advance the interests of the Ethiopian state since Ambassador Mussie Hailu is serving simultaneously as the Regional Director of URI and the Board Chair of IPI.[45] The more intractable and absurd aspect of IPI is that it is an interfaith organization as far as the major religions are concerned, but the founders and its leaders are members of a single ethno-national group who are publicly known to lean toward the ruling party from the same group. This is a clear negative messaging to others in Ethiopia where the issues of ethnicity are sensitive. To be sure, it is possible to have an interfaith organization with wonderful goals like IPI, but with ethno-nationalist ideological agenda at same time. That will do more to keep peoples apart than bring them together.

Despite its growing popularity in Oromiya regional state, the most populous in Ethiopia, Waaqeffannaa’s attempts to transform itself into an organized religion have failed many times so far because the Ethiopian state has first denied and then revoked the license of the group citing that its leaders sympathize with the Oromo Liberation Front[46], a secular rebel group in conflict with the government on the question of autonomy and self- determination for Oromiya.

Conclusion

Waaqeffannaa’s pro-social principles, laws and values did and will contribute to building constructive relationships between communities. In addition to improving human relations, laws, such as safuu, that emphasize the need to maintain good relationship with nature, can be extended and used in areas of environmental conflict resolution, specially where climate change is threatening pastoralist and agrarian communities in many observable ways today.

I explored and discussed the ways in which the egalitarian but respectful views of God by Waaqeffataas can be helpful in curbing extremist tendencies. Neither oral scriptures of the religion nor its leaders condone acts of violence as something leading to rewards or sainthood. Prayers and blessings function as authoritative moderators and they can be used in opening and closing any intervention efforts. Waaqeffannaa is a very pragmatic religion whose most themes are linked to and earthbound to the material conditions of people. Therefore, people in conflict may have the same questions they want answered through prayers to be answered through interventions.

The potential and capacity of the religion in national or regional peacemaking is promising if it be recognized and the multi-pronged obstacles in its way are removed.

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References

Abu-Nimer, Mohammed. Nonviolence and Peace Building in Islam: Theory and Practice. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003.

Aguilar, Mario I. The Politics of God in East Africa: Oromo Ritual and Religion. Trenton, N.J.: The Red Sea Press, 2009.

Appleby, Scott R. “Retrieving the Missing Dimension of Statecraft: Religious Faith in the Service of Peacebuilding.” In Faith-Based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik, ed. Douglas Johnston, 2003. Oxford: OUP.

____ The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence and Reconciliation. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000.

Bartels, Lambert. Oromo Religion: Myths and Rites of the Western Oromo of Ethiopia-An Attempt to Understand. Berlin: Dietrich Reamer Verlag, 1983.

Bokku, Dirribi Demissie. Oromo Wisdom in Black Civilization. Finfinne, Ethiopia: Finfinne Printing & Publishing S.C., 2011.

De Salviac, Martial. An Ancient People: Great African Nation: the Oromo. Translation from the 1901 original French edition by Ayalew Kanno. Paris, the French Academy, 2005.

Douglas, Johnston. Faith-Based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Gopin, Marc. Between Eden and Armageddon: The Future of World Religions, Violence and Peacemaking. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

____ Holy War, Holy Peace: How Religion Can Bring Peace to the Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Megerssa, Gemetchu. “Oromumma: Tradition, Consciousness and Identity.” In Being and Becoming Oromo: Historical and Anthropological Enquiries, Edited by P.T.W. Baxter, Jan Hultin and Alessandro Triulzi. Lawrenceville, N.J.: The Red Sea Press, 1996.

Montville, Joseph V. “Psychoanalytic Enlightenment and the Greening of Diplomacy.” In The Psychodynamics of International Relationships, Eds. Vamik D. Volkan, Demetrios A. Julius, and Joseph V. Montville. Lexington Mass.: Lexington Books (1990-1991): 177-192.

Moore, Christopher W. The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict. 3rd Ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

MTA. Waaqeffannaa: Ayyaana Irreechaa Birraa, 2010.Vol. V. No. 1. Finfinnee: MTA, 2010. (trans. Waaqeffannaa: Thanksgiving Holiday of Fall 2010.)

Sandole, Dennis J.D. “Paradigm, Theories, and Metaphors in Conflict and Conflict Resolution: Coherence or Confusion?” In Conflict Resolution Theory and Practice, Ed., Dennis Sandole. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, (1993): 3-24.

Stenger, Mary Ann. “Gadamer’s Hermeneutics as a Model for Cross-Cultural Understanding and Truth in Religion.” In Religious Pluralism and Truth: Essays on Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Religion, Ed., Thomas Dean. New York: State University of New York Press, (1995): 151-168.

Volkan, Vamik D. “Psychological Processes in Unofficial Diplomacy Meetings.” In The Psychodynamics of International Relationships, Eds. Vamik D. Volkan, Demetrios A. Julius, and Joseph V. Montville. Lexington Mass.: Lexington Books (1990-1991): 207-219.

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Footnotes

[1] De Salviac, 1901:43; Bartels, 1983:89; Bokku, 2011: 54). The two previous books on Oromo religion (now named Waaqeffannaa) by European missionaries are widely regarded as authoritative secular scholarly sources closest to the source ever to be published on an indigenous African religion of antiquity. Bokku adds his own recent perspectives on the religion and revises his predecessors’ perspectives without altering the essence of their work.

[2] Bokku, 2011:54.

[3] Bartels, 1983:91.

[4] Bokku,2011:73.

[5] De Selviac, 1901;155.

[6] De Selviac, 1901:173, emphasis in the original.

[7] Bartels, 1983:108

[8] Haberland 1963 in Bartels, 1983:108.

[9] Bartels, 1983:108-109.

[10] Bartels, 1983: 109.

[11] Bartels, 1983;107

[12] Bokku, 2011: 66. The quote was an English translation the author provides from the Afaan Oromoo (Oromo language) version, which runs:“Gurraacha garaa garbaa, leemmoo garaa taliilaa, tokkicha maqaa dhibbaa, guddicha hiriyaa hinqabne, kan waan hundaa beeku, kan waan hundaa gochuu danda’u, kan bakka maraa jiru, kan hinkufine, kan hinduuneefi kan hincabne.”

[13] see footnote number 11.

[14] P.T.W. Baxter, Age, Generation and Time, 155 in Aguilar, 2009:13).

[15] De Salviac, 1901:153, 163; Bartels, 1983:96; Bokku, 2011:66-67; Megerssa, 1996:92-103.

[16] De Salviac, 1983:120; Bokku, 2011: 67.

[17] Bartels, 1983:95.

[18] De Salviac

[19] De Salviac, 1901:163.

[20] Translated by me from Afaan Oromoo into English from the Waaqeffannaa magazine, p i.

[21] Haroo Walaabuu is considered the origin of Oromo community and the source of all walking humans on earth. It plays an important symbolic/mythic role in standard prayers. Water bodies are considered sources of life.

[22] De Salviac, 1901:177.

[23] Gopin, 2000:84.

[24] Gopin, 2000:35.

[25] Aguilar, 2009:13-32.

[26] Aguilar, 2009:28.

[27] See footnote 24

[28] Augilar, 2009:

[29] Ibid., p.27.

[30] Bartels, 1983:170.

[31] Megersa, 1996:96-97.

[32] Bokku, 2011:75.

[33] See footnote 31.

[34] Bartels, 1983:339, Bokku, 2011:76.

[35] Bartels, 1983:339.

[36] Bokku, 2011: 61.

[37] Mbiti, 1992:29.

[38] Mbiti, 1992:4.

[39] Megerssa, 1996:98; Aguilar, 2009:5.

[40] Aguilar, 2009:5

[41] Stenger, 1995.

[42] Gopin, 2000:60-61.

[43] Moore,2003:66

[44] URI. “Purposes and Activities.” http://www.uri.org/cooperation_circles/explore_cooperation_circles/region/africa

[45] IPI Ethiopia. http://www.ipiethiopia.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=111&Itemid=110

[46] U.S. Department of State on Religious Freedom in Ethiopia, 2010: 4.

‘Nagaa Oromoo’ from Raya to Mombasa as We Welcome New Season, Irreecha 2014! September 2, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ancient Egyptian, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Boran Oromo, Gabra Oromo, Irreecha, Irreecha (Irreesa) 2014, Irreecha (Irreessa) 2014, Meroetic Oromo, Munyoyaya Oromo, Orma Oromo, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo Nation, Oromummaa, Rayya Oromo, Waata Oromo, Wardei Oromo.
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‘Nagaa Oromoo’ from Raya to Mombasa as We Welcome New Season, Irreecha 2014!

Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com |

From the Gadaa.com Editor’s Notebook

While researching about the Oromo tribes in Kenya, we ran into a video of Orma Oromo men engaged in friendly fighting competitions, where two men fight to see who will tackle their opponent first. Such a fighting match does also exist as a proud cultural element of the Raya Oromo, who nowadays speak Tigrigna or Amharic, which they have picked up from their neighbors in the North and West, respectively.

Gadaa.com

It’s to be noted that there are at least five Oromo tribes, in addition to the Borana and Garba, which call Kenya home. These five tribes, including their traditional homes, are listed below (alphabetically).

These tribes have been given many names over the last century-and-half by several authors, mainly without asking the people the name refers to (the same way the derogatory name for the Oromo made its way into academic works). The reason for this mix-up was primarily as a result of the use of second-hand sources, instead of the people themselves. It’s the task of the OromoQeerroo to conduct the researches on its own to learn about its own people’s history and roots.

Krapf, one of the early European travelers to Central Oromia (near the Tulama-land) and the southern Oromo tribes north of the Mombasa in the Tana Delta region in the 1850′s, had studied extensively about the Oromo on both sides of the border; he had published one of the early dictionaries of Oromo – one for each Oromo dialect. The dictionary by Krapf in Kenya was with Swahili and Afan Oromo. Unlike Krapf, many Kenyans do not have any idea about the ingenious Oromos who call Kenya home, and who are also their fellow citizens, in the Tana River, Isiolo and Marsabit regions; their only exposure to ‘Oromo’ is through the Ethiopian regime’s propaganda of the violence it inflicts in southern Oromia.

Reclaiming ‘Nagaa Oromoo’
Qeerroo (of both sides of the border) is at a historic position to reclaim the lost ‘Nagaa Oromoo’across the East African region; this historic mission will lead not only to the revival of Oromummaain the region, but also to the renaissance of Cushitic peoples in East Africa. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ was disrupted by the invasion of Abyssinian warlords and the subsequent aggression of Abyssinian warlords – which still continues to this day. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ is not only for Oromo; the Oromo people believe that, if their neighbor is not at peace, they are not at peace. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ is not only for humans, but also for other living things and the environment. There is no peace when other living things and the environment where one thrives on and lives with – are exploited and polluted by reckless actions, like the one imposed on the Oromo Nation by Woyane thugs. ‘Nagaa Oromoo’from Raya to Mombasa as we welcome the new season, Irreecha 2014!

The Oromo Nation opposes the TPLF Ethiopian regime’s Addis Ababa Master Plan to annex the Oromo-land in Central Oromiyaa and to demographically alter the ethnic makeup of the region. Such genocidal campaigns disturb ‘Nagaa Oromoo’, and the Oromo people (old and young) will fight to regain ‘Nagaa Oromoo’ in the region.

The five tribes (in addition to the Borana and Garba) in Kenya:

1) Munyoyaya: live in the Tana River County near Garissa, Anole and Kora, and adjacent to the Orma tribe. One can listen to “Afan Munyoyaya” here; the linguistic similarity with Afan Oromo is unmistakable at a glance; more studies need to be conducted.

2) Orma: live in the Tana River County, north of the Galana River and West of the Tana River. Linguists have studied the Orma dialect of Afan Oromo, and some dictionaries are also available.

3) Waata: live in the Tana River County (a sub-group of Orma); live near the Kipini area by the Indian Ocean (by the north of Mombasa).

4) Wardei: live in the Tana River County; though Wardeis speak mainly Somali, they believe they are Oromo. As in the case of the Raya and Wollo of northern Oromia, Wardei have adopted their neighbor’s language; however, Wardeis trace their ancestry to Oromo.

Report on Wardei in Swahili:
5) Waso Boran: live in the Isiolo County. According to the book, “Being Oromo in Kenya” by Mario Aguilar, Waso Boran have still maintained many of the cultural elements of Oromummaa.

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The following map below is from early 2000′s and shows the approximate distributions of Oromo in the Ethiopian Empire and Kenya:

Distribution of Oromo in Ethiopia & Kenya

‘Nagaa Oromoo’ from Raya to Mombasa as we welcome the new season, Irreecha 2014!

 

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Waaqeffannaa (Amantii Oromoo):The traditional faith system of the Oromo people August 10, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ancient Egyptian, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Black History, Chiekh Anta Diop, Culture, Development & Change, Finfinnee, Gadaa System, Irreecha, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Language and Development, Macha & Tulama Association, Meroe, Meroetic Oromo, Nubia, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Social System, Oromummaa, Prof. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis, Safuu: the Oromo moral value and doctrine, State of Oromia, The Oldest Living Person Known to Mankind, The Oromo Democratic system, The Oromo Library, Wisdom.
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Waaqeffannaa (Amantii Oromoo), the traditional faith system of the Oromo people, is one version of the monotheistic African Traditional Religion (ATR), where the followers of this faith system do believe in only one Supreme Being. African traditional religion is a term referring to a variety of religious practices of the only ONE African religion, which Oromo believers call Waaqeffannaa (believe in Waaqa, the supreme Being), an indigenous faith system to the continent of Africa. Even though there are different ways of practicing this religion with varieties of rituals, in truth, the different versions of the African religion have got the following commonalities:

 

– Believe in and celebrate a Supreme Being, or a Creator, which is referred to by a myriad of names in various languages as Waaqeffataa Oromo do often say: Waaqa maqaa dhibbaa = God with hundreds of names and Waaqa Afaan dhibbaa = God with hundreds of languages; thus in Afaan Oromoo (in Oromo language) the name of God is Waaqa/Rabbii or Waaqa tokkicha (one god) or Waaqa guraachaa (black God, where black is the symbol for holiness and for the unknown) = the holy God = the black universe (the unknown), whom we should celebrate and love with all our concentration and energy

 

– No written scripture (ATR’s holy texts are mostly oral), but now some people are trying to compose the written scripture based on the Africans’ oral literature.

 

– Living according to the will of the Supreme Being and love also those who do have their own way of surviving by following other belief systems, which are different from that of the Waaqeffannaa. It includes keeping both safuu (virtues) and laguu (vices); i.e. to love safuu as well as to hate and abhor cubbuu (sin).

 

– Correspondence with the Supreme Being in times of a great need (i.e. in times of natural calamities, unexplained deaths) and try to walk always on the karaa nagaa (on the way of peace = on the way of righteousness, on the road of truth).

 

– Having a devout connection with ancestors; in case of Oromo, the ancestors are all ways blessed and celebrated for the good inheritance we got from them, but not worshiped as some people want to mis understand.

 

The word “culture” is most commonly defined as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group; different cultures are the distinct ways that classified people living in different parts of the world, that represented their experiences and acted creatively. African peoples have got our own culture, which distinguish us from other parts of the world, of course also having our own sub-cultures among ourselves. Aadaa Oromoo (Oromo culture) being one part of the Cush culture is one of the sub-cultures within the common African culture, which consists also the faith system of Waaqeffannaa as part and parcel of the Oromo/African culture.

 

Waaqeffannaa’s interaction with other religions

According to the expert opinions written up to now, the concept of monotheism is the whole mark of African Traditional Religion including the faith system of the Cush nations. It seems that this concept of monotheism have moved from Cushitic black Africans (including the Oromo) first to ancient Egypt, secondly, further to Israel of the Bible and lastly to the Arab world of Koran. The experts tell us that Moses was not the first monotheist, but Akhenaten was the first revolutionary monotheist; they even claim that Moses might have been black. It is also argued that Moses was an Egyptian Pharaoh known as Akhenaten before the exodus. Additionally, they do argue that Akhenaten’s monotheism revolution in Egypt was not inspired from inside, but induced from outside by the Cushites, i.e. Akhenaten might have derived his monotheism concept from Africa’s/Oromo’s concept of Waaqa tokkicha in a form of “Waaq humna malee bifa hin qabu (God has no physical form, but power).” This concept may have been misinterpreted so that the other religions later started to talk about God with a physical form.

 

It is also interesting to observe many similarities between some old Egyptian words and Afaan Oromo words; for instance, the similarities of the ancient Egyptian words “Anii and Matii” with the Oromo words of “Ana (Ani) and Maatii.” Anii of Egyptians, which means I (I am who I am), that is equivalent to God is similar to the Oromo word Ani, which also means I and refers to the first person singular (the actor = the main character of GOD). Matii being the designation of God’s congregation and the Oromo word Maatii for the family which is the “congregation” of ani (first person = God) are surprisingly the same. This is only one of many similarities between Oromo and Egypt registered by experts till now. It is not my intention to talk about this historical relationship here, but just to show the relation between Oromo’s traditional religion and the three Abraham religions, even though Judaism is not part of the current religions practiced by the Oromo. It means the new acceptance of both Christianity and Islam by Africans is the coming back of the same belief in Waaqa tokkicha to Africa in different forms.

 

This historical relation between Amantii Oromoo and the two big religions of the world suggests that Waaqeffannaa is the older version of monotheism and humanism. Waaqeffannaa as a faith system and Irreechaa as a major national celebration were part and parcel of Oromo public life. Now, some Oromo nationals prefer the name Amantii Oromo/Amantii Africa to Waaqeffannaa. It is important if we all can agree to call the Oromo traditional religion as Amantii Oromo/Amantii Africa, just like we agreed on calling our language Afaan Oromo and our country Biyya Oromo. So in short, we can say: Our land is Biyya Oromo, our language is Afaan Oromo and our religion is Amantii Oromo. It is known that some people may argue by saying “how can we call it Amantii Oromo, when we do see that more than half of the Oromo nowadays have Christianity and Islam as their religion?” Are Oromo with other first language rather than Afaan Oromo not Oromo, despite their lost Afaan Oromo? Should we say just because of these Oromo, who nowadays speak only English, German, Amharic, etc., that Oromo language is not Afaan Oromo? The same way, it is not logical not to call Oromo religion as Amantii Oromo because of the Oromo who overtook other religions. Actually, the designation Waaqqeffannaa (believing in and living with Waaqa) can also be applied to Christian Oromo and Islam Oromo even though most of the Islam Oromo prefer the name Rabbii to the name Waaqa. They all are believers in Waaqa = God = Allah = Rabbii. Amantii Oromo differs only because of its specificity for it is the older Oromo faith embedded in only Oromo/African culture without any influence from alien culture.

 

The fact to be accepted here is that God is universal even though we call HIM Waaqa, Rabbii or Allah. But, Amantii Oromo is the way how our forefathers believed in this universal Waaqa of humankind. We don’t have God or Waaqa, who is specific only to Oromo/Africa and doesn’t care for other nations. Waaqa is the God of nations. But, we Oromo do have a specific way and culture regarding how we do practice our belief in Waaqa. This way of practicing our faith is what we call Amantii Oromo. Amantii Oromo is simply the Oromo way of practicing the faith in the universal Waaqa. It is part of the Oromo way of dealing with the problems of life (it is part of Aadaa Oromo). Accordingly, aadaa (culture) can also be defined as the way, in which a certain collective or group of people deals with its own life problem.

 

The difference between this Amantii Oromo and the other two big religions practiced by Oromo is that the other two got not only the faith in one God, but also the elements of cultures from the people in which they first emerged. We can see here the Arabs accepted the concept of Waaqa tokkicha while still keeping pre-Mohammad Arab culture in Islam, which is far different from Oromo/from African culture, but Islam practiced by Oromo in Oromia is colored by Arab culture for it is adopted from there. Interestingly, this is the difference between Islam Arab and Islam Oromo; Islam Arabs adopted only the concept of Waaqa tokkicha from Cush of Africa/Egypt/Israel, but don’t seem to exercise alien culture from these areas, whereas Islam Oromo tend to adopt both the faith and the culture from Arabs. Egyptians and Israelis, who accepted the concept of the same Waaqa tokkicha, also do practice their faith being colored by their own previous culture; they don’t seem to practice Cush culture; but again Christianity practiced in Oromia is mostly colored by the culture of the Israelis, the Habeshas as well as by that of the Western world for Christian Oromo tend to adopt not only the faith, but also the alien culture.

 

That is why it is not actually bad that some Oromo nationals accept and believe in the two monotheist religions (Christianity and Islam) per se, but not good is giving more value to the culture of the nations from which the religions come to us, at the cost of the very valuable Aadaa Oromo. Of course, good elements of foreign cultures can be accommodated without damaging the good elements of our own. For instance, the similarity between dibbee Qaallu (Qaallu’s drum) and the beat of Tigrinya music shows how Tegarus have inherited and kept some elements of Oromo’s culture. This can verify that the suggestion of Donald Levine, who in his book called Greater Ethiopia wrote that “Tegarus are part of the Cushites of the Old Testament who denied their identity”, may be true. After all, why do they call their mother Aadde? Where does the name Barentu in Eritrea come from? Are they only inheritance of names or were they part of the lost Oromo/Cush? Anyways, it is good to follow the advice given once by Luba Shamsadin. He said (paraphrased here), when we try to accept religions from other nations, we have to identify and separate “the bone of the fish from the meat”; i.e. we need to identify and leave the unnecessary cultural elements of other nations, which are usually mixed with their religions we Oromo do tend to accept and adopt.

 

So as it is put here in short,

Waaqeffannaa (believe in one Waaqa of the universe) is practiced not only among the Cush nations, but also among almost all African nations. This faith system of Africans including Waaqeffannaa has been devalued as something “paganism, barbarism, religionlessness, uncivilization, Godlessness, animism, primitivism, etc”. The black color, which is the symbol of holiness in Waaqeffannaa was/is demonized as a symbol for Satan. All the blessing ceremonies of Waaqeffannaa and the utensil used for the blessings are condemned as a service, an instrument and worshiping of demons/Satan. Despite this denigration, the current revival of Waaqeffannaa and the celebration of Irreechaa in Oromia can be a good example-setting for the other African nations to revive their hitherto devalued and almost lost culture and religion.

 

To serve this purpose of revival, the right way of Waaqeffannaa (believing in, celebrating of and living with Waaqa) must be cleaned from alien non-constructive elements as well as from non-productive practices and rituals like that of “qaalichaa” (infiltrating idolatry), which are not serving the purpose of Waaqa in our personal or national life. That means, we have to differentiate Waaqeffachuu (realizing God’s purpose in our life) from waaqessuu (serving alien gods). Waaqeffachuu is applying Waaqa’s goodwill in our practical life, whereas waaqessuu is making someone or something be our Waaqa, i.e. practicing idolatry. The Oromo people in general have never had an idol to worship, but always had only one Waaqa to believe in and to celebrate. Of course, there are very few Oromo individuals nowadays tending to practice waaqessuu. Such purification of the African faith system from unimportant and useless elements must be done in all versions of the practices and rituals among all African nations.

 

Concept of God in Waaqeffannaa

To make Waaqeffannaa a little bit clear, here is a short narration about this faith system in practice. Oromo nationals practicing this faith do talk about Waaqa tokkicha, which is one of the evidences for the faith to be monotheism, just as the Christianity and Islam are. The concept of God among these believers is summarized by their usual saying: “Waaq humna malee bifa hin qabu.” These believers do not misinterpret Waaqa tokkicha as an expression of physical form for even the whole nature as a physical form is also an expression of his power. The believers and the Qaalluu or Qaallitti (local spiritual leader) are usually very lovely; specially the leaders are simply like a love in person. All their followers are selfless people full of good deeds and love; they do talk about Waaqa, calling him as abbaa koo (my father), and they usually do pray for children saying: “akka ijoollee keenyaa eebbisuuf abba keenya gaafanna (let’s ask our father to bless our children),” they usually don’t say “abba keenya kadhanna (let’s beg our father).”

 

Whenever they are challenged by life problems, they do assert by saying: “Waaq abbaan keenya eessa dhaqeetu (our God is not far away)”, denoting that Waaqa is always ready to help his children. They some times also talk as prophets in a way: “Abbaan keenya akkas jedha, ani sin wajjin jira, ani nan sin gargaara (our father says, I am with you and I will help you)”. According to them, the spiritual father is Waaqa garaa gurraachaa, i.e. Waaqa with holy heart, symbolized with black color, most of whose holiness is unknown to humans. Knowledgeable believers do tell that the concept “Waaqa gurracha garaa garba (black God with heart like ocean)” actually refers to the unknown future. What Waaqa may bring in the future is unknown, and that is signified by black color. Here, garaa garba is also about the unknown. One couldn’t know what is inside the body of water from afar. This point of view seems to be the reason for the color black in the Oromo tricolor to signify the unknown future.

 

In some regions of Oromia, there are a lot of congregations visited by Oromo at some big houses called gimbi (galma) which have got different names: gimbii diloo, maram, abbaa jama, hiike, etc; the spiritual practices done there include the following: dalaguu (dancing), irreenssa kennu (green leaf as a gift), wareeguu (offerings), hammachiisaa (blessing babies), gashaa (delicious food brought to gimbi), etc. Actually, people go to such gimbi regularly carrying green leaves of Irreensaa. In this culture, green grass or green leaf is a powerful symbol for life and prosperity, and it is an element present in all public rituals of Waaqeffataa Oromo, including funerals and prayers of remembrance, during which grass is spread on the ground or grave. The above listed different names of gimbi are Oromo spiritual holy places and palaces, which are equivalent to temple, church and mosque. In all the places mentioned, everyone prays to Waaqa. The practices mentioned above are just variations of spiritual practice to Waaqa.

 

It is also to be observed among the practicing Waaqeffattaa how balanced is their way of discussion and relationship. During sorts of discussions, they often discuss very wisely. For example, when they give comments, here is a sample of how they do: “Ilaa, kanaa fi sana waan gaarii jette. Haa ta’u malee, kunimmoo otoo akkana ta’e wayya (here and there you said good, but it is better if this one be so and so)”. They do not denigrate the opinion of the other side, but tell the better alternative to the opinion they do disagree with. They do tolerate the mistake of others and just tell the consequence of the mistake. As far as they are concerned, there is always cubbuu (sin) in their consciousness, but no concept for hell or condemnation after death. This simply implies that we all do experience the consequence of our trespasses regarding the safuu (virtues) and laguu (vices) expected from us during our life time.

 

Not to suffer such consequences of cubbuu, Waaqeffattaa Oromo have got a lot of very well said prayers in their practical life activities. The following are very few of the impressive prayers in the day to day life of the Oromo, which need to be presented here as examples. They are usually heard from the believers of Amantii Oromo, and they are almost similar to what the believers in Christianity and Islam do pray, let alone the similarity of the greatly formulated prayers we do hear during Irreechaa celebration with what the Christian Qesis and the Islam Sheiks usually do pray:

 

– Yaa Waaq kan dubbatee nu dubbachiisu fi kan hamaa nutti yaadu nurraa qabbi (God keep us from those who speak evil and make us speak the same).

 

– Yaa Waaq mirga nu oolch (help us to walk on the right way); hamaa nurraa qabi (protect us from evil).

 

– Yaa Rabbii, ilmi ga’e haa fuudhu (Oh God, let the young man be married), dubarri geesse haa heerumtu (let the young woman be married), this prayer shows howimportant family building for human blessing is.

 

– Yaa Waaq, ani galee, kan galee hin rafne narraa qabi; ani rafee kan rafee hin bulle narra qabi (I am now at home to sleep, save me from the evil ones who didn’t yet be at their home and didn’t sleep).

 

– Yaa Waaq galgala koo hin balleessiin (let my old age not be cursed), this is related with the conse -quence of cubbuu. The believers are asking Waaqa to help them stay away from cubbuu so that their “galgala (late age)” will not be bad/painful. Here we see something similar with the native American’s culture. They say: “when you came to this world, you cried and everybody else laughed; live your life so that when you leave this world, you laugh and everyone else cries”; i.e. to say live your life free from cubbuu and its conse -quence (suffering), the life style which leads you to the blessing in your old age.

 

This prayers indicate the fact on the ground how Oromo look at Waaqa and at the human-being. Waaqa is conceived as a holy father with whom we can correspond during our day to day life problems or when ever we face calamities or difficulties for his will is always good, whereas human-beings can be with either bad or good intention in relation to each other. Both Gadaa and Qaalluu institutions look at all individuals as human with equal rights in front of Waaqa; that is why there is no a “respect form” of addressing human-being or God in Afaan Oromo, just as there is non in English language. After losing our sovereignty, the Oromo people had to learn how to “respect” authority figures. For there is no such option in Afaan Oromo, we had to use plural verbs to address the authority figures. Even Abbaa Gadaa (chief of the government) and Abbaa Mudaa (the spiritual leader) were addressed as “ati = you in a singular form,” not as “isin = you in a plural form.” Today, we have to address our fellow human being with certain authority as “isin” to show “respect.” It is not bad if such addressing would have been mutual/symmetrical as for instance it is in German language. But such “respect,” which we are now applying is asymmetrical (only the authority figure is addressed with the “respect” form, whereas the authority figure can address the other person without using the “respect” form. Where it is the reality that we don’t use the “respect” form during addressing our Waaqa, as seen in the above prayers, why should we bother to use it in addressing our fellow human being? It would be better if we leave this culture, which we adopted from others with authoritarian culture in contrast to our own egalitarian one. Our concept of Waaqa doesn’t allow us to behave so submissively to any human being, who is equal to us.

 

Virtues and Vices of Waaqeffannaa

Here in short, safuu (virtue) can be defined as the “to do list” in order to serve Waaqa and to achieve his kaayyoo/goal in our personal and national earthly life; whereas laguu (vice) is the “not to do list” or the taboo, so that we can refrain from doing such activities diverting us from the kaayyoo Waaqa for our life. Cubbuu (sin) then in short includes both not doing the safuu and doing the laguu. Just as an example, if we take bilisummaa (national freedom) as Waaqa’s kaayyoo for the Oromo nation, what are the safuu and the laguu to be respected? If the kaayyoo of Waaqeffannaa is individual healing from any sort of illness, what are the safuu and the laguu, which both the healer and the sick person should respect?

 

In order to look at the virtues and vices of the traditional Oromo/African belief system for our earthly life, let us now try to describe Waaqeffannaa as we experienced it and knew it. Note that all the descriptions and notions we try to put here on paper are based on our own argaa-dhageetti (based on our own perception), which may differ from that of the other Oromo nationals. For instance, we could observe that Oromo is a nation filled with celebrations of eebba (blessing), who do have different celebrations for almost everything and everybody related to our life. For instance, taaboree as a blessing ceremony for young boys; ingiccaa for blessing young girls; ayyaana abbaa for blessing the ancestors for the good inheritance we got from them; ateetee for blessing our women; borantichaa for blessing adult men; jaarii looni for blessing our useful animals; jaarii qe’e or jaarii kosii for blessing our residence area; jaarii midhaani to bless our farms; garanfasa mucucoo as a celebration of the rainy season and, of course, gubaa and irreechaa for celebration of the coming birraa (the coming spring season) etc. We hope that Oromo students of anthropology, sociology and theology will make a scientific research on these blessing ceremonies and tell us the constructive and non-constructive elements of the activities in them.

 

But, let us mention few of the virtues (positive aspects) of Waaqeffannaa in our earthly life time. Here the reference point to judge certain elements as negative or positive is the position of the purpose, which Waaqa do have for our personal and national life, i.e. based on the kaayyoo (goal) our Waaqayyoo do have for us. To elaborate this relationship between kaayyoo and Waaqayyoo, we can ask: is Waaq-aayyoo our ka-ayyoo / is our ka-ayyoo the Waaq-ayyoo? It is about knowing what purpose we do serve in our daily life both cognitively and behaviorally, as individuals or as a nation. Be it that we do think and walk at political, religious or private level, we do try to serve certain purpose in life. In order to identify that purpose, we only need to be conscious about it, reflect on it and ask our selves: whom do we privately or collectively serve in our endeavors? Do we serve Waaqa’s purpose for us or that of the others’? Simply put, which purpose should we serve? Fortunately the hitherto cumulative knowledge and wisdom of different societies in general and that of the Oromo society in particular tell us what we ought to serve: i.e. to serve Waaqa’s purpose which is good for us as an individual and as a collective. This good purpose is given a sacred name and it seems to be what people call the will of Waaqa.

 

As a support for this assertion, we can look at an example written in the Bible of Christians, that states : “God is my objective”. Is this to be understood also as: “my objective is God”? Can we say that our good personal or political purpose is the will of Waaqa, whom we ought to serve? To comprehend this, it is no where clearly written other than in Afaan Oromo. Surprisingly the words kaayyoo and Waaqayyoo in our language do indicate to have the same source. As we know, the short word KA is the name given by our Cushitic ancestors to God and the word aayyoo is, of course, the name given to a mother, who does wish all good things for her children and does plan and try to fulfill it. So KA can be defined as the Supreme Being, which has good purpose for ayyoo’s children. This purpose is the “Goodness” for her children. So KA-ayyoo is God’s will (his good objective to her beloved children). The term Waaqayyo is the short form of waan-KA-ayyoo (what is planned from KA for aayyoo and for her children). So we can see that the good end, we have to serve, can be called kaayyoo from Waaqa. So the will of Waaqa is simply to be defined as the good end we should choose to serve as part of the balanced universe created by HIM.

 

To fulfill this service to the good end, fortunately the best thing we do observe among Waaqeffataa Oromo is the work-ethics they do have to achieve the purpose of Waaqa in their earthly life, specially in the life areas of career and family. They do love to be the best in both life areas; they love their family and most of them are very enthusiastic to be successful in their profession. They usually say “Waaq taa’i taa’i namaan hin jedhin (let HE not make us idle);” simply put, diligence is part of safuu and to be idle and lazy is part of laguu. We know that there are certain contamination from other cultures to be practiced as rituals contradicting this virtue and which are not serving the purpose of Waaqa for us. That is why we do recommend not only the revival of this marvelous belief system, which was the creation of our forefathers, but also we do suggest a necessary reformation to make the faith system to be fit, so that it can help us to cope with the 21st century challenge and situation. Waaqa’s creation and his keeping the balance of the universe is still going on, so that HE demands also a dynamic creative work from his creature, from the human being. Another impressive virtue of Waaqeffannaa necessary to be mentioned is its relation with nature and its persuasion to help us keep the environment healthy; it is the faith system which is simply through and through green.

 

Waaqeffannaa’s position on the life after death

According to this belief system, we all will live further after death as ekeraa (in a form of soul/spirit) with our father, with Waaqa, without any possibility of punishment in hell. We recently read Martial De Salviac’s translated book, in which he wrote “Oromo invariably believe that they will go to heaven.” So, the consequence of our cubbuu is not losing eternal life, but suffering in our earthly life. To Waaqeffataa Oromo, Waaqa is the one who wants us not to do a collective cubbuu, but expects us to protect the balanced nature, in which HIS power is manifested. The wisdom that guides Waaqeffataa Oromo in fulfilling this mission seems to be our arga-dhagetti (believe and act on a principle of reality, i.e. based on what we see and hear).

 

According to argaa-dhageetti, the concepts like “cubbuun ni qabdi (sin has got consequence), cubbuun ni sirriqxi (the consequence of sin can be inherited), cubbu abbaatu eeggata or cubbuu irra abbaatu uf eega (everyone should keep him-/herself from committing sin and everybody is responsible for the consequences of the sin he/she commit)” are nice and practical. What we liked most from the principles of Waaqeffannaa is this concept of cubbuu. The consequences of cubbuu are only to be seen here on this earth, not in the coming life after death. There is no hell that Waaqayyoo has prepared to punish the people with cuubbu. This is hilarious and very healing for those who always have to live with the fear of hell or punishment after death.

 

Another interesting aspect of Waaqeffannaa is that we never heard from the practicing believers that they are believing in the presence of an evil spiritual power in the form of Satan, which acts and lives against the almighty power of Waaqa. Accordingly, there is only one sovereign power doing and undoing all things in a universe, that is Waaqa. Unfortunately, the concept Satan is now already spread among the whole Oromo population as a contamination taken from other religions. Waaqeffataa Oromo do believe that the evil things we do experience in life are due to the imbalance of nature as a result of the unwise or wicked deeds of humans as collective, i.e. it is a human cubbuu with its consequences on the earth. That is why they usually ask their Waaqa for wisdom to keep the balance of nature and that HE lead them to only those with good intention and protect them from those with bad intention, for example, in a prayer like: “yaa Waaq tolaa nutti qabi, hamaa irraa nu eegi (God lead who is good to us and keep away who is evil from us). Here it seems that good is someone, who works to keep the balance of nature; and evil is the contrary.

 

According to the faith system of Waaqeffannaa, there is nothing we have to do now to earn eternal life after death; life after death is simply a free gift we got from our father, Waaqayyoo, whom we just need to celebrate and thank as we do daily and during the yearly celebrations like Irreechaa. We also don’t need a savior, who has to suffer and die for us, so that we can get life after death. The only area where we have to work on is trying to live the quality life (the character of the eternal life) according to the will of Waaqa here on earth. To live this quality life, we need to activate our potentials given to us from Waaqa and then walk on the karaa nagaa towards the kaayyoo Waaqa for our life, being free from cubbuu by keeping both safuu and laguu.

 

Further recommendation

The very important aspect of Waaqeffannaa as part of Oromo/African culture is its principle of argaa-dhaggeetti (it is relatively an evidence based faith system, possibly trying to be free from superstition). This principle is about reading the real situations at hand and finding the appropriate solutions for the situations. Waaqeffannaa teaches that only Waaqa is not prone to change for HE is perfect, but all his creature and all the situations are changing with time; that is why his creative action is still going on and that we also need to be in a position to find new solutions for the changed situations. In short, we need to be situation oriented, time oriented and live accordingly. That means, it is good to know the past version of aadaa and Amantii Oromo/Africa; but better is to live and practice the present version of aadaa and Amantii Oromo; of course the best is to create the most beneficial version of aadaa and Amantii Oromo as well as to inherit it to our coming generation. So let’s learn from the past version, live the present version and love to create the future verion of aadaa Oromo in general, and Amantii Oromo in particular.

 

This article is of course coloured by subjective perceptions, so that Oromo nationals are welcome to complement or contradict it. All the sub-titles given in this article need a further meticulous research and study. Through scientific studies, it can be possible to cleanse Waaqeffa -nnaa from certain meaningless rituals adopted from the other sub-cultures, e.g rituals like that of “qaalichaa” (idolatry), xinqolaa (sorcery), etc, where the practitioners are actually making business in the name of the religion. Waaqeffannaa needs not only revival, but also reformation as part and parcel of the ongoing liberation from such sensless practices. Elements, which are against the will of Waaqa for all human-being in general and for African nations in particular must be removed, so that we can say Waaqa bless Oromia/Africa and then live accordingly. Adopting good elements, which serve the will of Waaqa for us, from other cultures and faiths is not bad as it is usually said: “waan gaariin bade hundi kan Oromo ti” (every good thing lost belongs to Oromo). Again, good and bad is defined from the position of the will of Waaqa for our life, i.e. from the position of his kaayyoo in our life, which is always a good purpose.

 

So, only celebrating the holidays and reviving the religion are not enough, if we want to be fit for the present 21st century situation and for the situation in which our future generation will live. Our forefathers created a faith system as part of the solution to their situation; we also need to do the same. So let’s not try to use the same key used by our forefathers in the past to open doors with totally different keyholes at the present and the future or we don’t need to ride a donkey at this age of driving a limousine; in short we need a right solution for the present and the future situations. Our next generation need to inherit from us the latest and modern model/edition/version of our faith system, Waaqeffannaa, which they also can reform, edit and secure for their children and grand children, so that we human-being continue to be as creative as our father, Waaqa.

 

Let’s give a simple suggestion as an example in the required reforming: why can’t we use bundle of flowers for Irreechaa, instead of only grass used by our forefathers? Why don’t we use water or oil, instead of butter to anoint others during the blessing ceremonies just for the sake of hygiene? Why don’t we use candle light or the modern beautifully colored electric light decorations instead of bonfire during wa-maraa (demera)? etc. Now it is a time to have Waaqeffannaa free from non-productive and untimely elements, so that it will be a faith system, which will be accepted and believed by the enlightened and informed Oromo in particular as well as by Africans in general (so that it will be a faith system serving the will of Waaqa for Oromia in particular, and for Africa in general).

 

Last but not least, Waaqeffataa Oromo need to be creative in realizing the will of Waaqa in our life, which is the only way to “evangelize” and convert others to the “karaa nagaa (to the right way) HE wants us to walk. We need to learn from the past (the known part of life, which is symbolized by white color), live the present (the challenging part of life symblized by red color) and love to know the future (the unknown part of life symbolized by black color). The karaa nagaa at this particular era/time includes the virtue of a passinate struggle in life both individually and collectively, not an attitude of the pacifistic stoicism. Waaqeffannaa doesn’t persuade us to do things to secure life after death, but it tells us that our effort and enthusiasm are part of the safuu we have to keep and implement in order to make our life here on earth the excellent success story.

Read the full article from original source @http://gihonpostsite.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/waaqeffannaa-the-african-traditional-faith-system/

 

 

Meroe, Oromo and Old Nubian: Solving the Mystery of Meroitic Language July 23, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Afaan Publication, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Ancient Egyptian, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Black History, Chiekh Anta Diop, Cushtic, Gadaa System, Irreecha, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Language and Development, Meroe, Meroetic Oromo, Oromia, Oromo Culture, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromummaa, Prof. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis, Sidama, State of Oromia, The Goddess of Fecundity, The Oromo Democratic system, The Oromo Governance System.
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Meroe, Oromo and Old Nubian: Solving the Mystery of Meroitic Language
By Dereje Tadesse Birbirso (PhD),  College of Social Science and HumanitiesHaramaya University, Ethiopia
Abstract
 
 Meroitic language is one of the most controversial ancient languages but one of the few having advanced writing systems. Some classify it Asian, European, non-African, Semitic,or ‘unclassified’. This paper contends Meroe, similar to their Cushitic friends, are left victims of preconceived ideas based on an entirely argument from silence, an hegemonic epistemology that elevates a single perspective and silences other(s). This paper, thus,comparatively analyzes Meroitic and Old Nubian lexical and grammatical items with corresponding Oromo, a Cushitic family which, 
a Cushitic family which,vocabulary possibly the Ancientlanguage of the Nile Valley and/or Horn of Africa. Meroitic and Old Nubian lexical, grammatical and epigraphic data were collected from secondary sources by Meroitic researchers. Oromo corpora are obtained both from classical and modern descriptions and native-speakers. Results indicate Oromo lexemes show significant level of cognates with not only Meroitic and Old Nubian, but also with the Ancient Egyptian to their northern part.
Keywords:  Oromo, Meroe, Nubian, Ancient Egyptian, Cushitic, Chiekh Anta Diop
 Related Reference:
The Meroitic Ethiopian Origins of the Modern Oromo NationBy Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

This paper deals, among others, with the development of Meroitic studies, the Meroitic civilization, the destruction of the city of Meroe, the dispersal of the Meroitic people after the collapse of their state, the Christianization of the post Meroitic states, the migration of the remnants of the Meroitic people in the direction of the Blue Nile and their possible relation of ancestry with the modern Cushitic language speaking Oromo nation. It must be stated clearly at the outset that the issue of Meroitic ancestry of the Oromo nation has not been considered, much less published in an academic journal or scholarly books. The paper was first presented in an academic conference organized by the Oromo Studies Association. Footnotes have been added recently.

1. The Development of the Meroitic Studies, the History of Kush and Meroe, and the Efforts to Decipher the Meroitic Scripture

Interest in what was Ethiopia for the Ancient Greeks and Romans, i.e. the Northern territory of present day Sudan from Khartoum to the Egyptian border1, led to the gradual development of the modern discipline of the Humanities that long stood in the shadow of

Egyptology: the Meroitic Studies.

Considerable advances had been made in academic research and knowledge as the result of the exploratory trips of the Prussian pioneering Egyptologist Richard Lepsius2 (1842 – 1844) that bestowed upon modern scholarship the voluminous ‘Denkmäler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien’ (Monuments from Egypt and Ethiopia), and the series of excavations by E. A. Wallis Budge3 and John Garstang4 at Meroe (modern Bagrawiyah) in the first years of the twentieth century, Francis Llewellyn Griffith5 at Kawa (ancient Gematon, near modern Dongola, 1929 – 1931), Fritz Hintze6 at Musawwarat es Sufra, Jean Leclant7 at Sulb (Soleb), Sadinga (Sedeinga), and Djebel Barkal (ancient Napata, modern Karima) in the 1950s and the 1960s, D. Wildung8 at Naqah, and Charles Bonnet at Kerma. . The pertinent explorations and contributions of scholars like A. J. Arkell9, P. L. Shinnie10 and Laszlo Torok11 that cover a span of 80 years reconstituted a large part of the greatness and splendor of this four-millennia long African civilization.

Yet, due to the lack of direct access to original sources and genuine understanding of the ancient history of Sudan, the legendary Ethiopia of the Greeks and Romans, which also corresponds to what was ‘Kush’ of the Hebrews Bible and ultimately ‘Kas’ of the ancient Egyptians12, we face a serious problem of terminology. We are confined to such terms as Period (or Group) A (3100 – 2700 BCE),13 Period B14 (2700 – 2300 BCE that starts with Pharaoh Snefru’s expedition,15 and the beginning of time-honored enmity between Egypt and Kush), Period C16 (2300 – 2100 BCE, when we have no idea to what specific ethnic or state structures the various Egyptian names Wawat, Irtet, Setjiu,Yam, Zetjau, and Medjay refer)17, Period Kerma18 (2100 – 1500 BCE, named after the modern city and archeological site, 500 km in the south of the present Sudanese – Egyptian border). What we know for sure is that, when the first Pharaohs of the New Empire invaded and colonized the entire area down to Kurgus19 (more than 1000 km alongside the Nile in the south of the present Sudanese – Egyptian border), they established two top Egyptian administrative positions, namely ‘Viceroy of Wawat’ and ‘Viceroy of Kush/Kas’. Wawat is the area between Aswan and Abu Simbel or properly speaking, the area between the first and the second cataracts whereas Kas is all the land that lies beyond. With the collapse of the Kerma culture comes to end a first high-level culture and state in the area of Kush.

We employ the term ‘Kushitic Period’20 to refer to the subsequent period: a) the Egyptian annexation (1500 – 950 BCE) that was followed by a permanent effort to egyptianize Kush and the ceaseless Kushitic revolutions against the Pharaohs;

b) the Kushitic independence (950 – 800 BCE, when a state is formed around Napata21, present day Karima, 750 km in the south of the Sudanese – Egyptian border);

c) the Kushitic expansion and involvement in Egypt (800 – 670 BCE, which corresponds mostly to the XXVth – ‘Ethiopian’ according to Manetho22 – dynasty of Egypt, when the Theban clergy of Amun made an alliance with the Kushitic ‘Qore’ – Kings of Napata, who had two capitals, Napata and Thebes);23 and d) the Kushitic expulsion from Egypt (following the three successive invasions of Egypt by Emperors Assarhaddon24 in 671 BCE, and Assurbanipal25in 669 and 666 BCE, and of Assyria, who made an alliance with the Heliopolitan26 priesthood and Libyan princes against the Theban clergy and the Kushitic kings), and gradual decline (following the invasions by Psamtik/Psammetichus II27 in 591 BCE, and the Achaemedian28 Persian Shah Kambudjiyah/Cambyses29 in 525 BCE) until the transfer of the capital far in the south at Meroe, at the area of present day Bagrawiyah (at the end of the reign of Qore Nastasen30between335 and 315 BCE).

We call ‘Meroitic’ the entire period that covers almost 700 years beginning around 260 BCE with the reign of the successors of Nastasen (Arkamaniqo / Ergamenes31 (the most illustrious among the earliest ones and the first to be buried at Meroe / Bagrawiyah), down to the end of Meroe and the destruction of the Meroitic royal cities by the Axumite Abyssinian Negus Ezana32 (370 CE). It is easily understood that ‘Kushitic’ antedates ‘Meroitic’, but the appellations are quite conventional.

The Ancient people of Kush (or Ethiopia) entered into a period of cultural and scriptural radiation and authenticity relatively late, around the third century BCE, which means that the development took place when Meroe replaced Napata as capital of the Kushites / Meroites. Before that moment, they used Egyptian Hieroglyphic scripture for all purposes of writing, administrative, economic, religious and/or royal. The introduction of the Meroitic alphabetic hieroglyphic writing spearheaded the development of a Meroitic cursive alphabetic scripture that was used for less magnificent purposes than palatial and sacred relief inscriptions. The first person to publish Meroitic inscriptions was the French architect Gau33, who visited Northern Sudan in 1819. Quite unfortunately, almost two centuries after the discovery, we risk being left in mysteries with regard to the contents of the epigraphic evidence collected in both scriptural systems.

The earliest dated Meroitic hieroglyphic inscriptions belong to the reign of the ruling queen Shanakdakheto34 (about 177-155 BCE), but archaeologists believe that this scripture represents the later phase of a language spoken by Kushites / Meroites at least as far back as 750 BCE and possibly many centuries before that (hinting at a Kushitic continuity from the earliest Kerma days). The earliest examples of Meroitic cursive inscriptions, recently found by Charles Bonnet in Dukki Gel (REM 1377-78)35, can be dated from the early second century BCE. The latest text is still probably the famous inscription from Kalabsha mentioning King Kharamadoye (REM 0094)36 and dated from the beginning of the fifth century AD, although some funeral texts from Ballana37 could be contemporary if not posterior.

Despite the fact that F. L. Griffith has identified the 23 Meroitic alphabetic scripture’s signs already in 1909, not much progress has been made towards an ultimate decipherment of the Meroitic38. Scarcity of epigraphic evidence plays a certain role in this regard, since as late as the year 2000 we were not able to accumulate more than 1278 texts. If we now add to that the lack of lengthy texts, the lack of any bilingual text (not necessarily Egyptian /Meroitic, it could be Ancient Greek / Meroitic, if we take into consideration that Arkamaniqo / Ergamenes39 was well versed in Greek), and a certain lack of academic vision, we understand why the state of our knowledge about the history of the Meroites is still so limited.

Linguistics and parallels from other languages have been repeatedly set in motion in order to help the academic research. Griffith and Haycock40 tried to read Meroitic using (modern) Nubian. K.H. Priese41 tried to read the Meroitic text using Eastern Sudanese (Beja42 or Hadendawa43); and F. Hintze44, attempted to compare Meroitic with the Ural-Altaic group. Recently Siegbert Hummel45, compared the “known” Meroitic words to words in the Altaic family which he believed was a substrate language of Meroitic. At times, scholars (like Clyde Winters46) were driven to farfetched interpretations, attempting to equate Meroitic with Tokharian, after assuming a possible relationship between the name Kush and the name Kushan47 of an Eastern Iranian state (of the late Arsacid48, 250 BCE – 224 CE, and early Sassanid49, 224 – 651 CE, times)! However, one must state that the bulk of the researchers working on the Meroitic language do not believe that it was a member of the Afro-Asiatic group.

So far, the only Meroitic words for which a solid translation had been given by Griffith and his successors are the following: man, woman, meat, bread, water, give, big, abundant, good, sister, brother, wife, mother, child, begotten, born, feet. The eventual equivalence between Egyptian and Meroitic texts was a strong motivation for any interpretational approach, recent or not. More recent, but still dubious, suggestions are the following: arohe- «protect», hr- «eat», pwrite «life», yer «milk», ar «boy», are- or dm- «take, receive», dime «cow», hlbi «bull», ns(e) «sacrifice, sdk «journey», tke- «love, revere», we «dog». It is clear that vocalization remains a real problem50.

Through the aforementioned we realize why collective works, like Fontes Historiae Nubiorum. Textual Sources for the History of the Middle Nile Region (vols. I – IV, edited by T. Eide, T. Hägg, R.H. Pierce, and L. Török, University of Bergen, Bergen 1994, 1996. 1998 and 2000), are still seminal for our – unfortunately indirect, as based on Ancient Egyptian, Greek, Latin and Coptic texts – knowledge of Meroe.

2. The End of Meroe

Amidst numerous unclear points of the Kushitic / Meroitic history, the end of Meroe, and the consequences of this event remain a most controversial point among scholars. Quite indicatively, we may mention here the main efforts of historical reconstitution.

A. Arkell, Sayce and others asserted that Meroe was captured and destroyed, following one military expedition led by Ezana of Axum.

B. Reisner insisted that, after Ezana’s invasion and victory, Meroe remained a state with another dynasty tributary to Axum.

C. Monneret de Villard and Hintze affirmed that Meroe was totally destroyed before Ezana’s invasion, due to an earlier Axumite Abyssinian raid.

D. Torok, Shinnie, Kirwan, Haegg and others concluded that Meroe was defeated by a predecessor of Ezana, and continued existing as a vassal state.

E. Bechhaus- Gerst specified that Meroe was invaded prior to Ezana’s raid, and that the Axumite invasion did not reach lands further in the north of Meroe51

With two fragmentary inscriptions from Meroe, one from Axum, two graffitos from Kawa and Meroe, and one coin being all the evidence we have so far, , we have little to reconstruct the details that led to the collapse of Meroe. One relevant source, the Inscription of Ezana (DAE 11, the ‘monotheistic’ inscription in vocalized Ge’eze),52 remains a somewhat controversial historical source to be useful in this regard. The legendary Monumentum Adulitanum53, lost but copied in a confused way by Cosmas Indicopleustes54, may not shed light at all on this event. One point is sure, however: there was never a generalized massacre of the Meroitic inhabitants of the lands conquered by Ezana. The aforementioned DAE 11 inscription mentions just 758 Meroites killed by the Axumite forces.

What is even more difficult to comprehend is the reason behind the scarcity of population attested on Meroitic lands in the aftermath of Ezana’s raid. The post-Meroitic and pre-Christian, transitional phase of Sudan’s history is called X-Group55 or period, or Ballana Period and this is again due to lack to historical insight. Contrary to what happened for many centuries of Meroitic history, when the Meroitic South (the area between Shendi56 and Atbara57 in modern Sudan with the entire hinterland of Butana that was called Insula Meroe / Nesos Meroe, i.e. Island Meroe in the Antiquity) was overpopulated, compared to the Meroitic North (from Napata / Karima to the area between Aswan58 and Abu Simbel59, which was called Triakontaschoinos60 and was divided between Meroe and the Roman Empire), during the X-Group times, the previously under-populated area gives us the impression of a more densely peopled region, if compared to the previous center of Meroitic power and population density. The new situation contradicts earlier descriptions and narrations by Dio Cassius 61 and Strabo.62

Furthermore, the name ‘Ballana period’ is quite indicative in this regard, Ballana being on Egyptian soil, whereas not far in the south of the present Sudanese – Egyptian border lies Karanog with its famous tumuli that bear evidence of Nubian upper hand in terms of social anthropology. The southernmost counterpart of Karanog culture can be found in Tangassi (nearby Karima, which represented the ‘North’ for what was the center of earlier Meroitic power gravitation)

In addition, in terms of culture, X-Group heralds a total break with the Meroitic tradition, with the Nubians and the Blemmyes/Beja outnumbering the Meroitic remnants and imposing a completely different cultural and socio-anthropological milieu out of which would later emanate the first and single Nubian state in the World History: Nobatia.

Much confusion characterized modern scholars when referring to Kush or Meroe by using the modern term ‘Nubia’. By now it is clear that the Nubians lived since times immemorial in both Egypt and the Sudan, being part of the history of these two lands. But Nubians are a Nilo-Saharan ethnic / linguistic group different from the Khammitic Kushites / Meroites. At the times of X-Group and during the long centuries of Christian Sudan, we have the opportunity to attest the differences and divergence between the Nubians and the Meroitic remnants. The epicenter of Nubian center, the area between the first (Aswan) and the third (Kerma) cataracts, rose to independence and prominence first, with capital at Faras, nearby the present day Sudanese – Egyptian border, around 450 CE. Nobatia institutionalized Coptic as religious (Christian) and administrative language, and Nubian language remained an oral only vehicle of communication. The Nobatian control in the south of the third cataract was vague, nominal and precarious. Nobatia was linked with the Coptic – Monophysitic Patriarchate of Alexandria.

The Meroitic remnants underscored their difference from the Nubians / Nobatians, and the depopulated central part of the defunct state of Meroe rose to independence in the first decades of the sixth century. Its name, Makkuria, is in this regard a linguistic resemblance of the name ‘Meroe’ but we know nothing more. The Meroitic remnants inhabited the northern circumference of Makkuria more densely, and the gravitation center turned around Old Dongola (580 km in the south of Wadi Halfa), capital of this Christian Orthodox state that extended from Kerma to Shendi (the area of the sixth cataract), so for more than 1000 km alongside the Nile. But beyond the area of Karima (750 km in the south of Wadi Halfa) and the nearby famous Al Ghazali monastery we have very scarce evidence of Christian antiquities. The old African metropolis Meroe remained at the periphery of Makkuria, Alodia and Axumite Abyssinia.

Makkurians highlighted their ideological – religious divergence from the Nubians, by adopting Greek as religious language. They even introduced a new scripture for their Makkurian language that seems to be a later phase of Meroitic. Makkurian was written in alphabetic Greek signs, and the Makkurians preferred to attach themselves to Christian Orthodoxy, and more particularly to the Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria.

Alodia has long been called the ‘third Christian state’ in Sudan, but recent discoveries in Soba, its capital (15 km at the east of Khartoum), suggest that Alodia rose first to independence (around 500 CE) and later adhered to Christianity (around 580 – 600 CE) following evangelization efforts deployed by missionary Nobatian priests (possibly in a sort of anti-Makkurian religious diplomacy). We know nothing of an Alodian scripture so far.

The later phases of the Christian history of Sudan encompass the Nobatian – Makkurian merge (around 1000 CE), the islamization of Makkuria in 1317, and finally the late collapse of Christian Alodia in 1505. The question remains unanswered until today:

What happened to the bulk of the Meroitic population, i.e. the inhabitants of the Insula Meroe, the present day Butana? What occurred to the Meroites living between the fourth and the sixth cataracts after the presumably brief raid of Ezana of Axum, and the subsequent destruction of Meroe, Mussawarat es Sufra, Naqah, Wad ben Naqah and Basa?

3. Reconstruction of the Post-Meroitic History of the Kushitic Oromo Nation

Certainly, the motives of Ezana’s raid have not yet been properly studied and assessed by modern scholarship. The reasons for the raid may vary from a simple nationalistic usurpation of the name of ‘Ethiopia’ (Kush), which would give Christian eschatological legitimacy to the Axumite Abyssinian kingdom, to the needs of international politics (at the end of 4th century) and the eventuality of an Iranian – Meroitic alliance at the times of Shapur II (310 – 379), aimed at outweighing the Roman – Abyssinian bond. Yet, this alliance could have been the later phase of a time honored Meroitic diplomatic tradition (diffusion of Mithraism as attested on the Jebel Qeili reliefs of Shorakaror). What we can be sure of are the absence of a large-scale massacre, and the characteristic scarcity of population in the central Meroitic provinces during the period that follows Ezana’s raid and the destruction of Meroe.

The only plausible explanation is that the scarcity of population in Meroe mainland after Meroe’s destruction was due to the fact that the Meroites in their outright majority (at least for the inhabitants of Meroe’s southern provinces) fled and migrated to areas where they would stay independent from the Semitic Christian kingdom of Axumite Abyssinia. This explanation may sound quite fresh in approach, but it actually is not, since it constitutes the best utilization of the already existing historical data.

From archeological evidence, it becomes clear that during X-Group phase and throughout the Makkurian period the former heartland of Meroe remained mostly uninhabited. The end of Meroe is definitely abrupt, and it is obvious that Meroe’s driving force had gone elsewhere. The correct question would be “where to?”

There is no evidence of Meroites sailing the Nile downwards to the area of the 4th (Karima) and the 3rd (Kerma) cataracts, which was earlier the northern circumference of Meroe and remained untouched by Ezana. There is no textual evidence in Greek, Latin and/or Coptic to testify to such a migratory movement or to hint at an even more incredible direction, i.e. Christian Roman Egypt. If we add to this the impossibility of marching to the heartland of the invading Axumites (an act that would mean a new war), we reduce the options to relatively few.

The migrating Meroites could go either to the vast areas of the Eastern and the Western deserts or enter the African jungle or ultimately search a possibly free land that, being arable and good for pasture, would keep them far from the sphere of the Christian Axumites. It would be very erroneous to expect settled people to move to the desert. Such an eventuality would be a unique oxymoron in the history of the mankind. Nomadic peoples move from the steppes, the savannas and the deserts to fertile lands, and they settle there, or cross long distances through steppes and deserts. However, settled people, if under pressure, move to other fertile lands that offer them the possibility of cultivation and pasture. When dispersed by the invading Sea Peoples, the Hittites moved from Anatolia to Northwestern Mesopotamia; they did not cross and stay in the small part of Anatolia that is desert. The few scholars who think that Meroitic continuity could be found among the present day Beja and Hadendawa are oblivious to the aforementioned reality of the world history that was never contravened. In addition, the Blemmyes were never friendly to the Meroites. Every now and then, they had attacked parts of the Nile valley and the Meroites had had to repulse them thence. It would rather be inconceivable for the Meroitic population, after seeing Meroe sacked by Ezana, to move to a land where life would be difficult and enemies would wait them!

Modern technologies help historians and archeologists reconstruct better the ancient world; paleo-botanists, geologists, geo-chemists, paleoentomologists, and other specialized natural scientists are of great help in this regard. It is essential to stress here that the entire environmental milieu of Sudan was very different during the times of the Late Antiquity we examine in our approach. Butana may look like a wasteland nowadays, and the Pyramids of Bagrawiyah may be sunk in the sand, whereas Mussawarat es Sufra and Naqah demand a real effort in crossing the desert. But in the first centuries of Christian era, the entire landscape was dramatically different.

The Butana was not a desert but a fertile cultivated land; we have actually found remains of reservoirs, aqueducts, various hydraulic installations, irrigation systems and canals in Meroe and elsewhere. Not far from Mussawarat es Sufra there must have been an enclosure where captive elephants were trained before being transported to Ptolemais Theron (present day Suakin, 50 km in the south of Port Sudan) and then further on to Alexandria. Desert was in the vicinity, certainly, but not that close.

We should not imagine that Ezana crossed desert areas, moving from the whereabouts (vicinities?) of Agordat, Tesseney and Kessala to Atbarah and Bagrawiyah, as we would do today. And we should not imagine the lands in the south of present day Khartoum, alongside the White Nile, were easy to cross in the antiquity. In ancient times, impenetrable jungle started immediately in the south of Khartoum, and cities like Kosti and Jabalayn lie today on deforested soil. At the southernmost confines of the Meroitic state, pasturelands and arable land could be found alongside the Blue Nile Valley.

Since jungle signified death in the antiquity, and even armies feared to stay overnight in a forest or even more so in the thick African forest, we have good reason to believe that, following the Ezana’s raid, the Meroites, rejecting the perspective of forced christening, migrated southwestwards up to Khartoum. From there, they proceeded southeastwards alongside the Blue Nile in a direction that would keep them safe and far from the Axumite Abyssinians whose state did not expand as far in the south as Gondar and Tana lake. Proceeding in this way and crossing successively areas of modern cities, such as Wad Madani, Sennar, Damazin, and Asosa, and from there on, they expanded in later times over the various parts of Biyya Oromo.

We do not imply that the migration was completed in the span of one lifetime; quite contrarily, we have reasons to believe that the establishment of Alodia (or Alwa) is due to the progressive waves of Meroitic migrants who settled first in the area of Khartoum that was out of the westernmost confines of the Meroitic state. Only when Christianization became a matter of concern for the evangelizing Nobatians, and the two Christian Sudanese states were already strong, the chances of preserving the pre-Christian Meroitic cultural heritage in the area around Soba (capital of Alodia) were truly poor; then another wave of migrations took place, with early Alodian Meroites proceeding as far in the south as Damazin and Asosa, areas that remained always beyond the southern border of Alodia (presumably around Sennar). Like this, the second migratory Meroitic (Makkurian) wave may have entered around 600 CE in the area where the Oromos, descendents of the migrated Meroites, still live today.

A great number of changes at the cultural – behavioral levels are to be expected, when a settled people migrates to faraway lands. The Phoenicians had kings in Tyre, Byblos and their other cities – states, but introduced a democratic system when they sailed faraway and colonized various parts of the Mediterranean. The collapse of the Meroitic royalty was a shock for the Nile valley; the Christian kingdoms of Nobatia, Makkuria and Alodia were ruled by kings whose power was to great extent counterbalanced by that of the Christian clergy. With the Meroitic royal family decimated by Ezana, it is quite possible that high priests of Apedemak and Amani (Amun) took much of the administrative responsibility in their hands, inciting people to migrate and establishing a form of collective and representative authority among the Meroitic Elders. They may even have preserved the royal title of Qore within completely different socio-anthropological context.

4. Call for Comparative Meroitic-Oromo Studies

How can this approach, interpretation, and conclusion be corroborated up to the point of becoming a generally accepted historical reconstitution at the academic level? On what axes should one group of researchers work to collect detailed documentation in support of the Meroitic ancestry of the Oromos?

Quite strangely, I would not give priority to the linguistic approach. The continuity of a language can prove many things and can prove nothing. The Bulgarians are of Uralo-Altaic Turco-Mongolian origin, but, after they settled in Eastern Balkans, they were linguistically slavicized. Most of the Greeks are Albanians, Slavs, and Vlachians, who were hellenized linguistically. Most of the Turks in Turkey are Greeks and Anatolians, who were turkicized linguistically. A people can preserve its own language in various degrees and forms. For the case of languages preserved throughout millennia, we notice tremendous changes and differences. If you had picked up Plato and ‘transferred’ him at the times of Linear B (that was written in Mycenae 800 years before the Greek philosopher lived), you should be sure that Plato would not have understood the language of his ancestors with the exception of some words. Egyptian hieroglyphics was a scripture that favored archaism and linguistic puritanism. But we can be sure that for later Pharaohs, like Taharqa the Kushite (the most illustrious ruler of the ‘Ethiopian’ dynasty), Psamtik, Nechao, Ptolemy II and Cleopatra VII, a Pyramid text (that antedated them by 1700 to 2300 years) would almost be incomprehensible.

A. National diachronic continuity is better attested and more markedly noticed in terms of Culture, Religion and Philosophical – Behavioral system. The first circle of comparative research would encompass the world of the Kushitic – Meroitic and Oromo concepts, anything that relates to the Weltanschauung of the two cultural units/groups under study. A common view of basic themes of life and a common perception of the world would bring a significant corroboration of the Meroitic ancestry of the Oromos. So, first it is a matter of history of religions, African philosophy, social anthropology, ethnography and culture history.

B. Archeological research can help tremendously too. At this point one has to stress the reality that the critical area for the reconstruction suggested has been totally indifferent for Egyptologists, Meroitic and Axumite archeologists so far. The Blue Nile valley in Sudan and Abyssinia was never the subject of an archeological survey, and the same concerns the Oromo highlands. Certainly modern archeologists prefer something concrete that would lead them to a great discovery, being therefore very different from the pioneering nineteenth century archeologists. An archeological study would be necessary in the Blue Nile valley and the Oromo highlands in the years to come.

C. A linguistic – epigraphic approach may bring forth even more spectacular results. It could eventually end up with a complete decipherment of the Meroitic and the Makkurian. An effort must be made to read the Meroitic texts, hieroglyphic and cursive, with the help of Oromo language. Meroitic personal names and toponymics must be studied in the light of a potential Oromo interpretation. Comparative linguistics may unveil affinities that will lead to reconsideration of the work done so far in the Meroitic decipherment.

D. Last but not least, another dimension would be added to the project with the initiation of comparative anthropological studies. Data extracted from findings in the Meroitic cemeteries must be compared with data provided by the anthropological study of present day Oromos. The research must encompass pictorial documentation from the various Meroitic temples’ bas-reliefs.

To all these I would add a better reassessment of the existing historical sources, but this is not a critical dimension of this research project.

I believe my call for Comparative Meroitic – Oromo Studies reached the correct audience that can truly evaluate the significance of the ultimate corroboration of the Meroitic Ancestry of the Oromos, as well as the magnificent consequences such corroboration would have in view of

a) the forthcoming Kushitic Palingenesia – Renaissance if you want – in Africa,

b) the establishment of a Post – Colonial African Historiography, and – last but not least –

c) the Question of the Most Genuine and Authoritative Representation of Africa in the United Nations Security Council.

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NOTES

1. To those having the slightest doubt, trying purely for political reasons and speculation to include territories of the modern state of Abyssinia into what they Ancient Greeks and Romans called “Aethiopia”, the entry Aethiopia in Pauly-Wissowa, Realenzyklopadie der klassischen Altertumwissenschaft consists in the best and irrevocable answer.

2. http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/information … karl.html; http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Richard_Lepsius; parts of the Denkmaeler are already available online: http://edoc3.bibliothek.uni-halle.de/bo … start.html. Also: http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/LEO_LOB/L … 1884_.html. The fact that the furthermost point of ‘Ethiopia’ he reached was Khartoum is of course quite telling.

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._A._Wallis_Budge; he wrote among the rest a book on his Meroe excavations’ results, The Egyptian Sudan: its History and Monuments (London, 1907).

4. Mythical figure of the British Orientalism, Garstang excavated in England, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and the Sudan; Albright, William Foxwell: “John Garstang in Memoriam”, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 144. (Dec., 1956), pp. 7–8. Garstang’s major articles on his Meroe excavations are the following: ‘Preliminary Note on an Expedition to Meroë in Ethiopia’, Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 3 (1911 – a), ‘Second Interim Report on the Excavations at Meroë in Ethiopia, I. Excavations’, Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 4 (1911 – b), ‘Third Interim Report on the Excavations at Meroë in Ethiopia’, Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 5 (1912), ‘Forth Interim Report on the Excavations at Meroë in Ethiopia’, Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 6 (1913), and ‘Fifth Interim Report on the Excavations at Meroë in Ethiopia’, Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 7 (1914). His major contribution was published in the same year under the title ‘Meroë, the City of Ethiopians’ (Oxford). A leading Meroitologist, Laszlo Torok wrote an entire volume on Garstang’s excavations at Meroe: Meroe City, an Ancient African Capital: John Garstang’s Excavations in the Sudan.

5. Griffith was the epigraphist of Grastand and had already published the epigraphic evidence unearthed at Meroe in the chapter entitled ‘the Inscriptions from Meroë’ in Garstang’s ‘Meroë, the City of Ethiopians’. After many pioneering researches and excavations in various parts of Egypt and Northern Sudan, Faras, Karanog, Napata and Philae to name a few, he concentrated on Kerma: ‘Excavations at Kawa’, Sudan Notes and Records 14.

6. Basically: www.sag-online.de/pdf/mittsag9.5.pdf; among other contributions: Die Inschriften des Löwentempels von Musawwarat es Sufra, Berlin (1962); Vorbericht über die Ausgrabungen des Instituts für Ägyptologie der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in Musawwarat es Sufra, 1960-1961 (1962); ‘Musawwarat es Sufra. Preliminary Report on the Excavations of the Institute of Egyptology, Humboldt University, Berlin, 1961-1962(Third Season)’, Kush 11 (1963); ‘Preliminary Note on the Epigraphic Expedition to Sudanese Nubia, 1962’, Kush 11 (1963); ‘Preliminary note on the Epigraphic Expedition to Sudanese Nubia, 1963’, Kush 13 (1965).

7. As regards my French professor’s publications focused on his excavations at Sudan: Soleb and Sedeinga in Lexikon der Ägyptologie 5, Wiesbaden 1984 (entries contributed by J. Leclant himself); also J. Leclant, Les reconnaissances archéologiques au Soudan, in: Études nubiennes I, 57-60.

8. His recent volume Sudan: Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile, Paris/New York (1997) contains earlier bibliography.

9. Some of his most authoritative publications: ‘A History of the Sudan from the Earliest Times to 1821’, 1961 (2nd Ed.), London; ‘’The Valley of the Nile’, in: The Dawn of African History, R. Oliver (ed.), London. Arkell is mostly renowned for his monumental ‘The Royal Cemeteries of Kush’ in many volumes.

10. Presentation of his ‘Ancient Nubia’ in:

http://www.keganpaul.com/product_info.p … cts_id=33; for a non exhaustive list of Shinnie’s publications:http://www.arkamani.org/bibliography%20 … ia2.htm#S; see also a presentation of a volume on Meroe, edited by Shinnie et alii:http://www.harrassowitz-verlag.de/mcgi/ … 1163879905{haupt_harrassowitz=http://www.harrassowitz-verlag.de/acgi/a.cgi?alayout=489&ausgabe=detail&aref=353.

11. Many of his publications are listed here:

http://www.arkamani.org/bibliography%20 … ia2.htm#S; also here: http://www.arkamani.org/bibliography%20 … ypt4.htm#T. In the Eighth International Conference for Meroitic Studies, Torok spoke about ‘The End of Meroe’; the speech will be included in the arkamani online project, here:

http://www.arkamani.org/arkamani-librar … -meroe.htm.

12. Useful reading: http://www.culturekiosque.com/art/exhib … souda.htm; also: http://www.nubianet.org/about/about_history4.html; see also the entry ‘Kush’ in Lexikon der Aegyptologie and the Encyclopedia Judaica. More specifically bout the Egyptian Hieroglyphic and the Hebrew writings of the name of Kush: http://www.specialtyinterests.net/journey_to_nubia.html. For more recent bibliography:http://blackhistorypages.net/pages/kush.php. Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cush%2C_son_of_Ham.

13. Basic bibliography in:

http://www.arkamani.org/bibliography%20 … y_a_b.htm; http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/PROJ/NUB/NUBX … chure.html.

More particularly on Qustul, and the local Group A Cemetery that was discovered in the 60s by Dr. Keith Seele:http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/qustul.html (by Bruce Beyer Williams). Quite interesting approach by Clyde Winters as regards an eventual use of Egyptian Hieroglyphics in Group A Nubia, 200 years before the system was introduced in… Egypt:http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Bay/7051/anwrite.htm.

14. Brief info: http://www.nubianet.org/about/about_history3_1.html; see also: http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IS/RITNER/Nubia_2005.html; more recently several scholars consider Group B as an extension of Group A (GRATIEN, Brigitte, La Basse Nubie à l’Ancien Empire: Égyptiens et autochtones, JEA 81 (1995), 43-56).

15.Readings:http://www.cartage.org.lb/en/themes/geoghist/histories/oldcivilization/Egyptology/Nubia/nubiad1.htm;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sneferu;ht … %20Snefrue),%201st%20King%20of%20Egypt’s%204th%20Dynasty.htm (with bibliography);http://www.narmer.pl/dyn/04en.htm; for the Palermo stone inscription where we have the Nubia expedition narrative:http://www.britannica.com/ebi/article-9332360; http://www.ancient-egypt.org/index.html (click on the Palermo Stone);http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palermo_stone (with related bibliography).

16. Readings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-Group; http://www.numibia.net/nubia/c-group.htm; http://www.gustavianum.uu.se/sje/sjeexh.htmand http://www.hp.uab.edu/image_archive/ta/tae.html (with designs and pictures); http://www.ancientsudan.org/03_burials_02_early.htm(with focus on Group C burials and burial architecture). See also: http://www.ualberta.ca/~nlovell/nubia.htm;http://www.dignubia.org/maps/timeline/bce-2300a.htm;

17. References in the Lexikon der Aegyptologie. See also: http://www.nigli.net/akhenaten/wawat_1.html; one of the related sources: The Story of an Egyptian Politician, published by T. G. Allen, in: American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Oct., 1921), pp. 55-62; Texts relating to Egyptian expeditions in Yam and Irtet: http://www.osirisnet.net/tombes/assouan … rkouf.htm;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medjay; more in ‘Ancient Nubia: Egypt’s Rival in Africa’(Paperback) by David O’ Connor,http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/092417 … 67-0196731.

18. Brief description: http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/faculty/stsmit … erma.html; http://www.spicey.demon.co.uk/Nubianpag … htm#French (with several interesting links); http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Kerma (brief but with recent bibliography containing some of Bonnet’s publications).

19. Vivian Davies, ‘La frontière méridionale de l’Empire : Les Egyptiens à Kurgus,’ Bulletin de la Société française d’égyptologie, 2003, no157, pp. 23-37 (http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=15281726); about the ongoing British excavations:http://www.sudarchrs.org.uk/page17.html; about the inscription of Thutmosis I: http://thutmosis_i.know-library.net; also:http://www.meritneith.de/politik_neuesreich.htm, and http://www.aegyptologie.com/forum/cgi-b … 0514112733.

20. In brief and with images: http://www.hp.uab.edu/image_archive/um/umj.html; also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kush (with selected recent bibliography) and http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_a … kage=26155 (for art visualization). The period is also called Napatan, out of the Kushitic state capital’s name: http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/kingaspalta.html.

21. To start with: http://www.bartleby.com/67/99.html; http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9054804/Napata;http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/archaeology … apata.html (including references); most authoritative presentation by Timothy Kendall ‘Gebel Barkal and Ancient Napata’ in: http://www.arkamani.org/arkamani-librar … nubia.htm; also: ‘the Rise of the Kushitic kingdom’ by Brian Yare, in: http://www.yare.org/essays/kushite%20ki … Napata.htm. For Karima, notice the interesting itinerary:http://lts3.algonquincollege.com/africa … /sudan.htm, and http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karima.

22. Introductory reading: http://www.ancient-egypt.org/index.html (click on Manetho); http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manetho (with selected bibliography). Among the aforementioned, the entries Manethon (Realenzyklopaedie) and Manetho (Lexikon der Aegyptologie) are essential.

23. For the Ethiopian dynasty, all the related entries in the Lexikon and the Realenzyklopaedie (Piankhi, Shabaka, Shabataka, Taharqa, Tanutamon) are the basic bibliography; see also: http://www.ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/3017.html; the last edition (1996) of Kenneth Kitchen’s ‘The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100–650 BC)’, Warminster: Aris & Phillips Ltd, remains the best reassessment of the period and the related sources. Introductory information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabaka; http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabataka;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taharqa; and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantamani. Also:http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/mentuemhat.html; critical bibliography for understanding the perplex period is J. Leclant lectureship thesis (these d’ Etat) ‘Montouemhat, Quatrieme Prophete D’Amon, (1961)

24. Basics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assarhaddon; the edition of the Assyrian emperor’s annals by R. Borger (Die Inschriften Assarhaddons, Königs von Assyrien, AfO 9, Graz, 1956) remain our basic reference to formal sources. More recently, F. Reynolds shed light on private sources, publishing ‘The Babylonian correspondence of Esarhaddon, and letters to Assurbanipal and Sin-Sarru-Iskun from Northern and Central Babylonia’ (SAA 18, 2004).

25. For the Greater Emperor of the Oriental Antiquity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashurbanipal; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamash-shum-ukin; http://web.utk.edu/~djones39/Assurbanipal.html; until today we have to rely mostly on the voluminous edition of Assurbanipal’s Annals by Maximilian Streck (Assurbanipal und die letzten assyrischen. Könige bis zum Untergang Niniveh, Leipzig,1916); see also M. W. Waters’ Te’umman in the neo-Assyrian correspondence (Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1999, vol. 119, no3, pp. 473-477)

26. Heliopolis (Iwnw in Egyptian Hieroglyphic – literally the place of the pillars –, On in Hebrew and in Septuaginta Greek) was the center of Egyptian monotheism, the holiest religious center throughout Ancient Egypt; it is from Heliopolis that emanated the Isiac ideology and the Atum Ennead. Basic readings: the entry Heliopolis in Realenzyklopaedie and in Lexikon der Aegyptologie; more recently:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliopolis_%28ancient%29.

27. Basic readings: http://www.digitalegypt.ucl.ac.uk/chron … tiki.html; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psammetichus_I;http://www.phouka.com/pharaoh/pharaoh/d … tik1.html; http://www.specialtyinterests.net/psamtek.html (with pictorial documentation). See also: http://www.nubianet.org/about/about_history6.html.

28. Hakhamaneshian is the first Persian dynasty; it got momentum whenCyrus II invaded successively Media and Babylon. Readings:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaemenid_dynasty (with selected bibliography); the 2nd volume of the Cambridge History of Iran is dedicated to Achaemenid history (contents: http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/c … 0521200911.

29. Readings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambyses_II_of_Persia (with bibliographya nd sources). Cambyses invaded Kush and destroyed Napata at the times of Amani-natake-lebte, and his embattled army was decimated according to the famous narratives of Herodotus that still need to be corroborated. What seems more plausible is that, having reached in an unfriendly milieu of the Saharan desert where they had no earlier experience, the Persians soldiers, at a distance of no less than 4000 km from their capital, faced guerilla undertaken by the Kushitic army remnants and their nomadic allies.

30. Nastasen was the last to be buried in Nuri, in the whereabouts of Napata. Contemporary with Alexander the Great, Nastasen fought against an invader originating from Egypt whose name was recorded as Kambasawden. This led many to confuse the invader with Cambyses, who ruled 200 years earlier (!). The small inscription on the Letti stela does not allow great speculation; was it an attempt of Alexander the Great to proceed to the south of which we never heard anything? Impossible to conclude. For photographical documentation:http://www.dignubia.org/bookshelf/ruler … 00017&ord=. Another interpretation: http://www.nubia2006.uw.edu.pl/nubia/ab … 94e6349d8b.

31. Arkamaniqo was the first to have his pyramid built at Meroe, not at Napata. See: http://www.dignubia.org/bookshelf/ruler … 0018&ord=;http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergamenes, He inaugurated the architectural works at Dakka, the famous ancient Egyptian Pa Serqet, known in Greek literature as Pselkhis (http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/dakka.htm), in veneration of God Thot, an endeavour that brought the Ptolemies and the Meroites in alliance.

32. For Abyssinia’s conversion to Christianity: http://www.spiritualite2000.com/page.php?idpage=555, and http://www.rjliban.com/Saint-Frumentius.doc. The Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezana_of_Axum) is written by ignorant and chauvinist people, and is full of mistakes, ascribing provocatively and irrelevantly to Ezanas following territories (using modern names): “present-day Eritrea, northern Ethiopia, Yemen, southern Saudi Arabia, northern Somalia, Djibouti, northern Sudan, and southern Egypt”. All this shows how misleading this encyclopedia can be. Neither southern Egypt, northern Sudan, northern Somalia and Djibouti nor Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia ever belonged to Ezana’s small kingdom that extended from Adulis to Axum, and following the king’s victory over Meroe, it included modern Sudan’s territories between Kessala and Atbara. Nothing more!

33. Richard A. Lobban, ‘The Nubian Dynasty of Kush and Egypt: Continuing Research on Dynasty XXV’: http://209.85.129.104/search?q=cache:4F … clnk&cd=2; these inscriptions were published as early as 1821: E. F. Gau, Nubische Denkmaeler (Stuttgart). Other early publications on Meroitic antiquities: E. Riippell, Reisen in Nubien, Kordofan, &c. (Frankfort a. M., 1829); F. Caillaud, Voyage a Me’roe (Paris, 1826); J. L. Burckhardt, Travels in Nubia, e5fc. (London, 1819); G. Waddington and B. Hanbury, Journal of a Visit to some ‘parts of Ethiopia (London, 1822); L. Reinisch, Die Nuba-Sprache (Vienna, 1879); Memoirs of the Societe khediviale de Geographic, Cairo.

34. Readings: http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/candace.html; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanakdakhete; more analytically:http://www.arkamani.org/arkamani-librar … graphy.htm. The only inscription giving her name comes from Temple F in Naga (REM 0039A-B). The name appears in Meroitic hieroglyphics in the middle of an Egyptian text. See also: Laszlo Török, in: Fontes Historiae Nubiorum, Vol. II, Bergen 1996, 660-662. The first attempts to render full Meroitic phrases into hieroglyphs (not only personal names, as it was common earlier) can be dated from the turn of the 3rd / 2nd century BCE, but they reflect the earlier stage of the development.

35. C. Rilly, ‘Les graffiti archaïques de Doukki Gel et l’apparition de l’écriture méroïtique’. Meroitic Newsletter, 2003, No 30 : 41-55, pl. IX-XIII (fig. 41-48).

36. Michael H. Zach, ‘Aksum and the end of Meroe’, in: http://www.arkamani.org/arkamani-librar … s/Zach.htm. See also:http://www.soas.ac.uk/lingfiles/working … rowan2.pdf. Also: Clyde A. Winters, ‘Meroitic evidence for a Blemmy empire in the Dodekaschoins’ in: http://www.arkamani.org/arkamani-librar … labsha.htm. Kharamadoye was a Blemmyan / Beja king who lived around the year 330 CE, and his inscription was curved on the Nubian/Blemmyan temple at Kalabsha (ancient Talmis) in the south of Aswan; more: M. S. Megalommatis, ‘Sudan’s Beja / Blemmyes, and their Right to Freedom and Statehood’, in: http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/8-16-2006-105657.asp, and in: http://www.sudaneseonline.com/en/article_929.shtml. More general: http://www.touregypt.net/kalabsha.htm.

37. For Ballana: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballana; http://www.numibia.net/nubia/sites_salv … p_Numb=13;http://www.dignubia.org/maps/timeline/ce-0400.htm; http://www.hp.uab.edu/image_archive/fne … ndex.html; for the excavations carried out there: Farid Shafiq, ‘Excavations at Ballana, 1958-1959’, Cairo, 1963: http://www.archaeologia.com/details.asp?id=647.

38. His publications encompass the following:

‘Karanog: the Meroitic Inscriptions of Karanog and Shablul’, (The Eckley B. Coxe Junior Expedition to Nubia VI), Philadelphia, 1911; ‘Meroitic Inscriptions, I, Sôbâ Dangûl’, Oxford, 1911; ‘Meroitic Inscriptions part II, Napata to Philae and Miscellaneous’, Egypt Exploration Society, Archaeological Survey of Egypt, Memoirs, London, 1912; ‘Meroitic Studies II’, in: Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 3 (1916).

39. Readings: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergamenes; http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arqamani; list of sources concerning Ergamenes II: Laszlo Török, ’Fontes Historiae Nubiorum’, vol. II, Bergen 1996, S. 566-567; further: http://www.chs.harvard.edu/publications … tei.xml_1;http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Article/813603; an insightful view: Laszlo Torok, ‘Amasis and Ergamenes’, in: The Intellectual Heritage of Egypt. Studies Kákosy, 555-561. An English translation of Diodorus’ text on Ergamenes (III. 6) is here:http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/diodorus.html.

40. B. G. Haycock, ‘The Problem of the Meroitic Language’, Occasional Papers in Linguistics and Language Learning, no.5 (1978), p. 50-81; see also: http://www.arkamani.org/arkamani-librar … nology.htm. Another significant contribution by B.G.Haycock, ‘Towards a Data for King Ergamenes’, Kush 13 (1965).41. See: K.H.Priese, ‘Die Statue des napatanischen Königs Aramatelqo (Amtelqa) Berlin, Ägyptisches Museum Inv.-Nr. 2249’ in: Festschrift zum 150 jährigen Bestehen des Berliner Ägyptischen Museums, Berlin; of the same author, ’Matrilineare Erbfolge im Reich von Napata’, Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, 108 (1981).

42. Readings: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ … /beja.htm; http://bejacongress.com;

43. Basic reading: Egeimi, Omer Abdalla, ‘From Adaptation to Marginalization: The Political Ecology of Subsistence Crisis among the Hadendawa Pastoralists of Sudan’, in: Managing Scarcity: Human Adaptation in East African Drylands, edited by Abdel Ghaffar M. Ahmed and Hassan Abdel Ati, 30-49. Proceedings of a regional workshop, Addis Ababa, 24-26 August 1995. Addis Ababa: OSSREA, 1996 (http://www.africa.upenn.edu/ossrea/ossreabiblio.html).

44. F. Hintze, ‘Some problems of Meroitic philology”, in: Studies in

Ancient Languages of the Sudan, pp. 73-78; see discussions: http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Bay/7051/mero.htm, andhttp://www.soas.ac.uk/lingfiles/working … rowan2.pdf.

45. In various publications; see indicatively: ‘Die meroitische Sprache und das protoaltaische Sprachsubstrat als Medium zu ihrer Deutung (I): Mit _quivalenten von grammatikalischen Partikeln und Wortgleichungen’, Ulm/Donau (1992).

46. See: http://www.geocities.com/athens/academy … ersc2.html (with extensive list of publications).

47. Readings: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/kush/hd_kush.htm (with further bibliography); http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kushan_Empire;http://www.kushan.org; (with pictorial documentation) http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/kush/hd_kush.htm;http://www.asianart.com/articles/jaya/index.html (with references).

48. Readings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arsacid_Dynasty; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthia; authoritative presentation in Cambridge History of Iran.

49. Readings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassanid_Empire (with further bibliography); authoritative presentation in Cambridge History of Iran.

50. See: http://arkamani.org/meroitic_studies/li … oitic.htm; http://arkamani.org/arkamani-library/me … rilly.htm;

http://arkamani.org/arkamani-library/me … graphy.htm.

51. http://arkamani.org/arkamani-library/me … s/Zach.htm (with reference to epigraphic sources).

52. More recently: R.Voigt, The Royal Inscriptions of King Ezana, in the Second International Littmann Conference: Aksum 7-11 January 2006 (see: http://www.oidmg.org/Beirut/downloads/L … Report.pdf); also: http://users.vnet.net/alight/aksum/mhak4.html;http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=37430160. Read also: Manfred Kropp, Die traditionellen äthiopischen Königslisten und ihre Quellen, in:http://www2.rz.hu-berlin.de/nilus/net-p … listen.pdf (with bibliography).

53. Readings: http://www.telemaco.unibo.it/epigr/testi05.htm; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monumentum_Adulitanum;http://www.shabait.com/staging/publish/ … 3290.html; http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/aksum.html;http://www.arikah.net/encyclopedia/Adulis; further: Yuzo Shitomi, ‘A New Interpretation of the Monumentum Adulitanum’, in: Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko, 55 (1997). French translation is available online here: http://www.clio.fr/BIBLIOTHEQUE/les_gre … hiopie.asp.

54. Readings: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04404a.htm; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmas_Indicopleustes; text and translation can be found online: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/awiesner/cosmas.html (with bibliography and earlier text/translation publications;http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/#Cosm … opleustes; andhttp://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/more … copleustes. Also: http://www.henry-davis.com/MAPS/EMwebpages/202.html; http://davidburnet.com/EarlyFathers-Oth … eintro.htm.

55. Readings: http://library.thinkquest.org/22845/kus … oyalty.pdf

56. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shendi; N. I. Nooter, The Gates of Shendi, Los Angeles, 1999 (http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=1565561).

57. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atbarah; http://www.country-studies.com/sudan/th … ples.html;http://www.sudan.net/tourism/cities.html.

58. Syene (Aswan): see the entries of Realenzyklopaedie and Lexikon der Aegyptologie; also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aswan;http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14367a.htm.

59. Readings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Simbel; http://www.bibleplaces.com/abusimbel.htm; http://lexicorient.com/e.o/abu_simbel.htm.

60. http://www.numibia.net/nubia/ptolemies.htm; http://rmcisadu.let.uniroma1.it/nubiaco … zymski.doc. Dodekaschoinos was the northern part of Triakontaschoinos; the area was essential for Roman border security: http://poj.peeters-leuven.be/content.ph … al_code=AS. More recently: http://dissertations.ub.rug.nl/facultie … f.dijkstra.

61. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dio_Cassius; see details of the early Roman rule over Egypt here: Timo Stickler, ‘Cornelius Gallus and the Beginnings of the Augustan Rule in Egypt’,

62. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strabo (particularly in his 17th book); English translation available here:http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R … 17A1*.html.

Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe