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To every Egyptian.

Cheikh Anta Diop argues that many Ancient Egyptians were Black Africans; the Greek debt to Egypt. Peter Myers, July 6, 2002; update September 8, 2003. My comments are shown {thus}. Write to me at mailto:myers@cyberone.com.au.
You are at http://users.cyberone.com.au/myers/diop.html.

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

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

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

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

The Great Sphinx had a negro head: diop1.jpg

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

Pharaohs Zoser and Cheops: diop6-7.jpg

Pharaohs Mycerinus and Mentuhotep I: diop8-9.jpg

Pharaoh Sesostris I: diop10.jpg

Pharaohs Tuthmosis III and Taharqa: diop12-13.jpg

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

The braided hair of Egyptian women: diop24.jpg

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

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

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

{p. 1} What Were the Egyptians?

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

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

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

Diodorus of Sicily writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

{end of quotes}

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

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

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

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

The present Arabs in Egypt are as related to the Ancient Egyptians as the Europeans in the US are to the Native Americans.

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