Jump to content

The Kingdom of Kush: A proper introduction [Illustrated]

Recommended Posts

A war with Romans, surprise! :roman: Yep, was exactly looking for an interaction with Ptolemians due to the geographic proximity. The greek interaction is also interesting. Thanks for all your documentation!

  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/28/2017 at 12:35 AM, Sundiata said:


  • Cambyses II's invasion of Kush: The Achaemenid Persian Empire under Cambyses II invaded Kush, but was met with miserable failure, apparently "unable to cross the desert". According to Herodotus, when Cambyses II sent spies to the court of the "Ethiopian" King, the King saw straight through them, and said to deliver the following message to Cambyses, along with a bow: "The King of the Ethiopians advises the King of the Persians to bring overwhelming odds to attack the long-lived Ethiopians when the Persians can draw a bow of this length as easily as I do; but until then, to thank the gods who do not incite the sons of the Ethiopians to add other land to their own.', So speaking he unstrung the bow and gave it to the men who had come". Just got to love that ancient diss..http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/herodotus/cambyses.htm    

I just happened to come across with this information a few days ago while reading about the Achaemenids. I find this very interesting, along with the other supporting facts, I really hope that the Kushites will be approved and make it to Alpha 23. Though I do understand that adding another faction will add more maintenance to the game. I just hope that this will be included in A23, after all this coming release is special to the community and it deserves some nice contents.

About the Achaemenids (I'm sorry, this one is not relevant to this post, I just don't know where to post this, I don't want to open a new task yet) :) Also, @Sundiata Your Kush textures are still with me and is going along with the minor improvements that I make to my texture source file. Forgive me if I cannot give some time to it at the moment.



Edited by wackyserious
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, wackyserious said:

I just happened to come across with this information a few days ago while reading about the Achaemenids. I find this very interesting, along with the other supporting facts, I really hope that the Kushites will be approved and make it to Alpha 23. Though I do understand that adding another faction will add more maintenance to the game. I just hope that this will be included in A23, after all this coming release is special to the community and it deserves some nice contents.

About the Achaemenids (I'm sorry, this one is not relevant to this post, I just don't know where to post this, I don't want to open a new task yet) :) Also, @Sundiata Your Kush textures are still with me and is going along with the minor improvements that I make to my texture source file. Forgive me if I cannot give some time to it at the moment.

Thank you for the encouraging words and support wackyserious! I'm delighted to hear you're still working on the Kushite units, it really doesn't matter if takes some time, all good things do. I've fallen behind dramatically on my reference posts as well. I have most of the stuff ready, I just need to find time and energy to actually post it. One of the future posts will be particularly interesting for you (Kush in popular art), which will feature relatively accurate contemporary art works of Kushites. 


25 minutes ago, wackyserious said:

after all this coming release is special to the community and it deserves some nice contents.

That's one of the reasons I really hope the team really takes their time for the next release, include as much of the work done by so many talented and passionated volunteers, and polish as many aspects of the game as possible, from the GUI to maps, buildings, unit textures, animations, pathfinder and AI. The upcoming AoE releases also further makes these ambitious goals imperative, in my opinion. 

I love those Persian unit textures of yours! They look very convincing! I hope you continue this marvellous project. These updates go well with LordGood and Stanislass building updates and alexander's new animations. I'm already very excited about alpha 23, but there's still lot's that needs doing. Vim!

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Kingdom of Kush: Architecture 

Throughout this thread, the architecture of Kush is discussed and illustrated at length. LordGood has made a very intuitive use of the reference material and has created an absolutely beautiful building-set! This reference post on Kushite architecture aims to provide the final "raw materials" including many details and illustrations for the final great push towards the most accurate representation of Kushites in any work of modern times. 

@LordGood This post will be of particular interest to you. I'm not expecting you to do anything with the current models yet, I'm sure you have your hands full, and I still need to do stuff with the textures. As I said earlier, I will make a specific "architecture revision" post, to discuss the current models and make my final remarks/suggestions, in part based on some of the stuff shared in this post. 


The Architecture of Kush:



The palaces of Kush:

A Meroitic period palace from Jebel Barkal, Napata.



A palace from Meroë



A picture of an excavated section of the palace, with an open courtyard in the middle.



A large Napatan palace



Another little known palace




The Pyramids of Kush:




On a wall of the pyramid chapel of BEG N8, the geometric schematics necessary for building a pyramid are actually carved on to stone! Apparently Kushites used the Cubit, for measurement.



The pyramids at Nuri look a lot more like the traditional Egyptian pyramids we're used to.



Although this is no pyramid of Gizeh, it's size is still quite impressive. Nuri.



A model of the Pyramid of King Aspelta at Nuri, Nu8




A cut stone doorway leading in to a pyramid chapel



Kushite pyramids were fundamentally different from their Egyptian counterparts in the fact that Kushites actually cut out a subterranean burial chamber in solid rock, and then built their pyramids on top of this often vaulted chamber. A steep descendary running underneath the pyramid chapel, connects the chamber to the surface. The chambers are usually entered through a doorway cut from the rock itself, like the rest of the chamber. These doorways mimic domestic designs. The descendary would be filled with sand and rubble after the funerary rituals.



Another fine example of a cut stone doorway leading to a burial chamber underneath a pyramid.




The Rams of Kush:

One of the rams lining the processional avenue to the Amun temple in Napata. The cut stone wall behind it is the right half of the absolutely massive pylon (which had a staircase inside of it leading to to the rooftop!)



Processional avenue of the Amun temple at Naqa, lined by stone Rams on pedestals.



The rams of Naqa



The rams of Naqa



A collection of Kushite stone Rams from el-Hassa, Soba, Dangeil, Naqa and Kawa.




The Temples of Kush:

The Temple of Taharqa at Kawa:

A magnificent temple built by Taharqa, currently reburied by the desert sands (as with many other Kushite sites)



Inside the massive temple after excavation. 



Taharqa also commissioned a freestanding shrine inside the temple, highlighted in the picture (red), which was removed during the excavations and taken to the Ashmolean Museum of the University of Oxford, where it still stands today. The shrine also features the Prayer of Taharqa, a surprisingly personal and emotive prayer, in which he laments the loss of tribute from Israel after the Assyrian conquest of the levant, and prays for his sister and her children, who are presumed captured by Essarhadon's troops when they entered Memphis.



The Shrine of Taharqa, gives decent impression of the size of the temple itself, which dwarfed this shrine.



You can see where the stones of the shrine are cut away in a semicircle, to fit it in between the pillars of the temple. A Statuette of Taharqa can be seen inside the shrine



One of the rams from Kawa, with Taharqa carved under it's chin, in front of the Shrine of Taharqa. On the Shrine, Taharqa is seen offering gifts to a seated Amun.




The Temple of Amun at Meroë:

The first Hypostyle hall of the Amun temple in Meroë (the forecourt). Judging from the size of these remains, this temple would have rivalled the one at Napata.



One of the altars. The cut stone wall behind the altar is a part of the Royal City walls, the Amun temple itself stood outside of the Royal City, but was walled by it's own enclosure wall, attached to the city walls.



A complicated maze of rooms in the back of the Amun temple, where the holy of holies was located.



Detail of a "papyrus shaped" column capital on it's head inside the temple



The second Hypostyle Hall in the Amun temple, leading to a third and fourth open court, before reaching the altar. An interesting detail are the relatively rare, square shaped brick columns in the front two halls, but the use of the more common, cut stone round pillars in the back chambers.



Excavations under way. The large heap of rocks and rubble behind this temple are actually the remains of the massive eastern wall of the Royal City




The Temple of Amun at Naqa:

The elegant remains of the Amun temple at Naqa. This temple was a smaller, more truncated version of the larger Napatan and Meroitic Amun-temples.




The remains of white lime-plaster which would have once covered the entire temple, are still clearly visible on many parts.



Rare square shaped column capitals.



A detail of the square column capital




Temple M 250 at Meroë, also known as the "Sun Temple", although it almost certainly wasn't a "Sun Temple":

An aerial shot, showing the remains of the temple, as well as it's temenos walls and a very large round haffir, used to catch water runoff from the adjacent wadi during the rainy season.



The temple was built on raised podium, and it's reliefs feature battle scenes




A number of 3D reconstructions of Temple M250.






Musawwarat es Sufra:

The great cult complex of Aborepi (Musawwarat es Sufra) has many unique details, like it's richly carved columns






Temple 300 (the current reference for the Kushite wonder in game). Statues of rulers or gods holding lions on leashes flank the entrance.



Temple 200. Even in it's throughly ruined state, the bottom register of the pylon reliefs can just be made out: bound prisoners.




Other temples:

The kiosk in front of the Amun temple at Dangeil



Lion temple of Naqa



Pylon of the Lion temple at Naqa



A temple from Sonijat, a recent archaeological site that has also turned up a massive Kushite palace, still under excavation.



A partially rock cut temple at El Kurru




The central temple of Hamadab, a Meroitic town less than 3km from Meroë. The entrance of the temple was flanked by the so-called Hamadab stelae, which feature a single continuous inscription, the longest known Meroitic text. Commissioned by Queen Amanirenas and Prince Akinidad, it is believed to mention Rome (Arme) as well as the T'mey or Temey, a generic term for White people or Europeans, and mentions how the inhabitants of Napata were "taken away" (men, women and children), seen as a reference to the enslavement and deportation of Napata's inhabitants during the Roman sack of the city.



The remains of temples with Bes shaped pillars and pillars with Hathoric capitals at jebel Barkal, Napata.




A partially rock cut temple



John Garstang, the British archaeologist who performed the first large scale excavations at Meroë between 1909 and 1914, at the Isis temple in Meroë, with a local boy. It seems that Garstang's excavations were the most comprehensive to date, and many pictures I've shared before come from these particular excavations.




Qasr Ibrim (Premnis):

The fortified city of Qasr Ibrim, known to the Romans as Premnis, was a flashpoint throughout Nile valley history. It was sieged and occupied by Gaius Petronius during the Roman war. He repaired and updated the defensive walls and made use of impressive ballistas to defend the site from attack, which operated from the top of specially built platforms, and would have been able to rain down stones from at least 300 meters distance, rendering any frontal assault on the site suicidal. The hundreds of Roman ballista balls (some inscribed with their weight) attest to the importance of these machines during the Roman campaign. 



A rare picture of Qasr Ibrim before the construction of the Aswan High Dam, which submerged large parts of the ancient site, except for the ancient citadel. 5a26e51c9403f_KingdomofKushKushitefortressofqasribrimpremnisfortifiedcitycitadel.thumb.jpg.c335239e962c4afffa25b8e80782690e.jpg



Other details:

The walls of Meroë's Royal City, still reaching several meters high, faced with brick, and sporting a stone gateway. At an avarage thickness of c. 3,5m to 7,5 meters, these walls were massive.


Stone paving at the entrance of a temple



Archaeologist Geoff Emberling seems to be entirely enchanted by the Kushites, and speaks with great passion and knowledge on this history. He is one of the unsung heroes of modern archaeology, and continues major excavation projects in different parts of Sudan. Here, he is seen inside a burial chamber with lovely pillars, explaining something very vividly, it seems.



Typically Kushite drystone walls, a recurring feature in military contexts.



The gateway to the town of Hamadab



Remains of the brick wall surrounding ancient Hamadab. The bricks only look a few decades old, but are in fact more than 2000 years old!



A building in Meroë, with an intact pillar, originally one of four, and a beautiful intact stone doorway, identical in style to the doorways to the burial chambers underneath the Kushite pyramids



The Bes pilars at Naqa



A colonnaded courtyard built on a platform as part of one of the temples in Meroë.



A staircase inside the pylon of a Kushite temple 




A House from Meroitic Kush:

A 3D reconstruction of one of the Meroitic double houses at Al Meragh (AM 600)



Contemporary Nubian Houses:

The general floorplans, building materials and construction techniques used in northern Sudan have barely changed over the millennia. Contemporary Nubian populations have inherited the domestic architecture of ancient Kushites, especially the Nubian villages and towns that were submerged by the Aswan High Dam, forcibly removing Nubians from as many as 71 villages! Their ancestral home was completely submerged for a stretch of more than 500 km, with only the measliest of compensations... Nubians remain one of the most marginalised populations of both Egypt and Sudan, and both governments actively target this population, because their cultural distinctiveness and adherence to their traditions. It's a very sad story, really...

Contemporary Nubian domestic architecture is an ok source for domestic Kushite architecture, though there a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, modern Nubian homes are often very brightly painted, but this tradition began with the introduction of modern paints. The bright colors also attract a lot of tourists, one of the main sources of income in Nubia today. Ancient homes might have been brightly painted (we know the interiors were), but they would have made use of paints manufactured from organic materials (e.g. organic colors). Some of these images are from guesthouses, which might feature idealised Nubian architecture.




Many, many more examples of contemporary Nubian Homes:

















































Edited by Sundiata
  • Like 4

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Napata, the second capital of Kush

High quality 3D models of the central temple district 

This post is dedicated to Napata, and features the highest quality 3D renders of the many Napatan and Meroitic period temples at the site available to date. Napata was an ancient site centred around Jebel Barkal, a steep, flat-topped "mountain" that spoke heavily to the imagination of Kushites and Egyptians alike. During the 18th dynasty, the Egyptians conquered the site, and proclaimed it the Southern Home of Amun of Karnak, and even promoted the idea that it was older than Karnak itself. The Egyptians called the mountain Dju-Wa’ab: “Pure Mountain”, and Nesut-Tawy: “Thrones of the Two Lands", and it was the source of Amun's epithet "Lord of the Thrones of the Two Lands". It was the source of Kingship itself. The mountain's spiralling peak was variously interpreted as the phallus of the Creator, a rearing cobra, or the white crown of Upper-Egypt. This is the site of the creation of the world! According to Egyptians and Kushites.... The earliest Egyptian text from the site, Thutmose III's Barkal Stele, 1432 BC, describes the god of the mountain as “the great god of the first time, the primeval one." After the Egyptian withdrawal from Kush, the site became the seat of local rulers (descended from intermarried Kushite and Egyptian royals), who, eventually, with support from the priests of Amun reunited all of Egypt and Kush. Even after the loss of Egypt, Kushite Kings still considered themselves the true, and only heirs of the ancient kings of the Nile.

Even in later Meroitic times, the rulers of Kush considered their own Kingship, granted by Amun of Jebel Barkal, to be older than that of Egypt, and had descended directly to them from the Sun God at the moment of creation! This is echoed in Diodorus Siculus'  "Bibliotheca Historica" (Book III), in which he states, among other things, that the "Ethiopians" were the first of all men, that heaven is most pleased by the "Ethiopian" sacrifices, that they were never ruled by foreign invaders, and that Egyptians were actually colonists from "Ethiopia":

  • "Now the Ethiopians, as historians relate, were the first of all men and the proofs of this statement, they say, are manifest. For that they did not come into their land as immigrants from abroad but were natives of it and so justly bear the name of "autochthones" is, they maintain, conceded by practically all men; furthermore, that those who dwell beneath the noon-day sun were, in all likelihood, the first to be generated by the earth, is clear to all"
  • "and it is generally held that the sacrifices practised among the Ethiopians are those which are the most pleasing to heaven", which has a strange parallel in the bible: "Are not you Israelites the same to me as the Cushites?" Amos 9:7, indicating a shared status of chosen or holy people.
  • "And they state that, by reason of their piety towards the deity, they manifestly enjoy the favour of the gods, inasmuch as they have never experienced the rule of an invader from abroad [...] Cambyses, for instance, they say, who made war upon them with a great force, both lost all his army and was himself exposed to the greatest peril; Semiramis [an Assyrian Queen] also, who through the magnitude of her undertakings and achievements has become renowned, after advancing a short distance into Ethiopia gave up her campaign against the whole nation; and Heracles and Dionysus, although they visited all the inhabited earth, failed to subdue the Ethiopians alone who dwell above Egypt, both because of the piety of these men and because of the insurmountable difficulties involved in the attempt."
  • They say also that the Egyptians are colonists sent out by the Ethiopians, Osiris having been the leader of the colony.

It is clear that Kush and the Kushites were regarded with great esteem in the ancient world, and the seat of their great spiritual authority was Napata, the second capital of Kush. Napata, with at least 13 temples and 4 palaces was a great metropolis, that stretched for miles along the banks of the Nile. Today, only the central temple district has seen extensive archaeological investigation, but surveys of the area indicate a major ancient settlement.

Without any further ado,


Napata, the second capital of Kush:


First , some context:

Aerial shot of the holy "mountain", with the outlines of the current archaeological site.



Close up of Jebel Barkal, with the ruins of some of the temples visible in front of the mountain.



Satellite image of the central temple district. The Amun temple and a massive Meroitic palace are clearly visible. These ruins are currently mostly buried by sand.



General plan of the site, showing the relation of the temples, to the mountain and the Barkal pyramids.



I proudly present the most complete plan of central Napata available on the internet. The temple district stretched at least 600m x 200m.



A large and a small palace. Typically square shaped.




The temple of Osiris



The remains of the temple of Mut (B300), in a more intact state. 



Another image of B300, in a time when more of it's pillars with Hathoric capitals were still standing.



An illustration of the evolution of a temple through the ages, from the 25th dynasty to Meroitic times. Like all the temples in Kush, they were often restored and even rebuilt many times during their lifetime.



The 3D renders

B700, the temple of Osiris-Dedwen, built by King Atlanersa and King Senkamanisken, who is featured on the pylon relief, and can be seen in greater detail here



The Aspelta throne room



The temples of Mut and Hathor




temple of Hathor (B200)





Temple of Mut (B300)






B700 and B600



Kushite throne room in B600 with baldachins, as shown in the reliefs.




The evolution of the Great Amun temple

The two small pylons in the back of the temple date to the New Kingdom and replaced the orginal mudbrick temple built by Thutmose III. It saw construction phases from the reigns of Akhenaten, Tutankhamun, Horemheb, Seti I and Ramses II, who also laid the foundation of a new Hypostyle hall which he never finished. Several centuries later, the Kushite Pharaoh Piye (also known as Piankhy) completed the planned hall, more than doubling the size of the original temple.



Piye also built a second massive hall. The two new Kushite hypostyle halls completely dwarf the original Egyptian temple. Please note that there are staircases in the pylons of these halls leading up to the roof.



The temple was completely rebuilt/restored in later Meroitic times by Queen Amanishakheto, King Natakamani and Queen Amanitore, who also added Kiosks.










The Meroitic Mammisi temple, the only one of it's kind, known in Kush. 




The excavated structures in relation to each other. I must emphasise that this represents only a fraction of Napata, and from this angle, as many as 4 palaces, elite residences and sprawling residential areas would be visible stretching towards, and along the Nile. 



Note the human models in front of each temple to help appreciate the size of these structures. They were huge...



HQ Repost: one of the highest quality illustrations on life in Kush ever produced, from a 1990 issue of National Geographic. It shows a procession during the ritual washing of a baby in the temple of Mut (B300) at the foot of Jebel Barkal. Judging from the models in this post, and the many reliefs I've shared before, this image is as accurate as historical reconstructions get. The artist did a sumptuous job.



Now, this is how Napata has been presented in the trailer of Grand Ages Rome a respected "historical" RTS, and the only game I'm aware of that has ever depicted Napata (apart from Civilization VI, which is also underwhelming and inaccurate). The developers of Grand Ages couldn't even have been bothered to google "Napata"... This village would fit inside a single Hypostyle hall of the Amun temple.



Looking at this promotional image of Grand Ages Rome, showing the great ancient metropolis of Napata [...], I noticed something which made me cringe even more than I already was. Look at the front gate and those two flags with symbols hanging from it. Those symbols aren't Kushite at all, they're Adinkra symbols from the Akan tribes of Ghana and Ivory Coast. I'm an Akan, from Ghana (Akuapem, to be precise), fyi, which makes it all the more weird for me. These guys are literally 1800 years and 3500 km off the mark... Embarrassing... By the way, my ancestors didn't live in round huts either, so what the hell... 



Just to show you that I'm not lying: 







And an image of Napata, the great Kushite capital, in game... These people even had the nerve to call it a Barbarian Village... Hmmmm... Napata was a thriving city when Rome was still just a collection of huts, but somehow they decided a collection of huts was perfect for depicting this ancient metropolis... I'm laughing and crying at the same time, lol..



Anyway... My response: 




I hope this helps to clarify how important and trendsetting 0AD could be, to do what no other game has ever done before. A historically accurate and relevant black civilisation from antiquity. Mmmmm, my mouth waters looking at the progress this awesome community has made so far :victory:




My main source for the models, essentially a 130 page academic tour-guide for archaeologists studying Jebel Barkal:



Edited by Sundiata
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

@stanislas69, woooow! Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! Looks epic! 

If you're open to suggestions:

  • The size is a little exaggerated. I'd reduce the height of the pedestal, and scale down the model by 25% or so (maybe even more).
  • I love the glimmering metallic gold effect on the necklace. Could you use the (exact) same effect on the skullcap? This skullcap could even feature a double uraeus, the ultimate symbol of royal and divine authority. Perhaps add gold armbands?
  • I think you can play around with different colours for the loincloth. In fact, I think the same gold effect for the necklace and skullcap would look great for the loincloth (there are smaller examples of gilded statuettes like that)
  • many of the reliefs feature the ruler holding on to a staff, but it extends past the hand with the top ending in a stylised palm leaf (or alternatively a stylised jackal's head). 
  • Perhaps a variation: Most of the statues feature a very rigid pose, with arms extended by their sides, hands forming a fist, clenching onto those mystery cylinders. Their feet not so broadly placed, and a square pilar usually supporting the entire length of the back (invisible from the front), inscribed with Hieroglyphs, which also connects the legs at the bottom. 


Examples of the stylised palm leaf and jackal headed staffs from Kushite reliefs:







Alternatively, this jackal-headed staff is also cool. Although it's mostly seen in the hands of gods, some rulers are also depicted with it (see above):




My favourite references for Kushite statues, featuring the typically rigid pose:






Gilded loincloth, armbands, necklace and skullcap on a much smaller but similar statuette:




Really though, thanks for the model. The Kushites are looking goooood... 

Edited by Sundiata

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Heretic was popular in many cultures.

Here Egyptian and early Greek.




They are rigid.



Without movement.

They show no feelings or emotions, expression serene without passion.

The arms are attached to the body (sculpture block for technical reasons and to ensure strength and durability).

Use of paste artificial eyes of glass to accentuate the depth of his gaze.

They are limestone, polychrome wood and the most important in granite and basalt.


Edited by Lion.Kanzen

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

*Hieratic art: "extremely stylized, restrained or formal; adhering to fixed types or methods; severe in emotional import"

4 hours ago, Lion.Kanzen said:


They are rigid.



Without movement.

They show no feelings or emotions, expression serene without passion.

The arms are attached to the body (sculpture block for technical reasons and to ensure strength and durability).

Use of paste artificial eyes of glass to accentuate the depth of his gaze.

They are limestone, polychrome wood and the most important in granite and basalt.


Pretty decent summary, although if you notice, many of the Kushite sculptures are smiling ever so slightly..

Statuettes of smiling Kushite Kings:




4 hours ago, Lion.Kanzen said:

less muscular.

Actually, one of the things that differentiate Kushite sculptures (and reliefs) from Egyptian ones, is that they are noticeably more muscular. Kushites admired and demanded physical strength from their rulers (as well as piety) 

King Aspelta:



@stanislas69 Cool!!! thank you! Lion's remark on the Hieratic nature of the sculptures are quite accurate (except that the muscular look is actually good, and they can have a smile). Maybe in a future iteration :P But as it is now, I think it's really nice, and perfectly usable. 

Here's how I see the statues: I simply suggest they are used the same way "revered monuments" work for the Iberians. Build one for an attack or defensive bonus with a certain radius (they would have fought fiercely to protect these statues). For Delenda Est, wowgetoffyourcellphone can just use them as cult-statues. I'd actually like to see more civs be able to build these "revered monuments" in vanilla, although it should be renamed "revered statue" in my opinion. Opinions? 


Edited by Sundiata
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Kushite Full Scale Armour 

A second primary reference for a full scale armour

In previous posts, many examples of scale armour have been referenced, from various temple reliefs. By far the most common example of this scale armour is in the form of a corselet, wrapped around the torso, providing a decent protection for the vital organs, but leaving the arms and shoulders unprotected. 

I shared a single example of a full scale armour before, from a relief on the pylon of a Meroitic pyramid chapel belonging to King Tarekeniwal, showing the King in an elaborate full scale armour, covering his body all the way down to his knees, as well as his arms and shoulders, decorated with bands of cloth(?) with golden(?) figures of gods attached to them. Up to now, it was the only example I was able to find of this type. 

I now present King Amanakhareqerema, as depicted on an execution scene, on the pylon of temple 200 in Naqa, a now mostly ruined temple. The King is wearing a full scale armour covering his body down to his knees, as well as his arms and shoulders. It seems to be the same type seen on King Tarekeniwal, although it's missing the decorative bands of cloth. This is also yet another depiction of a lion alongside a Kushite royal mauling the "rebel nations". 



Detail of King Amanakhareqerema's face, as shared before:



The other example of Kushite full scale armour: King Tarekeniwal, from Meroë.




These scale armours are made of bronze, although leather and even gold have been postulated. I think the more common bronze scale armour corselet is perfect for elite troops, and the bronze full scale armour should be reserved for Hero units, or "royal guard" units. 

Edited by Sundiata
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I played the kushites on Vox and noticed the merchants cart is being dragged by the merchant...when the speed was upgraded. It seems that the cart walk is only proportional to the merchant walk in default pace. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Kingdom of Kush: Aethiopia and Nubia - Unitmod

for Total War: Rome IIby Marcus_Iunius


A new mod (October 2017) makes Meroë (as well as the Blemmyes and Axum) a playable faction for Rome II, Total War, and features very similar content for Kushite units as the Ancient Empires mod for Total War: Atilla. These mods showcase some of the finest attempts at reconstructing Kushite military units in a game I've seen to date, and although there are a number of details that could be better, it's a very decent representation.

My primary concern is the use of too many Hellenistic (inspired) armaments. The use of the linothorax (or it's derivatives) is not widely attested, and although probably present among some troops, would have been very limited in general (I think). It is far better to use New Kingdom Egyptian inspiration for armaments (also shown), because they have direct parallels in Kushite art. They did overdo the use of the Egyptian head-cloth, which is not very common in Kush, and there is a painful absence of the quintessentially Kushite skullcap, a must. Scale-armour is depicted wrongly. It's either in the form of a corselet, or a full body variant, not something in between. They should have also totally avoided modern Kenyan(?!) references, seen in some of the exotic shield patterns, very clearly inspired by modern Maasai shields (which is a no-no). The colours are all very bland, even for elite units. With such an expansive unit-roster, there needs to be a chariot unit. The Blemmye units are not so good, as they show very little cultural and ethnic similarities to the actual Beja people they represent. Also, the hair on some of these units is pretty bad, lol... But other than those concerns, the team on this mod did an excellent job.




Kushite Tribal Bowmen



Kushite Tribal Javelinmen



Kushite Tribal Slingers



Kushite Tribal Speamen, I love the oval hide shields (perfect)



Meroitic Axemen, lovely tunics. 



Meroitic Bowmen. Again, nice tunics and short-sleeved vests, as well as wrapped cotton corselets. Very good!



Meroitic Cav. Two riders in the middle are wearing an Egyptian style layered cotton armour and a Meroitic tunic, which is very good. But the horsemen on their flanks seem to be wearing a linothorax-derivative, which should probably be avoided in high numbers.



Meroitic Elephants. Excellent, though the elephant could use some decoration...



Meroitic Royal Bowmen. Again, the (quilted cotton??) linothorax isn't the best. Quilted cotton armour without the shoulder pads, with or without (short) sleeves is a far better choice.



Meroitic Royal Cav. Bronze scale armour should be in the form of a corselet, or a full body armour, but not this in-between version. 



Meroitic Royal Guard. I'm still not wholly convinced about those pointy shields... If used, they should at least be wicker or leather, not cow or leopard hide.



Meroitic Royal Pikemen. I love these guys... Reliefs often depict pikemen with small round shields hanging from their shoulder, which is an attractive lower tier variation of this unit.



Meroitic Royal Swordsmen. They should use straight swords, not these falcata looking swords.



Meroitic Shock Cav



Meroitic Spearmen



Meroitic Swordsmen



Meroitic War Elephants. The use of towers is still controversial though. Better not to use them, except for a decorated lightweight version for a Hero unit.



Naval Units



Nilotic Warriors



Nubian Cav. The fringes along the horses' chests is perfect!



Blemmyes Camel Bowmen. They don't look like Beja at all :/ 



Blemmyes Camel Lancers



Blemmyes Camel Spearmen



Blemmyes Veteran Cav. The scarab is a good symbol as shield-decoration.



Blemmyes Spear Warrior



Blemmyes Sword Cav



Blemmyes Sword Warrior. Wrong shield patterns (modern Maasai). Also, typical rhino- or elephant-hide shields would have been a lot more appropriate. Wicker should be more of a Meroitic/Nuba thing.







More information on the mod:





Edited by Sundiata
  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

My take on the Blemmye camel rider. Please ignore the new Roman female texture. ;)





They also need a new shield mesh for that notched hide shield shown in many Beja photos. Also, new head meshes or "hair helmet" meshes with that distinctive hair style the Beja have:





Would also be nice to have an assortment of North African and Middle Eastern turbans for various units. The Nabataean Camel Archer, Arabic Skirmisher, maybe an Elite Blemmeye Camel Raider or just a variation thereof.




Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

@wowgetoffyourcellphone What a lovely New Year's present :) 

Looks way better than the variants in the Total War mods! Their attire is very good! They still wear the same type of clothes that were popular in Antiquity today! That "Fuzzy Wuzzy" hairstyle is also actually attested in reliefs of Kushite monarchs slaughtering rebel nations... I think the current hair-placeholder works remarkably well, lol! But a more dedicated Beja-Afro would be real cool!

I wanted to bring up the shields, but you've added the info yourself already :) Very good stuff! That last picture is really nice. I think (might be wrong) that those turbans are Bedouin/Arab influences, but seen as the Bedouin and the Beja were closely connected, I think it's ok for a few Beja. Might have to research a little more for fear of anachronisms.  

The shields aren't only good for Beja. The rhino/hypo/elephant-hide shields are very widespread in East Africa (Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia...), and are a perfect reference for at least some of the Meroitic units. Napatan units would have more Egyptian inspired shields.

Some more Beja shields and Beja warriors:








And a beautifully decorated variant with metal embossment. I imagine something like this for the Meroitic royal cavalry, or perhaps for some ranked units?



Beja sword-fighting. Meroites made use of shorter swords though.




Note that the distinctively shaped scabbard is identical to examples from Meroitic reliefs. Something which apparently hasn't been picked up by modern academics, who often (very mistakenly) attribute the introduction of swords in Sudan to the Arabs. This thread alone provides countless examples of Kushite swords, from as early 700BC (I really need to write a book...)



Check out Prince Arikankharer's scabbard, tucked away in his belt. Same scabbard, different (shorter) sword-type. Also note the enemies (or rebel nations) that he's slaughtering. From the hairstyle, we can deduce that these are Blemmye (Beja):











Finally, a "Nubian man", wearing the same type of attire and carrying the same type of shield, popular all over East Africa. He's also carrying one of those typically Nubian arm-daggers, also used by many other Sudanese people. I really think this type of attire also suits Meroites very well, as it has that Ancient Egyptian feel, but at the same time feels quite unique.



  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now