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Everything posted by Sundiata

  1. Oh my god, I think you might be on to something... I found this totally legit relief from Nowhereland:
  2. Arrian, Tactica, Chapter 2: That's indeed the translation I was after. Thank you.
  3. @Nescio You seem to have completely missed the point of my post: Then you say: I shared the article because it shows that forest elephants today still live north of the equatorial rainforests of West and Central Africa. The elephants from southern South Sudan in the article live at least 100 km north of the nearest equatorial rainforests in an area that's a patchwork of forests and grasslands. Use the satellite view of google earth and you'll clearly see that the equatorial rainforests are a distinct biotope from the forests, scrublands and grasslands of southern South Sudan. Even from space, they're very clearly different shades of green. And that's my point. Even their current range is larger than what experts used to think only a few years ago. As I have clearly pointed out, it's impossible to know how far north these or other related populations reached only a few hundred years ago, because we barely know how far they reach today. Let alone how far they reached 2500 years to 2000 years ago. The climate was different, and all those maps you shared do not accurately represent the African climate more than 2000 years ago. We know this! The Sahara has advanced as much as 200 km in the last century alone! Even Nero's expedition up the Nile in the 1st century remarked on the abandoned towns of northern Nubia and described it as a region rendered into a desert... For the period that's relevant to 0 A.D., from 500 BC to 1 BC, Sudan, especially the Butana, and especially the southern Butana were decidedly more green and forested than they are today. Taking this into account, it becomes impossible to offhand discount the use of forest elephants as opposed to Bush elephants. Neither species of elephant exist in Sudan today. And in South Sudan, where significant elephant populations still exist, the range of forest elephants and bush elephants overlap and they hybridize. More than 2000 years ago, these same habitats would have been found several hundred kilometers to the north as well. *1st and 5th cataract. Meroë lies between the 5th and the 6th cataract. He's describing the savannah of the northern Butana... Yes, and? Those Eritrean elephants are huge. They tower over Indian elephants, so they don't match the descriptions nor the depictions of small African elephants. You can't have your cake and eat it too. What are you arguing for exactly? That the huge Eritrean elephants from that study are related to the ones used in warfare during Antiquity? Which would render the ancient accounts and depictions all wrong... Or are you arguing that Eritrean elephants were smaller than Indian elephants during Antiquity but have since somehow evolved into the large bush elephants from that study? Neither of those theories make any sense. I never argue in bad faith, Nescio. You don't need to tell me that you assume "good faith", because it comes over as if you really mean the opposite. There's 100 km between the Southern Butana and the borders of South Sudan. I'm pointing out that the distance between the southern part of the Island of Meroë and South Sudan is not far. If we assume that forest elephants roamed several hundred kilometers further north from where they do today, which we can, then that means there may very well have been forest elephants within reach of Kush. Notwithstanding the fact that the Butana itself is it's own unique biotope that was home to many animals that have all but disappeared from the region since Antiquity. As far as I can tell, there are no hippo's rhino's, giraffes, lions etc in that region today anymore either. Forest elephants are called as such because they are mostly found in jungles today. But this might as well represent a retreat from their historical ranges. They are far more vulnerable to poaching/hunting because they have the slowest reproductive rate of the three elephant species. Bush elephants reach sexual maturity at age 10 - 12. Forest elephant don't reach sexual maturity until the age of 23! That's a huge difference. And they have a longer gestation periods as well. They can't replace their losses the way bush elephants can, which means that they're the first to go extinct in any given area. And at its height, Kush ruled an area of almost 2000 km north to south, approximately 1000 km north to south during 0AD's timeframe, and traded with regions well over 3000 km away. More than 4000 km if you count India. But you're telling me that they couldn't get elephants from their own backyard (figure of speech)? Again, those forest elephant would have roamed several hundred kilometers further north during Antiquity. They weren't 1000 km away 2000 years ago. That's the whole point! We don't know how far north these elephants once reached. What bugs me about your posts here is that you're peddling a fringe hypothesis that relies on even more speculation and conjecture than the hypotheses you're arguing against. This: You just casually invented an animal to suite your argument. You just casually invented an entirely new subspecies or class of African bush elephant that is smaller than Indian elephants, while no one has ever proven their existence. I don't think I've even really seen it seriously suggested before. In fact, the presence of large bush elephants in South Sudan and Eritrea argues against an overlapping presence of hypothesized small bush elephants and large bush elephants in the same areas, because one would obviously either outcompete or assimilate the other. The only reason that Bush elephants and forest elephants can overlap is because they can inhabit different niches in the same environment. I'm not saying it's impossible that there were historical bush elephants populations that were smaller than Indian elephants, but without even a shred of evidence for the existence of such an animal, I'm very much on the fence about it. For the time being, I'll stick to the "communis opinio", as you put it, or some variation of this more widely accepted hypothesis.
  4. On the question of forest elephants, the argument has been made here that the climate was different more than 2000 years ago, which is true. It's impossible to determine the historical range of the individual subspecies, but sometimes classical sources can give us some hints about the historical range of elephants in general. Relevant to the Kushites, Pliny, wrote in the 1st century "They also state that the grass in the vicinity of Meroë becomes of a greener and fresher colour, and that there is some slight appearance of forests, as also traces of the rhinoceros and elephant." Pliny, CHAP. 35.—ETHIOPIA. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.02.0137:book=6:chapter=35&highlight=island+of+meroe%2C I'm still on the fence about which specific subspecies Kushites used, but in my opinion, assuming that these elephants in the vicinity of Meroë, or those much further south in Sudan, were just "small bush" elephants is as, or even slightly more hypothetical than assuming that they were forest elephants. None of the arguments in the thread so far, in either direction, have been thoroughly convincing. But to understand the argument that the historical maximum range of forest elephants was significantly more northerly than it is today, we must first properly understand the current range of forest elephants, which we don't. In another thread I pointed out that there are forest elephant and hybrid populations on the border between South Sudan and DR Congo, and today, I can again confirm more confidently the presence of forest elephants in South Sudan, "Western Equatoria state, which borders the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo", in a region of large open grasslands and thick forests. The southern Butana (southern part of the "Island of Meroë", approaching the borders of South Sudan) may have still been home to a comparable biotope 2000 - 3000 years ago... Forest elephants confirmed in South Sudan: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/rare-forest-elephants-seen-first-time-south-sudan-180957526/ Just to clarify, I'm not making an absolute statement here. The use of "Small Bush elephants" is entirely possible, but has anybody ever confirmed the presence of these hypothesized Bush elephants in Sudan or environs that are noticeably smaller than Indian elephants, as per the ancient descriptions? On the other hand, I think that one of the strongest arguments against forest elephants is their distinctively narrow, and downward angled tusks. But as I've already pointed out earlier, there are actually forest elephants with tusks looking more similar to the tusks of bush elephants and then there's also the question of hybridization between the two species, which has also been confirmed through DNA studies.
  5. I've read some of those, but by no means all. Will take a little while. Some of the ones I read did have problems though. I should read again. On the question of turreted African elephants, one piece hasn't been discussed yet, if I'm not mistaken: "Relief from the base of a Roman statue depicting an elephant. 2nd-3rd century AD. Vatican Museum."
  6. Quick touch up, don't know if you like it?
  7. @Nescio, I require your services. Could you please translate the following passage for me? It's from Arrian, Tactica, Chapter 2, Section 2: ἢ καπηλικόν. τοῦ δὲ αὖ ἐν γῇ μαχίμου τὸ μέν ἐστι πεζικόν, τὸ δ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ὀχήματος ἄλλου καὶ ἄλλου. καὶ τῆς δευτέρας ἰδέας τὸ μὲν ἱππικόν, ὅπερ ἵπποις χρῆται, τὸ δ᾽ ἐπὶ ἐλεφάντων, καθάπερ τὰ Ἰνδῶν στρατόπεδα καὶ τὰ Αἰθιοπικά, χρόνῳ δ᾽ ὕστερον καὶ Μακεδόνες καὶ Καρχηδόνιοι καί που καὶ Ῥωμαῖοι. I believe it says something about Indians and Aethiopians using war elephants before the Macedonians, Carthaginians and Romans. I've been looking for this original passage for ages, but I can't find a proper/official translation anywhere, though I've seen it cited indirectly before (like in Snowden's work)... I'm not an expert on Mughal history and I'm not familiar with the original source. The image is from Osprey, Mughul India 1504-1761 (Men-at-Arms). I don't have access to the book so I can't read the description associated with the images which usually discusses sources. The way that the Jesuit missionary is looking at them while penning something down leads me to think it may have been from a period Jesuit account. This source mentions hiring Ethiopian infantry men, but nothing on mahouts: In the south the Mughals also encountered the Habshis or Sidis, soldiers of African descent. Such troops were frequently described as “Abyssinians,” but their numbers included both Ethiopians and a number of other East African nationalities. The Deccani Sultanates recruited these soldiers in large numbers, both as mercenaries and military slaves. They had earned a reputation as highly skilled infantry, and the Mughals made efforts to hire them away whenever possible. Mughals at War: Babur, Akbar and the Indian Military Revolution, 1500 - 1605 Black mahouts were definitely a thing in Akbar's army, but I can't tell with certainty right now if they were black Indians, black Africans, or both: The Mughals actually faced tens of thousands of African troops in their wars against the Deccan. In fact, at one point the Deccan in Western India was ruled by a black man from Ethiopia, called Malik Ambar. He went from slave to ruler, and became the kingmaker, appointing and dismissing sultans at his own discretion. He was one of the most powerful rulers in the history of the Deccan, and successfully kept the Mughal Emperors at bay for the entirety of his rule, using guerrilla tactics and advanced cavalry tactics. One of the most powerful rulers of African descent outside of Africa:
  8. Don't worry, I butcher other people's artworks as a hobby Personally I'm not in favor of replacing any existing hand painted hero artwork in the vanilla game though.
  9. @m7600, great work! Keep it up! I should have probably told you about this, but I've been working on a painting of Arakamani for his hero portrait. Victor Rossi, made a stunning portrait of Amanirenas a while back: Rossi's work inspired me to paint a portrait of Nastasen. (@Stan`, I adjusted levels and contrast a little, and tightened the crop. Don't know if it's worth replacing?): The Amanirenas portrait has a southern Sudanese look, while Nastasen has a more central Sudanese look. So I wanted to give Arakamani a more Northern Sudanese/modern Nubian look, reflecting the diversity of Kush. I started way back in February. In hindsight, I wasn't satisfied with Nastasen's uraeus, so I spent a lot more time on Arakamani's uraeus, which in turn meant I had to spend a lot more time on all the other details as well, and 2 weeks (!) into painting the portrait, I was 85% into something that was way over my head and I had a miniature mental breakdown... lol... I have a strange relationship with my own art... But I'll finish it before Alpha 24... WIP: Arakamani is said to have been educated in Greek philosophy, and his rule coincides with the move of the royal seat from Napata to Meroë, and the introduction of Hellenistic influences in Kush, which is why I gave him a sort of Hellenistic looking golden laurel wreath crown, to emphasize that. Laurels are actually depicted in combination with some Meroitic crowns, but they honestly look different. Oh well... The full portrait was supposed to depict Arakamani's massacre of the priest of Amun at Napata, after they ordered his suicide (my kind of guy):
  10. Nope, never read that article before, but thanks for the link! I actually read some more academic stuff on the subject, that leaned a lot towards an explanation involving Pyrrhus, but was a bit lackluster. Diving into my sources again, I can confirm that the Mahout in the elephant statuette from Pompeii is indeed of a "Subsaharan persuasion". I wasn't looking crosseyed The lauded classicist Frank M. Snowden Jr. literally wrote the book on Blacks in Antiquity, called "Blacks in Antiquity" (+1 for creativity), and he wrote about, the Etruscan coins, the elephant statuette from Pompeii, and Musawwarat es Sufra as an elephant training centre, all in 2 pages that I could easily screenshot, hahahaha, I love you Frank (!), RIP... https://monoskop.org/images/7/70/Snowden_Jr_Frank_M_Blacks_in_Antiquity.pdf The coins and the elephant statuette are also discussed in Studies in the Iconography of Blacks in Roman Art, by Ako-Adounvo, Gifty
  11. Yeah, it's definitely an ambiguous term. And this statuette, from Pompeii is indeed associated with Hannibal's invasion. Of course in the narrow sense of the word, "moor" refers to the medieval Muslim Berber dynasties of the Maghreb. But the term originated with the Mauri from ancient Mauretania. But they are still referred to as Mauri, in the English language. So why didn't they use that term? Crappy translation maybe? In older European sources, the word "moor" is very often used as a euphemism for the word "negro". And because of the black "Sudanic" (West Africans from the Sahel) soldiers in the Moorish armies, the term moor has also been colloquially associated with blacks for centuries. So I was thinking it's something like that. Basically I thought the mahout looks Subsaharan based on the Mediterranean iconography of Subsaharan Africans. He has a round head, not narrow A very non-aquiline nose, with short nose-ridge, relatively broad His hair looks like an Afro (not like a helmet) Sizeable lips Of course, this is about as subjective as it gets, but here are higher res versions to get a better detail (open images) These terracotta pieces from Egypt juxtapose a Nubian to a Galatian, so you can compare the features of the two types. Other luscious afro's on a subsaharan mercenary from Egypt, and a Hellenic vase:
  12. Cleopatra VII in the flesh, I mean, in stone: Said to be Cleopatra VII:
  13. These are all Ptolemaic Period, Egyptian Style. You can find just as many Greek style busts and such, but they're much more modest.
  14. Indeed, the elephants came from Ptolemy II... And Ptolemy II had conquered Lower Nubia (Northernmost sliver of Nubia), and boasted Aethiopian tribute bearers carrying elephant tusks in one of his parades. So it seems like a real possibility... But why Asian elephants? Ptolemy II is more famous for using African elephants, no? There's actually a Roman statuette (2nd - 1st century B.C.), not sure what it's supposed to depict. I always thought the mahout looks vaguely subsaharan (round head and Afro), but I never saw anybody talk about it, until I saw the description in the Scala archives, which also identifies the rider as a "moor". Artist: Roman artTitle: Roman Art - 2nd-1st century b.C. - Pompeii - Statue depicting a Moor riding an elephant with a turret upon his back - Beige clay with white engobesLocation: National Archaeological MuseumCity: NaplesCountry: Italy So does it commemorate Carthaginian, Ptolemaic or Pyrrhus' Elephants, or is it really a Roman war elephant, or even something else? Reminds me a lot of Angus Mcbride's black mahout: All possible... I've been leaning towards the mythological direction, but no-one really knows...
  15. Forgive me for heaping up so much info at once... But you said, "may have sent an embassy to Egypt to fetch Indian mahouts", do you have a source for this? I've been dying to find out if there's any connection between Carthaginian, Egyptian and Kushite elephants. I used to entertain the idea that Carthage may have sourced some of its elephants and/or mahouts from Kush, perhaps even via a Libyan connection. Totally conjectural and I have all but relegated the idea to the realm of fantasy. But there's a "but"... Recently found a short Libyan (-like) inscription from Lower Nubia, indicating that there may indeed have been a desert route, but this is sort of besides the point and still totally conjectural. The main question I have is with regard to a large number of coins (many dozens), which were minted in Etruria, Italy, in the 3rd century B.C., apparently after Pyrrhus campaign in Italy, but just before Hannibal's arrival in Italy. The weird thing about these coins is that they depict a Subsaharan African on one side and an Asian elephant on the reverse. There's a lot of confusion about these coins. They know where they're from, how old they are and what they depict, but nobody knows why. Do you have any insights on them? The theories go something like: Depicting Pyrrhus' Indian elephants and his African mahouts (did Pyrrhus even have African mahouts?) Minted by local Etrurians in anticipation of Hannibal's arrival, designed by people who had yet only seen Indian elephants in Pyrrhus' army, and associated Carthaginians with black people (Carthage would have been the main entry point for black Africans entering the Mediterranean via a western or central trans-Saharan route. Afro-centric sites actually like to claim it depicts Hannibal himself, and his Syrian elephant, although this is widely rejected everywhere else. Basically, why are Subsaharan Africans associated with an Asian elephant on a significant number of coins from 3rd century B.C. Italy? What's up with that, you known? What's even weirder is that these aren't even the oldest depictions of Subsaharan Africans on Mediterranean coins from Europe. These ones are from Lesbos, Greece, dated c. 550 - 420 B.C. And the oldest ones, are the prettiest ones... From Phokaia (Phocaea), Western Anatolia, dated c. 625 - 522 B.C.: An interesting ethnic note, both the ones from Etruria and Lesbos look more West African, while the ones from Phocaea look more Nilotic, though this is a subjective observation. Any thoughts on these?
  16. I was thinking the exact same thing! @Alexandermb really did a stellar job on those!
  17. @LordGood, I don't believe this has been shared before: Temple of Isis, Alexandria (not sure what it's based on though)... Not sure if you can use it as inspiration for something?
  18. Exactly! Yeah, I also tend to compare the relationship between Kushites and Egyptians to the relationship between Greeks, Etruscans and Romans. They're all very unique, but they also share a lot of culture, religion, conquering and being conquered by each other. They're all related, while at the same time being distinct peoples with separate ethnogeneses. That's why people who are familiar enough with both Egyptian history and Nubian history more often talk about the Nile Cultures (or Nile Valley Cultures), because they realize Egypt is only half of the story. And their histories are so interrelated that you really can't tell one history properly without the other. And this relationship goes back to the Pre-Dynastic Period! We're talking about shared royal iconography, trade, war, migration etc, in the Neolithic... The half has never been told. For the past 3 years I've been trying to tell the story, but every week, month, year I'm learning new things that make me constantly revise the way I look at Kushite history. It's a history that's very much still in the process of being written. And somehow, Wildfire Games has become a part of that.
  19. Also of interest, but not really relevant to the topic at hand: Indians also seem to have used Ethiopian mahouts under Akbar, the Mughal Emperor (r. 1556 – 1605)
  20. There's one source that I've never mentioned before, and I'm sure you'll absolutely love it! The Alexander Romance is described as a largely fictional account, constructed around a historical core, or a "heavily romanticized biography, with many imaginative and fantastic accretions to the historical core". It's ascribed to an unknown writer referred to as "Pseudo-Callisthenes". The oldest version can be dated to the 3rd century AD, but certain elements are believed to be much older, "certain parts of it no doubt originated already in the decades following Alexander's death; and some scholars even believe that the main traits of the Romance took form already at that stage, probably in early Hellenistic Alexandria and as a manifestation of Egyptian nationalism". Part of the romance tells the story of Alexander the Great writing a letter to "Queen Candace of Meroë" (from the Meroitic "Kandake" or "Queen Mother"), with the desire to perform sacrifices at the shrine of Amun. The Queen refuses, but Alexander travels to Meroë anyway, disguised as Antigonus, and meets the queen in person, who immediately recognizes Alexander from a portrait she had secretly commissioned of him. The most interesting thing about the romance with regard to elephants, is that the Meroitic Queen wrote to Alexander, gifting him 350 elephants! In Meroë, lifelike engravings of chariots and charioteers were described, accompanied by stone statues of elephants "trampling the enemy under foot and twirling their adversaries with their trunks.", and there is even mention of a house "built not with its foundation fixed on the ground, but affixed to huge square timbers, and it was drawn on wheels by twenty elephants. Wherever the king went to attack a city, he stayed in this." The source: Fontes Historiae Nubiorum, Volume II, p 503 - 511: https://digitalt.uib.no/handle/1956.2/3083 This contains the original Greek version as well! And further commentary. Of course, a romance isn't exactly a good historical source, but it's clearly written by someone with a relative knowledge of Kush, and in this sense, is comparable to another ancient romance called the Aethiopica, written by Heliodorus of Emesa (3rd-4th century AD), which also makes multiple mentions of (towered war-) elephants in the Kushite army. Here's another set of translations of the Alexander Romance, Book 3 , Chapters 19-26: http://www.attalus.org/translate/alexander3c.html Contains a pretty cool part, when Alexander's disguise fails to convince the Queen that he's not Alexander, the Queen grills him in an almost typically cheeky Kushite manner: There's another classical source (escapes me at the moment), which states that Aethiopians were the first in the world to tame elephants for war. Of course this does not match with any other source, but the claim is just as important as the stories by Heliodorus and Pseudo-Callisthenes... It reveals a very strong, almost casual association between Kushites and tamed elephants, as if it was common knowledge in Antiquity that the people of Kush practiced elephant husbandry. Iron working in Africa is a relatively controversial subject. There are some absolutely shocking dates for the earliest iron working sites in the Cameroon/Central African Republic area, with dates going back to 3000 - 2500 BC! I didn't even believe it myself until I read the actual excavation report of the sites: https://www.jstor.org/stable/43135497?read-now=1&seq=1 Now, after reading it, I really don't know what to think anymore... The controversy primarily stems from the old assumption that Iron working must have been introduced from North Africa, even though there is no evidence for iron working in North Africa dating to the early first millennium BC... The other problem is that the critics are mixing up different archaeological sites (disturbed sites vs undisturbed sites), not understanding the breadth of the excavations and the high quality of preservation at some of the sites due to anaerobe clay soils. Regardless, early dates from Northern Nigeria go back to approximately 1000 BC and these results are much more widely accepted. In the past it was assumed that iron was introduced to Kush via North Africa, and spread from Kush to other parts of Africa. But there is no evidence, and the earliest dates for Iron working in Central Africa massively predate anything outside of Africa. We have to start very seriously looking at the possibility of an opposite direction for the spread of iron working. The oldest piece of iron excavated in Sudan so far is a horse bit that dates to c. 950 B.C. Indian ocean trade dates to the 1st millennium BC, but I've not seen any evidence for contacts with India dating to 950 BC, let alone the 2nd millennium BC. Although I don't have the habit of ruling things out so quickly, I'm very much on the fence about an Indian source for Iron working in Africa, when the oldest Iron working sites in Africa seem to predate Indian ironworking. Honestly, I think we're looking so far back into the past now that nothing can be claimed with any certainty... To be clear, I'm also definitely not ruling out the possibility that Indian contacts actually influenced Kushite iron-working, perhaps producing higher quality, more useable iron/steel or whatnot... Probably true... Iron working tends to be quite centralized in a few locations (or so it seems), even associated with temples and administrative centers. Yup! The iconography of a serpent version of Apedemak, and the three-headed, 4 armed version of Apedemak, from the Lion Temple at Naqa are completely unique! There's no parallel to them, anywhere, and the comparison to Indian iconography is irresistible: 3 heads and 4 arms is completely atypical, even to Kushite standards, even though stylistically speaking it's typically Meroitic. I reject the idea that Indian craftsmen made these pieces because there is absolutely no evidence for that and theses pieces are stylistically purely Meroitic, not at all Indian. The Kings of Meroë are said to have maintained up to 4000 artisans at any given time... But that doesn't mean that I rule out Indian influences. I actually think it's likely, but similar to the way Hellenistic influences were adopted and adapted by local craftsmen. Actually, I believe I read something before, about a grave of an Indian on the Red Sea Coast in Sudan... I should try to find the reference again (was a long time ago). I'll make a new reference post about Kushite fabrics... They were sometimes very elaborate, but so far no definitive Indian influence has been attested, though I strongly suspect as well that Kushites had a taste for Indian/Persian/Roman fabrics. Anyway, look at the design of the fabric of the elephant cover, depicted in the elephant statuette from Meroë, shared at the bottom... It does look a little more "oriental" than more typical Meroitic patterns. Another argument for the trade is jewelry. I've seen some Bactrian earrings (and other precious adornments) that were really similar to some Kushite earrings. One writer referred to it as an international style (the same thing being produced in various locations), but it also implies trade connections. In fact we know of Indian connections with the Aksumites (Aksumite coins were found in India), so connections to Kush aren't even that surprising, when looking at regional histories and relations, it's even to be expected. I suspect we'll discover more on the subject as the excavations continue... Also (!), the mention of a house on wheels, pulled by a span of elephants, mentioned in the Alexander Romance, actually has direct parallels in India, though I don't how how far back this practice of super sized carriages pulled by elephants goes... I wouldn't be surprised by these ostentatious displays of decadence by either Ancient Indians or Kushites: Interesting... I can't shake the fact that the mahout in the elephant statuette doesn't look typically Kushite. Kushites were very diverse looking, and some definitely had a narrow face and long nose, but the mahout here even seems to have a beard, which is very rare in Kushite art. Off the top of my head I can only think of one example of a bearded man in a relief (also from the Naqa lion temple), but that's clearly an example of Hellenistic influence. This mahout from Meroë, dare I say it, kind of looks Indian to me... And the pattern of the fabric on the elephant's back does indeed look somewhat oriental... On the other hand, the size of the elephant and the awkward angle of the tusks is typically Meroitic. And the shield looks identical to the shields used in Sudan/Ethiopia/Eritrea/Somalia up to modern times (although Indians used somewhat, similar, yet distinguishable shields as well). Kushite history has so many nooks and crannies. It's insane...
  21. @Stan` said: I know there's a lot of info in this thread (all of it relevant), so it might be a bit difficult to digest. So let me just sum up the most important arguments: Musawwarat es Sufra was known as "Aborepi", by the Meroites. This translates into "Place of the Elephant" (!). Musawwarat is home to the largest number (and variety) of depictions of elephants anywhere in the entire Nile region. Elephants are seen in reliefs, statuary, graffito and painted pottery. Musawwarat is home to depictions of at least 3 elephants tied to ropes. Other animals tied to ropes include lions, antelopes and monkeys, all known to have been exported north as well... Musawwarat is home to a depiction of 2 war-elephants, in addition to a third elephant being mounted by a god (probably the chief god of the site). Musawwarat has the largest water management system in all of ancient Kush, which makes no sense considering that there was virtually no human occupation at the site. Elephants need a lot of water... Musawwarat has both the infrastructure to house significant numbers of elephants inside the Great Enclosure, as well as the geography to house them outside of the enclosure. Respected, professional historians (specialists) have maintained the real possibility that elephants were kept there, and were even traded with people from the Mediterranean. Academic critics of the idea have not put forth legitimate counter-arguments, their arguments being more conjectural than the hypothesis they're criticizing. I want to emphasize another thing. Using elements from Musawwarat as a reference or source of inspiration for the Kushite elephant stable, would make this elephant stable the only one in game that is actually based on a reference. The Seleucid, Ptolemaic, Mauryan, Persian and Carthaginian elephant stables are not based on any primary reference at all. There are no references for them! In fact, there simply is no ancient archaeological site from antiquity that is as closely associated with elephants, as Musawwarat es Sufra... I can't think of even one... @m7600 If you agree with the arguments to use Musawwarat as a source for inspiration, I'd put forth my final suggestion: Most of the roofs in Musawwarat are believed to have been flat. The roof of the Ptolemaic elephant stable in game would be a closer approximation, than the Nubian Vaults, which I've so far not seen attested at Musawwarat.
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