Egypt hadn’t seen a new royal pyramid for some 800 years when a brand new version—looking like an inverted icicle—began rising in Kush, south of the Egyptian border.
At the crossroads of lucrative trade routes, Kush had always moved in and out of Egyptian control as the fortunes of the pharaohs waxed and waned.
By the mid-eighth century B.C. however, the Kushite rulers saw that Egypt was weak and ripe for a takeover. Their rule extended from the junction of the Blue and White Niles at modern-day Khartoum, to the Mediterranean Sea. The Kushite kings now reigned over the longest stretch of the Nile Valley ever controlled by one ruler.
Egypt’s Kushite dynasty ended with a series of brutal Assyrian invasions and the southern kings retreating to their homeland. This, however, was just the beginning of the story. The Kushite kingdom prospered for another thousand years and went on to create headaches for both Ptolemaic kings and Roman emperors.
Today, the ancient Kingdom of Kush is mostly famous for the pointy pyramid fields standing proud in the Sudanese desert. It’s fair to say that the Kushites loved their pyramids. They were also incredibly skilled goldsmiths and silversmiths.
An exhibition at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, “Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia”, showcases the incredible jewellery that the Kushites took with them to eternity.
Enjoy the full article, along with some breathtaking ancient Kushite jewellery, in the latest Nile Magazine.