History of the Berber People

berber.jpg

Pitts River Museum

Gun-flint maker’s kit (1914.76.33)

 This kit belonged to a Shawia gun-flint maker and consists of finished and unfinished flints, flakes and a miniature pick.

The Shawia (Chaouia) are a nomadic Berber group living in the Atlas Mountains of Algeria. The ethnologist Melville Hilton-Simpson made studies of the Shawia before the First World War. In his book about them, he recalled meeting a native man who made a living from carving flints for flintlock muskets. He used a large stone to chip flakes from the core and a small pick (gedum) for trimming and screwing up the jaws on the lock. A single flint would last up to twenty shots. The flintlock had become obsolete in Europe by the mid-1800s but was used in parts of Asia and Africa until the 20th century.

Flissa (1884.24.121)

This flissa or flyssa is the distinctive weapon of the Kabyle Berber people of Algeria. Since they vary in length they are sometimes classed as swords, sometimes as knives. Unlike many North African swords which are fitted with European blades, the flissa blade is without exception of local manufacture.

Such weapons were used to break open chain mail, which was still worn in this part of the world until the 19th century. The blade is single-edged for cutting but also has a tapering point for stabbing. This typical example has an octagonal grip, animal head pommel and decoratively incised blade.

Read morehttp://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/africa/arms-and-armour-africa-2/index.html

Fighting Ring (1922.12.8)

The distribution o finger hooks and finger knives coincides closely with that of fighting bracelets. These are found among several Nilotic and Nilo-Hanitic peoples of the Sudan, northern Kenya and Uganda and among some West African peoples in, for example, northern Nigeria.

Read morehttp://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/africa/arms-and-armour-africa-22/index.html

Crossbow (1884.16.2)

This wooden crossbow was used by the Fang and Mpongwe peoples of Gabon in west-central Africa. It has a rare and archaic ‘split stock’ trigger mechanism and was used with either iron-headed or poisoned arrows. This crossbow played a central part in anthropologists’ understanding of the spread and development of crossbows. Its acquisition in the mid 19th century also featured, on a wider scale, in a study on hitherto relatively unknown region and peoples in equatorial Africa.

Read morehttp://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/africa/crossbow-1884162-224/index.html

Bakatwa (1905.45.1)

The bakatwa is a double-edged sword of the Shona people of Zimbabwe, used in religious ceremonies. This example dates to the 19th century. It has a distinctive blade, one half being recessed and painted a dark colour, a carved ebony scabbard and a hilt plaited and bound in brass wire.

Read more: http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/africa/arms-and-armour-africa-10/index.html

This Museum is amazing; the PittsRiver Museum goes into depth on armor/weaponry of Africa and much more. Checkout all the pieces: http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/africa/arms-and-armour-africa-39/index.html http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/africa/index.html

Home/Galleries by Region: http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/index.html

 

Department of Antiquities

Ancient Egypt and Sudan

The Egyptian collections of the Ashmolean are among the most extensive in Britain, and they represent every period of Egyptian civilization from prehistory to the 7th century AD. Predynastic Egypt is a notable strength. The first objects arrived in the Museum in 1683, the year of its foundation, but the major holdings come from British excavations in Egypt from the 1880s until the late 1930s. Oxford University excavations in Southern Egypt and Sudan from 1910 on added a representative collection of Nubian material. The Department also houses extensive collections of papyri, ostraca, wooden labels and writing boards, including the Bodleian Library’s ostraca collections.

Do Black People Focus on Ancient Egypt Too Much?

At Sincere Ignorance, ancient Egyptian history isn’t the only African history we showcase and focus on. We talk about Northeast African civilizations period (Berber, Ethiopians, Moors etc) and their ancient influence on the Minoans, Greeks and Romans. We showcase West Africa’s influence on world as well, and more. As humans and especially as people of African descent, we should never limit ourselves in our quest for knowledge.

http://sincereignorance.com/2014/10/09/1415/

Ancient Nubians Made Antibiotic Beer

– Human use of antibiotics began not 80 years ago, but nearly 2,000 years ago along the banks of the Nile River.

– Those ancient people got tetracycline out of fermented grain that they used to brew beer.

– Everyone drank the antibiotic-laced beer often, starting as early as age two.

People have been using antibiotics for nearly 2,000 years, suggests a new study, which found large doses of tetracycline embedded in the bones of ancient African mummies.

What’s more, they probably got it through beer, and just about everyone appears to have drank it consistently throughout their lifetimes, beginning early in childhood.

While the modern age of antibiotics began in 1928 with the discovery of penicillin, the new findings suggest that people knew how to fight infections much earlier than that — even if they didn’t actually know what bacteria were.

Some of the first people to use antibiotics, according to the research, may have lived along the shores of the Nile in Sudanese Nubia, which spans the border of modern Egypt and Sudan.

Sources: 

http://news.discovery.com/history/ancient-egypt/antibiotic-beer-nubia.htm

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/05/0516_050516_ancientbeer.html

http://www.livescience.com/11028-ancient-african-cocktail-beer-shot-antibiotic.html

Egypt in the Late Period (ca. 712–332 B.C.)

Kushite Pharaoh, Late Period, Dynasty 25, ca. 713–664 B.C.
Egyptian
Bronze with gilding

H. 3 in. (7.5 cm)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, and Anne and John V. Hansen Egyptian Purchase Fund, 2002 (2002.8)

NOT ON VIEW Last Updated July 27, 2012

This small figure has a very large aura—its taut beauty and bold features express an intense energy and focus. That it is a Kushite pharaoh of Egypt is clear from its distinctive Sudanese regalia, discernible despite the efforts of an Egyptian king, ruling some seventy years later, to make the statuette more suitably conformist: the ram’s-head necklace was hammered out, the Kushite double uraeus was recut to a single one, and the king’s name on the belt was erased. The cap crown with a falcon engraved in the back, the bandeau with streamers, and the diadem with many tiny uraei were left untouched. The king’s narrowed eyes and large, forward-thrusting jaw do not resemble the few identifiable images of the Kushite kings, which disproportionately represent Taharqo (r. ca. 690–664 B.C.). A relatively early date is possible for the present object.

When the Kushites conquered Egypt in the mid-eighth century B.C., they saw themselves as recapturing part of an ancient homeland that had fallen away from proper observance of the gods. Consequently, their rule is distinguished by fine bronze temple statuary—small, kneeling kings meant to match the small, precious-metal divine image in the temple, to insulate it through devotion, to satisfy the gods, and to restore their blessings to Egypt.

female goddesses mammisi temples celebrating birth juvenile god identified king
female goddesses mammisi temples celebrating birth juvenile god identified king

Kneeling statue of Amenemope-em-hat, Late Period, Dynasty 26, reign of Psamtik I, ca. 664–610 B.C.
Egyptian; Apparently from Memphis, Ptah temple
Graywacke

H. including base 25 1/4 in. (64 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1924 (24.2.2)

ON VIEW: GALLERY 123 Last Updated July 27, 2012

Amenemope-em-hat was director of the Singers of the North and Overseer of the Singers of Amenemope. The second title was inherited from his father, whose equally fine statue has recently been discovered at Tanis, where there was a cult of Amenemope, a form of the god Amun. The first title implies wider authority.

Amenemope-em-hat holds before him the cult object of the cow-eared goddess Hathor. The proportions of this figure, its muscularity, and such details as the slanted ridges of the collarbone and the shallow depression down the center of the torso represent a conscious attempt in the Late Period to emulate the classic works of the Old and Middle Kingdoms.

 

art tradition earlier styles themes copied subtly changed imbued liveliness

Statuette of a Woman, Late Period, Dynasty 26, reign of Necho II, ca. 610–595 B.C.
Egyptian
Silver

H. 9 1/2 in. (24 cm)
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915 (30.8.93)

NOT ON VIEW Last Updated July 27, 2012

The cartouches of Necho II embossed on the upper arms, as well as the slight smile and heavy breast, date this nude figure to Dynasty 26. Her elongated limbs and bobbed wig, however, betray an interest in Old Kingdom art frequently noted in Dynasties 25 and 26. The woman is cast in solid silver, with her wig and jewelry made separately. Silver statuettes are extremely rare, and this figure was probably dedicated in a temple or placed in the tomb of a member of the royal family.

statuettes extremely rare figure dedicated temple tomb member royal family

Sarcophagus of Horkhebit, Late Period, Dynasty 26, ca. 590 B.C.
Egyptian; From Saqqara
Basalt

L. 8 ft. 4 in. (2.55 m), W. 4 ft. (1.21 m)
Rogers Fund, 1907 (07.229.1ab)

ON VIEW: GALLERY 123 Last Updated July 27, 2012

Horkhebit was a “Royal Seal Bearer, Sole Companion, Chief Priest of the Shrines of Upper and Lower Egypt, and Overseer of the Cabinet” in early Dynasty 26. His tomb was a great shaft over sixty feet deep sunk into the desert and solid limestone bedrock in the Late Period cemetery that covers most of the area east of the Djoser complex at Saqqara. In a huge plain chamber at the bottom of the shaft, a rectangular rock core was left standing and hollowed out to house this anthropoid sarcophagus. When the tomb was excavated by the Egyptian government in 1902, the sarcophagus contained the remains of a badly decomposed gilded cedar coffin, and a mummy that wore a mask of gilded silver, gold finger and toe stalls, and numerous small amulets. Other canopic and shawabti equipment accompanied the burial. The finds went to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, while this sarcophagus was purchased from the Egyptian government by the Metropolitan Museum.

The sarcophagus is one of a group with plump, squarish broad faces, smooth unarticulated bodies, and slightly protruding feet that all originate in the Memphite area and date to the time around the reign of Psamtik II (ca. 595–589 B.C.); several of them may have been produced by the same workshop. Technically the sarcophagus is one of the masterpieces of late Egyptian hard-stone carving. The interiors of the extraordinarily rendered sunk-relief hieroglyphs and figures were left rough and may have been intended to be painted, perhaps in green. The long text on the lid comes from the Book of the Dead.

 

sculpture metropolitan museum statue god horus falcon 34 2 1

Cosmetic container in the form of a Bes image holding the cap of a kohl tube, Late Period, Dynasty 27, ca. 525–404 B.C.
Egyptian
Faience

H. 3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm), W. 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm)
Gift of Norbert Schimmel Trust, 1989 (1989.281.94)

NOT ON VIEW Last Updated July 27, 2012

This squat human form with leonine features is commonly identified as the god Bes, but several other minor Egyptian gods were also represented by this image. These were protective deities, so they appear frequently as apotropaic figures in the decoration of furniture and personal belongings. Here, the god stands holding the cap of a kohl container, which has a small round hole in the top for insertion of an applicator. It seems likely that the hollow cap fit over a tube that could be detached for easy filling.

The god’s features are carefully modeled. His protruding tongue is outlined against the full lower lip. The eyes have a center dot of gray-blue and are rimmed with raised cosmetic lines that extend to the hairline, as do the heavy eyebrows. The hair is smooth, but manelike whiskers are sharply etched, with small holes at the ends indicating tight curls. Although the god usually has a tail of his own, the tail here clearly belongs to his leopard-skin garment. The narrow brown belt was applied separately; a section has chipped away, leaving a distinct groove. The hollow rectangular modius on the god’s head perhaps held a feathered crown, cemented in place with Egyptian blue, traces of which remain. The back of the right arm has been repaired.

The earliest firmly dated Bes image wearing a leopard skin comes from Dynasty 25, and it has been convincingly demonstrated that the style and iconography of this example date to Dynasty 27.

lacking beard block statue beard figure kneeling magical stela cippuslacking beard block statue beard figure kneeling magical stela cippuslacking beard block statue beard figure kneeling magical stela cippus

Torso of a striding statue of a general, 4th century B.C.
Egyptian
Schist

H. 27 1/4 in. (69.2 cm)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, Gift of Henry Walters, by exchange, Asher B. Edelman Gift, Judith and Russell Carson Gift, Ernest L. Folk III Bequest, Ludlow Bull Fund, and funds from various donors, 1996 (1996.91)

ON VIEW: GALLERY 128 Last Updated July 27, 2012

With its luxuriously modeled flesh and powerful leg thrust and hip torsion perceptible beneath the surface play of the garment, this torso reaffirms the bold beauty of the traditional striding kilted figure. The sixth century B.C. saw the lapse of this elegantly simple, assertively physical pose. At the beginning of the fourth century, the surge of vitality that brought about the overthrow of Persian domination also initiated a period of artistic renewal, during which this quintessentially Egyptian pose was revived.

The inscription on the back pillar confirms the owner’s position at the epicenter of this period’s events. It identifies him as a “first generalissimo of His Majesty” and speaks of his role in “driving away the aliens from the one who is on the throne” and restoring “the village[s] that had come to harm done by foreign lands.” The text also describes his contributions in restoring the temples of Osiris in the Delta and at Abydos, in one of which this statue perhaps stood. Unfortunately, the owner’s name has been lost.

Significant details include a style of frilled kilt first known in the time of Nectanebo I (380–362 B.C.), a rare sculpted forefinger, and an Isis knot incised on the shoulder.

History

Kushite Period, or Dynasty 25 (ca. 712–664 B.C.)

From ca. 728 to 656 B.C., the Nubian kings of Dynasty 25 dominated Egypt. Like the Libyans before them, they governed as Egyptian pharaohs. Their control was strongest in the south. In the north, Tefnakht’s successor, Bakenrenef, ruled for four years (ca. 717–713 B.C.) at Sais until Piankhy’s successor, Shabaqo (ca. 712–698 B.C.), overthrew him and established Nubian control over the entire country. The accession of Shabaqo can be considered the end of the Third Intermediate Period and the beginning of the Late Period in Egypt.

Nubian rule, which viewed itself as restoring the true traditions of Egypt, benefited Egypt economically and was accompanied by a revival in temple building and the arts that continued throughout the Late Period. At the same time, however, the country faced a growing threat from the Assyrian empire to its east. After forty years of relative security, Nubian control—and Egypt’s peace—were broken by an Assyrian invasion in ca. 671 B.C. The current pharaoh, Taharqo (ca. 690–664 B.C.), retreated south and the Assyrians established a number of local vassals to rule in their stead in the Delta. One of them, Necho I of Sais (ca. 672–664 B.C.), is recognized as the founder of the separate Dynasty 26. For the next eight years, Egypt was the battleground between Nubia and Assyria. A brutal Assyrian invasion in 663 B.C. finally ended Nubian control of the country. The last pharaoh of Dynasty 25, Tanutamani (664–653 B.C.), retreated to Napata. There, in relative isolation, he and his descendants continued to rule Nubia, eventually becoming the Meroitic civilization, which flourished in Nubia until the fourth century A.D.

Saite Period, or Dynasty 26 (664–525 B.C.)

When the Assyrians withdrew after their final invasion, Egypt was left in the hands of the Saite kings, though it was actually only in 656 B.C. that the Saite king Psamtik I was able to reassert control over the southern area of the country dominated by Thebes. For the next 130 years, Egypt was able to enjoy the benefits of rule by a single strong, native family, Dynasty 26. Elevated to power by the invading Assyrians, Dynasty 26 faced a world in which Egypt was no longer concerned with its role in international power politics but with its sheer survival as a nation. The Egyptians, however, still chose to think of their land as self-contained and free from external influence, unchanged from the days of the pyramid builders 2,000 years earlier. In deference to this ideal, the Saite pharaohs deliberately adopted much from the culture of earlier periods, particularly the Old Kingdom, as the model for their own. Later generations would remember this dynasty as the last truly Egyptian period and would, in turn, recapitulate Saite forms.

Under Saite rule, Egypt grew from a vassal of Assyria to an independent ally. There were even echoes of the bygone might of Egypt’s New Kingdom in Saite military campaigns into Asia Minor (after the collapse of the Assyrian empire in 612 B.C.) and Nubia. In pursuit of these goals, however, the Saite pharaohs had to rely on foreign mercenaries—Carian (from southwestern Asia Minor, modern Turkey), Phoenician, and Greek—as well as Egyptian soldiers. These different ethnic groups lived in their own quarters of the capital city, Memphis. The Greeks were also allowed to establish a trading settlement at Naukratis in the western Delta. This served as a conduit for cultural influences traveling from Egypt to Greece.

After the fall of Assyria in 612 B.C., the major foreign threat to Egypt came from the Babylonians. Although Babylonia had invaded Egypt in 568 B.C. during a brief civil war, both countries formed a mutual alliance in 547 B.C. against the rising threat of a third power, the Persian empire—but to no avail. The Persians conquered Babylonia in 539 B.C. and Egypt in 525 B.C., bringing an end to the Saite dynasty and native control of Egypt.

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/lapd/hd_lapd.htm#thumbnails

James Allen
Department of Egyptian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Marsha Hill
Department of Egyptian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Citation
Allen, James, and Marsha Hill. “Egypt in the Late Period (ca. 712–332B.C.) “. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/lapd/hd_lapd.htm (October 2004)
Further Reading
  • Hill, Marsha, Deborah Schorsch, eds. Gifts for the Gods: Images from Ancient Egyptian Temples. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.
  • Lloyd, Alan B. “The Late Period (664–332 B.C.).” In The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, edited by Ian Shaw, pp. 369–94. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Russmann, Edna R., et al. Eternal Egypt: Masterworks of Ancient Art from the British Museum. Exhibition catalogue. New York: American Federation of Arts, 2001.
These related Museum Bulletin or Journal articles may or may not represent the most current scholarship.
  • Carboni, Stefano, et al. “Ars Vitraria: Glass in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, v. 59, no. 1 (Summer, 2001).
    JSTOR nbsp metropolitan museum art bulletin 59 1 summer 2001 jstornbsp | PDFs
  • Pischikova, Elena. “Reliefs from the Tomb of the Vizier Nespakashuty: Reconstruction, Iconography, and Style.”Metropolitan Museum Journal, Vol. 33 (1998).
  • Josephson, Jack A. “A Fragmentary Egyptian Head from Heliopolis.” Metropolitan Museum Journal, Vol. 30 (1995).
  • Arnold, Dorothea. “An Egyptian Bestiary.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, v. 52, no. 4 (Spring, 1995).
    JSTOR nbsp metropolitan museum art bulletin 52 4 spring 1995 jstornbsp | PDF | Supplemental PDFs
  • Becker, Lawrence. “An Egyptian Silver Statuette of the Saite Period: A Technical Study.” Metropolitan Museum Journal, Vol. 29 (1994).
  • Dorman, Peter, Edna R. Russmann, and Christine Lilyquist. “Egyptian Art.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, v. 41, no. 3 (Winter, 1983–84).
    JSTOR nbsp metropolitan museum art bulletin 41 3 winter 198384 jstornbsp | PDF | Supplemental PDFs
  • Fischer, Henry George. “The Evolution of Composite Hieroglyphs in Ancient Egypt.” Metropolitan Museum Journal, Vol. 12 (1977).
  • Russmann, Edna R. “The Statue of Amenemope-em-hat.”Metropolitan Museum Journal, Vol. 8 (1973).
  • Meulenaere, Herman de. “La statue d’un chef de chanteurs d’epoque Saite.” Metropolitan Museum Journal, Vol. 8 (1973).
  • Scott, Nora E. “The Cat of Bastet.” Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New ser., v. 17, no. 1 (Summer, 1958)

Abbas Ibn Firnas: First Aviator

Abbas Ibn Firnas, also known as Abbas Abu Al-Qasim Ibn Firnas Ibn Wirdas al-Takurini, was a Muslim Berber-Andalusian polymath: an inventor, physician, engineer, Andalusian musician, and Arabic-language poet. 

Human Flight

The Moors’ scientific curiosity extended to flight when polymath Ibn Firnas made the first scientific attempt to fly in a controlled manner, in 875 A.D.  His attempt evidently worked, although the landing was less successful.

Abbas Bin Firnas (810–887 AD): the Berber, Andalusian inventor-engineer Abbas Bin Firnas was born in Izn-Rand Onda (Ronda, Spain) in 810 AD. At the age 70 he has entered the pages of history as the first man to fly. Inspired by birds, he invented artificial wings, covered them and himself with feathers, took to a hill in Cordoba, and launched himself into the air. He was said to have flown for a considerable time before he crash-landed, badly hurting his back, apparently because he failed to include a ‘tail’ in his prototype. His story was told by the Moroccan historian Ahmed Mohammed Maqqari (d.1632), based on a 9th century account of the poet Mu’min Ibn Said, who said that Ibn Firnas flew faster than the phoenix and that he dressed his body in the feathers of a vulture [Lynn Townsend White, Jr., Eilmer of Malmesbury, an Eleventh Century Aviator: A Case Study of Technological Innovation, Its Context and Tradition, Technology and Culture 2 (2), 1961, p. 97–111]. 

http://www.grouporigin.com/clients/qatarfoundation/chapter2_7.htm

https://www.temehu.com/imazighen/berbers.htm

Ziryab: Abu l-Hasan Ali Ibn Nafi

Fashion and Hygiene

Abu l-Hasan Ali Ibn Nafi – who was also known as Ziryab (black singing bird in Arabic) and Pájaro Negro (blackbird) in Spanish- was a polymath, with knowledge in astronomy, geography, meteorology, botanics, cosmetics, culinary art and fashion. He is known for starting a vogue by changing clothes according to the weather and season. He also suggested different clothing for mornings, afternoons and evenings.

He created a deodorant to eliminate bad odors, promoted morning and evening baths, and emphasized  maintaining personal hygiene. Ziryab is believed to have invented an early toothpaste, which he popularized throughout Islamic Iberia – primarily in Spain.

He made fashionable shaving among men and set new haircut trends. Royalty used to wash their hair with rosewater, but Ziryab introduced salt and fragrant oils to improve the hair’s condition.

Cuisine

Ziryab was also an arbiter of culinary fashion and taste, and revolutionized the local cuisine by introducing new fruit and vegetables such as asparagus, and by initiating the three-course meal served on leathern tablecloths. He insisted that meals should be served in three separate courses consisting of soup, the main course, and dessert.

He also introduced the use of crystal as a container for drinks, which was more effective than metal. Prior to his time, food was served plainly on platters on bare tables, as was the case with the Romans.

In general, the Moors introduced many new crops including the orange, lemon, peach, apricot, fig, sugar cane, dates, ginger and pomegranate as well as saffron, cotton, silk and rice,  all of which remain prominent in Spain today.

From the information, I believe Ziryab was apart of the Afro-Asiatic group; meaning he is connected to Middle Eastern culture as well.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/afroasiatic

A little off subject, but this drink looks good lol. 

Pajaro Negro

The namesake gentleman who the restaurant & bar is named after was a North African renaissance guy in the 8th Century who had his hands in everything from music to math and astronomy. The Spanish nicked named him Blackbird or Pajaro Negro ($10, mezcal, Cynar, Galliano Ristretto, orange peel).

The drink has an iced coffee like feel, a little smoky, a little bitter, brightened up nicely with the orange twist. More of a after dinner drink than a starter.

http://www.alcademics.com/2013/09/a-look-at-ziryab-in-san-francisco.html

http://www.islamicspain.tv/Arts-and-Science/flight_of_the_blackbird.htm

http://www.mandatory.com/2012/12/28/10-people-youve-never-heard-of-who-changed-history/8

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Abul-Hasan+Ali+Ibn+Nafi

Afro-Asiatic languages

Afroasiatic languages (ăf´rōā´zhēăt´Ĭk), formerly Hamito-Semitic languages(hăm´Ĭtō-səmĬt´Ĭk), family of languages spoken by more than 250 million people in N Africa; much of the Sahara; parts of E, central, and W Africa; and W Asia (especially the Arabian peninsula, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel). Since four of the Afroasiatic tongues, Arabic, Hebrew, Coptic, and Syriac, are also respectively the languages of Islam, Judaism, and two sects of the Christian faith, the language family reaches many millions in addition to its native speakers.

The Afroasiatic family is divided into six branches: Egyptian, Semtic, Berber, Cushitic, Omotic, and Chadic. According to one theory, the languages of the Afroasiatic family are thought to have first been spoken along the shores of the Red Sea. Another theory holds that the language family came into being in Africa, for only in Africa are all its members found, aside from some Semitic languages encountered in SW Asia. The existence of the Semitic languages in W Asia is explained by assuming that African Semitic speakers migrated from E Africa to W Asia in very ancient times. At a later date, some Semitic speakers returned from Arabia to Africa.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Afroasiatic_languages.aspx

Ancient Africa: How Europeans have it wrong, Kevin MacDonald

Ancient Africa has the world’s oldest and largest collection of ancient writing systems. Evidence of such dates to pre-historic time, and can be found in various regions of the continent. By contrast, continental Europe’s oldest writing, Greek, was not fully in use until c. 1400 BC (a clay tablet found in Iklaina, Greece) and is largely derived from an older African script called Proto-Sinaitic. The oldest Asian writing, Proto-Cuneiform, dates to around 3000 BC (clay texts found at Jemdet Nasr). However, the oldest known African writing systems are several centuries older.

http://www.taneter.org/writing.html

http://sincereignorance.com/2014/10/09/1415/

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