In "From Slave to Pharaoh," noted Egyptologist Donald B. Redford
examines over two millennia of complex social and cultural
interactions between Egypt and the Nubian and Sudanese
civilizations that lay to the south of Egypt. These interactions
resulted in the expulsion of the black Kushite pharaohs of the
Twenty-fifth Dynasty in 671 B.C. by an invading Assyrian army.
Redford traces the development of Egyptian perceptions of race
as their dominance over the darker-skinned peoples of Nubia and the
Sudan grew, exploring the cultural construction of spatial and
spiritual boundaries between Egypt and other African peoples.
Redford focuses on the role of racial identity in the formulation
of imperial power in Egypt and the legitimization of its sphere of
influence, and he highlights the dichotomy between the Egyptians'
treatment of the black Africans it deemed enemies and of those
living within Egyptian society. He also describes the range of
responses--from resistance to assimilation--of subjugated Nubians
and Sudanese to their loss of self-determination. Indeed, by the
time of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, the culture of the Kushite kings
who conquered Egypt in the late eighth century B.C. was thoroughly
Moving beyond recent debates between Afrocentrists and their
critics over the racial characteristics of Egyptian civilization,
"From Slave to Pharaoh" reveals the true complexity of race,
identity, and power in Egypt as documented through surviving texts
and artifacts, while at the same time providing a compelling
account of war, conquest, and culture in the ancient world.
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