The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Friday, March 10, 2017

The currency of Nobadia

Artur Obluski's The rise of Nobadia has been raised to my attention. This is a book-length thesis on the Nubian kingdom directly south of Byzantine Egypt and, soon enough, of Islamic Misr.

One Jwona Zych has translated Obluski's book to English for a certain "Journal of Juristic Papyrology". I do not know why she (I think it's a she) chose that journal, given that Rise is an analysis of archaeology with precious little documentation of any sort, let alone legal briefs. Although, given the time and place in question, papyrus was the material of choice. And I am grateful to have it in English since I'm not a Slav myself.

On Nobadia's borders, another Nubian state came up to its south: Makuria. Makuria is the state known to the Muslim historians. The Copts writing early in the eighth century noted a King Merkurios ruling Makuria a few decades prior, who styled himself a black Constantine and fought against Nobadia. Apparently Merkurios won, since inscriptions in the Nobadian capital mention Merkurios in the 700s and, later, the Muslims mostly forgot Nobadia ever existed.

Obluski mootes one conclusion around pp. 107f. He finds that much of what has been unearthed in Nobadia are "enclosures". These are like army forts, but without a lot of structure inside them. Obluski believes these were built to hold livestock. And they were fortified to a standard such that they kept the "livestock" from finding ways to climb or sneak out. So these were quite intelligent livestock.

The enclosures could have been constructed in the sixth century. Something is telling me, early seventh.

posted by Zimri on 07:50 | link | 0 comments

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