Jebel Barkal, Sudan is on the northern bank of the Nile and located around 400 km north of Khartoum. It is famous as the centre of the previous Nubian empire. Erected on the stone cliffs was once a large gold disc, the symbol of Amun-Ra the god of upper Egypt. This disc is a common symbol used of Ra the sun god throughout Egypt, and forms part of the name Rameses [Son of Ra].  Around 1450 Thutmoses III extended his area of influence to the south combining upper and lower Egypt into one empire. Later the lower kingdom became the kingdom of Cush.  http://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=18.601876,31.893396&hl=en&ll=18.596873,31.88653&spn=0.024283,0.068493&sll=18.533333,31.833333&sspn=0.169311,0.256119&num=1&t=h&z=15

Principal in the story of Gebel Barkal was Piye ruling ca747-716BC who erected both a victory stelae and records of a celebration of the Sed festival [literally tail, from the vestiges of animal skins used in the costumes of the Pharaoh] celebrating the continuing honour of the office of the Pharaoh.

Piye had taken advantage of the disunity in lower Egypt (north) and having both a strong and motivated military force marched north with the intention not to destroy but to re-establish the grandeur of the former glories of Egypt. He saw himself as the supporter of the real religious fervour of Egypt and endeavoured to establish consolidated and more pure Egyptian worship, his soldiers undertaking cleansing rituals before each battle. He marches north to hold the “beautiful” festival or Ophet at Thebes (Modern Luxor) and his attendance attests that he was the king of middle Egypt. During the festival during September 6-10 the tokens of the god Amun-Ra were carried from Karnak to Thebes on the eastern bank of the Nile to celebrate the inundation season that ran through to early January. The procession would stop at various intervals at chapels to celebrate until the final arrival at the royal barge where the king was coronated, and considered the god of the universe. [Incidentally there were three seasons of 120 days: inundation, harvest and emergence with an annual festival of 5 days making a 365 day year. An additional  day was added equivalent to our leap year, and is described on the Rosetta stone]. After confirmation of his position in middle Egypt he marches north taking Hermopolis and Memphis. and the various kings of the delta then submit to him, and several continue as vassals. On his return home he was consecrated again as Pharoah and at his death was buried in a Pyramid, the first in over 500 years!

Piye was succeeded by Shabaka 716 BC to 702 BC.  Sargon II (722-705 BC) of Assyria outlined in an inscription found in 1999  at Tang-i Var [confirmed at 706 BC—that it was Shebitku (702 BCE to 690), Shabaka’s successor, whose concord with Assyria saw Iamanni of Ashdod as co-regent king of Egypt] see Isa 22:1.

The inscription reads:  “(line 19) I (Sargon) plundered the city of Ashdod, Iamani, its king, feared [my weapons] and…He fled to the region of the land of Meluhha and lived (there) stealthfully (literally:like a thief). (20) Shapataku’ (Shabatka) king of the land of Meluhha, heard of the mig[ht] of the gods Ashur, Nabu (and) Marduk which I had [demonstrated] over all lands…(21) He put (Iamani) in manacles and handcuffs…he had him brought captive into my presence.” Following the death of Sargon II in 705BC the early conciliatory policy with Assyria was changed to an active resistance to Sennacherib’s movement into Israel

Shebitku (or Shabatka) Now here’s where it gets very interesting. Piye was the father of numerous children, but from a biblical standpoint the most famous was Taharqa whose forces on the backbone of Piye’s successes would stand against the Assyrians. Strabo indicates he considered Taharqa the most illustrious military genius of history (5) The Kawa Stella indicates that the brothers of Shebitku including Taharqa assisted in the resistance against the Assyrians leading to the battle against the Assyrians at Eltkeh 701BC.  Another inscription lists the king of Cush marching against Sennacherib while they were engaged at Jerusalem [ref]  confirming the biblical testimony of 2 Kings 19:9; Isa 37:9 and around 10 years before the official commencement of the reign of Taharqa in his own right. This provided Jerusalem with a short breathing space before the conquest against Hezekiah commenced in earnest.

So that in 690 BC, Shebitku died and was succeeded by Taharqa, his younger brother or cousin(?).

Esarhaddon 681–669 BC the youngest son of Sennacherib led several campaigns into Egypt, en route he subdued Sidon in 677 [renaming the harbour Kar-Ashur-aha-iddina, or the “Harbor of Esarhaddon”] The region of Tyre became a turncoat to Sidon during this campaign and some of the loot from invasions of Israel ended up in the puppet king, Baal I of Tyre. (the kings of Judah, Edom, Moab, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, Byblos [biblical Gebal] Arvad, Samsiuruna, Ammon and Cyprus were allied with Assyria. A battle in 676BC seems to have been a stalemate or failure with Egypt. Returning in 671BC following discipline of rebellious Tyre and Ashkelon, there was direct confrontation with Taharqa with the presence of Esarhaddon in person in 699BC, and ended in a rout.  Memphis fell and Taharqa fled south. Esarhaddon now gave himself the title king of Egypt, Patros and Cush, Taharqa’s son was taken captive, but as soon as the Assyria left Egypt again rebelled.

Further evidence of Taharaqa can be seen in the  Osiris temple at Thebes where Taharqa assisted Shebitku to complete the decorations. On his death he was buried at Nuri http://maps.google.com.au/maps?hl=en&ll=16.938403,33.749163&spn=0.003074,0.008562&sll=16.938367,33.74915&sspn=0.006295,0.006295&t=h&z=18

[Kawa, Sudan is on the eastern bank of the Nile opposite Dongola, and between the 3/4 cataracts] http://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=kawa+sudan&hl=en&ll=19.120841,30.485687&spn=0.193656,0.547943&t=h&z=12

A full description of the stelae and the meaning of the inscriptions can be read here: http://siam.academia.edu/RobertGozzoli/Papers/319058/Kawa_V_and_Taharqos_ByAwt_Some_Aspects_of_Nubian_Royal_Ideology

[Tangi-Var is adjacent to Palangan, Kordestan, Iran (1,2,3,4)  http://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=35.068327,46.557913&hl=en&ll=35.068502,46.557269&spn=0.020969,0.068493&sll=35.074122,46.552849&sspn=0.083872,0.273972&num=1&t=h&z=15

ref: (1) Frame,G., (1999) The Inscription of Sargon II at Tang-i Var, Orientalia 68 , pp.31-57 (2) Kahn, D., (2001) “The Inscription of Sargon II at Tang-i Var and the Chronology of Dynasty 25,” Orientalia 70, pp.1-3 (3) Redford, D. B.(1999), A note on the chronology of Dynasty 25 and the inscription of Sargon II at Tang-i Var, Orientalia 68:58-60. (4) Sarfaraz. A., (1968-69)Sangnibistah-i mihî-i Urâmânât” [A cuneiform inscription on rock from Urâmânât], Majallah-i Barrasîhâ-i Târîkhî 3:13-20. (5) Snowden: Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983, pp.52

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