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Ancient Ethiopia

 

Ancient Ethiopia

“The Nubo-Egyptian desert was once abundantly watered and a well timbered region. With the exclusion of the narrow Nile valley, all of this is generally a barren waste today. Geology reveals that in the primitive ages, this country had a moist climate like the Congo basin; but these conditions prevailed in remote geological times, probably before the creation of the delta. The changes that turned the Sahara into a burning waste in time made Upper Egypt dry and torrid. Keane describes its climate as often fatal to all but full blooded natives. Under those brazen skies the children of even Euro-African half castes seldom survive after the tenth or twelfth year. Passing southward, we find that ancient edifices occur throughout the whole extent of Ethiopia. In the olden days, the climate there was favorable to the nurturing and development of a high type of civilization and produced an Ethiopian so superior to the later types, that they were called by the ancients, "the handsomest men of the primeval world."
The whole of the space between the Nile and Abyssinia, and northward to Lower Egypt once constituted Ethiopia. It was called Beled-es-Soudan (land of the blacks). Once Egypt extended to Lower Nubia. The ancient kingdom of Meroe was Upper Nubia and was divided into agricultural and grazing lands. Crowfoot tells us in his Ancient Meroe, that Meroe at the height of its prosperity was established upon as broad an economic basis as Egypt or Mesopotamia. “
 
“In modern geography the name Ethiopia is confined to the country known as Abyssinia, an extensive territory in East Africa. In ancient times Ethiopia extended over vast domains in both Africa and Asia."

“It seems certain,” declares Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, “that classical historians and geographers called the whole region from India to Egypt, both countries inclusive, by the name of Ethiopia, and in consequence they regarded all the dark-skinned and black peoples who inhabited it as Ethiopians. Mention is made of Eastern and Western Ethiopians and it is probable that the Easterners were Asiatics and the Westerners Africans.” (History of Ethiopia, Vol. I., Preface, by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge.)

In addition Budge notes that, “Homer and Herodotus call all the peoples of the Sudan, Egypt, Arabia, Palestine and Western Asia and India Ethiopians.” (Ibid., p. 2.) Herodotus wrote in his celebrated History that both the Western Ethiopians, who lived in Africa, and the Eastern Ethiopians who dwelled in India, were black in complexion, but that the Africans had curly hair, while the Indians were straight-haired. (The aboriginal black inhabitants of India are generally referred to as the Dravidians, of whom more will be said as we proceed.) Another classical historian who wrote about the Ethiopians was Strabo, from whom we quote the following: “I assert that the ancient Greeks, in the same way as they classed all the northern nations with which they were familiar as Scythians, etc., so, I affirm, they designated as Ethiopia the whole of the southern countries toward the ocean.” Strabo adds that “if the moderns have confined the appellation Ethiopians to those only who dwell near Egypt, this must not be allowed to interfere with the meaning of the ancients.”

Ephorus says that: “The Ethiopians were considered as occupying all the south coasts of both Asia and Africa,” and adds that “this is an ancient opinion of the of the Greeks.” Then we have the view of Stephanus of Byzantium, that: “Ethiopia was the first established country on earth; and the Ethiopians were the first who introduced the worship of the gods, and who established laws.” The vestiges of this early civilization have been found in Nubia, the Egyptian Sudan, West Africa, Egypt, Mashonaland, India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Arabia, South America, Central America, Mexico, and the United States. Any student who doubts this will find ample evidence in such works as The Voice of Africa, by Dr. Leo Froebenius; Prehistoric Nations, and Ancient America, by John D. Baldwin; Rivers of Life, by Major-General J. G. R. Forlong; A Book of the Beginnings by Gerald Massey; Children of the Sun and The Growth of Civilization, by W. J. Perry; The Negro by Professor W.E.B. DuBois; The Anacalypsis, by Sir Godfrey Higgins; Isis Unveiled by Madam H. P. Blavatsky; The Diffusion of Culture, by Sir Grafton Elliot Smith; The Mediterranean Race, by Professor Sergi; The Ruins of Empires, by Count Volney; The Races of Europe, by Professor William Z. Ripley; and last but not least, the brilliant monographs of Mr. Maynard Shipley: New Light on Prehistoric Cultures and Americans of a Million Years Age.”
 
“To cite Lady Lugard: "The fame of the ancient Ethiopians was widespread in ancient history.  History describes them as the tallest, most beautiful and long-lived of the human races, and before Herodotus, Homer, in even more flattering language, described them as the most just of men, the favorites of the gods.  The annals of all the the great early nations of Asia Minor are full of them.  The Mosaic records allude to them frequently; but while they are described as the most powerful, the most just, and the most beautiful of the human race, they are constantly spoken of as Black, and there seems to be no other conclusion to be drawn than that at that remote period of history, the leading race of the Western World was a Black race."
 
“Findings from recent research indicate that during the late stone age, languages, most likely to be precursors to the Afroasiatic Superfamily, existed in modern-day Eritrea and Sudan. While not definite, these languages first began to take their "separate" forms by 13,000 BCE, which is probably when the Omotic precurser-language began its slow migration southward in the Ethiopian region. Today, Omotic speakers live in the west and southwest part of the country. Not too long afterward, the Cushitic language-precursor group were also in formation. The speakers of this language originally inhabited what is today northern Ethiopia and Eritrea, and slowly migrated westwards into the Sudan, further eastwards into eastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia, and southward into north-central Ethiopia (Gondar, Gojjam and Wallo).  The Semitic family can also trace their origins from this area in north-eastern Africa. Most modern experts hold the theory that the Semitic precursor-language must have at first existed in a cluster with ancient Egyptian and Berber, before exiting into its unique form. However the timing for these events is quite difficult to discern. The Semitic language-precursor being, for our purposes, the "last" language in formation, was somehow transported into Arabia and further east into central and northern Asia.  The early inhabitants of Ethiopia during the Chalcolithic Age (6200-1850 BCE) were in the beginning stages of domesticating grains such as teff and ansete (locally known as the false banana). Plough-based agriculture was also in the process of evolving, which could imply the domestication of cattle. Certainly by the Early Bronze Age (1850 BCE), the domestication of animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, and donkeys was taking place. “