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 The Nubians and tribalism

The term 'Tribe' it clearly is not applicable to the Nubians. Dr .William Y. Adams in " The Nubian Nations" Alone among Sudanese peoples, they left behind this fragmented and rather chaotic from of political and social organization more than three thousand years ago. In the great days of their Kerma monarchy( c.1785-1580 B.C) they had already developed an imperial state that held sway over a diversity of peoples, and that could challenge the authority of the Egyptian pharaohs themselves. Under the colonial rule of the Egyptians New kingdom ( c.1580-1000 B.c) they imperial subjects of the pharaoh, but also achieved high bureaucratic office within the colonial regime.There is nothing in the numerous Egyptian colonial records of that time to suggest a division of the Nubian population along ethnic or political lines. Under the independent post-colonial Empire of Kush ( c. 700 B.C- 350 A. D )  

The Nubians achieved a still higher level of political centralization and unification, creating an empire four times as large as Egypt itself. It was an empire which the Romans treated as co-equal power, following the Treaty of Samos in 23 B.C .Romans and Greek visitors who spoke admiringly of the polity culture of Meroe, never mentioned tribal division within its population
It was under the post- Kushite kingdoms of medieval times, however, that the Nubians took the longest of all steps towards freedom from the limitations of tribalism. Although there were linguistic divisions within the Nubian population, the kingdoms of Nobatia, Makouria, and Awal (c. 500-150 A.D ) were not tribal confederations, separated by linguistic. They were nation-states in the full modern sense of word, and the first to exist on the African continent. They were ruled not only by secular monarchs who claimed no divinity, but also by a complex hierarchy of bureaucratic officials. Most importantly, they were governed by well developed codes of law, which were binding upon the rulers as their subjects .Thus established on a stable foundation, and not subject to the whims of individual rulers , they were able to negotiate a treaty ( the Baqt of A.D.653) with the Muslim rulers of Egypt that guaranteed their peace for more than six hundred years . And although the Nubian throughout the Middle Ages had a reputation for warlike prowess, their medieval states never once went to war with one another so far as we know
But the medieval Nubian nations made still a further advanced beyond both tribalism and imperialism. They achieved the most complete separation between church and state of any people before modern times. Their secular officials were appointees of the reigning monarchs, and were responsible wholly to him, at the same time that the entire church hierarchy was appointed by, and responsible to, the Coptic Patriarch in Alexandria. If we can believe the numerous documents that have been uncovered at Qasr Ibrim, there was virtually no overlapping between these two bureaucratic structures . And this was at a time when all the neighboring lands of Islam were ruled by the theocratic Caliphates , and when the church and state throughout the Byzantine Empire were closely intertwined . There was a fuller separation between church and state in Roman Catholic lands of Western Europe, yet in those lands it was the kings and not the pope who appointed most of the bishops and priests. Speaking personally, I regard " freedom of conscience" as one of the most precious liberties that we possess in the modern world and I therefore see the separation of church and state as one of the single most outstanding accomplishments of the early Nubians
Viewing the long sweep of Sudanese history, it becomes apparent that the Nubians have always been on the " cutting edge " of cultural progress . It was they who first learned to write in hieroglyphics , and who subsequently developed the first truly indigenous alphabets in Africa It was they , who a later time, developed an alphabets to write the Nubian language, while at the same time many became literate in Greek, Coptic and Arabic . It was they who  developed written instruments of law . and who achieved the first separation church and state It was they who  became the main mercantile class under the Turco-Egyptian regims, and who also became backbone of the Anglo-Egyptian colonial civil service. Finally it was they who finished most of the earliest faculty at Khartoum University


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