Close
You have no items in your shopping cart.
Search
Filters

Calling Out to Isis


The Enduring Nubian Presence at Philae


The expansion of the cult of the goddess Isis throughout the Mediterranean world demonstrates the widespread appeal of Egyptian religion in the Greco-Roman period. In this monograph, Ashby focuses on an oft-neglected population in studies of this phenomenon: Nubian worshipers. Through examination of prayer inscriptions and legal agreements engraved on temple walls, as well as Ptolemaic royal decrees and temple imagery, Ashby sheds new light on the involvement of Nubians in the Egyptian temples of Lower Nubia, and further draws comparisons between Nubian cultic practices and the Meroitic royal funerary cult.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0715-1
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jul 21,2020
Interior Color: Black with Color Inserts
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 350
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0715-1
$95.00
$76.00
x =

Evidence of Nubian activity in the Egyptian temples of Lower Nubia spans a period of more than one thousand years: from a bark stand dedicated by the Kushite king Taharqa (690-664 BCE) to Nubian prayer inscriptions engraved in the mid-fifth century CE. Nubian priests, administrators, and worshippers were intimately involved in the hierarchy of Egyptian temples in Lower Nubia. For the first time, this book considers all Nubian prayer inscriptions – written in Demotic, Meroitic, and Greek – to reveal that Nubian piety at Philae occurred in three discrete phases in which very different groups of Nubians arrived at Philae to perform rites.

Chapter one describes the Lower Nubian kings who arrived at Philae bearing tithes as decreed by Ptolemaic rulers who conquered Lower Nubia. Chapter two describes the annexation of Philae and Dakka by the rulers of Meroe who defended the temples militarily while supplying them with royal donations of gold. Meroitic royal cartouches at Philae and Dakka attest to the unfettered access obtained during this period. Of particular interest is the Feast of Entry, which exhibits many similarities to Meroitic royal funerary rites, performed by members of one Nubian family attested for eight generations at Philae and Dakka. Chapter three describes the priests who served the Blemmye kings in the fourth century CE, the last worshippers at the temples of Philae, whose rites were performed for Blemmye gods in addition to Isis and Osiris.

This book argues that the enduring religious presence of Nubian worshippers, over a period of one thousand years, profoundly influenced the unique rites performed at the temples of Philae and Dakka, in addition to introducing the worship of Nubian gods into the temple cult. Drawing on comparanda from the Meroitic religious sphere, this book presents a complete overview of Nubian religion as practiced in the temples of Philae and Dakka.

 

REVIEWS:

"The important role of Nubians in the worship of Isis at Philae and throughout the Dodecaschoenus has frequently been ignored in studies of these important temples. Far more than simple worshippers or pilgrims, Nubians were major participants in the clergy of the temples and served as both financial supporters of temple and cult and military defenders of the temples at Philae and the right of the Nubians to worship there. This study of the Nubian prayer inscriptions and associated ritual scenes during the first half of the first millennium of the common era throws much light on the religious, political, economic, and social factors involved. For anyone interested in Isis in (late) antiquity, this volume should provide absorbing new material."  Janet H. Johnson, Morton D. Hull Distinguished  Service Professor of Egyptology, University of Chicago.

"Solange Ashby has written a historical masterpiece that will surely serve as the avant-garde in both Nubian Studies and Egyptology. Calling Out to Isis is both theoretically and methodologically innovative in the way that it reveals the significance of Nubian epigraphy in illuminating the rites and cultural practices of the premier Isis Temple in ancient Egypt."  Salim Faraji, PhD, Professor of Africana Studies, California State University Dominguez Hills. 

Evidence of Nubian activity in the Egyptian temples of Lower Nubia spans a period of more than one thousand years: from a bark stand dedicated by the Kushite king Taharqa (690-664 BCE) to Nubian prayer inscriptions engraved in the mid-fifth century CE. Nubian priests, administrators, and worshippers were intimately involved in the hierarchy of Egyptian temples in Lower Nubia. For the first time, this book considers all Nubian prayer inscriptions – written in Demotic, Meroitic, and Greek – to reveal that Nubian piety at Philae occurred in three discrete phases in which very different groups of Nubians arrived at Philae to perform rites.

Chapter one describes the Lower Nubian kings who arrived at Philae bearing tithes as decreed by Ptolemaic rulers who conquered Lower Nubia. Chapter two describes the annexation of Philae and Dakka by the rulers of Meroe who defended the temples militarily while supplying them with royal donations of gold. Meroitic royal cartouches at Philae and Dakka attest to the unfettered access obtained during this period. Of particular interest is the Feast of Entry, which exhibits many similarities to Meroitic royal funerary rites, performed by members of one Nubian family attested for eight generations at Philae and Dakka. Chapter three describes the priests who served the Blemmye kings in the fourth century CE, the last worshippers at the temples of Philae, whose rites were performed for Blemmye gods in addition to Isis and Osiris.

This book argues that the enduring religious presence of Nubian worshippers, over a period of one thousand years, profoundly influenced the unique rites performed at the temples of Philae and Dakka, in addition to introducing the worship of Nubian gods into the temple cult. Drawing on comparanda from the Meroitic religious sphere, this book presents a complete overview of Nubian religion as practiced in the temples of Philae and Dakka.

 

REVIEWS:

"The important role of Nubians in the worship of Isis at Philae and throughout the Dodecaschoenus has frequently been ignored in studies of these important temples. Far more than simple worshippers or pilgrims, Nubians were major participants in the clergy of the temples and served as both financial supporters of temple and cult and military defenders of the temples at Philae and the right of the Nubians to worship there. This study of the Nubian prayer inscriptions and associated ritual scenes during the first half of the first millennium of the common era throws much light on the religious, political, economic, and social factors involved. For anyone interested in Isis in (late) antiquity, this volume should provide absorbing new material."  Janet H. Johnson, Morton D. Hull Distinguished  Service Professor of Egyptology, University of Chicago.

"Solange Ashby has written a historical masterpiece that will surely serve as the avant-garde in both Nubian Studies and Egyptology. Calling Out to Isis is both theoretically and methodologically innovative in the way that it reveals the significance of Nubian epigraphy in illuminating the rites and cultural practices of the premier Isis Temple in ancient Egypt."  Salim Faraji, PhD, Professor of Africana Studies, California State University Dominguez Hills. 

Write your own review
  • Only registered users can write reviews
  • Bad
  • Excellent
Contributor Biography

Solange Ashby

Solange Ashby is an Independent Scholar. From late August 2020 she will be teaching at the University of Nebraska, Omaha Black Studies Department, and from January 2021 she will be an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient Studies at Barnard College, New York. She earned her PhD in Egyptology and Nubiology at the University of Chicago.

Customers who bought this item also bought

Chinese Heirs to Muhammad

Writing Islamic History in Early Modern China
ISBN: 978-1-4632-3925-1
How was the past imagined by Hui Muslims in late nineteenth and early twentieth century China? Chen argues that this was a productive time for historical thought, bookended by the establishment of a robust Sino-Islamic knowledge base by Liu Zhi on one end and Republican China on the other end. This book explores histories that unify vast stretches of time and place: from genesis to the modern era, from Arabia to China. Hui historians create narratives that transform China into an Islamic space and Islam into a Chinese religion.
$91.96

Aqueducts and Urbanism in Post-Roman Hispania

ISBN: 978-1-4632-3915-2
Our current knowledge of Roman aqueducts across the Empire is patchy and uneven. Even if the development of “aqueduct studies” (where engineering, archaeology, architecture, hydraulics, and other disciplines converge) in recent years has improved this situation, one of the aspects which has been generally left aside is the chronology of their late antique phases and of their abandonment. In the Iberian peninsula, there is to date, no general overview of the Roman aqueducts, and all the available information is distributed across various publications, which as expected, hardly mention the late phases. This publication tackles this issue by analysing and reassessing the available evidence for the late phases of the Hispanic aqueducts by looking at a wide range of sources of information, many times derived from the recent interest shown by archaeologists and researchers on late antique urbanism.
$114.95

Through the Prism of Wisdom

Elijah the Prophet as a Bearer of Wisdom in Rabbinic Literature
Series: Judaism in Context 23
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0742-7
This monograph explores the nature of the Elijah traditions in rabbinic literature and their connection to the wisdom tradition. By examining the diverse Elijah traditions in connection to the wisdom and apocalyptic traditions, Alouf-Aboody sheds new light on the manner in which Elijah’s role developed in rabbinic literature.
$142.40

The Last Empire of Iran

ISBN: 978-1-4632-0616-1
As part of the Gorgias Handbook Series, this book provides a political and military history of the Sasanian Empire in Late Antiquity (220s to 651 CE). The book takes the form of a narrative, which situates Sasanian Iran as a continental power between Rome and the world of the steppe nomad.
$72.00