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Kingdom of Meroe



The Kingdom of Meroe grew out of the transfer of the Kushite capital from Napata to Meroe around 590 BCE -- after the Egyptian pharaoh Psamtik II sacked the old capital. A new and prosperous kingdom developed around the new city, coming to fruition around 300 BCE. The people also developed their own alphabet (Meroitic script) which was derived form Egyptian hieroglyphic and demotic characters. The kingdom lasted for around 600 years.

Meroe survived the arrival of the Romans, although it began to decline from that time. Meroe traded with Roman Egypt and with Arabia and India. It was known for its iron industry and metal work in general.

Between AD 320 and 325 the forces of Axum (now Ethiopia) under the command of Ella-Amida defeated those of Meroe and gradually converted its people to Christianity - the region was split into three smaller kingdoms: Nobatia, Makuria (or Makurra), and Alodia (or Alwa).

By 575 Nubia had been entirely converted to Christianity.

The site of Meroe is now best known for the over two hundred Nubian pyramids dating from 280 BCE onwards, distinct from Egyptian pyramids by their size and shape. The bodies discovered in association with the pyramids were either burned or buried un-mummified.

Alternate Spellings: Meroë
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