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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article describes the end of Meroe and the origins of the ‘Nubian’ kingdoms and the end of the medieval kingdoms and post-medieval Sudan. The Meroitic kingdom which dominated large parts of the Middle Nile region during the early second millennium AD appears to have disintegrated sometime around AD 300–350 for reasons that still remain unclear. Archaeological evidence suggests that with the disappearance of a central authority and the unifying imperial culture it had generated, new regional cultures developed, albeit grounded in pre-existing cultural traditions within the Meroitic kingdom. Meanwhile, Arab sources suggest that dynastic struggles within Makuria, during which the first Muslim king of Dongola was installed in the early thirteenth century, contributed to a weakening of its political structures. The Black Death might have had an impact on the region, but whether it penetrated beyond Aswan into the Nubian Middle Nile remains unrecorded in contemporary accounts.

Keywords: Meroe, post-medieval Sudan, Nubian kingdoms, archaeology, Black Death

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