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How kings were coronated in the Kushite kingdom

by Abbey
How kings were coronated in the Kushite kingdom

In this article, I will take you on a journey through the annals of time, delving into the intricate process of enthronement for the kings of ancient Nubia. This historical gem not only stands as one of the earliest accounts in African history but among the earliest in all of human history.

Ancient Nubia: A Complex Tapestry

Before we unravel the mystique of Nubian enthronement, let’s contextualize the region. Ancient Nubia, a term often loosely used to describe the cultures south of Egypt, is far more complex than meets the eye. The diverse ethnic groups that inhabited this region, including the formidable Kushites, have left an indelible mark on history.

In the shadow of Egypt’s dominance, it wasn’t until the decline of the Egyptian New Kingdom that the Kushites rose to independence. The enthronement process of a Kushite king, however, reveals a fascinating interplay between Nubian and Egyptian cultures, creating what we might call a “Nile Valley feedback loop.”

The Nile Valley Feedback Loop

Egyptian influence on Nubia and vice versa is a key theme. The enthronement process in Kush drew inspiration from the Egyptian model, yet a closer look reveals a reciprocal relationship. The very concept of kingship in Egypt itself had roots in a Nubian model, as sacral chiefs from the Middle Nile Basin influenced early dynastic Egypt.

Christopher Aret eloquently captures this dynamic, explaining how sacral chiefs of the Middle Nile Basin evolved into the divine kings of Egypt. This cultural exchange, dating back to 3500 BCE, laid the foundation for the rich tapestry of Nubian and Egyptian interplay.

The Kushite Enthronement Process

The enthronement of a Kushite king was a multifaceted affair, intertwining social, political, and spiritual dimensions. Influenced by New Kingdom ideology, the process aimed to legitimize the new ruler both in the human and divine spheres.

Upon the death of a king, the successor would be announced either by the departing king or through an oracle revealing Amun’s will. The coronation involved a royal trip around the kingdom, with festivals marking each significant step. Festivals, a jubilant celebration, were integral to the process, showcasing the ruler’s legitimacy and divine confirmation.

Matrilineal Kingship

Ancient Kush stood as a matrilineal society, where rulers traced their lineage through a female succession line. This unique aspect of kingship culture added depth to the enthronement process. The oracular decree from Amun of Napata emphasized the ruler’s legitimacy based on descent from seven generations of female ancestors.


As we unravel the intricacies of ancient Nubian kingship, we witness a symphony of cultural exchange, divine legitimacy, and ritualistic grandeur. The Nile Valley feedback loop, with its reciprocal influences, echoes through the corridors of time, reminding us of the interconnectedness of ancient civilizations.

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  • Abbey

    Abbey Johnson has a Masters degree as an engineer and has over 3 years of teaching and research experience. He is happiest when on a bike and is also interested in electric energy and computer Science.

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