Kemet Klub

NA-Libyan and Kushite Egypt, 1100-650 BC.


18 July – 29 August
With Dr Robert Morkot

Libyan and Kushite Egypt, 1100-650 BC.

18 July- 29 August. Monday evenings for 7 weeks

7.30-9pm (UK time)
or watch again via recordings at a time to suit you.

*** This course has started. You are still able to enrol, but be aware that the sessions you have missed will only be available via recordings. All  recordings are accessible for up to a month after the date of the last live lecture. ***

The period following the ‘end’ of the New Kingdom is usually termed ‘The Third Intermediate Period’ (referred to as ‘TIP’), which makes it sound very dull and inconsequential: the older term used was Libyan and Kushite Egypt. Egyptology has generally been rather hostile towards ‘foreign rulers’ which has also prejudiced writing on this phase. Since Kenneth Kitchen’s ground-breaking The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt published in 1973, the TIP has become a major area of research, but the resulting studies can be very difficult to follow: the period seems to involve a lot of genealogies of people with impossible names, events are few, lists are long!  

Often treated as a ‘Dark Age’ following the end of Late Bronze Age, this was actually a dynamic period with the rise and expansion of the Assyrian and Kushite Empires eventually coming to conflict in Egypt. There are numerous complex historical problems to address, but it was also a period of innovation and high artistic production: museums are filled with beautifully painted coffins, bronzes and glazed amulets from this time. It was also a time of looking back and researching into Egypt’s past. The course attempts to cut through some of the more difficult arguments of Egyptologists and try to outline the entire period and the key issues. 

Those issues are: the ‘end’ of the Late Bronze Age and 20th Dynasty and the transition to Libyan rulers. The context of new kingdoms and empires: Israel, Judah, Assyria, and the expansion of the Phoenician city states and their colonies, followed by Greek colonies. There are major historical problems: the emergence of multiple kingdoms in Egypt and how they relate to each other. What happens in Nubia? And how does that lead to the Kushite domination of Egypt. The rise and rise of Sais in the western Delta, that eventually reunites Egypt. Can the artistic and religious developments of this period help us to unravel the problems, or do they simply add to them?

Reading suggestions

Aidan Dodson, Afterglow of Empire. American University in Cairo Press 2012.

Robert Morkot, The Black Pharaohs, Egypt’s Nubian Rulers. Rubicon Press 2000.

Peter James et al., Centuries of Darkness. Jonathan Cape, 1991.

Dr Robert Morkot

Dr Robert Morkot gained both his BA and PhD from University College London. Part of his postgraduate studies were spent at the Humboldt University in Berlin (GDR as it was then) which was the leading centre for Meroitic studies. He held a post-doctoral research position and Oxford and for many years taught in the Archaeology Department of a UK University. He was Chair of the Society for Libyan Studies and worked on the Eastern Marmarica Coastal Survey, and served for a long time on the Committee and Board of the EES. He is currently President of the Friends of the Petrie Museum. His best-known books are The Black Pharaohs, Egypt’s Nubian Rulers and (along with colleagues) the controversial Centuries of Darkness.

Booking instructions

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Session links will be available in the course Classroom. Room opens 30 minutes before the lecture begins. If you do not have the course link or have any other queries please get in touch

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