Pharaoh Piye: The Black King Who Ruled Both Ancient Kush/Nubia and Egypt
By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
Piye, also known as Piankhi, was the king of the kingdom of Kush, also known as Nubia (modern-day Sudan). He ruled from about 750 BCE to around 719 BCE.
The Holy Conqueror
During his reign as ruler of the people of Nubia, (a people who shared a cultural-connection to the people of Egypt), Piye knew of and took advantage of the inner-conflict of Egypt at the time.
He expanded Nubia’s territory beyond Thebes, in Southern Egypt, and eventually he moved his army north and achieved military victories in Memphis and Hermopolis , just to name a few.
“Hear what I have done in exceeding the ancestors. I am the king, the representation of god, the living image of Atum, who issued from the womb marked as ruler, who is feared by those greater than he, [whose father] knew and whose mother perceived even in the egg that he would be ruler, the good god, beloved of the gods, the Son of Re, who acts with his two arms, Piye, beloved of Amon ….”
Egypt at the time was very chaotic and instead of being one unified kingdom, it consisted of several fragmented smaller states, all of which never stood a chance against the mighty and unified kingdom of Nubia, which was at it’s peak at the time. Several kings of the Delta region, including Iuput (also spelled Auput II)of Leontopolis, Nimlot of Hermopolis, and Usermaatre Osorkon IV of Tanis, all eventually submitted to the throne of Piye. Pharaoh Piye viewed his conquest of Egypt as not only a military one, but a religious one. In fact, he believed that Egypt had lost much of its shared cultural and religious identity with Kush due to the fact that Egypt had been invaded by various peoples by this time, who inevitably mixed their cultural, religious and racial identities into the fabric of Egypt. As Pharaoh, Piye wasn’t only responsible for ruling over the people of the Kingdom (soon to be empire) of Kush, but he was also responsible for commanding its military and as Pharaoh he was considered divine and an intermediary between the gods and the people. Making Pharoah Piye the most important religious figure in the nation. Which is why he commanded that his soldiers ritually cleanse themselves (similarly to what a modern-day Muslim does before prayer) before they went into battle. Piye, himself offered sacrifices to the god of Amun. His uniting the two Kingdoms would be seen as an African renaissance.
His exact time on the throne is unknown, some reseachers suggest he ruled as Pharaoh for 24 years, others suggest it could of been upwards of 31 years.
The Tomb of Piye was located in El-Kurru, which was one of the cemeteries of the Nubian/Kush royal family. The tomb site is located in Northern State, Sudan.