Meroitic Evidence for a

               Blemmy Empire in the






Clyde A. Winters, Ph.D

Uthman dan Fodio Institute



     Controversy surrounds the role of the Blemmyans in the Dodekaschoinos . Torok has argued passionately that the Blemmyes were fairly recent settlers of the Dodekaschoinos[1]. Dafa'alla on the otherhand, using historical records argue that their were two groups of Blemmyes in the area one nomadic and the other urban[2]. Dr. Dafa'alla also believes that these urban Blemmyes may have been the "generals of the river" of the Meroitic and Demotic inscriptions[3].

     Updegraff provides a good history of the later period of Blemmyan history[4] . We learn from Updegraff that the Blemmyes may have been mentioned in a New Kingdom onomasticon of Imn-m-ipt [5]. This reference to the Blemmyes is disputed but we do recognize numerous references to the Blemmyes in Demotic texts as early as the 6th century B.C.[6]

     The Meroitic empire was a major power in Africa during the classical period[7]. After the decline of Meroe states appeared in

the area comprising the former Meroitic empire that were heavily influenced by the Meroites, e.g., the Ballana phase[8].

     The role of the Blemmyes in the history of Lower Nubia during the late Meroitic period is unclear [9]. Monnert de Villard[10] , and Hoffman, Tomandl and Zach believe that the Blemmyes were the principal Nubian people living in much of Lower Nubia in the first century A.D.[11] . Torok, on the otherhand , believes that the Blemmyes could not have had a foothold in the Valley before 373 A.D., eventhough they are mentioned in the demotic inscriptions from Philae[12].

      This has led many researchers to conclude that the Nobadae formed the successor Meroitic states after the decline of the Kusa or Kushites of Meroe[13]. The Blemmyes are recognized as a nomadic people associated with the decline of Meroe [14].

Original Kalabsha Temple

     Torok  believes that the Blemmyes did not occupy the area around Kalabsha until between the 390's and the middle of the 5th century [15]. Although this view is held  by many researchers[16], the Kalabsha Meroitic inscription (MI 94, REM 094) suggest that the Blemmyes controlled much of Lower Nubia after the decline of the Meroitic empire.

     The inscriptions of the Ethiopians make it clear that after the Ethiopians conquered the Kushites, the Nobadae were the probable successors of the Kusa in the southern Meroitic empire. But it would appear that the Blemmyes were the dominant power in Lower Nubia when the Meroitic civilization declined.

     The Napatan records make it clear that in the 7th c. B.C. the Blemmyes were entering Lower Nubia[17]. These records make it clear that these people recognized Napatan supremacy. And between the 5th-4th c. B.C. the Blemmyes are reported to be settled in Upper and Lower Nubia where they were defeated by King Harsiyotef[18] .

     The Classical sources make it clear that although the Kushites at Meroe were the dominant power in Nubia and the Sudan at this time, there were also many independent states associated with, or part of the Meroitic empire[19] . In the 3rd-4th c. B. C., Lower Nubia was scarcely populated. But by this time many Blemmyes were settled in Lower Nubia and, and Eratosthenes claims that they were recognized as subjects of the Meroitic Kings[20] .

By the 1st century B.C., Strabo listed the Blemmyes as subjects of the Meroites[21] . During this same period the Nobades were mentioned as living south of Meroe on the west bank of the Nile[22] .

     The Blemmyes worshipped the god Mandulis and probably many of the Meroitic deities as they became acculturated to Meroitic civilization. Due to the large number of Blemmyes in Lower Nubia, a chapel for Mandoulis was built between 206 and 186 B.C., at Kalabsha by King Arqamani.

     The Blemmyes were very powerful by 249-251 A.D., they attacked Egypt[23] . By 297, the Romans were paying a subsidy to the Nobatae to settle the Dodecaschoinos, and act as a "buffer" between the Romans and the Blemmyes[24].

     The Blemmyes appear to have had very intimate relations with the Meroites. The Blemmyes were recognized by the Meroites as an important "subject" group within the Meroitic empire. This would explain Constantine Eusebius mention of the Meroite and Blemmy envoys visit to the Egyptian court [25], probably around 336[26].  V. Christides, claims that the Blemmyes gave Ballana crowns to Emperor Constantine[27].

     In the 370's we begin to hear more about the Blemmyes in Classical sources. In 373, the Blemmyes attacked the Romans in the Dodekaschoinos. This attack is recorded at Philae in a demotic inscription Ph.371[28]. By 374, the Blemmyes were also attacking the Sinai Peninsula[29].

     Although the Meroitic and Classical evidence support the early settlement of the Blemmyes in Lower Nubia by the 1st c. A.D., Torok believes that these people did not settle Lower Nubia before the 390's[30]. He has based this hypothesis on  Claudianus and Epiphanios[31].

   Claudius Claudianus, mentions the Blemmyes in one of his poems. Claudianus was born in Alexandria. He later moved to Rome in 394.

    In 404 Claudianus returned to Egypt to find a wife. In a poem written in 404, he located the Blemmyes between Aswan and Meroe[32].

    Epiphanios makes it clear that by 395/6 the Blemmyes had control of Talmis/Kalabsha. He wrote that:" Now Beronike, as it is called is contiguous with the districts of Elephantine and also with Telmis (=Kalabsha) which is now held by the Blemyi"[33].

      The Kalabsha Meroitic inscription support the view that the Blemmyes controlled much of Lower Nubia after the decline of the Meroites. As mentioned earlier as early as 336 the Blemmyes and Meroites made joint embassies to Egypt. This illustrates that the Blemmyes  were probably strongly Meroiticized and had some knowledge of Meroitic and could have written the Kalabsha inscription.



     The Kalabsha inscription is 34 lines. It was found at the lower part of the Northernmost four column denoting the facade of the Kalabsha temple's pronaos[34].

     The Kalabsha inscription is about King Kharamadoye. The location of the Kalabsha inscription suggest that the inscriptions was written before debris covered much of the temple.

     Millet believes that Kharamadoye was a Nobadae ruler[35]. Monneret de Villard believed that the stela was commemorating a King of the Blemmyes[36].

     Most researchers accept the fact that Kharamadoye may have been a Blemmy, due to its similarity to Blemmy names in the Gebelen document[37]. In the Gebelen document there are names of several Blemmyes including Kharakhen, and his sons Kharahiet and Kharapathkur dating to the 6th century.

   Ll. Griffith deciphered the Meroitic script over 70 years ago[38]. Up until recently the inscriptions could be transliterated, but we were unable to read the Meroitic records in their entirety because we did not know the Meroitic language. In 1984 C.A. Winters was able to find the cognate language of Meroitic: Kushana[39] . As a result of this discovery we can read any Meroitic text.[40]

     The Kalabasha inscription is written in Late Meroitic. The grammar of Late Meroitic has been outlined elsewhere[41] .

     Below is the transliteration of the Kalabsha text. In this transliteration of Meroitic, the so called Meroitic separator sign ( : ) is given the meaning -ne. The Meroitic sign  -ne, means 'good' and is used to change verbs into nouns.[42]

         1. hrmdoye ne qor ene ariteń lne mdes ne mni-t[43] kene

         2. mk lebne ye re qe-ne q yi-t[44] hl-ne  y es bo he-ne                 q r lebne tro.

         3. s-ne ariteń net er ek li s-ne d-b li lh ne q r kene

            qor ene mnpte.

         4. s-ne lw-ne qor e yi-ne-t[45] h-ne-m[46] no tene s-ne lw-ne

            t h-ń[47] yi-ne qr-ne ariteń li s-ne.

         5. lw-ne qr-ń yi-ne so-b[48]neh-l b[49]-ine li . s-ne lw-ne                so-b-ń yi-ne th ne-m ote sl w-ne.

         6. th-ń yi-ne arette[50] ne wos sl w-ne h i ret-te ń yi-ne

            hr ph ene mk e do.

         7. ke li sl w-ne hr ph e ń yi-ne. te ri s nem npte ne

            p d ho s-ne tl-o[51].

         8. li s ne  k i d kete tene yimeniye ne qor e-l h-ene

            yi ti IIII yo to-ne.

         9. ptpotekye ne ab-l ene y wi tone s wi d-e-a[52] q to ye-              ne. Tep kene ye d ne  mk lne te.

        10. pk ene y ey k-ne w ye d ne-te pk ene p y k-ne h i w r              nea d o-ne w sne phrs ne t o.

        11. m ń-ne-a s y ne ke d eb h ek y-ne qor-e ti k-ne d i                k-ne pilqe y-te ne-b q ok.   

        12. lk s-ne sq y-e s-ne nsdoke s-ne tmeyye s-ne nhr e s-               ne-b qo b h.

        13. simlo k-ne d ik ne pilqe y tene b qo lne pr one d

            ol ene pl w-ne penn-ne t.

        14. lte-ne br-ne ph i ńl-ne bh em ine ye de tene-b . ye                ke lh d ik ne kdi mlo ye-ne.                                  

        15. sq kdi-ne pt p ot...yismeniye ne y sb  e t ne-b er so              wi-ne mte ne w s-ne.

        16. a y e ken l-ne yt p-ote ne y-e[53] d ne y-kl ene                     arohetye ne nl ene do lk.

        17. mte l-ne pi ke d el wi-ne y-e d ne ptpotekye ne w kdi              wi ke tene mte ws.

        18. qorh-ne th-ń y-ene tk lwi-ne y sh e t ne-b er ek-n                 wi-ne h.

        19. r ph ene de te lh l-ne w e ń-ne y-e d ne w-o p ik ene              ti-l[54] ye y ki ne.

        20. br lebne ke d e-b h ne. kdi lebne-m ro r lebne s s                  lebne kb b.

        21. tne p d ho s-ne-l[55] h lebne ye h o y[56]-kene y-te

            tene-m ro r b ene qe.

        22. s w-ne-a d er ek ene-m tr-ne w s-ne h r w-ne pilqe                  kene mt r-ne w s-ne.

        23. qor e IIIIIIII hr e s-ne wt e b ne ah ine d e ...

            kl ene d e .

        24. tene we d ine d h ene mte ne kdi ne aqtoyes II wb qo               b.

        25. tenen wi d o ne hr e s ye qo ne hresye qo ne wid

            yishteteye qo ne b qo.

        26. b h ne s ml ene w si ne tk b tene ste ne we s-ne  b                 qo b tene.

        27. simlo k-ne d ik ne sl el ey tene-m ho ne temey ne


        28. kdi a br ne nhbr e s ne kb h ne-m ho li-ne temey li-               ne d k-ne.

        29. p ro-ne d ol pl w-ne penn tl tene br-ne ph ol e ne b

             h em ine.

        30. ye d e tene hr w-ne-a d o ni li  kete-ne yir e q                   w nea.

        31. r w-ne tere kete-ne hr w-ne sl el e kene-m tr-ne ws                yi r-e.

        32. q w nea d lo kene-m tr-ne w s-ne ws-ne. qor ene pt si               de ne tm ot-ne .    

        33. m...es ne...pl-ń pt mk . i  d ene tm-o t ne ari tel                ene w o.

        34. pl e .


    Millet did an excellent job in discussing the major points of the Kalabsha inscription, relative to our knowledge about Meroitic in the 1960's[57]. Below is our translation of the Kalabsha inscription now that we can read all the Meroitic words in the text.

      (1) Kharamadoye the monarch and chief of the living Ariteń, the great son and patron of Amani ,you (who) revitalizes (man). (2) The lord's voyage of discovery indeed gives the creation of Good. Act (now Amani) he travels to support good. Make a good welfare swell (for) the offering of the Chief, (he) desires indeed the restoration of eminence. (3) The patron of good Ariteń bows in reverence (before Amani) to evoke exalted nourishment (for) the patrons to  leave a grand and exalted legacy to behold good. (Oh Amani make indeed (a) revitalization (of) the monarch (and) commander of Great Napata. (4)Prop (up) good (and) glorify the monarch. (Amani) you give progressively much greatness now (and)the rebirth of the patrons glorification. Establish  his grand eternal wish (for) Good, (Oh) exalted Ariteń.(5) Glorified he wishes eternal and abundant life at this moment (as) is the exalted Way. Support (for) him a glorified and abundant eternal life  and establish much Good and wonder (for) the king and commander. (6) He establishes the tradition (of) good Harendotes (Horus the Avenger of his father) (Oh) Isis . The king and Commander go(es) to offer boon (and) unite here eternally Good. Mature  dignity (for ) the Commander.God vouchsafe the donation(of Kharamadoye). (7) Revitalize the exalted king and Commander to aspire the gift of dignity (and) vouchsafe eternal good. Here in the city (Kalabsha) prop up the name of Good Napata. Pray to leave a legacy for the soul (of) the upstanding patron (Kharamadoye). (8) The exalted good son, as is obligatory, go(es) to leave a legacy (for) your revitalized rebirth (Kharamadoye). Yimeniye the (new king) to vouchsafe the  great almsgiving (of Kharamadoye) on its voyage to (en)light(ent) (mankind) from a distance. The almsgiving go(es) to arrange 4 (times) the bowing for the rebirth (of Kharamadoye).(9) Good Patapotekaye the father (of) the Commander left vigorous honor (for Kharamadoye ).Prop up (Good that) will leave a legacy (that) acts to initiate (and) give form to Good. Announce in a lofty voice the beginning (of) the journey (for) good bequeathal. (Oh) living God, May it go forth! (10) take aim Commander to form  (a) favor of existence (to) the Object of supplication. Guide the favor of existence (so as) to leave a legacy of your good. Take aim (at this goal) Commander. Pray to go revitalize the offer of alms, go indeed guide now the bequeathal's genesis , to guide and support good Faras. He will commence the bequeathal (now). (11) Much Goodness will be the king's existence. Act to bequeath a great cover and nourishment to form Good. The king go(es) to arrange the revitalize(ation) of Good. Go  to leave a legacy of good (in our) good abode (at) Philae. You have made many good acts to produce (its revitalization now). (12) The Lak were defeated, the Shaqa (were) roll(ed over) and defeated. The Nasadoka were defeated (and) the Tameya (were) roll(ed over) and defeated. The Nakhabar (were) completely and totally defeated (and thereby) restor(ing) much great(ness) (to the Blemmyes). (13) The revitalized Shimalo leaves a legacy in the good place where (he) sojourn to Good Philae. You form much Good and restore the living, pray indeed for the accession (of) the grand donations of the righteous Commander to guide Good everywhere to please (the people).(14) The transmigration (of Kharamadoye) to bring Good with the intention (of) embarkation (of the alms). The Ba and the Kha to teach (us) as is the Way (and) give form to the donation's considerable rebirth. Give form to a grand revitalization (that) leaves a legacy in this good place (is the) duty (of) the innerheart bequeathal.(15) The good women of Shaqa praise and solicit esteem...Yisameniye he consecrates and vouchsafes the arrange(ment) of much good to produce life (for this) Object of Respect (Kharamadoye). Un;ock good and guide (it to the) patron.(16) He asks permission (for) the transmigration to be capable (of) prestige and Good.  His existence leaves a legacy of Good, borne by the Commander. Good Arokhetaye retire the Commander's offering to behold (and) (17) unlock the transmigration. Go pray and ask permission to give this gift of good, his existence leaves a legacy of good. Good Patapotekye (has the) duty guide honor and ask permission (for) the rebirth (of Kharamadoye) to unlock and clothe (it). (18) The monarch's abstract personality it establishes the embarkation. Set in motion glorification he consecrates and vouchsafes much good to produce its nourishment. Good honor (for) the Kha .(19) Indeed with the intention of almsgiving your grand offering exist to guide and vouchsafe Goodness, his existence leaves a legacy of Good steering life to the place where the Commander sojourn(s). Go arrange (now) the journey (and) make (it in ) good order. (20) Sustain the restoration, revitalize the donation (of) the Ba and good Kha. the duty (of) his restoration unlocks indeed the restoration (of) the king. The King's  restoration desires much. (21) the rebirth prays to leave a legacy the soul of the patron (of Ariteń) a great restoration. the journey of the Kha (is) to open (up) the revitalization. You (Ariteń) are capable (of) his

rebirth to certainly unlock the Ba of the Commander, (Oh) Creator.(22) The supreme king will leave a legacy that produces his bestowal of eminence guided to the patron (of Ariteń) superior prestige (for) Philae's revitalization. Break open indeed Good (and) guide it to the patron.(23) The monarch possesses 8 (times) the repute (of any other man). Vouchsafe the patron (and) place (a) grand boon to the Good Ba, to teach ( mankind as is the) tradition. Indeed give...toler(ance) to the Commander's bequeathal. (24) The rebirth gives escort to the donation (as) is the Way; give the Kha almsgiving (and) unlock  Good (for) the good lady Aqtoyesa II (and) guide the Ba to prepare the renewed Ba (for its passage to its new home). (25) Honor the rebirth (of Kharamadoye) to leave a legacy to commence Good and complete dignity (for) the king (on his) journey to restore Good. The honorable and good Khareshaye to leave honor as his legacy. The honorable and good Yiskhateteye desires (its) commence(ment now). (26) The Ba and good Kha props up the spirit of good.  Guide satisfying good to set in motion the Ba's rebirth. The good mother (of Kharamadoye) gives escort to the patron's Ba. Restore the Ba.(27) The revitalized Shimalo leaves a legacy of good (in the ) place of sojourn. Consecrate the king's gift (that) favors his rebirth of the good soul. (Oh) good Temeya (people) and Nasadoke (people). (28) The women and good men of the Nakhabara vouchsafes the good king's desire that his good Kha and soul transmit Good. The Temeya transmits the good donation of the Object of (our) Supplication. (29) Pray the unlock(ing of) Good,the grand donation (possesses ) superior righteous(ness) to spread (and) elevate the rebirth. The Carrier (of the rebirth has) the grand intention to vouchsafe good for the Ba and the Kha to direct (this spread of Good  as) is the tradition.(30) (Kharamadoye is ) capable (of) leaving a legacy (of) complete rebirth. Superior esteem will leave a legacy to commence exalted shinning to ascent indeed eternally. Act to complete his Stewardship. The ascent (of the boon of Good) cleanses the grant of a boon to make guidance (for all) now! (31) Indeed the Commander erects (and) vouchsafes the elevation of superior esteem to consecrate the (King's) gifts to complete his revitalization. (May) eminence dress him forever indeed. (32) Act to guide now the confer(ence) (of) the offering of his eminent revitalization. Guide the patron. Clothe Good to the monarch's almsgiving. Praise the satisfying bequeathal (of Kharadomoye) to produce Approbation and Good.(33) Measure... the manifestation (of) Good...righteous good to praise God. Go give the almsgiving to open (up) the rebirth. Arrange the affirmation (of) Good to elevate the almsgiving to guide open (34) complete praise".

    This inscriptions makes it clear that Kharamadoye was recognized  as an important king in Lower Nubia.It would appear from the inscriptions that his father was Patatekaye and his son and successor was Yisameniye or Icemne.

     The inscription implies that Patatekaye had been the founder of this Blemmy empire which  Kharamadoye inherited (line 9). To illustrate that Kharamadoye was loyal to Patatekaye's trust

Kharamadoye repeats his victory over the Lak, Shaqa, Nasadoke, Temey and Nakhabara people, and his continued control of Philae and Faras in addition to Shimalo (Kalabsha) in line 12 of the Kalabsha inscription.

        In line 8, we discover that Yismeniye was the son of Kharamadoye. Here the father requested that Yimeniye continue to uphold his honor by maintaining the empire founded by his grandfather Patatekaye. In addition we find that Yisameniye was expected to make the proper offerings to the gods, that would assure Kharamadoye's passage to a blessed hereafter.

     There is evidence that Yisameniye was successful in maintaining the Blemmy empire. Most researchers believe that the pidgin Greek inscription in Kalabsha of Icemne, probably is a reference to Yisameniye.[58]

      The Blemmyes remained the major power in Lower Nubia until 450. The Blemmy empire was conquered by the Noubadaes led by King Silko, after there campaigns against the Blemmyes. [59] According to the Silko inscription Silko defeated the Blemmyan king Phonen.[60]

     In conclusion, the relationship between the Blemmyan and Meroite people is very contradictory. It is clear from the Kalabsha text, that by the end of the Meroitic period, Blemmyans were recognized not only as "generals of the river" but also monarchs in their own right.

     The classical literature makes it clear that while some Blemmyes were enemies of Meroe, other groups were assimilated in the Meroitic empire. This would explain, for example, reports of Meroites and Blemmyes in "mortal combat" in 291; and records dating to 297 detailing the triumph of Diocletian over Meroites and Blemmyes[61].

    The disorders in Lower Nubia and Upper Egypt in the second century which led to the Roman abandonment of this area, may reflect the Blemmyan rise to political importance in Lower Nubia.  Much of the transitional material found in the Dodekaschoines may reflect the permanent settlement of Blemmyes in Lower Nubia along with their king[62]. This hypothesis would correspond to the increasing influence of the Blemmyes in Lower Nubia beginning in Napatan times, and culminating in the joint Meroite-Blemmy embassy to the court of Constantine Eusebius in 336.[63]


     The Blemmyes left many inscriptions at Kalabsha. Shimalo may have been the Blemmy name for Kalabsha.

     In the Kalabsha inscription Shimalo is described as ik "abode or place of sojourn". This may have been the central city of the Blemmy empire founded by Patatekaye. The hand made pottery of the mid-third century A.D. of Kalabsha may have been made by the acculturated Blemmyes who wrote the Meroitic and pidgin Greek inscriptions found in the temple at Kalabsha[64].

     The textual evidence from Kalabsha rejects the hypothesis of Torok that the Blemmyes were primarially nomadic warriors in late Meroitic times. The Kalabsha text discussed above, and the Napatan text make it clear that after the 5th c. B.C. the Blemmyes were becoming more and more numerous in Lower Nubia. This complements the classical and Meroitic evidence that make it clear that the Blemmyes were a major political power in Lower Nubia prior to the 5th c. A.D.

     The Kalabsha text supports Dafa'alla's view that many of the Blemmyes were urban dwellers and that the Blemmy Kings probably had a capital at Shimalo.  This is consistent with the view that the Blemmyes were the dominant Aethiopian group as early as the 1st c. A.D. in Lower Nubia.







                    Kalabsha Lexical Items


     Below is a list of the Meroitic lexical items found in the Kalabsha (REM 094) inscription. The Meroitic script has 23 signs. The Meroitic script is a syllabic writing system. Each Meroitic consonant except when followed by the vowel sign /i/, /o/ and /e/ represents the consonant sound plus the vowel /a/. In the vocabulary items listed below we did not add the /a/ sound to the transliteration of the Meroitic characters . There are four syllables in Meroitic ne, se, te and to are represented by separate sounds.

     The Kalabsha inscription is written in the late Meroitic style. Late Meroitic has the VSO pattern[65] .

     The Meroitic language include both prefixes and suffixes, but, suffixes are used extensively in the writing. The popular sentence pattern in late Meroitic inscriptions is -->VP NP or     S--> VP NP VP. For example,

           wto si  lit. to guide you satisfaction

                "You guide (me) to satisfaction".

      terike  lo  wi-ne  s  lit. Fashion dispatch the Awe patron

                 "Fashion (and) dispatch the Awe of the patron".

     Meroitic was probably a lingua franca used by the Meroites to unite the diverse ethnic groups which lived in the Meroitic empire. Although much of the vocabulary of Archaic Meroitic was used to write Late Meroitic text, the Late Meroitic structure is less complicated than Archaic Meroitic.

      Many Meroitic words are homophone signs. A homophone sign has the same phonetic value as another. The interchangeable Meroitic homophones include  b=/=p, t=/=d, k=/=g, s=/=s and

n=/=ń , e.g., tb / tp 'announce in a lofty voice'.

     The Meroitic separator sign (:) has the phonetic value -ne. This sign in the Meroitic script was used to change verbs into nouns, or signify the word "good". The element -ne-, although it is occasionally used in the initial formation of words, the separator sign -ne, was primarially used as a suffix.

Word List

a1, intensive prefix 'to'; element used to form the future tense

a2, third person suffix 'he, it, she'.

ari, affirmation

ah, teach, to learn, to study

ab, ancestor, father

arrette,  Harendotes (Horus the Avenger of his father)

Ariteń, name of a god


b, Ba (aspect of Man)

b2, plural element, 'many, much , abundant

bo, all; to swell, to inflate

br1, man men

br2, sustain, bring

bh, mature, ripe


d, give, bequeath; to leave a legacy

db, leave a grand legacy

de, indeed; give the offering

do, donation, offering; consecrate


e1, vouchsafe; give; grant a boon

e2, masculine nominative singular accusative suffix for

e3, complete, complement; register

e-t, vouchsafe the arrangement

eb, cover

el, gift

e-ne, almsgiving

ek, nourishment

ene, Commander, Chief;

em, to teach; to direct

es, welfare, manisfestation

es, welfare, manifestation

ey, favor


h, kha

h, great; h-ne 'greatness'

h,  offer alms

hr, dignity

er, produce, evoke


h, offering; grand, great

hl, support

ho, soul

hr , repute, esteem


i, go

ine, tradition, (as) is the Way

ik, place, spot, ; abode, sojourn, place where (one) sojours


k, as is obligatory,k-ne, Object of supplication

kb, to desire

ke, to revitalize; ask permission

kene, origination, revitalization

ketene, ascent

ki, the order, work

kdi, lady; duty

kl, tolerate, bear; borne


-l, meroitic ending particle;

l, verb "to be" ; lne 'living, existence'

leb, to restore; leb-ne "restoration".

li, exalted; li-ne 'transmittal, transmit,

lh, behold;  grand, great

lk, Lak , a tribal name

lk, behold

lte, transmigration

lw, to have glory; lw-ne, gloriy


m1 ,measure,; great

m2, much, many

m3, third person singular maculine pronoun him , his

mde1, great son                                                 mde2, proceed, progressively

mk, lord, god

ml, spirit

mlo, innerheart

mni, Amani, a Meroitic god

mt, break open

mte, unlock


nea, now

neb, much good

ne, good; intruth

nem, incline

neh, at this moment

net, bow in reverence

ni, shinning

Nsdoke, Nasadoke ( a tribal name)

Nhbr, Nkhabara (tribal name)

nl, retire


ń1, good              

ń2, third person personal pronoun 'his, him'

ń-ne, goodness


-ne, good

-ne,particle used to change verbs into nouns


o, commence, begin, open ; o-ne, genesis

ok, produce

ol, grand

ot, to esteem; ot-ne 'approbation'

ote, admiration, wonder


p, beg, solicit, pray

penn, span, extend, spread;  penn-ne 'everywhere'

pi, go pray

pilqe, Philae

pk, take aim

pl, praise, righteous; pl-ń 'righteous good'

ph, with the intention; to aspire

phrs, Faras

pt, praise


q, make, form; act;  desire

qe creation, qe-ne Creator

qo, honorable, restore

qor, monarch


r, indeed, certainly

re, indeed; give indeed

ri, city

ro, unlock

rone, unlocking good


s, son; to protect , to support; s-ne prop up

sne, Protector

sl, consecrate

ste, mother


s, King, patron ; to protect, to support

sne, defeated, destroyed

so, life, to live

si, satisfy

sh, to consecrate

sh, spirit body

sq, Shaqa (a tribal group)


t1, here

t2, third personal pronoun 'he, it, her'

t3, to arrange, to establish

ti, go arrange

tke, set in motion

tk, set in motion

tl, elevate; tl-o 'upstanding'

tm, to produce, to be born; tm-o 'open up the rebirth

Tmey, Tameya ( a tribal group)

tr, to be eminent, tr-o 'emminence';tr-ne "Eminent"


-te, second person pronoun usually used with males 'you, your'

te, to place, to put

tene, rebirth

tel, to elevate,

tep, to announce in a lofty voice

ter, to erect


-to, second personal feminine suffix 'you, your'

to, light, to initiate, to kindle; to shine; tone vigorous

toh, to establish


w, to guide, to leade, to steer; w-ne "Commander, Steward, Chief;

   w-o, 'steering, guiding'

wb, to prepare

we, to give escort

wi, honor; wi-ne "Object of Respect, Awe'; good honor'

wid, leave honor as the legacy

ws, dress, clothe

wt, place, put


y, to make, to form

ye, to be capable

y-ne, form good

yi, to travel, to journey

yi-ne, progressively; eternal

yir, cleanse, purify

yete, it is capable






                           END NOTES

[1].L. Torok, Late Antique Nubia, Antaeus, Communicationes Instituto Archaeologico Academie Scientiarum Hungaricae. Budapest 1987.


[2].Samia B. Dafa'alla, The historical role of the Blemmyes in Late Meroitic and Early X-Group periods, Beitrage zur Sudanforschung 2 (1987), pp. 34-40.

[3].Ibid., p. 38.

[4]. R. T. Updergraff, "The Blemmyes I: The rise of the Blemmye and the Roman withdrawal from Nubia under Diocletian". In Rise and Decline of the Roman World, (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1988) pp.44-96.

[5].Ibid., p.55.

[6].Ibid. , p.57.

[7].David O'Connor, Ancient Nubia: Egypt's Rival in Africa,Philadelphia: The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania,1994; and Samia B. Dafa'alla, " Art and Industry: The achievements of Meroe", Expedition 35, no.2 (1993), pp.15-27.

[8].W.Y. Adams, "Medieval Nubia:Another Golden Age", Expedition 35, no.2 (1993), pp.28-39.

[9].Fritze Hintze, "The Meroitic Period". In Africa in Antiquity I, Brooklyn:The Brooklyn Museum , 1978.

[10].Ugo Monneret de Villard, Storia della Nubia cristiana.  Rome : Pont. Institutim Orientalium Studiorum, 1938.

[11].L. Torok, "Summary discussion", Meroitica  10, (1986) pp.365-379.

[12].E. Bresciani, Grafffiti demotiques du Dodekaschene. Le Claire, 1969.

[13].See N.B. Millet, Meroitic Nubia, Ph.D Dissertation, Yale University . UMI Dissertation Service,1988 .

[14]. W.Y. Adams,Nubia, Corridor to Africa,( London:Penguin,1977) p.388 and Torok, "Late Antique Nubia", p.45.


[15].L. Torok, "The Blemmyes I:Additional remarks". In Rise and Decline of the Roman World, (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1988) pp.97-106; and L. Torok, "A contribution to post Meroitic Chronology: The Blemmyes in Lower Nubia, Meroitic Newsletter , 24 (1985), pp. 1-96.

[16].F. Ll. Griffith, Meroitic Inscriptions II, London, 1912; Updegraff, p.79; Millet , Op Cit.; and Torok, "Late Antique Nubia ".

[17]. Torok, Late Antique Nubia, p.44.

[18]. Stela Cairo JE 48864.

[19]. Dafa'alla, p.36.

[20].Eratosthenes in Strabon, XVll, 1,2.

[21]. Strabo, Geography 17.1.52-53.

[22].Pliny, N.H.,Vl, 192.

[23].Millet, p.62.

[24]. Procopius, De Bello Persico, I,19. 27ff.

[25].Eusebius, V.C.,1V, 7.

[26].Torok, "Late Antique Nubia, p.31.

[27].V. Christides, The Image of the Sudanese in Byzantine Souces, Byzantinoslavico, 43 (1982), pp.8-17.

[28]. F. Ll. Griffith, Catalogue of Demotic Graffiti of the Dodekaschoenus, London 1937.

[29]. Torok, "Late Antique Nubia" p.46.

[30]. Torok, "The Blemmyes I: Additional remarks", pp. 98-99.

[31].Torok, Ibid, p.44-46.

[32].Ibid., p.48.

[33].Par. 244, PG XLlll 337; and T. Edide, T. Hagg, and R.H. Pierce, Greek, Latin and Coptic sources of Nubian History, Sudan Texts Bulletin 2, (1980) 3-15: p.10.

[34].F. Ll. Griifith, Meroitic Inscriptions II. London: Egypt Exploration Fund, 1917 ; Millet, Op Cit.

[35].Millet, p.271.


[36].Monneret de Villard, p.25.

[37].J. Krall, Beitrage zur Geschichte der Blemyer und Nubier. Wien: Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1898.

[38].Griffth, Op. Cit.

[39].C.A. Winters, "A Note on Tokharian and Meroitic", Meroitic Newsletter, no.23 (1984), pp.18-21; and C. A. Winters, "Chiekh Anta Diop et le Dechiffrement de l'ecriture Meroitique", Revue Martiniquaise de Sciences Humaines et de Litterature, no.8 (1988),pp.141-153.

[40].Winters, C.A.(1998). Meroitic funerary text. Part 1, Inscription Journal of Ancient Egypt, 1 (1), 29-34;Winters, C.A.(1998b). Meroitic funerary text. Part 2, Inscription Journal of Ancient Egypt, 1 (2), 41-55;Winters,C.A. (1999). Inscriptions of Tanydamani, Nubica et Ethiopica, IV/V, 355-388.

[41].Winters, "Inscriptions of Tanyidamani", passim.

[42].Winters, "Chiek Anta Diop et le dechiffrement de l'ecriture Meroitique" , Op Cit.

[43].This -t suffix is used to form the Meroitic adverb 'here', it can also serve as the Meroitic 3rd person singular suffix 'he,she,it'.

[44].This is use of the Meroitic -t element to form the 3rd person singular 'he'.

[45].Here we see use of the -t suffix to form the second person singular suffix 'you, your'.

[46]. This -m suffix is sued in Meroitic to form the plural: 'much,many'.

[47].This is the 3rd person singular suffix 'he,it,she'.

[48]. This -b suffix is used to form the plural in Meroitic.

[49].This b- prefix is used to form the imperfect in Meroitic.

[50].Millet believes that this word arette, may relate to Harendotes or Horus the avenger of his father.

[51].This -o suffix is used to  change Meroitic nouns into adjectives, e.g., qo 'act', qo-o 'acting'; w 'to guide',

w-o 'guiding'. The Meroitic adjectives are placed behind the noun.


[52].The -a- affix has many uses in Meroitic. It can be used to form the preterit e.g., lo 'to dispatch', lo-a 'dispatched'; the plural e.g., Qoshne 'Kushite', Qoshne-a "Kushites'; and also the Meroitic subjunctive or future tense e.g., d e 'leave a legacy',

d-e-a 'will leave a legacy'.

[53].This -e suffix is used to form the  singular nominative accusative in Meroitic.

[54].The -l element in Meroitic denotes the verb 'to be'.

[55].This -l, is the Meroitic ending particle.

[56].This -y is sued as an intensive prefix in Meroitic.

[57].Millet, Op Cit.

[58].Millet, p.207.

[59].Torok, "Late Antique Nubia", p.56.

[60].T. C. Skeat, E.G, Turner, and C.H. Roberts, "A Letter from the King of the Blemmyes to the King of the Nubians", Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 63, (1977) pp.159-170.

[61].L. Torok, "The Historical Background: Meroe North and South". In Nubian Culture Past and Present, (Ed.) by Tomas Hagg (Stockholm:Almquist and Wisksell International, 1987), pp.139-230.

[62].Bruce Williams, "A Chronology of Meroitic Occupation below the Fourth Cataract", Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 22, (1985) pp.149-195.

[63].Eusebius, V.C., IV,7.

[64].E. Strouhal, Wadi Qitna and Kalabsha--South, Prague, 1984.

[65].Winters, " Inscriptions of Tanydamani ", passim.