Monday, October 27, 2014

Alexander The Great and Candace of Meroe

As someone who's been fascinated by Alexander The Great since I was very young, one of the most fun parts of the third volume of Ages in Chaos (Peoples of The Sea) for me is the material on Alexander The Great.

I agree entirely that the so called 21st Dynasty should be placed during the transition from the Persian to Hellenistic periods.  And that the The Maunier Stela is depicting Alexander's visit to the Siwa Oasis.  As I've said before the Specialtyinterests site is informative but also has ideas I disagree with.  (And now that site is gone entirely, meaning I have to find a new online summery of the argument).

I'm also very fascinated by Velikovsky questioning the traditional assumption that Alexander never traveled further South then Siwa.  He points out how the amount of time Alexander spent in Egypt (half a year, from fall of 332 to spring of 331 BC) seems absurd if he only ever visited three places.  And that travelling to Thebes down the Nile would be a much quicker and easier journey then the travel to Siwa through the Desert was.

He cites Curtius referring to how Alexander had a strong inclination to see Thebes and Ethiopia.  Alexander generally did whatever he felt compelled to do, Bible Prophecy says of him that he will "do According to his Will" Daniel 11:3.

There is even a possible piece of evidence for Alexander going to Thebes that Velikovsky overlooked.  In Josephus, Antiquities of The Jews, Book 11, Chapter 8, Section 6.  While dealing with Alexander's interaction with the Samaritans, at the end he says "And in this manner he took leave of the Shechenlites; but ordered that the troops of Sanballat should follow him into Egypt, because there he designed to give them lands, which he did a little after in Thebais, when he ordered them to guard that country. "

So his going into evidence from the 21st Dynasty information for Alexander going to Thebes is very interesting.  I have thought of another piece of the puzzle however.  Curtius also said Alexander wanted to see Ethiopia.  

So the idea entered my mind that maybe the Alexander Romance legend of Candace of Meroe has more historical basis then we thought.  The Legend says she defeated Alexander.  Maybe that's exactly why the main Classical Greeco-Roman historians are silent on his going further south.  They wanted to censor that this modern mythical Hero they're Deifying did have a defeat.

And indeed the quote on the Stele Velikovsky sites as referring to "his majesty" going to Thebes also refers to him seeking to defeat enemies.

The first known historically confirmed ruling Queen/Kandake of Nubia is much later then Alexander's time, Shanakdakhete (177 BC–155 BC) who was interestingly contemporary with the Hasmonean revolt.  But the word Kandake was affiliated with all Nubian Queens.

From Nubian records it seems that Nastaden was king at the time Alexander took Egypt. He reigned from 335 BC to 315 or 310 BC.  Nubian records do say he thwarted an attempted invasion of Nubia by a King of Upper Egypt refereed to as Kambasuten.  That there was a failed conquest of Nubia from Egypt during this period is usually not mentioned when historians write off the Candace of Meroe legend.

Kambasuten is usually identified with Khabash, a native king of Egypt who rebelled against The Persians just before Alexander came to Egypt.  Alexander and his successors kept him around, he was given the throne name of Senen-setep-en-Ptah in a decree by Ptolemy I

 Kambasuten could have been a name given to Alexander.  Or Maybe Khabash accompanied Alexander on his attempted campaign against Nubia.

As for why a Queen is mentioned in the Romance?  The oldest written account we have is from the 3rd Century AD.  So it could have been influenced by the Greeco-Roman world's experiences with later Kandakes they interacted with.  Most of our surviving Alexander Romance texts come through Christina scribes, so they may have wanted to connect Alexander to Acts 8.

We do know however that Nastasen had both a wife and a mother who were Queens.  The Dongola Stela names them both, implying his mother was still around during some of his reign.  His mother was Queen Pelkha and his wife was Queen Sakhmakh.

Some versions of the romance however separate his encounter with the Queen from the attempted conquest of Ethiopia.  His brief Romance with Candace is placed not during the time he was in Egypt but after his conquests when he is in Babylon, she comes to Babylon to visit him.  So there remains a lot of confusion.

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