Sumer, a European “white wash”
Now, I swear by the sun god Utu on this very day — and my younger brothers shall be witness of it in foreign lands where the sons of Sumer are not known, where people do not have the use of paved roads, where they have no access to the written word — that I, the firstborn son, am a fashioner of words, a composer of songs, a composer of words, and that they will recite my songs as heavenly writings, and that they will bow down before my words……
(c. 2100 BC)
on the future of Sumerian literature
Evidence of the presence of African people in ancient Southwest Asia is documented by Homer, who describes the Blacks, or “Ethiopians,” as “dwelling at the ends of the earth, towards the setting and rising sun.” The Greek historian Ephorus wrote that “the Ethiopians were considered as occupying all the south coasts of both Asia and Africa, divided by the Red Sea into Eastern and Western Asiatic and African.”
Sumer (located in southern Iraq, formerly Mesopotamia) was the first civilization in Southwest Asia. Prospering during the third millennium B.C.E., Sumer set the guidelines for the kingdoms and empires which followed her. While Sumer’s many achievements are much celebrated, the important question of the ethnic composition of her citizens is frequently either glossed over or left out of the discussion altogether. Since the civilization of ancient Sumer has been claimed by other peoples, it is important to set the record straight. Sumerian civilization was an extension of Nile Valley civilization “of which Egypt was the noblest-born but not the only child.” The ancient Sumerians referred to themselves as the Blackheaded people. There is also no doubt that the oldest and most exalted deity of the Sumerians was Anu, a name that loudly recalls the thriving and widely-spread Black civilizers found at history’s dawn in Africa, Asia and even Europe. Eye-witness accounts, skeletal evidence, Biblical references, architectural patterns and oral traditions all point to an early African origin for the Sumerians of ancient southwest Asia.
African Presence In Early Asia, Edited by Runoko Rashidi & Ivan Van Sertima
African Origins Of Civilization, by Cheikh Anta Diop
INDIA’S EARLIEST CIVILIZATION
In Greater India, more than a thousand years before the foundations of Greece and Rome, proud and industrious African men and women known as Dravidians erected a powerful civilization. Called the Indus Valley civilization- -India’s earliest high-culture, with major cities spread out along the course of the Indus River. The Indus Valley civilization was at its height from about 2200 B.C.E. to 1700 B.C.E. This phase of its history is called the Harappan, the name being derived from Harappa, one of the earliest known Indus Valley cities.
In 1922, about 350 miles northeast of Harappa, another large Indus city, Mohenjo-daro (the Mound of the Dead) was identified. Mohenjo-daro and Harappa were apparently the chief administrative centers of the Indus Valley complex, and since their identification, several additional cities, including Chanhu-daro, Kalibangan, Quetta and Lothal have been excavated.
The Indus cities possessed multiple level houses enhanced by sophisticated wells, drainage systems and bathrooms with flushing toilets. A recognized scholar on the Indus Valley civilization, Dr. Walter Fairservis, states that the “Harappans cultivated cotton and perhaps rice, domesticated the chicken and may have invented the game of chess and one of the two great early sources of non muscle power: the windmill.”
The decline and fall of the Indus Valley civilization has been linked to several factors, the most important of which were the increasingly frequent incursions of the people known in history as Aryans–violent Indo-European tribes initially from central Eurasia and later Iran. Indeed, the name Iran means the “land of the Aryan.”
BLACK KNIGHT OF THE EUROPEAN MIDDLE AGES
Few documents portray the ethnicity of the Moors in medieval Europe with more passion, boldness and clarity than the epic of Morien. Morien is a metrical romance rendered into English prose from the medieval Dutch version of the Lancelot. In the Lancelot, it occupies more than five thousand lines and forms the ending of the first extant volume of that compilation. Neither the date of the original poem or the name of the author is known.
Morien is the adventure of a splendidly heroic Moorish knight supposed to have lived during the days of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Sir Morien is described as follows: “He was all black, even as I tell ye: his head, his body, and his hands were all black, saving only his teeth. His shield and his armour were even those of a Moor, and black as a raven.”
Initially in the adventure Morien is simply called “the Moor.” He first challenges, then battles, and finally wins the unqualified respect and admiration of Sir Lancelot. In addition, Morien is extremely forthright and articulate. Sir Gawain, whose life was saved on the battlefield by Sir Morien, is stated to have “harkened, and smiled at the black knight’s speech.” It is noted that Morien was as “black as pitch; that was the fashion of his land–Moors are black as burnt brands.” And again: “His teeth were white as chalk, otherwise was he altogether black.” “Morien, who was black of face and limb,” was a great warrior, and it is said that: “His blows were so mighty; did a spear fly towards him, to harm him, it troubled him no whit, but he smote it in twain as if it were a reed; naught might endure before him.” Ultimately, and ironically, Sir Morien came to personify all of the finest virtues of the knights of the European Middle Ages.
As a sort of concluding note, the English ethnologist and antiquarian scholar Gerald Massey (writing in 1881 in his massive two-volume text, A Book of the Beginnings) noted that, “Morion is said to have been the architect of Stonehenge…. Now, as a negro is still known as a Morien in English, may not this indicate that Morien belonged to the Black race, the Kushite builders?” It should be further added, according to Dr. Jack Forbes in his scholarly work Black Africans and Native Americans, “that for a very long period the Dutch language used Moor and Moriaan for Black Africans.” Among the Lorma community in modern Liberia, the name Moryan is still prominent.
Nature Knows No Color-Line, By J.A. Rogers
AFRICAN INFLUENCED FORERUNNER OF EUROPEAN CIVILIZATIONS
“The first civilization of Europe was established on the island of Crete. It is called the Minoan Culture, after King Minos, an early legendary ruler of the island. The ancestors of the Cretans were natives of Africa, a branch of Western Ethiopians.” –John G. Jackson
Minoan Crete, the forerunner of Greek civilization, is the earliest known European high-culture. Although modest in size (170 miles east to west, thirty-five miles north to sourth), Crete exercised immeasurable influence on the Aegean archipelago, Western Asia and the Greek mainland. Throughout Crete the vestiges of complex palaces, paved highways, aqueducts, terra-pipes for drainage, and irrigation canals provide plentiful proof of Minoan ingenuity in the areas of scientific and technical innovation. The Minoans possessed registed trademarks, uniform weights and measures, calendrical systems based on precise astronomical observations and advanced writing systems. Interestingly enough, there were few fortifications on the island.
British archaeologist Arthur Evans (1851-1941), who conducted excavations on the island, was convinced of African migrations to ancient Crete and noted “the multiplicity of these connections with the old indigenous race of the opposite African coast.” The late African-American cultural historian John G. Jackson (1907-1993) advocated the view the Minoan civilization was rooted in Africa, and believed that the ancestors of the Minoans “dwelt in the grasslands of North Africa before that area dried up and became a great desert. As the Saharan sands encroached on their homeland, they took to the sea, and in Crete and neighboring islands set up a maritime culture.”
The research team of C.H. and H.B. Hawes, the latter of whom, like Evans, conducted important archaeological excavations in Crete, support John Jackson’s argument, and noted that: “Anthropologists are inclined to the view that the Neolithic people of Crete were immigrants, and probably came from North Africa.”
Arthur Evans was convinced of North African migrations to Neolithic Crete. He pointed out that:
“The multiplicity of these connections with the old indigenous race of the opposite African coast, and which we undoubtedly have to deal with in the pre dynastic population of the Nile Valley, can in fact be hardly explained on any other hypothesis than that of an actual settlement in Southern Crete.”
Historian H.R. Hall, also Oxford trained, shared Evans’ position on the early population of Minoan Crete:
“While the majority of the original Neolithic inhabitants of Crete probably came from Anatolia, another element may well have come in oared boats from the opposite African coast, bringing with them to the southern plan of Messara the seeds of civilization that, transplanted to the different conditions of Crete, developed into the great Minoan culture, a younger more brilliant, and less long-lived sister of that of Egypt.”
Whether the Minoan culture was more brilliant than that of Egypt is highly questionable at best, but on the other points Hall seems to just about to hit the mark. Evans, again, indeed considered Egypt and Libya as the springboards of Minoan civilization; so much so that he structured his own Minoan chronology on that of dynastic Egypt. He was particularly struck by the similarities in the contents of the tombs of the ancient Minoans and Egyptians:
“So numerous, in fact, are the points, of comparison presented by the contents of these early interments with those of pre dynastic Egypt that, far-fetched as the conclusion might appear at first sight, I was already some years since constrained to put forth the suggestion that about the time of the conquest of the lower Nile Valley by the first historic dynasty some part of the older population had actually settled in this southern foreland of Crete.”
Gordon Childe also commented on the relations between Crete and pre dynastic Egypt:
“At least on the Mesara, the great plain of southern Crete facing Africa, Minoan Crete’s indebtedness to the Nile is disclosed in the most intimate aspects of its culture. Not only do the forms of early Minoan stone vases, the precision of the lapidaries’ technique and the aesthetic selection of variegated stones as his materials carry on the the pre dynastic tradition, Nilotic religious customs such as the use of the sistrum, the wearing of amulets in the forms of legs, mummies and monkeys, and statuettes plainly derived from Gerzean `block figures,’ and personal habits revealed by depilatory tweezers of the Egyptian shape and stone unguent palettes from the early tombs and, later, details of costumes such as the penis-sheath and loin-cloth betoken something deeper than the external relations of commerce.”
Cretan/Egyptian contacts pick up again in the sixteenth and fifteenth centuries B.C. During the reigns of Egyptian monarchs Makare, Hatshepsut and Thutmose III (1504-1447 B.C.) the people of Crete, whom the Egyptians called Keftiu, were graphically portrayed as tribute bearers on the walls of the tombs of the Egyptian nobility.
African Presence In Early Europe, Edited by Ivan Van Sertima
Man, God And Civilization, by John G. Jackson