A great anachronistic debate has surrounded the ancient Egyptian race for various ages among the media and the laypersons. Most modern historians and biologists consider the concept of race to be an inaccurate manner to describe human biological variation. The question first appeared in the 18th and 19th centuries as the product of early racial concepts that were linked to models of racial hierarchy adopted from western civilization which was based on anthropometry, craniometry, and genetics and attempted to interpret and understand the racial identity of the Egyptians and the source of their immortal culture.
A number of scholars believe the ancient Egyptian culture was directly influenced by other Afro-Asiatic speaking populations in northeastern Africa, the Middle East or the Maghreb or the various Nubian groups or the populations in Europe. Despite the diversity of the ancient and present-day Egyptians and the fact that skin color varied between the peoples of upper and lower Egypt some still argue the notion of a black or white Egypt hypothesis and that Ancient Egypt was completely homogeneous. The whole subject of black and white is viewed as a chimera, cultural baggage from western society and imposed artificially on the ancient Egyptian society. The race of many great names of kings and queens was questioned regarding their race like Tutankhamun, Cleopatra VII and even the great sphinx of Giza.
A genetic study was conducted on 151 mummies in 2017 from northern Egypt using the highest-throughput DNA sequencing method and the DNA evidence suggested that lower (northern) Egyptians were closer in their DNA construction to middle easterners (Arab, Levantine, and Anatolian) and southern Europeans while the upper (southern) Egyptians were closer to northeast Africans like Nubians and Sudanese. There was a sub-Saharan African component in the ancestry from 6 to 15% within their genetic construction. The DNA is of the modern Egyptians is quite diverse as it carries traces from southwest Asia and the Persian Gulf at 17%, Jewish Diaspora at 4%, eastern Africa at 3% and Asia Minor at 3%. Much greater levels of sub-Saharan African ancestry are located in current-day populations of southern as opposed to northern Egypt.
Many scholars believe that Early Dynastic Egypt (3100 BCE) was the product of primarily indigenous development combined with prolonged small-scale migration from the trade, military and other forms of contacts. The general theory concerning the ancient Egyptians was neither black nor white but simply Egyptians, a population of largely indigenous origins and a high degree of continuity across time. Over the later generations of Egypt, it was invaded by foreign forces like the Persian, Assyrian, and Greek which had a small to minimal impact on the Egyptian identity. It is also known that the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans attached no form of stigma to the color of the skin and the social pyramid was not based on hierarchical notions of race based on color.
It is accepted by many scholars that the dynastic Egyptians were indigenous to the Nile River area, about 5.000 years the people of the Middle East entered the Nile valley bringing wheat, barley, goats, sheep, and different cattle. At that period (4800 BC – 4300 BC) Egypt was referred to as the two lands. Various cultures flourished like the Merimde culture in lower Egypt which had a close link to the Levant in the Middle East, the Buto Maddi culture that excelled in poetry also has a close connection with the southern Levant. In the upper part of Egypt known Upper Egypt, the badarian culture was followed directly by the Naqada culture.
Ancient Egyptian art was also a major clue in understanding the ancient Egyptians complexions, many ancient tombs and temples contain thousands of sculptures, written works, paintings and various artifacts which provided inconclusive evidence of the ethnicity of the ancient Egyptians who lived during their dynastic times. The Nubian is depicted in the Egyptian paintings ranging from red to brown to black which held distinctly different ethnic characteristics. The artworks of Ancient Egypt made Champollion declare in 1839 that they are truly extraordinary, as they clearly depict the sharply contrasted reddish brown Egyptians and black Nubians.
One of the biggest examples is the drawing of the book of the Gates of Kings Seti I depicting four groups: Libyans "Themehu", Nubian "Nehesu", Astiastic "Aamu" and Egyptian "Reth". The evolution of the ancient Egyptian culture can be traced back to unity, all the evidence that they judge every person according to their merits and actions, not certainly the color of someone skin, the ancient Egyptians achieved immortality be learning how to thrive in pure equality.
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