vines in Sudan

31 Mar 2016

At ... which takes us back to the 7th century AD and the Christian kingdom of Mukaria (which existed as a rival kingdom to Islamic dominated Egypt, practising the form of Christianity that flourished in the Nile Valley from the 3rd century until the 7th). Makuria existed from the 6th to the 14th centuries - and was probably under pressure from Arabs and their successors throughout that period. It is somewhat reminiscent of the earlier Nubian resistance to the takeover of Egypt by Libyans and other foreign groups in the 8th and 7th centuries BC.

Makuria was situated between the 2nd and 5th cataracts. It was a powerful kingdom capable of holding back Arab armies over a long period of time. Nowadays the ruins of the kingdom are covered in sand and an attempt is being made to dig some of them out and bring them into daylight once again. A tell has been found, 6m in height, which is thought to have been occupied over several centuries. During the hey day of Makuria canals aided irrigation agriculture and viniculture was extensive, the embodiment of decadence to the people that would eventually overrun it and reduce it to ruins in a sandy waste. However, the misfortune that befell Makuria may also be climate related in that it thrived during the Medieval Warm Period and began to decline when it was over (or that might be one way of looking at events, but the rise of war like Turks in Egypt and a resurgence of semi nomadic Arabic tribes can't be accidental.