Alice C. Linsley
How are we to explain the prevalence of blood sacrifice performed by a priest caste and a common binary worldview among peoples as geographically removed as the Egyptians and the Sarki of Nepal? How is it that these distant peoples have a similar lexicon, suggesting a common linguistic heritage?
A comparison of the lexicon of Afro-Arabian languages, Sanskrit and Dravidian suggests that a vast Afro-Asiatic Dominion stretched from the Sahara to Asia about 10,000 years ago. One explanation is a common trade language used among the blood-related Afro-Asiatic rulers who also shared a common religion and worldview. This can be traced using comparative linguistics, comparative cosmology, ethnoastrology and kinship analysis. In this essay we will look at the physical evidence for this common lexicon and what it reveals about the ancient Afro-Asiatics.
The Spread of Afro-Asiatic Words
Afro-Asiatic languages include Akkadian, Amharic, ancient Egyptian, Arabic, Aramaic, Assyrian, Babylonian, Berber, Chadic, Cushitic, Ethiopic, Hahm, Hausa, Hebrew, Omotic, Phoenician, and Ugaritic. These “cognate languages" may share a common ancestor language or origin. Because this is so, linguists are able to compare the languages and draw conclusions about the older “proto” Afro-Asiatic language and dialects spoken before 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. The Afro-Asiatic world was much wetter then and the major water systems were controlled by chiefs such as those listed in Genesis 4 and 5.
Genesis tells us that there was a division among the Kushites in the time of Peleg and his brother Joktan. This involved a territorial separation and the emergence of two groups: Afro-Arabians and Afro-Asiatic (Arameans).
We find some words and roots among west Asian Indo-European languages that resemble words and roots in the Afro-Asiatic languages. One explanation is cultural diffusion of traits over a large area resulting in common features. This diffusion took place through migration, commerce and the marriage of nobles. The need to communicate led to a language of diplomacy and trade and this explains the linguistic affinities between the languages of west central Africa, Arabic, Coptic, Dravidian and Tamil.
There is no question that tribes and clans migrated across Africa and the ancient Near East and that they communicated with other peoples they encountered. However, migration alone is not a sufficient explanation for the common linguistic and religious worldview across the Afro-Asiatic Dominion. The evidence suggests a more complex picture of priestly activity and intermarrriage of ruler-priests who controlled the water systems 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.
Life Among the Ancient Afro-Asiatic Peoples
The Kushite rulers held a theology that Biblical Anthropologists recognize. This can be determined from artifacts such as the Sheba-qo Stone which describes the theology that held sway at Heliopolis (Biblical On) and Memphis. The Stone dates to the Nubian Dynasty or the Kushite Empire, but the theology is much older. According to this theology the Creator is the great Craftsman who gives wisdom and skill to the King and his craftsmen. This is expressed in Proverbs 25:2 - "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter."
The royal craftsmen worked with visible things such as tools of stone and metal. The Creator, on the other hand, works with what is concealed and mysterious like the wind or breath (ruach). The breath of the Creator went forth at the beginning of creation and things were created out of His mouth/word, and not from a pre-existing substance. He crafted the heavens above and the earth below, and separated the light from darkness. This theology is expressed in Genesis 1 and in the Wisdom Tradition that regards God as the architect whose wisdom is evident in the order of creation.
The seats of wisdom that have been indentified in the Bible include Tema, Edom and Tyre, all of which have a history of metal work and connection to the Horite ruler-priests.
The Feminine Principle (Heb: hokma, Gr: sophia) is described in language that identifies her with the ruach of God. She says, “I came forth from the mouth of the Most High and covered the earth like a mist… I walk in the depth of the abyss.” (Wisdom of Ben Sirach 24:3,5) Here we have echoes of Genesis 1 where we are told that the Spirit of God went forth over the chaotic waters and brought order, separating the waters above (firmament) from the waters below, and the seas from the day land. This ordering Principle is sometimes called Tehut, and the oldest known moral code is the Law of Tehut.
Tehut is sometimes likened to the Egyptian Ma'at, but there is a significant difference. Ma'at was created whereas Tehut appears to be the generative and uncreated Word of God (logos). Proverbs 8:22-31 and 9:1-6 appear to be about Ma'at. She says that "Yahweh created me, first-fruits of his fashioning, before the oldest of his works... the deep was not, when I was born..." Whether Proverbs is attributed to Solomon or to a time well after Solomon, the theology concerning Ma'at comes from a period much later than Abraham's Kushite ancestors.
The Kushites reflect the genetic diversity of Africa
Among the Kushites are the dark skinned Dravidians, the Sudra, who established their religious practices in southern Pakistan and India. This is called the Harappa culture. Har-appa is Dravidian for "Horus is Father". The Dravidians have much in common with the Nilotic people living in the Horn of Africa.
"Kushite" is a general term that includes many people groups who lived along the Nile and in the Chadic Basin. Some were light skinned, some black, some reddish, some reddish-brown, and some were brown. To this day Africa has the greatest genetic diversity of any place in the world.
Among the Kushites we find Nubians, Beja, Copts, Egyptians, Proto-Saharans, Horites, and their kinsmen who were living on the western and southern coast of Arabia.
DNA studies of the Sudan show "genetic unity and linkage" between the Sudanic, Egyptian, Nubian and other Nilotic peoples, as well as some populations of the Horn of Africa (Yurco (1996), Keita (1993, 2004, 2005) Lovell (1999), Zakrewski (2003, 2007). Genetic and lingistic research indicates that the Copts are one of the oldest Egyptian populations. This is based on the relatively high frequency of the B-M60 marker, indicating early pre-dynastic colonization of Egypt by Upper Nilotes.
From the University of Khartoum we have this report:
The area known today as Sudan may have been the scene of pivotal human evolutionary events, both as a corridor for ancient and modern migrations, as well as the venue of crucial past cultural evolution. Several questions pertaining to the pattern of succession of the different groups in early Sudan have been raised. To shed light on these aspects, ancient DNA (aDNA) and present DNA collection were made and studied using Y-chromosome markers for aDNA, and Y-chromosome and mtDNA markers for present DNA. Bone samples from different skeletal elements of burial sites from Neolithic, Meroitic, Post-Meroitic and Christian periods in Sudan were collected from Sudan National Museum. aDNA extraction was successful in 35 out of 76 samples, PCR was performed for
sex determination using Amelogenin marker. Fourteen samples were females and19 were males. To generate Y-chromosome specific haplogroups A-M13, B-M60, F-M89 and Y Alu Polymorphism(YAP) markers, which define the deep ancestral haplotypes in the phylogenetic tree of Y-chromosome were used. Haplogroups A-M13 was found at high frequencies among Neolithic samples. Haplogroup F-M89 and YAP appeared to be more frequent among Meroitic, Post-Meroitic and Christian periods. Haplogroup B-M60 was not observed in the sample analyzed.
For extant DNA, Y-chromosome and mtDNA haplogroup variations were studied in 15 Sudanese populations representing the three linguistic families in Sudan by typing the major Y haplogroups in 445 unrelated males, and 404 unrelated individuals were sequenced for the mitochondrial hypervariable region.
Y-chromosome analysis shows Sudanese populations falling into haplogroups A, B, E, F, I, J, K, and R in frequencies of 16.9, 8.1, 34.2, 3.1, 1.3, 22.5, 0.9, and 13% respectively. Haplogroups A, B, and E occur mainly in Nilo-Saharan speaking groups including Nilotics, Fur, Borgu, and Masalit; whereas haplogroups F, I, J, K, and R are more frequent among Afro-Asiatic speaking groups including Arabs, Beja, Copts, and Hausa, and Niger-Congo speakers from the Fulani ethnic group.
Accordingly, though limited on number of aDNA samples, there is enough data to suggest and to tally with the historical evidence of the dominance by Nilotic elements during the early state formation in the Nile Valley, and as the states thrived there was a dominance by other elements particularly Nuba/Nubians."
Kinship and a caste system
Among the Afro-Asiatic peoples kinship was the basis of all social and political interaction. People married within their clan and traced their lineage through both the father's line and the mother's line. The concept of lineage involved both blood line and caste. Blood line was traced through the mother, while caste or status was inherited from the father. Suspicion of outsiders was such that meetings took place at neutral sites such as wells or shrines.
There were many industries, including metal work, farming, textiles, pottery, carpentry, mining and boat building. Herbal medicines were used to treat diseases and the anatomy of animals and humans was apparently well known. There is evidence of brain surgery among peoples living 8,000 years ago in the Congo Basin.
The various regions of this vast Kushite dominion were ruled and protected by chiefs who controlled the rivers, channels and ports. The chiefs were related by blood or marriage. Chiefs recieved tribute from their subjects and from those who crossed through their territories or moved cargo on their parts of the rivers. Each chief retained an army of trained warriors who fought with swords, clubs and bows. God was the King over all and the Great Spirit whose holiness required that humans be purified through animal sacrifice. Sacrifices were offered by heads of household and by male priests consecrated to God's service. In additon to blood sacrifice, priests attended daily to the shrine or temple, though they served on a rotational schedule. The priests received a portion of the offerings or other payment for their services.
Priests were the intellectuals of society and were responsible for sacred ritual, for interpreting sacred law, and for ministering to the needs of the ruler. In an Egyptian painting from the 12th century B.C., a priest with a shaved head plays his harp for the ruler and his queen. Among the Kushites the priest caste was dedicated to Horus and are known as "Horites."
The priest community was also responsible for setting the dates of sacred festivals. This is why calendars became important. Accurate calendars required watching the heavens. Afro-Asiatic priests were guided by both the solar year and lunar phases. The priest that observed only the solar year would be at greater risk of inaccurate calculations. If he didn’t perform the rituals on exactly the right days, he would be blamed for everything that went wrong the following year. If the chief died, or the crops failed, he was to blame. Afro-Asiatic priests may not have been executed, as happened to Chinese astronomers who failed to predict the solar eclipse in 2134 B.C., but they were still highly motivated to refine their astronomical calculations. Time was divided into year, month and day based on the observations of the sun, the moon and the constellations.
Counting and metaphysical speculation were an important aspect of the Priests' work. Their knowledge was considered beyond the average person. Through apprenticeship, a young man could hope to be enlightened. This focus on the institution of the priesthood is a distinctive characteristic of traditional religions of peoples from West Africa to India.
In ancient Egypt the priesthood involved orders of priests who were circumcised and clean shaven. There was great emphasis on their ritual purity which included being circumcised and bathing in cold water several times a day. The Egyptian priest entered the sacred area of the temple or shrine to offer food and drink. Incense was also offered. There appear to have been orders of priests long before the Aaronic priesthood. The Horite caste of ruler-priests were devotees of Horus who spread their religious beliefs far and wide. Genesis indicates that Abraham and his people were Horite ruler-priests.
The Linguistic Evidence for the Afro-Asiatic Dominion
Besides a religion centered in the priesthood and sacred law, we find a binary astrological and mathematical conception of time and the cosmos. This was especially refined by the Egyptians who developed a calendar of 12 months of 30 days, plus 5 = 365 days. We also find the concept of sacred mountains such as Mt. Hor and Mt. Harun (Aaron's Mount), and the stylized mountians of ziggurats in Babylon. However, one of the most interesting expressions of the common worldview of the Afro-Asiatics is the linguistic affinity of their languages.
Consider the following examples:
The Hebrew "rison adam" = ancestral man is "adamu orisa" = ancestral Adam in Hahm/Hausa languages of Nigeria. The Hausa word for human being is "dan adam." The Sanscrit word for male human is "manu" which resembles the African word "adamu" more closely than the Hebrew word.
The Hebrew "adamah" = red clay/ground and the related Semitic words "dam" = blood and "adom" = red, are related to the Hahm/Hausa word "odum" = reddish brown.
The Hebrew "bara" = to begin, is related to the Yoruba/Hahm word "bere" = to begin. There is an apparent relationship between the verb "to begin" and the word Creator which in Hebrew is "bore" and in the African Twi dialect is "Borebore" = Creator.
The Hebrew "hay" = “living being”, is related to the Hausa/Hahm word "aye" = life, created world. Likewise, the Hebrew "iya" = mother, corresponds to the Dravidian "ka ayi" = mother, and the Hausa/Hahm "eyi" = gave birth.
The Hebrew "abba" = father, corresponds to the Hausa/Hahm "baba" = father, to the Dravidian “appa” = father, and to the Mundari "apu".
The Hebrew "ha’nock" = the chief, corresponds to the Hahm word "nok" = “first ancestral chief”
The Semitic word "wadi" = river, corresponds to the Sanscrit "nadi" = river.
The Semitic root “mgn” = to give, is the same as the Sanscrit “mgn” = to give.
The Sanskrit “svah” = sky or heaven, corresponds to the Semitic “svam” or “Sam-yim” = sky or heaven. The Semitic resembles the Proto-Dravidian word "van" = heaven. This is probably the significance of the Ja-van tribe (Gen. 10:2). Ja is an ancient name for God, usually rendered "the LORD."
The Elamite word for king is sunki, a cognate of the Hahm/Hamitic sarki, meaning king. The Sarki are found in Orisha, Nigeria and in Orissa, India. They are also in Nepal and parts of South Asia (see map.)
The Sumerian word for king is sar. Sar-gon conquered Nippur in 2340 B.C. and established his capital in Akkad. His name probably means King of Kings. He is said to be the ruler of Kish, which may mean that he was Kushite. This is suggested by the Chadic word for king - gon lere.
The Hebrew "yasuah" = salvation, corresponds to the Sanscrit words “asvah”, “asuah” or “yasuah” = salvation. The Priests who came out of Egypt, which included Korah and Aaron, prayed for "Thy salvation among all .... (Exodus 2:3). Writing on the tomb of a noble named Herkhuf claims that he “gave bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and ferried him who had no boat.” It expresses hope of salvation in these words: “that it might be well with me in the Great God's presence.”
The Hebrew root "thr" = to be pure, corresponds to the Hausa/Hahm "toro" = clean, and to the Tamil "tiru" = holy. All are related to the proto-Dravidian "tor" = blood. There is certainly a relationship to the injunction that the ancient Egyptian priest be pure (w'b) before entering the temple. All Eyptian priests shaved their heads. Korah, Moses' half-brother, was a priest. His name means "shaved head" and according to Numbers 16:17-18, he carried the censor to offer incense to the deity. This suggests that "kor" and "tor" are cognates. Here we find a very early connection between blood, purity and holiness.
The Hebrew "echad" or "ehat" = one, corresponds to the Syrian "eka" and to the Sanskrit "eca" = one. It is a cognate to "ikka" = one, in the Gonga languages of south east Ethiopia.
The Egyptian word for meteoritic iron "bja" (metal from heaven) corresponds to the Sanskrit word "bija", meaning semen or seed".
As many ancient Afro-Asiatic peoples used base 6 in counting and as the basis for their calendars, the number six is a significant indicator of related languages. Consider the following:
The number six in Proto-Dravidian is "caru". This correlates to "koro" in South Africa; to "karkia" in some Chadic Languages; and to "korci" in Meidob (eastern Sudan). The most striking similarity is between the Kanembu (Sudan) "araku" and the Tamil "aarru."
In the Vishveshvaran and Indological Journal (1976), Madan Mohan Shukla claims that the Hebrew religion is a branch of Aryan Brahmanism. I agree that they share a common origin, but that origin is more likely to be in Africa than in Pakistan or India. Shukla also sees the strong linguistic affinity and similar cosmological view between the Semitic peoples and the Aryans of India. He is not alone in assuming that the explanation must be that the ancient Hindis brought their ideas to the ancient Africans.
Paul W. Roberts postulates in Empire of The Soul: Some Journeys in India that, "Recent research and scholarship make it increasingly possible to believe that the Vedic era was the lost civilization whose legacy the Egyptians and the Indians inherited. There must have been one. There are too many similarities between hieroglyphic texts and Vedic ones, these in turn echoed in somewhat diluted form and a confused fashion by the authors of Babylonian texts and the Old Testament."
Dr. Roberts sees the connections between the ancient Indus River Civilization of the Harappa period and Africa, but fails to recognize that the connection is due to the existence of a vast Afro-Asiatic Dominion ruled by kings and nobles who controlled the waterways. This dominion extended from the Atlantic coast of modern Nigeria to the Indus River Valley. The authority of the Afro-Asiatic rulers eroded gradually as the climate changes caused rivers and lakes to dry up.
Satellite Evidence for this Great River Civilization
The Afro-Asiatic rulers were related so that the ruling houses shared a common worldview and similar customs. These rulers lost influence as the Earth’s climate changed. For example, the Sarasvati River, mentioned in the Rig-Veda, was regarded as a mythological river until its ancient 5-mile wide basin was identified using satellite photos. Today central Africa, Palestine, much of Mesopotamia and India is dry, but 10,000 to 12,000 years ago it was wet, fed by great rivers. Other great bodies of water that have disappeared have been identified through satellite photography in Mesopotamia and in central Africa. Lake Chad's waters once covered about 957,000 square miles. Because of the abundance of water these systems were in some places connected and navigable.
The Eastern Extreme of the Afro-Asiatic Dominion
The Indus Civilization is one of the oldest known. Archeologists have identified over 2600 sites along the Indus and Sarasvati rivers in Pakistan and India. This civilization extended from the Baluchistan highlands in the west to the Punjab deserts in the east. From north to south the region stretches from the Himalayan foothills to the coastal region of Pakistan. This is an area of about 100,000 square miles. The largest known site is Ganweriwala, on the bank of the Sarasvati River in India dating to about 3000 BC. Another site is the prehistoric town of Kalibangan in the northern part of the Rajasthan desert.
During the Neolithic period (ca. 7000-5500 BC) Indus River valley peoples grew food and domesticated animals. They had large ceremonial baths for ritual cleansing, wells and reservoirs. There is also evidence of a centralized government as early as 2800 B.C. at Harappa. The Indus peoples had kings, priests and specialized elders such as traditional healers, astronomers and prophets. There were farmers, artisans and brick makers.
This civilization includes cities dating to the time of Abraham and surrounded by walls made of mud bricks. Port cities on the Karachi Bay supported trade between India, Arabia, East Africa and Egypt. One material moved through this region was lapis lazuli, a blue semi-precious stone that was mined in the region of Badakhshan, Afghanistan and traded throughout Mesopotamia, East Africa and Egypt.
This ancient Indus Valley civilization was supported by an enormous river that flowed south from the Himalayas in the northwestern region of India until about 4000 years ago. Using satellite photographs, scientists have discovered the outline of the ancient riverbed. At its widest point it was five miles across. The region today is mostly arid, evidence of global climatic changes that led to the disappearance of the Afro-Asiatic rulers.
Related reading: Kushite Diversity and Unity; The Nilotic Origins of the Ainu; Abraham's Kushite Ancestors; The Importance of Binary Distinctions; Peleg: Time of Division; Decline of the Afro-Asiatic Dominion; Migrations Out of Africa