Studies on the History of Late Antique and Christian Nubia: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Studies on the History of Late Antique and Christian Nubia

1st Edition

By Laurence Kirwan, T. Hägg, D.A. Welsby


302 pages

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Hardback: 9780860788935
pub: 2002-08-07
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Gathered together here are the fruits of 60 years of research by the late Sir Laurence Kirwan into the history and archaeology of the mid 1st millennium AD in the Middle Nile Valley, papers previously scattered through a wide range of publications. Kirwan's fieldwork in the region, undertaken between 1929 and 1936, kindled a life-long interest in the transition from the pagan Kushite kingdom to the medieval Nubian states of Nobadia, Makuria and Alodia (Alwa) and of their conversion to Christianity in the 6th century AD. The 25 studies, one published here for the first time, were often of seminal importance when they first appeared, the author being exemplary in his use of the written sources to elucidate the archaeological data. As the preface by the editors shows, the views expressed remain fundamental to modern scholarship, offering valuable insights into this still relatively obscure period of transition from the ancient to the medieval world.


’In addition to rescuing the researcher seeking help from Sir Laurence's fine scholarship, succinct style, and keen mind from some bibliographical frustration, the editors have provided useful indexes that link all of the papers together. All of these features make this volume a valuable instrument for those interested in the events of the first millennium A.D. in Nubia and the Red Sea region.’ Journal of Near Eastern Studies

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction: Post-Meroitic Nubia - a reappraisal; Nubia - an African frontier zone; Rome beyond the southern Egyptian frontier; The international position of Sudan in Roman and medieval times; Greek and Roman expeditions to the Southern Sudan; The decline and fall of Meroe; An Ethiopian-Sudanese frontier zone in ancient history; The ’Christian topography’ and the Kingdom of Axum; A survey of Nubian origins; The problem of the Nubian X-Group; Comments on the origins and history of the Nobatae of Procopius; The early history of the Blemmyes; Tanqasi and the Noba; Aksum, Meroe, and the Ballana civilisation; The X-Group problem; A contemporary account of the conversion of the Sudan to Christianity; Christianity and the Kur’án; Prelude to Nubian Christianity; The nature of Nubian Christianity; Some thoughts on the conversion of Nubia to Christianity; The birth of Christian Nubia: some archaeological problems; Christianity in the Central Sudan: the Byzantine mission and Nubian Alwa; Notes on the topography of the Christian Nubian kingdoms; The emergence of the United Kingdom of Nubia; Studies in the later history of Nubia; Indexes.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General