Old Nubian was written with a version of the Coptic alphabet, with a few letters from Meroitic. There are more than a hundred known texts in Old Nubian, many of which are religious.
What language did the Nubians speak?
2Two indigenous languages developed in Nubia in written form: Meroitic and Old Nubian. The scripts of these two languages reflect the cultural influences of the period i.e. Egyptian hieratic script for Meroitic, Coptic script for Old Nubian.
Archaeology and history reveal Nubia Monuments and texts in the Egyptian language left by the Nubian kings, who became pharaohs of Egypt’s 25th Dynasty around 750 BC, also provide an extensive record. Nubians developed alphabetic writing systems around 200 BC during the Meroitic period.
Why did the Nubians create a written Language? The need to keep trade records led to the Nubian written language.
From the second century BC there is a separate Meroitic writing system. Meroitic is an alphabetic script with 23 signs used in a hieroglyphic form (mainly on monumental art) and in a cursive form. The cursive version was widely used; so far some 1278 texts are known (Leclant 2000).
The classification of the Meroitic language is uncertain due to the scarcity of data and difficulty in interpreting it. Since the alphabet was deciphered in 1909, it has been proposed that Meroitic is related to the Nubian languages and similar languages of the Nilo-Saharan phylum.
For the next century, the region known as Nubia — home to civilizations older than the dynastic Egyptians, skirting the Nile River in what is today northern Sudan and southern Egypt — was paid relatively little attention.
King Piankhi is considered the first African Pharaoh to rule Egypt from 730 BC to 656 BC.
Kush was a kingdom in northern Africa in the region corresponding to modern-day Sudan. The larger region around Kush (later referred to as Nubia) was inhabited c. 8,000 BCE but the Kingdom of Kush rose much later.
Based on onomastic evidence, the Medjay and the Blemmyes of northern Nubia are believed to have spoken Cushitic languages related to the modern Beja language.
The pyramids in Sudan were built over a period of hundreds of years by a civilization known as the Nubians. The Nubians were initially conquered by the Egyptians and for centuries lived under Egyptian administration.
The powerful Egyptian military conquered Kush during the period of time known as the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BCE). From its capital in Napata, Kushite civilization shared many cultural connections with Egypt during this time.
The Kushites preserved many ancient Egyptian customs, but were unique in many respects, not least for their place in the history of writing. They developed their own writing system, known as Meroitic — one of the first true alphabets, a script with 23 signs.