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Monday, December 21, 2009

Today Nubian Women

Much has changed since the warrior queens of the Meroitic period struck fear into the cold hearts of the Romans. The Nubian civilization has become less defined and separate. The Nubians of today have been dispersed throughout Egypt and the Sudan because of the flooding of their homeland. Outside influences have made the impact of their past seem a bit more distant. It is difficult to determine what to make of the Nubian woman of today.

Nubians have a largely agricultural society. This fact, coupled with the largely disproportionate number of women to men, has led to the continuation of the matrilineal society. Relations are strongest on the side of the mother; some families go so far as to have the son take on the name of his mother (47).

Since the sex ratio is so great, women tend to dominate the culture of present day Nubian life due to sheer numbers alone (48). The importance of women in culture is just as great; but the roles have changed. Today's Nubian woman has no great Queen to look to; nor do they have a religion based on the worship of the all-knowing mother figure. But, what Nubian women do have is a chance that there ancestors never had. With the last period of resettlement, some Nubian women have decided to move to the cities of Egypt and the Sudan (49). Of course, their standard of living may not increase, but this shows an independence unheard of among the common women of the ancient period.

Expecting all Nubian women to live up to the strong Queens of their past is a bit much. Nevertheless, there must be an impact on the lives of the descendants of these Queens. Perhaps the small steps toward independence by the Nubian woman of today shows a courage beyond their sex. In any case, the unique roles of the women of ancient Nubia revel a unique and startling strength in both the women and the culture

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