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(kŭsh, ko͝osh). 1 Son of HamHam,
in the Bible, son of Noah. In biblical ethnography, Ham is the father of the nations Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan. In a story separate from the flood narrative, the legend related in the Book of Genesis and in the Qur'an suggests that Canaan was a son of Noah.
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 and father of the Asian nation of the same name, perhaps the same nation as one of similar name in E Mesopotamia. Gen. 10.8; 1 Chron. 1.10. 2 Benjamite opposed to David. Ps. 7, title.

3 Ancient kingdom of NubiaNubia
, ancient state of NE Africa. At the height of its political power Nubia extended, from north to south, from the First Cataract of the Nile (near Aswan, Egypt) to Khartoum, in Sudan. It early came under the influence of the pharaohs, and in the 20th cent. B.C.
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, in the present Sudan, which flourished from the 11th cent. B.C. to the 4th cent. A.D. The rulers of Cush overran Upper Egypt (mid-8th cent. B.C.) as far as Thebes. PiankhiPiankhi
, king of ancient Nubia (c.741–c.715 B.C.). After subduing Upper Egypt, he defeated (c.721 B.C.) Tefnakhte, lord of Saïs, who had just completed the conquest of Lower Egypt. Piankhi was also victorious at Memphis. He returned (c.718 B.C.
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 conquered the rest of Egypt (Lower Egypt) from Tefnakhte. TaharkaTaharka
or Tirhakah
, d. 663 B.C., king of ancient Egypt, last ruler of the XXV dynasty; son of Piankhi. Before he was king, he led the Egyptians against Sennacherib, who disastrously defeated him. Seizing (688 B.C.
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 was defeated in the Delta by the Assyrians, and the Cushites lost control of Egypt. The Cushite capital was transferred from NapataNapata
, ancient city of Nubia, just below the Fourth Cataract of the Nile. From about the 8th cent. B.C., Napata was the capital of the kingdom of Cush. Many great temples like those of Thebes were built here by Taharka (XXV dynasty). The Cushite capital was later moved (c.
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 to MeroëMeroë
, ancient city in N Sudan, on the east bank of the Nile, N of Khartoum. In the mid-6th cent. B.C., Meroë replaced Napata as the central city of the Cushite dynasty (see Cush) and from 530 B.C. until A.D. 350 served as the capital of the dynasty. By the 1st cent.
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; Meroë was a prosperous state until the 4th cent. A.D., when it fell to the Ethiopians and was abandoned.


See A. J. Arkell, A History of the Sudan to A.D. 1821 (1955, repr. 1974).



(Kush), in antiquity, a country between the First and Sixth cataracts of the Nile and southward and eastward along the White Nile and Blue Nile, between the Red Sea and the Libyan Desert (in what is now the Sudan and part of Egypt). The indigenous population of Cush consisted of disunified Semitic-Hamitic and Cushitic tribes, which were related to the ancient Egyptians and which in the fourth and third millennia B.C. were primarily engaged in stock raising. Negroid elements from the south penetrated into these tribes, particularly beginning in the second millennium B.C.

During the Old Kingdom (third millennium B.C.), the Egyptian pharaohs sent both trading and plundering expeditions to Cush for slaves, livestock, ebony, ivory, and other valuables. The first Egyptian trading posts were established in northern Cush.

The settlement of Kerma arose in the beginning of the second millennium B.C., in the vicinity of the Third Cataract of the Nile. Excavations there have revealed the presence of primitive forms of a state organization in Cush. By the 16th-15th century B.C., the territory of Cush up to the Fourth Cataract was conquered by Egypt. The country was ruled by an Egyptian vicegerent known as imperial son of Cush. Egyptian influence facilitated the spread of Egyptian culture and the decline of primitive communal social relations. By the 11th century B.C., Cush was freed from Egyptian rule. Circa the eighth century B.C., a state with its center at Napata (the Napata State) arose on the territory of Cush. In the second half of the eighth century B.C., its ruler, Piankhy, conquered Egypt, thereby laying the foundation for the Twenty-fifth (Ethiopian) Dynasty in Egypt. In the second half of the sixth century B.C., the capital was moved to Meroe (the beginning of the Meroite Kingdom). The Meroite Kingdom lasted until the fourth century B.C. In classical times, the name Cush was replaced by Nilean Ethiopia, and in the tenth century the territory became known as Nubia.


Katsnel’son, I. S. “Nubiia pod vlast’iu Egipta.” Vestnik MGU, 1948, no. 6.
Katsnel’son, I. S. “Rabovladenie v Kushe.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1964, no. 2.
Katsnel’son, I. S. Napata i Meroe—drevnie tsarstva Sudana. Moscow, 1970.
Arkell, A. J. A History of the Sudan: From the Earliest Times to 1821, 2nd ed. London, 1961.
Hofmann, J. Die Kulturen des Niltals von Aswan bis Sennar. Hamburg, 1967.



, Kush Old Testament
1. the son of Ham and brother of Canaan (Genesis 10:6)
2. the country of the supposed descendants of Cush (ancient Ethiopia), comprising approximately Nubia and the modern Sudan, and the territory of southern (or Upper) Egypt