The question of whether Ancient Egyptians were black has been an ongoing debate for centuries. Technically, ancient Egyptians were African, as Egypt is in Africa, but most northern African peoples are from Arab and Caucasian descent.
In most ancient Egyptian art one can see a fullness of the lips that would suggest they are black African, however the majority of them also have an aquiline nose making them appear more Arab or Mediterranean. So what race were they?
A famous depiction from the tomb of Seti shows how Egyptians classified races. There is a Libyan, a Nubian, an Asian and an Egyptian. Judging by this image, Ancient Egyptians seemed to have counted themselves separate from the Nubian race.
But looking at the mummy of Seti, though his face is remarkably preserved, experts still can’t be certain as to which race he belongs.
Other relics, like the image below, show a distinctly black woman being waited on by Caucasian looking individuals. History shows that pharaohs did marry Nubian queens. Naturally their offspring, the future pharaohs, would be part black African.
When looking at the examples above, it is clear that Ancient Egyptians came in all different shades.
Also, ancient Egypt was a bustling commercial center. Workers were imported from many diverse areas to help with the immense construction projects. Traders and merchants were also always coming in and out of the town and intermingling with the locals.
With Egypt sitting between Europe and South Africa, it is safe to say that Ancient Egyptians were a mixture of races much as modern city dwelllers are today.
We can all be proud of Ancient Egypt’s accomplishments and mysteries as a part of human history. Modern science shows that we all have origins in Africa and that, ultimately, we are all one big family–the Human Race.
What do you think about the race of the ancient Egyptian people? Please leave your comments below!
Would you like to take a visit back in time to Ancient Egypt and witness queens like Nefertiti and Hatshepsut?