CONCEPT OF SUDANESE STATE AND CIVILIZATION
Several scholars have studied the Sudanic states from different perspective. They have examined their geographical location, the people and the development of the state into Empire. However, I am going to analyze their geography, people and civilization.
The Sudanese area is divided into four regions which are the Western Sudan, Central Sudan, Forest Sudan and Coastal Sudanese Region.
Geographically, Western Sudan can be refer to as a grassland region south of Sahara and North of the forest zone and it is one of the best documented area in West Africa Before nineteen century. However, Oliver and Fage in describing the area contend that region stretching right across Sub-Saharan Africa from the red sea to the mouth of the Senegal, right down the central highland spine of the Bantu Africa from the Nile source of Southern Rhodesia is located the axis is Sudanic states and civilizations.
The people that dwelt in this region had their own name, culture, ethnic identities and speak several languages. However, as a result of their relation with the Arabs and they were called Sudan. The word Sudan is from Arabic. It came into use when the Berbers of North Africa began changing to the Arabic language after the Muslim conquest of the eight century A.D, they began to call southern grass-lands the Bilad as Sudan meaning “the country of the blacks” threw Sudanese states had trade relations with the northern part of Africa. They were involved in the Trans-Saharan trade and great empires and kingdoms began to involve with them.
Western Sudan people had a peculiar system of government, in the different states that emerged in the region, their political institutions were so similar that they must have derived from a common source. At the head of such states there were kings, to whom divine honor was paid, and to whom divine powers were attributed. The king led a life secluded from the common people; he gave public audience from behind a curtain; no even the most intimate of his courtiers might see him eat or drink.
Each year, the king hoed the first plot of farming land and sowed the first seed. Upon his physical well being depended the fertility of the land and the regular flow of rain. It was also believed that the divine king could not die natural death. Whether in serious illness or in extreme old age, his death had to be hastened by poison or ritual suffocation. After the death the royal corpse was embalmed, funeral ceremonies often involved human sacrifices, relics such as hair and finger nails were preserved as part of the cult of the royal tomb. The great ritual of these divine kings tended to be associated with the new moon, and sacred fire was almost everywhere kept burning and carefully guarded as the main symbol of the king’s life and authority. This was the peculiar political state of these Sudanese state. There was also the place of Queen mother and Queen sister who also played significant roles in the kingdom.
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