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Ptolemaic Elephants in III Maccabees and the Social Stratification of the Kingdom of Kush
  • Leslie Sam, Xavier University of Louisiana
Trade helped to catapult early societies from hunter gatherers – living in small communities of friends and family – to living in sprawling urban environments of ideas and exchange. Socialization and the exchange of ideas – and war—molded our modern times into what it is now. Ancient Nubia found itself in a conundrum that would test their resolve. Ptolemaic-ran Egypt was at their border, forcing themselves in as conquerors, unapologetic towards the millennia old culture that contributed much to their society. With a truce made between the Greeks and Meroe, trade was inevitably was enacted between the two power houses, helping to revolutionize Kush and propel them into an elite society that equaled other kingdoms on the world stage. Ptolemaic Egypt’s arrogance in thinking that because they needed war elephants, they had the right to barge their way into Nubia and conqueror their society, instead helped to advance the Nubians in ways that were not anticipated. New technologies were created, building projects flourished, bilingual communication and literary forms would come into existence, and luxurious goods for the elite became an everyday commodity. Ptolemaic Egypt’s desire for African elephants unintentionally grew the Meroitic economy, thus improving the social stratification system of the Nubians.
  • elephants,
  • meroe,
  • nubia,
  • ptolemy
Publication Date
Spring May 11, 2019
BA of Theology
Field of study
Dr. Michael Homan, Sr. Mary Stachow
Citation Information
Leslie Sam. "Ptolemaic Elephants in III Maccabees and the Social Stratification of the Kingdom of Kush" (2019)
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