Mike Aquilina

The Gift of Tongues

Tuesday April 24th 2007, 3:02 am

Roger Pearse is working with some ancient texts in Old Nubian. I’ll let him explain:

The Nubian kingdom occupied the northern end of what is today the Sudan, and the blacks living there were a constant feature in the history of Ancient Egypt, even leading to two dynasties of black pharaohs, and a civilisation based at Meroe, complete with imitation pyramids. They were converted to Christianity at the end of Antiquity, and continued to be so down to the Middle Ages, and material in Old Nubian is the literature of that kingdom. The Nubian kingdom eventually broke up under incessant Moslem attacks, and had ceased to exist by the time the first European travellers reached the area. Today Christianity is only a memory in that unhappy land. Excavations at the ancient Egyptian fortress at Qasr Ibrim (now mainly submerged by the Aswan High Dam) revealed quantities of Old Nubian texts.

It’s an intriguing stack of books: “The Matyrdom of St. Menas,” a lectionary, books of both testaments of the Bible, and works by Chrysostom.

Roger’s also dabbling in Classical Armenian. If this guy weren’t so kind, he’d sure be intimidating.