From MedNub
Jump to navigationJump to search

According to ecclesiastical historians, the conversion of the Nubians to Christianity began in the year 543, and was completed around 580. The last known textual reference to a Christian Nubian ruler or ecclesiastic bears the date 1482, although there is much evidence for the survival of Christian worship, if not of Christian kingdoms, until considerably later. It is common practice today to take the years 550 and 1500 as marking respectively the beginning and ending dates for Nubia's medieval civilization.

For heuristic convenience, archaeologists commonly divide the medieval period into a succession of eight cultural phases, as follows:

Phase & Approximate Dates, AD

Transitional: 550-600

Early Christian I: 600-700

Early Christian II: 700-850

Classic Christian I: 850-1000

Classic Christian II: 1000-1100

Late Christian I: 1100-1300

Late Christian II: 1300-1400

Terminal Christian: 1400-1500

These phases are defined by pottery types, house types, and church types; they do not relate to historical events. Their primary utility is for assigning archaeological sites to their proper chronological position.

Primary sources: Adams 1964, 241-7; Gardberg 1970, 14-21.

(Article contributed by William Y. Adams.)