#EOTalks 9: The Goddess Isis and the Kingdom of Meroe by SOLANGE ASHBY

#EOTalks 9: The Goddess Isis and the Kingdom of Meroe by SOLANGE ASHBY

Picture by Solange Ashby: Ptolemy VIII offering milk to Horus of Kubban, one of four Nubian Horuses; pronaos, Philae temple

Join us on zoom on September 25th for the ninth of our 2020 #EOTalks series! This event will feature Solange Ashby, who will discuss the sustained, crucial Nubian connections of the temple of Isis at Philae.

by Solange Ashby

rsvp here


Discussions of the widespread appeal of the cult of Isis in antiquity often omit any mention of the Nubian priests who served the rulers of the Kingdom of Meroe (located south of Egypt in the Sudan) and the royal donations of gold that they delivered to the temple of Isis at Philae, located at Egypt’s border with Nubia. Those funds were essential to the survival of the temple of Philae, allowing it to remain in active use for centuries after other temples had been abandoned in Egypt. I will describe the rites performed by the Nubian priests and their participation in a tradition of Nubian pilgrimage to this site that spanned one thousand years.

As a Black Egyptologist it is important to me to investigate the southern connections that are evident in the ancient religious practices of Egypt. Much work remains to be done to highlight these connections.


Solange Ashby received her Ph.D. in Egyptology with a specialization in ancient Egyptian language and Nubian religion from the University of Chicago. She has researched in Egypt at the temple of Philae and participated in an archaeological excavation in El-Kurru, Sudan (royal Kushite cemetery). Her first book, Calling Out to Isis: The Enduring Nubian Presence at Philae, is published by Gorgias Press. Her current research explores the roles of women in traditional Nubian religious practices. Dr. Ashby is working on the first monograph dedicated to the history, religious symbolism, and political power of the queens of Kush.


Sept. 25th 2020, 10am Toronto time = 2pm Accra time = 7am San Francisco time = 3pm London time = 4pm Cairo time = 7pm Mumbai time = 10pm Singapore time = midnight on Sept. 26th Sydney time. The whole event shall last about 1hour (c.30 min talk followed by q&a).


We recommend webcaptioner.com (using Google Chrome as a browser) or the smartphone app LiveTranscribe for closed captioning during the event. Notes from the speaker can be provided before the event for those who need it to follow along. Please get in touch with us if you have any concerns about accessibility. The session will be recorded and made available in the future.

Suggested readings

Ashby, Solange. Calling Out to Isis: The Enduring Nubian Presence at Philae. Piscataway: NJ: Gorgias Press, 2020.

________. “Milk Libations for Osiris: Nubian Piety at Philae” in NEA 82.4 (2019): 200-209.

Cruz-Uribe, Eugene David. “The Death of Demotic at Philae: A Study in Pilgrimage and Politics.” In A Tribute in Excellence: Studies offered in Honor of Ern Gaal, Ulrich Luft, László Török, edited by Tomás A. Bács.Studia Aegyptiaca XVII. Budapest: Université Eötvös Lorand de Budapest, 2002.

Dijkstra, Jitse.  Philae and the End of Egyptian Religion: A Regional Study of Religious Transformation (298-642 CE). Leuven: Peeters, 2008.

Kockelmann, Holger. “Philae” in UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, edited by Willeke Wendrikch et al.

Rutherford, Ian. “Island of the Extremity: Space, Language and Power in the Pilgrimage Traditions of Philae.” In Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt, edited by David Frankfurter, 229–56. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 1998.

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