n Ekklesiastikos Pharos - Ancient Near Eastern influence in sub-Saharan Africa

Volume 90, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1018-9556



Recent research shows that the cultural remnants of a more distant past were more faithfully preserved in sub-Saharan Africa than in the societies further north. Striking parallels between extant African cultures and written (as well as oral) testimonies concerning ancient Near Eastern societies can be detected. It becomes clear that in the period preceding the textual evidence of the Middle Ages, African societies were not isolated or self-contained, but that instead they took part on various levels in global exchange. Historians are inclined to attach considerable importance to written sources, while they tend to disregard the stories that are orally transmitted. Lange (and others) disregard the present trend of research (i.e. an African perspective of the African past) and adopt a comparative perspective which leads to the conclusion that the oral traditions which trace the origin of some African states or cultures to the ancient Near East are basically correct.

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