Saturday 13 April 2024

Émile Amélineau's ANU THEORY

A forgotten early 20th century theory on predynastic Egyptians that was revived by Cheikh Anta Diop in 1974 and Van Sertima in the 90s and a rebuttal.

Émile Amélineau's ANU THEORY

Anu (Aunu)

Nobleman "Tera-neter"

The "Tera-neter" tile is predynastic being found by British Egyptologist W.M. Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) in the early temple at Abydos underneath the dynastic temple. The figure is on a green glazed faience. Petrie, famously known as "The Father of Pre-history". Petrie, excavations at Nagada and Ballas in Upper Egypt nearly 100 years ago unearth nearly 2200 ancient graves. He wrote over a thousand books, articles and reviews reporting on his excavations and his finds.

Petrie, The Making of Egypt, 1939:

Page 68

"The Aunu People. Besides these types, belonging to the north and east, There is the aboriginal race of the Anu, or Aunu, people (written with three pillars), who became a part of the historic inhabitants. The subject ramifies too doubtfully if we include all single-pillar names, but looking for the Aunu, written with the three pillars, we find that they occupied Southern Egypt and Nubia, and the name is also applied in Sinai and Libya.

As to the Southern Egyptians, we have the most essential document, a portrait of a chief, Tera-neter, roughly modeled in relief in green glazed faience, found in the early temple at Abydos. Preceding his name, his address is given on this earliest of visiting cards, "Palace of the Aunu in Hermen city, Tera-neter." Hemen was the name of the god of Tuphium (Lanz., Dict, 544), 13 miles south of Luqsor. Erment, opposite to it, was the place of Aunu of the south, Aunu Menti. The next place in the south is Aunti (Gebeleyn), and beyond that Aunyt-seni (Esneh).

The chief peculiarity of the figure is the droop of the chin; this is caused by a slanting jaw with short ramus. The same type of jaw is seen in the ivory king from Abydos, and moreover, the Scorpion king who preceded Nar-mer.

These figures are, then, the precious portraits remaining of the native pre-Menite kings of the south, and they are of a type certainly different from the dynastic type of the square-jawed Nar-mer (Mena) and his follows.

The difference of the slope of jaw in the Aunu people was illustrated by our researchers in the cemetery at Tarkhan. In dealing with the remains, the jaws were all photographed in position, and they show two groups of the slope of the lower edge as 20 and 28 to the horizontal.

Now we can go a step further. On the big mace-head of the Scorpion king there are carved the standard figured. These emblems of Min and Set, with rekhyt plovers handing from them. The rekhytu people, however, were the special care of the dynastic race, protected by Aha and by Thetu. They were an organized rank ruled by a mayor in the Vth and VIth dynasties. The Scorpion king was, then, an enemy of the dynastic falcon, Horus.

As we find the Aunu strong in the south, but the rekhytu strong in the north, it seems that the rekhytu came in with the dynastic invasion, entering the Nile valley at Koptos. Those who went south were attacked by the Aunu, and those going north founded a base at Heliopolis (Syro-Egypt, 2).

The heads on pl. XXXVIII are arranges to show the difference of type between the Aunu; the dynastic people, the 1st dynasty in Sinai, the IInd dynasty, Khosekhem; the IIIrd dynasty, Sudany, Sanekht, and Zeser."

Page 5

"Some of the most obvious public works of the Ist dynasty were the carrying on of earlier undertakings. The great historical maces, and the irrigation works, had been developed under the Scorpion king of the Aunu, and both may have originated much earlier. Many vases and bowls (HR, xii, xvii, xix, xxxiv) bear his name."

Page 78

"Nar-mer Pallette. The principal monument of the first king Nar-mer (Mena) is the large slate palette (XL). This shows his capture of the "chief of the lake" (uo she), and the falcon holding 6,000 prisoners. Behind him is his body-servant," the rosette here, and elsewhere, being used for the king. The resemblance of the king on this palette to the sculptor's trial piece, or model shows that almost certainly to be the royal portrait. It was never part of a statute, being flat on the back and top; it seems to be a life-study as a model for future figures. It is accepted as the oldest portrait figure, by Michaelis, who notes the "astonishing acuteness of the racial type."

Page 102

"Dynasty II, Tombs. The IInd dynasty came to terms with the earlier Aunu people, and the first king took the name Hetep-sekhemui, "peace of the two powers." By the middle of the dynasty, the Aunu people began to control the rule, and Set appears on the royal name instead of Horus. By the end of the dynasty, the two scepters were "united in peace" by Kho-sekhemui".

Page 105

"Motives of Dynasty III. A breath of life came from the Sudan. The new dynasty was headed by Sa-nekht of Sudany type, and he gave a fresh impetus which was later continued by Zeser, Yet there was no new invention, but only a strengthening of the old style, without a different art.

The southern source was likewise the inspiration of the XIIth, the XVIIIth, the XXVth dynasties, and in a similar manner. The Sudany infusion continued in the upper classes, as seen in the head of Seker-kha-bau.

The development of stone building at the Step Pyramid of Zeser at Saqqara was based on earlier craft, the carvings of Dynasty I in wood and ivory. Small objects such as head-rests, had columns with convex fluting, and also with concave, in the IInd dynasty. The motives may have originated in the larger work and, later, been borrowed for it again. A similar translation from wood to stone is also to be found in the stone copies of wooden doorways, and of wooden doors represented as thrown open, at the entry of chambers in the temple of the Step Pyramid. In the IIIrd dynasty there was the achievement of using stone for wood, fixing the principles of art."--W.M. Flinders Petrie

French Egyptologist Abbe Émile Amélineau (1850-1916). He discovered the tombs of Ka, Den, and the Serpent King Djet (whose stela is at the Louvre).

Amélineau, is credited with the discovery of the Anu and their contribution to Egyptian civilization. It was Amélineau who designated the first black race to occupy Egypt as the Anu. He showed how they came slowly down the Nile and founded the cities of Esneh, Erment, Qouch and Heliopolis. The actual name is always written with three columns. He states that "All those cities have the characteristic symbol which serves to denote the name Anu." The original name for Heliopolis is "Annu". "Egypt's greatest Masters, Osiris, Hermes, Isis, and Horus all belonged to "the old race", the black Anu." (Chandler, 1999).

Citing evidence uncovered in Amélineau excavations, he concludes that:

"All those cities have the characteristic symbol which serves to denote the name Anu. It is also in an ethnic sense that we must read the term Anu applied to Osiris. As a matter of fact, in a chapter introducing hymns in honor of Ra and containing Chapter XV of the Book of the Dead, we read: "Hail to thee, O God Ani in the mountainous land of Antem! O great God, falcon of the double solar mountain!

If Osiris was a Nubian origin, although born at Thebes, it would be easy to understand why the stuggle between Set and Horus took place in Nubia. In any case, it is striking that the goddess Isis, according to the legend, has precisely the same skin color that Nubians always have, and that the god Osiris has what seems to me an ethnic epithet indicating his Nubian origin. Apparently this observation has never before been made".--Amélineau, Prolégomènes, pp. 124-125

"These Anu were agricultural people, raising cattle on a large scale along the Nile, shutting themselves up in walled cities for defensive purposes. To this people we can attribute, without fear of error, the most ancient Egyptian books, The Book of the Dead and the Texts of the Pyramids, consequently, all the myths or religious teachings. I would add almost all the philosophical systems then known and still called Egyptian. They evidently knew the crafts necessary for any civilization and were familiar with the tools those trades required. They knew how to use metals, at least elementary metals. They made the earliest attempts at writing, for the whole Egyptian tradition attributes this art to Thoth, the great Hermes an Anu like Osiris, who is called Onian in Chapter XV of The Book of the Dead and in the Texts of the Pyramids. Certainly the people already knew the principal arts; it left proof of this in the architecture of the tombs at Abydos, especially the tomb of Osiris and in those sepulchers objects have been found bearing unmistakable stamp of their origin, such as carved ivory, or a little head of a Nubian girl found in a tomb near that of Osiris, or the small wooden or ivory receptacles in the form of a feline head--all documents published in the first volumn of my Fouilles d'Abydos".

B.K. Chatterjee and G.D. Kumar, Comparative Study and Racial Analysis of the Human Remains of Indus Valley Civilization. (Calcutta, Sol Distributors, W. Neuman, 1965), p. 17:

"They compared the mean values of different cranial, facial, nasal, and orbital measurements of skulls related to various areas and periods of Egyptian civilization. Cranium material was analyzed from the pre-historic sites of Egypt Naqada II, Egypt Badari, plus Nubia Ariba, and were then compared with skulls from the Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasties and Saqqara, (Old Kingdom). The archaeologist found that all of these skulls in respect to "long head, broad face, low orbit, and broad nasal aperture have the characteristic features of the Negroid type".


Amélineau, Émile. 1899. Nouvelles Fouilles d'Abydos, Paris: Ed. Leroux

Amélineau, Émile. 1916. Prolégomènes à l'étude de la religion égyptienne, Paris: Ed. Leroux

Diop, Cheikh Anta. 1974. The African Origin of Civilization, Myth or Reality, Lawrence Hill Books

Petrie, W.M. Flinders. The Making of Egypt, London. New York, Sheldon Press; Macmillan

Van Sertima, Ivan. 1999. Egypt revisited, Transaction Publishers, (page 117, Of Gods and Men: Egypt's Old Kingdom, Wayne B. Chandler).

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