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The Question of Identity: Ethnicity, Language, Religion, and Gender

Before Islam:  Overview

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Tile Depicting a Nubian Prisoner

Tile Depicting a Nubian Prisoner

Short, curly hair, dark skin, an earring, and Nubian dress are features of the Nubian captive shown on these colorful tiles from the temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu in Egypt. The prisoner’s arms are bound at his sides.

For the ancient Egyptians, bound figures had a magical purpose, ensuring Egypt's continued domination of the represented group. Nubians were represented alongside other captives with each group distinguished by Egyptian versions of their national dress, distinctive hairstyle, and facial features.

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