The duel of Achilles (L) and Memnon the Ethiopian (R), grave amphora, Campania, Italy, 4th century BC.
As many Adamic Christians are already aware, many try to claim the Ethiopians/Cushites were negroes. Usually this is done in an attempt to support a racial universalist position. Favoured claims based on this premise are that the Ethiopian eunuch and Moses’ Cushite wife were Negroes. These claims are easily refuted, but that is not my purpose here, and many scholars have covered these matters at length.
Suffice to say that the Ethiopian eunuch baptized by Philip in Acts chapter 8 was a Judaean serving in the Ethiopian court and not ethnically Ethiopian. This man was making a pilgrimage to the temple (vs. 27) where only Judaeans were permitted (Acts 21.28-29, 24.5-6, the Temple Warning inscription) and was in possession of a scroll containing the book of Isaiah (vs. 28). He was also converted before Cornelius and the agreement to convert the nations (Acts 10, 15.7). Judaeans are elsewhere referred to as Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Cretes and Arabians according to their residence and not their ethnicity (Acts 2.5-11) and this is certainly the case with the Ethiopian eunuch.
The fact that the Ethiopian eunuch was a Judaean was also known to the early Christian writers Irenaeus and Pontius (Against Heresies 4.23.2-4.24.1, Life of St. Cyprian 3).
Moses’ Cushite wife must have been from one of the Cushite settlements on the Arabian shores of the Red Sea since Moses had sojourned in Midian (Exodus 2.15) and after crossing the Red Sea the Israelites went immediately into the wilderness of Shur (Exodus 15.22) making it unlikely that Moses met his Cushite wife in Africa. It is far more probable that this woman hailed from the Cushitic Havilah (Genesis 10.7) located somewhere in the Arabian Peninsula near the Eastern borders of Egypt (Genesis 25.18, 1 Samuel 15.7)
My purpose here will be to discuss the racial history and current state of the Ethiopia of Africa. It is commonly imagined that the Ethiopians were and are Negroes, but we shall see that the ancient Ethiopians were Caucasians and that the Ethiopians of today are a hybrid race. In section 1.23 in the second book of Pomponious Mela’s Chorographia he makes mention of Leucaethiopians or White Ethiopians inhabiting a certain region along the Libyan Sea.
“On those shores washed by the Libyan Sea, however, are found the Libyan Aegyptians, the White Aethiopians, and, a populous and numerous nation, the Gaetuli. Then a region, uninhabitable in its entire length, covers a broad and vacant expanse.”
In section 5.8 of Pliny the Elder’s Natural History we read again of White Ethiopians.
“If we pass through the interior of Africa in a southerly direction, beyond the Gaetuli, after having traversed the intervening deserts, we shall find, first of all the Liby-Egyptians, and then the country where the Leucaethiopians dwell.”
In Isaiah 20 we read “thus shall the king of the Assyrians lead the captivity of Egypt and the Ethiopians, young men and old, naked and barefoot, having the shame of Egypt exposed.” (vs. 4) This prophecy was surely fulfilled when Esarhaddon of Assyria took the Egyptians and Ethiopians captive (Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, The University of Chicago Press vol. 2 sec. 557 ff.).
These deportations must be the source of these White Ethiopians as well as the Libyan-Egyptians, also seemingly uprooted from their original homelands, presumably in Egypt. Undoubtedly these deportations contributed greatly to the decline of genuine Cushite blood in Ethiopia.
After describing the civilised Ethiopians Diodorus Siculus goes on to describe in contrast the primitive hominids dwelling in Ethiopia and nearby regions. It is apparent here that “Ethiopian” is used here as a loose demonym for a people utterly dissimilar to the civilised Ethiopians Diodorus had described previously.
“1 But there are also a great many other tribes of the Ethiopians, some of them dwelling in the land lying on both banks of the Nile and on the islands in the river, others inhabiting the neighbouring country of Arabia, and still others residing in the interior of Libya. 2 The majority of them, and especially those who dwell along the river, are black in colour and have flat noses and woolly hair. As for their spirit they are entirely savage and display the nature of a wild beast, not so much, however, in their temper as in their ways of living; for they are squalid all over their bodies, they keep their nails very long like the wild beasts, and are as far removed as possible from human kindness to one another; 3 and speaking as they do with a shrill voice and cultivating none of the practices of civilized life as these are found among the rest of mankind, they present a striking contrast when considered in the light of our own customs.”
-Library of History, 3.8.1-3
When describing the civilized Ethiopians Diodorus makes no mention of their physical characteristics, but when he mentions the savages the first things he notes are their black skin, flat noses and wooly hair. I think that if Diodorus had observed these physical traits among the civilized Ethiopians, he would not have made specific note of them among the savage Ethiopians. It is very doubtful there were any purely Adamic Ethiopians in Diodorus’ time, but certainly there was a remnant of their civilization and blood.
The 16th century Berber explorer Leo Africanus described the existence of various “white” or “olive” groups and individuals inhabiting the Horn of Africa, comprising much of the population of the Adal Sultanate and Mogadishu Sultanate (The History and Description of Africa, Hakluyt Society, pp. 52-53). He further asserts that pockets of other “white” or “olive” skinned residents could also be found on two small islands north of Socotra and in parts of the Zanguebar coast (ibid. pg. 88).
Many look at the average Ethiopian, or select tribes of Ethiopia and see that they have dark brown or black skin and often have nappy hair. Some tribes in Ethiopia are in fact negroes (hereafter Congoids, the appropriate racial classification) but these are not autocthonous nor are they the majority. These Congoid populations in the Horn of Africa descend from more recent Nilotic and Bantu migrations alien to ancient Ethiopia. The fact is, that the racial archetype of Ethiopia (Aethiopid) is a subtype of the Caucasoid race and not the Congoid race. Aethiopids are a Mediterranid stabilized with a Congoid element with other Caucasoid influences in certain Aethiopic subtypes.
Aethiopids have large braincases and high vaulted skulls whereas Congoids have smaller braincases and low vaulted skulls. Aethiopids have no protrusion of the jaws as do Congoids and they also lack the large teeth of the Congoid race. The Aethiopid race lacks the rectangular shape of the palate and eye orbit typical of Congoids and the large and round nasal cavity of the Congoid is also absent in the Aethiopid. Unlike the Congoid, the Aethiopid has a prominent nasal spine and a high-rooted nose.
Aethiopids typically have lighter skin than Congoids and sometimes wavy or curly hair. Aethiopids do not exhibit the wide and flat nose of the Congoid race and rather have long and narrow noses. They have limbs of typical Caucasoid proportions which lack the extra length of the Congoid’s limbs. They are by no means Congoid either in their morphology or craniometry. In layman’s terms they appear as if the skin of a Negroe or Mulattoe was draped over the flesh and bone of a Caucasian. The American anthropologist Carleton S. Coon explains the racial state of the Horn of Africa today very well where he states:
“On the basis of these correlations, it is evident that the partly negroid appearance of Ethiopians and of Somalis is due to a mixture between whites and negroes, and that the Ethiopian cannot be considered the representative of an undifferentiated stage in the development of both whites and blacks, as some anthropologists would have us believe. On the whole, the white strain is much more numerous and much more important metrically, while in pigmentation and in hair form the negroid influence has made itself clearly seen.”
-Carleton S. Coon, The Races of Europe, Macmillan 9.8
I have collected several photos of Aethiopid examples which my readers may care to peruse. These are contrasted with the most comparable Congoid subtypes I could find. It should be plain to the eye that the Aethiopids have phenotypes which are clearly distinct from those of the Congoid race.
Another matter of anthropological interest to Ethiopia is the fact that Ethiopia is ethno-linguistically Afro-Asiatic. The various Congoid peoples generally speak Niger-Congo or Nilo-Saharan languages which are distinct from the Afro-Asiatic languages spoken by the autocthones of Northern Africa and the Horn of Africa.
Today the autocthonous Afro-Asiatic speakers of the East Africa retain a large portion of identifiable Eurasian genetic markers. The percentage of identifiable Eurasian markers peaks in Semitic and Cushitic speaking populations but also extends into adjacent populations. This is to say nothing of the regionally African genetic markers which cannot be clearly identified with any specific populations and which may be of Caucasoid origin.
To the South of Egypt was the kingdom of Kush in Nubia. It is clear that this kingdom indeed was named for Cush, son of Ham as it bears his name and borders on other Cushite and Hamite territories. Throughout the art of the Egyptians we see clearly that the people of Kush were in fact black. Their black or dark brown skin and protruding jaws clearly mark them as physically Congoid. There is however more to this population than meets the eye. Analysis of the Nubian genome shows that the Nubians indeed carried Caucasian DNA and paternal lineages.
The single most frequent paternal haplogroup among the Nubians is the West Asian Caucasoid haplogroup J (44%) followed by the North African haplogroup E1b1b (23%). This indicates substantial Caucasoid gene flow from the Cushite males into a Nilotic female gene pool. In the case of the Nubians it is evident that the Nilotic Congoid phenotype and Nilo-Saharan language prevailed in contrast to the Caucasoid Afro-Asiatic speaking Ethiopians and Somalis etc.
In Biblical times Ethiopia is one of the first Adamic nations to be lost to miscegenation.
“For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.”
It seems God placed these Hamites between Israel and the non-Adamic sub-Saharan Congoid tribes who had crossed the desert and begun to move into Northern Africa and the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia and Egypt exist as nations (in the deracinated modern sense), but certainly the posterity of the original Hamitic inhabitants has been lost.
Some point to Jeremiah 13.23 as evidence that the Ethiopians originated as a black skinned race.
“23If the Ethiopian shall change his skin, or the leopardess her spots, then shall ye be able to do good, having learnt evil.”
However Jeremiah wrote later than Isaiah who spoke in hindsight of God forfeiting Ethiopia and other Hamitic nations in Africa. Thus we should fully expect many of the Ethiopians of the time of Jeremiah to have been darkened and dissimilar to their original racial state.
There is some confusion about the meaning of the Hebrew word Kuwsh. Brown-Driver-Briggs offers the definition “black” for Kuwsh, yet this definition appears in no earlier sources and appears to be based on the modern (often derogatory) Jewish usage of Kushi rather than any authentic ancient Hebrew definition. Kuwsh and related words are never used to refer to colours in the Scriptures and no internal Biblical evidence supports the definition of Kuwsh as “black”.
We shall now look to some older Hebrew lexicons to scrutinize this modern Jewish definition for Kuwsh. Gesenius never gives an etymology for Kuwsh and only says it refered to a land “inhabited by black men”. Strong’s likewise offers no etymology for Kuwsh but says it is “Probably of foreign origin” and like Gesenius he offers no meaning aside from a proper name. The only sound conclusion is that Kuwsh has no definite meaning aside from a personal name, ethnonym or toponym.
Strong’s explains the word Aethiop (Strong’s G128) as deriving from “aitho (to scorch) and ops (the face, from optanomai)” and referring to “an Aethiopian”. Liddell and Scott define it as “burnt face” and Dodson defines it as “an Ethiopian, Abyssinian”. It has been imagined that this term originated in reference to the dark face of the Congoid which might be perceived as appearing to be burnt, however this may just as easily describe the scorched face of a Caucasian under the Northeast African sun. Had the Greeks desired to name Ethiopia for a naturally black face they ought to have used any of the Greek words commonly used to refer to dark skin such as melas, melos, kelainos or phaios.
The notion that the Ethiopians were not Negroes was once common knowledge among mainstream Biblical scholars. In Zondervan’s Bible Dictionary under the entry for Ham we read “he became the progenitor of the dark races; not the Negroes, but the Egyptians, Ethiopians, Libyans and Canaanites”. It cannot be said with certainty whether the author considered these races to have originally been dark or to have degenerated into such a state, but he is certainly correct that the Hamites today are darker than the other tribes which originate from Noah.
Under the entry for Ham, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia describes him as “The youngest son of Noah, from whom sprang the western and southwestern nations known to the Hebrews”. It is clear here that the author did not consider all tribes to be known to the Hebrews and accounted for in Genesis 10. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia further states that “Of the nationalities regarded as descending from Ham, none can be described as really black”.
I believe that in light of this evidence the Scriptural narrative and Christian Identity position concerning the Ethiopia of Africa is wholly validated. In Ethiopia we see a land founded by White Hamites grown racially corrupt. After the Nilotic and Bantu expansions out of Central and Western Africa in the 2nd millennium BC and the deportations of the Ethiopians by Esarhadon in the 7th century BC the descendants of Cush in Africa dwindled and darkened.