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Arakamani (also Arkamaniqo,[2] Arkakamani or Ergamenes I[1]) was a Nubian king of Meroë who ruled in the early third century BCE.


The only secure archeological attestations of Arakamani come from his pyramid at Meroë (S 6).[3] In addition, many scholars believe that he should be identified with the Ethiopian king Ergamenes mentioned by the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus in his Bibliotheca historica.[2] Diodorus writes that the powerful priesthood wanted the death of Ergamenes in order to please the gods, but because he was educated in Greek culture, Ergamenes' strong-will enabled him to negate this destiny and to overpower the priesthood.[4]
The events reported in this account are now interpreted as a dynastic change in relation with the transfer of the royal necropolis –and thus of the capital city– from Napata to Meroë. Thus, many scholars regard Arakamani/Ergamenes I as the first king of the Meroitic phase of Nubian history, when the power base of the kingdom finally moved to its southern reaches and when African influence became stronger.[2] It has been suggested that the "Greek culture", which Diodorus claimed was the origin of Ergamenes' strong-will, should be understood as the Egyptian culture of the Ptolemaic Period (305 BC–30 BC), when Egypt was ruled by a Greek dynasty.[5]

Arakamani cartouches on a stone fragment from East Meroë

If the identification of Arakamani with Ergamenes I is correct, Arakamani provides an important chronological marker for Nubian history as Diodorus writes that he was a contemporary of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (reign 285 BC–246 BC) in Egypt.[4] Most Nubian kings are otherwise very difficult to date precisely as well as to order chronologically.


  1. ^ a b c von Beckerath, Jürgen (1999). Handbuch der Ägyptischen Königsnamen (in German). Mainz am Rhein, Von Zabern. ISBN 3-8053-2591-6. pp. 276-77
  2. ^ a b c Török (2008), pp. 389–90 and references therein.
  3. ^ Török, László (1996). Fontes Historiae Nubiorum, Vol. II. Bergen. ISBN 8291626014., pp. 566–67
  4. ^ a b Hoskins, George Alexander (2011). Travels in Ethiopia, above the Second Cataract of the Nile. Exhibiting the State of that Country, and Its Various Inhabitants, under the Dominion of Mohammed Ali and Illustrating the Antiquities, Arts, and History of the Ancient Kingdom of Meroe. ISBN 978-1-4021-6047-9., p. 314
  5. ^ Török (2008), p. 511


  • Török, László (2008). Between Two Worlds: The Frontier Region Between Ancient Nubia and Egypt 3700 BC - 500 AD. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-17197-8.