Part II. Oromos in Ancient Egypt

A. W. M. Flinders Petrie's Observations

In his 1939 book titled The Making of Ancient Egypt, W. M. Flinders Petrie is reported to have noted that the 7th 10th and the 12th Dynasties of Pharaonic Egypt have Oromo characteristics, based on comparisons of features of contemporary Oromos and some sphinxes and statues from ancient Egypt.

In his 1896 (the year Italy was defeated at Adwa) book titled A History of Egypt Part One, Pertie is reported to have written [the Oromo] people do not appear in any records, and all their monuments have been re-appropriated. They left, however, a most striking style of sculpture, in the sphinxes which were later removed to Tanis, but seem originally to have come from El Kab, where a piece of such a sphinx has been found. The type is closely like that of the Galla [Oromo]. The evidence that all the earlier sculptures of Tanis were collected there by Ramessu II seems clear; and that these sphinxes are earlier than the Hyksos is certain by those kings having appropriated them. No period seems so likely for them as the 7th to the 10th dynasties. The type was heavily bearded, with bushy hair.

B. Some Evidences in Recent Publications

Much more tantalizing evidences of Oromos in Ancient Egypt are emerging. A youngish statue of Tutankhamun certainly shows Kushitic features. In addition, one would be curious about his name which can be approximated to a composite Tutan-kh-amanu of unique Oromo words. It roughly means one who believes in the mass. That may sound far-fetched to some at first glance. However, when one studies the fact that his predecessor, Pharaoh Akhenaton, met a rebellion from the mass he ruled because of his attempt to change Egypt's polytheistic belief to monotheism, and Tutankhamun becomes a Pharaoh only few years later after Akhenaton was deposed from power makes this subject extremely interesting. Add to that the Oromo Gada system of government, which Professor Donald L. Levine calls "one of the most complex systems of social organization ever devised by the human imagination," and you would most probably get even more curious. Tutankhamun is believed to have changed the belief system from Akhenaton's belief in the sun to belief in "amun", which may be a misinterpretation of the very word amani in Afan Oromo whose approximate translation is believing.

Other extremely interesting pictures of old statues from Egypt show what appear to be Oromo social symbol worn on the forehead.

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