The Destruction of Kush

Four kings at that time ruled an empire in this realm: the first king dwelt in Nubia, the second in Ethiopia, a third in Kordofan, and the fourth in Darfur; but the richest of the four was the Nap of Napata in Kordofan, whose capital stood near the site of the village now called Hophrat-en-Nahas. The Nap of Napata was the possessor of all the copper and gold of the region. His gold and copper were carried to Nubia, to be sent to the great kings of the West. Also, envoys arrived in his court from eastward, from over sea, by ship. And to the south he held domain over many peoples: these forged for him iron weapons and furnished slaves by the many thousand for his court.

But now, although this king was the richest man on earth, his life was the saddest and shortest of all mankind; for each Nap of Napata could rule but a brief span of years. Through- out his reign the priests every night observed the stars, made offerings, kindled sacred fires; and they were not to miss a night of these prayers and offerings, lest they should lose track of the stars and not know when, according to practice, the king was to be killed.. The custom had come down from time out of mind. Night by night, year after year, the priests were to keep watch for the day when the king should be killed.

And so, once again, as so many times before, that day arrived. The hind legs of sacrificial bulls were slashed; the fires of the land were extinguished; women were locked indoors; and the priests kindled the new fire. They summoned the new king. He was the  son of  the sister of the one just killed, and his name, this time, was Akaf - but Akaf was the king in whose period the ancient customs of the land were changed and people say that this change was the cause of the destruction of Napata. Now the first official act of every Nap of Napata was that of deciding what persons should accompany him on the path of death. They were to be chosen from those dearest to him, and the first named would be the one to lead the rest. A slave named Far-li-mas, celebrated for his story-telling art, had arrived in the court some years before from over sea, sent as a gift by a king of the distant East. And the new Nap of Napata said: This man shall be my first companion. He will entertain me until the time for my death; and make me happy after death.