Between Mani and Nubia

Easter break is finished.
Springtime is here and new ideas are springing!
They stem from memories from Easter, they flower on memories more afar…

This first photo depicts Vatheia, a most characteristic settlement of Mani (www.mani.org.gr), a blessed place and an inspiring region of Peloponnese, ending on one of the southernmost points of mainland Europe, Cape Tainaro.

Check out in this second photo, how nicely the settlement is integrated to the landscape, as if the buildings are marrying with the ridge of the mountain; no surprise thus that the settlement is called “Nifi” which means “Bride”!

And if one looks closer on these settlements, it is inevitable that the towers of Mani will stand out from this harmony of the built stones and the wild rocks…

Just like in Nubia with the towers of the various maleks (kings) of the last couple of centuries…

So, is it not a magnificent instance of coincidence that the name for such towers is Diffi, rhyming in a poetic manner with Nifi!?!

Perhaps it is not such a naïve question to ask where does the inspiration for such formal similarities stem…

Another example, more down to earth this time, will illustrate this best, we believe.

Let’s have a close up of the gate of the previous compound (site 8-B-510) on Sai Island

And this is another gate to a house on Sai; just one more among the innumerable Nubian houses that are decorated with plates above the arch of their entrances.


And this is just one of the churches of Greece, once again from Mani (Taxiarches Glezou), where the same decorative pattern is also used.

In the case of Greece the tradition is Byzantine and the influence can be from the Latin West.
Where did the “Franks” take this tradition from? The Arabs of Maghreb?
And themselves? Is it in Islam a tradition coming from Iran as it has been suggested?
Or perhaps it goes back to some Mediterranean idea about the apotropaic function of the decorated bottoms of plates?

In any case, it was our great pleasure to see the builder of the gate protecting the eastern entrance to the site of the so-called Cathedral of Medieval Sai using plates so as to decorate in a Nubian style his construction!

Once again, Nubia appears as the melting pot of traditions that can stem from either the Islamic or the Christian worlds, as they both loose, arriving in these southern margins of the “old” world, their contrasting natures of East and West.

This entry was posted in Nubia, Sai Island. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Between Mani and Nubia

  1. Mohamed says:

    waw A and H,this is a wounderful pictures.the Nubian cognition landscape looks like a promising approach. But what if it is between Mani and Shiba at Barkal. my best friends, I love all these captions.

  2. A. and H. says:

    Tell us more about Shiba please…

  3. Mohamed says:

    Shiba is a settlement area at Barkal village. it is located not far from the entrance to the old Banton (Duck) place. the village is historicaly known from kushite to the christian period. most of the houses are located on the outcrop. artificial and natural corridors or staircases that lead up and down between houses. the village studied by the graduate student Mohamed Ahmed Abdelmajeed 1997( now Dr. Mohamed, the director of the archaeological research center in Wadi Elneel University/ Ed-Damar). it was one of the good Arabic thesis in Dongola university at Kerima College.the area would be a very good case study for employing Memory work method and how the Kushite maintain thier social memory through time and space. interestingly that many of the buildings contain an accumulation of cultural elements that are visible but lacking the right method for better interpretation and explanation. what archaeologist are missing here is its location between J.Barkal and Kuru and the probability of finding a Napatan to christian settlement below these monuments is extremity high.

  4. A. and H. says:

    Very interesting indeed :-)But tell us something more please: would You consider the present inhabitants of this settlement as Kushites?

  5. Sami says:

    wallahi kalam. This photo makes me so happy.you know why.

  6. Sami says:

    I promisse you I\’ll manage some photos for the ather gate.

  7. A. and H. says:

    You should be happy and proud, dear Sami, because nothing would have happened without You :-)

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