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Edo-Sudan Link 


 

 

 

According to Egharevba there was a wave of migration from the Sudan and Egypt that preceded the Ogiso era.

"The first wave came from the Sudan through Nupe about 7th century AD .................For a century the Government of the country was directed by different leaders in each quarter by turns or rotationally.

According to research the names of the leaders are the following: Ese, Ota, Uwurumwen, Odin, Ogbon, Udu, Odion, Iroro, and Owere. Each of the two leaders Odion and Owere lived for many years and attained a great age. Their times and administration were very good and peaceful and successful throughout.

They were equally loved, admired, honoured and respected by all to the end of their days. Thus the names Odion and Owere became the hereditary official rank Odion: Owere or Odion were "head" in our land ever since to the present day. Hence the Odionwere was being made by old age in every quarter of the City and Villages in the Benin Division in those days.............."

culled from Page 12, Chronicle of Events (First Period) in "Chronicle of Events in Benin" by Chief Jacob Egharevba. August 31st, 1965.

 

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I hate the notion or assumption that everyone came from the SUDANESE VALLEY or EGYPT at one time or the other. If anything, there is no indication in EDO culture whatsoever that this was the case. How could a people migrate from their home and inheritance and not bring any of such cultures with them? EDO culture is unique in itself and has no relationship whatsoever to the cultures of the upper or lower Nile.

If EDOs migrated from those regions about the 6th or 7th Century AD, then, the leaders would have institutionalized the PYRAMIDAL mentality and architectural styles along with such mentalities of those empires. About the 6th and 7th Century AD, Pyramids and the profound Greek/Roman architectures and other influences were common place in Egypt and the neighboring states. It is most improbable that EDO people would have made such migration, yet, comparatively washed themselves of all memories of those cultures and life styles and kingly designs and constructions. I dare say, that the act of the use of PYRAMIDS for ROYALTIES burial is unheard of and unfounded and never practiced in EDO.

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IT follows from the arguments above therefore, that either there was no such migration at any one time or when it did occurred, it was very minor with a set of very small insignificant group with no influence whatsoever. It also follows that if there was a significant migration of the class that could have spewed forth EDO kingdom, it must have happened and originated from the NUBIANS long before the EGYPTIAN evolution or about the time of the EGYPTIAN evolution. It could not have been just the 6th/7th AD. It has to be much more earlier than that. As unique as EDO culture has been and before its spread across Nigeria and beyond the Oceans as in JAPAN, EDO people may have simply evolved on their own within their current environment and confinements, but maintained a very slow rate of growth when the humanoids became aware of who they were. External influence was from NON to negligible and hence. Normally, such external influence spurs and accelerates growth and diverse developments in life styles, architectures and general cultures. EDO's, had stayed unadulterated until the last 4oo or so years and there remains no evidence of such influence.

The above logical reasoning, provides an Ocean of evidence to support the thesis that EDOs are unique people from Evolution and had no external contacts until much recently. This is also largely responsible for EDOS' anti-relativistic assumption that the World includes only EDOs and that there is non-else beyond the horizon. Please verify or refute.

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Okay Ben. Time to deliver on my promise. Here is my response. (Note that I have also thrown in some extras to address questions from Phil)

MYTHOLOGICAL TRADITIONS (Snail Shell)

According to this tradition the son of the high God Osanobua was the founder of the kingdom. He also became the first Oba of the semi-mythical dynasty of rulers called OGISO (Ogie = ruler; and Iso = the sky). According to one account, this son fell from the sky and converted a snail shell into land and water - earth – beginning in Benin. This is where the notion of Benin as the center of the earth may have come from (Edorisiagbon). Another version I have heard is that the snail fell into water and then crawled onto land – Benin land – the center of the earth. Then it changed into a Man. These accouints are clearly mythical.

ARCHAEOLOGY

One of the limitations of archaeology in Africa is that since durable materials, such as stone, were not often used in art or architecture, very little is available compared with other regions of the world. Wood and clay have largely disintegrated because of the tropical climate.

Furthermore after the Stone age (with rare exception) we (Africans) did not go through a bronze age. We went directly to the Iron age – and since Iron corrodes quickly many items of priceless value have been lost.

However, several archeological surveys have been conducted in the Edo area. Examples include:

Professor Goodwin did a survey from December 1954 to 1957. He excavated the site of the old Ogisos on 2nd East Circular and Clerks quarters in the Old Oba Palace. He dug out iron arm bangles, bronzes and other items, which became the subject of a detailed report. Before him, incidental discoveries of ancient bangles (Egba), and Osun Ematon were made during new house constructions. Indeed Egharevba himself found an early cutlass (called Ikhu) made from molten stone called Akpada from the shrine of Ogiso Igodo at Ugbeku.

Subsequently Mr. Graham Connah did a survey from 1961 to 1964 and subsequently produced a book titled “Polished Stone Axes in Benin”. These works along with others were used to accurately date ancient Benin back to at least the 7th century AD.

Dr. Patrick Darling subsequently did his archeological work on the Moats and Walls.

 

In between, some Nigerian archeologists including either Shehu Musa? and/or one of the Ciromas also did some excavations. Theories have emanated from these activities and findings. One archaeological hypothesis of evolution is based on evidence of stone age habitation and the fragmentary origins of village settlements which is thought to have led up to aggregations of units and groups as the highly complex pattern of walls and moats suggest. But the oral tradition is that Oba Oguola built the first (outermost) moat circa 1283 and the second circa 1290 followed by the third (innermost) one built by Oba Ewuare circa 1460 .

ORAL TRADITIONS AND MYSTICAL SOURCES

Hamitic hypothesis – Historians like Talbot (“The peoples of Southern Nigeria, Vol. 11, Chapter 1, paras 6 & 7), Egharevba and Oronsaye have all said that the Edoids migrated from Egypt. Bradbury did not delve much into it because he considered that period and the stories around it “semi-mystical”.

Talbot actually puts the first waves of Sudanic migration at the 7th millennium BC (I do not know if he really meant AD) – but he states quite clearly that the Edo were first (along with the Ewe) followed by the Ibo, “followed maybe about the second millennium by the earliest Yoruba.” He goes on to identify the Ibibio, Ukelle, Boki, Ekoi, Popo, Ijaw, among others as other examples of Sudanese migrants to West Africa.

One of the main thrusts of Oronsaye’s book is that the migration of our ancestors from ancient Egypt through the Sudan occurred without sojourning in Ile-Ife. He and Egharevba disagree on whether there was a brief stop over in Ife (Uhe) on their way to Benin. But they both agree on origin from Egypt. They also disagree on the precise timing of the first Ogiso period. Egharevba opines that early in the 7th century the land was administered under different leaders – preceding the Ogiso Igodo who emerged to found the first formal dynasty circa 900 AD. Egharevba also pins down the arrival of Odudua to approximately the 12 century. Oronsaye disagrees with these dates.

However, Egharevba does say that the original migrants “met some people who were in the land before their arrival. These people are said to have come originally from Nupe and the Sudan in waves.” The 8th century arrivals were escaping the Islamic crusades.


Nigeria: Restaurant

Oronsaye links the origination and linkage of Edoids to Egypt through mystical, religious and political developments in Egypt itself. Imhotep, a powerful seer, prophet, architect, physician and adviser in the court of Pharaoh Zoser identified a spot to the West of Egypt called Waga Dugu (later Ogu Dugu) as the site of the origin of a future great empire. He motivated the Princes of Thebes (then a principality of Egypt) to look westwards.

Using documents about the internal history of Egypt and Thebes he established that migration did in fact take place to Ogu Dugu (later – Igodomigodo - the Benin Kingdom)

Ogiso Obagodo (Igodo) descended from a line of Theban princes. It is said that he was the reincarnation of Prince Ahmes – who founded the 18th dynasty and expelled Hyksos invaders from Egypt in 1580 BC. The period of his birth (in 561 AD in the Sudan) was apparently a time of instability and major migrations. It was in fulfillment of the prophecy of Imhotep that he moved to Ogu dugu.

This movement was complex and in phases – following the construction of the Iso temple and soldiers quarters in Ugbeku. The site of the old palace/Iso Temple has been archaeologically pinned down to 163 Upper Sakpoba road.

PRE-OGISO ORAL TRADITION VARIANT

I shared this with you a few days ago. According to Egharevba [Chronicle of Events (First Period) in "Chronicle of Events in Benin" by Chief Jacob Egharevba. August 31st, 1965] there was a wave of migration from the Sudan and Egypt that preceded the Ogiso era.

"The first wave came from the Sudan through Nupe about 7th century AD .................For a century the Government of the country was directed by different leaders in each quarter by turns or rotationally.

According to research the names of the leaders are the following: Ese, Ota, Uwurumwen, Odin, Ogbon, Udu, Odion, Iroro, and Owere. ........But by process of evolution, the Bini Kingdom of the first period was founded about 900 AD. The rulers or kings were commonly known as "Ogiso".........."

RESIDUAL LINKS

To answer your question, the two areas where our links with ancient Egypt are still obvious are:

 

a. DIVINATION and ORACULAR science – in traditional religion. Since Edo traditional religion was never taught to us in great depth these aspects of ancient Egyptian/Sudanese heritage are strange to us now. But those who are schooled in these arts know it. The first Oliha (derived from Ole – Owner or Controller – and Iha – Oracle - ) was Chief Priest of the Zoroastrian temple of the sky of Iso Temple - allegedly built by builders from Medes (Persia). Many of the oracles and divination systems are identical to ancient Egyptian-Persian systems. Examples include the Obiro, the “water in a basin” divination, sand patterns, ewawa, iha ominigbon and others. Furthermore, Oronsaye goes into some detail in describing various Gods (pantheons) in Benin (Edoid), Babylonian, Greek and Roman mythology. Examples include Osanobua, Ogiuwu (Ogie-Uwu), Osanorie Evbee, Rio Ikpakpa, Olokun, Ogun, Osa-Nokumanyan, Osayuki etc…representing King of Gods, God of War, God(dess) of the Sea, Blacksmith for the Gods, God of Wine, Goddess of Moon and Hunting….respectively

b. Items of clothing and equipment – like the big shield, which was the universal protective weapon of the Edo soldier and remains in use today during stately parades. That shield is identical to that of ancient Egyptians. (See “Arms and Armor in Africa” by Helmut Nickel 1971)

Note: Ancient Egypt is NOT the Egypt of today.

OTHER MIGRATIONS

In addition to migrations from Benin (or Igodomigodo) by well-known Edoid groups within Nigeria, the Gas (of modern day Ghana) are said to have migrated from Benin circa 1300.

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I read the following entry somewhere and I quote:

"The oldest skeleton found by archaeologists in the Nigerian area, at Iwo Eleru, near Akure, in the southwest, has been dated to about 9000 BC. There are isolated collections of ancient tools and artifacts of different periods of the Stone Age, but the oldest recognizable evidence of an organized society belongs to the Nok culture (c. 500 BC-c. AD 200)."

If anyone has source to the archaeological work in Iwo Eleru, please share. I'm beginning to "warm-up" to the fact that the plausibility of alternative hypothesis that there were "aboriginal" Edoid in the current location could be anchored off Iwo Eleru findings via 'Edo ne ku'e" (sp?).