Reposted from writer: Kelene
Over the years I’ve heard snippets of “Black radical” talk suggesting that the first Universities were in Africa. Just snippets, enough to make me think, cool maybe there is something more to African history, but not enough to paint me the clear picture I needed to realize the true implications of this fact. I recently was pointed in the right direction of study and finally came across the historical information that these “radicals” were referring to. Here’s the story…
In ancient times many thousands of years B.C.(E.) on the northern part of the continent now called Africa, there was a place called Kemet, which means “the black land,” where dwelt a grand civilization advanced in the knowledge of the spiritual and temporal. This civilization was responsible for vast legacies of art, literature, science, architecture, law and religion. This was the first civilization to house vast libraries and universities called Mystery Schools. Their centers of worship were also centers of knowledge and their priests were professors.
In the same way that today, people worldwide flock to the United States of America, The United Kingdom and Europe to attend the best universities, so the people of the ancient world would flock to Kemet to receive their highly prized education. Herodotus, the Greek historian often referred to as the Father of History, devoted his entire Book II of his masterpiece, The Histories to lauding the achievements and traditions of this magnificent ancient African (he describes them as black) civilization. Of course he used the foreign name for the country, the name that the world has adopted: Egypt.
The Kemetic system of education was the diamond standard of the ancient world. The students were required to study the seven Liberal Arts, develop ten virtues, and dedicate themselves to seven behaviors. The purpose of Kemetic education involved both the spiritual and the practical. It was believed that by practicing the ten virtues and gaining knowledge one would liberate the soul from the confines of the body and become like God. The Kemetic religion was one of rebirth; the soul was imprisoned in the body, attached by ten fetters, and the mastery of the ten virtues as well as the liberal arts would help the soul to break free of its physical confines and end the cycle of rebirth. This is why the subjects were called the “liberal” arts. In addition to the religious importance of studying the Mysteries, as they were called, Kemetic education was meant to produce an educated leadership that would shape the culture and philosophy of society.
The four main principles of the Kemetic education system included the virtues, the liberal arts, the union/principle of opposites and the expectation that students would dedicate their time to particular activities and goals.
The ten virtues that served to prepare the student and guide them through their education were:
Control of Thought
Control of Action
Steadfastness of Purpose
Identity with the Spiritual Life or the Higher Ideals
Evidence of Having a Mission in Life
Evidence of a call to Spiritual Orders of a Priesthood in the Mysteries
Freedom from Resentment When Under the Experience of Persecution and Wrong
Confidence in the Power of the Master as Teacher
Confidence in One’s Own Ability to Learn
Readiness or Preparedness for Initiation
Students of the Kemetic Mystery Schools were also required to dedicate their time to the following seven activities:
Become a scribe
Change (transform) because of new knowledge
Conduct independent study to improve one’s self
Study nature (natural phenomena)
Believe in one supreme creator
Unify one’s consciousness with the universe
Become like the supreme creator
Students were required to master the seven liberal arts which are very similar to the general studies required by modern universities:
Students were also expected to appreciate the philosophy of the union of opposites, the inseparability of opposite forces as represented by concepts such as:
Negative – positive
Male – female
Material – immaterial
Body – soul
Love – hate
Hot – cold
Wet – dry
Fire – water
War – peace
This Kemetic system of education influenced the great minds and civilizations and continue to wield influence even in modern times, although much of their influence has been attributed to other cultures who borrowed freely and without due acknowledgement from the education of Kemet. Some of the students of the Kemetic education system include famous names such as Moses, Plato, Pythagoras and Socrates.
And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. (Acts, 7:22)
From this list one would see the man for whom one of the most well known mathematical formulae is named: Pythagoras Theorem. Now you know who taught Pythagoras maths. Think about it, this is the culture that built the pyramids thousands of years before Pythagoras was born… clearly they knew how to calculate the hypotenuse of a right angled triangle. The philosopher, Socrates, is known for the sage advice “Know thyself.” Socrates also studied in Kemet, and in the very temples where Mysteries were taught were engraved the words, inside and out: “Man, Know thyself.”
“Until the Lion tells his story the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” ~African Proverb
History is always written by the victors, however. In this case the victors happened to be the Greek civilization. When Alexander conquered Kemet/Egypt from the ruling Persians he brought with him his teacher Aristotle who knew the value of Kemetic knowledge. Then, there was a Library of Alexandria, often hailed as the most impressive library of all time. Before conquering Kemet the Greeks had nothing close to a library, yet they became the intellectual leaders of the world only upon conquering Kemet, building the Library of Alexandria in this conquered African country. Think about it.
In addition, the modern perception of Egypt is as having a white, Arabic or “diverse” population. Keep in mind, that in the thousands of years B.C.(E.) when Kemet’s civilization was growing, this was an African land with a population that Greek historian Herodotus (circa 484 – 425 B.C./ B.C.E.) described as “black.” Kemet was conquered by the Persians, then the Greeks, thus introducing into the population the “diversity” it currently contains. It would do to remember though, Kemet, the black land, was (and still is) African, their history an African history, and their people an African people.
Sidenote on dates: B.C. = Before Christ is the same time period as B.C.E. = Before Common Era (used for political correctness); A.D. = Anno Domini (meaning Year of Our Lord referring to the birth of Christ) is the same time period as C.E. = Common Era (the politically correct alternative). “circa” means “around” and is used when the exact date is not certain.
The Histories by Herodotus: http://bit.ly/r0OEoz
The Ancient Kemetic Roots of Library and Information Science by Itibari M. Zulu: http://bit.ly/gaitCR
Stolen Legacy by George G.M. James