Black, Brown or White, The Egyptians on the Egyptians… Not that it matters….

Posted by Chris Parker
Jan 22 2007


Here at, it often happens that when we’re researching a particular topic, we come across other interesting information or data that we take note of and file away. Maybe a few months later we come across additional information on that filed away data and another area of research comes to the fore.

For some time we’ve been coming across interesting pieces of Egyptian art and we’ve filed those items away. The other day, we came across a White Supremacist site that was trying to make the case that the Egyptians were White or European. This after many times previously having come across Afro-centric websites that were making the case that the Egyptians were Black Africans.

They both can’t be right, but taking pride in the fact that someone living three thousand years ago had the same amount of melanin as you do is a bit like being proud that both yourself and George Washington had male pattern baldness.

A friend of mine mentioned several years ago that they had seen the King Tut traveling exhibition in Los Angeles and that their impression was that King Tut was “European” or at least certainly not Black or African. At the same table was another friend who said the she had seen King Tut in San Francisco, and that she had been surprised to learn that King Tut was Black.

The Egyptians left thousands of works of art behind, many masterpieces of art including thousands of depictions of themselves—so why is the ethnic make-up of the Egyptians still and open question? (All cultures have memories of huge, scaly, reptilian creatures, some who flew -dragons-and dinosaurs were huge, scaly reptilian creatures as well, but the paradigm is such that most people don’t consider for a moment that these extraordianary facts are related)

Back in 1956 when the Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments came out, Charlton Heston played Moses, Yul Brynner played Ramses II and Anne Baxter played Neferteri, all very well tanned. I believe that some of the “background” Egyptians were Black. If that Movie were being made today who would be cast as leads, we wonder?

As Christians, it doesn’t matter to us what color or race the Egyptians were, but it is still a matter of fact that can probably be established.

When reading the Bible as a child I remember wondering how it was that Moses fit in with the Egyptians? If you recall, Moses was born an Israelite, was placed in a basket in the Nile river and found and eventually raised as a son by Pharaoh’s daughter. After he became a man, he saw an Egyptian abusing Hebrew slaves and killed him. When the crime was discovered, he fled to Midian. Zipporah who later became Moses’ wife readily identified him as an Egyptian (Exodus 2). No doubt he was wearing Egyptian clothing but he apparently looked like an Egyptian as well. Now, I had seen the Ten Commandments and so wondered how Moses could pass as an Egyptian if he was really a Hebrew.

The same thing happened with Joseph in Egypt 400 years earlier. When Joseph’s brothers, who had sold him into slavery came to Egypt many years later during a famine, not only did they not recognize him, they readily accepted him as a high Egyptian official, as did their father when he was subsequently summoned by Joseph. (Genesis 42).

Joseph, of course was a Hebrew, so again I wondered, how did he make such a convincing Egyptian? Maybe the Hebrews and the Egyptians were not dissimilar racially from each other. They were all recent descendants of the eight people on the ark of Noah who are the ancestors of all peoples alive today.

When Cecil B. made the movie, the Ten Commandments, he made a decision to place the Exodus during the 19th dynasty (1295 – 1186 BC) under the assumption that Pharaoh of the exodus was Ramses II (also Ramesses) and that his wife was Queen Neferteri.

On the other hand, many Biblical scholars and notably, Manetho, an Egyptian Priest (c. 300 BC) who wrote a valuable history of Egypt claims that the founder of monotheism, whom he called Osarsiph, assumed the name Moses and led his followers out of Egypt in Pharaoh Akhenaten’s reign. The Bible itself doesn’t name the Pharaoh and of course, the Bible never mentions race.

Akhenaten, first known as Amenhotep IV was married to Nefertiti (not Nerferteri) and ruled Egypt in the 18th Dynasty, (1539 – 1295 BC), several hundred years before Ramses II’s reign, and was the first Egyptian Pharaoh to bring monotheism (one God worship) to Egypt.

What we plan to do is to allow the Egyptians themselves to answer these questions about their racial makeup visually through their own art. Again, we’re only going to look at art which was created by the Egyptians themselves, several thousand years ago.

We would note that sometimes the materials that the Egyptians used (such as marble, stone or gold) obscured characteristics like skin color or hair color. We’ll begin with Akhenaten and his family because we’re somewhat convinced that he was the Pharaoh who brought the plagues on Egypt by defying God through Moses and Aaron. We’ll also look at Egyptian depictions of other royalty and of Egyptian life in general.

We were surprised to find out that it wasn’t really a close question.

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3 Responses

  1. Terrie says:

    Thanks for the excellent views of ancient Egyptians -obviously they are a lovely mix of family traits of the one race of mankind; maybe less of Japheth’s tribal characteristics in the mix, though.

  2. WILLA says:


  3. Administrator says:

    Willa. Wow!

    Do you suppose the Greeks and the Romans did that as well? I never considered that there might be a civilization that failed to represent themselves accurately. Maybe the Greeks were actually dark skinned but failed to portray themselves that way?

    Note that Queen Tiye, for one was not lighter than her husband.

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