In 701 B.C. the Assyrian empire was in its ascendancy. It had already vanquished the kingdom of Israel to the north including the capital at Samaria. It then prepared an assault on Judah and its capital at Jerusalem.
But in one of those significant events that changes the course of world history, Assyria was repelled. Jerusalem was saved until 586 B.C. when the Babylonians sacked the city, forcing its leadership class into exile.
Henry Aubin, in a major feat of scholarship, determines that Jerusalem was aided by a Kushite army from Africa which had marched northeast from the Nile valley. While the Bible attributes the Assyrian retreat to an angel and secular commentators cite pestilence, Aubin, in a meticulously documented work, demonstrates that an alliance with the African nation of Kush bolstered Jerusalem’s defences.
Kush, also known as Nubia, was located in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. A monarchy that existed for more than 1000 years, from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, Kushites held sway over Egypt from 712 B.C. to about 660 B.C. Of Egypt’s 31 dynasties, this, the 25th Dynasty, is the only one that all scholars agree, was black.
The commander of the Kushite expeditionary force was Taharqa (or as the Bible calls him Tirhakah). This Kushite prince, who had his own interests in halting Assyrian expansion, likely caught the aggressors by surprise as they prepared their siege of Jerusalem.
Aubin offers a thrilling military history and a stirring political analysis of the ancient world. He also sees the event as influential over the centuries.
The Kushite rescue of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah enabled the fragile, war-ravaged state to endure, to nurse itself back to economic and demographic health, and allowed the Hebrew religion, Yahwism, to evolve within the next several centuries into Judaism. Thus emerged the monotheistic trunk supporting Christianity and Islam.
Solar Dance: Genius, Forgery, and the Crisis of Truth in the Modern Age
Solar Dance: Van Gogh, Forgery, and the Eclipse of Certainty
Knopf Canada 2012
Harvard University Press 2012
Reviews for Solar Dance
Van Gogh, Forgery, and the Eclipse of Certainty
“Solar Dance conveys the heady atmosphere that made Berlin the first European capital to embrace the transforming potential of art in a secular age. Yet it also created the idealogical void that ended in the rise of Hitler” –Wall Street Journal
“Eksteins tells his story in a suitably looping and layered manner, with many darts and artful reverses, using a range of knowledge and allusion reminiscent of his 1989 masterpiece, Rites of Spring.” – Globe and Mail
“Eksteins is a major historian and Solar Dance, like everything he writes, deserves a wide and attentive readership. ” – National Post
“Solar Dance is a strong case study in art history.” –Quill & Quire
“[Solar Dance] conveys a vivid sense of the art and culture of Weimar Germay, and some surprising connections to our own.” –Troy Media
“Modris Eksteins’ book comes alive and literally draws one leaning into the pages when the narrative of Wacker is central to the page.” – By the Book Reviews Blog
“Solar Dance vividly captures the large within the small…. It’s a story of an evocative moment along the 20th century’s ideology-ravaged road.”
“Uses Van Gogh as a prism to illuminate the contradictions and complexities of modernism and modernity. The results are learned . . . elegant . . . provocative.” —Winnipeg Free Press
“[C]aptivating story of a changing world, of authenticity versus forgery, of money versus art, and the established order of experts and gallery owners and museum directors versus ‘the little guy’.” –Kirkus Reviews
“A fascinating story, combining art history with social commentary and political acumen. Interwar Germany is well drawn and the search for purpose and meaning is one all readers will recognize.” –Library Journal
“Eksteins’s book does a fine job of chronicling the era’s aesthetic confusion.” –American Scholar