MEROE, in classical geography (Strabo, xvii. 2, 2 ; ii. 73, v. 10 ; Ptol., p. 201), was the metropolis of /Ethiopia, situated on an island of the same name between the Nile and the Astaboras (Atbara). The " island " is only an inaccurate name for the fertile plain between the two rivers. This Meroe, first mentioned by Ilerodotus (ii. 29 sq.), succeeded an older Ethiopian kingdom of Napata lower down the Nile, originally subject to and civilized from Egypt, but which afterwards became independent and even sent forth an Ethiopian dynasty to reign in Egypt, to which the So and Tirhaka of the Bible belonged (see ETHIOPIA). The name of Meroe in the form Merawi is now given to Napata. The later Meroe retained its independence when Egypt fell under foreign sovereigns. Diodorns (iii. 6) describes it as entirely controlled by the priesthood till a native prince Ergamenes destroyed the sacerdotal caste in the time of Ptolemy II. Queen Candace (Acts viii. 27) was probably sovereign of Meroe ; see Lepsius's Letters, Eng. tr., pp. 196, 206 ; and comp.. Strabo, xvii. 1, 54 for a Queen Candace in Augustus's time when the _Romans under Pctronius advanced to Napata. Meroe was visited by Greek merchants ; and the astronomical expedition of Eratosthenes determined its latitude with great accuracy. An exploring party in the reign of Nero found that the country below Meroe, formerly the site of many towns, had become almost wholly waste (Pliny, vi. 29). From the 6th to the 14th century of our era the Christian (Jacobite) realin of Dongola occupied the place of the older kingdom. The ruins of Meroe and Napata were fully explored by Lepsius in 1844, and the monuments are pictured in his Denknu:iler.