People living on the western bank of the Nile in The Sudan. They speak an Eastern Sudanic language of the Nilo-Saharan family and are sedentary agriculturalists who keep cattle, sheep, and goats. Historically, they were united in a single tribal state headed by a divine king whose physical and ritual well-being was held to ensure the state's prosperity. In addition to several classes of royalty, the Shilluk traditionally were divided into royal retainers, commoners, and slaves. See alsoNilot.