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Article

Akhmim  

Janice W. Yellin

Site of the capital of the 9th Upper Egyptian nome, 200 km north of Luxor, which flourished from Early Dynastic times to the Roman period (c. 2925 bcad 395). Apart from a few excavations during the 20th century, the ruins of the town, as well as temples and extensive cemeteries, have never been completely surveyed or excavated....

Article

Armant  

M. S. Drower

City in Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile, some 10 km south of Luxor. It was at first called Iunu-Shema (Egyp.: ‘the southern Heliopolis’) and Iunu-Montu (Egyp.: ‘Heliopolis of the war-god Montu’), from which subsequent names derive. It was the capital of the fourth nome (administrative province) of Upper Egypt throughout the Old Kingdom (...

Article

Aswan  

Edda Bresciani

Egyptian city at the northern end of the first Nile cataract, c. 900 km south of Cairo. The modern town chiefly stretches along the eastern bank of a sandstone valley, which also contains numerous islands formed by the granite outcrops of the cataract; its ancient monuments are found on both the east and west banks and on some of the islands....

Article

Ann Bomann

Site in Egypt, just north-west of Benha in the Nile Delta. The capital of the 10th nome administrative province of Lower Egypt, the town’s religious name, Kemwer (the ‘Great Black One’), was applied to the original local god (personified as a bull), the nome and the city itself. Subsequently the major deity was Khentekhtai, at first represented as a crocodile and additionally, from the 12th Dynasty (...

Article

Robert S. Bianchi

Site in northern Egypt, c. 100 km north of Cairo, an important cult centre for the worship of the goddess Isis, which flourished during the 4th century bc. The modern name is a combination of the ancient Egyptian name and the Arabic epithet ‘al-hagar’ (‘the stone’), referring to the jumbled mass of granite blocks from the collapsed Temple of Isis that now litters the site. The site is mentioned in inscriptions of the New Kingdom, but it rose to prominence during the 30th Dynasty (...

Article

Charles C. Van Siclen III

[Egyp. Per-Bastet; now Tell Basta, nr Zaqāzīq, Egypt]. Site in the eastern Nile Delta 77 km north-east of Cairo. It flourished c. 2575 bcc. ad 300. The ancient city of Basta (Gr. Bubastis) was the home of the feline goddess Bastet (Egyp.: ‘She of Basta’), often associated in the later periods of Egyptian history with the cat. Both the city and the cult of Bastet date back at least to the beginning of the Old Kingdom (...

Article

Bucheum  

Elizabeth L. Meyers

Site of an ancient Egyptian animal necropolis on the west bank of the Nile, immediately to the north of Armant, about 15 km south of Luxor. From the 30th Dynasty (380–343 bc) until ad 340, the Bucheum was the burial site of the Buchis (Egyp. ...

Article

A. J. Mills

The largest of Egypt’s western oases (l. c. 120 km), c. 400 km west of Luxor. It was inhabited from earliest times, and although distant from the civilization of the Nile Valley, it was never isolated: most of the preserved monuments show a strong Egyptian influence. The absence of pressure on space and building materials, combined with a kind climate, has left a series of monuments largely complete and in a reasonable condition. Although there is a group of mud-brick mastaba tombs at ...

Article

Faiyum  

R. J. Leprohon and T. G. Wilfong

Egyptian semi-oasis region c. 80 km south-west of Cairo on the Bahr Yusuf, an ancient channel of the Nile (see fig.). In the north-west is Lake Qarun, a remnant of the ancient Lake Moeris, an important part of ancient Egyptian cosmogony since it was reputed by some to be the site of Nun, the primeval ocean. Throughout the Dynastic and Greco-Roman periods (...

Article

Peter French

Ancient Egyptian city in the western Delta that flourished during the Predynastic and Saite periods. The ancient Egyptian name of the city was Pr-Wadjit (‘House of Wadjit’), and its principal deities were Wadjit, the snake-goddess, and Horus, the falcon-god. More commonly known as Buto, the site was a sacred place of great iconographic importance....

Article

Nabil Swelim

[anc. Egyp. Iunu; Bibl. On; now Tell Hisn]. Site near Cairo, Egypt. It was the capital of the 13th Lower Egyptian nome (administrative province) and a cult centre of the sun-god in its various guises (Re, Atum, Khephri). The symbol of Heliopolis was the benben...

Article

Egyptian site c. 15 km west of Beni Suef. The city of Henen-nesut was known in the Greco-Roman period (332 bcad 395) as Herakleopolis Magna because of the identification of the local ram-headed god Harsaphes with the Greek Herakles. However, it first rose to prominence as the national capital during the First Intermediate Period (...

Article

Ancient Egyptian site on the east bank of the Nile, c. 30 km south of el-Minya. A Greco-Roman redevelopment of the pharaonic town of Khmun, it is now marked by a mound of ruins c. 1.5 km in diameter, adjacent to the modern settlement of el-Ashmunein. The town was occupied from the Old Kingdom (...

Article

A. J. Mills

Egyptian oasis c. 600 km south of Cairo and c. 200 km west of the Nile. Throughout history, Kharga was closely connected with the civilization of the Nile Valley as an important stage in the great overland trade route known as the Darb el-Arbain (‘Forty Days’ Road’) between Egypt and the Sudan. Ancient texts praise the oasis products. The oasis is narrow but measures ...

Article

Koptos  

Nigel Strudwick

Capital city of the 5th nome of Upper Egypt that was occupied throughout the dynastic period (c. 2925–30 bc). Koptos is situated approximately 40 km north of Luxor, near the entrance to the Wadi Hammamat and Wadi Gasus. The site grew in importance because it was the town from which expeditions, bound for the Red Sea and the quarries and gold mines in the wadis, usually set out. The god of Koptos was the fertility deity Min, symbolized by the lettuce and usually represented as a standing ithyphallic figure....

Article

Peter Der Manuelian

(fl mid-7th century bc; d before 647 bc). Egyptian priest, administrator and patron. First documented in Thebes under the Kushite king Taharqa, Mentuemhet survived the subsequent Assyrian invasion and sack of Thebes, and he continued to control most of Upper Egypt even after the reunification of the country in ...

Article

Robert S. Bianchi

City in ancient Egypt that flourished during the 26th Dynasty (664–525 bc) in the north-western Delta. Discussions about the links between the Aegean and Egypt during the late orientalizing and Archaic periods of Greece focus erroneously on Naukratis, which was not occupied by the Egyptians before the 7th century ...

Article

Nubia  

William Y. Adams, R. G. Morkot, Timothy Kendall, L. Török and Khalid J. Deemer

Region in the Nile Valley, immediately to the south of Egypt, in which several cultures flourished, from the Khartoum Mesolithic period (c. 10,000–c. 5000 bc) to the establishment of the Islamic Funj sultanate c. ad 1505. Ancient Nubia corresponds essentially to the ‘Aethiopia’ of Herodotus and other Classical writers and the ‘Kush’ of the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews. It extends approximately from Aswan in southern Egypt to Khartoum in Sudan (...

Article

Robert S. Bianchi

Decorated chapel over the shaft grave of the Egyptian priest and administrator Petosiris (fl c. 320 bc), at Hermopolis Magna [anc. Egyp. Khmun; Arab. el-Ashmunein]. Petosiris held important sacerdotal and administrative posts related to the god Thoth at Hermopolis. His tomb (the T-shaped ground-plan of which anticipates the temples of Greco-Roman Egypt) is fronted by a horned altar (an early example in Egypt), characteristically erected off-axis. The interior of the pronaos (porch) is open to the air, with screen walls attached to the columns of its façade. The reliefs decorating the façade show Petosiris appropriating a royal prerogative by offering to the gods. The scenes of daily life, in bold painted relief adorning the interior walls of the pronaos, include depictions of costumes, coiffures and poses rarely encountered in the traditional repertory of Egyptian art. Forming a dado around the walls of the hypostyle hall is a lively file of atypically costumed and coiffured offering bearers, each elaborately encumbered with offerings. The religious reliefs above the dado, both in the hypostyle hall and the cult chamber, are still comparatively traditional and hieratic....

Article

Philae  

Erich Winter

Island situated immediately south of Aswan in Upper Egypt, which was the original location of an ancient temple of the goddess Isis, surrounded by associated cult buildings. The earliest surviving parts of the temple date from the reign of Nectanebo I (reg 380–362 bc...