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Koptos [anc. Egyp. Gebtu; now Qift, Egypt]locked

  • Nigel Strudwick


[anc. Egyp. Gebtu; now Qift, Egypt]

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.

The town, first excavated by Flinders Petrie in 1893–4, included monuments of many periods; the surviving remains, however, consist principally of three temples, in the north, south and middle of the town. The northern temple is that of Min and Isis, a Ptolemaic (c. 260 bc) construction overlying a temple of Tuthmosis III (regc. 1479–...

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W. Helck, E. Otto and W. Westendorff, eds: Lexikon der Ägyptologie (Wiesbaden, 1975–)