Protective province deities - Middle Egypt

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

Middle Egypt spreaded out between Memphis (Mennefer) in the north and Asjut in the south. This area was defined arbitrarily by modern geographers, in ancient world it was indivisible part of Upper Egypt. Ten nomes belong to this part, the most important are provinces with capital cities Hermopolis (sacred to god Thoth, Greek Hermes) and Heracleopolis, which played an essential role in First Intermediate Period. Their numberation continue the southern Upper Egypt provinces numeration. There is a symbolic name and Greek and Egyptian capital city name of every single nome.

13. Upper Egypt Nome - "Upper pomegranate province", Lycopolis/Asjut (Saut)

Original Egyptian name of Asjut was Saut. Its protective deity was Wepwawet, black dog (from this Greek name Lycopolis), who was an important funerary god. Wepwawet, "the one, who openes ways" was local version of Anubis. Rulers of this province often were High Priests as well. The city was important especially under 12. dynasty's rule, when Senusret I. conquered Nubia.

14. Upper Egypt Nome - "Lower pomegranate province", Cusae/al-Qusiya (Qesy)

Main goddess of Qesy city was Hathor, tombs protective deity from Old and Middle Kingdom. Right in this area were the 14.nome monarchs buried in rocky cliffs of Western desert.

15. Upper Egypt Nome - "Hare province", Hermopolis/Ashmunein (Khemenu)

An ancient religious center, whose main god was Thoth, played apparently a primary role under Ptolemaic dynasty's rule. The Greeks identified Thoth, the inventor of writing and Ennead secretary, with their god Hermes and named the city after him. Hermopolis is also one of the places, where kde three main myths about creation originated.

The first myth was about so-called hermopolis' Eightfold (Egyptian name Khemenu corresponded with the numeral eight), eight gods college. This was the difference from traditional cosmogonies, that talked about nine gods. The eightfold was formed from four pairs of gods: Nun and Naunet (ancient waters), Huh and Hauhet (shapelessness), Kuk and Kauket (darkness) and Amun and Amaunet (unknownability).

According to second myth the god Thoth sent out an ibis to a hill to laid cosmic egg, the world would born of.

The third myth describes the birth of Ra from an open lotus bloom, that ascended from ancient waters. Similarly the sun the lotos bloom opens in the morning and shuts again in the evening.

16. Upper Egypt Nome - "Gazelle province", Theodosiopolis/Beni Hasan (Hebenu)

In present Beni Hasan was the cult of god Horus worshipped and in one sacred cave also a cult of lion goddess Pakhet, feared Ra's daughter, who was both "Lady of springs" and "capable of splitting the mountain". The province inhabitants worshipped god Khnum and goddess Hathor as well.

17. Upper Egypt Nome - "Black dog province", Kynopolis (Henu)

The god of both city and province was a big dog Anubis, son of white cow Heset. He was necropolis protector of whole Egypt.

18. Upper Egypt Nome - "Falcon with outspread wings province", Ankyronpolis

Dehenet, "the Cliff" was an fortified military city, which was important especially under 21. dynasty rule. In that time the city was situated on nothern boundary of the area in Theban (Waset) influence and it worshipped primarily goddess Hathor.

19. Upper Egypt Nome - "Pure sceptre province", Oxyrhynchus (Permedjed)

The city was one of the most flourishing place of Ptolemaic and Roman period. It was sacred to Seth-Typhon (Typhonia was the name of desert area, where the city was situated), but their inhabitants worshipped a fish deity Oxyrhynchus, that borrowed Hathor's crown. She had also her own necropolis in the city.

20. Upper Egypt Nome - "The southern Sycamore province", Heracleopolis/Ihnasya (Henennesut)

Henennesut, "Royal child", was the capital city of Egypt under 9. and 10. dynasty rule (First Intermediate period), which continued in memphis tradition. Its main deity was raw god Heryshef, but there were also cults of Amun, Hathor and Nehebkau worshipped.

21. Upper Egypt Nome - "The nothern Sycamore province", Crocodilopolis/Faiyum (Shedyet)

In compliance with Greek name, there was the cult of crocodile god Sobek worshipped in the capital city. According to Herodotos visitors from whole Egypt even from Greece came into the city to watch feeding of sacred crocodiles on the Lake Moeris shore, who were decorated with earrings and bracelets on anterior paws for this opportunity.

22. Upper Egypt Nome - "Knife province", Aphroditopolis/Atfih (Tepihu)

City Tepihu, "Main cow", was the capital city of 22. province. The most important deity of the city was Isis-Hathor and lying white sacred cow Hesat. There was sacred cows necropolis found by recent excavations. It was similar to Serapeum, necropolis of Apis bulls.

Message from the Nile

  • History of Czech institution of egyptology

    The Czech egyptology founder is Frantisek Lexa, the author of up to now evaluated work about ancient Egypt magic and Demotic grammar. Seminar for egyptology started thanks to him in Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Charles University in Prague in 1925. Two years later Lexa became the first regular professor of egyptology in then Czechoslovakia.

  • Abusir - outstation of Czech egyptology expedition

    Abusir is an archaeological locality in Egypt named after nearby recent village Abusir. It is situated on western Nile bank on the edge of Libyan tableland approximately 20 kilometers to the south-west of Cairo. The name of this locality is derived from ancient Egypt god Osiris, from Per Usir (Busiris), "(cult) place of Osiris" (Busiris in Greek).

  • Researches in Western desert

    Czech egyptology is successful in researching not only on pyramidal fields in Abusir recently, but also in supporting and organizing smaller expeditions into egyptian Western desert. Czech expedition has been working even in slowly evanescent oasis El-Hajez since 2003, which is situated about 400 km to the south-west from Cairo.

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