Protective province deities - the Nile Delta

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

Twenty nomes of Lower Egypt equals twenty big natural areas in Delta limited by Nile branches extended fanwise to the north of central Memphis (Mennefer). This is the first nome of the Lower Egypt. There is a symbolic name and Greek and Egyptian capital city name of every single nome.

1. Lower Egypt Nome - "White walls province", Memphis (Mennefer)

The first city protective deity was probably Henu, ancient god with a hawklike head. Then Sokar - Osiris predecessor ruled the city. His task was to protect the necropolis in Saqqara. The most worshipped local god was for sure Ptah, who organised with the goddess Sekhmet and their son Nefertum one of the best-known egyptian Triad in the New Kingdom period.

2. Lower Egypt Nome - "Foreleg province", Letopolis/Ausim (Khem)

In this province near Heliopolis was the first deity Kherty, the god with a lying ram appearance. But his origin is veiled in mystery. Ausim was the city of the god Khentykhem (mummified falcon) as well. His right eye was considered to be the Sun and his left eye to be the Moon. Later, he was indentified with Horus under the name Heru-ur (Great Horus).

3. Lower Egypt Nome - "West province", Kom el-Hisn (Imu)

Imu ancient "city of trees ima" is associated with the Greek city Momemphis. Protective goddess of the city was a goddess with cow's head Sekhmet-Hathor.

4. Lower Egypt Nome - "The southern shield province", Kom Manus (Djeqaper)

The difficult to localize capital may correspond to contemporary Zawijit Rezin at Menuf canal. There was a famous goddess Neithworshipped.

5. Lower Egypt Nome - "The northern shield province", Sais (Zau)

The most important deity of the city Sais was Neith, the queen with Red Crown of Lower Egypt. She was displayed as a armed woman with a bow and arrows. This important goddess, mother of the world and crocodile god Sobek, was worshipped throughout the country after Sai dynasty came to power.

6. Lower Egypt Nome - "Desert Bull province", Chois (Pa Chasuu)

The oldest god of the city Chois, which is considered the birthplace of 14th dynasty, was Ra, Amun-Ra in the Middle Kingdom period. He created primordial triad with Tefnut and Shu.

7. Lower Egypt Nome - "West harpoon province", Damanhur (Besylet)

Protective deity of this city situated near Rosetta Nile branch was Huh, god warrior armed with a spear, whose task was to protect western Egypt from Libyan nations incursions. Hu was also worshipped in the western desert oases.

8. Lower Egypt Nome - "East harpoon province", Pithom (Peratum)

In this blossoming city hidden behind the walls was the cult of the god Atum worshipped, the creator god and world potter. To the north of the city, Graeco-Roman city was situated, built on an ancient place Pikeret, where allegedly relics of Osiris skin was kept.

9. Lower Egypt Nome - "Protector's province", Busiris (Abu Sir Bana, Djedu)

The first protective deity of Busiris was ram Andjety with two feathers on the head. Later the city became a sacred place (Osiris' district), where they worshipped the god's spine symbolized by pillar djed.

10. Lower Egypt Nome - "The big Black Bull province", Athribis/Tell Atrib (Hutherib)

Ancient Hutherib (Central ground house), one of the most important city of the delta, was top developed under rule the Ramesses dynasty. Local god was Chentechtej, associated with the bull Kemuer (big black), who was with Apis, Meruer and Vehemu on of the four sacred bulls of delta.

11. Lower Egypt Nome - "Province of the bull in his bandage", Farbaethos (Natchu)

This city worshipped the cults of Nefertum, the son of Ptah and Sekhmet, and Horus-Mertej (Horus with both eyes). At one of the city's necropolis were sacred bulls Vehemu buried.

12. Lower Egypt Nome - "Cow's calf province", Sebennytos (Tjebnutjer)

Tjebnutjer city, "Divine calf", was the historian Manethon birthplace (detailed information in Pharaohs - Ptolemaic period) and an important delta crossroad. Their inhabitants worshipped the cult of Inheret-Shu, the son of Ra and spear master, who was associated with the goddess Menhet as well. Near the city Iseum was situated, primitive goddess Isis sanctuary.

13. Lower Egypt Nome - "Pillar province", Heliopolis (Iunu)

Iunu, "The city of pillars iunu", belongs to the oldest Egyptian cities. The fifth dynasty, that came from here, had important attachments to this iconic place. There had developed the foundations of sun cult kingdom. There was Ra worshipped, assosiated with sacred bull Meruer, later Atum and his two wives lusaas and Nebethetepet, gradually identified with the goddess Hathor.

14. Lower Egypt Nome - "East part province", Sile (Caru)

Sile was a strategically situated citadel at eastern delta outpost near the road to Pelusia. Its task was to supervise the caravans coming from Palestine (Holy Land). It also protected the access to canals, which can lead to Nile valley. The city worshipped Horus, Wadjet, Ra-Horakhty and Atum.

15. Lower Egypt Nome - "Ibis province", Hermopolis (Bah)

Characteristical cult for the city Hermopolis was cult of Thoth, "The one, who divides two opponents" (Osiris and Seth). There was a necropolis for sacred ibis' mummies in Hermopolis, associated with protective local god of the city.

16. Lower Egypt Nome - "Catfish province", Mendes (Djedet)

There was ram god Banebdjet worshipped associated with fish goddess Hatmehyt.

17. Lower Egypt Nome - "Sanctuary province", Diospolis (Behdet)

City known from Old Kingdom. Its recent name Tell el-Balamun reminds ancient cult devoted to god Amun (peramon).

18. Lower Egypt Nome - "Southern royal child province", Bubastis/Tell el-Basta (Perbastet)

The protective goddess of Bubastis was cat goddess Bastet, who was as important as Hathor in the Old Kingdom. Bastet created a triad with Atum and Maahes (Mihos).

19. Lower Egypt Nome - "Northern royal child province", Tanis (Djanet)

The precise localization of the city was subject of speculations for a long time. Tanis worshipped the cult of Amun-Ra and Theban triad (Amun, Mut, Khonsu).

20. Lower Egypt Nome - "Mummified falcon province", Saft el-Henna (Persopdu)

The city Persopdu was the last wall against possible asian conquerors, "Abode of Sopdu", where was Sopdu worshipped. It was the main deity of eastern area and its task was to protect the inhabitants from outlanders' attacks.

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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