Buto and Hierakonpolis in the Geography of Egypt

December 5, 2017 | Author: Angelo_Colonna | Category: Thebes, Ancient Egypt, Egypt, Nile, Cairo
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Buto and Hierakonpolis in the Geography of Egypt...


Buto and Hierakonpolis in the Geography of Egypt Author(s): John A. Wilson Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Oct., 1955), pp. 209-236 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/543019 . Accessed: 08/02/2012 09:44 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected].

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Volume XIV


STUDIES Number 4


paperoriginatesin a feelingthat to replace the basin sjrstem and because of

HISimportant shrines of Lower and the Upper Egypt, Buto and Hierakonpolis, were badly located geographically. They did not lie in districts which were rich economically; they were poorly situated for commerce or communications; and they were weakly located for the exercise of political power. It would seem that their predynastic and protodynastic importance must find its justification in terms other than those of power. In order to understand how Buto came to be the representative of Lower Egypt and how Hierakonpolis came to stand for Upper Egypt, it seemed necessary to study the two parts of Egypt as geographic organisms. The specific terms used for the width of the arable valley, the productivity of the land in crops, and the density of population will be taken from the statistics of modern Egypt. The figures for ancient Egypt are impossible to establish. It would be useful if adequate statistics existed for Egypt a century ago, but the oldest complete data available to the writer are those of 1937 and 1938. Of course Egypt has changed markedly within the past century, because of the enlargement of the canal system of perennial irrigation

the amazing increase in the population which began about eighty years ago. Admittedly figures from the past few years apply inexactly for the understanding of ancient Egypt. For example, the shape of the Delta has been changed by increased irrigation to the west and by the disappearance of ancient branches of the river to the east. Nevertheless, in the broadest terms, the analysis of Upper and Lower Egypt as organisms and the comparison of the different sections of Egypt in terms of area, population, and productivity seem to have relative meaning for the past. The factors studied include the width of the arable valley in Upper Egypt and the relative amounts of fertile soil on the two sides of the river (Table 1);1 the productivity in cereals and vegetables of each mudirlyah (province) of modern Egypt (Table 2);2 the density of population per

1 Calculated from the Survey of Egypt's Atlas of the Normal 1:100,000 Scale Topographical Series of Egypt (Cairo, 1929 ff.), which also provides the contour-levels, in meters, above sea level. 2 Taken from Egypt, Ministry of Finance, Almanac, 1988 (Cairo, 1938-hereafter abbreviated as Almanac), pp. 432-34. In Table 2 the yield per fedd?tn -in barley, wheat, onions, fenugreek, and beans has been given for each mudiriyah. For the most part, the statistics on the modern crops of cotton, maize, and sugar-cane have been ignored. Some comments on the ancient wine-producing regions are below in Section II.


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feddan (about an acre) in each markaz, the subdivision of a mudirlyah, (Table 3);3 the heights above sea level of some of the Delta sites; what is known about wine-producing districts of ancient Egypt;

Faiyfim district4 and about the Delta branches of the Nile in pharaonic and classical times.5 From these materials there emerges a clearer picture of the location of Buto in



(Selected Sites of Upper Egypt, Running from South to North, with Widths of Arable Land Measured in Kilometers)


Assuan-Elephantine ................. Darw ............................. K6m Ombo-Omboi.................. Gebel es-Silsilah..................... er-Ridistyah Qibli ................... Edfu-Apoll6nos polis ................ ....... es-Sacidah................... K6m el-Ahmar-Hierakonopolis ........ EsnA-Lat6n polis .................... AsfAn el-MatAcnah-Asphynis .......... Gebelein-Pathyris ................... Armant-Hermonthis. ................ ............... Luxor-Thebes........ Qfs-Apoll6nos polis ................ Qift-Koptos................... ..... Qena (for Denderah)................ Dishn ............................. Nagc Hammadi..................... el-BalianA (for Abydcs) .............. Akhmim-Panopolis .................. K6m Ishqau-Aphroditopolis.......... el-BadAri ................... ........ Assidt-Lyk6n polis.................. el-Q ssiyah-Koussae ................. el-Ashmunein-Hermopolis ........... K6m el-Ahmar-Hebenu .............. TihnA el-Gebel-Akoris ............... ...... el-Qeis-K6 ................... el-Hibah ................... ........ DishAshah.......................... IhnAstyah el-Medinah-Herakleopolis... Abusr el-Malaq ..................... Kafr cAmmr ................... .... Dahshfr .......................... Mit Riheinah-Memphis.............. Gtzah Pyramids.................... . Aussim-LUtopolis to el-Matartyah-Heliopolis ............................

North Latitude

Nile Flowing

Total including the Nile

West Bank

East Bank

24005' 24 24 24 29 24 38 24 54 24 58 25 04 25 06 25 18 25 24 25 29 25 37 25 42 25 55 26 00 26 10 26 08 26 03 26 14 26 34 26 50 27 00 27 11 27 26 27 47 28 03 28 11 28 29 28 46 29 00 29 05 29 15 29 30 29 48 29 52 29 59

N by NE N N N N by NE N by NE NW NW N by NW N N by NW NE N by NE N by NE N NW W NW N SW N by NW N by NW NW N by NW N N by NW N N by NW N N by NE N by NE N by NE N by NE N N N by NW

3.4 12.5 15.5 3.0 4.5 6.7 2.0 4.0 7.0 7.5 2.8 8.7 9.8 14.3 9.7 6.5 9.3 12.8 25.5 18.2 17.3 20.0 12.0 13.3 16.7 16.5 13.7 21.2 15.5 20.0 25.7 14.5 5.2 8.0 8.5 13.2

0.0 2.0 0.0 0.0 2.8 4.0 0.5 2.5 4.0 6.5 0.5 6.7 3.5 2.3 2.5 1.3 3.0 7.2 13.5 7.7 15.7 11.5 3.5 12.2 15.5 15.0 11.5 18.5 13.3 18.5 24.0 11.5 2.5 3.8 6.2 7.8

1.7 9.5 10.5 0.8 0.8 1.7 0.3 0.5 1.7 0.3 1.2 0.3 5.7 11.0 6.0 4.3 5.2 5.0 11.2 9.5 0.7 6.5 7.7 0.5 0.5 0.1 1.0 1.2 0.3 0.3 0.2 2.0 1.7 3.0 1.8 3.5

30 08





what is known about recent and ancient routes from the Nile Valley into the desert areas; and what is known about the 3 Taken from Almanac, pp. 57-59, and omitting the urban governates of Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailtyah, and Suez, and the desert governates and districts.

Lower Egypt and of Hierakonpolis in Upper Egypt. 4





to the Geogra-

phy of Egypt (Cairo, 1939), pp. 178-289. 5 Especially





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I. THE MARKAZESOF MODERNEGYPT A. Assuin mudiriyah At the southern limit of Egypt, the edDirr markaz runs from the frontier at Adindan, about 35 kilometers north of Wadi Halfa, to Kh6r Dehmit, about 40 kilometers south of Assuin. The area has been greatly impoverished by the rise of waters produced by the Assuin dam, but it clearly was never as populated or as productive as Egypt proper. In 1937, its 280 kilometers of Nile fronted on 69,000

ductivity of cereals, and its combined yield of barley and wheat per feddan is superior only to that of the Beheirah mudirlyah in the northwest Delta. However, the mudirlyah of Assuan ranks first in yield of sugar cane and stands high in yield of onions, fenugreek, and beans. Generally speaking, this is a limited and provincial region, and, on the basis of known factors of the width of the arable land and of the historical importance in the texts, it was not of major consequence

TABLE 2 PRODUCTIVITYOF CERTAIN CROPS IN MODERN EGYPT (Figures for Barley, Wheat, Fenugreek, and Beans Are in Ardebs per FeddAn; Figures for Onions in Kantars per Feddin) Mudirivah

(Egypt) ......... AssuAn.......... Qena............ GirgA........... Assift........... MinyA.......... Beni Sueif....... Faiydm......... Gfzah........... Qalydbtyah ...... Min ftyah....... Sharqtyah....... Daqahltyah ...... Gharbtyah....... Beheirah........


(7.22) 6.07 6.75 7.74 8.80 8.28 5.79 5.75 6.16 8.87 9.19 5.90 6.48 6.22 5.24





(5.88) 4.57 4.88 6.32 6.59 6.31 5.73 5.68 5.57 5.84 6.10 4.97 4.94 4.89 4.61

(150) 151 147 157 150 153 140 125 152 131 118 118 142 124 109

(3.60) 3.99 3.69 3.97 4.65 3.50 2.83 2.48 3.76 3.25 3.34 2.19 2.98 2.72 2.53

(4.89) 4.53 4.50 5.49 5.59 4.92 4.43 3.39 4.10 4.74 4.98 3.97 4.28 3.76 3.90

feddins, or only 246 feddins to the linear kilometer, and its population averaged only 0.78 to the feddin. In this stretch of ancient Nubia lay several New Kingdom, Ptolemaic, and Roman temples, such as Abu Simbel, Amadah, ed-Dirr, Denduir, Kalibshah, and Qirtis. The Assuin and Edfu markazes run from Kh6r Dehmit in Nubia to es-Sabaciyah, more than 30 kilometers north of Edfu. The 175 linear kilometers of Nile average 886 feddins to the kilometer, a decidedly narrow width of cultivation. The population of the two markazes averages 1.62 to the feddin. The Assuin mudiriyah, which includes also the poor soil of ed-Dirr, ranks very low in the pro-

in antiquity. Within the AssuAnand Edfu markazes lie the sites of Dab6d; Biggah; Elephantine, the metropolis of the First Upper Egyptian Nome; K6m Ombo; Gebel es-Silsilah; Edfu, the metropolis of the Second Nome; Hierakonpolis; and elKab, the metropolis of the Third Nome. B. Qendmudirtyah The Qend mudiriyah runs from esSabiclyah to a point on the river about 6 kilometers south of el-Baliana. This is a stretch of 250 kilometers, with an average of 1,720 feddins to the kilometer, nearly twice as wide as the AssuAn-Edfu average but only about 60 per cent of the average width of the GirgA mudiriyah to

BUTOAND HIERAKONPOLIS the north. In productivity of cereals, the Qena mudirlyah ranks about in the middle of the fourteen mudirlyahs of Egypt, although below the national average. Its rank in productivity of vegetables is also about medial. It is by no means as limited as the Assuin-Edfu region, but it compares unfavorably with the rich Girga mudiriyah, as we shall see. The QenA mudirfyah includes six markazes. From EsnA in the south to QenA there is a steady rise in density of population. Esna lay generally in the Third Upper Egyptian Nome and holds the ancient sites of Esnd, Asphynis, el-Mucallah, and Gebelein. The Luxor markaz lay generally in the Fourth Nome and includes Thebes, the metropolis of that nome, as well as etT6d, Armant, and Medamid. Qas was in the Fifth Nom'e and has the sites of ancient Qis, Neqadah, and Ombos. The Qena markaz rises in density to 2.73 to the fedddn; it includes Koptos, the metropolis of the Fifth Nome, and Denderah, the metropolis of the Sixth. The Dishna markaz shows a decided falling away of importance. Although its width of arable land averages higher than the mudirlyah as a whole, Dishna has a density of population of only 1.77 to the feddan, and its stretch of nearly 40 kilometers includes no ancient site of importance. The Dishna east-west stretch was a kind of provincial interlude along the course of the Nile, between the modest strength of the Luxor-Qis-Qena stretch to the south and the high productivity of the Girga mudirlyah to the north. Denderah marks the eastern end of the Dishna stretch and Diospolis Parva the western end as important termini of an inactive area socially and culturally. After the Dishna stretch, the Nagc Hammadi markaz shows an opening out of importance, with a density of 2.72 persons to the fedd~n. It includes the sites of


Diospolis Parva (HA), which was the metropolis of the Seventh Nome, and Qasr wa's-Sayyad. Geographically the markaz belongs with the Girga region which follows. C. GirgAmudiriyah In the Girga, Assifit, and MinyA mudiriyahs we come to the richest stretch of Upper Egypt. Girga includes six markazes, of which one, Akhmim, lies on the east side of the river. The mudirlyah runs from a little south of el-Baliana to a point on the west bank about three kilometers north of Tima.6 This is about 133 linear kilometers, with an average of 2,820 feddAns to the kilometer, a notable opening out of fertile soil. The area is highly productive, well above the national average in barley and wheat, the best onion district of Egypt, and among the best in millet, lentils, fenugreek, and beans. In most of these respects it is surpassed in Upper Egypt only by the Assiit mudiriyah to its immediate north. In density of population the Girga mudirlyah is exceeded only by Minifilyah in the Delta. The el-Baliana markaz at the south has the lowest density of the six markazes; in it lay ancient Abydos, the main shrine of the Eighth Nome. The Girga markaz contains the site of the metropolis of the Eighth Nome, This (whether at el-Birbah or nearby) and Ptolemais Hermeiou (el-Minshah). Sbhag, with an average of 3.31 to the feddan, is the most densely populated markaz of Upper Egypt; yet in ancient times it was administratively subordinate to Akhmim across the river, and its medieval fame centers around the Coptic monasteries of the Atripe area. Across from S6hdg on the east bank lies the Akhmim markaz, with the metropolis of the Ninth Nome, Akhmim-Panopolis. On the west again,

6 Its frontier on the east bank is more to the south, generally opposite Tahti.


(Figures, from Census of 1937, Give Number of Persons per FeddAn) Mudirtyah




Egypt, as a whole.................... AssuAn ........

if. "



" " " " "


ed-Dirr Assu4n Edfu



" "

..(1.73) 1.36

0.78 1.44 1.87


EsnA Luxor "Qs QenA DishnA Nagc HammAdi

2.08 2.25 2.32 2.73 1.77 2.72 2.98



Macmurtyahof DawAhi Masr



3.11 2.82


"aiyibA it



i , Sharqtyah....

Tekh el-QanAtir Shibin Ashmin Mindf Shibin el-K6m QuweisnA TalA

2.27 3.02


el-BalianA 2.39 Bilbeis " 3.11 " GirgA Zagazig, including the 3.31 " " city S6hAg Akhmim (on the east 2.96 " " Minyet el-Qamh bank) HehtyA 3.20 Kafr Saqr Tahta TimA 3.04 " FAqfs . . . . .. 2.41 Assiit. el-BadAri(on the east 2.26 Daqahlyah .... 1.93 " " Mit Ghamr " bank) " Abu Tig AgA 2.83 " " 3.07 Mansirah, including Assifit, including the the city city " 1.82 Friskir Abnib (on the east SimbellAwein bank) Dikirnis 2.09 Manfalit " Manzalah Deirit 2.39 MallAwi 2.54 " 1.13 Gharbtyah ... 1.93 MinyA......... Zifta Abu QurqAs 1.99 " Santah 2.38 MinyA,including the TantA,including the city city 1.61 Kafr ez-ZayyAt " Samaazt Beni i 1.85 t Mazar Sammanid 1.97 MaghAghah " Mehallah el-Kobra el-Fashn 1.85 TalkhA Beni Sueif...... 2.15 " Dissiq BibA FAwah 2.18 " Beni Sueif, including Kafr esh-Sheikh 2.26 " the city Shirbin WAsta " 1.93 Macmurtyahof Burullus 1.46 Faiy1m..... 1.00 2.22 Beheirah Faiyfm, includingthe K6m HamAdah Km Hamdah FaitBeheirah....... t Ityi el-Barfd " 1.29 cityi,, tSinncris Shubra Khtt Ibshwai 1.49 Macmurtyahof MahA1.12 h" Itsh 1.1249 midtyah 2.71 Gizah........ " DamanhOr,including " es-Saff (on the east 2.59 " the city " " bank) DilingAt " el-cAiyAt 2.45 Abu Hummus " " Gizah, including the 4.31 Abu el-MatAmir " " Kafr ed-Dauwdr " city " ImbAbah 2.10 " Rosetta "

2.61 3.37 3.60 2.80 2.75 1.56 1.47 2.48 1.75 1.05 0.76 3.23 2.05 2.62 2.16 1.57 1.05 1.62 3.05 2.53 2.78 2.54 2.18 1.72 1.40 0.89 0.85 0.53 0.48 0.74 1.82 1.82 1.68 1.59 2.03 1.56 0.80 0.78 0.42 0.62 0.67



the alabaster quarry of Hat-nub. The site of Tell el-cAmdrnahlies across the eastern boundary between the Deir6it and MallAwi markazes. The Mallawi markaz was one of the most important areas of ancient Egypt, with the sites of el-Bersha and AnD. Assift mudirtyah tinoe (esh-Sheikh cIbidah) on the east The mudiriyah of Assiit runs from near side and el-AshmAnein (Hermopolis), the Tima to a point about ten kilometers important metropolis of the Fifteenth south of Beni Hassan, with an axial length Nome, with its cemetery of TAnah elof about 160 kilometers and an average of Gebel, ancient Her-wer (perhaps modern 3,125 feddans to the kilometer, a good, Hir), and ancient Nefrusi (if near Itlidim) broad stretch of fields. The two richest on the west side. Geographically the agricultural mudiriyahs in the land are stretch from Assift to Hermopolis is the Assiuit in Upper Egypt and Minftiyah in nucleus of a rich area which runs from the Delta. In yield per feddan, Assiiit Abydos to el-Qeis, near modern Beni stands third in barley (22 per cent above Mazar. the national average) and first in wheat E. MinyAmudirtyah (12 per cent above), and first in millet, The Minya mudiriyah runs from a lentils, fenugreek, and beans. Modernly it is the heart of Upper Egypt, and the point about ten kilometers south of Beni weight of its ancient towns shows that it Hassan to a point a few kilometers north had the same importance in the past. of el-Fashn. Its axial length of 138 kilomeOf the seven markazes two lie on the ters shows an average of 3,490 feddans to east bank. The el-Badari markaz on the the kilometer, which is a wonderfully east bank contains the site of Antaeopolis broad stretch, considering the fact that (Qau el-Kebir), an important town of the most of this land is on the west bank.' In Tenth Nome, and the very old cemeteries agricultural richness the mudiriyah is around el-Badari. On the west bank, Abu strong, not as productive as Assift, but Tig includes Apotheke (Abu Tig), which about on a par with Girga in cereals and was not of major importance in pharaonic only a little behind Girga in vegetables. times. Then comes the Assiit markaz with Modernly it has the highest yield of cotthe town of Assiuit, the two combining for ton in Egypt. a density of 3.07 to the feddan. Here, Both in concentration of population close together, lay Hypsel1 (Shutb), the and in the importance of ancient sites, metropolis of the Eleventh Nome, and MinyA is not as weighty as Assisit, alLyk6n polis (Assiuit), the metropolis of the though it belongs to the same general zone Thirteenth. Across the river, the Abndib of Middle Egyptian strength. In the Abu markaz has a good stretch of fields, but a Qurqas markaz the important ancient density of only 1.82 and no ancient sites of sites are on the east bank: Beni Hassan importance. On the west bank again, the and Speos Artemidos. The Minya markaz Manfalfit markaz contains the sites of contains the sites of K6m el-Ahmar el-QAssiyah, metropolis of the Fourteenth (Hebenu), the metropolis of the Sixteenth Nome, and of Meir. In the eastern cliffs of Nome, and TihnA el Gebel (Akoris), both the Deir-it markaz lie the tombs of Deir 7See Table 1, K6m el-Ahmar (Hebenu) to elel-Gebrdwi; back in the eastern hills was Hibah. the Tahta markaz includes no ancient sites of importance, and the TimA markaz has the site of Aphroditopolis (K6m Ishqu), the metropolis of the Tenth Nome.



on the east bank. Samalfit has no site of ancient importance. Beni Mazar contains esh-Sheikh Fadl (Kynopolis), metropolis of the Seventeenth Nome, and K6m elAhmar Sawaris (Het-nesut), metropolis of the Eighteenth Nome, on the east bank, with el-Qeis (K6) and Oxyrhynchos (Behnesa), metropolis of the Nineteenth Nome, on the west side. For Maghaghah no ancient sites may be listed, unless Seper-meruis to be found near the western desert. The el-Fashn markaz contains el-Hfbah on the east bank. A remarkable feature of the Minya mudiriyah is the importance of ancient towns on the very narrow stretch of soil of the east bank. F. Beni Sueif mudirlyah The Beni Sueif mudirfyah runs from a point just below el-Fashn to a point on the west bank nearly opposite Atfih.8 Its 65 linear kilometers show the very high average of 4,015 feddans to the kilometer. Again, practically all of this stretch of arable land is on the west side, as the valley opens out toward the Faiyfim depression.9 Agriculturally, the region is not as rich as the area to the south; the mudirlyah is poor in the yield of barley and below average in wheat and vegetables. Perhaps the extraordinary western throw of the inundation waters, including the needs of the Faiydim, thins the soil somewhat in this area. The three markazes show a moderately dense population. In Biba lies the site of Dishashah. The Beni Sueif markaz reaches west to include Ihnasfyah elMedinah (Herakleopolis), metropolis of the Twentieth Nome. Wasta contains Dallas (Nilopolis), Abusir el-Malaq, and Meidim. In contrast to the Minya mudiriyah, the important sites lie on the west side, although it is true that Atfih-Aphro8 On the east bank it terminates further south, about opposite Ashmant. 9 See Table 1, DishZshah to Abusir el-Malaq.

ditopolis (in the Gizah mudiriyah administratively) lies on the east, about opposite Meidfim. G. Faiydm mudirtyah Because of the nature of the Faiyfim mudirfyah as a spreading appendage to the Nile Valley, this region cannot be compared strictly with the preceding mudirfyahs. We are here dealing with a pocket depression, bounded by hills, connected with the Nile by the Bahr Yfisuf, and draining down in the northwest into the lake called Birket Qardin,whose surface is forty-five meters below sea level. The maximum area of the arable land in the Faiyuim is and has been more subject to the governmental control of irrigation than the riverine stretches of Upper Egypt. The necessity of extending the ir-A rigation waters means that the mudiriyah as a whole ranks low in agricultural productivity, next to the poorest in barley, below average in wheat, and one of the poorest in vegetables. However, it should be remembered that in classical times it had a reputation as a good region for the cultivation of the vine. The density of population of the mudiriyah is only 1.46 to the feddan, which is the lowest we have seen since the First Cataract. The four markazes are uneven in density, since the Faiyim markaz, which includes Medinet el-Faiyim, is twice as thickly populated as Itsa to the south, while Ibshawai to the west and Sinniris to the north run very low in density. The past history of the Faiyim area has been complex.1' In Paleolithic times the Birket Qaruinwas a huge lake, which gradually shrank in area. Just before the periods which we call Predynastic there was immigration into the Faiyim, with a series of simple, pastoral-agricultural settlements along a line which is now 15 10 See note 4.




meters above sea level. But the lake continued to shrink, and the Faiyuim ceased to be viable before dynastic times. It was the Twelfth Dynasty which reclaimed the Faiyuim by irrigation works past el-Lahuin, adding an estimated 1100 square kilometers to the fertile soil of Egypt. The level of Birket Qarin then stood at an estimated 19 meters above present sea level, and this level was nearly the same in

Qaruin, is above the 25-meter contour, that Qasr es-Sagha, which may go back to the Old Kingdom and which lies out in the desert north of Birket Qaruin,is above the 30-meter contour, and that Herakleopolis and Abusir el-Malaq, outside of the Faiyim and nearer the Nile, lie above the 25meter contour line. It is clear that, from the Middle Kingdom to Ptolemaic times, the Faiy?m habitable area was only a

TABLE 4 Site


K6m Aushim-Karanis ................... Sinniris Ibshawai Qasr Qarin-Dionysias ................... Qasr el-Benat-Euhemeria . .. " K6m Medinet WAtfah-Philoteris ... . " .......... Kharabet Ihrit-Theadelphia .............. " Sinnfris-Psenuris ................. ......Sinniris " Biyahmu.............................. FaiyUm .... Abgig............................. K6m Medinet Macddi-Narmouthis ......... Its Medinet el-Faiyz'm-Crocodilopolis ....... Faiyum Umm el-Asl-Bacchias .................... Sinntris K6m el-Kharabah el-Kebir-Philadelphia . " Tell Umm el-BreigAt-Tebtynis ............ Its el-Ldhan village........ .............. Faiyim " . Hauwdrat el-Maqtah-Labyrinth .i...... K6m Medinet Ghurdb...... .......... .."

Contour Level

-5 to 0 to 0 to 5 to 5 to 5 to 15 to 15 to 15 to 20 to 20 to 25 to 25 to 25 to 25 to 25 to

0 5 5 10 10 10 20 20 20 25 25 30 30 30 30 30

Herodotus' day. In the early Ptolemaic little more than the present markaz of period new controls brought the lake level Faiyuim. to two meters below present sea level, H. Gizahmudirlyah adding an estimated 1200 square kilometers of alluviated soil. These controls Both in ancient and in modern terms, gradually broke down, and the newly the Gizah mudirlyah is transitional befounded Ptolemaic towns were pretty tween Upper and Lower Egypt. Its southwell deserted by the fourth century A.D. ern reaches belong to the Twenty-first and The present size and productivity of the Twenty-second Nomes of Upper Egypt; Faiyuim are the result of modern irrigation its northern area belongs to the First and efforts. Second Nomes of Lower Egypt. GeoThe ancient sites in the Faiyfim thus graphically the markazes of es-Saff and fall into two classes: those running from el-cAiyat continue the valley of Upper the Middle Kingdom onward, at or above Egypt, whereas the northwestern extenthe 20-meter contour line, and those from sion of the Imbabah markaz constitutes the Ptolemaic and Roman period, at or the southwestern angle of the Delta. The above the 0-meter contour line. In Table 4 mudirlyah is further complicated by the the older sites are italicized. intrusive neighborhood of the Governate For comparative purposes it might be of Cairo and the Town of HelwAn. From noted that the Ptolemaic site of Medinet the frontier with the Beni Sueif mudiriDimai (Soknopae Nesos), north of Birket yah, the Gizah mudiriyah runs north un-



til it meets the Governate of Cairo, and thereafter it is restricted to the west bank of the Nile and of the Rosetta Branch to a point about ten kilometers below Wardan. The valley is narrow at the south end of the mudiriyah, opens out in the pyramid area, but the cultivable width inland from Warden is only about two kilometers. In agriculture, the mudirlyah is well below average in productivity of cereals, but is better in vegetables, perhaps because of the demand of neighboring Cairo. Population figures are distorted by the proximity of Cairo. The density of persons per fedddn ranges from Imbabah's 2.10 to Gizah's 4.31. In the es-Saff markaz lies the site of Atfih (Aphrodites polis), the metropolis of the Twenty-second Upper Egyptian Nome. In el-cAiyAt are Lisht; Kafr cAmmar, older metropolis of the Twenty-first Nome of Upper Egypt; Dahshfir; Saqqarah; and Mit Rahinah (Memphis), the metropolis of the First Lower Egyptian Nome. The Gizah markaz has Abusir and the Gizah necropolis on the west bank, and on the east bank the Helwin necropolis, Turah (Troia), elMacadi, and Athar en-Nabi. In the Imbibah markaz lie Abu Rawash; Aussim (L6topolis), the metropolis of the Second Nome of Lower Egypt; and the prehistoric sites of Merimdet Abu Ghalib and Merimdet Beni Salamah. Belonging to the Governate of Cairo, rather than to the Gizah mudirlyah, are el-Fust t (Babyl6n) and Gebel el-Ahmar. I. LowerEgypt The mudiriyahs of Lower Egypt will be treated in two fan-like sweeps from east to west: at the southern point of the Delta, Qalydbliyahand Mintfiyah; in the broader north of the Delta, Sharqlyah, Daqahl yah, Gharblyah, and Beheirah. Thereafter the peripheral areas of Alexandria and the Canal Zone will be noted briefly.

Although the Delta is now cut by many irrigation and drainage canals, it has only two main branches, Rosetta and Damietta. In antiquity it was more comprehensively watered, with as many as seven branches." It is difficult to push an understanding of the Delta back into earlier pharaonic times, but three statements seem to be justified. First, there was a Canopic branch passing Damanhir, so that the area of the modern Beheirah mudirlyah was better watered than today. Second, in addition to ancient correspondents to the modern Rosetta and Damietta branches, there were ancient branches cutting past Xois and Mendes, better serving the areas which have become the Gharbiyah and Daqahllyah mudirlyahs. Third, an eastern branch cut past Bubastis and debouched at Pelusium, so that the modern Sharqiyah mudirlyah and the Qantarah area of the Canal Zone were more specifically watered than today. The effective shape of the Delta has changed considerably. J. Qalyfibyahmudirlyah The QalyfibTyahmudirlyah is roughly diamond-shaped. It lies on the east side of the Nile and the Damietta Branch, from the northern suburbs of Cairo to a point on the Damietta Branch about 30031' N. Lat., and runs southeast from this point to the eastern desert about five kilometers east of Shibin el-Qanatir. It is currently served by a series of canals. In ancient times it enjoyed the use of that arm of the Nile which cut off from the river just north of Cairo, divided somewhere north of Shibin el-Qanatir, and then formed the branches passing Mendes and Bubastis. Agriculturally, the mudi"1 See note 5. In Ball, loc. cit., p. 24, there is a map of the Delta following Herodotus; p. 69, following Strabo; p. 120, following Ptolemy. See Gardiner, loc. cit., pp. 153* fft., for discussion of the branches earlier than Herodotus.



riyah is rich, as it stands 15 per cent above the national average in yield of barley per feddan, is about average in yield of wheat, and ranks very high in the modern crops of maize and rice. It is somewhat below average in vegetables. The mudirlyah has a high density of population. The northern suburbs of Cairo (Macmurlyat Dawahi Masr) and the Benha markaz have more than three persons to the feddan, and the Shibin elQanatir markaz fades into the desert with a higher density than the national average. The land lies above the nine-meter contour line, so that it was well above the marshy area of antiquity. Dawahi Masr contains el-Matarlyah (Heliopolis), metropolis of the Thirteenth Lower Egyptian Nome. In Shibin el-Qanatir markaz lies Tell el-Yahfidiyah. The Benha markaz has Tell Atrib (Athribis), metropolis of the Tenth Nome. This, as its ancient name Hat-her-ib, "Middletown," indicates, was a central point of the Delta. On the modern map it seems too southerly to be a geographical center, but, if one discounts the northern marshes, Benha-Athribis does appear rather focal. It is curious that no important ancient sites can be located in the Qalyib and Tikh markazes. which must have been populous in antiquity. We shall meet this same problem in the next mudirlyah to be examined. K. Min fiyah mudirlyah is The the Minmfiyah mudirlyah today most densely populated and richest agricultural province of Egypt. It forms a triangle between the two branches of the Nile, running from the junction of the two to a point about 30045' N. Lat. on the Rosetta Branch and a point about 30034' N. Lat. on the Damietta Branch. It stands first in yield of barley (27 per cent above national average), above average in

wheat and beans, and first in the modern crops of maize and rice. With 3.02 persons to the feddan, Minafiyah is the most densely populated mudiriyah. The least populous of the five markazes is 51 per cent above the national average; the most populous is more than twice the national average. The area is currently well watered by the two branches and canals deriving from them. In antiquity there were the same two branches with a third in between them, the Thermuthiac River, cutting north from near modern Ashman. It is then a matter of surprise that no important ancient sites can be identified with certainty in the richest section of Egypt. The only possibility which has been suggested has not been archeologically tested: that Djeqac, the metropolis of the Fourth Nome, perhaps the Nikiou or Niciae of classical times, is to be found at or near Zawiyat Razin, on the Rosetta Branch, nearly opposite K6m Abu Billu (Terenuthis).l L. Sharqtyahmudirtyah The outer Delta ring is not as rich as the point of the Delta, since the outer ring is weakened by the inroads of desert sands or salt marshes. The mudiriyah of Sharqiyah is like a U tilted toward the east, with the base lying against the Qalyiblyah mudiriyah, the lower arm pointing toward Ismailiyah, and the upper arm pointing in the general direction of Port Said. Geographically the mudiriyah is very uneven, since its western base shares the wealth of Qalyiblyah, whereas the eastern width has a sparseness similar to that of Beheirah. Nevertheless, it was an important district in ancient times. The mudiriyah ranks low agriculturally, 18 per cent below the national average in yield 12 H. Gauthier, des Dictionnaire phiques, VI (Cairo, 1929), pp. 134 f.





of barley, 17 per cent below in wheat, very poor in vegetables, and the weakest district in rice. This was not necessarily the case in antiquity. Currently the mudiriyah fails to touch the Damietta Branch by a short distance and is fed by canals. Anciently it was served by two other branches in an embracing V beginning near Shibin el-Qanatir, with the Busiritic Branch cutting north past Mendes and the Bubastic Branch curving past Bubastis and Saft el-Hennah and then sweeping past el-Qantarah to Pelusium. In addition, Tanis was served by its own rivermouth. We shall see that this area was anciently famous for the production of wine. The Shariqiyah mudiriyah is uneven in population. At the west, Minyet el-Qamh benefits by its proximity to the Damietta Branch and shows a density of 2.48 to the feddan. The markazes which front on the southern desert, Bilbeis, Zagazig, and Hehiya, show the modest density of 1.55. To the east, as one approaches the Canal Zone, the density fades out, as Kafr Saqr and Faqis combine for an average of only 0.86. In the Zagazig markaz lie Tell Bastah (Bubastis), metropolis of the Eighteenth Nome, and Saft el-Hennah (PerSopdu), metropolis of the Twentieth. Minyet el-Qamh is another relatively rich markaz which surprises us by showing no ancient sites of significance; nor are any known for Bilbeis or Hehiya. In the southern part of Kafr Saqr markaz lies Hurbeit (Pharbaethos). An embarrassment of riches appears in the Faqfis markaz: Tell er-Ret ba, which may have been the Biblical Pithom and classical Heroonpolis; Tell el-Maskhitah, which, if it is ancient Tjeku and Biblical Succ6th, was the metropolis of the Eighth Nome; FAquis (Phakoussa); Qantir, which may be the site of ancient Ramesses; Tell el-Farc-in or Nebeishah, seat of ancient Imet or (east-

ern) Buto, the earlier metropolis of the Nineteenth Nome; San el-Hagar (Tanis), later metropolis of the Nineteenth Nome; and in the extreme northeast Sethroe, possibly to be found at Tell Belim. In view of the relative poverty of the markazes of Zagazig and Faqis, the number of important ancient sites is interesting. It is true that some of the ancient towns have to do with external relations: foreign trade, the Asiatic empire of the New Kingdom, and defense of the eastern frontier; but there can be no doubt that the area must have been better irrigated and more productive in pharaonic times than at the present. M. Daqahliyahmudiriyah Daqahliyah is another geographically uneven mudirlyah. It forms a V, with the base resting against the Benha markaz, the western side running along the Damietta Branch, and the eastern arm cutting out into the middle of Lake Manzalah. The southern base and the western side of the mudiriyah are more densely populated than the eastern side. Anciently the area used both the ancestor of the present Damietta Branch and the Busiritic River, running past Mendes. It was also cut in two longitudinally by the eastwest Butic River. Daqahliyah is below average in cereal and vegetable yields, but it is still the best of the four mudiriyahs on the outer perimeter of the Delta. The four markazes which lie along the Damietta Branch, Mit Ghamr, Aga, Mansirah, and Fariskfir, show a density of population (2.53 to the feddan) nearly twice that of the three markazes to their east, Simbellawein, Dikirnis, and Manzalah (1.37). The latter three may have been richer in antiquity, when they were cut by the Busiritic River. The Mit Ghamr markaz contains Tell Muqdm (Leontopolis), and perhaps the lost me-



tropolis of the Eleventh Nome, Hesbet, is to be sought in this area. On the boundary between Aga and Mansfirah lies Tell enor Tell el-Baqliyah, perhaps the Naqfis site of the metropolis of the Fifteenth Nome. Bilgai is in the Mansfirah markaz. The ancient importance of the Simbellawein markaz centers around the twin cities of Mendes (Tell er-Rubc), metropolis of the Sixteenth Nome, and Thmuis (Tell Timai el-Amdid), which lay at the junction of the Busiritic and Butic rivers. In Dikirnis is Tell Balalah or Tell Tebillah, which may be ancient Ra-nufer, classical Onouphis. Fariskir and Manzalah have no ancient sites of importance. N. Gharbiyahmudirtyah Gharblyah is by far the largest mudiriyah, with more than a fifth of the arable feddans of Egypt. It forms the northern part of the triangle framed by the sea, the Rosetta Branch, and the Damietta Branch, and runs north from the rich Minifiyah mudirlyah into the salty coastal marshes, from a territory lying more than nine meters above sea level into the sea. Anciently this wedge was split by the Thermuthiac River, running past the city of Xodis. Its agricultural yield is low in cereals and vegetables, although this is probably highly varied from south to north, with rich productivity at the Minifiyah boundary, but a yield in the north as low as that of Beheirah. The south of the mudiriyah is four times as densely populated as the north. At the south, the Zifta, Tanta, Santah, and Kafr ez-Zayy t markazes average 2.71 persons to the feddan. The first three share with the Minifiyah mudiriyah the curious absence of ancient sites. In Kafr ez-Zayy t lay a very important city, Sais (Sa el-Hagar), metropolis of the Fifth Nome. The next group north on the Damietta Branch, Sammandid, Mehallah el-

Kobra, and Talkha, combine for an average density of 1.65. Sammanfid includes Abu Sir Bank (Busiris), metropolis of the Ninth Nome, and Sammanfid (Sebennytos), metropolis of the Twelfth. Mehallah el-Kobra has nothing of importance anciently, and Talkha includes Behbeit el-Higarah (Iseum). In the remaining markazes the density of population falls off to an average of 0.60. On the Rosetta Branch are the Dissiq markaz, with the sites of Shabis eshShuhadah (Kabasa) and K6m el-Faracin (Buto), and the Fiwah markaz, with no important sites. In the north center are the huge markaz of Kafr esh-Sheikh, with Sakha (Xois), metropolis of the Sixth Nome, and K6m el-Khanziri (Pachnamounis), and the macmibryah of Burullus around Baltim on the coast, with no important sites. The large markaz of Shirbin on the Damietta Branch has Tell el-Balamin (Diospolis Inferior), metropolis of the Seventeenth Nome.13 O. Beheirahmudirlyah We come finally to the northwestern mudirlyah, Beheirah, the most meager province of Egypt. It forms a kind of a Y west of the Rosetta Branch, with a narrow strip of land running north from the bend west of Wardin until the arable land fans out at about 30o40' N. Lat., and then a territory framed by the Rosetta Branch on the east, the Libyan Desert on the southwest, and Lakes Maryit and Idku on the northwest. Modernly canals cut through this northern area, just as it was split anciently by the Agathodaem6n River running past Damanhir and emptying near Canopus. Nevertheless, the mudiriyah is the poorest province of Egypt agriculturally, weakest in yield of barley (28 per cent below national average), nearly the weakest in wheat (22 per 13See Gardiner, in JEA, XXX

(1944), 23-60.



cent below), and among the poorest in Port Said, Ismailiyah, and Suez. They serve an area now infertile. Yet the anvegetables. Of all the mudirtyahs, Beheirah has the cient Bubastic River cut this area somelowest density of population, 1.00 to the where near el-Qantarah to debouch at feddan. At the south the K6m Hamadah, Pelusium. That branch served K6m DaItyAi el-Bardd, Shubra Khit, and Daman- fanah (Daphnae); Tell Abu Seifah (Tjaru hir markazes and the macmirlyat Mah- or Sele), metropolis of the Fourteenth mudlyah average a density of 1.69. In Nome; and Tell el-Farama (Pelusium). K6m Hamadah are K6m Abu Billu Near Port Said lies K8m Tennis (Tennis). (Terenuthis) and K6m el-Hisn (Imu), Near Suez, Klysma at Qalcat el-Qulzum metropolis of the Third Nome. In Ityai must have been only a fortress for a desert el-Barid is en-Nibeirah (Naukratis). The shipping point. Generally speaking, the Damanhir markaz has the site of Her- whole area served as a frontier against the mopolis Parva at Damanhur. Somewhere Asiatic Beduin, as is shown by the deterwithin these five districts should lie the mination of the frontier fortress city of site of the lost metropolis of the Seventh Tjaru with the city sign, with the foreignNome. The contour line marking three country sign, or with both.14 It is worth meters above sea level runs just north of noting that the Greek settlements of Naukratis and Damanhir and then cuts Daphnae and Naukratis were both on northward to a point near modern Fwah. frontier land toward the two desert exOn a purely gratuitous speculation, that tremes of the Delta. metropolis should lie above the threeThere is little to say about Damietta meter contour in the triangle made by the and Alexandria, except to voice an opintowns of Shubra Khft, Damanh6r and ion that they were of little weight before Ptolemaic times. The pharaonic river FiAwah. The remaining markazes show a densi- mouths had to be guarded, yes, so that ty half that of those already listed, fading there were probably garrisons out in this into the desert or the marshes. Dilingat, region of the Hau-nebut, but the effective Abu Hummus, Abu el-Matamir, Kafr ed- ports lay south of the swamps along the Dauwar, and Rosetta combine for an branches of the Nile: Hermopolis Parva, average of 0.65 to the feddan. Abu el- Xois, Sebennytos, Mendes, and Tanis. MatAmir's 0.42 is the sparsest of all Tamiathis, for Damietta, appears in lists Egypt. Within these markazes there are of Byzantine times.'5 Canopus as a river very few sites worth notice. The town of mouth was known to Herodotus, but not Rosetta is of late importance. In the Diwhich came into effective beAlexandria, lingAt markaz, Ramesside pieces have with Alexander the Great. This does ing come from K8m Firin. One has the imnot the that pharaonic gainsay possibility pression that the DilingAt and Abu elhad frontier fortresses in the area, Egypt MatAmir markazes are a frontier against but no commercial great the western desert, while Abu Hummus, city is indicated.16 Kafr ed-Dauwar, and Rosetta belong to the northern marshes. 14 Gauthier,

P. The Governates Current administrative instruments in the Suez Canal area are the Governates of



op. cit., VI, 67.

op. cit., p. 175.

16 Gardiner, in JEA, V (1918), 135, locates a fortress of Ramesses III "a short way out in the desert near Lake Mareotis."

BUTOANDHIERAKONPOLIS II. THE WINE REGIONS OF ANCIENT EGYPT The ancient texts have given us some indication of the regions of Egypt which were favorable for the cultivation of the grape vine and the production of wine, and the locations of those regions are generally confirmed by classical writers.7 In the Delta they include the "Western River," which is shown by the specific names, Mareotis and Anthylla between Canopus and Naukratis, to have been the region west of the western branch; the "Water of Re" or Bubastic River, with the areas lying to its north: Pelusium, Tjaru, Nebeishah,is and a location near the Residence-city of Ramesses; and a group of sites in the north central Delta, somewhat higher than the marshes: Busiris, Sebennytos, Iseum, and Mendes. Further, there was prized wine from the Faiyfim and the oases of Baharlyah and Khirgah. Finally, there is occasional mention of wine from Memphis, HardaiKynopolis, and Thebes. Except for the last group, the regions named are those which are now low in density of population and in productivity of cereals and vegetables: in the northwestern Delta, Lower Egyptian Nomes Three and Seven, now in the Beheirah mudirlyah; in the northern Delta, Nomes Nine, Twelve, and Sixteen, now the southern parts of the Gharblyah and Daqahliyah mudirlyahs; in the eastern Delta, Nomes Eight, Fourteen, and Nineteen, now in the Sharqiyah mudirlyah and the Suez region; Upper Egyptian Nome Twenty-one, now the Faiyfim mudirlyah; and the western oases. The location of these vineyards in 17Hayes, JNES, X (1951), 88 ff.; Gardiner, Onomastica, II, 235* f.; Strabo xvii, passim; Pliny xiv, passim;


18 "Wine







"Buto," not from the Buto in the northwest Gardiner, op. cit., II, 171*,




marginal areas confirms the general impression that a geographic description of modern Egypt fits ancient conditions with general justice. III. COMMUNICATIONSWITHIN AND OUT OF THE NILE VALLEY Within the Nile Valley, including the Delta, travel and communications and commerce were of course by water, with a generally free movement north and south. The map shows important checkpoints at Elephantine, Gebel es-Silsilah, Gebelein, Denderah, Diospolis Parva, This-GirgA, Aphroditopolis, Hyps4l1, Assifit, el-Qisslyah, Hermopolis, TihnA and Gebel et-Teir, el-Hibah, and Atfth, places where the Nile narrows or makes a marked bend. Further, Luxor, Akhmim, Aphroditopolis, Assiit, Hermopolis, el-Qeis, and Herakleopolis were well located to serve as commercial metropolises for thriving areas. At the point of the Delta the triangle of Memphis-Heliopolis-L~topolis was a focal center of communications. In the Delta, if one accepts Ptolemy's description from the second century A.D. as being generally valid for earliest times, traffic could move effectively by water. The north-south axes of the river branches connected LUtopoliswith Terenuthis, Hermopolis Parva, and Canopus; connected LUtopolis with Xois and Pachnamounis; connected Athribis with Busiris, Sebennytos, and Iseum; connected Leontopolis with Mendes-Thmuis and Onouphis; and connected Bubastis with Sel6 and Pelusium. The east-west Butic River connected Hermopolis Parva with Xois, Iseum, Mendes-Thmuis, and Tanis. Nevertheless, the Antonine Itineraries from the end of the third century A.D. show travel by land in and around the desert margins of Lower Egypt, and it could be claimed that the same preference appears in the route taken by Si-nuhe in




pharaonic times.19The Antonine itinerary from Alexandria to Memphis ran to the west of the westernmost branch of the Nile: Alexandria to Damanhfir to Nikiou to Letopolis to Memphis. The route from Pelusium to Memphis also moved outside of the watered area, this time to the east: Pelusium, Daphnae, Shibin el-Qanatir, Heliopolis, and Memphis. A similar itinerary ran from Babyl6n to Suez: Babyl6n, Heliopolis, Shibin el-Qanatir, the Wadi Tfimilat to a point southwest of Ismailiyah, and then south to Klysma (Suez). The most interesting itinerary is that which cuts across the Delta from Pelusium to Alexandria: from Pelusium southwest to Herakleopolis Parva near el-Qantarah, thence west along the line of the old Butic River to Tanis and Mendes, thence southwest toward Busiris, continuing southwesterly to Andropolis, which was south of Naukratis on the western desert margin, thence northwest through Damanhfir to Alexandria. This made a very flattened W of a route, to avoid the marshy areas of Xois and Buto. Communications with the western and eastern deserts also had their ancient importance. Egypt has always been a country in which customs toll and bureaucratic inspection might be avoided by leaving the river and seeking the desert wastes. In relatively modern times a well-known route has led from Egypt through the western oases and water holes to that part of the SaidAnwhich supplied gum, incense, ivory, and slaves. This old slave and smugglers' route was the Darb el-Arbacin, "the Route of Forty (Days' March)," starting at AssiAt and running 200 kilometers to the Khargah Oasis; thence to Baris, about 90 kilometers south at the 19The Antonine Itineraries are conveniently summarized in Ball, Egypt in the Classical Geographers, pp. 138 ff. For Si-nuhe's route see A. H. Gardiner, Notes on the Story of Sinuhe (Paris, 1916), pp. 165 f. It is of course true that Si-nuhe was a refugee and wanted to avoid settlements.



end of the Khargah chain; thence by over 400 kilometers of water holes to the Selfmah Oasis, generally southwest of the Second Cataract; and thereafter by difficult marches southwest ultimately to reach elFasher in Darfur, more than 1700 kilometers from Assifit. This may well have been the "roads of the highlands" used by Har-khuf in the Sixth Dynasty.20 It was probably the route of the Tjemeh-Libyans, who, by the Sixth Dynasty, paralleled the Nile at least as far south as the Second Cataract.21

The Khdrgah Oasis might also be reached from Abydos in about 180 kilometers, chiefly along the line of the modern railway, or from Asfin el-Matacnah, north of Esnd, in about 200 kilometers. The BAris end of the Khargah chain could also be reached from Esna in about 220 kilometers. From Khargah itself a route leads west to the DAkhlah Oasis, which was a jumping-off point for Gebel Uweinat, and ultimately Tibesti. From the west bank at Elephantine a road leads west-southwest to the Kurkur Oasis in about 65 kilometers, thence a short distance south to the Dunqul Oasis, and thence south to the Selimah Oasis mentioned above. This may have been Har-khuf's route to the Darb el-Arbacin. From Dunqul it is possible to cut back toward the river to the diorite quarries in which the name of Khufu has been found, at 22046' N. Lat., 31o13' E. Long., northwest of Abu Simbel. An old road has been traced from these quarries to Tishkah on the Nile.22 Another desert route from the First 20



21 W. H61scher,



I, ??333-36.

und Aegypter


gische Forschungen... MUinchen," IV [Gltickstadt, see The 1937]), pp. 24 ff. For the Darb el-Arbacin, Anglo-Egyptian






1905), II, 189-94; W. B. K. Shaw, in Sudan Notes and Records, XII (1929), 61-71. 22 R.


(1938), 369-89.







Cataract ran southeast from Assuan in about 35 kilometers to the amethyst mines of the W4di el-Hfidi.23 Koptos was an ancient starting point for quarries and ports to the east of the Nile. The Antonine Itineraries give a route of about 400 kilometers from Koptos through el-Laqeitah, and thence southeast through Bir Minih, Bir Beizah, Dweiq, and Abu Qireiyah, to Berenike on the Red Sea Coast. This was also the region of the "emerald" (that is, beryl) mines of Ptolemaic and Roman times. An ancient alternative was to leave Edfu and er-Ridisfyah for the temple area of Seti I near Bir Abbdd, thence join the Koptos road near Dweiq, and so on to BerenikA. This is at least 55 kilometers shorter than the Koptos road.24 Also from Koptos ran the old road through el-Laqeitah and the WAdi HammAmAt quarries to Leukos Lim~n (elQosseir), in 175 kilometers. This Red Sea port we assume to be a starting point for the land of Punt, the Somali Coast and Arabia Felix. Some 80 kilometers north of el-Qosseir lay Philoteras (Mirsa Gasfis), which was not so important or so early a port. The route from Qena northeast to Mons Porphyrites and thence to Myos Hormos (Abu Shacr Qibli) on the Red Sea Coast may not have been important until the Roman demand for porphyry.25 Once again in the western desert, a route of about 230 kilometers from elQissiyah ran out to the Farafrah Oasis, the ancient Ta-ihu, "Land of Cows." The distance from Assiit to FarAfrahis about 30 kilometers longer. From FarAfrah one modern desert route leads along the edge of the Great Sand Sea to the Sfwah Oasis. 23 A. Quarries

The Inscriptions Fakhry, of the at Wadi el Hudi (Cairo, 1952).


24 G. W. Murray, JEA, XI (1925), 143-45; Meredith, JEA, XXXIX (1953), 98-101.


op. cit.,






XXXVIII (1952), 94-111; XXXIX (1953), 97 ff.

A modern alternative name for the Bahariyah Oasis is WAh el-BehnesA (Oasis of BehnesA), and the shortest route would be the 165 kilometers from BehnesA (Oxyrhynchos). An alternative at least 50 kilometers longer runs from Medinet elFaiy-im. In the Twentieth Dynasty, Papyrus Harris mentions vineyards in the Bahariyah (Oasis Minor) and KhArgah (Oasis Magna) oases.26 From Memphis a route cuts into the desert and runs southwest to the outer Faiyfim; for example, a little over 55 kilometers to K6m Aushlm (Karanis). To the west of the Faiyfim and the Delta lay the land of the Tjehenu-Libyans, and beyond them the region of the western Libyans of the Meshwesh type. We shall consider these contacts in terms of the Siwah Oasis and of the Libyan coast. For the journey to the coast there is suggested below a route through the WAdi Natrfin. One of the chief routes to the Siwah Oasis probably started at Medinet el-Faiyim, passed Qasr Qarin at the west end of the Birket Qariin, ran northwest to the wells at Mogharah (30?22' N. Lat.; 28053' E. Long.), ran along the north side of the Qattarah Depression, and then cut southwest to Siwah. Another western route might start at Memphis, cut into the desert near Abu Raw~sh, run northwest through the WAdi Natrin, continue by the Darb el-Hagg elMegharbah northwest to the sea near elHammam (ancient Halmyrae), and then follow the coast to Mirsa Matrih (Paraetonium). From Mirsa Matrih one route follows the coast past Sollim (Katabathmos) into Cyrenaica, another cuts southwest to Siwah. There are modern alternatives which come closer to the Delta, such as the automobile desert road from Cairo to Alexandria, but the Route of the Western Pilgrimage is sufficiently attested in re26 Breasted,







A. UpperEgypt The twenty-two nomes of Upper Egypt appear to us as a fixed list by the Twelfth Dynasty. Nevertheless, it is possible to make a few comments. The names of U.E. 13 and U.E. 14 as "Southern Nedjefettree" and "Northern Nedjefet-tree" respectively and the names of U.E. 20 and U.E. 21 as "Southern Naret-tree" and "Northern Naret-tree" respectively suggest an early splitting apart of units, like that of L.E. 4 and 5. The Faiyuim area was probably a later addition to U.E. 21, after the Twelfth Dynasty irrigation works. The transfer of the Nome capital from Kafr cAmmar to Medinet el-Faiyuim may not have occurred until the Ptolemaic development of the Faiyuim area. The nome of the southern frontier, U.E. 1, had an uneasy attachment to Egypt. To begin with, Nubian sandstone carries down to a point near EsnA almost 160 kilometers north of Elephantine before giving way to the characteristic limestone cliffs of the Nile Valley. Further, the town of Dardw, about 35 kilometers north of Elephantine, is modernly the lower limit of Nubian speech, customs, and crafts. For ancient times, it is worth remarking that the name Abu, Elephantine, was determined with the foreign-country sign or with an oval fortress.29The Middle Kingdom list of southern frontier fortresses runs from the Second Cataract down to and including Gebel es-Silsilah.30 This attachment to Egypt and Nubia at the same time is also illustrated by the name of the First Nome, Ta Zeti, which we translate "Nubian Land." Finally, in IV. SUMMARY OF THE NOMES OF EGYPT classical times the nome capital moved On the basis of what has been stated or northward to K6m Ombo, so that the assumed, we shall now try to characterize former metropolis became known as the nomes of ancient Egypt in geographic "Elephantine of the Ombite Nome." If terms. it were not for the positive fact of the and To-day in Sinai S. Jarvis, 27C. Yesterday First Cataract, the southern frontier of

cent times to suggest a pattern of Libyan approach in ancient times. On the eastern side of the Delta, it has already been mentioned that an Antonine itinerary lay to the east of the Bubastic River or along the WAdi Ttfmilat, for contact of Memphis with Pelusium, with the frontier post of Tjaru, or with Suez. It is possible that the ancient connection with the Sinai mining area went through the WAdi Tfimildt and then down to Suez, to proceed by land and water to the mines. The god Sopdu functioned for eastern lands, at Saft el-Hennah and in Sinai. An alternative route to Suez would cut straight east through the desert on the recent Darb el-Hagg from a point north of Heliopolis. There is no textual or archeological evidence for a route across central Sinai to Nakhl, with branches from that post northeast to Beersheba or east to elcAqabah. Undoubtedly such a route was used by Beduin, and in recent centuries it was a used Pilgrimage road, but we know of no ancient Egyptian interest in such a route. An ancient road between Egypt and Palestine is given in an Antonine itinerary as following the north Sinai coast from Pelusium along the narrow strip of sand north of Lake Bardawil to el-cArish and thence to RAfah.27The evidence from the Nineteenth Dynasty would be that the official road ran south of Lake Bardawil: from Tjaru near el-Qantarah, northwest to Tell el-Heir (Magdolo), and thence generally eastward to el-cArish, Rafah, and Gaza.28

(Edinburgh, 1932), p. 177: "still one of the main tracks to El Arish and Palestine." 28 A. H. Gardiner, JEA, VI (1920), 99 ff.


Gauthier, op. cit., I, 3. so Gardiner, Onomastica, I, 9-11.



Egypt would probably be Gebel es-Silsilah. The southernmost segment of Egypt consisted of U.E. 1 (Elephantine), 2 (Edfu), and 3 (el-KAb). It was a narrow and provincial area, blending into meager Nubia to the south, without any one absolute line of division. It was poor in agriculture but rich in granite and amethyst. It was important as a frontier and as a starting point for desert routes. The stretch of U.E. 4 (Thebes), 5 (Koptos), and 6 (Denderah) showed a modest enrichment, bounded by Gebelein to the south and the Dishna bottleneck to the north. The cultivable area was moderately wide and moderately productive, permitting a reasonably high density of population. The area was also important for its eastern desert routes, leading to stone quarries, gold mines, and to Red Sea ports. It is clear, however, that economic and geographic factors are insufficient to account for the sudden rise in power of Thebes in the Eleventh Dynasty, and its return to power in the Seventeenth. Spiritual motives, lying too deep for our recognition, must have been powerful. The rich and vital area of Middle Egypt may be separated into three stretches: a southern section of increasing potential, consisting of U.E. 7 (Disopolis Parva) and 8 (This); a central section of abundant wealth, consisting of U.E. 9 (Akhmim), 10 (Aphroditopolis), 11 (Hypsel1), 12 (Hierak6n), 13 (Assiit), 14 (el-Qfissiyah), and 15 (Hermopolis); and a northern section of good but slightly diminishing value, consisting of U.E. 16 (Hebenu), 17 (Kynopolis), 18 (HippB6nn), and 19 (Oxyrhynchos). Broad fields are the rule, particularly on the west bank, but also on the east bank down to and including U.E. 13. Agricultural productivity and density of population are high, particularly in the central section. The whole area is richer than its neighbors to the south or north,

and its only rival for richness lies in the Delta region of L.E. 4 and 5. There was fine alabaster in the eastern desert, and the whole stretch from Abydos to Oxyrhynchos was important for its contacts with the western desert oases and caravan routes. On the geographic basis alone Akh-en-Aton chose wisely when he moved the capital of Egypt to Tell el-cAmarnah. The final stretch of Upper Egypt was intermediate between the richness of Middle Egypt and the richness of the Delta. It was conditioned by the opening out of the Faiyfm pocket and by the narrowing of the alluviated valley near WAsta. It included U.E. 20 (Herakleopolis), 21 (Nilopolis), and 22 (Aphroditopolis). The soil is not so productive, particularly in the stretches of the Faiyfim mudiriyah beyond the central markaz of Faiyim. The whole history of the Faiyim has been greatly conditioned by governmental control of irrigation in that pocket. However, the Faiyim was an important point of communications with the western desert and the ancient Libyans. From WAsta to Memphis the narrowed valley was a kind of bottleneck, but the neighboring deserts offered superb accommodations for a series of cemeteries. B. LowerEgypt The nomes of Lower Egypt, in their final Ptolemaic number of twenty, arrange themselves thus: 17 7 6 12 5 3


15 9 11


19 14 18

10 2



13 1

The history of the compilations of these nomes is a complicated one, which awaits the publication of pre-Ptolemaic lists dis-




covered in recent years.31Here it may be stated that L.E. 4 and 5 once constituted a single nome, later divided into "southern" and "northern." L.E. 7 and 8 are peripheral and bear similar names; they may have been added to an original list, with L. E. 8's devotion to the god Atum explained if the nome were a subdivision of L.E. 13. Similarly, L.E. 17 was added in the New Kingdom to the list of nomes, although appearing as the site of an ultima Thule in the Middle Kingdom. The prePtolemaic lists show the order to be: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 10 12 15 16 13 14 17; that is, 1-7 down the western river, 8 added as comparable to 7, 9-12 and 15-16 down a central river, 13-14 down the eastern river, and 17 added as the youngest member. Finally, in Ptolemaic times, L.E. 18 and 20 were separated out of 13, and L.E. 19 was separated out of 14. The secondary nature of some of these nomes has geographic significance. The Lower Egyptian nomes may be divided into (1.) a metropolitan and pivotal region at the south, (2.) an agricultural core in the middle, (3.) a marginal frame to the west and east of the central core, and (4.) a marginally poor fringe on the north and southeast. 1. The metropolitan pivot to the south of the Delta consisted of L.E. 1 (Memphis) and 13 (Heliopolis).32 The continuing importance of Memphis, Babyl6n, elFustat, and Cairo, with their suburbs, illustrates the significance of the area for a metropolis of traffic and communications and for a capital which links Upper and Lower Egypt. Agriculturally, the region is not of importance, but it is well served by the Delta areas to its north. Building stone was abundant in the quarries of Turah, el31A. H. Gardiner, JEA, XXX

(1944), 33-41.

Geographically the town of LUtopolis in L. E. 2 should be added as a pendant to Heliopolis, but the L.E. 2 nome will be treated as a whole below. 32



Macsarah, and Gebel el-Ahmar, and river and desert communications were actively possible. 2. The productive central core of the Delta in pre-Ptolemaic times lay within the V made by the western (Agathodaem6n) River and the Busiritic River, and for the most part south of the east-west Butic River. At present most of this region lies above the six-meter contour line, so that it is separated from the northern marshes. The core consisted of L.E. 4 (Pros6pis), 5 (Sais), 9 (Busiris), 12 (Sebennytos), 10 (Athribis), 11 (Kabasa), and 15 (Hermopolis Parva). To these must be added the Ptolemaic subdivision of L.E. 18 (Bubastis), lying to the east of the Busiritic River. This area of eight nomes includes the richest agricultural soil of Egypt and the densest rural concentration of population. The surprising lack of known sites in and around L.E. 4 probably results from this agricultural devotion: the soil has been so well watered and so accumulative of alluvial deposit and so greatly in demand that the ancient evidence has been obliterated. As Upper Egypt had a vigorous central zone, so Lower Egypt has this productive central core. 3. Another type of land was made up of regions which were marginal to the central core, with L.E. 2 (Letopolis) and 3 (Apis) fronting the desert to the west of the western river, with L.E. 14 (Tjaru) lying on the eastern side of the Delta, and with L.E. 16 (Mendes) marginal into the northern swamps. To these should be added the Ptolemaic subdivisions of L.E. 20 (Arabia), cut off from L.E. 13 at the west end of the Wadi Tuimilat, and L.E. 19 (Tanis), separated from L.E. 14 in the northeast marsh area. With the Busiritic River cutting past Mendes and the Bubastic River past Tjaru, some of these nomes may have been better irrigated in

BUTOANDHIERAKONPOLIS antiquity than today. However, L.E. 16, 19, and 14 lie below the six-meter contour line and push below the three-meter contour, so that they must anciently have been infected by the northern marshes. Today the land ranges from the medial to the poor in productivity, and it may have been little better in antiquity. However, the eastern and western sections were very important for communications with Asia and Libya. In addition, it seems likely that the effective harbors of northern Egypt were not on the sea coast, but lay inland along the rivers, as at Mendes and Tanis, which would suggest great commercial activity in this area. 4. Finally, the outer margins of the Delta lie in and against the northern marshes, L.E. 7 (Metelis), 6 (Xois), and 17 (Diospolis Inferior), and in the area pinched by the desert, the Wadi Taimilt, L.E. 8 (Pithom). L.E. 7 and 17 lie well below the three-meter contour line and must have been water-logged in antiquity. The southern part of L.E. 6 is on higher ground, the northern part runs into the marshes. L.E. 8 may have been watered by a canal, but it is pinched within its WAdi. This whole area is now the poorest land of Egypt, and in antiquity it must have suffered from excess or deficiency of water. The three northern nomes, after one has counted Hermopolis Parva, Buto, Xois, and Diospolis Inferior, have few sites of genuine historical importance. The many k6ms and tells rising out of the swamps may not have been significant before Ptolemaic times. The Wadi TuimilAt has several known sites and must have been an artery of traffic. Similarly river traffic moved through the three northern nomes toward the richer south. This marginal area was by no means desolate, but it corresponds in provincial fading out to the first three nomes of Upper Egypt at the extreme south of the land.


V. BUTO AND HIERAKONPOLIS AS A PAIR A. Buto Buto has been identified at K6m (or Tell) el-Faracin, 31012' N. Lat. by 30045' E. Long., a few hundred meters from the modern village of Ibtui, which retains the classical and Coptic name BoutB-Pout6, derived from Per-Wadjit, "House of (the goddess) Uto."33The site lies in the northwestern quarter of the Delta, eleven kilometers northeast of Dissfiq and eleven kilometers directly north of Shabas eshShuhadah (Kabasa). K6m el-Faracin is the only mound in this section of Egypt sufficiently large and with monuments sufficiently imposing to "satisfy the geographical data concerning Buto."34 The k6m is saddle-shaped, consisting really of two mounds, which may possibly correspond to ancient Pe and Dep, with a late temple visible in the trough between the two. The nine meters of debris above current water level contain evidence from Ptolemaic and Roman times, so that the earlier history of the site is archeologically unknown. However, fragments of stone vessels of Protodynastic type in the Roman town suggest a similarity to Hierakonpolis.35The mound lies just inside the contour line which marks two meters above sea level, with the general latitude of the three-meter contour line about five or six kilometers to the south.36 In classix3 D. G. Hogarth, in Journal of Hellenic Studies, XXIV (1904), 2-4; Gardiner, Onomastica, II, 187" ff.; Porter and Moss, Topographical Bibliography, IV (Oxford, 1934), 45; Gauthier, op. cit., II, 35, 65; VI, 90. 34Hogarth, op. cit., p. 4. 35W. M. F. Petrie and C. T. Currelly, Ehnasya 1904 (London, 1905), pp. 36-38; Pls. XLIII-XLIV. 36 Two corrections of data need to be mentioned here. If around 3000 B.C. the level of the sea was six meters lower than at present (Ball, Contributions to the Geography of Egypt, p. 193), then a two meter level today would correspond to an eight meter level at that time. But if the increase in the level of the alluviated soil has been constant at the rate of .09 m. per century, then the land level around 3000 B.c. will have been



cal times it lay about midway between the Taly and Thermuthiac branches of the Nile and a few kilometers north of the east-west Butic River."' Of the Delta towns which lie on ground lower than the three-meter contour line, Buto is the only one which may be called both early and important. Of course Alexandria, Canopus, and Damietta were of classical foundation. Sethroe may be attested as early as the Fourth Dynasty.38 Tanis, as Avaris, is known from the Second Intermediate Period. Diospolis Inferior, as Behdet, is known from the Fifth Dynasty.39 Other sites such as Pelusium, Pachnamounis, and Metelis are known to us only from late times. The eastern frontier town of Tjaru is of special nature as a border post and is thus not comparable; in any case, its name is not recorded before the Eighteenth Dynasty. Only Buto, under the names of the two sections Pe and Dep, is clearly indicated as having been of high significance in earliest times. The evidence from the texts suggests that Buto, like Hierakonpolis, was of predynastic importance. It has therefore been argued that these two were predynastic political capitals. 40 about 4.5 m. below eight meters (ibid., pp. 175 f.). The reality of the marsh area in the building up of the Delta may be indicated in another way. Four lines may be carried across the Delta from LUtopolis to points on the seacoast: the Rosetta mouth, the Burullus lighthouse, the Damietta mouth, and Port Said. On these four lines the average interval between the 15 m. contour and the 12 m. contour is 20 kilometers; between twelve and nine is 24 km.; between nine and six is 25 km.; between six and three is 26 km.; whereas the interval between the three meter contour and sea level averages 56 km. Thus, as the Nile was slowed in its seaward flow by marshes, a sloping shelf has been built out more than twice the width of the other intervals. 37So Ball, Egypt in the Classical Geographers, p. 120, following Ptolemy. On p. 24, following Herodotus, Ball curves the Sebennytic branch to pass by Buto. His footnote admits that this is a supposition, and on p. 69, following Strabo, he makes the Sebennytic branch flow a considerable distance east of Buto. 38 Gardiner, op. cit., II, 175* f. 39Gardiner, in JEA, XXX (1944), 23.

All other early and important cities of the Delta lay on higher ground. Between the three- and six-meter contour lines there are: Xois, Iseum, and Mendes from earlier times, and from later times: Hermopolis Parva, Naukratis, Kabasa, Onouphis, Qantir, and Phakoussa. Several important sites lie between the six- and ninemeter contours: K6m el-Hisn, Sais, Sebennytos, Busiris, Leontopolis, and Pharbaethos. On even higher ground were Bubastis, Terenuthis, Athribis, Letopolis, and Heliopolis. Buto appears to be on exceptionally low ground for a Delta city of pre-Ptolemaic times. The tradition that Buto lay in a marshy area seems to be well founded.41 The Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts both associate well-watered land with this place.42The classical writers agree that there was an "island" at or near Buto.43 The town definitely belongs to the northern marshes, even though it may have been one of the southernmost towns of that inhospitable area.44 Today the site of Buto lies in the Dissi^q markaz of the Gharblyah mudirlyah. 40 K. Sethe, Urgeschichte und dlteste Religion der Aegypter (Leipzig, 1930), esp. pp. 137 if. H. Kees's modification of Sethe's viewpoint in Der Gitterglaube im alten A egypten ("Mitteilungen der vorderasiatischligyptischen Gesellschaft," XLV [1941]), p. 178 and Index, retains the concept of political capitals in predynastic times. in JEA, XXX (1944), 52-58; Ball, 41 Gardiner, Egypt in the Classical Geographers, p. 22. 42 K. Sethe, Die altdgyptischen Pyramidentexte (Leipzig, 1908), I, ??188-92, with Dep and a "City of the Lakes"-see Sethe's Uebersetzung und Kommentar (Gltickstadt, n.d.), I, 94-97, on this. A. de Buck, The Egyptian Coffin Texts, II (Chicago, 1938), 326-48, Spell 157, "Knowing the Souls of Pe," starting out with an address to "swamp-dwellers"-see Zeitschrift fir dgyptische Sprache, LVIII (1923), 6-7. 43Herodotus ii. 156; Strabo xvii. 1, 18. 44 For a description of the sodden fens of the north fifty years ago, see D. G. Hogarth, Accidents of an Antiquary's Life (London, 1910), pp. 99-107. Hogarth's quotation from Heliodorus shows that the situation in the fourth century A.D. was like the present. The reputation of the northern swamps as a place of refuge and of lawlessness presents interesting analogies to the marshes of southern Mesopotamia.



As has been argued above, this is one of the poorer regions of Egypt, with a density of population only about half that of the national average and less than a quarter of that of southern. Delta areas. The mudirlyah is about 20 per cent below the national average in yield of cereals and vegetables, and one can assume that this situation is even worse for the northern part of the mudirlyah in which Buto lay, on the analogy of other over-watered parts of the Delta. The earliest writings for the names of Buto are Pe and Dep, written phonetically.45 No early etymology has been suggested for Dep, but the name Pe has been connected with a word "Throne.""4 Against this it may be argued that a word p does mean some kind of a (rush?) seat or possibly the matting upon which a throne rested but that the term does not mean "throne" before Greek times, and that the name Pe is never determined with any sign suggesting a rush or wooden or stone basis for a throne. It is safer to confess that we know the origin and meaning of the term Pe for Buto no more than we know the origin and meaning of the term Dep for Buto. B. Hierakonpolis K6m el-Ahmar, the site of Hierakonpolis, lies at 25006' N. Lat. by 32?46' E. Long., at the edge of the western desert, about 17 kilometers northwest of Edfu. The ancient name of Hierakonpolis, like those of Buto, occurs in texts which go back to the beginning of history. Across the river, near el-KAb, lies the site of another ancient town, Nekheb. The predynastic and protodynastic importance of K6m el-Ahmar has been demonstrated by excavation.47 etc.;

45 Sethe, Sethe,

I, ??56b, 188a, 260c, 725d, Pyramidentexte, Urkunden des alten Reichs, I, 1:17; 241:15;

46 Sethe,


etc. Urgeschichte,

p. 139: "Thron,

Gotterglaube, p. 178: "also Thronstftte


'der Sitz' (P)."

As the site of Buto lies on the edge of the northern marshes, so the site of Hierakonpolis lies near the southern end of the alluviated Nile valley, just north of the Nubian sandstone. Table 1 shows Elephantine, Gebel es-Silsilah, and es-Sacidah as a series of valves to the south of Hierakonpolis, in terms of the effective widths of the alluviated plain. It cannot be argued that Hierakonpolis was the fully effective frontier in the same sense as Elephantine, which had both the cataract region and the narrow banks of Nubia to its south. Nevertheless, Hierakonpolis does appear as one terminal point for the agricultural productivity of Middle and Upper Egypt. The area to its south might effectively be called Ta Zeti, "Nubian Land." K6m el-Ahmar is in the Edfu markaz of the Assuin mudirfyah, with a density of population 63 per cent higher than the two markazes to its south, 17 per cent lower than the two markazes to its north. The Assuin mudirlyah ranks moderately well in the production of vegetables, but it is about 20 per cent lower than the national average in production of cereals and markedly lower than the average of the Qena mudirlyah to its north. Both in population and in agriculture the Hierakonpolis area shows a definite fading away of the riches to its north. As we have seen, the First Upper Egyptian Nome was somewhat loosely attached to Egypt. Near Hierakonpolis lay the seats of the Second and Third Nomes. For Edfu, as Behdet, there is textual evidence as early as the Third Dynasty, with the hieroglyphic writing showing the shrine of Upper Egypt.48 It is possible that Hierakonpolis was a late predynastic and protodynastic southern limit of Egypt, that 47References in Porter and Moss, op. cit., V, 191 ff. Cf. also Gardiner,


48 Gardiner, in JEA,


II, 7* f.

(1944), 32.



Edfu became the legitimate heir of Hierakonpolis in the early Old Kingdom, and that the effective frontier was pushed to Elephantine only in the later Old Kingdom. The site of Hierakonpolis shows, on the desert edge, a late predynastic and protodynastic village, with cemetery and "fort." Toward the river on the cultivated land there is a complex consisting of a walled town containing houses and a temple. The brick town walls and houses have been dated to the first three dynasties. Although the brick temple has been tentatively dated to the Eighteenth Dynasty, deposits associated archeologically with it come from the very beginning of the dynasties (Kings "Scorpion" and Narmer) down to the Sixth Dynasty (Pepi II). Clearly there was here a shrine of the Old Kingdom. Underlying the temple there was a stone structure in the shape of a fat oval, which we shall consider in more detail.49 The rounded oval was formed by a stone revetment more than two meters in height and with a steep outer slope. The purpose of this revetment was to contain an artificial mound of sand. This stone and sand oval lay well above the original desert floor, upon which appeared predynastic artifacts, and it showed none of the material of the Second and Third Dynasties. To the excavators the evidence was that it was constructed "somewhere at the beginning of the Ist Dynasty.""5 Its location and the abundance of royal deposits from the Old Kingdom in its neighborhood make it practically certain that the oval mound had great religious significance. What may have stood on top of the sand mound was unfortunately obliterat49 J. E.



F. W.



II (London, 1902), See also G. Brunton, in Studies presented to F. Ll. Griffith (Oxford


pp. 272-76.

50 Quibell

and Green,

op. cit., p. 5.



ed by the construction of the later temple. Two interesting analogies, which may or may not be mutually exclusive, suggest themselves. The first is that this oval mound may have been built as a creation hill, rather specifically a "high sand.""5 The second is that we seem to have here a sacred oval, possibly once crowned by the shrine of Upper Egypt, and that temple ovals, resting upon sand fill, are known from roughly contemporaneous times in Mesopotamia.52Neither of these possibilities will be pursued here. We are here concerned with the ancient name of Hierakonpolis. The earliest writings of the name of Hierakonpolis show a circle or a flattened oval, commonly with two slanting strokes inside.51 This name has been read Nan. Although its etymology is commonly treated with some reserve, the word has been connected with another n4n meaning "child."54 No connection with a word meaning "child" can really be established, since the word for "child" is never written with the circle or oval containing two strokes, the city name is never written with a child determinative, and the two are never brought into punning relationship. Indeed the original sounding of the name of Hierakonpolis as N n is open to some doubt. The older texts do not present the consonants for the name of Hierakonpolis or for similar words written with the circle (or oval) with two strokes. We 51Most recently, I. Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods (Chicago, 1948), pp. 151-54. 52 P. Delougaz, The Temple Oval at Khafdjah (Chicago, 1940). ??276a, 478a, 725d, etc., 53 Sethe, Pyramidentexte, with the circle sometimes empty; Sethe, Urkunden des alten Reichs. I, 123:12; 132:5, 9, etc., with the flattened oval sometimes empty. 64 Sethe, Urgeschichte, p. 154: the name seems to show "eine Rundbauanlage ..., bzw. einen mit Ringwall umgebenen Platz, ihnlich wie das Zeichen der 'Stadt.' " Kees, Gotterglaube, p. 178: "eine 'Kindheits(stidtte)' des Urgottes."



are not provided with the consonants senuf, who shall guard them-it is a hosuntil we reach writings of the New King- tile body-and who shall still be there as dom, with the terminal -n, sometimes pre- long as the X is mine,' while Re said: 'Put ceded by h, in the Eighteenth Dynasty. them into the crypt(?) of the X. "Thus I Some writings suggest that the whole have done what should be done by him word was 6n, and no initial n- appears who is in his broad hall, since they are until the Twenty-first Dynasty.55 Fur- with me"-so shalt thou say. Then they ther, somewhere around the Twenty- shall end up with thee until Seth has third Dynasty, the initial consonant of learned that they are with thee, so that he the name might be written m-.56 An will wail.' 0 that which is in the X, give Eighteenth Dynasty writing for a costly me effective power! I know the mystery of stone, ? ,, may be read hnt, a term for the X. It is the two hands of Horus and a red or yellow mineral, or 4nmt, a red what is in them." From this text it seems certain that the costly stone, or mbn, a blue costly stone or glaze, or m nmt, a costly stone, possibly word for Hierakonpolis was related to red in color.57The only point of certainty some kind of a structure in which sacred is that all of these words, like the name of relics might be safe and yet open to view. Hierakonpolis, contain the elements 6n. May it not have been the oval at K6m elCoffin Texts Spell 158 is entitled Ahmar, at or near which rulers of the Old "Knowing the Souls of Hierakonpolis."'58 Kingdom deposited so many fine obThe spell deals with a myth about the jects?59 Further, the word for this struchands of Horus, which have been cut off ture seems to be brought into punning reand are to become a sacred relic. A key lationship with the word 6nr, "shut up, word in this passage is most commonly enclose." It has long been known that a written ", with the rarer variants I word written like the name of Hierakonand 7. This will be rendered in the trans- polis, either undetermined or determined lation as X. The translation does not at- with a house sign, was some kind of a tempt to deal with all of the uncertainties structure.60 There is no evidence that this was etymologically related to 6nr and so about individual terms or syntax. "Then Re said: 'A X is to be given to may be translated "enclosure." There is, him as the place for his hands. Let his however, a distinct possibility that the hands be exhibited in this X which I have word basically includes or consists of the given to him, (but?) what is in them shall root hn, which might be made into an mbe shut up ( on the month-feast formation (Man) or an n- formation --) Then Horus said: (Nhn). Instead of listing the word for this and half-month-feast.' 'But give me also Dua-mutef and Qebeh- structure and the name for Hierakonpolis under Nin, with cross-references to Mhn 56K. Sethe et al, "Die Sprfiche fiur das Kennen der and to Hn, one could say of it: "earliest Seelen der heiligen Orte," in Zeitschrift fiur dgyptische Sprache, LVIII (1923), 60, 23* fr. written without consonantal indications, 56 Gardiner, Onomastica, II, 7*; perhaps 'as early later written Un, and later still Nhn or as the Twenty-first Dynasty on the basis ofjthe corruption shown in ibid., I, 23* (No. 83). Mhn." Worterbuch der dgyptischen 57 Erman and Grapow, A suggestion which cannot be pressed Sprache, III, 301:7-8; 294:4; II, 132:2 and 4. Cf. but which emerges as a possibility is that Gardiner, JEA, XXXVIII (1952), 13; Davies, JEA, XXVIII

(1942), 52, n. 1.

5s De Buck,

op. cit., pp. 349-62; also studied by Sethe et al, op. cit., pp. 57 ff. The section here translated begins with de Buck, p. 356b.

19Quibell and Green, op. cit., p. 3, note that the plan of the oval "may have suggested the hieroglyphic sign for the town of Nekhen." 60Erman and Grapow, Worterbuch, II, 310:4-7.



the root here lies in the word ini, "to settle down, to make a halt," and that the An-n-n-m n structure was a Khan or rest-house. Compare the Hebrew hanah, "to encamp," and its derivative mahaneh, "camp." Then the village of Hierakonpolis might have been the Caravansary, before one pushed south into the less fertile region near the First Cataract or west into the desert. Such a possibility would emphasize the nature of Hierakonpolis as a final point of rich Egypt before one penetrated the less inviting regions. C. Conclusions Buto was very poorly placed to serve as a capital of Lower Egypt, whether predynastic or at any other time. It could only have been the chief city of the marsh area to its north or a port of entry from the fertile plain into the infertile fens. Hierakonpolis was very poorly placed to serve as a capital of Upper Egypt. It could only have been port of exit from fertile soil into the narrowerreaches of the south. Neither of these towns could have exercised the kind of power which a capital needs. On the other hand, each of these towns exhibited a kind of finality for its part of Egypt. Buto was the northernmost of the early important towns of the Delta and projected into the swampy north as an ultima Thule of civilization. Hierakonpolis is not so clearly terminal, but it did constitute a kind of geographical extreme to the richness of Upper Egypt. Thus, even though these two towns may not have been political capitals of their parts of Egypt, there was a real justice in their prominence as exponents of the Two Lands. They were quintessential symbols of their sections, Buto the exag-

gerated representative of the broad and watered stretches of the Delta, Hierakonpolis the exaggerated representative of a Nile Valley pinched in by the desert. Each of them was an extreme to the general conformity of land and landscape. Thus they became holy cities and perhaps places of pilgrimage as hypertypically representing Lower and Upper Egypt. Thus the b3wof these two shrines, the "Souls of Buto" and the "Souls of Hierakonpolis," were not the ancestral predynastic kings of two capitals in their earliest formulation, no matter what they may have come to be in the course of historical times. In a basic meaning of the word b: as a "manifestation" or a vehicle for the expression of divine power, these "Souls" were the perceptible exponents of the functioning effectiveness of Lower and Upper Egypt within a state which was already united. In Pyramid Texts ?478a, "there come to him the gods, the Souls of Buto, the gods, the Souls of Hierakonpolis, the gods belonging to the sky, and the gods belonging to earth," we have territorial and cosmic community. In a similar way the "Souls of Heliopolis" and the "Souls of Hermopolis" function for the sun and the moon, without reference to predynastic political rule. Buto and Hierakonpolis were never militarily or administratively significant,, but at the beginning of the dynasties they did achieve political importance as two clearly distinct particularizers of the two coordinates which made up a united Egypt. They were never predynastic capitals, but in the process of the dynastic union they became "ancient" shrines of recognizable and useful meaning. THE ORIENTAL INSTITUTE


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