World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Thebes, Egypt

Article Id: WHEBN0000065811
Reproduction Date:

Title: Thebes, Egypt  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ancient Egypt, List of historical capitals of Egypt, History of ancient Egypt, Valley of the Kings, Hyksos
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Thebes, Egypt

Thebes
Waset
Θῆβαι
Thebes, Egypt is located in Egypt
Thebes, Egypt
Shown within Egypt
Location Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt
Region Upper Egypt
Coordinates
Type Settlement
History
Founded 3200 BC
Official name: Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis
Type Cultural
Criteria I, III, VI
Designated 1979 (3rd session)
Reference No. 87
Region Arab States

Thebes (;[1] Ancient Greek: Θῆβαι Thēbai) is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt, natively known as Waset, located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.

Name

The Egyptian name of Thebes was Waset (wꜣs.t) "City of the Sceptre". The name Thebai (Θῆβαι) is the Greek designation of opet, the Egyptian name of the Karnak temple complex situated across the Nile, west of Thebes proper. Classical Egyptian Ta-opet became Demotic ta-pe, which was adopted in Greek as thebai, assimilated to the name of the Greek city. Due to its association with the Egyptian city, Greek Thebes also had a statue and temple of Ammon (Amun) from the 5th century BC.[2] As attested already in Homer's Iliad, the Greeks distinguished between the two cities as "Hundred-Gated Thebes" (Θῆβαι ἑκατόμπυλοι, Thebai hekatompyloi) for the Egyptian city (Iliad, IX.383), and "Seven-Gated Thebes" (Θῆβαι ἑπτάπυλοι, Thebai heptapyloi) for its Greek counterpart (Iliad, IV.406).

As the seat of the Theban Triad of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu, Thebes was known in the Egyptian language from the end of the New Kingdom as niwt-imn, "The City of Amun." This found its way into the Hebrew Bible as נא אמון nōʼ ʼāmôn (Nahum 3:8), probably referring to the Egyptian deity Amun-Ra, most likely it is also the same as נא ("No") (Ezekiel 30:14–16, Jeremiah 46:25). In Greek this name was rendered Διόσπολις Diospolis, "City of Zeus", as Amun in the interpretatio graeca became Greek Zeus Ammon.

The Greeks surnamed the city μεγάλη megale, "the Great", to differentiate it from numerous other cities called Diospolis. The Romans rendered the name Diospolis Magna.

wꜣs.t
City of the Sceptre[3]
in hieroglyphs

wꜣs.t
in hieroglyphs

niw.t rs.t
Southern City[4]
in hieroglyphs

iwnw-sm’
Heliopolis of the South[5]
in hieroglyphs

History

Egypt - Temple of Seti, east entrance, Thebes. Brooklyn Museum Archives, Goodyear Archival Collection
Luxor Temple
The Theban Necropolis

Thebes was inhabited from around 3200 BC.[6] It was the eponymous capital of Waset, the fourth Memphis, the largest city of the world at the time). By 1800 BC, the population of Memphis was down to about 30,000, making Thebes the largest city in Egypt at the time. By the Amarna period (14th century BC), Thebes may have grown to be the largest city in the world, with a population of about 80,000, a position which it held until about 1000 BC, when it was again surpassed by Memphis (among others).[7]

With the 19th Dynasty the seat of government moved to the Delta. The archaeological remains of Thebes offer a striking testimony to Egyptian civilization at its height. The Greek poet Homer extolled the wealth of Thebes in the Iliad, Book 9 (c. 8th Century BC): "... in Egyptian Thebes the heaps of precious ingots gleam, the hundred-gated Thebes."

In 664 BC, the Assyrian army sacked Thebes during their invasion of Upper Egypt.

Archaeology

Thebes
Egypt - Luxor. Rear court before the excavations., n.d., Brooklyn Museum Archives

In 1979, the ruins of ancient Thebes were classified by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site. The two great templesLuxor Temple and Karnak—and the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens are among the great achievements of ancient Egypt.

Notes

  1. ^ Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition. Merriam-Webster, 2007. p. 1588
  2. ^ according to Pausanias, Description of Greece ix.16 § 1.
  3. ^ Adolf Erman, Hermann Grapow: Wörterbuch der ägyptischer Sprache. akademie Verlag, Berlin, 1971. p.259
  4. ^ Wörterbuch, p.211
  5. ^ Wörterbuch, pp.54,479
  6. ^ Karnak (Thebes), Egypt. Ancient-wisdom.co.uk. Retrieved on 2013-07-29.
  7. ^ George Modelski, "Cities of the Ancient World: An Inventory (−3500 to −1200)"; see also list of largest cities throughout history.

References

  • Gauthier, Henri. 1925–1931. Dictionnaire des noms géographiques contenus dans les textes hieroglyphiques. Vol. 3 of 7 vols. Cairo: Imprimerie de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale du Caire. (Reprinted Osnabrück: Otto Zeller Verlag, 1975). 75, 76.
  • Polz, Daniel C. 2001. "Thebes". In The Oxford Encyclopedia of ancient Egypt, edited by Donald Bruce Redford. Vol. 3 of 3 vols. Oxford, New York, and Cairo: Oxford University Press and The American University in Cairo Press. 384–388.
  • Redford, Donald Bruce. 1992. "Thebes". In The Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by David Noel Freedman. Vol. 6 of 6 vols. New York: Doubleday. 442–443. ISBN 0-385-42583-X (6-volume set)
  • Strudwick, Nigel C., & Strudwick, Helen, Thebes in Egypt: A Guide to the Tombs and Temples of Ancient Luxor. London: British Museum Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8014-3693-1 (hardcover)/ISBN 0-8014-8616-5 (paperback)

External links

  • More information on ancient Thebes, a World Cultural Heritage site
  • Theban Mapping Project
  • Ramesseum/Ancient Thebes Digital Media Archive (photos, laser scans, panoramas), data from an Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities/CyArk research partnership
  • ICOMOS Heritage at Risk 2001/2002

Preceded by
Herakleopolis
Capital of Egypt
2060 BC – 1785 BC
Succeeded by
Avaris
Preceded by
Avaris
Capital of Egypt
1580 BC – c. 1353 BC
Succeeded by
Akhetaten
Preceded by
Akhetaten
Capital of Egypt
c. 1332 BC – 1085 BC
Succeeded by
Tanis
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.