Bubastis

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Tell-Basta
Ⲡⲟⲩⲃⲁⲥϯ
تل بسطة
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Shown within Egypt
Alternative nameBubastis
Per-Bast
LocationTell-Basta, Sharqia Governorate, Egypt
Region Lower Egypt
Coordinates 30°34′22″N31°30′36″E / 30.57278°N 31.51000°E / 30.57278; 31.51000 Coordinates: 30°34′22″N31°30′36″E / 30.57278°N 31.51000°E / 30.57278; 31.51000
TypeSettlement
Site notes
ConditionIn ruins
Map of ancient Lower Egypt showing Avaris Lower Egypt-en.png
Map of ancient Lower Egypt showing Avaris
BubastisBubastisBubastis
Bubastis
Bubastis
in hieroglyphs

Bubastis (Bohairic Coptic: ⲠⲟⲩⲃⲁⲥϯPoubasti; Greek: ΒούβαστιςBoubastis [1] or ΒούβαστοςBoubastos [2] ), also known in Arabic as Tell-Basta or in Egyptian as Per-Bast, was an Ancient Egyptian city. Bubastis is often identified with the biblical Pi-Beseth (Hebrew : פי-בסתpy-bst, Ezekiel 30:17). [3] It was the capital of its own nome, located along the River Nile in the Delta region of Lower Egypt, and notable as a center of worship for the feline goddess Bastet, and therefore the principal depository in Egypt of mummies of cats.

Copts An ethnoreligious group indigenous to North Africa

The Copts are an ethnoreligious group indigenous to Northeast Africa who primarily inhabit the area of modern Egypt, where they are the largest Christian denomination in the country. Copts are also the largest Christian denomination in Sudan and Libya. Historically, they spoke the Coptic language, a direct descendant of the Demotic Egyptian that was spoken in late antiquity. While the vast majority of Copts are of Egyptian ancestry, North Africans and Northeast Africans who have converted to the religion also identify as such.

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE

The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by Medieval Greek.

Egyptian language Language spoken in ancient Egypt, branch of the Afro-Asiatic languages

The Egyptian language was spoken in ancient Egypt and was a branch of the Afro-Asiatic languages. Its attestation stretches over an extraordinarily long time, from the Old Egyptian stage. Its earliest known complete written sentence has been dated to about 2690 BC, which makes it one of the oldest recorded languages known, along with Sumerian.

Contents

Its ruins are located in the suburbs of the modern city of Zagazig.

Ruins Remains of human-made architecture

Ruins are the remains of human-made architecture: structures that were once intact have fallen, as time went by, into a state of partial or total disrepair, due to lack of maintenance or deliberate acts of destruction. Natural disaster, war and population decline are the most common root causes, with many structures becoming progressively derelict over time due to long-term weathering and scavenging.

Zagazig Place in Sharqia, Egypt

Zagazig is a city in Lower Egypt. Situated in the eastern part of the Nile delta, it is the capital of the governorate of Sharqia.

Etymology

The name of Bubastis in Egyptian is Pr-Bȝst.t, conventionally pronounced Per-Bast but its Earlier Egyptian pronunciation can be reconstructed as /ˈpaɾu-buˈʀistit/. It is a compound of Egyptian pr “house" and the name of the goddess Bastet; thus the phrase means "House of Bast". [4] In later forms of Egyptian, sound shifts had altered the pronunciation. In Bohairic Coptic, the name is rendered Ⲡⲟⲩⲃⲁⲥϯ, Ⲡⲟⲩⲁⲥϯ or Ⲃⲟⲩⲁⲥϯ.

Bastet Egyptian deity

Bastet or Bast was a goddess of ancient Egyptian religion, worshiped as early as the Second Dynasty. Her name also is rendered as B'sst, Baast, Ubaste, and Baset. In ancient Greek religion, she was known as Ailuros.

History

Hathor capital from the Temple of Bubastis on display at the Nicholson Museum Hathor capital on display at the Nicholson Museum.jpg
Hathor capital from the Temple of Bubastis on display at the Nicholson Museum

Bubastis served as the capital of the nome of Am-Khent, the Bubastite nome, the 18th nome of Lower Egypt. Bubastis was situated southwest of Tanis, upon the eastern side of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile. The nome and city of Bubastis were allotted to the Calasirian division of the Egyptian war-caste.

A nome was a territorial division in ancient Egypt.

Lower Egypt northernmost region of Egypt

Lower Egypt is the northernmost region of Egypt, which consists of the fertile Nile Delta, between Upper Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea — from El Aiyat, south of modern-day Cairo, and Dahshur. Historically, the Nile River split into seven branches of the delta in Lower Egypt. Lower Egypt was divided into nomes and began to advance as a civilization after 3600 BC. Today, it contains two major channels that flow through the delta of the Nile River.

Tanis village and ancient city in Sharqia Governorate, Egypt

Tanis is a city in the north-eastern Nile Delta of Egypt. It is located on the Tanitic branch of the Nile which has long since silted up.

It became a royal residence after Shoshenq I, the first ruler and founder of the 22nd dynasty, became pharaoh in 943 BC. Bubastis was its height during this dynasty and the 23rd. It declined after the conquest by Cambyses II in 525 BC, which heralded the end of the Saite 26th dynasty and the start of the Achaemenid Empire.

Shoshenq I Pharaoh of Egypt

Hedjkheperre Setepenre Shoshenq I —also known as Sheshonk or Sheshonq I—was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt and the founder of the Twenty-second Dynasty of Egypt. Of Meshwesh ancestry, Shoshenq I was the son of Nimlot A, Great Chief of the Ma, and his wife Tentshepeh A, a daughter of a Great Chief of the Ma herself. He is presumed to be the Shishak mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, and his exploits are carved on the Bubastite Portal at Karnak.

The Twenty-second Dynasty of Egypt is also known as the Bubastite Dynasty, since the pharaohs originally ruled from the city of Bubastis. It was founded by Shoshenq I.

Pharaoh Title of Ancient Egyptian rulers

Pharaoh is the common title of the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the actual term "Pharaoh" was not used contemporaneously for a ruler until Merneptah, c. 1200 BCE. In the early dynasty, ancient Egyptian kings used to have up to three titles, the Horus, the Sedge and Bee (nswt-bjtj) name, and the Two Ladies (nbtj) name. The Golden Horus and nomen and prenomen titles were later added.

The Twenty Second Dynasty of Egyptian monarchs consisted of nine, or, according to Eusebius [5] of three Bubastite kings, and during their reigns the city was one of the most considerable places in the Delta. Immediately to the south of Bubastis were the allotments of land with which Psamtik I rewarded the services of his Ionian and Carian mercenaries; [6] and on the northern side of the city commenced the canal which Pharaoh Necho II began (but never finished) to go between the Nile and the Red Sea. [7] After Bubastis was taken by the Persians, its walls were dismantled. [8] From this period it gradually declined, although it appears in ecclesiastical annals among the episcopal sees of the province Augustamnica Secunda. Bubastite coins of the age of Hadrian exist.

Eusebius Greek church historian

Eusebius of Caesarea, also known as Eusebius Pamphili, was a historian of Christianity, exegete, and Christian polemicist. He became the bishop of Caesarea Maritima about 314 AD. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon and is regarded as an extremely learned Christian of his time. He wrote Demonstrations of the Gospel, Preparations for the Gospel, and On Discrepancies between the Gospels, studies of the Biblical text. As "Father of Church History", he produced the Ecclesiastical History, On the Life of Pamphilus, the Chronicle and On the Martyrs. He also produced a biographical work on the first Christian Emperor, Constantine the Great, who ruled between 306 and 337 AD.

Psamtik I Pharaoh

Wahibre Psamtik I, known by the Greeks as Psammeticus or Psammetichus, who ruled 664–610 BC, was the first of three kings of that name of the Saite, or Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt. Historical references for what the Greeks referred to as the Dodecarchy, a loose confederation of twelve Egyptian territories, based on the traditional nomes, and the rise of Psamtik I in power, establishing the Saitic Dynasty, are recorded in Herodotus's Histories, Book II: 151–157. From cuneiform texts, it was discovered that twenty local princelings were appointed by Esarhaddon and confirmed by Ashurbanipal to govern Egypt.

Ionians ethnic group

The Ionians were one of the four major tribes that the Greeks considered themselves to be divided into during the ancient period; the other three being the Dorians, Aeolians, and Achaeans. The Ionian dialect was one of the three major linguistic divisions of the Hellenic world, together with the Dorian and Aeolian dialects.

The following is the description which Herodotus gives of Bubastis, as it appeared shortly after the period of the Persian invasion, 525 BC, and Hamilton remarks that the plan of the ruins remarkably warrants the accuracy of this historical eye-witness.

Temples there are more spacious and costlier than that of Bubastis, but none so pleasant to behold. It is after the following fashion. Except at the entrance, it is surrounded by water: for two canals branch off from the river, and run as far as the entrance to the temple: yet neither canal mingles with the other, but one runs on this side, and the other on that. Each canal is a hundred feet wide, and its banks are lined with trees. The propylaea are sixty feet in height, and are adorned with sculptures (probably intaglios in relief) nine feet high, and of excellent workmanship. The Temple being in the middle of the city is looked down upon from all sides as you walk around; and this comes from the city having been raised, whereas the temple itself has not been moved, but remains in its original place. Quite round the temple there goes a wall, adorned with sculptures. Within the inclosure is a grove of fair tall trees, planted around a large building in which is the effigy (of Bast). The form of that temple is square, each side being a stadium in length. In a line with the entrance is a road built of stone about three stadia long, leading eastwards through the public market. The road is about 400 feet (120 m) broad, and is flanked by exceeding tall trees. It leads to the temple of Hermes. [9]

Religion

Relief of the pharaoh Amenhotep II, made of red granite. It depicts the pharaoh worshiping the god Amun. From the 18th Dynasty, circa 1430 BC, with an additional inscription by Seti I (circa 1290 BC). Originally from Bubastis, British Museum. AmenophisIIRelief-BritishMuseum-August19-08.jpg
Relief of the pharaoh Amenhotep II, made of red granite. It depicts the pharaoh worshiping the god Amun. From the 18th Dynasty, circa 1430 BC, with an additional inscription by Seti I (circa 1290 BC). Originally from Bubastis, British Museum.

Bubastis was a center of worship for the feline goddess Bastet, sometimes called Bubastis after the city, who the Greeks identified with Artemis. The cat was the sacred and peculiar animal of Bast, who is represented with the head of a cat or a lioness and frequently accompanies the deity Ptah in monumental inscriptions. The tombs at Bubastis were accordingly the principal depository in Egypt of the mummies of the cat. [11] [12]

The most distinguished features of the city and nome of Bubastis were its oracle of Bast, the splendid temple of that goddess and the annual procession in honor of her. The oracle gained in popularity and importance after the influx of Greek settlers into the Delta, since the identification of Bast with Artemis attracted to her shrine both native Egyptians and foreigners.

The festival of Bubastis was the most joyous and gorgeous of all in the Egyptian calendar as described by Herodotus:

Barges and river craft of every description, filled with men and women, floated leisurely down the Nile. The men played on pipes of lotus. the women on cymbals and tambourines, and such as had no instruments accompanied the music with clapping of hands and dances, and other joyous gestures. Thus did they while on the river: but when they came to a town on its banks, the barges were made fast, and the pilgrims disembarked, and the women sang, playfully mocked the women of that town and threw their clothes over their head. When they reached Bubastis, then held they a wondrously solemn feast: and more wine of the grape was drank in those days than in all the rest of the year. Such was the manner of this festival: and, it is said, that as many as seven hundred thousand pilgrims have been known to celebrate the Feast of Bast at the same time. [13]

Christian bishopric

Extant documents mention the names of three Christian bishops of Bubastis of the 4th and 5th centuries:

Excavations

The tomb of the late New Kingdom vizier Iuty was discovered in December 1964 in the "Cemetery of the Nobles" of Bubastis by the Egyptian archaeologist Shafik Farid.

Upper part, figure of an official of Amenhotep III, from a double statue. From Bubastis (Tell-Basta), Egypt. From the Amelia Edwards Collection. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London Upper part, figure of an official of Amenhotep III, from a double statue. From Bubastis (Tell-Basta), Egypt. From the Amelia Edwards Collection. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London.jpg
Upper part, figure of an official of Amenhotep III, from a double statue. From Bubastis (Tell-Basta), Egypt. From the Amelia Edwards Collection. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London

Since 2008, the German-Egyptian "Tell Basta Project" has been conducting excavations at Bubastis. Previously, in March 2004, a well preserved copy of the Decree of Canopus was discovered in the city. [17]

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References

  1. Herodotus ii. 59, 137
  2. Strabo xvii. p. 805, Diodorus xvi. 51, Plin. v. 9. s. 9, Ptol. iv. 5. § 52.
  3. Ezek. 30:17. בחורי און ופי-בסת, בחרב יפלו; והןה, בשבי תלכןה. "Youths of Awen and Pi-Beset will fall by the sword; and they (fem) will go into captivity." הןה "they (feminine)" cannot refer to the youths, and so must refer to the cities. Hebrew words meaning "city" are generally feminine (עיר, קריה).
  4. Mohamed I. Bakr, Helmut Brandl, "Bubastis and the Temple of Bastet", in: M.I. Bakr, H. Brandl, F. Kalloniatis (eds.), Egyptian Antiquities from Kufur Nigm and Bubastis. Museums in the Nile Delta Archived January 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine (M.i.N.) vol. 1, Cairo/ Berlin 2010, pp. 27-36, ISBN   978-3-00-033509-9.
  5. Chronicon
  6. Herodotus ii. 154
  7. Herodotus ii. 158
  8. Diod. xvi. 51.
  9. Herodotus ii. 59, 60.
  10. British Museum Collection
  11. Evans, Elaine A. "Cat Mummies". McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture. McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  12. Scott, Nora E. "The Cat of Bastet" (PDF). Metropolitan Museum of Art. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  13. PD-icon.svg   Smith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Bubastis". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography . London: John Murray. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
  14. Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Leipzig 1931, p. 461
  15. Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. II, coll. 559-562
  16. Klaas A. Worp, A Checklist of Bishops in Byzantine Egypt (A.D. 325 - c. 750), in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 100 (1994) 283-318
  17. Tell Basta Project (EES/ University of Göttingen/ SCA) Archived 2013-10-30 at the Wayback Machine Egypt Exploration Society
Preceded by
Tanis
Capital of Egypt
945 - 715 BC
Succeeded by
Leontopolis