View of Bubastis
|Location||Tell-Basta, Sharqia Governorate, Egypt|
Bubastis (Bohairic Coptic: ⲠⲟⲩⲃⲁⲥϯPoubasti; Greek: ΒούβαστιςBoubastis or ΒούβαστοςBoubastos ), 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). 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.
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.
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.
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.
Its ruins are located in the suburbs of the modern city of Zagazig.
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 is a city in Lower Egypt. Situated in the eastern part of the Nile delta, it is the capital of the governorate of Sharqia.
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". Ⲡⲟⲩⲃⲁⲥϯ, Ⲡⲟⲩⲁⲥϯ or Ⲃⲟⲩⲁⲥϯ.In later forms of Egyptian, sound shifts had altered the pronunciation. In Bohairic Coptic, the name is rendered
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.
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 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 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.
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 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 Eusebiusof 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; 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. After Bubastis was taken by the Persians, its walls were dismantled. 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Extant documents mention the names of three Christian bishops of Bubastis of the 4th and 5th centuries:
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.
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.
Memphis was the ancient capital of Inebu-hedj, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Mit Rahina, 20 km (12 mi) south of Giza.
Buto, Butus, or Butosus, now Tell El Fara'in, near the villages of Ibtu and Kom Butu and the city of Desouk, are names later given to an ancient city located 95 km east of Alexandria in the Nile Delta of Egypt. What in Classical times the Greeks called, Buto, stood about midway between the Taly (Bolbitine) and Thermuthiac (Sebennytic) branches of the Nile, a few kilometers north of the east-west Butic River and on the southern shore of the Butic Lake.
Mendes, the Greek name of the Ancient Egyptian city of Djedet, also known in Ancient Egypt as Per-Banebdjedet and Anpet, is known today as Tell El-Ruba.
Sais or Sa El Hagar was an ancient Egyptian town in the Western Nile Delta on the Canopic branch of the Nile. It was the provincial capital of Sap-Meh, the fifth nome of Lower Egypt and became the seat of power during the Twenty-fourth Dynasty of Egypt and the Saite Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt during the Late Period. Its Ancient Egyptian name was Zau.
Leontopolis was an Ancient Egyptian city located in the Nile Delta, Lower Egypt. It served as a provincial capital and Metropolitan Archbishopric, which remains a Latin Catholic titular see. The archaeological site and settlement are known today as Kafr Al Muqdam.
Edfu is an Egyptian city, located on the west bank of the Nile River between Esna and Aswan, with a population of approximately sixty thousand people. For the ancient history of the city, see below. Edfu is the site of the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus and an ancient settlement, Tell Edfu. About 5 km (3.1 mi) north of Edfu are remains of ancient pyramids.
Usermaatre Setepenamun Osorkon II was the fifth king of the Twenty-second Dynasty of Ancient Egypt and the son of King Takelot I and Queen Kapes. He ruled Egypt from approximately 872 BC to 837 BC from Tanis, the capital of that dynasty.
In Egyptian mythology, Pakhet, Egyptian Pḫ.t, meaning she who scratches is a lioness goddess of war.
Pithom also called Per-Atum or Heroöpolis or Heroonopolis was an ancient city of Egypt. Multiple references in ancient Greek, Roman, and Hebrew Bible sources exist for this city, but its exact location remains somewhat uncertain. A number of scholars identified it as the later archaeological site of Tell El Maskhuta. Others identified it as the earlier archeological site of Tell El Retabeh. The 10th century Jewish scholar, Saadia Gaon, identified the place in his Judeo-Arabic translation of the Pentateuch as Faiyum, 100 kilometres southwest of Cairo.
Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices of Ancient Egypt for more than 30 centuries. Several Ancient Egyptian deities were depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads such as Mafdet, Bastet and Sekhmet, representing justice, fertility and power. The deity Mut was also depicted as a cat and in the company of a cat.
Sebennytos or Sebennytus, was an ancient city of Lower Egypt, located on the Damietta (Sebennytic) branch of the Nile in the Delta. Sebennytos was the capital of Lower Egypt's twelfth nome. Sebennytos was also the seat of the Thirtieth Dynasty of Egypt.
Thmuis is a city in Lower Egypt, located on the canal east of the Nile, between its Tanitic and Mendesian branches.
Xois was a town of great antiquity and considerable size. It was located nearly in the center of the Nile Delta in Egypt, and is identified as the ancient Egyptian city of Khasut.
The Battle of Pelusium was the first major battle between the Achaemenid Empire and Egypt. This decisive battle transferred the throne of the Pharaohs to Cambyses II of Persia. It was fought near Pelusium, an important city in the eastern extremes of Egypt's Nile Delta, 30 km to the southeast of the modern Port Said, in 525 BC. The battle was preceded and followed by sieges at Gaza and Memphis.
The Department of Egyptian Antiquities of the Louvre of Paris, comprising over 50,000 pieces, includes artifacts from the Nile civilizations which date from 4,000 BC to the 4th century. The collection, among the world's largest, overviews Egyptian life spanning Ancient Egypt, the Middle Kingdom, the New Kingdom, Coptic art, and the Roman, Ptolemaic, and Byzantine periods.
Iuty was an ancient Egyptian vizier presumably of the Late New Kingdom whose family tomb made up of bricks was discovered in December 1964 by the Egyptian archaeologist Shafik Farid, in the so-called "Cemetery of the Nobles" of Bubastis. The tomb was situated near to the family tombs of Hory I and Hory II, two viceroys of Kush during the 20th Dynasty. Iuty’s tomb architecture has remained unpublished, but some objects of the burial equipment including faience and calcite shabtis as well as a calcite model scribe's palette have recently been studied. Iuty cannot be dated precisely at present; but according to the German Egyptologist Jan Moje, he may have officiated during the 20th Dynasty. A calcite canopic jar belonging to Iuty’s son, the high-priest of Bastet, Ay, was also found in the same tomb. Before this discovery Iuty was only known from a few objects seen at the beginning of the 20th century on the art market in Cairo.
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| Capital of Egypt |
945 - 715 BC