Lower Egypt

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Lower Egypt
ⲧⲥⲁϧⲏⲧ, ⲡⲥⲁⲙⲉⲛϩⲓⲧ
مصر السفلى
c. 3500 BC–c. 3100 BC
Capital Memphis
Common languages Ancient Egyptian
Religion
Ancient Egyptian religion
Government Monarchy
King  
 Unknown
Unknown (first)
 c. 3150 BC
Unknown (last)
History 
 Established
c. 3500 BC
 Disestablished
c. 3100 BC
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Prehistoric Egypt
Early Dynastic Period (Egypt) Blank.png
Today part of Egypt
Egypt adm location map.svg
Map of Lower Egypt showing important sites that were occupied during the Protodynastic Period of Egypt (clickable map)
Deshret, the Red Crown of Lower Egypt Deshret.svg
Deshret, the Red Crown of Lower Egypt
Map of Lower Egypt with its historical nomes Lower Egypt Nomes 01.png
Map of Lower Egypt with its historical nomes

Lower Egypt (Arabic : مصر السفلىMiṣr as-Suflā; Coptic : ⲧⲥⲁϧⲏⲧ, romanized: Tsakhet) 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. [1] Today, it contains two major channels that flow through the delta of the Nile River – Mahmoudiyah Canal (ancient Agathos Daimon) and Muways Canal (Arabic : بحر موَيس, "waterway of Moses").

Contents

Name

In Ancient Egyptian, Lower Egypt was known as mḥw and means "north". [2] Later on, during Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Greeks and Romans called it Κάτω Αἴγυπτος or Aegyptus Inferior both meaning "Lower Egypt", but Copts carried on using the old name related to the north – Tsakhet (Coptic : ⲧⲥⲁϦⲏⲧ) or Psanemhit (Coptic : ⲡⲥⲁⲛⲉⲙϩⲓⲧ) meaning the "Northern part", which they also divided into three regions – western part called ⲛⲓⲫⲁⲓⲁⲧ Niphaiat ("Libyans"), central part called ⲡⲉⲧⲙⲟⲩⲣ Petmour ("the one which bounds, girds", Greek: Πτιμυρις [3] ), and eastern one called ϯⲁⲣⲁⲃⲓⲁ Tiarabia ("Arabia"). [4]

After the Muslim conquest, the middle part of the Delta (former Petmour) was called al-Rif (Arabic : الريف) which means "countryside, rural area" and which is derived from Ancient Egyptian

Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt
Lower EgyptLower Egypt
Lower Egypt

r-pr, "temple", because the rural areas were administered by them. [5] The eastern part roughly comprising the ancient Tiarabia was called al-Hawf (Arabic : الهوف) meaning "edge, fringe". [6]

Geography

In ancient times, Pliny the Elder, in Natural History (Book 5, chapter 11), said that upon reaching the delta the Nile split into seven branches (from east to west): the Pelusiac, the Tanitic, the Mendesian, the Phatnitic, the Sebennytic, the Bolbitine, and the Canopic. Today, there are two principal channels that the Nile takes through the river delta: one in the west at Rashid and one in the east at Damietta.

The delta region is well watered, crisscrossed by channels and canals.

Owing primarily to its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, the climate in Lower Egypt is milder than that of Upper Egypt, the southern portion of the country. Temperatures are less extreme and rainfall is more abundant in Lower Egypt.

History

It was divided into twenty districts called nomes, the first of which was at el-Lisht. Because Lower Egypt was mostly undeveloped scrubland, filled with all types of plant life such as grasses and herbs, the organization of the nomes underwent several changes.

The capital of Lower Egypt was Memphis. Its patron goddess was the goddess Wadjet, depicted as a cobra. Lower Egypt was represented by the Red Crown Deshret , and its symbols were the papyrus and the bee. After unification, the patron deities of both Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt were represented together as the Two Ladies , Wadjet and Nekhbet (depicted as a vulture), to protect all of the ancient Egyptians.

By approximately 3600 BC, Neolithic Egyptian societies along the Nile River had based their culture on the raising of crops and the domestication of animals. [7] Shortly after 3600 BC, Egyptian society began to grow and advance rapidly toward refined civilization. [1] A new and distinctive pottery, which was related to the pottery in the Southern Levant, appeared during this time. Extensive use of copper became common during this time. [1] The Mesopotamian process of sun-dried bricks, and architectural building principles—including the use of the arch and recessed walls for decorative effect—became popular during this time. [1]

Concurrent with these cultural advances, a process of unification of the societies and towns of the upper Nile River, or Upper Egypt, occurred. At the same time, the societies of the Nile Delta, or Lower Egypt also underwent a unification process. [1] Warfare between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt occurred often. [1] During his reign in Upper Egypt, King Narmer defeated his enemies in the Delta and merged the kingdoms of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt under his single rule. [8]

List of kings of the Predynastic Period of Lower Egypt

The Palermo stone, a royal annal written in the mid Fifth Dynasty (c. 2490 BC c. 2350 BC) records a number of kings reigning over Lower Egypt before Narmer. These are completely unattested outside these inscriptions:

Name
Hsekiu [9]
Khayu [9]
Tiu [9]
Thesh [9]
Neheb [9]
Wazner [9]
Mekh [9]
(destroyed) [9]

In contrast, the following kings are attested through archeological finds from Sinai and Lower Egypt: Double Falcon, Crocodile.

List of nomes

NumberEgyptian NameCapitalModern name of capital siteEnglish TranslationGod
1 Inebu-hedj Ineb Hedj / Men-nefer / Menfe (Memphis)Mit RahinaWhite Walls Ptah
2 Khensu Khem (Letopolis)AusimCow's thigh Horus
3 Ahment Imu (Apis) Kom el-Hisn West Hathor
4 Sapi-Res Ptkheka Tanta Southern shield Sobek, Isis, Amun
5 Sap-Meh Zau (Sais)Sa el-HagarNorthern shield Neith
6 Khaset Khasu (Xois)SakhaMountain bullAmun-Ra
7 A-ment (Hermopolis Parva, Metelis) Damanhur West harpoon Hu
8 A-bt Tjeku / Per-Atum (Heroonpolis, Pithom) Tell el-Maskhuta East harpoon Atum
9 Ati Djed (Busiris)Abu Sir Bara Andjeti Osiris
10 Ka-khem Hut-hery-ib (Athribis) Banha (Tell Atrib)Black bullHorus
11 Ka-heseb Taremu (Leontopolis)Tell el-UrydamHeseb bullIsis
12 Theb-ka Tjebnutjer (Sebennytos)SamanudCalf and Cow Onuris
13 Heq-At Iunu (Heliopolis)Materiya (suburb of Cairo)Prospering Sceptre Ra
14 Khent-abt Tjaru (Sile, Tanis)Tell Abu SefaEastmostHorus
15 Tehut Ba'h / Weprehwy (Hermopolis Parva) Baqliya Ibis Thoth
16 Kha Djedet (Mendes)Tell el-RubˁFish Banebdjedet, or Hatmehyt
17 Semabehdet Semabehdet (Diospolis Inferior) Tell el-Balamun The throneAmun-Ra
18 Am-Khent Per-Bastet (Bubastis)Tell Bastah (near Zagazig)Prince of the South Bastet
19 Am-Pehu Dja'net (Leontopolis Tanis) Tell Nebesha or San el-Hagar Prince of the North Uatchet
20 Sopdu Per-Sopdu Saft el-Hinna Plumed Falcon Sopdet

See also

Related Research Articles

In Egyptian history, the Upper and Lower Egypt period was the final stage of prehistoric Egypt and directly preceded the unification of the realm. The conception of Egypt as the Two Lands was an example of the dualism in ancient Egyptian culture and frequently appeared in texts and imagery, including in the titles of Egyptian pharaohs.

Wadjet Ancient Egyptian snake-headed goddess, symbolizing Lower Egypt

Wadjet, known to the Greek world as Uto or Buto among other renderings including Wedjat, Uadjet, and Udjo, was originally the ancient local goddess of the city of Dep. It became part of the city that the Egyptians named Per-Wadjet and the Greeks called Buto, which was an important site in prehistoric Egypt and the cultural developments of the Paleolithic. There was also a Per-Wadjet in Upper Egypt.

Buto Archaeological site in Egypt

Buto, Bouto, Butus or Butosus was a city that the Ancient Egyptians called Per-Wadjet. It was 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.

Upper Egypt is the southern portion of Egypt and is composed of the lands on both sides of the Nile that extend upriver from Lower Egypt in the north to Nubia in the south.

Narmer Ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period

Narmer was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period. He was the successor to the Protodynastic king Ka. Many scholars consider him the unifier of Egypt and founder of the First Dynasty, and in turn the first king of a unified Egypt. A majority of Egyptologists believe that Narmer was the same person as Menes.

Bubastis Archaeological site in Egypt

Bubastis, 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. 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.

Early Dynastic Period (Egypt) Era immediately following the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt (c. 3150 BC – c. 2686 BC)

The Archaic or Early Dynastic Period of Egypt is the era immediately following the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt c. 3100 BC. It is generally taken to include the First and Second Dynasties, lasting from the end of the Naqada III archaeological period until about 2686 BC, or the beginning of the Old Kingdom. With the First Dynasty, the capital moved from Thinis to Memphis with a unified Egypt ruled by an Egyptian god-king. Abydos remained the major religious center in the south. The hallmarks of ancient Egyptian civilization, such as art, architecture and many aspects of religion, took shape during the Early Dynastic Period.

Deshret Red crown of Lower Egypt

Deshret was the formal name for the Red Crown of Lower Egypt and for the desert Red Land on either side of Kemet, the fertile Nile river basin. When combined with the Hedjet of Upper Egypt, it forms the Pschent, in ancient Egyptian called the sekhemti.

Samannud is a city (markaz) located in Gharbia Governorate, Egypt. Known in classical antiquity as Sebennytos, Samannud is a historic city that has been inhabited since the Ancient Egyptian period. As of 2019, the population of the markaz of Samannud was estimated to be 410,388, with 83,417 people living in urban areas and 326,971 in rural areas.

Benha City in Qalyubia, Egypt

Banha is the capital of the Qalyubiyya Governorate in north-eastern Egypt. Between the capital of Cairo and the city of Tanta, Banha is an important transport hub, as rail lines from Cairo to various cities in the Nile Delta pass through it. Banha was founded as a city in 1850.

Bahr Yussef Canal which connects the Nile River with Fayyum in Egypt

The Bahr Yussef is a canal which connects the Nile River with Fayyum in Egypt.

Asyut City in Egypt

Asyut is the capital of the modern Asyut Governorate in Egypt. It was built close to the ancient city of the same name, which is situated nearby. The modern city is located at 27°11′00″N31°10′00″E, while the ancient city is located at 27°10′00″N31°08′00″E. The city is home to one of the largest Coptic Catholic churches in the country.

Sohag City in Egypt

Sohag, also spelled as Sawhāj, Suhag and Suhaj, is a city on the west bank of the Nile in Egypt. It has been the capital of Sohag Governorate since 1960, before which the capital was Girga and the name of the governorate was Girga Governorate. It also included Esna Governorate.

Girga City in Sohag, Egypt

Girga is a city in the Sohag Governorate of Upper Egypt. It is located on the west bank of the Nile River.

Sakha, Egypt Place in Kafr El Sheikh, Egypt

Sakha, also known by the ancient name of Xois is a town in Kafr El Sheikh Governorate of Egypt. Located near the center of the Nile Delta, it is a city of great antiquity, identified with the ancient Egyptian city of Ḫꜣsww(t).

Middle Egypt Section of land between Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt

Middle Egypt is the section of land between Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt, stretching upstream from Asyut in the south to Memphis in the north. At the time, Ancient Egypt was divided into Lower and Upper Egypt, though Middle Egypt was technically a subdivision of Upper Egypt. It was not until the 19th century that archaeologists felt the need to divide Upper Egypt in two. As a result, they coined the term "Middle Egypt" for the stretch of river between Cairo and the Qena Bend. It was also associated with a region termed "Heptanomis", generally as the district which separates the Thebaïd from the Delta.

Babylon Fortress

Babylon Fortress is an Ancient Roman fortress, built around 30 BC with the arrival of emperor Augustus in Egypt, on the eastern bank of the Nile Delta, located in the area known today as Coptic Cairo. It is situated in the former area of the Heliopolite Nome, upon the east bank of the Nile, at latitude 30°N, near the commencement of the Pharaonic Canal, from the Nile to the Red Sea.

Damanhur City in Beheira, Egypt

Damanhur is a city in Lower Egypt, and the capital of the Beheira Governorate. It is located 160 km (99 mi) northwest of Cairo, and 70 km (43 mi) E.S.E. of Alexandria, in the middle of the western Nile Delta.

Fuwwah City in Kafr El Sheikh, Egypt

Fuwwah is a city in the Kafr El Sheikh Governorate, Egypt.

Tell Nebesha Archaeological site in Egypt

Tell Nebesha or Nebesheh is an archaeological site in Egypt, and the location of the ancient city of Imet. It is found around 10km south of Tanis in the Eastern Nile Delta. This was the ancient capital of the 19th Nome of Lower Egypt. By the Assyrian period, it was succeeded by Tanis.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Carl Roebuck, The World of Ancient Times (Charles Scribner's Sons: New York, 1966) p. 52-53.
  2. "TM Places". www.trismegistos.org. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  3. "TM Places". www.trismegistos.org. Retrieved 2020-03-06.
  4. Champollion, Jean-François (1814). L'Égypte sous les pharaons, ou recherches sur la géographie, la religion, la langue, les écritures et l'histoire de l'Égypte avant l'invasion de Cambyse. Paris: Bure. p. 5.
  5. "ريف - Wiktionary". en.wiktionary.org. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  6. Adel, Arsanious. "Administrative Organization Of Egypt - Coptic Wiki" . Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  7. Carl Roebuck, The World of Ancient Times (Charles Scribner's Sons Publishing: New York, 1966) p. 51.
  8. Carl Roebuck, The World of Ancient Times (Charles Scribner's Sons Publishers: New York, 1966), p. 53.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Breasted (1909) p.36