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Cheops

(167 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Egyptian Nmw-ḫwj.f-wj; Hdt. Χέοψ ( Chéops), Manetho Σοῦφις ( Soûphis), Ps.-Eratosth. fr. 17 Σαῶφις ( Saôphis); in Diod. Sic. 1,63 also  Chemmis/Χέμμις). Second ruler of the 4th dynasty; according to the Turin Papyrus of Kings reigned 23 years ( c. 2550 BC). Nothing is known of political events during his reign. C. inaugurated the necropolis at  Giza, where with the construction of his pyramid (the largest) and establishment of a cemetery for members of the elite he realized the concept of a unified royal residence nec…

Imuthes

(205 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] [1] see Petobastis IV see  Petobastis IV Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) [German version] [2] Official of Heliopolis (Imhotep; Egyptian Jj-m-Ḥtp; Greek Ἰμούθης/ Imoúthēs). Documented in contemporary inscriptions and papyri at the beginning of the 3rd Dynasty (around 2650 BC) under  Djoser and Sechemchet as the highest ranking official, senior demesne administrator and high priest of  Heliopolis, perhaps also in the (cult?) role of senior sculptor and site manager. In light of later tradition, he …

Abū Simbel

(252 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] A location on the west bank of the Nile valley in Nubia, c. 250 km south of Aswān, where Ramses II had two temples hewn out of rock cliffs [1]. The great temple in the south is dedicated to the holy triad of Amun, Ptah and Re-Harakhte, and to the Pharaoh himself. Its pylon-shaped stone facade is dominated by four 20-metre statues of the throned Pharaoh. Inside, two halls with massive square pillars and a transverse hall lead to the inner sanctuary; the temple axis is oriented in such a way th…

Mendes

(122 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Egyptian np.t or ( Pr-b-nb) -Ḏd.t; modern Tall al-Rub). Town in the north eastern Nile delta, metropolis of the 16th nome of Lower Egypt and cultic centre of the ram god B-nb-Ḏd.t (‘Ram, Lord of M.’). Recent excavations have unearthed extensive findings from as early as the Old Kingdom, including a cemetery for public officials from the 6th Dynasty (2290-2157 BC) and the 1st Intermediate Period (2154-2040). Other remains provide evidence of a temple of the New Kingdom. M. flourished particularly in the Lat…

Heracleopolis magna

(113 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Pilgrimage (Egyptian Nn-njswt, modern Ihnāsiyat al-madīna). Town on the western bank of the Nile near the entrance of the  Faiyum; metropolis of the 20th Upper Egyptian nome; cult site of the ram god Harsaphes who was equated with  Heracles, and place of origin of the Heracleopolitan 9th/10th Dynasties in the First Intermediate Period. The archaeological remains (grave fields and temples) extend back to the First Intermediate Period or the Middle Kingdom (1st half of the 2nd millennium BC). Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (…

Dodekaschoinos

(113 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] ‘Twelve mile land’, term in the Graeco-Roman period (Ptol. 4,5,74 and Hdt. 2,29) for the c. 135 km long northern sector of Nubia between  Syene and Takompso ( Tqmps)/Hierosycaminus (al-Maharraqa) [1] that was transferred by the rulers to the temple of  Isis at  Philae mainly for the levy of taxes on the transport of goods. In a stone stele at Seḥel claiming to date back to the Old Kingdom, but in fact probably from the time of Ptolemy V, the priesthood of the Chnum temple at  Elephantine claims older rights to this region [2]. Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) Bibliogra…

Nile

(1,387 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] River of Egypt, Egyptian ḥpj (actually the N. flood) or jtrw ( ­) ‘the (large)river’; therefore Coptic joor and Hebrew jeōr; Greek Neĩlos (Νεῖλος), since Hesiod (Hes. Theog. 338); Homer (Hom. Od. 4,447) calls the river and the country Aígyptos (Αἰγυπτος). With 6,695 km it is the longest river in the world. The source rivers, the Blue and White Nile, originate in Lake Tana (Ethiopia) and Lake Victoria (Uganda) respectively to unite near Khartum (Sudan). After the inflow of the Atbara river, the N. flows without addi…

Gizeh

(192 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] Egyptian necropolis for the residence of the Old Kingdom (2700-2190 BC) on a plateau in the Libyan desert west of Cairo that juts out prominently. The pyramid complexes of the Kings  Cheops,  Chefren and  Mycerinus from the 4th dynasty ( c. 2600-2400 BC) characterize the place; they are surrounded by the  mastabas and cliff tombs of the members of the royal family and high officials. After the 4th dynasty the cemetery was, by the end of the Old Kingdom, intensively occupied further by private tombs, particularly by the …

Senis

(142 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Σῆνις; Sênis; Demotic Snj). Greek form of the Egyptian toponym Snm.t, which is documented under various names, particularly Τμουσάνις/ Tmousánis ('the island of Snj'). Snm.t denoted the island of Bīǧa (possibly also an originally larger group of islands) in the First Cataract of the Nile on the border between Egypt and Nubia to the west of Philae. Bīǧa is primarily known through rock inscriptions from the Middle Kingdom; there is also written evidence of a border fortification. Remains of a temple date …

Apotropaic texts

(342 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] In Egyptian magic for warding off enemies, a figure made of clay, wax, wood or stone that resembled the fettered enemy was inscribed with the name of the person against whom the  spell was meant to work. Spell 37 from the coffin texts describes this process and instructs the person casting the spell to bury the figure in a graveyard after reciting a magic spell. These so-called apotropaic figures, whose inscriptions were aimed against individual persons (sometimes grouped with fam…

Saqqara

(325 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] Necropolis area with a length of c. 7.5 km at the edge of the Libyan desert south of Cairo. The heartland (S. north) was laid out in the 1st Dynasty (around 3000 BC) as a necropolis of Memphis on a hill above the newly founded city with a cemetery for the highest officials and members of the royal house. From the 2nd Dynasty (and right through to the 1st Intermediate Period), royal tomb complexes were repeatedly built in S., for example the pyramid complex of Djoser whose proximity was …

Pyramid

(2,023 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
(Egyptian mr, Greek πυραμίς/ pyramís, Lat. pyramis). Monumental funerary structure, originally of the Egyptian kings, on a square layout, with, in the ideal case, planar triangular sides. The term in archaeology for the apex of the pyramid, formed from a single block of stone and often especially decorated, is pyramidion (Egyptian bnbn.t). [German version] I. Origin and interpretation The two oldest phases of the first pyramid, the step-pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara ( c. 2700 BC), still display the simple mastaba form on a confined rectangular plan, whi…

Elephantine

(358 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Egypt | India, trade with | Egypt (Egypt. bw, ‘elephant’ or ‘ivory island’). Island at the northern end of the first cataract of the Nile; the settlement on its southern tip [1] dates back to late prehistoric times. During the 1st dynasty, a fortress was built in this border region between Egypt and Nubia; at the time of the Old Kingdom, it was extended into a fortified town. From then on, E. was the capital of the first Upper Egyptian nome and its so…

Edfu

(108 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Egypt. Ḏb; Greek Ἀπολλωνόσπολις μεγάλη; Apollōnóspolis megálē). City on the western shore of the Nile in the south of Upper Egypt, at the end of important caravan routes to the red Sea and to the gold mines of the Eastern desert. Capital of the second Upper Egyptian district. The temple of Horus from the Ptolemaic period (built by Ptolemy III-XII) is excellently preserved, and its rich decorations with images and writing are an important source for the religion of late Egypt [1; 2]. Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography 1 Le temple d'Edfou I-XV, 1897-1985 2…

Hyksos

(373 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Egyptian Ḥq.w-ḫs.wt, ‘Rulers of foreign lands’; Greek Ὑκσώς/ Hyksṓs) Rulers of foreign peoples are sporadically named H. from the late Old Kingdom onwards: the Turin Royal Canon assigns this term to a dynasty of six kings of foreign origin (15th Dynasty, c. 1650-1540 BC) in the 2nd intermediate period, whose first representatives bore this title themselves before fully adopting the Egyptian royal titulature later on. Josephus (Ap. 1,14,82ff.), based on  Manetho, incorrectly applies the term, and with an inexact etymol…

Heliopolis, Heliupolis

(219 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] [1] City on the edge of the Nile delta This item can be found on the following maps: Aegean Koine Egyptian Jwnw, Hebrew ʾôn, modern Matarije. City on the eastern edge of the southern tip of the Nile delta axis (today a suburb of Cairo), metropolis of the 13th Lower Egyptian district and from the Old Kingdom the most important cult centre of the sun god in his forms  Aton and Re-Harachte ( Re). H. was of central theological significance in a myth of creation which in the generational model of the ‘Ennead…

Sephres

(110 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Σεφρής/ Sephrḗs, Manetho (Sync. 107); Egyptian S­ḥw-R/ Sahure). Second king of the 5th dynasty ( c. 2496-2483 BC), probably the brother of Userkaf and a son of Queen Khentkaus. His pyramid temples near Abū Ṣīr are preserved relatively well, esp. their relief decoration; they are representatives of the canonical type (pyramid).The sun-temple of S. is known from written sources, but has not yet been found. Finds of isolated groups of statues probably originate from there. Several expeditions to Sinai and Nubia are documented in annals and expedition inscriptions. Se…

Mastaba

(395 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Arabic: ‘bench’). Basic form for ancient Egyptian non-royal graves in the Old Kingdom. The emergence of the mastaba form can be traced to the beginning of the first dynasty (3000-2870 BC) in the region of Memphis. It consists of long, rectangular, north-south oriented, high and solidly filled-in structures with sloping side walls, which reproduce the basic shape of a house in an elementary stylised manner. Originally, the structure covered the grave chamber, which was situated in…

Chefren

(126 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Egyptian Ḫj.f-R, possibly R-ḫj.f; Hdt. 2,127 Χεφρήν ( Chephrḗn), Diod. Sic. 1,64 Κεφρήν ( Kephrḗn), Manetho in allusion to Cheops Σοῦφις ( Soûphis), Ps.-Eratosth. fr. 17 Σαῶφις ( Saôphis). Fourth ruler of the 4th dynasty; according to the Turin royal papyrus reigned 26 years ( c. 2500 BC). Nothing is known of political events during his reign. After the death of his brother Djedefre C. erected his own monument at the necropolis of his father  Cheops in  Giza, building the second largest pyramid. Mortuary and valley temp…

Djoser

(178 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Egypt. Ḏsr, only the Horus name Nṯrj-ẖt is attested in contemporary sources; in Manetho Τόσορθρος/ Tósorthros or Σέσορθος/ Sésorthos). First or second king of the 3rd Dynasty; according to the Turin Papyrus of Kings ruled for 19 years ( c. 2650 BC); no political events from his period are known. Probably with the collaboration of Imhotep ( Imuthes), D. erected a monumental funerary complex in Saqqara, in the centre of which was the first pyramid, a stepped building developed from a mastaba on an almost square base and…
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