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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…

Abydus

(516 words)

Author(s): Schwertheim, Elmar (Münster) | Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
(Ἄβυδος; Ábydos). [German version] [1] City at the narrowest part of the Dardanelles This item can be found on the following maps: Colonization | Peloponnesian War | Pergamum | Persian Wars | Delian League | Education / Culture  Miletus founded A. as a polis in the 1st half of the 7th cent. BC, by permission of the Lydian king  Gyges (Str. 13,1,22). It is situated at the narrowest part of the Dardanelles, on the Asian shore, 5 km east of Çanakkale on the promontory of Cape Nagara and already known to Homer (Il.…

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…

Nubia

(1,560 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) | Berger, Albrecht (Berlin)
[German version] A. Name A country on the middle reaches of the Nile; more precisely, the area today settled by a Nubian-speaking population: Lower Nubia from the 1st to the 2nd Nile cataract (Aswān to Wadi Halfa, Republic of Egypt) and Upper Nubia from the 2nd to the 4th cataract (Wadi Halfa to Meroe, northern Sudan). In a culturally and historically understood sense, Nubia also includes the land as far as the 6th cataract and around Khartoum (central Sudan). Besides the general term t-stj for the country, recorded from the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3000 BC), the Egyptian la…

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…

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…

Harmachis

(225 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) | Ameling, Walter (Jena)
(Egyptian Ḥrw-m-ḫ.t, ‘Horus in the horizon’). [German version] [1] Name of the great Sphinx Name under which the great  Sphinx of  Gizeh was venerated as the embodiment of the sun god since the beginning of the New Kingdom ( c. 1500 BC). Many votive steles document the popularity of the cult amongst private people as well as kings. Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography J. Assmann, s.v. H., LÄ2, 992-996. [German version] [2] Priest of Ptah of Memphis, about 200 BC Son of Anemhor, father of Nesysti III; high priest of Ptah of Memphis ( c. 260 ─ after 194-193 BC); sometimes i…

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…

Temple

(5,554 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) | Hollender, Elisabeth (Cologne) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Et al.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia The Sumerian term é and the Akkadian term bītu, meaning 'temple' or 'house (of the deity)', were not restricted to 'dwellings' of deities of a particular size or importance. They applied to sanctuaries from small neighbourhood shrines in residential areas to large, freestanding, tall buildings, from one-room cult sites to temple complexes with extensive auxiliary buildings, and they could be used for temples where one or many deities were worshipped. Prehistoric structures are often classified as temples only because apparently they nei…

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…

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…

Menes

(431 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) | Badian, Ernst (Cambridge, MA)
[German version] [1] Egyptian ruler of the 1st Dynasty From the 19th Dynasty on (13th cent. BC), the Egyptian king lists mention a king M. (Egyptuan Mnj; Manetho: Μήνης/ Mḗnēs) as the first ruler of the 1st Dynasty, and the authors of classical antiquity simply shaped his image into that of the founder par excellence. The construction of the residential city of Memphis and its temple (Hdt. 2,99; Jos. Ant. Iud. 8,155), the invention of writing (Plin. HN 7,56), the laying down of laws in writing (Diod. 1,94) and generally the…

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…

Chous

(328 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) | Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
(χοῦς, χοεύς; choûs, choeús). [German version] [1] Jug or decanter Jug or decanter (height a little over 20 cm); used on the second day of the  Anthesteria during the wine-drinking competition. Probably used as a measure of volume for the prescribed quantity of wine. On Choes Day the three-year-old children receive a small choes decanter (H 6-8 cm) as a symbol of their entry into life. [2, 50f.; 1, 96ff.]. As a measure of volume for liquids the chous is divided into 12 kotylai and 72 kyathoi and amounts to 1/12 of the metretes. Depending on the region, the chous contained 4.56 l (Laconia), 3.…
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