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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…

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…

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…

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.…

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 …

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. fl…

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 inven…

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),…

Egypt

(3,211 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin)
[German version] A. Introduction The country on the Nile from the 1st Cataract to the Mediterranean, Egyptian km.t, ‘the Black (Land)’, Greek Α…

Mycerinus

(111 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Egyptian Mn-kw-R; Hdt. 2,129: Μυκερῖνος/ Mykerînos; Diod. Sic. 1,64 as a variant: Μεγχερῖνος/ Mencherînos; Manetho: Μενχέρης/ Menchérēs). Sixth king of the Egyptian 4th dynasty. Son and second successor of Chefren; ruled for 18 years (between 2500 and 2450 BC). M. built the third and smallest pyramid in Giza. Evidence from the Saitic and Persian periods (7th-5th cents. BC) indicates the restoration of his tomb and the resumption of his cult. Herodotus' extensive account (Hdt. 2,129-134), which…

Ushebti

(187 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Egyptian wšb.ty, 'answerer', secondarily from šb.ty, of uncertain meaning). Term for a small magical figure in the Egyptian cult of the dead (Dead, cult of the). Ushebtis are made of wood, stone or faience, usually representing the dead person in the form of a mummy, sometimes laid out in a coffin. Based on the associated magic spell, which was often written on the figure (spell 472 of the Coffin Texts, spell 6 of the Book of the Dead, cf. [2]), they were supposed to answer on behalf of the dead person if he was called to do work in the Afterlife, and do it in h…

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 …

Sphinx

(1,195 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) | Johannsen, Nina (Kiel) | Bäbler, Balbina (Göttingen)
(Σφίγξ/ Sphínx, also ἀνδροσφίγξ/ androsphínx: Hdt. 2,175; Boeotian: φίξ/ phíx; pl. Σφίγγες/ Sphínges). [German version] I. Egypt Depiction of the Egyptian king with the body of a lion and a human head Greek designation for the depictions which were originally only of the Egyptian king with the body of a lion and a human head; there is no known Egyptian designation for this type of image. Three-dimensional sculptural representations of recumbent sphinxes have been documented since the 4th Dynasty. (Djedefre, 2570-2450 BC). The great sphinx of Gizeh, worshipp…
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