Upper Egypt (Arabic: صعيد مصر Ṣaʿīd Miṣr, shortened to الصعيد aṣ-Ṣaʿīd; Egyptian Arabic: [es.sˤe.ˈʕiːd], Coptic: ⲙⲁⲣⲏⲥ) is the strip of land on both sides of the Nile that extends between Nubia and downriver (northwards) to Lower Egypt.
|Unknown–c. 3150 BCE|
|Common languages||Ancient Egyptian|
|Religion||Ancient Egyptian religion|
• c. 3150 BCE
|c. 3150 BCE|
|Today part of||Egypt|
Upper Egypt is between the Cataracts of the Nile above modern-day Aswan, downriver (northwards) to the area of El-Ayait, which places modern-day Cairo in Lower Egypt. The northern (downriver) part of Upper Egypt, between Sohag and El-Ayait, is also known as Middle Egypt.
In ancient Egypt, Upper Egypt was known as tꜣ šmꜣw, literally "the Land of Reeds" or "the Sedgeland" It was divided into twenty-two districts called nomes. The first nome was roughly where modern-day Aswan is and the twenty-second was at modern Atfih just to the south of Cairo.
By about 3600 BC, Neolithic Egyptian societies along the Nile had based their culture on the raising of crops and the domestication of animals. Shortly after 3600 BC, Egyptian society began to grow and increase in complexity. A new and distinctive pottery, which was related to the Levantine ceramics, appeared during this time. Extensive use of copper became common during this time. The Mesopotamian process of sun-drying adobe and architectural principles—including the use of the arch and recessed walls for decorative effect—became popular during this time.
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. Warfare between Upper and Lower Egypt occurred often. During his reign in Upper Egypt, King Narmer defeated his enemies on the Delta and merged both the Kingdom of Upper and Lower Egypt under his single rule.
For most of pharaonic Egypt's history, Thebes was the administrative center of Upper Egypt. After its devastation by the Assyrians, its importance declined. Under the Ptolemies, Ptolemais Hermiou took over the role of Upper Egypt's capital city. Upper Egypt was represented by the tall White Crown Hedjet, and its symbols were the flowering lotus and the sedge.
In the 11th century, large numbers of pastoralists, known as Hilalians, fled Upper Egypt and moved westward into Libya and as far as Tunis. It is believed that degraded grazing conditions in Upper Egypt, associated with the beginning of the Medieval Warm Period, were the root cause of the migration.
The following list may not be complete (there are many more of uncertain existence):
|Elephant||End of 4th millennium BC|
|Bull||4th millennium BC|
|Scorpion I||Oldest tomb at Umm el-Qa'ab had scorpion insignia||c. 3200 BC?|
|Iry-Hor||Possibly the immediate predecessor of Ka.||c. 3150 BC?|
|Ka||May be read Sekhen rather than Ka. Possibly the immediate predecessor of Narmer.||c. 3100 BC|
|Scorpion II||Potentially read Serqet; possibly the same person as Narmer.||c. 3150 BC|
|Narmer||The king who combined Upper and Lower Egypt.||c. 3150 BC|
|Number||Ancient Name||Capital||Modern Capital||Translation|
|1||Ta-khentit||Abu / Yebu (Elephantine)||Aswan||The Frontier/Land of the Bow|
|2||Wetjes-Hor||Djeba (Apollonopolis Magna)||Edfu||Throne of Horus|
|3||Nekhen||Nekhen (Hierakon polis)||al-Kab||Shrine|
|4||Waset||Niwt-rst / Waset (Thebes)||Karnak||Sceptre|
|5||Harawî||Gebtu (Coptos)||Qift||Two Falcons|
|6||Aa-ta||Iunet / Tantere (Tentyra)||Dendera||Crocodile|
|7||Seshesh||Seshesh (Diospolis Parva)||Hu||Sistrum|
|8||Abdju||Abdju (Abydos)||al-Birba||Great Land|
|9||Min||Apu / Khen-min (Panopolis)||Akhmim||Min|
|10||Wadjet||Djew-qa / Tjebu (Aphroditopolis)||Edfu||Cobra|
|11||Set||Shashotep (Hypselis)||Shutb||Set animal|
|12||Tu-ph||Hut-Sekhem-Senusret (Antaeopolis)||Qaw al-Kebir||Viper Mountain|
|13||Atef-Khent||z3wj-tj (Lycopolis)||Asyut||Upper Sycamore and Viper|
|14||Atef-Pehu||Qesy (Cusae)||al-Qusiya||Lower Sycamore and Viper|
|18||Sep||Teudjoi / Hutnesut (Alabastronopolis)||el-Hiba||Set|
|19||Uab||Per-Medjed (Oxyrhynchus)||el-Bahnasa||Two Sceptres|
|20||Atef-Khent||Henen-nesut (Heracleopolis Magna)||Ihnasiyyah al-Madinah||Southern Sycamore|
|21||Atef-Pehu||Shenakhen / Semenuhor (Crocodilopolis, Arsinoë)||Faiyum||Northern Sycamore|
Media related to Upper Egypt at Wikimedia CommonsAtef
Atef is the specific feathered white crown of the ancient Egyptian deity Osiris. It combines the Hedjet, the crown of Upper Egypt, with curly red ostrich feathers on each side of the crown for the Osiris cult. The feathers are identified as ostrich from their curl or curve at the upper ends, with a slight flare toward the base. They are the same feather as (singly) worn by Maat. The crown is also worn by Sobek. They may be compared with the falcon tail feathers in two-feather crowns, such as those of Amun which are more narrow and straight without curve.
The Atef crown identifies Osiris in ancient Egyptian painting. Osiris wears the Atef crown as a symbol of the ruler of the underworld. The tall bulbous white piece in the center of the crown is between two ostrich feathers. The feathers represent truth and justice. The Atef crown is similar, save for the feathers, to the plain white crown (Hedjet) used in the Predynastic Period and later as a symbol for pharaonic Upper Egypt.Hedjet
Hedjet (Ancient Egyptian: ḥḏt "White One") is the formal name for the white crown of pharaonic Upper Egypt. After the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, it was combined with the deshret, the red crown of Lower Egypt, to form the pschent, the double crown of Egypt. The symbol sometimes used for the white crown was the vulture goddess Nekhbet shown next to the head of the cobra goddess Wadjet, the uraeus on the pschent.Horus
Horus is one of the most significant ancient Egyptian deities. He was worshipped from at least the late prehistoric Egypt until the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Roman Egypt. Different forms of Horus are recorded in history and these are treated as distinct gods by Egyptologists. These various forms may possibly be different manifestations of the same multi-layered deity in which certain attributes or syncretic relationships are emphasized, not necessarily in opposition but complementary to one another, consistent with how the Ancient Egyptians viewed the multiple facets of reality. He was most often depicted as a falcon, most likely a lanner falcon or peregrine falcon, or as a man with a falcon head.The earliest recorded form of Horus is the tutelary deity of Nekhen in Upper Egypt, who is the first known national god, specifically related to the ruling pharaoh who in time came to be regarded as a manifestation of Horus in life and Osiris in death. The most commonly encountered family relationship describes Horus as the son of Isis and Osiris, and he plays a key role in the Osiris myth as Osiris's heir and the rival to Set, the murderer of Osiris. In another tradition Hathor is regarded as his mother and sometimes as his wife. Horus served many functions, most notably being a god of kingship and the sky.Houara
Houara (Berber: Ihewwaren, Arabic: هوارة), also spelled Hawwara, is a large tribe spread widely in the Maghreb and has descendants in Upper Egypt.
Houara are amongst the most prominent tribes in Upper Egypt, with branches found mainly in Sohag, Qena, and Asyut. They are considered to be the aristocracy of Sohag to this day. Hawwara tribes were deemed to be the real rulers of the region, up until the campaigns of Ibrahim Pasha in 1813, which finally crushed their influence.During the Mamluk rule in Egypt, the Hawwara were the most dominant tribe in Upper Egypt under the leadership of Sheikh Hammam. Sultan Barquq made relationships with the Hawwara in order to keep the Arab tribes from becoming powerful. Towards the end of the Mamluk dynasty, the Hawwara and Arabs began cooperating to kill Mamluks. Due to their cooperation, the Mamluks labelled the Hawwara as being Arab. Although they are originally Berber, the term "Sheikh of the Arabs" is usually bestowed upon their leaders. According to many researchers, The Hawwara are Berber in genetics, they usually only married within their family or from other Hawwara factions across North Africa to form external alliances. However, Many historian stated that Hawwara is of an Arab origin (by whom?) .In the 21st century, Hawwaras began marrying outside their tribe since the family lineage was becoming extinct, this led to the Hawwara becoming increasingly arabized.
Many smaller tribes, villages, and regions still bear this name in Berber countries today such as Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya.List of ancient Egyptian sites
This is a list of ancient Egyptian sites, throughout all of Egypt and Nubia. Sites are listed by their classical name whenever possible, if not by their modern name, and lastly with their ancient name if no other is available.Lower Nubia
Lower Nubia is the northernmost part of Nubia, downstream on the Nile from Upper Nubia. Sometimes, it overlapped Upper Egypt stretching to the First and Second Cataracts (the region known to Greco-Roman geographers as Triakontaschoinos), so roughly until Aswan. A great deal of Upper Egypt and northern Lower Nubia were flooded with the construction of the Aswan High Dam and the creation of Lake Nasser. However the intensive archaeological work conducted prior to the flooding means that the history of the area is much better known than that of Upper Nubia. Its history is also known from its long relations with Egypt.
In Upper Egypt and Northern Lower Nubia was present a series of cultures, the Badarian, Amratian, Gerzean, A-Group, B-Group, and C-Group. Linguistic evidence strongly indicates that Cushitic languages were spoken in Lower Nubia, an ancient region which straddles present day Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan, before the arrival of North Eastern Sudanic languages in the Middle Nile Valley.During the Middle Kingdom Lower Nubia was occupied by Egypt, when the Egyptians withdrew during the First Intermediate Period Lower Nubia seems to have become part of the Upper Nubian Kingdom of Kerma. The New Kingdom occupied all of Nubia and Lower Nubia was especially closely integrated into Egypt, but with the Second Intermediate Period it became the centre of the independent state of Kush based at Napata at some point. Perhaps around 591 BC the capital of Kush was transferred south to Meroe and Lower Nubia became dominated by the Island of Meroe.
With the fall of the Meroitic Empire in the fourth century AD the area became home to X-Group, also known as the Ballana culture who were likely the Nobatae. This evolved into the Christian state of Nobatia by the fifth century. Nobatia was merged with the Upper Nubian state of Makuria, but Lower Nubia became steadily more Arabized and Islamicized and eventually became de facto independent as the state of al-Maris. Most of Lower Nubia was formally annexed by Egypt during the Ottoman conquest of 1517, and it has remained a part of Egypt since then, with only the far south being in Sudan.Merkheperre
Merkheperre was an Egyptian pharaoh of the late 13th Dynasty of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period reigning some time between 1663 BC and 1649 BC. As such Merkheperre would have reigned either over Upper Egypt from Thebes or over Middle and Upper Egypt from Memphis. At the time, the Eastern Nile Delta was under the domination of the 14th Dynasty.Middle Egypt
Middle Egypt (Arabic: مصر الوسطى Misr al-Wista) is the section of land between Lower Egypt (the Nile Delta) 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 (; Greek: ἡ Επτανομίς, in Ptol. iv. 5. § 55; more properly Ἑπτὰ Νομοί or Ἑπταπολίς, in Dionysius Periegetes 251; and sometimes ἡ μεταζύ[γή]; meaning "Seven Nomes", a "nome" being a subdivision of ancient Egypt), generally as the district which separates the Thebaïd from the Delta.
Middle Egypt today can be identified as the part of the Nile Valley that, while geographically part of Upper Egypt, is culturally closer to Lower Egypt. For instance, in terms of language, the Egyptian Arabic of people in Beni Suef and northwards shares features with Cairene and particularly rural Delta Arabic rather than with the Sa'idi Arabic spoken further south, and are often not considered Sa'idis.Nekhbet
Nekhbet (; also spelt Nekhebit) was an early predynastic local goddess in Egyptian mythology, who was the patron of the city of Nekheb (her name meaning of Nekheb). Ultimately, she became the patron of Upper Egypt and one of the two patron deities for all of Ancient Egypt when it was unified.Nome (Egypt)
A nome (, from Ancient Greek: νομός, nomós, “district”) was a territorial division in ancient Egypt.
Each nome was ruled by a nomarch (Ancient Egyptian: heri-tep a'a). The number of nomes changed through the various periods of the history of ancient Egypt.Ptolemais Hermiou
Ptolemais Hermiou or Ptolemais in the Thebaid was a city and Metropolitan Archbishopric in Greco-Roman Egypt and remains a Catholic titular see.
Today, the city of El Mansha (Arabic: المنشأة)-Bsoi (Coptic: ⲡⲥⲟⲓ) in the Sohag Governorate is located where the ancient city used to be.Regional units of Egypt
The General Organization for Physical Planning (GOPP), which was established in 1981, shows Egypt divided into seven regional units for physical planning purposes (urban planning, the founding of new towns, new cities and such). The government body works on aspects of urban planning, land use in consideration of the economic conditions of regional units. However, it was believed that planning based on these units was unrealistic thus decentralization efforts were put in place.
Each governorate has a General Administration of Planning and Urban Development (GAPUD) government body, in order to decentralize the functions of the GOPP.Sa'idi people
A Ṣa‘īdi (Egyptian Arabic: صعيدى, Coptic: ⲣⲉⲙⲣⲏⲥ Remris) is a person from Upper Egypt (Arabic: صعيد مصر Ṣa‘īd, Coptic: ⲙⲁⲣⲏⲥ Maris). Approximately 40% of Egyptians live in Upper Egypt, and "80% of Egypt's poverty is concentrated in Upper Egypt". Millions of Upper Egyptians have migrated to Lower Egypt for work opportunities.Saʽidi Arabic
Ṣaʽīdi Arabic (Sa'idi Arabic: صعيدي, locally [sˤɑˈʕiːdi], Egyptian Arabic: [sˤeˈʕiːdi]), also known as Upper Egyptian Arabic, is a variety of Arabic spoken by the Ṣaʽīdi people south of Cairo, Egypt, to the border of Sudan. It shares linguistic features with both Egyptian Arabic and the Quran's Classical Arabic. Dialects include Middle and Upper Egyptian Arabic.
Speakers of Egyptian Arabic do not always understand more conservative varieties of Ṣaʽīdi Arabic.Ṣaʽīdi Arabic carries little prestige nationally, but it continues to be widely spoken, including in the north by rural migrants who have partially adapted to Egyptian Arabic. For example, the Ṣaʽīdi genitive exponent is usually replaced with Egyptian bitāʿ, but the realisation of /q/ as [ɡ] is retained (normally realised in Egyptian Arabic as [ʔ]).
Second- and third-generation Ṣaʽīdi migrants are monolingual in Egyptian Arabic but maintain cultural and family ties to the south.
The Egyptian poet Abdel Rahman el-Abnudi wrote in his native Sa'idi.Theban Necropolis
The Theban Necropolis is a necropolis on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes (Luxor) in Upper Egypt. It was used for ritual burials for much of the Pharaonic period, especially during the New Kingdom.Thebes, Egypt
Thebes (Ancient Greek: Θῆβαι, Thēbai), known to the ancient Egyptians as Waset, was an ancient Egyptian city located along the Nile about 800 kilometers (500 mi) south of the Mediterranean. Its ruins lie within the modern Egyptian city of Luxor. Thebes was the main city of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome (Sceptre nome) and was the capital of Egypt mainly during the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom. It was close to Nubia and the Eastern Desert, with its valuable mineral resources and trade routes. It was a cult center and the most venerated city of ancient Egypt during its heyday. The site of Thebes includes areas on both the eastern bank of the Nile, where the temples of Karnak and Luxor stand and the city proper was situated; and the western bank, where a necropolis of large private and royal cemeteries and funerary complexes can be found.Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt
The Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt (notated Dynasty XXV, alternatively 25th Dynasty or Dynasty 25), also known as the Nubian Dynasty or the Kushite Empire, was the last dynasty of the Third Intermediate Period of Egypt that occurred after the Nubian invasion.
The 25th dynasty was a line of pharaohs who originated in the Kingdom of Kush, located in present-day northern Sudan and Upper Egypt. Most of this dynasty's kings saw Napata as their spiritual homeland. They reigned in part or all of Ancient Egypt from 744–656 BC. The dynasty began with Kashta's invasion of Upper Egypt and culminated in several years of both successful and unsuccessful wars with the Mesopotamia-based Neo-Assyrian Empire. The 25th Dynasty's reunification of Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt, and Kush created the largest Egyptian empire since the New Kingdom. They assimilated into society by reaffirming Ancient Egyptian religious traditions, temples, and artistic forms, while introducing some unique aspects of Kushite culture. It was during the 25th dynasty that the Nile valley saw the first widespread construction of pyramids (many in what is now Sudan) since the Middle Kingdom.After the emperors Sargon II and Sennacherib defeated attempts by the Nubian kings to gain a foothold in the Near East, their successors Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal invaded and defeated and drove out the Nubians. War with Assyria resulted in the end of Kushite power in Northern Egypt and the conquest of Egypt by the Neo-Assyrian Empire. They were succeeded by the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, initially a puppet dynasty installed by and vassals of the Assyrians, the last native dynasty to rule Egypt before the Achaemenid Empire invaded. The fall of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty also marks the beginning of the Late Period of ancient Egypt.Twenty-third Dynasty of Egypt
The Twenty-third Dynasty of Egypt (notated Dynasty XXIII, alternatively 23rd Dynasty or Dynasty 23) is usually classified as the third dynasty of the ancient Egyptian Third Intermediate Period. This dynasty consisted of a number of Meshwesh ancient Libyan (Berber) kings, who ruled either as pharaohs or independent kings of parts of Upper Egypt from 880 BC to 720 BC, and pharaohs from 837 BC to 728 BC.Upper and Lower Egypt
In Egyptian history, the Upper and Lower Egypt period (also known as the Two Lands) was the final stage of prehistoric Egypt and directly preceded the nation's unification. The conception of Egypt as the Two Lands was an example of the dualism in ancient Egyptian culture and appeared frequently in texts and imagery, including in the titles of Egyptian pharaohs.
The Egyptian title zmꜣ-tꜣwj (Egyptological pronunciation sema-tawy) is usually translated as "Uniter of the Two Lands" and was depicted as a human trachea entwined with the papyrus and lily plant. The trachea stood for unification, while the papyrus and lily plant represent Lower and Upper Egypt.
Standard titles of the Pharaoh included the prenomen, literally "Of the Sedge and Bee" (nswt-bjtj, the symbols of Upper and Lower Egypt) and "Lord of the Two Lands" (written nb-tꜣwj). (Queens regnant were addressed as "Pharaoh" and male.) Queens consort might use a feminine versions of the second title, "Lady of The Two Lands" (nbt-tꜣwj), Mistress of the Entire Two Lands (hnwt-tꜣwy-tm), and Mistress of the Two Lands (hnwt-tꜣwy).
Upper Egyptian cities
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