Upper Egypt (Arabic: صعيد مصر Ṣaʿīd Miṣr, shortened to الصعيد Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [es.sˤe.ˈʕiːd], locally: [es.sˤɑ.ˈʕiːd], Coptic: ⲙⲁⲣⲏⲥ) is the southern portion of Ancient Egypt and is composed of the lands on both sides of the Nile that extend downriver between Nubia and Lower Egypt in the north.
|c. 3400 BC–c. 3150 BC|
|Common languages||Ancient Egyptian|
|Religion||Ancient Egyptian religion|
• c. 3400 BC
|Scorpion I (first)|
• c. 3150 BC
|c. 3400 BC|
|c. 3150 BC|
|Today part of||Egypt|
In ancient Egypt, Upper Egypt was known as tꜣ šmꜣw, literally "the Land of Reeds" or "the Sedgeland" It is believed to have been united by the rulers of the supposed Thinite Confederacy who absorbed their rival city states during Naqada III and its unification with Lower Egypt ushered in the Early Dynastic period. Both Upper and Lower Egypt became imbedded within the symbolism of the sovereignty in Ancient Egypt such as the Pschent double crown. Upper Egypt remained as a historical distinction even after the classical period.
Upper Egypt is between the Cataracts of the Nile beyond modern-day Aswan, downriver (northward) 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.
By approximately 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 Egypt and Lower Egypt occurred often. During his reign in Upper Egypt, King Narmer defeated his enemies on the delta and united both of the kingdoms of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt under his single rule, which endured throughout Dynastic Egypt.
|Periods and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt|
All years are BC
See also: List of Pharaohs by Period and Dynasty
Periodization of Ancient Egypt
For most of Egypt's ancient history, Thebes was the administrative center of Upper Egypt. Upper Egypt was represented by the tall White Crown Hedjet, and its symbols were the flowering lotus and the sedge. Its patron deity, Nekhbet, was depicted by the vulture. After unification of the two kingdoms, the patron deities of both Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt were represented together as the Two Ladies, to protect all of the ancient Egyptians, just as the two crowns became united throughout the dynasties that followed.
After its devastation by the Assyrians, the importance of Egypt declined. Under the Ptolemies, Ptolemais Hermiou took over the role of the capital city of Upper Egypt.
In the eleventh 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.
List of rulers of prehistoric Upper Egypt
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|
List of nomes
|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||Zawty (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|
Part of a series on the
|History of Egypt|
- Ermann & Grapow, op.cit. Wb 5, 227.4-14
- Ermann & Grapow 1982, Wb 5, 227.4-14.
- Ermann & Grapow (1982), Wb 4, 477.9-11
- Brink, Edwin C. M. van den (1992). The Nile Delta in Transition: 4th.-3rd. Millennium B.C. : Proceedings of the Seminar Held in Cairo, 21.-24. October 1990, at the Netherlands Institute of Archaeology and Arabic Studies. E.C.M. van den Brink. ISBN 978-965-221-015-9.
- Griffith, Francis Llewellyn, A Collection of Hieroglyphs: A Contribution to the History of Egyptian Writing, the Egypt Exploration Fund 1898, p.56
- See list of nomes. Maten (Knife land) is the northernmost nome in Upper Egypt on the right bank, while Atef-Pehu (Northern Sycamore land) is the northernmost on the left bank. Brugsch, Heinrich Karl (2015). A History of Egypt under the Pharaohs. 1. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 487., originally published in 1876 in German.
- Bard & Shubert (1999), p. 371
- David (1975), p. 149
- Roebuck (1966), p. 51
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- Roebuck (1966), p. 53
- Chauveau (2000), p. 68
- Ballais (2000), p. 133
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- Brice (1981), p. 299
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- Wilkinson 1999, p. 57f.
- Shaw 2000, p. 196.
- Grajetzki (2006), pp. 109–111
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